I was a bit disappointed to see that last week’s poll for Secret World Legends
went to the Illuminati. I played the Illuminati my first time through, you see, and while I quite like the Illuminati, it does rather give me a dearth of new experiences, yes? But then, the point was that this was all supposed to be new experiences, so I shrugged it off. We’re back to the organization that treats secret lore like corporate data points, spectacular.
That may sound a bit dismissive, but it’s not really meant to be. And hey, this will provide a useful point of comparison when contrasted against my original experiences. So I start up, click through the character creator, and find myself thinking that it used to be a fair bit more flexible. Maybe not leaps and bounds, but at least somewhat, right? There used to be more options for hair color and facial features, yes? Or am I deluding myself?
Then I log in, and it’s the same damn game as it used to be.
I think we’ve officially passed the zombie craze in online games, or at least it feels that way to me as new zombie games are starting to feel like retro throwbacks. So it is with new isometric “zombie MMO” Dead Maze, which just landed in CBT on Steam.
“Set in the Western United States, where humanity has been devastated by a plague of the undead, player cooperation takes center stage in Dead Maze, with thousands of players having to explore, scavenge, and work together to survive and rebuild society. With the start of the closed beta, players can discover the destroyed world of Dead Maze, build their new home and craft their own supplies, team up with their friends and battle the dozens of different types of zombies, using over 200 different items and weapons. More content will be added to the closed beta and all progress made will be carried over into the full game, when it is released in 2018.”
Intriguingly, this isn’t Just Another PvP Gankbox Where The Player Is The Content. “Player versus player combat is not featured,” says French studio Atelier 801. “Instead, the danger comes from the wide array of aggressive zombies that roam the world.”
The newest patch for Fortnite is adding a new type of trap that doesn’t really feel like much of a trap. The launch pad trap in Battle Royale mode is a trap in terms of mechanics, but in actual play what it does is let you throw yourself into the air and deploy your glider mid-match, allowing you to drop in on your opponents with an unexpected mid-air assault. Cackling madly and shouting that they can run but they can’t glide is unnecessary, but permitted.
No such aerial antics are being added to the game’s survival mode, however; there, you’re just getting a handy array of new shotguns to use against the zombie hordes. Is there any weapon more associated with smacking zombies? (Aside from perhaps the chainsaw or stultifying boredom.) Check out the full patch notes for all of the changes, including the usual array of quality-of-life improvements that come with any new patch.
Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.
Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.
With the millions of players flooding into Fortnite, the zombies don’t stand a chance. Heck, they’re probably an endangered species.
Less than a month after Epic Games announced that Fortnite had accumulated 10 million players since its early access launch, an additional 10 million decided to check out the action of this battle royale base builder.
“We just passed 20 million players across all of Fortnite since launch,” the team posted on Twitter. “Thanks to everyone who keeps making the community and the game awesome!”
And at least 18 million of those players have been hiding in bushes during the battle royale matches. Good news for the bush people, then, because Fortnite is about to make this desired hiding spot mobile in an upcoming patch. (“We said nerf the bush, not buff it!” one player whined.)
Zombies are particularly perfect this time of year, but Fortnite ups its Halloween game with a whole new zone, Hexsylvania. Massively OP’s MJ is looking forward to exploring this area and facing the Vampire Taker and the Pumpkin Head Husk, but first she has to finish her third storm shield defense. She’d better hurry, though, as this zone is only temporary! Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. for a journey into Fortnitemares.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, October 30th, 2017
Gotta stop teasing Daybreak for a month: Just Survive, the actual zombie sandbox half of the H1Z1 salmagundi, is getting love. The latest patch includes a number of base changes, map updates, raiding adjustements, damage balancing, and more fixes for Badwater Canyon.
“In September 2017, the decision was made to move forward with a second shift, but in a far more familiar direction,” Daybreak explained yesterday. “That shift was developed in parallel with the recent update including Resolution Ridge, and is making its way to the Test Server today. With this new update, we will spend several weeks iterating the large adjustments we’ve made to the core game before this new direction is published to Live. Given the gravity of the changes it is important to test this at scale and get this content in front of our players for feedback as quickly as possible.”
The studio is also emphasizing that “it’s best to consider each game as a separate entity moving forward.”
