A job listing for a Blizzard dungeon artist
has the gaming community buzzing today, as this particular listing is for a “new and unannounced” Diablo
title. This confirmation of a Diablo
project undoubtedly comes as a relief to fans who might have feared that Blizzard had abandoned the franchise entirely.
“The minions of Hell are growing stronger,” the studio posted. “We’re working on a new, unannounced Diablo project. Are you a skilled dungeon artist? Come work with us, and together we will build something exceptional.”
Meanwhile, Diablo III is ramping up for Season 14, which will be the first season to revolve around a theme. In this case, it’ll be the theme of “greed,” so expect a lot more treasure goblins hopping around.
Missing Marvel Heroes and Super Hero Squad Online? Today’s newly announced Marvel game isn’t going to bring those back, but it might rekindle the romance, especially if you’re an online card game fan. Yes, Marvel has apparently teamed up with Nexon for a mobile TCG they’re calling Marvel Battle Lines. It’s boasting both a solo campaign and multiplayer PvP.
“Nexon, a worldwide leader in online and mobile games, in collaboration with Marvel Entertainment has announced MARVEL Battle Lines, a new strategic card battle game featuring hundreds of iconic Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains. In MARVEL Battle Lines, players collect and build the ultimate deck of Super Heroes and Super Villains to take into battle across an expansive single-player campaign with an original story written by Marvel writer Alex Irvine and a real-time turn-based competitive player vs. player (PvP) mode. […] Collecting cards from each battle in the single player or PvP modes, players can build diverse decks of powerful Super Heroes and Super Villains, mastering their strategies to take on greater challenges and compete with the best in PvP.”
The game is slated to release free-to-play later this year on iOS and Android.
Fortnite had another record month of revenue in April, according to SuperData’s latest global revenue report. “Epic’s Battle Royale shooter made $296 million in April across Console, PC and Mobile, up from $223 million in March,” says the firm.
But the more interesting story is SuperData’s assertion that “Grand Theft Auto V is finally showing its age.”
“GTA V Online revenue declined 9% year-over-year, ending an impressive streak of 12 consecutive months with year-over-year growth. GTA V Online has declined sequentially every month since the start of the year, likely in part due to the continued rise of Fortnite as well as a dearth of significant content updates from Rockstar.”
Hey, remember back in 2014 when Smilegate first announced MMOARPG Lost Ark? It’s been a long time. As I’ve written before, I was positively smitten with the gorgeous next-gen Diablo clone (and its NCsoft counterpart, Lineage Eternal) way back then. But it’s been pretty much nothing but delays and testing and restarts and more delays and testing in the ensuing four years (for both titles).
However, MMO Culture reports that the promised “final closed beta” for Lost Ark is beginning this week in South Korea, having formally revealed new trailers for three of the classes. And one’s a Bard! A new dungeon and TCG minigame are also on deck, while treasure hunting and sailing were added last year.
It’s still not a sure thing that Lost Ark will ever come here. While the Chinese version will launch next year under Tencent, Smilegate doesn’t have the cachet here that it does overseas; it runs Crossfire in the west but recently abandoned SkySaga mid-development.
Who’s ready for some news about Blizzard? Because boy, there’s a lot of it! Want some new World of Warcraft lore about Jaina? There’s a new comic out to explain why she is the way she is (this expansion, anyhow, because how the writers want her to act changes with the weather). Those of you who would like a more magic-happy version of Jaina, though, should just hop on over to Hearthstone… after checking out the newest balance changes incoming to the game.
Meanwhile, Heroes of the Storm has a new patch out which brings with it a brand-new event, Nexomania! (It’s a luchadore reference, for those unclear.) And Overwatch is going further in the toy field than we even considered, with upcoming LEGO sets featuring minifigures of several well-known characters. So you can play with them all the time!
Oh, and Diablo III is about ready to end its thirteenth season. Yes, that’s the Diablo life these days.
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 Hellion, Reign of Guilds, Skyforge, Old School RuneScape, War of Rights, Lineage M, Heroes and Generals, Aurcus Online, ARK Park, Dark and Light, Wild Terra, Citadel: Forged With Fire, and Hearthstone, all waiting for you after the break!
In a game like Hearthstone
, the job of balancing cards will never, ever be done. So if you like titles with stability and permanence, don’t play digital card games is what we’re saying. With this in mind, Blizzard revealed the next round of “balance changes”
that will be coming in a future patch.
The studio calls it balance, but the reality is that all of these changes are either nerfs to a card’s ability or an increase in the cost of the cards to better match the effect that it causes. Cards like Naga Sea Witch, Spiteful Summoner, Possessed Lackey, and Call to Arms are all going to cost more (a lot more in the case of the Witch), while Dark Pact is going to restore less health and The Caverns Below will create weaker minions.
Adjust your builds and meta outlook accordingly.
