Crowds of players turned out to mark the final hours of RuneScape Classic yesterday, celebrating the impact that this initial version of the popular free-to-play MMORPG had on their lives.
RuneScape Classic — known back then as simply RuneScape — launched back in 2001. This version was overtaken in 2004 by the launch of a much improved RuneScape 2, but Jagex renamed the first version RuneScape Classic and kept its servers running.
Syfy posted a sentimental retrospective covering RuneScape Classic and its affect on both players and the MMO industry over the years that’s highly worth reading.
Jagex announced back in May that it would have to sunset this long-running MMO due to instability and bugs that couldn’t be easily fixed. To pile on the hurts, the studio also shut down Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, a CCG, yesterday as well. The death of Classic is by no means the end of the game franchise, as both Old School RuneScape and RuneScape are still operating.
So you’ve probably heard some news about the Monster Hunter World port. PC performance issues, keyboard and mouse issues, random crashing. I wish I could tell you differently, but I can’t. No joke, MHW is one of those games I really wanted to see do well on PC and wanted to tell you all to go out and buy. I still argue the series is MMO action raiding boiled down into a tight, fun, formula filled with the treasure hunting you like and less of the downtime and dice rolls you hate, without so much of the synchronized combat dancing we see in the genre, but I have some serious reservations about this port.
Granted, Capcom has already made improvements during the media testing phase I participated in. It seems like the bug that caused the game to hard crash has been fixed in single player experiences, but the game’s somehow carried over some console oddities, and as PC media doesn’t seem as hyped as the console media was (I never found people to group with because so few were playing), I can’t talk about multiplayer.
I can, however, make some comparisons to the PS4 version I reviewed earlier this year.
Quantic Foundry’s latest report from its gamer motivation study is well worth your time to read, but for this morning’s Daily Grind, I want to focus on one specific takeaway: the apparent gender divide over what constitutes hardcore gamer. As Nick Yee explains,
“For men, playing a game seriously means being able to beat other players at it. For women, playing a game seriously is more likely to mean having completed and done everything there is to do in a game, and to leave traces of your personal flair in the game while doing it. For Hardcore female gamers, playing a game seriously is more akin to patiently creating and curating a work of art. And it’s a powerfully evocative alternative to how we typically conceptualize what a ‘hardcore gamer’ is. [… ]This gender comparison between Hardcore and Casual gamers also highlights the difference in coverage of different motivations: Male Hardcore gamers are below average in Fantasy (being someone else, somewhere else) and Story (elaborate plot and interesting characters), whereas female Hardcore gamers are consistently above average across all gaming motivations.”
How do you personally define “hardcore” in the gaming context? Are you hardcore if you’re into blowing shit up with “guns and explosives” and “specializing into competitive gaming”? Or are you hardcore if you’re into “developing a broad interest in all aspects of gaming”?
Did you think that Fortnite’s announced decision to avoid the Google Play store was just about money? Just because, you know, that was one of the reasons explicitly cited? Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney is walking that back and arguing that it’s not about that and it’s not about clones. In his words, it’s a matter of keeping parity between all of the platforms, and since Google doesn’t offer any sort of marketing push like console titles, he doesn’t see why Epic should distribute the game through the Play store.
Sweeney stresses that there is cross-purchase functionality between the various platforms of Fortnite (which is broadly accurate) and that the company would avoid the iOS marketplace as well if it were possible. He also states that the company is aware of concerns over spending limits, which will supposedly be addressed via the game not locking in payment methods after individual purchases. No word about phone security or avoiding malicious software, though. It’s still going to be a controversial decision, but it doesn’t appear the company is walking it back any time soon.
One of the MMORPG genre’s longest-running titles is finally making the jump to Steam in the hopes of picking up a new generation of players.
Meridian 59 announced that it will be launching on Steam this August 28th for anyone who would like to play the game but, for whatever reason, cannot fathom of thinking of downloading a game outside of that platform. The owners note that players will need to make an account through the website before logging into the MMO.
“Meridian was released in 1996, when few people had heard of the internet,” the description states. “It became well-known for its exciting player-vs-player (PvP) combat system, often setting alliances of guilds against each other. It has been running almost continuously ever since. In 2010 it returned to its original creators, and now it’s open source and free to play. Come and see the game that started it all!”
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen did some just Star Citizen things as fans raised a pay-to-win stink over CIG’s lifting of the cap on pre-launch currency stockpiles, meaning hardcore backers can hoard now and have (another) major advantage come launch. The drama would’ve probably blown over in a day or two but kept blazing through the weekend, as first a CIG PR statement and then Chris Roberts himself bizarrely denied the pay-to-win aspects of the game. Oh yeah, and 3.3 was delayed to coincide with CitizenCon.
Want something new to back? We got two new MMORPG Kickstarters this week: One for a self-described “massively multiplayer online persistent entity game” called Codename Reality, which seeks $583,918 wants to “revolutionize the MMO genre,” while the other, at $105,000, is for a PvP MOBA/MMO hybrid called EverFeud. Both join our list today.
Good news on the Camelot Unchained front: Beta one did indeed launch as planned this week, and thought it won’t look considerably different to existing testers, it’s a major milestone for the Kickstarted RvR MMORPG. Meanwhile, Razer launched a super quiet Kickstarter for left-handed gaming mice, Zeal announced it’ll kick off a Kickstarter in September, Albion Online launched its Merlyn update, and the Diablo history book Kickstarter pulled through to successfully fund in the end (phew!).
Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
If you remember a lot of the early marketing for Albion Online, it focused quite heavily on how the game was going to feature cross-platform play for PC and mobile devices. The game has launched at this point, but the mobile versions are still in testing. A recent interview with CTO David Salz reveals that it’s hardly something the developers forgot; it’s simply that when the game was first planned, it seemed that mobile was the wave of the future. As the game acquired fans, it became clear that PC was the preferred platform for most of the would-be players, which caused a shift in design to emphasize desktops over mobile devices.
Salz also talks about the shifts in business models and the technical hurdles involved in building the game from the ground up, starting with a prototype that was built to see if the game could even be made fun or if the project was doomed from the start. Check out the full interview for a peek at the industry history as well as the technical roadblocks that hit the game over time.
Someone break out the “It’s Happening” image, because Camelot Unchained has entered its beta testing at long last! Yes, ti may have been delayed several times, but it’s still made that all-important leap to beta. Good work, Camelot Unchained! We’re all super proud of you.
In other beta news, there’s a bullet list. It’s coming right for us!
All of that sounds fun! This is fun. It’s a fun industry. Why not have some fun checking out our list down below, or letting us know if something is marked incorrectly down in the comments? That means we can fix that up, which is also fun.
With so many MOBA games out in the field, it’s pretty easy to overlook ones that happen to be on mobile. That would be a mistake in the case of Vainglory, because this game has kind of become the king of mobile MOBAs over the past couple of years. In fact, one industry analyst has estimated that the game has made over $50 million since its 2014 release.
That impressive sum is going to only get bigger in the future, especially now that Vainglory has announced that it will be porting the game to PC and Mac in the coming months. And before you ask, yes, it will feature cross-platform play.
The studio is inviting PC players to try the early alpha version right now as it prepares to expand the game’s reach: “Please note that we still have a lot of work to do–proper text input support, preference settings, UI improvements and custom key bindings, bug fixes, and control input tuning are all in progress. But we’re excited to get started. We want you to be part of this journey and would love your help in making Vainglory for Windows and Mac every bit as good as it is on mobile.”
There were rumors about this
, but now it’s a known reality. Fortnite will not be launching on the Google Play store when it arrives on Android devices
, instead requiring would-be players to download the game and install it directly. According to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, the reason is pretty simple: Google takes a 30% cut of anything launched through the app store, and the company would rather keeps all of the money through in-app purchases rather than just 70% of it.
He also mentions that Epic likes having a direct relationship with its consumers, but let’s be cynical here for a moment. It’s worth pointing out that Fortnite is already making quite a bit of money without operating through any existing digital storefront; it’s also worth pointing out that Android systems actually allow you to sideload apps, while iOS does not. There’s no word on just when the title will be releasing, but if you’ve been watching the official store page to find out the day… well, you can stop doing that now.
Why do people care so much about the story in World of Warcraft, to the point that they are rioting across social media and freaking out in the comments? That’s something WoW Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi has addressed in a rather timely new interview with him out on Aussie website Science Alert this week; he argues that story is what motivates players to do – and to justify – what they do in MMO worlds.
“If you look at story as a layer that we put atop the game, it’s a motivational factor in the things that you do and your actions in the world and it gives them consequence and weight,” he says. “It puts emotionality behind things. Why am I killing gnolls anyway? Just a bunch of furry dudes that are minding their own business. Without the story, that activity becomes meaningless – and in some ways potentially mean, right? Well, as soon as you find out that the gnolls keep raiding the orphanage and they’re eating children – which they’re not but let’s pretend they are. That suddenly gives you the urge to stop these gnolls at any cost! Story explains your actions as a player and gives you the ability to choose the things you want to do and the method you want to do them in. […] So it’s integral to the gameplay. Integral.”
Years ago, my crew looked forward to Steam sales, not for the insipid minigames but for the flash sales. They constituted a minigame all on their own, as we checked back on Steam over and over, hunting for the best deal.
Of course, as VG247 points out, plenty of people hated these sales, suffering from buyer’s remorse if the game they got for 50% off was 66% off the following day. Consequently, many people just waited until the last day of the sale to buy anything, and then sometimes missed out. Then when Valve made refunds much easier, it did away with these types of events altogether, presumably because it figured people would refund and rebuy to get a lower price.
But I’m a bargain-hunter, so I loved it, and I loved the camaraderie that swirled around sharing the deals too. Without those sales, I make my list of Steam sales on the first day for MOP, buy a couple of things, and never go back or even think about the sale again.
Even in a quarter that didn’t see a single major product or expansion release, Activision Blizzard made even more money than it did the year previous. The company’s Q2 2018 earnings report
showed that the mega-publisher brought in $1.64 billion during the period. This must be making some execs pretty happy, as this managed to pass the company’s target goals for the quarter quite handily.
Blizzard said that it hosted 37 million active monthly users across all of its games during the quarter. World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth has enjoyed “strong pre-orders” to date, and both Hearthstone and Overwatch also were highlighted as particular studio strengths. And this is neither here nor there, but we should point out that yesterday marked the 5,000th day of World of Warcraft’s live operation.
Looks like the money’s going to continue to stream in, with fall expansions and the big announcement that the company signed a deal with Tencent to release Call of Duty Mobile in China.