Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!
World of Warcraft dominated the week with the launch of Battle for Azeroth; we’ve been delivering impressions from both our regular columnist and a casual player to boot for two perspectives on the rollout and experience so far. Two more years and we can probably do it all again!
Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.
One of the biggest losses to the MMORPG genre last year was sci-fi sandbox MMORPG Perpetuum Online. The Avatar Creations devs threw in the towel last fall, saying they could no longer afford to develop for the title given a lack of publisher and dwindling playerbase. While the company initially intended to keep the servers online, the expense was too great, and the database was moved to a semi-official private server in a last-ditch move at the turn of the year instead. The game was, for all intents and purposes, on its deathbed.
But there’s some good news and warm fuzzies this summer, as a tipster pointed us to a lone post on the game’s Steam page from a few weeks back: The community’s been given the go-ahead to continue the game and in fact launched a brand-new server a few months ago.
“The Open Perpetuum Project, a community run server and development initiative, has stepped up to host and develop features for their server for all players to enjoy,” Avatar writes in its heart-warming message.
It’s been a weird week in MMO crowdfunding. The Codename Reality Kickstarter isn’t looking good; devs have raised under 2% of their original half a million dollar goal. Project Oasis World is over this week too, well under its goal. EverFeud‘s Kickstarter has already been canceled, as that studio says it’ll hunt for other options. As for Endless Trials, that Kickstarter has also ended abruptly; team Fire Hurts says it’ll try a fresh campaign with a video at some point in the future.
AdventureQuest 3D, however, has already seen outrageous success with its Kickstarter for… plushies. For real. As I type this, the game is four times over its goal. Plushies are happening.
Meanwhile, Pathfinder still isn’t dead, Elite Dangerous’ next big thing will launch at the end of August, SOTA is hard at work on player-created dungeons, Dual Universe updated its roadmap, Camelot Unchained is working on its 64-bit client, Ashes of Creation showed off its alpha combat, and a judge is permitting most of the Crytek Star Citizen lawsuit to continue.
Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
US courts have once again aligned with game companies in a lawsuit against cheaters and purveyors of cheat programs.
This time, it’s Take-Two Interactive doing the winning. The Grand Theft Auto developer had sued Georgia man David Zipperer for essentially creating and distributing for profit a GTAV/GTAO hack, Menyoo, designed for griefing and cheating purposes. While the court dismissed Take-Two’s claim that Zipperer had engaged in “unfair competition” to the tune of half a million dollars in corporate losses, it did grant the company’s petition for an injunction against the hacker, who is now legally barred from selling his hacks.
Similar suits have been won by both Blizzard and Epic; Epic has been on a tear suing cheatmakers and promoters one by one, while Blizzard famously took bot-maker Bossland to court, ultimately running the cheaters out of business.
Rockstar and Take-Two specifically have begun taking a tougher stance on mods that veer into cheating territory. Gamers will recall that last year, the companies sent cease-and-desist letters to legitimate modders whose tools supposedly enabled less legitimate mods to exist, causing much dismay across the community.
Crowfall has a bunch of smallish pieces of news this week that we don’t want to miss.
First, ArtCraft announced that it’s picked up a new VP of Marketing with experience on gobs of major titles, including the MMO genre’s seminal games. It’s maybe not that exciting a revelation to gamers, but it does signal that Crowfall is shifting gears into a new phase of development.
The team also released a new bestiary entry, this one on the aurochs – that’s the bullish-looking critter with sprays of blue hair and a skullface, seen in lots of of screenies from the game.
Then ArtCraft’s Dave Greco did a stream walking through his concept art for Illara the Traveler, Mother of Cats.
The 12 million dudes and dudettes playing H1Z1 on PlayStation 4 this summer need to know two things this week. For one, the latest patch doesn’t add much – primarily performance optimizations to textures, animations, and UI drawing, as well as bug fixes (like the one where you parachute wouldn’t open during your drop – ouch). PS4 players can take advantage of the hoopla by logging in this month and playing a match to unlock a free skin that looks like something weird my little kid made in art class. But hey, it’s free.
As for the PC community, things are either super awesome or grumpy, depending on your view. As we’ve previously noted, Monolith’s Jace Hall is taking over at Daybreak as the game’s new PC lead. His Twitter feed is currently pumping up the transition with “nothing iz impozzible” videos.
“UPDATE – THE GOOD: @DaybreakGames meeting was amazing in all the right ways,” he tweeted Wednesday. “The magic IS happening. THE BAD: May not be completely free 2 disclose any epic info during this week as planned…Still doable, but it may be a few days beyond that B4 my chains come off.”
Has it really been seven years since martial arts MMO Age of Wushu first descended on an MMORPG genre that had almost forgotten what a real sandbox looked like? Indeed it has. As MMO Culture noted today, Snail Games is currently celebrating the game’s seventh birthday since launching China with an update introducing the game’s final martial arts school and a brand-new story trailer to boot.
We agree with Cinderboy that it’s unlikely the update will ever make its way westward; the subreddit is all but dead and the western version of the game has seen little more than bonus events for many months since the North American and European games merged back under Snail’s control. Die-hard fans of the game just biding time for more news on the upcoming sequel Age of Wushu 2.
Still, happy birthday to what Massively-that-was once justly called “the greatest sandbox you’ll never play.”
