subscription

Subscription MMOs are generally those that restrict play to gamers who pay an ongoing fee, usually monthly, though shorter and longer subscriptions, as well as lifetime subs, do exist. Some free-to-play and buy-to-play games also include optional subscriptions.

RuneScape is a massive hit on Twitch

Time and again, we here at Massively OP have noted how RuneScape seems to be incredibly underestimated by the larger MMO community. For how popular it is, it never seems to get the respect and attention from the core MMORPG community that its online contemporaries do.

That is, until you head over to Twitch. According to the June viewing charts over on NewZoo, the fantasy MMORPG drew in an astounding 6.7 million hours of viewership over that month alone. This is enough to put it in 11th place, well ahead of titles like Destiny, Minecraft, Black Desert, and H1Z1: King of the Kill. It’s RuneScape’s world — we only watch it from afar.

The top 10 of the viewership chart is filled with the usual suspects, including much of Blizzard’s roster (World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm) and the dominant MOBAs of our time (League of Legends and Dota 2).

Source: NewZoo. Thanks Sally!

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SuperData June 2017: ROBLOX, GTAV, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds are making bank

SuperData’s global digital games revenue summary for June 2017 is out, and it’s a strange melange of huge shifts and no changes at all.

On the PC front, there’s been movement at the bottom of the list, as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and ROBLOX (seriously) have kicked CSGO and New Westward Journey Online II to the curb and knocked World of Tanks and Overwatch down a few pegs. World of Warcraft remains at #6, thanks to last month’s recombination of east and west. It’s a weird saga.

On consoles, however, Overwatch inched up a place and Grand Theft Auto V surged to take the top spot, in spite of its messy modder confrontations this summer. “Despite negative press over community-created-mods decisions, Grand Theft Auto Online experienced its most successful month this June on the back of [its] newest DLC,” SuperData says.

The mobile category has seen a huge shakeup as well, as Honour of Kings leaped from 10th place to 1st, pushing down Clash of Clans and Clash Royale — the firm estimates Honour of Kings made over $150 million in June. Pokemon Go remains noticeably absent from the top 10 lists this summer, but SuperData gives it a nod anyway.

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Wisdom of Nym: What happens next in Final Fantasy XIV?

It’s pretty clear that the Final Fantasy XIV team (and the localization team specifically) are pretty huge fans of Hamilton, to the point that I’m surprised that the Emperor didn’t specifically burst into a song from the musical in the ending sequence. Especially because it’s… kind of a relevant question at this point, once you’ve seen the end of the MSQ.

So what does come next?

Obviously, this column will feature spoilers, so consider yourself fairly tagged. But I think this is a relevant question to ask because this expansion is, in its own way, a very different animal from its two predecessors right out of the gate. The relaunch ended its story in a place so open that it could really go wherever without a problem, while Heavensward ended the 3.0 MSQ with obvious points for continuation. (It helped that the obvious thrust of the expansion took a sharp left turn around level 55.) In the case of Stormblood, though…

Yes, I’m avoiding saying more before the cut. Spoilers down below, people.

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Final Fantasy XIV sees a price hike for Brazilian and Russian players

Shock! Dismay! The prices for Brazilian and Russian players have risen for Final Fantasy XIV! But to confuse the issue a little further, they’ve risen to… just about the same level as everyone else pays worldwide. According to the official statement on the forums, this was simply a result of adjusting the pricing exchanges for different currencies, making sure that everyone worldwide is paying about the same amount.

Player outrage over the issue is unsurprisingly at peak volume, with the two main points of contention being that the adjustments were not announced ahead of time in any format (and indeed, even Square-Enix’s own staff seems to have been somewhat surprised) and that the price adjustment fails to take into account different incomes in different regions. It’s not the first time in recent days that we’ve seen some dispute over localized pricing for different regions, which if nothing else goes to show the difficulty in operating a global game with servers open to all regions.

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World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade emulator shut down by Blizzard cease-and-desist

Well, what did you think was going to happen?

As they have no legal legs on which to stand, MMORPG emulator projects operate on the hope that they’re under the radar enough that the actual owner of the intellectual property won’t notice or care that such activities are transpiring. Unfortunately for operator Gummy and his team over at Burning Crusade, Blizzard wasn’t about to let this fly on its watch.

The studio issued a cease-and-desist letter to the World of Warcraft emulator just weeks after the game started to become more public with open beta testing. This shutdown echoes the great drama that we saw last year with the closure and fallout of the Nostalrius vanilla WoW emulator.

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Gigantic devs liken their graphics to candy and plastic toys

If you love to hate on brightly colored cartoony-stylized graphics of games like World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and even Wildstar, know that the tide’s against you.

So goes the argument of Motiga’s Vinod Rams, who compares MOBA Gigantic’s graphics to candy during a recent Gamasutra livestream. The idea, he says, was to combine styles popularized by Disney and Hayao Miyazaki with bright plastic toy looks rather than photorealism — and consequently, that Gigantic is in the Nintendo ARMS/Splatoon family of games because it looks like candy.

