To assuage one major fear, the game’s community team has reminded players that this is not an automatic replacement but an additional compensation; players will still have their old gear, they’ll just receive new pieces. Of course, the debate is running about the forums over whether or not the exchanges are fair or balanced for the community, which is always going to be a problem with this degree of gear change.
Studio: NCsoft West
Launch Date: September 22, 2009
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: F2P (Cash Shop)
Aion, Blade & Soul, Guild Wars 2 revenues dip, while NCsoft teases three new titles and Lineage resurges
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.
No matter what your feelings may be toward NCsoft, it is great to see that the developer and publisher continues to greenlight MMORPGs instead of merely coasting on what it already has.
Apparently, the company is working on and hiring for a new top secret MMO these days. Even more interesting is the fact that this “next-generation console and PC MMORPG” is somehow related to or set in the Aion universe. A sequel? A side-quel? The only other detail we know about this project is that it is utilizing the Unreal Engine 4.
NCsoft isn’t the only studio that has some sort of secret MMO in the works right now. CCP let it slip that it’s creating an action MMO of some sort, John Smedley is building… something for Amazon Game Studios, and Nexon was snapping up developers for a likely MMO at its Irvine studio.
Last week, down in the comments of an innocuous post about gamers being nice in Fortnite, a couple of MOP commenters requested a column where MMO gamers could essentially submit “stories about random good interactions [they’ve] had with other players.” Skeptical me is doubting the viability of a column like that; after all, we already do a lot of positive coverage of charities, events, good deeds, and even obituaries for devs, and that’s just not the stuff most people click on. (Patches are the big ones, although controversies are big too for obvious reasons. And One Shots and WRUP are still great!)
But I’d certainly like to be wrong. “Positive news” websites do indeed exist in the real world and can be truly inspiring, so maybe “Massively Overjoyed” would have some traction too. We thought we’d put it to the test here in Overthinking: I’ve asked the writers to share one story about a great random interaction they’ve had with another player. And then I’ll invite you all to do the same thing down in the comments. How much do you really want to hear about the positive stuff?
Coming this September, Patch 6.2 will organize gear into three new categories, shift items toward a PvE or PvP focus, remove the breakthrough system, and increase the level cap to 80. It should be noted that some features and zones are going away with this patch due to player feedback in Korea. Also, the team is bringing Tiamaranta Eye back this August.
The team said that the 6.0 line of patches are intended to “simplify” Aion and make it “more accessible” for the average player. Currently, the game is running the Shugo Imperial Tomb event through August 8th to let players get their Indiana Jones, er, Jonshunerk on.
Give the episode a watch after the break!
Most MMO dungeons are normal songs. You start out and you have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t really change up much. But the endless dungeon is like improvisational jazz. Sure, there’s a beginning and often a fairly reliable end, but the space in the middle can be filled with all sorts of things. You don’t even know what’s going to be there until you’re already in the thick of it. It could be filled with creme! (Probably not, but hey, life is weird sometimes.)
Our reader Arsin asked us a while back about MMOs with endless dungeon modes of some sort, and well, we do our best to find these things out. The goal here is to have an online-only game with randomly generated content between the start and end. Arguably some of these might not fit your personal criteria, but that’s all right; there’s plenty of variety here!
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!
In peaceful villages and bubbly burgs, you just know that there’s bound to be an abundance of happy music! Whenever the Battle Bards regroup to lick their wounds and drink the terrors away, they often find that happy town music is perfect to soothe jangled nerves and re-center one’s heroism. There’s plenty of those tunes in today’s episode, so recoup with them as they listen to the songs of the common folk.
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.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 11th, 2018
Players will be trying to capture the spirits of monsters while participating in an array of quests. These will reward Ancient Shards, which can be turned in for a goodie chest, XP, a key bundle, or a random Puzzle Box. The event is running from now through June 6th.
“The Ancient King Ramsus and his wife Queen Shepsut have returned to the world of Atreia,” NCsoft said. “With them have arrived mysterious monsters that threaten all inhabitants of Atreia. Help them return the monsters to their time, and get rewarded with EXP and fabulous prizes.”
Fabulous, people, FABULOUS.
NCsoft’s first quarter 2018 financial results are in, and it’s… kinda OK? Guild Wars 2 saw a big drop-off, though that’s to be expected since the previous quarter saw revenues from Path of Fire. “GW2 sales dropped 32% QOQ but increased 66% YOY, as some of the 2nd expansion pack effect was included,” NCsoft notes.
Blade & Soul continues to perform well QOQ, though it’s lost a quarter of its revenue YOY, and Aion revenues surged, NCsoft says, “fueled by the change in the monetization scheme.” Lineage itself at one time seemed to drive the company all by itself, but it’s down QOQ and YOY too. So is the company’s mobile games branch, which was riding high on Lineage M last year but is now “stabilizing” at what one might assume is a more realistic number (which is still higher than the five big MMORPGs combined).
As MMO Culture reports, the investor call itself admitted that Blade & Soul II for mobile has already been delayed into 2019 as it “didn’t meet expectations.” It’s apparently gotten a new team and new redesign, which is basically what happened to Lineage Eternal way back when, you’ll recall. And speaking of that: Project TL is supposedly still on schedule, with a launch still on track for next year.
On April 25th, Aion EU is going to merge its eight servers down to four, creating one German, one English, one French, and one Polish server. Gameforge did give itself some wiggle room and warned of the possibility of a date change.
Players on affected servers can choose to transfer their characters to a specific shard through May 15th. Aion is planning to hand out relocation gifts to all players, including a greater minion contract and 30 days of hanging with a white tiger.
In addition to the announcement, there’s a more in-depth FAQ that answers specific questions.
If we judged MMOs by their numbers alone — and I’m not suggesting we do so — then the original Lineage would be the crowing rooster strutting about the hen house. It’s also been one of those games that I’ve always intellectually acknowledged was a huge hit for some reason but never gave much attention. I think it’s because, contrary to many western MMOs, Lineage is primarily an Asian phenomenon. That doesn’t mean it should be shunned, of course, but just that it may be difficult to understand when you’re on the outside of it.
So let’s back up the memory truck to September 1998, when a then-fledgling NCsoft rolled out a Diablo-style isometric MMO and struck virtual gold in South Korea. At the time, gaming rooms were becoming a huge thing in the country. A recession had hit, giving people a lot of time with nothing to do, and the government was rapidly expanding the broadband network. In the face of this perfect storm, titles like StarCraft and Lineage became overnight household fixtures — and remained so for decades to come.
Even if you haven’t played Lineage and you don’t know anyone who does, trust me: Millions and millions of players have. As former Senior Producer Chris Mahnken once said, “Lineage keeps going because it’s just plain fun.”