For years now, we have been pondering what “top secret” project might be in development over at Cryptic Studios. Well, the studio isn’t talking — yet — but there are indicators that suggest that Cryptic might be working or collaborating on an MMO set in the Magic: The Gathering universe.
PCGamesN connects a few sparse dots to point to such a project, noting that Cryptic ex-devs have gone over to work for Wizards of the Coast and that a new Cryptic job posting for an art director on the unnamed title mentions that the game will be “based on an extremely exciting, well-known fantasy IP.”
“We’re very excited about what we’re working on,” Cryptic has had posted on its top secret project page. “Our top secret work represents our continued commitment to diversify and reach beyond the boundaries of traditional MMORPG gaming.”
Wizards of the Coast is putting out the call for streamers, movers, and shakers to assemble in Seattle, WA on June 2nd and 3rd for what it’s calling the Stream of Annihilation. This event will be broadcast on Twitch and contain some important information about the future of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise — including that of Neverwinter.
During the livestream event, the company will be revealing plans for this fall’s storyline, which if past efforts are any indication, will impact virtual game worlds. For instance, both DDO and Neverwinter took part in 2015’s Temple of Elemental Evil campaign. Cryptic will be on hand during the event to share upcoming plans for Neverwinter, although that’s all the information we have so far. A schedule of events is forthcoming.
Speaking of Neverwinter, make sure to follow our own Eliot as he gives the game a serious go in his Choose My Adventure series!
Source: Press release
You may not play Magic: the Gathering Online, but if you play any sort of free-to-play online card game, you owe some of your history to it. Which is notable, because it’s always been the poor cousin to the classic paper card game, despite being the way to play the game online with others. Traditionally, it’s also gotten its releases of the sets a bit behind the actual hard copy releases, but for the game’s latest set, the digital and cardboard pre-releases happened simultaneously… and a card ban took two days instead of weeks.
How did this happen? Well, normally the delay between the physical release and the online release has been two weeks, but this time they were simultaneous. By having the set immediately available, there was immediate hard data about the prevalence of an infinite damage combo that was more or less everywhere right away. In two days, the designers were able to see, evaluate, and issue a ban to break up the combo, thus preventing it from dominating the game’s environment for more than a two-day stretch. Whether or not that’s a good thing depends on your love of infinite damage on turn four (it’s more lovable when you’re dealing the infinite damage, we should note), but it certainly provides an interesting look at how the online community shaped the environment of the game.
Everyone loves expansions, right? Neverwinter’s
latest expansion, Cloaked Ascendancy
, launched the last week of February
, giving players the opportunity to delve in and enjoy the new areas and stories for the last few weeks. That is, PC players have that opportunity; fans who prefer to partake via consoles have to wait extra time for each update and expansion to pass certification by the respective console makers before they can release. And waiting is never very fun.
Thankfully, this wait is just about over: Cloaked Ascendancy will land on the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 on Tuesday, April 11th. In less than a month, all Neverwinter players (of the appropriate level) will have the chance to experience all the new stuff that the expansion offers, from the the new zone to the new story line to the new skirmish.
If that still seems a bit too far away, we’ve got something to help tide you over: I sat down with Thomas Foss, Lead Designer, to talk more about the expansion. We discussed the inspiration behind it to his favorite parts of it. He might have even shared an Easter egg or two!
You will believe a man can fly — and you will believe that two gamers can make a podcast. As with great power comes great responsibility, Bree and Justin stand united and ask, “Why so serious about patches?” On today’s show, heroes aren’t born; they’re built from gear, stats, and bizarre character concepts. (It’s a superhero-themed episode, if you haven’t figured out by now.)
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
It’s been quite a month since Lord of the Rings Online
and Dungeons and Dragons Online
announced that they were breaking off from Turbine as part of a new studio
called Standing Stone Games
and being published by none other than Daybreak Game Company
. Players have had to deal with equal parts excitement and anxiety over this new course (with old developers). Does it bode for a brighter future, more of the same, or the beginning of the end for these beloved titles?
While Standing Stone has been communicative over the past month, we wanted to dig deeper into the decision to form the new studio, its relationship with Daybreak, and plans for both DDO and LOTRO going forward. To wit, we sat down with Standing Stone Executive Producer Rob “Severlin” Ciccolini, Lead Designer Ben “DrOctothorpe” Schneider, and Community Manager Jerry “Cordovan” Snook to discuss this major transition and its possible impact for these two MMO game worlds.
Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons might be getting an online upgrade in the near future. In a letter written this week to the Wizards of the Coast community, President Chris Cocks told fans that the company under his new leadership would be pursuing “exciting moves” to deliver better digital experiences to its players.
To help with this, the company has formed a digital games studio led by former LOTRO Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel and staffed with other MMO and games industry vets. The studio will handle Magic Online and other video game initiatives involving Wizards properties. Wizards is also building a publishing team to bring these games to “unexpected settings, genres, and platforms.”
