As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, MMOs and other MMO-adjacent games and studios continue to react, bringing their staffs home and offering bonuses to players. To wit:
- Revelation Online has granted players a free bundle with 30 days of premium service, boosts, and 1400 bonus aurum.
- Trove is increasing drop rates for things like companion eggs, mount talismans, and dragon fragments through April 7th.
- Champions Online is running double experience for the next few weeks.
- You’re also looking at a Star Trek Online double expies weekend.
- Neverwinter is running double drops on some currencies.
- There’s a huge cantina crawl in SWG Legends this weekend.
- The staff of Corepunk, shown in the header above, switched to working-from-home.
- So did Gameforge over in Europe.
- And DC Universe Online has brought back open episodes.
“We know DCUO can be a way to escape or distract from hard times, and we know playing can be a great way to stay connected with friends from the comfort and safety of our own homes,” the DCUO team at Daybreak writes. “For the team, there is an elevated sense of meaning and passion about what we do right now. If we can make anyone’s next few weeks easier, that’s important to us on an entirely different level. That’s why we remain (safely) hard at work on our upcoming episode (Birds of Prey), so you can enjoy it as soon as possible, and that’s why we’re rolling out bonus WEEKS for the foreseeable future.”
If you spy more events not covered here or in our past roundups (down below), feel free to drop them in the comments for everyone to benefit from.
A few other notable news bits:
- Destiny 2 company Bungie, which is based in Seattle and had to react to the virus’ spread earlier than many studios in the US, released a letter aimed at encouraging players, employees, and other businesses to adopt best practices for staying safe and sane.
- The New Zealand Game Festival has been postponed until April 2021; the event’s game awards will still take place as an online venture.
- GameStop has come under fire for insisting on keeping its stores open during the pandemic (though canceling midnight launches and other events), while providing employees insufficient cleaning supplies to protect themselves and their stores and customers. “We just got off a conference call about an hour ago saying that we will be staying open our normal business hours no matter what the states are mandating,” a store manager reportedly told Polygon. Other employees expressed dismay over the continuing emphasis on sales of things like trade-in devices over safety. Yikes.
And in more light-hearted news:
- The Hollywood Reporter has a piece on Verizon’s data records suggesting that “U.S. video game usage during peak hours has gone up 75 percent since the quarantine first went into effect last week.”
- Actual soccer/football stars are playing each other in FIFA as part of a coordinated tournament.
- Crows Developers Conference is a quirky new game that simulates the experience of going to GDC, minus the getting sick part.
- Players in hard-hit Italy have apparently figured out a workaround for tackling the Cobalion raid in Pokemon Go while under strict quarantine.
- Patreon is running events aimed at keeping small creators going. (MOP uses Patreon too!)
Some MMOs have gone on sale too, including The Crew 2, Xsyon, Boundless, and Red Dead Redemption 2. EA is currently selling The Sims 4 for five bucks on Origin, which might help keep your kids happy for a bit.
Please be safe out there, everyone, wherever you are. This is no joke.
More on the impact of the virus on gaming: