Here’s the stuff we’d never heard of before we covered it for the first time here. You wanted bleeding edge… here it is! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
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.
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
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.
NCsoft’s second quarter financials for the year hit this morning, and it’s not exactly bad news. Sales are down slightly, but everything looks wimpy next to Lineage M’s record-breaking debut last year. That’s now “stabilized” according to the company, and it also means core Lineage players are flooding back into the original Lineage, which saw its best quarter – by a lot – in over a year.
As for the other live games under NCsoft’s banner that our readers likely care about? They’re all down: Aion, Blade Soul, and Guild Wars 2 across the board, though Guild Wars 2 is still up year-over-year.
Perhaps the most interesting bits coming out of NCsoft this round are still on the horizon. As MMO Culture pointed out, the live conference call dished on The Lineage aka Project TL aka what’s left of Lineage Eternal (it’s hitting beta later this year), admitted PC sales have slowed down, and noted it’ll tailor new games based on the Aion and Blade & Soul IPs to the “global market.”
And yes, multiple new “major” games are in the works for next year, one apparently being Lineage 2 Mobile.
Just one hour to go before you too can play World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth! Just kidding, the only thing you’re going to be playing tonight is Queue Wars. And it’s almost here!
Blizzard’s posted a handy chart for the global simultaneous release so you don’t miss it. Although seasoned MMORPG veterans will probably be playing something else tonight and letting the rush subside, right? Nobody took off work this week believing play will happen, right? Right guys? Guys?
While you wait: VG247 has an interview today with Blizzard’s Gary Platner and Terran Gregory loaded with fun quotes. Here’s one that’s gripping and somehow chilling at the same time:
“Afrasiabi designed this expansion like it would be the last – don’t hold back, go for the mega, seize the day on design. Everyone on this team is absolutely committed to seeing that this thing is as powerful and relevant as long as we can. […] We’ll ride this thing until we’re old and grey – if time permits, of course.”
It seems so long ago that we lived in the halcyon days of real-time strategy dominance in the PC market. Remember when Command and Conquer was all the hotness? And there was that weird WarCraft game?
At least the genre isn’t completely dead. In fact, there’s a new indie MMORTS on the market that seems promising. It’s called Kingdoms of Marazia, and it’s a somewhat simplistic-looking hex-based RTS in which players expand their holdings, protect their castles, and make alliances to stay alive as long as possible. Because resources in each game are limited, players will have to make the decision if and when to band together or move on others.
Kingdoms of Marazia is currently on sale for $14 at Steam through August 13th, so it’s not like it’s going to set you back more than the cost of a monthly sub.
I haven’t been making any secret of how much fun I’m having in the Star Wars Galaxies Legends emulator (and thanks so much to the readers who urged me to try it!). What I haven’t tried just yet is TCGEmu, which is trying to revive the Star Wars Trading Card Game that existed chiefly inside SWG itself.
Late-game SWG players will recall that the TCG was ahead of its time on so many fronts: It was actually one of the first fully online card games out there, but back then it had no chance of reaching the heights of mainstream adoption that we’re used to seeing now with games like Hearthstone, especially since few people outside of SWG knew it existed. It was gorgeous as heck, too, with stunning artwork that exists nowhere else.
Of course, the TCG also has the dubious honor of being one of the first openly and egregiously lockbox-esque pay-to-win systems in a major MMORPG, as players spent gobs of money angling for loot cards, which they could then use (or sell) inside Star Wars Galaxies itself. While I personally bought and traded my (free monthly) loot cards and loved some of the clothing and homes added to the game, I was also among those who argued that all of those items should have been added to the sandbox through crafters rather than through gamblers and junkies spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on what were basically lockboxes in the form of card packs.
Here’s a new one for us, and if you like it, you can throw money at it right now: It’s called Endless Trials, and it is gunning for some of the more tedious and repetitive tropes of MMORPGs. With graphics that look more like FML than WoW, Endless Trials – ET – bills itself as “an MMO without the boring parts,” which to the three-man Danish dev team means a focus on endgame instead of “tedious leveling and grinding.”
“We all love a good challenge, something fun, something that pushes us and affords us a sense of accomplishment. The leveling and grinding part of the game, however, that is where boredom can creep in. With that in mind, we have set out to create a new, semi-hardcore MMO that focuses on endgame content. We are calling it Endless Trials, and it is our attempt at making raiding great again! Each new character will follow a brief introduction quest, and when we say ‘brief’ we mean exactly that: it will take just an hour to finish. From there, you get some basic gear and get in on the real action, battling dungeons with your friends, completing daily quests for rep and rewards, farming for crafting materials, and hanging around the space station with other players. This is a game in which leveling plays a minimal role. The key here is excitement. We want Endless Trials to feel fresh every time you play, not like a job that you are doing half the time just to get to the real fun!”
