MOBAs are multiplayer online battle arenas, PvP-centric, non-persistent online games that share some but not all mechanics in common with traditional MMORPGs. We formerly categorized MOBAs as “Not So Massively” games. You may also be interested in our Multiplayer category for other multiplayer online games that aren’t fully massive. [Follow the MOBA category’s RSS feed]
Hi-Rez Studios is making bold moves today: It’s just announced that it’s splitting up the band, unbundling its games teams into separate but joined substudios. Titan Forge Games will run SMITE, Evil Mojo Games will operate Paladins, and Heroic Leap Games will steer Realm Royale, all under the First Party Studios banner. And they’ll all run alongside Skillshot Media (focused on e-sports) and Alacrity Arthouse (technical art services) and presumably anything else Hi-Rez ultimately brings into the fold.
Confused yet? The good news is that the people actually working on all the games aren’t actually changing.
“Our new Hi-Rez Publishing Group is designed as a service organization, whose sole mission is to enable each of our partner studios to reach their full potential and best serve their respective gamer communities,” Hi-Rez President Stewart Chisam says in today’s press release. “By structuring ourselves in this manner, we allow the organization to scale to multiple games more easily, while ensuring our existing game communities receive a better, more focused service than ever before.”
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 will be no stay of execution for the gorgeous MOBA Gigantic, as PWE has put up a countdown clock for the game’s final day.
“Discontinuing Gigantic was a very painful decision,” the studio reiterates. “Unfortunately its uniqueness did not resonate with as many players as we’d hoped. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to find an impactful solution to maintain the game and allow Gigantic to break through in a crowded market. One last Gigantic thank you to our amazing community for finding joy and entertainment in a game we worked so hard to make for you. The good memories will always live on!”
The sunset was originally announced back in January, though it didn’t come as a surprise even then, as PWE had already shuttered Motiga, the studio that built and ran it.
Gigantic isn’t the only game PWE is disappearing this summer; in fact, it shut down Swordsman and Jade Dynasty last month.
MOP’s Stream Team will be taking one last look at Gigantic tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. EDT – we’ll be there when the lights go dark at 11.
World of Warcraft’s expansion pre-patch kind of broke a lot of stuff that the devs are frantically rushing around trying to fix. One of the worst issues right now is a noticeably slower pace of leveling and combat, which has led to player dissatisfaction and efforts by Blizzard to figure out and correct the issue.
“We are seeing the same sort of discrepancies that folks in this thread and others have pointed out, but still have yet to pinpoint the exact aspect of scaling that we failed to account for,” the studio said. “The current state is not the game experience we intended, and it’s something we will fix.”
Whether or not leveling gets fixed, Battle for Azeroth is coming next month no matter what, and players will only have a few weeks to blast through content if they want to get ready for the expansion’s first raid. Uldir goes live on September 4th, with the mythic version going live a week later and various wings opening up on the raid finder over the course of September and October.
Remember when the Dutch gaming authorities effectively threatened to prosecute prosecute companies like Valve for vending and trading lockboxes the government agencies considered a clear violation of Dutch law? The result of that, as we wrote earlier this month, was that Valve turned off all trading for Dutch players, and then turned it back on again with the caveat that Dutch CSGO players can’t physically open any of the boxes.
Dota 2 is another story: It seems Dota 2 has caught up to GGG’s Path of Exile in effectively offering players in the restricted region transparent lockboxes. As RPS reports, Valve didn’t mention this in the game’s patch notes, but here’s how it appears to work:
“When Dutchlanders now look at Dota 2’s loot boxes, which contain cosmetic items, the wizard ’em up simply tells them which item they would receive if they bought it. No hoping, no dreaming, no fancy animations or pounding drums as it shows you the fabulous prizes you could have won, just: chuck us a couple euro and you’ll get this hat for this wizard – wannit?”
SuperData’s global revenue report for June 2018 is out, and it’s actually not particularly exciting for the summer months as not that much has turned over since May.
One the PC side, PUBG leaped back up the charts, pushing past Fortnite and Dota 2 to rest in the #3 slot after its tumble earlier this year. SuperData says that’s a direct result of June’s big Steam sale: “PUBG sold 4.7 million units on PC in June, up significantly from May and only second to its peak month in October 2017. Growth was underpinned by a reduced price point of $19.99 on Steam.” All of the other games in the list are still there, just jostled a bit, though League of Legends remains on top and World of Warcraft has taken up seemingly permanent residence at #7.
On console, Fortnite is still king, though keep an eye out for The Crew 2, which debuted at #4 in its launch month, having sold “700,000 digital units across Console and PC at launch,” owing heavily to digital sales.
“It’s time to give Gigantic one last hurrah!”
Even as the MOBA was given a death warrant earlier this year, you never got the sense that PWE disliked or was ashamed of the game at all. On the contrary, there seems to be some fondness for this MOBA-that-couldn’t, which is perhaps why the company is giving Gigantic a special sendoff.
