virtual reality

Massively Overthinking: Why is no one meeting the obvious player demand for big MMORPGs?

Massively OP reader ichi_san has a burning question about the state of the industry.

“Lots of people seem to be looking for an MMO they can get into – consider the rush into Bless as an example. Lots of games are being released, but most (or even all) have some glaring issues, like pay-to-win, lockboxes, ganking, poor optimization, heavy cash shop, horrible gameplay, and so on. There’s the WoW model and other semi-successful formulas, and a lot of unexplored territory. The market seems hungry, and there is a bunch of history to build on and new territory to explore, but either gaming companies don’t understand their customers or greed/laziness/expediency get in the way, such that we see release after release that fails to scratch the itch. Am I missing something – are there fun MMOs with good graphics and fair monetization that I’m missing? Or is there a gaping hole in the MMO scene, and if so, why isn’t someone filling it?”

I’ve posed his question to the writers for their consideration in Overthinking this week. We’re long past bubble-bursting here when all of the still-major MMORPGs are four years older. What exactly are we looking at? Why is the obvious demand for MMOs not being met?

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The MOP Up: Diablo levels up in Heroes of the Storm (May 13, 2018)

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 Heroes of the StormElder Scrolls Online, DayZEVE Online, Pokemon Go, Dota 2City of HeroesFinal Fantasy XIVPortal KnightsLineage 2 RevolutionWizard101Ingress, and Reign of Guilds, all waiting for you after the break!

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VR-based ARK Park has patched in free locomotion and better tutorials

How’s virtual reality dino land ARK Park doing since its early access launch one month ago? Magic 8 Ball says reply hazy. Steam’s aggregated review score is currently “mixed,” with even even positive reviews admitting the game lacks content and scope, which lines up neatly with our own impressions of the game.

Snail (apparently rightly) believes one of the game’s major problems is the movement system, and it’s just addressed that with what it’s calling a “major update,” which is already being received well by the community.

“One of the biggest issues is locomotion. You wanted free movement so here it is! Our dev team has been working hard on the movement system and now you have the option to choose between teleportation and free locomotion.”

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EVE Evolved: Get ready for EVE Fanfest 2018!

There’s just a week and a half to go before EVE Fanfest 2018, the biggest event in the EVE Online social calendar. The event kicks off on April 12th and will celebrate EVE‘s upcoming 15th anniversary, a major milestone for any online game. This year we’re anticipating juicy details on the next step in EVE Online‘s ambitious long-term development roadmap, an update on the impending EVE mobile game, and possibly a major announcement about CCP’s upcoming MMOFPS codenamed Project Nova.

MassivelyOP will be on the ground once again this year to get the latest insight into the future of the sandbox. Stay tuned to our coverage of the event using the EVE Fanfest 2018 tag, where I’ll be posting major announcement news, detailed discussions on new gameplay revealed, interviews from the event, and in-depth opinion pieces. Fanfest will also be a great opportunity to assess the mood and impact of last year’s pull-out from VR game development, and to take the pulse of the community of a variety of topics. If you have any specific questions you’d like me to pose to developers or players while I’m there, please let me know in the comments.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down our expectations for EVE Fanfest 2018 and give some tips on getting the most out of the event for players attending or just watching from home.

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GDC 2018: Ready Player One Now, billion person gaming, and mitigating abuse

It’s no surprise that Ready Player One was constantly being referenced at GDC 2018, especially in VR, AR, and MMO panels. It’s not just because of the movie’s release but because the tech involved is seeing a surge of interest. That doesn’t mean we’re on the cusp, in my opinion, but it may be a thing we should start talking about.

And talking about it we did. As Bill Roper of Improbable and SpatialOS recently told me, “The next generation of online games isn’t going to behave like current-generation MMOs. […] We don’t know what a billion-person game might look like, but it’s likely to include a wide variety of playstyles, to reflect the diversity of its playerbase.” Even if you’re a cynic and don’t think SpatialOS will play any part of this future, Roper’s very much on the mark: Billion-person gaming isn’t going to be like our current MMOs.

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GDC 2018: ARK Park’s Snail Games on VR, science, and the future of the franchise

As you may recall, I was given just a little time to hit up Snail Games’ ARK Park a few days before I left for GDC 2018. I was able to make it to the games’ launch party, but as I’d already played the game, it was mostly useful for talking to people involved in its creation between speeches/demos. However, afterwards, I was allowed to pass some questions on to Snail Games Vice President Tianqi “Sky” Wu about bugs, science, and the future of ARK. We have some exclusive information about that last tip, but don’t worry, no chief engineers, computer programmers, or lawyers were harmed in the making of this game. Well, not physically, at least.

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First impressions of the newly launched ARK Park

By the time you read this dear reader, I’ll already be dead… dead tired, that is, from running around the Game Developer’s Conference talking to developers from such companies as Snail Games about upcoming games like ARK Park. Ahead of my meeting about the game, I was granted a review copy so I could get some time in with the real thing before my interview and end of the media embargo. As my Oculus Rift set-up isn’t exactly travel-friendly, and I can be prone to motion sickness, I only had enough time to jump into the game for a few scant hours. It was an interesting experience, since the game wasn’t simultaneously available to the public, and that meant I was probably missing out on the critical social factor for my impressions. Nevertheless, I think they’re worth hashing out. Let’s dig in.