Did you know that Warframe
has minigames buried inside its code? That is indeed a thing, and in fact a new hidden minigame has been added to the world of Warframe
with this week’s update as Frame Fighter
joins existing games Wyrmius and Happy Zephyr.
“Challenge your friends to a side by side duel — Frame Fighter has arrived!” Digital Extremes says. “Inspired by long-time Warframe Fan LocoCrazy_, this no-frills arcade minigame will transform your Orbiter into a battleground! No quarters required! Visit Simaris and acquire the Ludoplex — a new home for all of Warframe’s minigames — through Standing. Choose from Excalibur, Volt and Mag, each with their unique Ability. Unlock additional Frame Fighter characters by discovering Fragments throughout the game. If the scanned Warframe’s Prime is in your Inventory, you can toggle to the Prime version of the acquired character.”
The patch also adds some new amp bits and… rocks and plants. No really, there are new flora pieces available as decorations for clan bases. Nifty! Not coincidentally, we’ll be streaming Warframe tonight; join us on OPTV at 9 p.m. EDT to see the some of the new content up close!
In this week’s Around the Verse, Star Citizen’s Sandi Gardiner and Chris Roberts have a stack of gorgeous environmental pan shots for your to feast your eyes on – that’s because the design team has been working hard on the atmospheric moons. The devs are also focused on scramble races, the UI, props, and a pair of ships.
Meanwhile, if you’re curious about the development process behind the game, check out a new piece from Wccftech; the site’s got an interview with CIG’s Eric Kieron Davis. It’s pretty granular, but the writer hits on a few topics of note to the watchers of the game. For example, at one point they talk about the “technical debt” of a project, the legacy code that can trip up a project, but Davis says Star Citizen’s isn’t really that bad. Davis also addresses employee churn, suggesting it doesn’t affect the studio as much now that it’s grown so much larger.
Longtime MOP reader Agemyth recently brought to our attention a couple of bits of commentary that disturb at least my own fundamental sense of fairness. In one recent Waypoint piece, an ex-mod for a trading card MMO discusses how he witnessed staff allowing a toxic player to keep on being toxic because he was a whale, spending tons of money in-game. And in a Giant Bomb chat earlier this summer, a former MMO CS rep admitted to fast-tracking requests from big spenders. “When the email comes in, the first thing we see is how much money they’ve spent on the game,” he says. (Based on later comments from the same person referring to a $100 lockbox released in the middle of the Battlefront mess, the second company appears to be Trion. Incidentally, he also says the most money he ever saw stamped on someone’s account was $130,000. Let that sink in.)
Anyway. “It doesn’t surprise me that these practices exist, but actually hearing some details about it can still bring a grimace to my face,” Agemyth says. Mine too. Does this also gross you out? Should you be able to get away with being a toxic jerk as long as you keep the dollars flowing? Should how much you spend determine whether a company answers your help requests in a timely manner? If you look at it from the perspective of the company, does it change your answer?
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some tantalizing rumors and teases that both Riot Games and Blizzard are building something new: Riot’s dangled some questions about maybe making an MMORPG – might it be a League of Legends MMO? – and Blizzard’s outright said it’s returning to the Diablo franchise for multiple projects (one of which is the Switch port announced this morning). Can we hope for an MMO from one of the big studios again – and should we?
That’s what we’re pondering in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Do you think either of these companies is actually working on a new MMORPG using an old IP, what might it look like if so, what are they working on if not, and what do you actually want to see happen? Read more
The FIX PUBG campaign, or the start of it, is materializing today, as the latest update to hit the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds test servers tackles some of Bluehole’s to-do list, adding a new weapon, scooter, camera settings, reporting system tweaks, changes for custom matches, and bugxies. Cutest scooters ever. As for the Tukshai,
“The Tukshai is an upcoming Sanhok exclusive three-wheeled vehicle which we’d originally planned to release in the month after Sanhok came to live servers. Due to higher priority development tasks and the extra fine tuning required to make driving experience of the three-wheeled Tukshai feel just right, it will now be released in September.”
Meanwhile, the game’s mobile edition reached a new milestone this week: It’s been downloaded over 100 million times with 14 million daily players, and it’s only been running for four months. More impressively, those figures don’t count China, Japan, or Korea. It’ll be interesting to see how the game continues to perform, with its biggest competitor, Fortnite, recently hitting Android itself.
What’s Behaviour Interactive been up to since taking Eternal Crusade free-to-play, pondering a battle royale mode, and being sued by Bethsoft? Getting its caps lock button stuck, for one, or so it appears from the title of its next big thing, DEATHGARDEN, which soft-launched into early access on Steam this week. It’s basically an asymmetric first-person multiplayer shooter/battle royale hybrid, with Absolver-like stylings and a Most Dangerous Game/Hunger Games flair.
“Set in the near future, DEATHGARDEN revolves around a spectacular real blood sport that became the most popular entertainment on the planet. Players choose to team up as one of the five agile Runners or to embody the Hunter, a heavily armed competitor whose mission is to kill the Runners, preventing them from escaping The Garden. Deathgarden pits individual cunning against strategy and teamwork–a lone but lethal Hunter against a team of dextrous Runners. Both sides must prove their skills and take control of the procedurally-generated Garden.”
The game is set to hit PS4 and Xbox One early next year; in the meantime, PC players can check it out for free on Steam through August 21st.