With the insane success — both in terms of popularity and finances — that Dota and League of Legends spawned, you can easily understand why game studios latched onto the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) as a relatively quick cash grab. After all, with players providing the ongoing content (through PvP matches), developers were freed up to focus on balance tweaks and churning out new skins and characters to sell.
In a relatively short span of time, the market became flooded with many imitators that sought to grab that slice of the profitable pie. And while some, such as Hi-Rez’s SMITE, have endured, many games discovered the one key danger with this approach: If you could not generate and sustain a large, active playerbase, you were as good as dead. A critical mass was needed, and when it was not achieved, games started folding up left and right.
In today’s Perfect Ten, we’re going to look at a dozen MOBAs that tried and failed to make it. Perhaps they serve as cautionary lessons to other studios seeking to mimic League of Legends’ format, but we somehow doubt that the era of the MOBA is over just yet.
If you were one of the folks who suspected the Cloud Pirates sunset was intended to divert resources to My.com’s other games, well, today’s Armored Warfare announcements won’t help change your mind: The studio has a producer’s letter out today detailing some major changes for the game, including for its business model.
For starters, My.com plans to unbundle bundle packages in the cash shop, allowing players to buy vehicles as standalone purchases. Players will be able to purchase premium time; prices will be unified across regions (“an item costing 9.99 USD on the NA server will cost 9.99 Euro on the EU server”), and “gold bundles will also be adjusted,” though currency conversion will continue on at the same rate as now. The company’s also promising new vehicles, available for real money initially before in-game currency, as well as a “regular, shifting plan of ‘standard’ activities” every week, which sounds a bit like dailies.
“Once the first phase is set in and working well, we will start working on creating deeper, more engaging in-game activities for special occasions. We will also start to try to create a more agile engagement plan. This should start kicking off sometime early in 2018.”
If you blinked, you missed it: Cloud Pirates shut down over the weekend.
My.com announced that it was giving up on its Allods-themed Cloud Pirates MOBA back at the end of August; the game’s last day was technically September 29th, although when we tried to stream it Friday, it had already shut down, frustrating our farewell effort.
At the time, My.com didn’t explain the reason for the sunset, but we assumed it was simply a matter of its low numbers on Steam. The game’s western port had only been known for a year; it hit early access in February, then launched in April.
Our condolences to those affected by the shutdown. There’s a little bit of chatter on the game’s subreddit, including a screenshot gallery of the last days of the game, plus check out Last Level Press’ final video of the game.
Instead of looking back at MMORPGs this week, the crew of Battle Bards launches forward into early access! What would a show about music from MMOs that aren’t even officially out yet be like? We’re going to find out in this wild and woolly episode!
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 106: Early access themes (or download it) now:
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree deal with a hodge-podge of interesting MMO news, including ARK’s launch, Destiny 2’s PC beta, and what some studios are doing to help players in response to the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
Aw, damnit. My.com is giving up on its Allods-themed Cloud Pirates MOBA already. The company doesn’t say why, but given the successes of its other titles, we’re guessing it’s more about playerbase size in a bloated MOBA market than the company’s overall revenues, an assumption backed up by its low numbers on Steam.
“We are sad to announce that Cloud Pirates will be closing the servers on September 29,” says the studio. “It’s been wonderful sailing the turbulent skies with you, Captains, and we’d like to thank you for all your support.”
Beginning today and lasting until serverdown on September 29th, players will see doubled experience gain, virtually free in-game and cash-shop items, and free Steam DLC. You can also claim refunds on everything you bought since July 12th, convert your cash-shop currency to some of My.com’s other games (Skyforge, Armored Warfare, and Revelation Online), and enjoy the game’s latest patch, which rolls out today in farewell and contains custom matches, a new progressive PvE mode, and cash-shop currency as rewards for daily matches.
One of the fun things about this hobby is that certain tropes repeat themselves constantly. And they’re usually weirdly specific tropes, too. Poop quests, for example. So many MMOs have one quest or another that make you dealing with poop. Someone has a fixation that is probably not entirely healthy, and that someone keeps getting hired to design quests.
But sometimes you try to come up with a trope that’s so specific that it has to be unique. Or at least rare. “MMOs that feature a zone full of floating islands requiring flight to travel around.” At least one zone, and it is traveled around via flight. That cannot be common, that has to be…
Wait. How did I not only get a full list but actually have to decline some entries? How the heck did this happen? There are this many MMOs using this astonishingly specific trope? How did this happen and why?
