Back in February, Valve took action on MMO studio Insel Games, which published hybrid MMOs Wild Buster and Guardians of Ember, booting the company off Steam having determined that the company had tampered with reviews by coercing employees to buy and positively review the game. While Insel Games denied any wrongdoing, its games have been accessible to new players only through its official website for the past few months. For Wild Buster in particular, updates had been scant.
Now, an update has finally arrived. Insel Games told the Steam community that Wild Buster had “failed to attract enough players to provide a sustainable service and a big enough community to enjoy the game.” Rather than shut down the game, however, Insel Games says it’s transferring publishing rights to IDC Games, which will relaunch the game as Champions of Titan with new accounts and a server wipe. Not coincidentally, this will also allow the companies to get the game back on Steam.
It’s really unusual to see publishers outright booted off of Steam, but Valve has done exactly that to Insel Games following reports of review manipulation. It started with a Reddit post yesterday posting an alleged email from the company’s CEO lamenting the lack of a proper review score for Wild Buster and asking all employees to purchase a copy of the game along with leaving a positive review on the game page. Apparently whatever Valve found behind the scenes was enough to convince the company that the accusations were legitimate and terminate the relationship.
Players who already own copies of Wild Buster, Guardians of Ember, or any other Insel Games titles will still be able to play the games, and they can still be purchased through other sources, but new copies cannot be obtained through Steam. We’ve reached out to Insel Games for comment on the matter and will update this post with any response we receive. [Update: We’ve included the statement made to MOP via email below.]
Another December, another Steam sale to entice you to spend money on games you don’t have time to play just to have them for a rainy day! Here’s a quick look at what’s on the list for MMO and survival sandbox players.
So here’s how the latest Humble Bundle is working. Drop $35 on the bundle and all of your money goes to charity, and you get to take part in the rolling advent calendar of bundle stuff. Which is important to us here because that rolling advent calendar includes a whole lot of MMO stuff already. Guild Wars 2, Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, Blade & Soul, and Guardians of Ember already have shown up to the party, and there are still several more days yet to be revealed.
That’s not to discount the non-MMOs in the pack so far, but we know what we’re about. So if you’re looking for a way to get a whole lot of games and bonus items besides in one place, you can do worse than dropping $35 on the bundle. Heck, get two and give one to someone else who likes a pile of games. Then you’re actually giving gifts as well as buying them for yourself.
Well, here’s a weird situation to be in as both a game and a player of said game. Guardians of Ember pushed out a sizable content update this week to the community — but did so as beta, as the team does not have the capability to perform full QA testing in the office.
“Why did we roll out the expansion as a beta?” the team asked. “Act VI is a big update and as a small team we need your help to QA it. We decided against a separate test server so not to split the population… but playing Act VI is completely optional and you could easily hold off until full release hopefully later this month.”
Act VI brings a level cap increase to 60, more maps, and legendary gear to this MMOARPG. The team also activated its Christmas event with special daily quests and a new mount.
Itching for something to do this weekend? How about some freebie games?
Wargaming announced that its F2P battler Total War: ARENA will host an open weekend even for folks not already in the open beta, running today through the early hours of Monday. “The open weekend will allow full access to the latest version of Total War: ARENA, letting new commanders test their mettle in epic scale 10 vs 10 multiplayer battles,” says the studio. “Choose a commander from three historical factions: Romans, Greeks and Barbarians, and fight on ancient battlefields with your own customized army. This follows on from recent content patch 2.2 that added Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, a new Roman commander and master of defensive and supportive play.”
Guardians of Ember will also open its doors until November 5th; that promo is also already live. Inselgames notes that “through the whole weekend players can try out each of the six different classes, create unique builds with more than 300 skills and a dual class system at their disposal. Fans of traditional MMOs will enjoy features like housing, crafting, fishing and can use the Group Finder to make new friends. More action awaits the brave heroes of Olyndale as they slash their way through hordes of enemies, level up, and tackle randomized and instanced dungeons in the new nightmare mode together with their allies or alone.”
Source: Press releases. Thanks, Eboni!
On this week’s show, Tina joins the crew to talk about the momentous launch of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire! There’s plenty more for the crew to discuss, too, with a pair of EverQuest expansion announcements, a launch of an underdog MMOARPG, and more!
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:
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Ship of Heroes continued proving itself worthy as a City of Heroes successor with a new video demo of its character creation — which ought to look pretty familiar to fans of the pre-eminent superhero MMORPG.
In the realm of Star Citizen drama, we speculated on the game’s post-launch monetization plans and posted the team’s new count of bugs yet to fix before alpha 3.0 reaches the Evocati. (It’s 7.)
