What: Black Desert
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018
See EVE: Valkyrie
What: Black Desert
Curious about the play experience of Black Desert Mobile? The developers have put out a helpful FAQ about the game’s features, mechanical changes, and so forth, starting by assuring players that you’ll have the same range of customization options you’re accustomed to from the PC version of the title. The actual saved character appearance data cannot be transferred to mobile, but the options themselves will be the same. Assuming, of course, that you’re trying to make a Witch, Giant, Ranger, Warrior, or Valkyrie, as those are the five options mobile players will have to start.
The weight system will still be in place in the mobile version, although its implementation will be slightly different (even characters at maximum weight can still participate in battle, for instance), and the marketplace and item enhancement systems will also be making the leap. Players can also log into the game via phone-based accounts or even with temporary guest logins. For all of the answers you could want to know, how down below; there are a lot of answers, even if they might not all be the answers you would like.
Good news for anybody out there worried about the future of EVE Valkyrie: CCP’s Newcastle studio, the one that runs Valkyrie, has been acquired by UK-based Sumo Digital, which isn’t exactly known for VR. According to GIbiz, 34 CCP devs will make the jump to the new group. Sumo Digital has been collaborating with CCP already on Project Nova, the FPS following in DUST 514’s footsteps.
You’ll recall that at the tail end of October 2017, the EVE Online developer announced that it was pulling out of the virtual reality market, with intent to close down or sell off some of its properties while pulling Sparc in-house. Though Valkyrie received an update in the interim, its longer-term future had appeared uncertain until Sumo Digital announced the buyout.
It’s the players that make EVE Online special, of course, and this year had no shortage of crazy political shenanigans. We followed The Imperium’s war for revenge in the north of EVE that eventually fizzled out, watched as The Judge betrayed his alliance and stole the largest sum of ISK in the game’s history, and sat aghast as the leader of that alliance was banned for threatening to cut off the thief’s hands in real life. CCP Games itself hasn’t exactly made it through the year unscathed, with the company unexpectedly pulling out of the VR market and laying off around 100 staff worldwide.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look back at the past year of EVE Online news and summarise the highlights.
Happy holidays, EVE: Valkyrie fans! Enjoy a shiny box of… wait, why are you hyperventilating? This isn’t a shutdown notice. (Which, you know, was a logical thing to expect based on recent events. You might have good reason to be jumpy.) Stop. Take a deep breath. There’s an update. There is an actual patch. See, there’s even a video down below covering the features. The biggest addition is the new moon refinery map that’s letting you blow things up in the midst of a mining operation on a moon. Not Earth’s moon, just a moon.
Do you need to sit down for a little while? Here, we can cover this in text. Have some hot chocolate. The update also adds in a new spectator mode so you can watch other players shooting at stuff without being in the match. Yes, other players. You can even set up custom matches with those other players specifically, if you want. Are you doing better? Can you watch the video now? It’s just past the break.
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.
MMO biz roundup: The voice actor strike, e-sports crime, CCP VR, Crowfall, and new acquisitions for Tencent, EA, and Nexon
Let’s end the week talking about money. What could go wrong?
- The year-long video game voice actor strike is finally fully over, as more than 90% of the members of SAG-AFTRA voted to approve the agreement brokered with major video game publishers back in September. Hopefully we won’t be right back there again in three years when it expires, eh?
- Kotaku reports that multiple members of the Korean Esports Association were arrested on bribery, embezzlement, and money-laundering charges following a quarter-of-a-million-dollar payment by another company already on the wrong side of the law. KESPA is the organization set up by the government to chaperone e-sports throughout the country. At least one of the officials, a former congressman, has denied the allegations.
- EVE Valkyrie lead game designer Andrew Willans spoke at Develop:VR this week on the state of the VR industry and how to handle small playerbases, though as GIbiz points out, he “was unable to comment” on CCP’s dramatic pull-out of the industry earlier this month.
Around 100 staff were laid off in the restructuring, roughly 30 of whom worked in CCP’s headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland. Though we were informed at the time that these changes would not impact the development of EVE Online, it since became apparent that more than a few non-development staff were cut. In addition to the EVE PR staff and others that were stationed in Atlanta, all but two members of the EVE community team in Reykjavik have also been let go. There are reports that several GMs and the localisation manager for EVE have departed too, and the mood on twitter from staff in Reykjavik recently is best described as sombre and a little shaken.