Last year, Perfect World Entertainment shut down Runic Games. Even before that, fans had been told that any sort of Torchlight MMO would be a long time coming. And yet the previous event was not the end of the story, because it turns out that a Torchlight sequel is happening. More than that, Torchlight Frontiers is promising something far closer to an MMO than anyone might have dared to dream, offering a dynamically generated and shared persistent world for players to take on with friends and pets.
Pets in-game, that is. You do not need to teach your cat how to loot.
Max Schaefer, former head of Runic Games and co-founder of Blizzard North, is heading the team for Torchlight Frontiers, so there’s reason for fans to believe that the game will in fact feel very much like… well, Torchlight. Even more so than the mobile version, perhaps. So if it seemed like any sort of MMO version of the title was never actually going to happen, it looks as if, well… it’s happening. It’s going to be here soon. And yes, it’s a wonderful surprise.
Daybreak’s battle royale game H1Z1 has been through more ups and downs and ups again in the last few years than most games see in their lifetimes. The game once bizarrely marketed to former Star Wars Galaxies players has split in two, undergone multiple name changes, seen its survival half falter, made it to television with esports events, wallowed in early access, missed multiple launch windows, suffered layoffs, and lost most of its playerbase to PUBG, and also shed most of its zombie nature, all before seemingly finding rescue in its wildly successful PlayStation 4 beta this past spring.
“The official H1Z1
launch update on PlayStation®4 includes:
- Battle Pass Season 1: PS4 players can now unlock up to 30 rewards levels across 3 distinct lines (free, premium, and PS Plus). Battle Pass Season 1 premium line can be purchased for $5.49 / €5.49, while all PS Plus members will receive the PS Plus line included in membership. Level progression will carry over between lines.
- Two New Weapons: The explosive RPG can be found in gold tier airdrops, and specializes in taking out vehicles. The deadly SOCOM Sniper Rifle can be found in purple tier airdrops, and offers a new tactical option for long-range gunfights.
- New Vehicle: The ARV fits a full fives team and includes a hatch for a squad mate to fire out the top – making it the ultimate vehicle for squad-based gameplay.
- New Launch Bundles: Players can now customize their character to the max through the new Viper Starter bundle ($4.99 USD / €4.99) or Hardline Deluxe bundle, which includes Premium Battle Pass ($34.99 USD / €34.99). Both Launch bundles are now available at a special launch discount until September 4 on the PlayStation Store.”
Meanwhile, MOP reader and tipster Kinya has pointed us to some cryptic tweets from Monolith’s Jace Hall:
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.
Earlier this week, we covered CCP Games’ newly announced partnership with Chinese mega-publisher NetEase, which is taking over EVE Online in China
and taking “New Eden’s Serenity server to the next level for Chinese capsuleers” beginning in October. Today, CCP and NetEase gave a press conference in Shanghai
to clarify that it will be the beta test that begins in October (the game has been running its server there for a dozen years already). The last day for the previous operate will be September 30th.
“NetEase Games is working with CCP and the original operator to conduct the seamless migration of players’ data,” CCP says. “NetEase Games will be leveraging its ten years plus of operational experience to crack down on botters and real money traders (RMT) to protect the interests of players, listen to the voices of players more closely, and create a better game environment for players in EVE Online China.”
What we didn’t cover Wednesday was the latest news on EVE: Project Galaxy, which is also being developed with NetEase. Project Galaxy was first announced back in June as more or less a mobile version of EVE. Apparently it’ll be out next year.
a single-player game or an open-world MMO? The short answer is that it’s both, but the split is a bit different from what you may be expecting. Rather than the social hub being a shared space for all players, the latest mid-summer update from the studio explains that the “safe” spot will be where players experience the single-player story, build relationships, and so forth
. It’s the open world where the shared experiences will happen for everyone.
A panel is promised for this year’s PAX West that will go into more details on the division between formats, so if you’re still curious about how the split will work you can look forward to that. There’s also a promise of new features on the horizon for Star Wars: The Old Republic that should make for an exciting year, so that’s some reason for fans to be hopeful on that front, yes?