Meanwhile, War of Conquest has already achieved its Kickstarter goal, Project Gorgon teased its next patch, we learned about Pantropy, Crowfall stirred dissent over its harvesting plans, and Guardians of Ember, which raised $77000 in funding from players on Indiegogo, formally launched out of early access.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
Remember when Fortnite’s whole thing was that it was going to be about co-op survival gameplay without any PvP aspects? That clearly didn’t last, as it turns out the game’s new Battle Royale mode is going to be free-to-play and seems to be getting an unexpected share of the game’s development. Oh, and the game accidentally turned on cross-platform play before turning it right back off, so that was great too.
In unrelated news, we bid farewell to Guardians of Ember as it has actually, like, launched now. It’s not in early access any more! It’s just access. Guild Wars 2 has also dropped its second expansion, and The Elder Scrolls Online has its latest DLC up on the test server.
More beta news? Yes indeed! Including titles you might not have seen this week otherwise.
- All right, Pantropy, do you really think that the only thing you need to seduce someone into survival sandbox games is to include a bunch of stompy mechs? Because you are very possibly right.
- The stress testing for MU Legend is running on September 23rd, which is the server equivalent of packing tons of college freshmen into a phone booth and daring them to fall out. Taking part will earn you 500 Bound Redzen for use in the future, so if the simple joy of stress testing isn’t enough, do it for the bribery.
- You’ve missed the first alpha testing weekend for Closers, but there are several more weekends coming up, such as this weekend. Would you like a whole schedule for the next few weeks? You’ve got one.
- The closed alpha weekends for Survived By are starting very soon, with several closed alpha weekends planned over the next several weeks. Exact dates aren’t given, unfortunately, but considering that there are only so many people being invited, that seems at least moderately sensible.
- Around 350 players took place in the second OrbusVR closed beta, and you can catch up on the notes from that second beta right now. It’s a good chance to keep an eye on the game when you’re not keeping both eyes in the headset.
And as we always do, there’s a list of titles in testing and early access just below, because that’s how we operate. Did something hop to another phase of testing without letting us know? Fix that oversight in the comments. You can also use the comments for other comments, of course.
Good-bye Early Access! It’s a glorious day when a game can say that, and today Guardians of Ember
gets to join the ranks of launched titles. Of course, Massively OP’s MJ wants to jump in and check things out. Since the game touts “fighting to the death” she doesn’t think she’ll come out of this journey unscathed. The Death Counter is sure to feed tonight! Join us live at 7:00 p.m. for a launch look at…
What: Guardians of Ember
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 7:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
After wandering the lands of early access since last December, the Runewaker-developed hack-and-slash Guardians of Ember
has now gained enough confidence, experience, and (most importantly) development to officially launch
Even better, the release of the MMOARPG is being treated to a large patch but not a wipe from beta testing. “This patch will be unlike the others as it seeks to bring quality of life to the citizens of Olyndale. You can expect to see changes to the loot orb system, shared XP in group play, free reskill, Spanish localization and the much-requested nightmare mode,” the team said. New and updated since early access are arena battles, a wave-based Horde Mode, a guild skill system, crafting upgrades, an enhancement system, new mounts and pets, and alterations to the cash shop based on early access feedback, including those free respecs up to level 25.
The basic edition of the game is $20 on Steam, although you can pick up the deluxe edition and the deluxe DLC package for 33% off through September 27th. As we’ve previously covered, 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 launch event.
We’ve got the launch trailer, pics, and a roundup of all our coverage to date for you down below!
In honor of upgraded US servers
for Guardians of Ember
] as well as the launch of Act V
, InselGames has granted us 50 Steam keys for copies of the whole game to raffle to our readers. It’s open to anyone who is capable of purchasing and playing the game on Steam. Read on to enter to win!
hack-and-slash MMOARPG is a bit bigger, a bit older, and a bit wiser, thanks to a hefty update to Guardians of Ember’s
early access client.
Today, Guardians of Embers opened the doors to Act 4, ushering players into the most challenging areas of the game to date: “Fierce enemies are waiting in ten new zones while bigger bosses protect valuable loot in sixteen new dungeons. To make looting easy, two new pets, the Blue Magpie and the Greenwood Chameleon, are added to the game. Players should expect challenging fights for which they need new gear and the best skill combinations on their way up to level 50 — the new level cap for Guardians of Ember.”
To celebrate the debut of Act 4, Runewaker is holding a 25% off sale for the game through February 27th. This means that you can pick up Guardians of Ember for as low as $14.99 for the regular edition or $37.49 for the deluxe.