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NCsoft has hired 1000 employees in the past few years, considers VR and ARG titles

Everybody saw NCsoft’s financials last month, I’m sure – Guild Wars 2 bouncing back thanks to Path of Fire, Lineage M driving revenue, and Blade & Soul outperforming almost everything, pretty good news all around.

What we didn’t cover was the associated conference call and Q&A, which has only recently been fully transcribed in English and has a few nuggets worth highlighting

  • CFO Jae-Soo Yoon told listeners the company is working on 13 new titles, of which the largest are Blade & Soul II, Aion Tempest, and Lineage II Mobile, all mobile titles, and Project TL for PC.
  • To make those happen, the company’s hired “around 1000” new employees over the last two years. One analyst was skeptical about those numbers, suggesting that NCsoft is overspending on labor compared to an unnamed smaller company launching far more games; Yoon counters with some polite shade by suggesting NCsoft is going to for quality over quantity.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Why SWTOR fans should be excited about Fogbank

This week, I’m going to depart a little from the usual insights into the world around Star Wars: The Old Republic and talk about another studio that isn’t owned by LucasFilm and certainly isn’t owned by Electronic Arts. I’d like to talk about Fogbank Entertainment.

Some people believe that a studio makes a game what is it. Others believe that it’s the IP that the studio carries that makes the video game unique. I think that IP and the studio name carry weight. I certainly would not play SWTOR as much as I do if it carried an IP like Valérian and Laureline. But one of the primary reasons that I believe that SWTOR performed as well as it did (or didn’t, depending on your opinion) was the quality of the people behind it. For me, some of the most integral people to making a good game are the writers. And many of the SWTOR writers have moved on from BioWare and have effectively started their own studio: Fogbank.

If you recognize names like Daniel Erickson, Alexander Freed, Drew Karpyshyn, and Hall Hood, then you will definitely want to see what they are up to at Fogbank Entertainment. If you don’t know who they are, then give me a moment to explain why they are superstars of the gaming and MMO industry.

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SuperData says VR has ‘nowhere to go but up,’ while HTC VR division sees layoffs and Facebook apologizes for VR shooter demo

SuperData continues to express confidence in the future of virtual reality – however you want to label it. Last week, the analytics firm updated its paid paper on its expectations for the industry, saying it has “nowhere to go but up.”

“Driven by augmented reality and mixed reality and successful titles, the XR market will reach a combined $7.6B in 2018 across hardware and software,” the firm argues. Revenue from VR software in 2017 was just over half a billion dollars – 55% of which was from games, with Bethesda’s Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchisea earning the most. And that other 45%? “Developers are focusing most on fields like design, retail, and manufacturing despite an overwhelming demand for education and healthcare solutions,” says the firm, pointing out that the big VR money isn’t in making people smarter or healthier.

Readers will recall that SuperData called VR the “biggest loser” of the holiday gaming sales at the end of 2016; that was followed by a NYT piece calling for “a reality check for virtual reality” just a year ago. Nevertheless, as of April 2017, SuperData was predicting a “steep rise” in VR adoption and $40B in revenue by 2020. The current report, however, suggests a combined consumer revenue for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality of just under $40B by 2021.

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OrbusVR changes its delivery model from content patches to sprints

It hasn’t been all that long since OrbusVR first headed into the wilds of early access, and that means that the developers are still finding a cadence that’s working for the game as a whole and its players. And one thing was clear after the first major content patch: That cadence was not working, according to the most recent development dispatch. The game is still in a state of rapid change and big shifts, which is why the game’s previous large content patches have been reorganized into smaller “sprints” of development.

The first smaller update will be coming in on March 5th and will add in some basic level 16-20 quests until Act 3 gets released, improve the game’s tutorial, and improving performance. Subsequent sprints will roll out every one or two weeks, fleshing out systems and endgame alike and ensuring that something of note is changing on a regular basis. All of the same overall content is still being developed, but it’s coming out in faster bursts instead of one big patch.

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ARK Park launches on March 22

There are no doubt people who play ARK: Survival Evolved primarily because it provides a robust environment to play a survival game. There are also no doubt players who play the game chiefly because it means getting to ride and interact with dinosaurs. Members of the latter group will get another option in that category on March 22nd, when ARK Park releases for all virtual reality players who want to interact with some dinosaurs.

Of course, the game was originally planned to launch back in December of last year, with fans becoming painfully aware that the game was not going to hit its launch date before the delay was actually announced. But it’s going to be here in just a bit over a month, so eager players can hope that the delay was worth it. The launched game will be available in both a standard and deluxe edition, with the latter including additional outfits and an exclusive dinosaur mount.

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The MOP Up: Aion makes a date with the Divine Fortress (January 28, 2018)

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 League of LegendsPath of ExileWarframeBlack DesertFortniteArmored WarfarePerfect World InternationalAionMonster Hunter WorldPUBGFinal Fantasy XIVOverwatchMechWarrior OnlineTree of Life, and Crossout, all waiting for you after the break!

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