If we judged MMOs by their numbers alone — and I’m not suggesting we do so — then the original Lineage would be the crowing rooster strutting about the hen house. It’s also been one of those games that I’ve always intellectually acknowledged was a huge hit for some reason but never gave much attention. I think it’s because, contrary to many western MMOs, Lineage is primarily an Asian phenomenon. That doesn’t mean it should be shunned, of course, but just that it may be difficult to understand when you’re on the outside of it.
So let’s back up the memory truck to September 1998, when a then-fledgling NCsoft rolled out a Diablo-style isometric MMO and struck virtual gold in South Korea. At the time, gaming rooms were becoming a huge thing in the country. A recession had hit, giving people a lot of time with nothing to do, and the government was rapidly expanding the broadband network. In the face of this perfect storm, titles like StarCraft and Lineage became overnight household fixtures — and remained so for decades to come.
Even if you haven’t played Lineage and you don’t know anyone who does, trust me: Millions and millions of players have. As former Senior Producer Chris Mahnken once said, “Lineage keeps going because it’s just plain fun.”
Blizzard fans, this year’s BlizzCon has a date, and that day is November 2nd and 3rd, almost three months after the launch of World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth, meaning you won’t even be missing much grinding time to attend, and you can count on lots of post-mortemy-type panels rather than endless teasers. On the other hand? E-sports, e-sports, e-sports.
“This year’s event will again commence with the esports action of BlizzCon Opening Week, taking place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles from October 25 to 29, where the initial rounds of the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Finals, and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship Finals will unfold. The competitions will culminate in Anaheim on November 2 and 3, where the champions of these tournaments along with those of the Overwatch World Cup and Hearthstone Global Games will be crowned.”
Last year’s event was sold out, so if you’re aiming to go, jot down these even more important dates: May 9th and 12th, when tickets will go on sale.
I love stories. Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I love stories not just for their raw entertainment value, but for their ability to teach. It’s not heavy-handed like being in class, but stories teach culture, customs, and character. We visit the past, the present, the future. We experience things through stories we might never get to experience for ourselves. War, I hope, is one of those things.
Andrew Barron, Director of Design at Bohemia Interactive Simulations, has seen war. And war stories. He’s also been in the game industry for awhile, both before and after his time as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan. He knows war, but he also knows war simulators. It’s actually his job to help build them. So when he says our games our violent, he knows what he’s saying, but the context for that may not be easily understood. However, once it is, you’ll see that not only do we have some games getting war “right,” but that there’s room for us to grow, and some people are already working on that in a way that sounds, well, fun.
The anniversary of the original StarCraft is getting celebrated in multiple games, and Heroes of the Storm is outright bringing one of its major characters to the field. Fenix is now available in the live game, alongside a balance pass aimed to bring his numbers down slightly from where they had been on the test realm. Don’t worry, he’s still just as flexible a Dragoon as he’s ever been, and his shields will still be hard to cut through while he barrages the enemy team. Just as always.
Balance changes also arrive for Tracer and Varian Wrynn in this build, with Tracer getting slightly retuned to lose some mobility while needing to stay closer to enemies for longer while Wrynn has his Heroic abilities moved lower. There are also the usual bug fixes and quality-of-life changes in the patch, so even if you have no interest in anniversaries or the heroes with balance changes, it’s still a worthwhile patch.
War. War never ends. Especially if it was designed and encouraged to wage forever.
One of the most popular computer gaming genres of the late 1990s and early 2000s was real-time strategy (RTS). Players found the combination of resource collecting, base building, and mass combat a heady mix, and titles like Dune 2, the Warcraft series, and the Command and Conquer series did extremely well both as single-player and limited multiplayer titles.
But with the advent of the MMORPG, game developers looked at the RTS and wondered if this genre would do well in a massively multiplayer environment. Well, there was only one way to find out, and that’s where Shattered Galaxy came in.
Even if your knees are too weak to think about venturing into Hearthstone’s
expansion, you might want to venture out of your hidey-hole to snag the many free card packs that Blizzard is handing out.
Starting on March 27th and continuing through April 10th, you will be able to secure a free card pack every day for completing a daily quest. This will add up to 16 free packs in total if you’re diligent about doing them! The studio is also handing out three free packs to anyone who wins a match in this week’s Tavern Brawl in honor of StarCraft’s 20th anniversary.
Blizzard posted its full Witchwood card reveal schedule for 55 cards from the expansion. The reveals start on March 27th.
