Time and again, we here at Massively OP have noted how RuneScape seems to be incredibly underestimated by the larger MMO community. For how popular it is, it never seems to get the respect and attention from the core MMORPG community that its online contemporaries do.
That is, until you head over to Twitch. According to the June viewing charts over on NewZoo, the fantasy MMORPG drew in an astounding 6.7 million hours of viewership over that month alone. This is enough to put it in 11th place, well ahead of titles like Destiny, Minecraft, Black Desert, and H1Z1: King of the Kill. It’s RuneScape’s world — we only watch it from afar.
The top 10 of the viewership chart is filled with the usual suspects, including much of Blizzard’s roster (World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm) and the dominant MOBAs of our time (League of Legends and Dota 2).
As the Battle Bards cruise into their second hundred episodes, it’s time to cover a very long-lived fantasy MMO from 2002, Ragnarok Online. The game has an… interesting soundtrack and a devoted following in some circles, but as the crew discovered on today’s show, the score is not without its criticisms. It’s time to kick summer vacation to the curb and trumpet another parade of MMO music!
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 101: Ragnarok Online (or download it) now:
People seemed to quite like my piece last week about how my wife and I wound up married in no small part due to World of Warcraft. Of course, I also alluded in the column to the fact that World of Warcraft was hardly our final destination, and we’re currently playing Final Fantasy XIV quite happily together. We’ve also gone into Final Fantasy XI, City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Fallen Earth, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic… a lot of different games, in other words. And I’m just counting the ones we’ve tried together.
I don’t think that there’s any one surefire way to always find the right game for a couple to enjoy, but I have had a fair amount of experience with it now, and it’s helped that we’ve both spent a lot of time working on finding what works and what doesn’t in this field. So here’s some (hopefully) helpful tips about finding a game that you and your romantic partner of choice can enjoy together.
This morning, we wrote about a new “massive online sandbox RPG,” Citadel: Forged With Fire, built by Slender devhouse Blue Isle Studios and expected to hit early access later this month. The studio clearly plans a press blitz in the lead up to that Steam release, beginning with a brand-new “feature highlight” on the game’s magic system.
“At launch, Citadel will offer you a diverse range of powerful spells, with many more to come in the future,” say the devs. “You can do some really cool stuff with our magic system: not just combat, but also beast taming, telekinesis, resource collection and much more.” For example:
“We decided a high level wizard would have too much dignity to be caught hunched over gathering sticks and stones, so we came up with the Extract spell. Using this power, mages can effortlessly suck materials out of giant rocks, trees and other objects to accumulate large quantities of building resources with ease. Build massive castles and fortresses without the crushing tedium of resource gathering.”
Console players could find themselves very busy this July if they’ve landed a spot in the Destiny 2 beta. Early access for the test kicks off next week for PlayStation 4 on the 18th and Xbox One on the 19th, while PC players will have to wait until August for their turn in the zone.
So how do you guarantee a spot? By pre-ordering, of course. PS4 and Xbone players who have done so should be getting a letter soon (if not already) from Bungie informing them that they can go ahead and pre-load the game on their systems to be ready to go from minute one of the test.
Imagine one day sitting down at your computer, firing up the Blizzard
launcher, and choosing to play World of Warcraft
or Diablo III
… offline. Yeah, it’ll probably never happen, but how weird would that be?
The Blizzard community is scratching its head this week off of some datamined commands in Hearthstone that allow the player to set his or her account to “appear offline” to friends. While this may indeed merely be a privacy toggle, it’s gotten some musing whether this indicates that Hearthstone — and any other Blizzard titles — might include an actual offline mode in the future.
While we ponder that, there is one thing we know for certain: You can use the Blizzard launcher today to link up with the Destiny 2 community prior to the game’s release this fall. By linking a Blizzard account with a Bungie one, Activision players can be eligible for giveaways and hook up with clans.
Well well, lookie what popped up on Steam: It’s a new “massive online sandbox RPG,” Citadel: Forged With Fire, and it came out of nowhere this week to announce an early access debut soon — really soon. Early access begins on July 26th and is expected to last 8-12 months, with a formal launch in 2018 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
“Citadel: Forged With Fire is a massive online sandbox RPG with elements of magic, spellcasting and inter-kingdom conflict. As a newly minted apprentice of the magic arts, you will set off to investigate the dangerous world of Ignus. Your goal: create a name for yourself and achieve notoriety and power among the land’s ruling Houses. You have complete freedom to pursue your own destiny; hatch plots of trickery and deceit to ascend the ranks among allies and enemies, become an infamous hunter of other players, build massive and unique castles, tame mighty beasts to do your bidding, and visit uncharted territories to unravel their rich and intriguing history. The path to ultimate power and influence is yours to choose.”
