The Battle Bards are always up for a musical bargain, and on today’s episode, they’ll deliver two MMORPGs for the price of one (sitting)! It’s a look at two rather obscure eastern MMOs, Cabal Online and Cabal 2, both of which have some surprisingly good music tucked away. So expand your video game musical horizons with this show!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 111: Cabal Online 1 and 2 (or download it) now:
It has become a long-standing tradition as Massively OP and our former site that we like to end the year by creating a list of titles that we anticipate for the coming one. It has always been a devilish list to create, full of loose dates and fast guesswork about which titles will and won’t be releasing during a 12-month window (just read last year’s list to see how spot-on I was).
This year we’re changing things up a bit by tossing out the qualifying factor of “will see a hard launch in 2018.” Instead, I drafted up a list of 20 MMOs that have the potential to do or be really interesting next year, whether that be a launch, a long-anticipated beta test, or some other significant development. Plus, hey, you get 20 for the price of 10, so no complaining now!
As an aside, this list isn’t going to cover some other exciting-looking multiplayer games that are arriving in 2018, like Sea of Thieves, The Crew 2, Monster Hunter World, DayZ, Red Dead Redemption 2, Stardew Valley, Conan Exiles, and State of Decay 2. And you old school fans won’t want to forget that Ultima Online has a new free-to-play option coming this spring.
Ever been curious about original-flavor H1Z1 and its battle royale sauce? You can try it out without having to drop any money during the game’s first-ever free week. This event starts on Thursday, December 14th, and runs through the 21st.
Also, if you like what you play, you can pick up the title during this period for 75% off. It’s almost like they planned this.
The spirit of the season is alive and kicking in this game about the end of the world and brutal last-person-standing brawls. Players who finish 30th place or higher during a holiday event match will win one of four parts of a new holiday ensemble that definitely will continue to be fashionable late into the spring.
The delays are in the past: Aberration truly launches for ARK Survival Evolved today on both PC and console, marking the game’s second expansion pack and the first since ARK officially launched. Merry Christmas, here’s your “irradiated hellscape” to play in!
“Waking up on ‘Aberration’ – a derelict, malfunctioning ARK featuring an elaborate underground biome system filled with new challenges unlike those found on prior ARK maps. Extreme radioactive sunlight, earthquakes, and environmental hazards, ziplines, wingsuits, climbing gear, fantastical creatures like the Rock Drake and Basilisk, and more await survivors throughout these vast caverns. Beware the ‘Nameless’: unrelenting, Element-infused humanoids, which have evolved into vicious light-hating creatures, and the Reapers, massive alien monstrosities which can impregnate foes to spawn their offspring!”
As we’ve previously previewed, the expansion includes new genetically mutated creatures to tame and slay, 50 new craftable items (who doesn’t need her very own custom hazmat suit?), and new environmental hazards, like earthquakes, gas leaks, and radiation exposure (ah, a use for that suit!).
So how detailed do the dude-parts and lady-parts in your online games that are ostensibly about murdering each other really need to be?
Apparently not that detailed. Over the weekend, a handful of gamers pointed out that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ new lighting mode as being tested on the PTS has revealed that the female player character’s underwear and concomitant naughty bits are, uh, significantly more revealing and gratuitous (not to mention uncomfortable) than they appear on the live servers.
PlayerUnknown himself has tweeted that prior to the lighting changes, nobody realized the model looked that way, that it was an outsourced graphic going on two years old, and that consequently the model will be duly altered so it’s not, you know, creepy.
That didn’t stop a whole bunch of dudes from crying about how the game is “made by men for men” and how anyone offended by the unnecessary inclusion of wedgies and cameltoe in a survival shooter should get off the internet. So you know, just another day on gaming Twitter.
Conan Exiles needed some good news this month, and it’s getting just that.
“Funcom today announced that Conan Exiles, the studio’s open-world survival game set in the savage lands of Conan the Barbarian, will shed its Early Access skin and launch in both digital and retail stores on May 8th, 2018. Currently available in PC Early Access and Xbox One Game Preview, May 8th next year will also see the premiere of Conan Exiles on the PlayStation 4.”
Funcom does note that the PS4 won’t get any sort of early access period, though preorders will begin soon, complete with a limited collector’s edition, and yes, it has a Conan statuette, as well as the map, artbook, soundtracks, comic book, and digital goodies.
This week’s rumor that Tencent may be porting Daybreak’s H1Z1 eastward has proven true, as the Chinese megacorp and Daybreak announced late last night that “H1Z1 is officially coming to China.”
