It’s tradition around here to take stock of Daybreak’s MMO offerings every year, thanks to the fact that one of the first big stories we did after moving from Massively-that-was to MOP centered on Daybreak’s massive transition from SOE and then round upon round of layoffs, way back in 2015. Last year, we counted it out: Daybreak has now shut down approximately 16 games, most of them in the last few years – more than most studios will ever launch.
In 2015, you all thought Dragon’s Prophet was the most vulnerable game in the stable. You were right; it shut down, at least on this side of the pond, that same year. Last year, however, you suspected PlanetSide 2 was most likely to crumble, but instead, the game is still going and picked up a largish patch toward the end of the year. How about this year? Has anything changed with the company that once won best studio four years in a row thanks to its one-time reputation for keeping beloved MMORPGs going? Which Daybreak MMO do you think is most vulnerable now?
Polls are a quantitative sort of magic that we don’t often get from our other articles – at least when they aren’t being brigaded – which is why I love our Leaderboard column.
Let’s take a look back at our best MMO polls of the year! And if you want a few more, you can look back at our polls from 2016 and 2015 too.
With Gamigo’s near-stealth launch of Savage Hunt, a sequel to the now-defunct (at least in NA) Dragon’s Prophet, a new website is born.
The official site for Savage Hunt is now live following the game’s launch on December 6th. Players can check out the news, read through the Book of Dragons, check out some media, and connect with the community. There’s also an event going on right now to kill a special dragon in the game and be entered into a chance to win a gaming PC.
Savage Hunt is an action combat MMO with more than 600 types of dragons to tame and collect. These dragons lend players their skills as a sort of mix-and-match class system. There’s also housing, because your 600 dragons need a place to crash after a day of forced servitude.
While Dragon’s Prophet took a stiff nosedive in North America and was ultimately shuttered by Daybreak in 2015, the dragon taming MMO didn’t die off entirely. It has a stronger following and support over in Europe, so much so in fact that Gamigo is preparing a sequel that was announced for launch back in September, got delayed almost immediately, and is now set to go live this week.
Community Manager Ildruin confirmed the upcoming launch on the forums yesterday: “Savage Hunt will be released on Wednesday, December 6th 2017! That’s just two days! Buckle up!”
If you need a refresher course — and you do, since just about no one has heard of this game — Savage Hunt: Dragon’s Prophet is a free-to-play MMO that retains the dragon hunting and taming core. There are over 600 of the beasts in the game, as well as thousands of quests and PvP battles.
Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Today we have four fresh titles to take a look at.
Gamigo announced Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet this week, the successor to Dragon’s Prophet, which Gamigo is calling “one of the most successful MMORPGs ever launched.” MMORPG players will recall that Daybreak sunsetted the US version of the original game in 2015, though it continued on overseas. The company says the free-to-play title will launch on September 28th in English, German, and French, and yes, you can still “hunt, train, and fight with […] dragons.” Over 600 of them, in fact, though you’ll probably be distracted by “4000 exciting quests and events” and PvP battles. The official site doesn’t appear to be live just yet.
“Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet is the newest release after the long-standing success of Dragon’s Prophet. Discover new and epic adventures and find your own path in Savage Hunt – Dragon’s Prophet. Explore a fantastic world that combines classical MMORPG elements with unique features. Search through forests and mountains for rare dragons, items and always be prepared for the fight. In the new Book of Dragons, you can collect your dragons and plan your journey. Find, hunt and tame over 600 dragons with individual strengths and skills. Only the best hunters and collectors can improve their dragons and items.”
What else have we got?
Have you ever noticed that while there’s an entire world out there, most all of the MMORPGs we discuss and play tend to either be ones crafted in the USA or imports from China or Korea? We even have a shorthand for this: “western” and “eastern” MMOs. We’re usually not talking about entire hemispheres with these references, but rather about categorizing three countries that are big into the MMORPG business.
But what about the rest of the world? Are all of these other countries so uncaring about this genre that they’ve never tried their hand at making an MMO? Of course not; as I’m about to show you, there are plenty of online RPGs that have been made in countries other than China, the USA, and South Korea. It’s just that for various reasons, those three countries ended up fostering concentrations of video game developers who knew how to create these types of games.
So let’s take a tour around the world and see if we can’t give some credit to other countries for their contributions to the MMORPG genre past, present, and future. Before you click the link, see how many you can name off the top of your head!
In February 2015, following the SOE/Daybreak transition and ensuing mass layoffs, we polled our readers on the security of the rest of the studio’s games. Almost half of you voted that Dragon’s Prophet was the studio’s most vulnerable remaining game, with almost 20% pointing to EverQuest Next. And you were right; SOE’s North American-run Dragon’s Prophet was gone within the year, with EverQuest Next to follow just a few months later.
And now Landmark’s headed off into the sunset.
The thing is, Daybreak doesn’t really have much left. The company that once won “best studio” four years in a row and had a much-deserved reputation for keeping beloved MMORPGs going is now down to four MMORPGs, plus H1Z1 A and B, and one unannounced game, plus the games it’s publishing for Standing Stone. Yesterday we counted up the casualties and found Daybreak has now shut down approximately 16 games, most of them in the last few years — more than most studios will ever launch.
