Kind of a weird and fascinating week for MMOs, as an expansion has a legal showdown with a charity, a western MMO is announced, and Vvardenfell decided to come to us two weeks early. Is the industry shaping up for the most explosive June on record? It might just be!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
performed beautifully for Funcom
, at least during the first part of this year, the company’s investor report for the first quarter
revealed today. The survival sandbox’s early access launch in February helped propel Funcom’s once-beleaguered revenues to five times their state this time last year, making it the “most profitable quarter ever” in the history of the studio. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 releases are on track for Q3 2017 and Q1 2018, respectively.
The company reiterates that the reboot of The Secret World as Secret World Legends will make its recently announced June 26th debut, but the Steam launch will be delayed until July 31st as a result of “crowded market conditions with multiple MMO releases in May/June on Steam” — those being Black Desert’s Steam launch, Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind launch, and Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood. Seriously, nobody else should even try launching that month.
“The Company expects the majority of players after launch to be newcomers to the game, but is also working to make it worthwhile for as many veterans of The Secret World as possible to continue playing Secret World Legends. Due to the high uncertainty regarding a Free to Play business models the Company expects the development team to need to tweak the monetization mechanisms of the game in the months following launch. Paid User Acquisition will gradually be tested and introduced in tandem with the monitoring and tweaking of the game’s monetization KPIs.”
Everyone who predicted Secret World Legends would miss its original spring target date gets a cookie. Turns out the game is launching soon, but not quite in the spring with a release date of June 26th. Whether or not you’re still looking forward to the title after all of the words spilled on it is another matter; we had our own interview on the development recently.
Otherwise, lots of stuff was happening in the test world. We lost track of all of it, but we’ve done our best to sum things up for you here:
- You can try out Shroud of the Avatar for free for most of May, so if you have the time and the curiosity, hey, give it a shot. Of course, it’s really a test of a great deal of what will make the game run under stress, but you don’t need to worry about that; the price is right.
- Planet Nomads is hitting early access on May 25th after a delay. The good news? That delay has meant more features and fun stuff for players, so that’s a good thing.
- It’s been a week of Crowfall previews, or more accurately teasers about previews. Yeah, it’s been a long week.
- Worlds Adrift has hit a slight delay, but you can check out some player-made islands which will debut with its beta. Again, it’s hopefully worth the wait.
- The dwarves of Dark and Light have been previewed with a promise that the game will be in early access later this year. When? Later. It’s a secret to everybody.
- If you can’t wait for The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind to launch properly, you can start into the new landscape as early as May 22nd. That’s less of an early access week and more of just an early launch, but hey.
- The beta test for Diablo III’s Necromancer class has awoken from its brief sleep. It was just pining for the fjords, really.
- Last but not least, The Imperial Realm: Miranda is now in early access. It’s a labor of love by one guy which is pretty awesome on its own.
Wow. Lots of stuff in there, and we haven’t even skipped down below to the list. Yes, there’s a list down below. There’s always a list. Let us know if something skipped test phases without us knowing in the comments, hmm?
Kirsten Geary. That is almost all you have to say when talking about the Illuminati faction in The Secret World
. That’s because the infamous KG (as she signs her memos) is practically the personality of the organization — at least as far as players are concerned. As the player handler, she is the main contact point for everyone putting on the blue. However, there is more to the faction than her. Lots more! Not that I can tell you all of it; that would spoil the game! But I can tell you some, in case you are considering rolling one when Secret World Legends
hits the scene.
After laying out the gist of factions last week, I’m shifting my efforts to looking at each one individually. Today we’ll peek behind the curtains of the Illuminati so you can get a look at the inner workings. Don’t worry: I promise to make this as spoiler-free as absolutely possible.
Now that the official countdown is on
leading to Secret World Legends’
launch date, questions about this reboot of The Secret World
seem more relevant than ever. Massively OP sat down with Romain Amiel
and Scott Junior
to ask them several point-blank questions about the transition and the studio’s decisions behind the whole process.
told everyone a few weeks ago that Secret World Legends
was still on track for spring
, MMO gamers were skeptical. Technically, they were right to be: Funcom has this morning announced that the game will launch on June 26th, a few days after the summer solstice.
As we’ve previously reported, the game is a “shared-world role-playing game” reboot-like “reimagination” of MMORPG The Secret World, which will be maintenance moded in its wake. The new game, which has been in beta this spring, is still under NDA.
“Secret World Legends features a revamped combat system, newly designed progression system, updated visuals, and more. You can choose to explore and uncover the story by yourself, or you can team up with other players. In the game’s central hub, Agartha, you can meet and socialize with hundreds of other players, while player population in the adventure areas beyond will be tightly controlled to make sure that the experience is as immersive as possible and that the focus remains on you and your journey.”
Stay tuned for more, as we’ll be chatting with the studio this afternoon, and check out the new trailer and images down below.
Fans are eager to see and learn more about Secret World Legends
, and devs complied with a new livestream. While they couldn’t answer all the questions being hurled at them through chat (noting that some things aren’t done yet), the devs did show off a bit more combat, the new ability windows, map changes, and upgrading gear.
A big point of interest was the look at the combat abilities. The stream highlighted the new gimmicks — the special weapon abilities — as well as the active and passive ability windows. The 16 active abilities on each weapon come in four distinct types designated by colored names. The builders and consumers system was replaced with energy that regenerates over time.
- White: Basic abilities with no energy cost so they can be spammed.