If you’ve been waiting for the day when you could have a Dragoon storming the battlefield in Heroes of the Storm, the time has finally arrived with the addition of Fenix to the game’s roster. He’s available on the game’s test server now as a ranged assassin, offering shield-based durability, teleportation, and some nasty abilities to punish overconfident targets. Best of all, you know that his death really is just a minor setback; it wasn’t a big one the first time, either.
There’s more coming to the game to celebrate 20 years of StarCraft, though, including new sprays, discounts on skins for existing heroes, and even a nice big bundle to award you with a bunch of thematic goodness all at once. Jump on below to see Fenix in action if you can’t hop on the test server right now, and don’t let yourself be distracted by instincts about how much vespene gas you require.
It’s time for a whole lot of new characters to smash into the fray in Blizzard’s various multiplayer offerings. Hearthstone doesn’t have characters, per se, but it does have deck types, and the game’s next expansion is delivering a whole new deck type with Odds & Evens. Yes, that’s where you have an entire deck consisting of cards with odd costs or even costs; you can check out the video below for more elaboration.
Overwatch, of course, does have new characters. Specifically, it has Brigitte, who as it turns out will be arriving in the game on March 20th. If you’ve been looking forward to playing the smashy warrior-healer on the live game, you’ll have your chance very soon.
Last but not least, the Heroes of the Storm team is promising another new hero in the form of Fenix, a character from StarCraft who got killed in the first few missions. Later, he came back in a giant spider robot carrying his dead body. (He was a Dragoon. It makes sense in context.) So that’s also fun, although we warn you that teams might not appreciate you saying “I return to serve” every time you respawn.
It’s been 20 years since StarCraft was first released to the world, and as a result, Blizzard is taking the time to celebrate the anniversary. Where? Everywhere. Basically every single title has some sort of anniversary celebration, even World of Warcraft.
Although considering the World of Warcraft celebration just consists of a feat of strength for saluting minipets based off of the game, calling that one a “celebration” might be a bit of a stretch. “Acknowledgement” seems more appropriate.
Overwatch players can pick up a Kerrigan skin for Widowmaker, StarCraft II players can get special UI skins based off of the original game, and even StarCraft Remastered gets a special UI skin. There are also rewards for taking part in a special brawl in Hearthstone and old-school portraits for Heroes of the Storm, so whatever title you play, you can do something to remember the game’s initial launch.
If you’re looking for the source of the story behind World of Warcraft, you can look no further than Warcraft 3. Most of the conflicts that have kept the game going through its many expansions got their start there, and so it’s kind of a lodestone for the game’s overarching story and plot. So it’s worth paying attention when there are rumors that the game will be getting some sort of major update, based on a new installer and a secret event that had several top players flown out for a meeting.
So what’s happening next? We don’t know yet, although a remaster along the lines of the recent StarCraft remaster seems like the most likely reason. We don’t know yet, though, so people can feel free to speculate endlessly about what might be next for the venerable RTS game. A remaster would certainly help a lot of fans get new familiarity with a very big part of the Warcraft universe lore, after all.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Vendetta Online, Worlds Adrift, Monster Hunter World, Hellion, Rust, Skyforge, Blade and Soul, Portal Knights, Final Fantasy XI, Dreadnought, PUBG, Hyper Universe, Crossout, Black Desert, Dark and Light, H1Z1, Dauntless, Robocraft, Fortnite, War of Rights, Cosmos Invictus, Ultima Online, and Vendetta Online, all waiting for you after the break!
Has the pace of news moved so quickly that we’ve already forgotten about Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene’s statement that video games lack any IP copyright protection? Because that was really ridiculous. Especially since what he was referring to was not actually even remotely related to copyright, but covered something that would be handled via patent. And even that wouldn’t have worked!
Of course, you can’t really blame him. By which I mean you can totally blame him, but it’s a common misconception that turns up time and again. People talk about copyright, trademark, and patent issues in the same general melange of “this company owns this,” and the thing is that they’re related terms and concepts that nevertheless mean very, very different things.
Don’t do survival the hard way, with only your fleshy meatbag shell as your primary resource. Use your brains and futuristic technology to summon an army of intelligent robots instead to do your bidding!
That’s the premise of Outpost Zero, a new survival sandbox that bills itself as a cross between “multiplayer FPS” and StarCraft. Players will land on an alien planet, gather resources, build bots, and construct a base. There isn’t a peaceful resolution here, however; base vs. base wars are the core of the endgame. Leading a trained bot army, players will engage in FPS combat against enemies in an attempt to interrupt operations and loot resources.
The studio says that Outpost Zero is a very deep sandbox, particularly when it comes to the game’s base construction and economic market. It’s currently ramping up its alpha program. Check out the trailer below!