“This partnership will give Tencent the exclusive rights to publish H1Z1 in China. We will be working side by side with Tencent to ensure H1Z1 remains true to its spirit. Our top priority is to deliver a high-quality, competitive game that’s fun to watch and play, and we will work with Tencent to make improvements to the overall optimization of the game and to build fast networks and servers for players. We will continue to invest in powerful anti-cheat technologies to maintain a fair and fun gameplay experience.”
Daybreak says it’s working through Tencent to have the streaming ban on the game lifted in the region too. “Working closely with Tencent, we want to create the most accessible experience possible that is respectful of cultural preferences and values,” it says, echoing the same song and dance many western games companies must perform to pass legal muster in the regime.
Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.
Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.
The easiest way to ensure that no one is really fighting over who gets to be at the top of the battle royale genre of games is to make sure you own all of them. Tencent has already picked up the most popular game in the genre for distribution in China, but now it’s teasing that it may also be bringing H1Z1 to Chinese shores, allowing players there to enjoy the shooting action of a game that at one point was supposedly about zombies.
Nothing has yet been officially announced, but there is a teaser website, and there’s a social media page on Weibo (one of the most popular social networking pages in China) managed by Tencent. It’s a sound strategy to ensure that players who jump from one game of the type to another still remain loyal to the same company, but we’ll have to see when and if the official announcement comes around.
This week’s Conan Exiles newsletter covers some of the changes coming to the PC version (a plant-harvesting sickle!) and hints that the team might be cutting some of the planned features to get the title launch-ready.
“We’re reviewing the various features to look at what we’ll be able to implement, what needs to be scaled down and what, unfortunately, might need to be cut before full launch,” Funcom said. “We’ll be able to do a lot in four months, but we won’t be able to do everything.”
If you were thinking of picking up Conan Exiles on Xbox One or PlayStation 4, do it very, very soon. As we reported earlier this week, the price of the early access survival sandbox will increase on consoles from $35 to $50 to bring it in line with the pre-order pricing. However, the studio is also throwing a sale before that price increase arrives, selling Conan Exiles for $17.50 from December 8th through the 10th.
The PC version will remain at $30, as it will see “a very small retail presence and at a different price tag at launch.”
Can we make an agreement right now, you and I? That if the world ends because of a zombie uprising, maybe we can work together for mutual survival instead of succumbing to a battle royale mentality on day two of the apocalypse? There’s no reason to do the zombies’ job for them.
The undead are on the move in yet another survival sandbox, but at least Survive the Nights is more focused on teamwork and fort building than stabbing friends in the back over a can of peas: “Survive the Nights is a unique FPS survival game focusing on teamwork, fortification, creativity and strategy. Secure a structure or roam free, the choice is yours. Survive the Nights focuses on realistic survival, post zombie infestation.”
The multiplayer sandbox ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, raising eight times its original goal. Currently, the game’s 64 square kilometers of playable area is gearing up for early access on Steam, which the team considers a soft-launch of the current alpha build. Steam keys for backers should be going out today, but you can keep your eye on the Steam page for a way to get into it if you’re not one of the game’s funders.
Funcom has just announced to Conan Exiles players anxiously awaiting the game on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 that they’ll be paying more than they originally thought: $49.99, up from $34.99.
“The version we release at launch will have even more content and gameplay in it than what you see today, and will have a landmass more than twice as big as what we started out with on PC Early Access launch. In fact, we’re adding an entirely new biome, a completely remade combat system, and new gameplay mechanics,” says the studio. “Because we are now doing pre-orders in retail, we have to increase the price already as soon as pre-orders start. It’s not something we want to do, we would of course prefer to have kept the Game Preview pricing the same until launch, but there is a very good reason why we have to bite the bullet.”
One neat thing about survival sandboxes is that they seem to embrace a wider variety of rulesets than we typically see in most MMORPGs. Such is the case for Dark and Light, which opened up a new type of server this week that’s aimed at budding architects.
Master Builder servers encourage players to construct to their hearts’ content, featuring no decay, no scheduled wipes, expanded building protection, and faster gathering, taming, and leveling. These servers will also be where players can test out the latest and greatest construction items and enjoy Steam Workshop integration.
“We’re going to be keeping a close eye on these servers to prevent the use of structure-related exploits and harassment, and regularly removing structures that negatively affect the health of these servers,” the team posted. “Master Builder servers are designed to promote the beauty of architecture!