It’s a catch-all, catch-up episode for the Battle Bards as they dig through new soundtrack releases from MMORPGs that they’ve covered in the past! You may be prepared for an eclectic and enjoyable mix of music — but there is no way that you can steel yourself for the raw and heartfelt confessions that take place on this show.
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:
Continuing from my previous column, I’m going to be running through the second decade of graphical MMORPG launches and picking the best title to debut in any given year. From doing the first decade, I know that this thought exercise isn’t always fair; some years have several great contenders, while others see one mediocre one rise due to a lack of competition.
Still, it’s kind of fun to look back at MMO history and to see which game was really the best of that year. And if you ever felt sore that a particular title got overlooked, well, consider this a retroactive awards ceremony of some sort.
Let’s dive right in where we left off with 2007!
Funcom’s fortunes continue to rise thanks to Conan Exiles: The company announced today that it’s “both the best-selling and fastest-selling game” in its history, passing up 2008’s Age of Conan, which sold 1.4 million units in its first three years. Conan Exiles has busted past that record in under half that time since launching early access in 2017.
There’s good news to look forward to, too, as the devs are working on a freebie patch, and the game is picking up new DLC called Jewel of the West in “early August,” which you’ll note isn’t all that far away.
“The downloadable content introduces new Aquilonia-themed building pieces, weapons, armor, furniture, and more. In Conan lore, Aquilonia is the center of the civilized world and its clothing and architecture is inspired by that of the real-world Romans.”
The free content will include pets and taming, “allowing players to find and tame anything from camels to panthers and even spiders and then use them to guard their base, carry resources, and more.”
Enjoy the new trailer along with the satisfaction of knowing Conan is doing great!
A year ago, MMO fans were thrilled to find out that Funcom had had its best quarter in ages thanks to the early access launch of Conan Exiles. The first quarter of 2018 wasn’t quite as huge, but you can be sure next quarter will be, as Funcom says it’s already sold 1.4M copies of the game, a million of those before May 8th – which Funcom notes is as many as Age of Conan sold in its first three years of life, making it Funcom’s “bestselling game of all time.” It’s expected to launch on PS4 in Japan this summer, alongside the game’s first DLC in June.
Age of Conan, by the way, gets a note for its Saga of Zath progression server that ran throughout winter and spring; the studio says it was “successful in engaging players and increasing revenue.” Little ink is spilled over Secret World Legends beyond a note about Dawn of the Morninglight and a promise for “more content and events […] going forward.” Anarchy Online is not mentioned.
Making a list of the “biggest” MMOs currently running is always an exercise in frustration. It’s easy to put a few things on the list – no one’s going to argue with placing World of Warcraft on such a list, for example – but then everything else always gets mired in opinions and controversy, and endless cycles of “why isn’t this game I love on there while another game I don’t like is there?!” I speak from experience.
Still, on our list of the healthiest MMOs at the moment, we’ve got only three licensed games: Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Those are by no means the only entries on the licensed game list, of course, but there does seem to be something of a dearth of those. And perhaps that’s more understandable than it seems. For all that we talk about how one setting or another would be perfect for an MMO, there are some unique troubles you inevitably run into when you get into the licensed MMO shuffle.
Welcome to double digits, Age of Conan. The Barbarian MMO turned 10 years old this weekend, and Massively OP’s MJ is on hand to celebrate that milestone. She’ll be exploring Hyboria on her Demonologist. Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. to hang out with a 10-year-old and wish AoC a happy anniversary with us.
What: Age of Conan
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 21st, 2018
When it comes to notable years in the MMORPG genre’s history, 2008 stands out as one of the most significant. World of Warcraft’s debut onto the scene in 2004 caused an upheaval in ways far too numerous to go into detail here. Suffice to say that its overwhelming popularity drew the attention of game designers who looked at the staggering numbers of players and found themselves envious of the potential to grab a slice of that money pie.
Many projects went into high gear following WoW’s launch, with plenty of them trying to copy the formula and structure that Blizzard established in the hopes of making it at least partially as big as that game. So-called WoW clones began to pepper the market and there was a sense that gamers were ready to move on from World of Warcraft to the next generation of MMOs. In many players’ minds, this would be either 2008’s Age of Conan or Warhammer Online, two big-budget MMOs with strong IPs that carried a lot of the weight of expectation.