Ah, there’s nothing like the smell of a fresh new patch. It’s full of new things to do, new stuff to explore, and new mechanics to enjoy. Cloud Pirates
is still a rather young game, but you can still enjoy the freshness of update 1.5
with its new map, new treasure maps, a new moving control point capture gameplay mode, and the new First Mate feature to help newer players get into the game. That’s all good stuff.
The update also brings along changes to the way the game’s ranking system works. Players will now gain or lose ranking based on how their performances compare with what the system expects, with failure to meet expectations resulting in no change, drastically failing resulting in a rating loss, and meeting or exceeding expectations improving ratings. Players can also check their contributions to the team, so it’s easy to tell at a glance where they’ll need to improve. It’s another sort of freshness, albeit the sort that will take a little getting used to.
If your goal in Cloud Pirates
is to pilot the most specialized ship possible, you probably aren’t going to enjoy the Heavy Reinforced Galleon. The ship is quite explicitly not meant as the most focused ship of the line, being solidly middle-of-the-road and versatile. Of course, while that makes it not specialized, it also means that it can be kitted out for almost any situation and
it means that a skilled player can have an answer for almost any situation. A new guide on the official site
explains how the Heavy Reinforced Galleon can be used to deliver impressive results while retaining its high flexibility.
Players who reach tier 4 with the galleon will be able to shut down ship technology and increase the vulnerability of other ships in the area, a valuable tool for any confrontation. Players can also kit out these ships in more defensive or offensive roles while retaining the overall versatility of the class, allowing you to shut down or dampen enemy damage and firing while healing your own ship. If you’d prefer to be behind a diverse arsenal, you could do worse than working the skies in a heavy reinforced galleon.
We haven’t heard much out of My.com’s
MOBA Cloud Pirates
other than contests since it soft launched in April, but today the studio is back with a developer Q&A
. The highlights?
- They’re not sure about e-sports just yet.
- There are 30 people working on the game.
- Don’t expect the AI to improve over the existing bots — the AI would whup player butt.
- The team is satisfied with its monetization, which it calls “moderate.”
- PvE isn’t off the table in the long-term, but the team is skeptical about how its potential longevity.
- More guild features, long-term achievements, new ships, new races, new modes, crew systems, and holiday content are on the way.
The roadmap for the next half year includes ship balance, the brotherhood system, and Stronghold battles. “In the medium-term perspective, we will redesign crews, captain talents, and treasure maps,” says the studio.
It’s been a while since Massively OP’s MJ first peeked into Cloud Pirates
, and what better time to hop back aboard than on launch day? She’s ready to steer her ship to victory in a few matches in celebration of launch, so tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as OPTV
‘s infamous Stream Team
brings you another round of…
What: Cloud Pirates
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
Happy launch day to Cloud Pirates
, which has graduated from Beta University with a degree in Aeronautic Conflict Resolution and taken its first steps out into the real world. The free-to-play release comes with a huge update, Stronghold
, that beefs up the game considerably with some interesting new features for the opening day crowd.
The update contains the titular strongholds, which allow players to create their own fortress. These fortresses can be attacked through the new stronghold siege mode with the promise of golden cannons as a potential reward. Stronghold also adds three-player party groups, leaderboards, a league system, consumables, and preset combat builds.
Massively OP’s MJ will be streaming this title live tonight at 8:00 p.m. EDT, but in the meantime you can prepare yourself for that incredible experience by watching the launch trailer after the break.
Why would you try to steal a cloud? What possible advantage could that confer? Even when you ignore the obvious logistical difficulties of getting one into a cargo hold, it’s mostly water vapor. It’s not easy and it doesn’t produce anything. Or perhaps the title Cloud Pirates
refers to where the pirates operate
rather than what they specifically steal, which would make more sense. You can find out when the game launches for everyone on April 19th.
The launch also coincides with the release of patch 1.3 for the game, the Stronghold update. Players will be able to besiege a stronghold in a new gameplay mode, form three-player groups to play together, and generally enjoy a vastly expanded set of features for the game. Check out a trailer just below and get ready to sail the bounding… well, skies. You might wind up stealing a cloud or two along the way, as long as you’re up there.