- Red: Power abilities that consume energy and are used most of the time.
- Purple: Specials that consume more energy but are stronger and have a cooldown.
- Yellow: Elite ability, of which players can only have one active at a time.
Over the past couple of months, the MMORPG community has worked its way through massive leaks of top-secret info: first for Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind, then for The Secret World’s morph into Secret World Legends, and most recently for Guild Wars 2’s upcoming expansion. The latter two events in particular provoked long discussions among our staff and commenters about when and whether to cover leaks that are already in the wild and how to approach news we’ve never agreed to withhold. And with The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, at least, the studios’ excessive secrecy and elitist invitation-only testing helped propel a masochistic community desire to see leaks manifest, leading to a perfect storm.
And now it’s ruined for everybody… or at least for people who couldn’t resist clicking past the spoiler warnings. I’m bummed that we’re going to miss out on the fun of unwrapping all those presents one at a time, in Guild Wars 2’s case anyway – it’s more fun and better hits to get to roll out a little at a time. But I’m also hopeful the studios might take alpha tester NDA betrayal as a sign to be more communicative and transparent too and not keep everyone in the dark as long as has gone on here. (Or maybe even just stick to paid testers from the start and give no regular player any temptations.)
How do you feel about MMORPG leaks personally — do you seek them out and click on them, or do you stay away?
While a spring launch
of Secret World Legends
is not a guarantee it’s still a hope, so it’s not too soon to be thinking about creating your character. Anyone who is remotely like me could use as much lead time as possible to make important decisions! And one of those decisions is what faction to play when the game releases.
Why would faction choice matter? Although Creative Director Romain Amiel told me in our interview that faction PvP is something the new game was hoping to move away from, factions are still a thing. Beyond determining the hue of faction-colored armor (if that ends up being a thing in SWL as well), factions really flavor a good chunk of your game experience. So picking the right one for you could affect your level of enjoyment. If you played The Secret World, you have already faced the quandary that new players will face: which one? You might already have a favorite faction that you will automatically choose. However, maybe you are interested in experiencing the story from a slightly different perspective. The question then becomes which secret society should you pledge to this time? If you’ve never played before and will be starting fresh in Secret World Legends, you may not know anything about the differences in the three organizations. So how do you choose?
With Lord of the Rings Online hitting its 10th anniversary this past week, plenty of bloggers are enjoying the festivities and recalling some of their favorite memories of this beloved MMO.
Lina looked back at her earliest beta impressions of LOTRO and laughed at how she saw the game as “rather stiff, lifeless, and drab” (she since changed her mind). Wilhelm went through the game’s history and noted that the MMO was “a leader in the conversion to a free-to-play model, citing a huge boost in players and revenue to accompany the change.” And Roger recalls the changes: “Looking back now at these early days of LOTRO, the most pronounced difference was the fact that much of the game was designed to be completed in a group or fellowship.”
Is it still a game worth playing? Syl recently returned to LOTRO after a long absence and found it welcoming: “I’ve only been back a few days and already had more friendly encounters and met more silly helpful people on Laurelin than I otherwise would in years.”
Deep in the comments of the MMOs-vs.-survival-sandboxes thread from last week, reader miol_ produced a beautiful comment about how MMO players have become a minority in their own genre, which he then expounded upon for us in this provocative email.
“I’ve reached the opinion, that since the launch of WoW and its clones, the ‘original’ MMO-playerbase became a minority in their own genre. Before, we were but hundreds of thousands of MMO players, but then came Blizzard with WoW and its legions of fans in the dozen of millions at its peak, starting to dictate what the new success of MMOs should look like. Even if we others tried to vote with our wallet and feet, we became a minority, having only a fraction of our initial influence, while many devs tried desperately time and again to find ways to get at least a portion of the new Blizzard playerbase.
“Am I wrong with that perception of history? Am I totally missing something? Or are ‘we’ are slowly becoming a majority again, now that WoW and its clones are seeing steadily declining numbers (instead of us winning more players to ‘our side’)? How do we lobby better for ‘our cause’? Or can we only wait and see, until the genre is small enough again? Or is it too late? Have we ourselves grown too far apart into our even more niche corners of personal taste since SWG, while production costs and our demands for production value have skyrocketed at the same time? How could we come closer again?”
Let’s tackle miol_’s questions in this week’s Massively Overthinking.
While there is both hopeful excitement and worried trepidation about the upcoming Secret World Legends
, Massively OP’s MJ is going to continue to immerse herself in her beloved Secret World
. It doesn’t matter where she goes, she just wants to hang out in the world. But while she’s there, she might as well try to finish a few more sabotage mission achievements. There are so many left to do! Can she do as well as last time
and check more off her list? Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. to see how many times she can successfully be sneaky!
What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 27th, 2017
Recently, Ravalation carried on an annual blogger tradition called Developer Appreciation Week. During this week, gamers would put aside their usual vitriol and criticism for devs to pen posts about the appreciated side of studios. It was certainly nice to see a bloom of positivity and praise, that’s for sure.
“If there’s something I’ve learned from my fellow participants during this year’s DAW it’s that 1) game developers work extremely hard purely because they love their games, 2) bugs frequently appear in complicated coding, and 3) devs are usually aware that bugs exist when content goes live and feel terrible about it,” she wrote.
Join us after the break for more MMO blog essays, including a tour of Star Citizen’s luxury ship, more thoughts on Secret World Legends, and the enduring love of a World of Warcraft fan.