Let’s break out the poll for a revisit, two years on. Which Daybreak MMO do you think is most vulnerable now?
In light of this past week’s sad Landmark news, it’s perhaps too on-the-nose that I asked for players to send in pictures of defunct MMOs. Maybe it’s just one of those sober reminders that sooner or later, these games will go dark. Enjoy them to their fullest now!
“To prove I can actually be on topic sometimes, I answer your call for shots from defunct MMOs with one from Dragon’s Prophet,” Tyler said, “the only game I’ve played that has shut down. There was a great deal wrong with this game, and I didn’t play it for long, but there was still a lot about it that was surprisingly good. In particular I loved the unusual, battle mage-like Oracle class. Who wants to stand in the back waving your hands when your mage can charge into the thick of things and massacre everyone with a giant enchanted scythe?”
After a brief headstart
earlier this week, Guardians of Ember
is live on Steam
now in early access with a current on-sale base price of $16.99. Developed by European MMORPG studio Runewaker
(which you might remember from Runes of Magic
and Dragon’s Prophet
), the game is a hack-‘n’-slash MMO expected to remain in early access for up to half a year before launch.
“Heroes all over the world gather today to save Olyndale from dark forces. Ater two technical tests the servers for ‘Guardians of Ember’, the unique combination of Hack’n’Slash and MMORPG, are live. […] The game offers 4 races, 6 classes (one post launch) and 300 skills with the developer’s known ‘Dual Class System.’ The action packed combat is complemented by randomized dungeons, housing system and various PvP options.”
Also worth pointing out is that the game ran a small ($10,000) Indiegogo campaign for German localization but actually secured $77,000 and put the extra money back into the game with a hardcore mode and what Runewaker is calling its “Iron Hero” launch event.
This week on Battle Bards, the crew dips its toes into the “candyland” world of Dragon Nest. It’s a game that belies stereotypical expectations, being both dark in theme and rich in music. Of course, Steff declares herself a wet blanket from the onset, but will she be won over by the show’s end? Listen and find out!
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.
We’ve got Episode 82: Dragon Nest and the show notes for you after the break!
You might remember InselGames
as the studio that tried to bring back L.A.W.
as Trinium Wars
, which didn’t go well in the west and in fact sunsets this week
. But now the company is touting a new MMORPG, Guardians of Ember
, due out at the end of September for NA and EU fans – or at east those willing to shell out $19.99 to $49.99 for Steam early access.
InselGames is calling it a “unique combination of Hack’n’Slash and traditional MMORPG” with a dual class system, four races, randomized dungeons with difficulty settings, crafting and enchanting, housing, endgame missions, and several PvP gameplay types. It actually has an Indiegogo campaign running now to crowdfund the German localization:
“Guardians of Ember is a hack’n’slash game like grandmother’s apple pie: You are missing it and you love it when it’s on your plate! As a small publisher we initally decided to launch the new game from the developers of Runes of Magic and Dragon’s Prophet in English only. But with your help we can start with the German localization right away.”
Although Dragon’s Prophet was shuttered in North America last year, the game is still flapping its wings in Europe. The Spring Awakening patch 3.0.1592 eradicated bugs that were infesting a score of dungeons. Now when you kill mobs in Deyarka Bastille, it really counts (for the Bio Hazard quest, that is)! On the other hand, players will no longer get credit for the deaths of suicide beetles in Asuma‘s Mirage. Other dungeons to get the exterminator treatment include Corzinem Nukleus of Time, Mitctlan’s Corridor, and Column of the Prophet.
In addition to these fixes, the Guardian, Ranger, and Oracle classes all received a few adjustments, as did the dragons themselves (random attributes can no longer be lower than 3). Check out all the details for the various changes in the official patch notes.
It’s become tradition to fare well the MMOs that sunsetted in the preceding year, but that wasn’t always the case. At the beginning of 2015, in saying goodbye to 2014’s sunsetted games, I tried to put that into perspective.
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about how Vanguard’s early stumbles foreshadowed the changing MMORPG industry. In January 2007, when Vanguard lurched its way to launch, the genre was barely a decade old; it was booming, and it had never suffered hardship on a massive scale. In the west, we’d seen only three “major” MMOs sunset (Motor City Online, Earth and Beyond, and Asheron’s Call 2), and only one MMO, Anarchy Online, had “gone F2P,” though we hadn’t yet thought to call it yet because it was such a rare and new thing. In fact, it wasn’t until 2008’s first big wave of AAA, post-World of Warcraft MMOs launched and mostly flopped that MMORPG players gave much thought to the future of the genre and how WoW had reshaped (and possibly broken) it. Maybe not even then.
In 2016 and in 2015, sunsets are increasingly common, a result of market oversaturation, business model struggles, and changing gamer tastes and investment options. Let’s revisit the games we lost in 2015 and consider what their sunsets portend for the year ahead.