Earlier this week, we wrote about the launch of a new book that’s right up MMORPG fans’ alley. Dubbed Braving Britannia: Tales of Life, Love, and Adventure in Ultima Online, the book gathers together 35 interviews with players and both former and current Ultima Online devs to effectively become the first published oral history of the MMORPG that started it all.
Author Wes Locher was kind enough to answer a bunch of our questions about the book and provide us an excerpt to help you folks understand what you’re getting into if you decide to pick it up. Read on for the whole scoop!
Many fans, including me, are talking about still riding high after Warframe’s
amazing TennoCon 2018 announcements this past weekend. That was some pretty epic stuff (I have to admit I wonder how on earth they will manage to top themselves next year!). I was excited to share the news about Fortuna and Railjack
with you as fast as I could; the only downside of that was it was too brief to add in many of the deeper details. I couldn’t include the insights and commentary that Game Director Steve Sinclair
and Live Operations and Community Producer Rebecca Ford offered when I chatted with them. If only there were a way to impart that extra goodness to you and add in my own impressions. Oh wait!
While there’s certainly more to learn about the upcoming expansion/updates, here’s a bit more information about the underground all that cool stuff we can’t wait to experience for ourselves.
Are you looking for a new way to survive? It’s coming. We’ve watched as Rend wandered down its closed alpha path since May, but now the unique survival game is inviting everyone to join in the journey as it makes the turn to beta. Starting on July 31st, Rend launches on Steam early access. Those who want to try the three-faction, pet-taming, base-building, win condition experience can grab the buy-to-play title for $29.99 and dive right in.
What will that one-time purchase get you? I sat down with Frostkeep Studios CEO and co-founder Jeremy Wood to talk a bit about the experience players will have jumping into early access.
Yesterday, Crowfall studio ArtCraft announced it was spinning off a brand-new company dubbed ArtCraft Technologies that would basically turn Crowfall’s engine into a marketable product for other studios, “providing game developers with turnkey technology solutions for creating large-scale Massively Multiplayer Online games.” We had opportunity to chat with ArtCraft Creative Director J Todd Coleman about the move and what it means for the studio and genre. Read on!
Massively OP: So to start, we’re curious about the “why” behind the new studio. Is ArtCraft thinking of this venture as an extra revenue stream for the company? Or is it trying to encourage more MMORPGs – or maybe both?
J. Todd Coleman: This wasn’t originally part of our plan. In the last 12 months, we’ve had a few different studios contact us to see if we would consider licensing our technology. The more we looked into it, the more it made sense. The additional revenue stream is great, obviously, but that has to be balanced against the potential distraction. We wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t see it as a great strategic move for the company, and a chance to leverage what we’ve built into something much bigger.
There’s a question that floats around our Massively OP office discussions occasionally, especially when updating which game is labeled what: Will Warframe
ever launch? Or did it? We’ve even been known to hunt back through the years to make sure we didn’t miss a clandestine launch somewhere, and we always come up empty. Then we theorize why the game is still technically labeled beta and wonder if the swap to the label “launched” will ever happen in the future. Thanks to TennoCon 2018
and Live Operations and Community Producer Rebecca Ford, we now have the answer to the question, “When will Warframe
Wait, Warframe has never launched?! That might come as a shock to a few. Some folks, especially newer players, may not realize that Warframe is not technically a launched game — at least as far as nomenclature is concerned. After all, the game has all the earmarks of being launched (regular expansion updates, cash shop, etc.). So for all intents and purposes, it is launched, it is just happens to missing that moniker. So does that even matter?
What does a great game look like to you? More and more it looks like Warframe
to me. Looks and
sounds like I should say. Have you seen
from this year’s TennoCon? I found them pretty amazing. And part of that amazingness comes from the look and the sound of it all; the gameplay content wouldn’t have half the impact without the integral contributions of the art and sound departments.
At TennoCon Live 2018 I got to learn a bit more about these aspects of Warframe. Of course, no panel would be complete without a reveal or two, and we were treated to a few fun ones, from the two new ‘Frames and skins to the introduction of pet skins to the discovery of Creative Director Steve Sinclair’s hidden voice role in game.
Do you love surprises? Digital Extremes is banking on your liking this one: Warframe
is coming to Switch. In a fake-out move tonight at TennoCon 2018, one dev hopped off stage while playing a handheld game, but it became apparent what was going on only when he started showing the front row his screen. When those players exploded in cheers, the main camera zoomed in to show the rest of us the real-time Warframe
gameplay happening. And then the whole crowd joined in the celebration!