“You wanna reach in and grab one of these guys and just pop ’em in your mouth. Like… candy is completely engineered to entice you to pick it up. It’s an unnatural color sometimes. Why would I want to eat something that’s bright green?”

But of course, we do because it catches our attention.

The design conversation begins around 15 minutes into the video and resumes again around 35 minutes if you’d like to hear the whole thing.

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One Shots: Hail to the victor!

Have you ever been able to capture a truly victorious moment in your MMORPG journeys? Rees Racer did, and he is not above showing off (fortunately for us!).

“No spoilers, so I’ll just pass along a TERA cutscene shot from a meeting with Priestess Ciebel after the defeat of a traitorous threat to the Alliance,” Rees writes. “Of course, my Gunner is issued new orders almost immediately as there are seemingly always other harbingers of doom to confront…”

You save the world once, everyone wants you to keep on doing it, over and over again. My advice? Start charging per apocalypse and put aside a portion for retirement in another dimension.

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Camelot Unchained stabilizes the game engine and shows off inventory UI

Check out Camelot Unchained’s first pass at a player inventory UI. What do you think? Looks pretty sharp, doesn’t it?

This glimpse was part of this week’s development newsletter. It sounds as though the team also made a big step forward with client performance: “Call it scene-locking, call it broken, call it a PITA, but the good news is that Andrew and George made major changes to the system so that the engine is a lot more stable than it was three weeks ago. Now, is it ready for a real alpha test? Unfortunately, no.”

The team has hundreds of bots back in the game running it through its paces, and hopefully an alpha test will commence next weekend. In the meanwhile, you can hang out with the devs and see some more work on weapon animation after the break.

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The Game Archaeologist: EverQuest II East

Publishing a video game globally is a monumental task, more so if it is a live online game such as what you’d find with MMORPGs. With different countries and regions come various traditions, prohibitions, language barriers, government restrictions, playstyle expectations, and financial models that must all be sorted out and overcome for these games to come out.

One of the most famous examples of adapting an MMO for use in another country is how World of Warcraft had to make significant graphical changes to its death-themed imagery (including its Forsaken race) in order to get approval to operate in China. Censorship aside, many studios have adjusted their games to include elements appealing to a certain country in order to get more fans (such as WildStar’s panda explosion).

Today we’re going to look at a short-term oddity in EverQuest II’s history, when SOE attempted to expand the game into the east — and how that rebounded back to impact the west.

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EVE Online previews changes coming to mining moons

Mining makes the world go round for EVE Online. You need those resources to construct space stations, to build ships, and to barter with others in order to fight over the price of minerals extracted through mining, right? Right. So the changes coming to moon mining will have a pretty big impact; instead of passively mining from space, players will lift a whole chunk of the moon and then blast it apart so that individual ships can flit through and mine away. The whole process is explained in more detail in the most recent development post.

Players will have new ores mined from these moon chunks that refine into multiple different components rather than come out pre-processed, thus giving good reason for players to collect these new sorts of ore personally. The process of surveying a moon and the distribution of resources will also be adjusted, giving players plenty of reasons to pursue different moons for mining operations instead of simply parking at the most convenient ones. Check out the full entry to see how much fun it can be to lift off a chunk of rock from a moon and then dig for things from the rocks.

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World of Warcraft expands Patch 7.3 testing to include final Argus zone and new dungeon

Just when you think you’ve seen everything that World of Warcraft’s massive Patch 7.3 has to offer on the test server, here comes even more to explore. The team announced that the last major batch of content was unlocked on the PTR for testers to try out, including the patch’s final zone and its anticipated five-player dungeon.

The public test realm now has Stygian Wake and its world quests open for business on Argus, and teams can poke around the new Seat of the Triumvirate instance to see if it meets their liking. Other additions to this round of testing include updates to the Frost Death Knight and the new Netherlight Crucible system.

So what is that crucible thing? It’s more artifact advancement, because you really need to get that weapon as powerful as possible before Blizzard ditches it in next year’s expansion. “The Netherlight Crucible is a new way to upgrade new and existing artifact relics by adding additional effects and item levels. As your artifact grows in power, the system will expand to allow more and more customization.”

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Perfect Ten: 10 little things I love about Final Fantasy XIV

A reader recently sent in a letter asking Justin to explain why he (Justin) had never really connected with Final Fantasy XIV despite giving the game the ol’ college try. I can’t answer that question, obviously; I’m not Justin and don’t presume to know how his mind works, and given his pathological hatred of elves, I’m not sure I’d want to. But I can point out some of the little things that make me fall in love with the game all over again on a regular basis, something that’s hitting me hard as Stormblood ups the bar significantly from the level established in the game so far.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a fan of the game, and I have been for years. But there are a lot of reasons for that, and some of them are just reasons like these. Every time I duck back into the game (on a daily basis, yes), I notice something I missed before, and half of the time it makes me smile. So let’s look at the little things that make me adore this game.

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