I remember years ago when then-Massively-columnist Rubi Bayer let loose with a blistering rant on the state of faux beta MMOs. She helmed Betawatch back then, see, and she was fed up with (mostly imported) MMOs claiming to be in beta when in fact they’d soft-launched. A lot of readers didn’t understand her fury at the time, but boy have things changed, right? Now, every game’s in on that very old trick, only they call it early access now, while some are still pushing the boundaries, charging $1000 for pre-alpha.
MOP reader Pepperzine proposed a topic for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s right on point. “I was thinking it would be interesting if we could discuss when people consider a game to be in alpha/beta versus a final launch as a topic,” he wrote to us.
“Back in the day, this was easy to determine. Selective testers were extended invites into beta who were experienced testers who had the computer hardware to handle the software. The primary purpose of being in the testing phase was exactly that, to test and bug report. When the game was made available to the public at a price, a game was considered launched. Now, players are granted access to pre-launch titles by ‘donating’ or purchasing access. For the most part, the primary purpose of participating in the pre-launch experience for these players is not testing or bug reporting but rather to experience and play the game. The division of purchasing a game and donating to test has become so blurred that it is no longer a valid way of determining if a title is at a state to where it is launch ready. These titles can stay in this pre-launch phase for as long as they deem necessary, easily deflecting criticisms by reiterating it is still in development. So when do you consider a game to be launched? Is it when the producers declare it is? Is it when there is no longer the possibility of wipes? Is it when cash shop monetization is implemented? Is it as soon as the company begins selling access?”
Where’s the line in 2017? Let’s dig in.
We may roll our eyes at H1Z1’s flip-flopping on names, gameplay splits, and apparent inability to actually launch, but there’s no doubt Daybreak is still putting money and effort into the game’s competitive community. This weekend’s H1Z1 Invitational, whose challenger qualifiers kick off at TwitchCon just as this piece goes live, will be followed by three more legs of the multi-part tourney all weekend. The kicker is the $500,000 prize pool, split over three tiers of play.
“The most watched event at TwitchCon since its debut in 2015 has returned bigger than ever with an overall prize pool of $500,000 and three action-packed tournaments. In anticipation of one of competitive gaming’s biggest showdowns, Daybreak has updated H1Z1’s look, simplifying both the in-game menus and the name. Moving forward, the game will be simply referred to as H1Z1.“
We’re including the trailer (which is actually not as lame as you’d think) and the embed if you wanna watch along at home!
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree navigate the dubious updates that dropped in several major MMOs (as well as a few other ones that seem to have gone off OK). It’s practically an all-patch, all-the-time show with the addition of a couple of interesting listener emails regarding accessibility and crafting!
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.
Listen to the show right now:
What if RuneScape was a survival game? It is now — or at least in a way. In honor of the holiday season the MMO has added a special new survival version for players to dive into, one filled with hordes of zombies. Halloween and survival game combined: How could Massively OP’s MJ say no? Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. as MJ tries to survive in Dimension of the Damned.
What: RuneScape: Dimension of the Damned
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017
Looks like at least some of the rumors last week have proven true, as Daybreak is indeed removing the “King of the Kill” branding from H1Z1, meaning the battle royale half of the zombie survival sandbox is now getting the unified game’s original name free and clear.
You’ll recall that in 2016, Daybreak split H1Z1 into two separate games, H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive; this past summer, the company dropped the “H1Z1” from Just Survive’s branding, cutting loose the survival sandbox half of the original split-apart game, and then it announced a pro league for H1Z1 just last week.
“Throughout development we’ve continued to define the vision for H1Z1, which is competitive at its core with fast-paced and action-packed combat,” Daybreak explains. “Over the past year, the game has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of both player base and development, so we thought it was time to evolve the game’s look to something that better represented the spirit of H1Z1 and the level of quality we aspire to. H1Z1 is also the name that our players connect with most, so it was just natural evolution for us to transition back. We’re also working to ensure that H1Z1 can be enjoyed by players around the world, and having the word ‘Kill’ in the name of the game can be limiting with some global audiences.”
Hang in there folks: The relentless onslaught of MMO Halloween events
still has another couple of weeks to go before we emerge with our treat bags full and a desire to never see another Jack-O-Lantern again.
For now, let it suffice to say that Champions Online has activated its annual Blood Moon event, flooding the game world with zombies who need a good walloping. While there’s no new activities this year, Champions does have a few cool rewards to chase, such as the bat mask, neck bolts, spooky aura, or a machete costume.
Need a refresher course on what Blood Moon entails? Take a trip back in time to watch a 2009 developer diary on the event after the break!