Tabletop games and MMORPGs seem like they would go well together, but remarkably they often don’t. That’s true for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is that we have a lot more games adapting different source material separately. You can certainly run a Star Wars: The Old Republic-themed game with a Star Wars tabletop system, but neither one is based on the other. (Technically there was a supplement published for it, but that was covering the first two single-player games, which themselves were based on that tabletop system.)
But there have still been incursions from MMOs into the tabletop space, and MMOs which pluck that fertile ground for the seeds of inspiration. So let’s spend today looking at these games, when you can log off of your favorite MMO, gather around a table with your friends, and keep playing your favorite MMO. More or less.
No, your eyes do not deceive you: Noblegarden is coming back
a month after its run in World of Warcraft
. This time around, Hearthstone
is giving bunny snuggles to its players with plenty of eggcelent rewards.
Merely by logging on between May 9th and 13th, players will receive both a Golden Eggnapper and a Golden Devilsaur Egg as a gift. Beyond that, there’s a themed tavern brawl for those clinging on to spring as long as they can.
“In this egg-citing tavern brawl you’ll gather with other Hearthstone players to celebrate the season by dyeing eggs,” Blizzard explained. “One egg will spawn for you each turn, and you’ll get to use a deck of colorful dyes and special Noblegarden cards (plus 10 random class cards) to decorate it. Each dye applies a different buff, and at the start of your next turn your eggs will hatch into something cute. Or a bunny, if you didn’t use any dye (which is still pretty adorable).”
Reporting on Activision-Blizzard’s endless piles of money is about as much fun as reporting on how fifty-bajillion-zillion people are playing fork knife. No, I said that wrong; it’s about as much fun as taking a fork and a knife to my own eyeballs. But hey, it’s tradition, so here goes: Bobby Kotick and the gang have announced new records, measured in said piles of money; the company acknowledges it was a quarter “without large content releases” that nevertheless produced enough piles of money to surpass its own guidance, leading it to raise its outlook for more piles of money for the year.
“For the quarter ended March 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were a Q1 record $1.97 billion, as compared with $1.73 billion for the first quarter of 2017. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were an all-time quarterly record $1.46 billion. GAAP operating margin was 30%. GAAP earnings per share were an all-time quarterly record $0.65, as compared with $0.56 for the first quarter of 2017. […] Activision Blizzard’s operating margin was 39% and earnings per diluted share were an all-time quarterly record $0.78, as compared with $0.72 for the first quarter of 2017. […] Operating cash flow was a Q1 record $529 million, up 29% year-over-year.”
“Fortnite is now the largest free-to-play console game of all time, in revenue generated and monthly active users,” SuperData has declared in its monthly revenue report for the gaming industry for March 2018. The game sits at the tippy-top of the console listing and has now breezed past both PUBG and World of Warcraft to sit at #5 on PC.
“Fortnite had quite a March. The game has overtaken the previous ‘king of battle royale,’ PUBG, in terms of revenue generated and monthly active users across all platforms. It also hit the #1 spot by revenue on iOS in the United States in its launch month, and has the highest conversion rate of any free-to-play PC game in March. […] There’s no other way to say it: the game is a phenomenon. Fortnite generated $223 million across all platforms (console, PC, Mobile) in March, up a whopping 73% from February.”
Hearthstone’s re-entry to the PC side has bumped Far Cry 5 out of the top 10 (though Far Cry 5 on console is at #2). Destiny 2 is now nowhere to be found, Monster Hunter World has sunk to #10 on the console side, and Sea of Thieves debuted at #7 for console revenue. Don’t get too excited about Sea of Thieves, though; the analytics firm says almost half of the game’s two million or so monthly active users were playing the free trial.
Without a doubt, one of the most vivacious and well-loved personalities at Blizzard Entertainment has been Ben Brode. The Hearthstone
game director injected a lot of his fun-loving personality into all of the videos and appearances that he did, which is why it’s going to crush many to hear that he has decided to leave the studio
after 15 years.
“I have made the incredibly difficult decision to embark on a new journey,” he announced on the forums. “Man, that was a hard sentence to type.”
Brode had spent a decade working on Hearthstone, and in his farewell letter, he states his pride in both the game and the team. “I have loved the silly memes, engaging in spirited debates, or even just being held accountable to our shared high standards for the game. We try to be highly available on social media, and I think our team helped push the envelope in this regard,” he said.
So what’s next for Brode? He’s helping to start a new company that will “probably make games.”
When a new expansion arrives in Hearthstone
, there will be balance issues. That’s almost inevitable; you know it’s going to happen, it’s part of the nature of the beast. What seems a little bit unusual is the fact that this particular card is causing balance issues simply due to animation locks
. The legendary Shaman card Shudderwock is causing problems due to the nature of its special abilities, which replays every single Battlecry effect on your side of the board through the whole game.
This is obviously powerful, but this can also wind up cycling through an extensive and long animation cycle that ultimately leaves your opponent unable to actually play, which is clearly not an intended function of the card. The functionality will be revisited next week, so hopefully players will not long have to suffer a strategy of winning via animation locks. There’s a charming meta nature to it, but it still feels cheap.