While there is no date on a launch, partner Panic Button – which also created DOOM, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, and Rocket League – is already deep into development. You can check out gameplay in the reveal trailer below.
Shroud of the Avatar has long been an odd bird in the MMORPG crowdfunding space. Driven by the eccentric Richard Garriott, it raised large sums of money and managed to be one of the first nostalgia-driven MMOs to make it from Kickstarter to launch – several times, we’ll note. And yet today, Eurogamer went so far as to call the game an apparent flop, citing its low Steam numbers and the layoffs we covered a few weeks ago.
Garriott has rejected the idea that the game is “on the ropes.” To Eurogamer, he reiterated Portalarium’s party line that the majority of players play off Steam and that the playerbase is “in the many thousands but not in the many tens of thousands of monthly active users at the moment.” He also rebuts the claim that half the team was let go, stating that the company went from more than 20 to a “little under” that now, not counting contractors.
So what the heck is going on over there? Garriott says Portalarium has struggled with marketing, spending on publicity that didn’t materialize; the company is “trialing new marketing internally” to try to tap into the “millions” of Ultima fans who still don’t know his new game exists.
Neowiz’s Bless has been the subject of much chatter lately (not least of all my own), with its troubled, let’s say, launch raising a bevy of questions and concerns among the game’s community. And as it just so happens, we recently had the opportunity to ask the Bless dev team at Neowiz some questions of our own.
In the exchange, conducted via email (and helpfully translated between Korean and English by the Bless PR team), the devs answer questions on a variety of topics, including the game’s performance and balance issues, chat limitations, and what players can expect from upcoming content updates. If you’re curious to know what they had to say, then read on for the full interview.
With the Midsummer Fire Festival roaring through July 5th and artifact weapons on their way out of the game, World of Warcraft is heating up this summer. Additionally, the nearly 16GB Battle for Azeroth pre-patch is now available to download in the launcher background.
In the second part of a Forbes interview, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas has a few suggestions for what players should be doing to get ready for the expansion. His suggestions include grabbing your class mounts, running Chromie’s time hopper events, securing artifact appearances, running the Mage Tower, capping your crafting skills, and getting your Keystone Master achievement for mythic+ dungeons.
And to keep your anticipation stoked for Battle for Azeroth, check out MadSeasonShow’s excellently produced history of World of Warcraft video that takes players through the history of the game from 1999 to today.
After the launch of Worlds Adrift but prior to E3, we sent off an interview to Bossa Studios and recently received our answers, complete with current news about how the studio is trying to address griefing, adding countermeasures, and yes, “gitting good.” Maybe the phrasing there could be better, especially given the brutality of the Steam launch, but Bossa Studios Co-Founder Henrique Olifiers and Game Designer Luke Williams were kind enough to talk to us about why they pursue the seemingly less profitable PvP crowd, building PvPvE experiences, and the road to release.
Let me be upfront with my biases for those unfamiliar with my coverage: I love open world PvP as a concept, not as a ganker but as the guy trying not to get ganked. I love the concept of virtual worlds, but as Bill Roper and I discussed, players aren’t developers and don’t always understand the tech that gives them the games they love.
World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas sat down with Forbes this week for a two-part interview about some of the big changes with this summer’s Battle for Azeroth expansion, such cross-realm mythic raiding and its new community tools.
Hazzikostas said that despite the common belief, Blizzard isn’t trying to compete against Discord with these tools: “I think they complement each other […] It’s more about lowering barriers and adding convenience. The one thing Discord can’t do is let you right click invite someone to your party from it. That sort of thing.”
Not all is happy in WoW land, however. There are some rumblings that useful WoW mods won’t be operational with the upcoming patch. “Just read that UI changes heavily impaired the automatic group finder add-ons,” said player Doug Hill on Twitter. “I am terribly confused. Most players used it. Clearly this is a sign of how players WANT to play moving forward. Are there plans to do something to replace this for non-elite quests?”
Game Informer is enjoying a heapload of exclusives on BioWare’s upcoming Anthem, including an interview with the game’s leads. The studio said that the world players encounter is “unfinished,” with artifacts and mysteries left behind by mysterious entities that used to reside on the planet.
“People are living in a world where things are turning on and causing not only destruction but actual creation,” said Executive Producer Mark Darrah. “This is a world that was in the middle of being created.”
BioWare talked about the creation of this brand-new IP, a lengthy process that has taken six years already. “Anthem is unlike anything that BioWare has ever done,” said Producer Mike Gamble. “What we really wanted to do with Anthem was to explore different kinds of gameplay.”