Little did anyone realize that 2008 represented a bubble that was about to burst on the industry and the WoW clones that followed — including Warhammer Online. Today, we’re going to take a look at “bears, bears, bears,” the high hopes of Mythic Entertainment, and how WAR became a casaulty on its own battlefield.
Ten years of live operation, and Conan still looks like someone killed his puppy. Maybe you need a new hobby, Mr. The Barbarian? We hear there’s this new sandbox survival game out right now that’s pretty hot.
Anyway, Age of Conan is officially 10 years old this month, and to celebrate the occasion, Funcom is throwing players to the lions. Er, wait, that’s not right. They’re throwing lions at the players. Still sounds unsafe, but no matter. Anyone who logs in between now and June 5th will receive their own totally safe, no training necessary Golden Lion of Aquilonia mount.
The anniversary event also includes new daily rewards, an extra raid finder chest that can be opened every day, the addition of the Black Ring Citadel to the raid finder, several quality-of-life changes (such as being able to disable PvE XP), and the return of Shadows of the Past and Acheronian Soul classic content.
There is only one thing more terrifying to barbarians than the monster up above, and that’s the end of the world. Both the weak and the strong alike will face their mortality as Age of Conan’s Saga of Zath server concludes its run next week on May 15th.
When the saga server shutdown happens, guilds and characters will automatically be moved to the Crom shard unless a transfer to Fury is initiated. There, players can continue to quest while enjoying any Saga Quest rewards that they had earned during the special server’s few months of run-time.
“It’s been incredibly exciting seeing so many faces, both familiar and new, come together to make the Saga a success,” Funcom said. “We can’t wait to show you what’s coming next, especially considering a certain game is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year…”
Oh Funcom. You’re ever so sly.
The end of the world is bearing down on some Age of Conan players, but that’s exactly when things get interesting. Funcom’s special Saga of Zath server has just a month left to go before the studio merges its population in with the Crom server and turns out the lights.
Before then, players can race to earn special gear and vanity items for the main server. To help with that, Funcom is giving all players a free extra specialization, cutting the price of mounts in half, chopping XP booster prices down by 75%, and making raid and PvP gear bundles available.
Saga of Zath started up back in January as a special time-limited PvE server. Players had just a few months to go through a saga quest to earn rewards and gain items. When the merge happens on May 15th, all Zath characters will be transferred to Crom with all progress and inventory intact.
From 1994’s A Dinosaur’s Tale to 2018’s Mutant Year Zero, Funcom has blazed its own path through the video game genre as a developer and publisher of all sorts of titles. These, of course, include some of MMORPG fans’ most beloved games, such as Anarchy Online, Age of Conan, and The Secret World.
To celebrate the studio’s 25th anniversary, Funcom put together a quick video that takes players from the 16-bit console generation to the modern day, showing off its various logos and a montage of its games.
“Since those humble beginnings back in March of 1993, we’ve released over twenty-five games across a wide range of platforms,” Funcom said. “We’ve survived major shifts in the gaming industry and we’ve had to adapt to an ever-changing market. We’ve had our ups and we’ve had our downs. We’ve weathered many storms and we’ve earned our battle-scars.”
The journey starts below. What are you waiting for?
With significantly higher revenue and sales coming in 2017, Funcom announced to its investors that it just came off the most profitable year in the studio’s history. The studio made $23.2M in revenue and $6.64M in profit during the period, a massive increase over 2016, during which it only made $7.3M in revenue. Even better, Funcom said that it has significantly reduced its debt and strengthened its position.
As for its games, Funcom said that Secret World Legends’ new story content is coming in the first quarter and is expected to bring back players and push user acquisition. Conan Exiles’ May launch is a source of particular excitement, and Funcom is planning on several marketing initiatives to push sales. Anarchy Online and Age of Conan were not mentioned in the report.
Of course, the studio is particularly excited about today’s announcement of its publishing Mutant Year Zero.
Massively OP’s MJ may never care much about leveling fast, but that doesn’t mean she won’t enjoy a good double XP event! In honor of the first Ethram Fal kill on the Saga of Zath server, Age of Conan has turned double XP on all the servers until March 5th. There are still many missions MJ need to complete on the Isle of Tortage, so she’ll be continuing her adventure there. But will she be alone, or will strange magical creatures join her again? Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. to see if anything strange like wild dragons, giant panthers, or tiny house cats appear on this adventure!
What: Age of Conan
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, February 26th, 2018