In this extra edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into CCP Games’s history of taking risks with staff’s jobs, look at some of those affected by the layoffs, and ask whether there is more fallout to come.
If you missed it in between all the releases about the many e-sports teams vying for the top of the heap in Overwatch’s e-sports league, season seven of the actual game’s competitive mode began this week, for everyone – even if you’re not signed to a multi-million-dollar team. Huh. Welp, enjoy a whole season of probably losing your rating again!
Meanwhile, if you listened to Jeff Kaplan’s dev vlog last week, you already knew to expect another slew of Mercy nerfs, and they have indeed arrived on the PTR, along with a small nerf for Ana to boot.
“We feel that Mercy’s recent rework has been successful, but her Resurrect ability still feels too strong and frustrating to play against,” Blizzard writes in the patch notes. “Now that it has a cast time, there is more room for enemies to counter the ability. However, casting Resurrect happens instantly when Valkyrie is active. This should make her feel powerful when she transforms on the battlefield.”
Yesterday, MOP’s Brendan reported on the startling news that CCP Games, long known for its flagship MMORPG sandbox EVE Online and more recently known for its persistent probe into the virtual reality space, is closing down two of its studios, letting over 100 employees go, and essentially putting the kibosh on its plans in the VR market in the short term.
One of the substudios affected, the Newcastle studio now being sold off, was specifically focused on EVE Valkyrie, the VR dogfighter spun out of the EVE universe. But it doesn’t appear that game, which last month launched on Steam with apparently lukewarm reception from the PC crowd, is over. In fact, CCP is calling it “the beginning of a new chapter.”
“We can confidently confirm that EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone is not going away,” writes the company. “We love the game just as much as we love our players, so you can rest assured that we’ll continue to support the product into the future. The development team at the Newcastle studio will remain intact and complete work on the upcoming Winter Update for EVE: Valkyrie – Warzone. So don’t panic! You’ll still receive in-game support for custom matches, tournament tools and a spectator mode before the end of this year.”
Icelandic business website mbl.is has just reported that EVE Online developer CCP Games is planning to close two of its offices and cease all VR game development. The move affects over 100 staff worldwide, with the Atlanta office in the United States being closed and the Newcastle studio being sold off. The Newcastle office was the development house responsible for the VR dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie, which released as a bundled launch title for the Oculus Rift and has since been released on PlayStation VR and as a non-VR PC title.
The move will see CCP pull out of the VR market for the time being, focusing instead on PC and mobile development. The studio secured a $30 million US investment specifically for VR games back in 2015, and CEO Hilmar Pétursson revealed back in March of this year that the company had only recently broken even on that investment. Despite having some success with Valkyrie, Gunjack, and its recently released VR sports title Sparc, CCP acknowledged the limited opportunities and growth it sees in VR as a platform over the next several years.
We reached out to Drendan Brain for comment, but his phone always went to a busy tone and his emails keep getting returned to me. The cold may also have been brought to the event by 19 other attendees from the UK, the EVE: Valkyrie team from the UK, or literally anyone going through any airport, but that wouldn’t make a snazzy headline. However the outbreak started, hundreds of EVE Online players were potentially exposed and many are now crawling into bed with some chicken soup and a cup of hot lemon. Get well soon, space bros!
CCP Games’ annual EVE Vegas event kicks off in less than a week on October 6th, and once again MassivelyOP will be on the ground to get the latest on the future of EVE Online, EVE: Valkyrie, Sparc, and more. This year’s event is shaping up to be the biggest one yet, having sold out weeks in advance despite moving to a larger venue in The Linq Hotel and Casino. EVE Vegas is the largest community event for players in North America and serves almost as a mini-Fanfest for those who may not be able to make it to Iceland.
While the event is mostly a social gathering and an excuse to get drunk, it will also give CCP an opportunity to get critical feedback ahead of EVE Online‘s Lifeblood expansion on October 24th. We’ll hear more about the upcoming Resource Wars dynamic PvE gameplay, get an update on the development roadmap for EVE, and see a variety of player talks and presentations. We’ve also been told to expect some cool surprises this year, and we may get an opportunity to follow up on the recent record-breaking heist and betrayal that happened in-game.