Cocks teased some possible projects that the studio might be creating: “What would it be like to throw fireballs as a Planeswalker in an MMO or quest for treasure with your friends in a D&D augmented-reality game?”
MOP reader Kastaguro sent us an interesting question last month about MMORPGs, board games, and a possible playerbase shift.
“I was wondering if any of you play board games? I have noticed that all the people I know who used to play MMORPG have stopped playing them. We are all older and have been playing MMORPGs since the late ’90s, and they all give the same reason for quitting MMOs: They just don’t like the direction they are going and can’t stand the communities anymore. Instead, they have massive get-togethers with hardcore roleplaying board games, and I have to admit they are really fun. What do you guys think about this? Do you know anyone who quit MMOs for board games that can last for hours at a time?”
MOP’s Andrew proposed that we expand the question to include tabletop pen-and-paper games too, so that’s exactly what we’ll do as we tackle Kastaguro’s Massively Overthinking topic. Do you hardcore MMORPG writers and gamers also play board games or pen-and-paper games? What’s your favorite? Do you think there’s been a shift among online RPG players to more local or personal party games, and if so, is it because of changing lifestyles or something significantly wrong in the MMORPG market itself?
Announced back in June
, this summer’s big Neverwinter
expansion is called Storm King’s Thunder, and as of today we know exactly when it’s coming: August 16th. That’s on PC, anyway; Xbox One players and those who joined the game on PS4 this very week
will have to wait for the usual “later date.”
The expansion includes an endgame campaign and storyline that’s tied into the upcoming Wizards of the Coast pen-and-paper adventure of the same name.
“Similar to the Storm King’s Thunder adventure coming to Dungeons & Dragons later this year, Neverwinter’s new expansion sees giants invade Neverwinter. Adventurers will travel north to Bryn Shander – the heart of the Ten Towns – to investigate the sudden presence of Frost Giants in the region. In order to fight off these colossal invaders, players must team up with popular characters from Dungeons & Dragons lore, including Catti-brie, Wulfgar and Harshnag. In addition to the new Frost Giants story content, Storm King’s Thunder also introduces a brand new end-game campaign and new adventure zones for high-level players, including Bryn Shander, Cold Run and The Lonelywood. The expansion also marks the debut of a new dungeon tier with the addition of the new Tier 3 dungeon, Fangbreaker Island. With the release of Storm King’s Thunder, adventurers will also be able to score new high-level equipment to equip their characters with the latest gear.”
Players who have been eagerly anticipating the console launch of Sword Coast Legends will no longer be able to anticipate that launch. It’s happening today, you see. You can’t anticipate what is already happening. You can, however, take advantage of this fact to actually play Sword Coast Legends on your PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which should be a great advantage to anyone trying to run “dungeon adventures” on the console by just decorating it and dropping it in the middle of a miniatures layout.
Hey, everyone uses different props for tabletop.
The console release of the game comes with the Rage of Demons DLC included, but it does not include the DM Campaign Creation mode of the game. If that’s something you can live without but the rest of the game is an urgent part of your console gaming life, you can pick the game up for $19.99 on the PlayStation Store today. Check out some screenshots and a trailer just below.
Despite being a two-year-old game, The Elder Scrolls Online has made a good showing at E3, which really shouldn’t have surprised me — but it did. According to ZeniMax marketing, the game has surpassed even its own expectations. I don’t think that we can say that ESO is the most successful Elder Scrolls game ever; looking at the raw numbers, we can see that Oblivion outsold ESO, and after five years players are still making new and more complex mods for Skyrim, which has also outsold ESO. But regardless of what you think of the game, seven million copies sold does mark ESO as one of the most successful MMORPGs to date.
Along with the statistical report, ZeniMax also announced a slightly controversial change coming to ESO called One Tamriel. The idea is that players should have the freedom to travel the whole in-game world without arbitrary restrictions. With the success of level-syncing in the recent DLCs, ZeniMax felt it should continue this trend to the rest of the game. Although I agree with this decision, I can understand some of the concerns of the player who are resistant to this change. That’s exactly what I’d like to talk about today.
Let’s jump into the pros and cons of One Tamriel.
Sword Coast Legends is launching new free DLC for its players today. Called Rage of Demons, the update includes a new Drizzt-themed campaign, the new tiefling race, and the warlock class.
“Dungeon Masters can also look forward to fresh and exciting campaigns, as the world of Sword Coast Legends just got larger,” says Digital Extremes. “New dungeon and town areas, creatures, decorations, and tilesets from the all-new Rage of Demons campaign promise to bring custom adventures and campaigns to life like never before.”
The update will be comforting to anyone still worried about the fate of the game after one of its partner studios, n-Space, shuttered. At the time, Digital Extremes told Massively OP that it was still working on Sword Coast Legends but did not expound on whether it would be directly impacted.
We’ve updated below with the statement issued to us by Digital Extremes.
According to former n-Space artist Ben Leary, n-Space is closing down following a number of layoffs “over the past few months.”