Tomorrow, July 27th, the team will host a livestream to show off various content that never went live on the servers and give out Gigantic-themed swag to its community. Popular MOBA streamers will come to play a few last matches and give the game the farewell it deserves.
Gigantic had been in trouble since late 2017, when developer Motiga closed its doors. A couple of months after that, PWE announced that the game would be closing on July 31st, 2018, due to low numbers and revenue.
Remember back in April, when Korea-based PUBG Corp. accused China-based Netease of ripping off PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds with its battle royale titles Knives Out (which is making bank) and Rules of Survival, and subsequently lodged a lawsuit against it in the US courts? Then remember when Netease threatened to sue everybody who cloned it and PUBG dropped its other lawsuit against Epic Games?
Netease has responded to PUBG Corp.’s complaint against it with a motion to dismiss, predictably arguing that no company is entitled to ownership of an entire genre like battle royale and that the copyright act protects only original expression; specifically, it claims PUBC Corp. cannot legally copyright things like game lobbies and health bars.
is getting in on the 4th of July festivities by bringing some star-spangled skins (and a delightfully campy voice pack) to Paladins
players can show their patriotism with the Ameri-Khan skin for the champion Khan, who also receives a new voice pack wherein he proclaims, “Four score and seven years ago, I was born to kick ass and get babes.” We’re sure Abraham Lincoln would be proud.
Meanwhile, SMITE players can get a hold of two new Old Glory-inspired skins for the Greek goddess Nike and the Egyptian sun-god Ra. The skins, dubbed Star Spangled Nike and Ra’Merica, are available alongside past patriotic skins for Zeus, Bacchus, and others, as rewards from Independence Chests. These displays of nationalistic pride are all for a good cause, though; for every Independence Chest purchased, Hi-Rez will donate $1 to the American Red Cross to aid in disaster relief efforts all over the world.
Source: Press Release
The latest patch for Heroes of the Storm is up on the game’s test realm, and it contains a new set of hero reworks. Both Raynor and Azmodan are on the slate for reworking this time around; there are full videos for both just below if you’d like a overview of the philosophies at work. Raynor has gotten new wave-clearing tools and a completely reworked talent tree, while Azmodan has been vastly buffed in his role as a late-game siege machine.
Of course, there are other changes to functionality and UI improvements for the game, so you can check them out on the full patch notes. There are also plans for new skins for both characters, as well as new mounts, new portraits, and various other new stuff in the works; check it all out if you’re a fan of all the MOBA fun you can have with Blizzard characters.
In the comments of my last Daily Grind about Star Wars Galaxies, there erupted a lively debate about the game’s user interface in the particular. I was surprised to find that some folks are convinced the game’s interface was lacking, given that it’s basically the same minimap-plus-hotbars-plus-unit-frames-plus-chat interface that every other MMORPG since has cribbed, just a bit more Star Warsy, glowy and minimalistic.
Then again, if you hate the stock minimap-plus-hotbars-plus-unit-frames-plus-chat interface setup that most MMORPGs boast, then yeah, hating SWG’s too makes sense.
Which MMORPG has the best user interface? And how does it deviate from the (at this point) completely standard World of Warcraft template?
(Note: The screenshot above isn’t actually SWG’s; it’s Otherland’s. You should check out The Repopulation’s too.)
Perhaps in the future, we’ll all be looking back at the time when e-sports were an actual thing played by humans rather than simply a competition between teams of AI. As the Dota 2 world championships take place this year, spectators will have one team to cheer for that’s definitely not on drugs and has never been suspended for inappropriate behavior, because the team consists of AI players working in harmony. Elon Musk’s OpenAI team is heading to the championships, and it’s not just doing so as a novelty; the team has already won its way in against a team of semipro players.
Of course, it’s an open question whether or not the AI players can match up against the best players in the world, but thus far results are encouraging, and even a hard-fought loss would indicate that the AI in question is approaching the upper limit of what humans are capable of. So keep your eyes peeled, as we may be looking at a line of competition that’s ending remarkably quickly; then we’ll just need an AI to beat the best humans at basketball.
; thanks to Sally for the tip!
May 2018 was good to Fortnite, again, SuperData’s latest global revenue report shows, but its growth rate may be coming to a middle. “Fortnite hits a new high but growth is slowing down,” the research firm says in today’s report. “We estimate that Fortnite made $318 million across all platforms in May, up 7% from April. The majority of growth came from console, with mobile and PC both coming in flat compared to April.”
On the PC side, Dota 2 came out of nowhere to return to the list at #6, bumping World of Warcraft down a tick and Hearthstone off completely. League of Legends continues to rule the roost.
On the console side, Fortnite is still at the top; both Overwatch and Destiny 2 have returned to the top 10 as games like Far Cry 5 and Battlefield have fallen off.
And on mobile, Pokemon Go has resurged, as it always does in summer in the northern hemisphere, as it’s gathered up more players than ever. Fun side note: Remember Netease’s Knives Out, one of its two PUBG clones on mobile? It’s in 5th place globally on mobile, just behind POGO, so PUBG’s lawsuit isn’t so bonkers after all.