How big is Destiny 2 going to be? Really big, SuperData predicts.
The gaming analysis firm claims that “by analyzing historical data [of Destiny 1] and [SuperData’s own] proprietary analytics-based metric system,” it’s concluded Bungie will likely sell between 4 and 5 million digital copies within its first three months of sales. That’s console and PC included.
(We’re sure the company simply misspoke when originally writing that it “evaluated the performance of Destiny 1 on both console and PC,” and again when it amended the piece this morning to “evaluated the performance of Destiny 1 on PC” alone. Destiny 1, of course, was console-only.)
“The forecast also takes into account the expected early September launch date of the title, the impact of a Battlenet release on PC and macro-level digital download trends,” says SuperData.
It’s not going to blow your mind to find out that there’s going to be PvP in Destiny 2. Heck, it seems almost the norm for anything that is a shooter and has a console version. But even veterans of the original Destiny will find new things to appreciate with the PvP maps, and so you might as well catch up with a tour of the new Endless Vale map and the Control gameplay type.
There’s also a nice chunk of footage of the map being played with the Void Warlock and Sentinel Titan courtesy of IGN, so you’ll get to see the concepts behind the map and see them in action. All told, there’s a fair bit of footage, so while it may be safe for work you probably shouldn’t try to watch it all at once. Come back to it throughout the day.
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!
This week we have stories and videos from Pokemon Go, Splatoon 2, Blade and Soul, Dragon’s Dogma Online, Closers Online, Overwatch, Vindictus, Mu Online, Wurm Online, Astellia Online, Dofus Pets, Hellion, SMITE, StarCraft, Aion, Final Fantasy XI, and League of Legends, all waiting for you after the break!
I’ve mentioned a lot of times, in passing, how my wife and I connected in part through World of Warcraft. But I’ve never actually gone into any depth on the subject, and it didn’t actually happen because I wanted to be involved with her.
It happened because I needed a healer.
At the time, I had a collection of friends in the game who were all happy to play with me, but we also were all DPS. In the days before the dungeon finder, this meant that forming a party was more or less just something that was not going to happen. So I recruited my best friend at the time with the explicit statement that I wanted her to be our healer.
We’re now many years on from that, and pretty much 90% of the time she plays a tank. So from one perspective, that plan was an enormous failure.
The latest update for Final Fantasy XI has arrived, and it brings with it what players have no doubt come to expect from the game. There are new objectives in Ambuscade, some new quests, bug fixes, and the regular quality of life improvements. There are also some new Records of Eminence objectives as well, though, and those tie into something players might find very much on the nostalgic side as the game sets up its 15th anniversary Records of Eminence objectives.
Players who complete some nostalgic goals with these objectives will be able to obtain special gobbiedial keys to unlock unusual rewards and the Ancient Melody key item. It’s the sort of thing that can form a nice bit of nostalgia for long-time players while also providing appreciable rewards, so veterans of the game’s older versions will want to check out the objectives while also catching up on the latest version update content.
The one thing that I thought we could all count on forever was that the MMO life cycle was pretty easy to understand. A game is launched, then it runs for a certain amount of time, then it shuts down. That last part kind of sucks, but the point is that you know when it’s time to move on. The life cycle is clearly one of creation, then life, then death, like a potted ficus or a cheap desk chair you get at Target.
But then sometimes you have a cheap desk chair that breaks in a crucial way, but you manage to screw the right sort of braces together so you can keep using it for another year after it should have been thrown out. And sometimes an MMO is born, and then it lives, and then it… doesn’t live, but it’s not actually shut down or in maintenance. Or it isn’t clear what’s going on with it, due to what seems to be total abandonment. Or it updates more than games which are supposedly live.
That’s what this column is all about. MMOs in a weird sort of limbo, where some facts are clear, but the results or the overall trajectory make no sense. Sometimes it’s not even clear if the game has actually launched or not. It’s weird.