Hope you got everything done you wanted to in Echo of Soul
because the fantasy MMORPG is winding down its classic servers
this Wednesday, May 23rd.
According to Aeria Games, Echo of Soul’s North American and European classic servers have been more trouble than they were worth: “While these servers have served us well, due to technical issues regarding the support of classic it is time to close the doors. We would like to thank the Echo of Soul community for standing by and making memories with us in this version.”
Don’t despair, because you can totally continue to play Echo of Soul. On the same day that it announced the classic shutdown, it also encouraged players to migrate over to its more action-packed Phoenix servers. “We would like to invite all users from classic to expand their horizons and join us in Phoenix with new maps, events, and a welcome package offer for those newly joining,” Aeria said.
We’re sorry to inform fans of Elite: Dangerous on Apple computers that they’re soon going to be forced to choose between the platform and the game. It’s been officially announced that support for the game on Macs will be ended with the update in Q4, toward the end of the year. Players can still log in on PCs or via accounts logged into on Bootcamp, but you’ll have to use one of those methods. This is after Mac support was first added in 2015.
Players already know that there have been technical problems preventing Horizons from launching on the platform, although their specific nature has not been explained; what matters is that further technical improvements to the game didn’t appear to be making things any better. Some players are speculating that this will also mean Horizons is bundled into the base game, but whatever the expansion changes are, you won’t be seeing them natively on a Mac. Our condolences to the players affected.
The relatively new(ish) Horizons Lunar Colony map in Overwatch is getting a revamp — but don’t tell anyone else because it’s supposed to be hush-hush. Or it should have been, except that a version of the rework slipped onto the public test realm to the surprise of players along side the new Rialto map.
Blizzard affirmed the lunar colony revamp as real: “Well that wasn’t supposed to happen but there you go. We have some changes that we are still working on and testing for the map so what you are seeing here may not be final. Also as an FYI, it won’t be released with the next patch and no ETA for when it will be released, as it is still a rework in progress.”
These patches aren’t all the Overwatch dev team is up to these days. When it caught wind of one player who had lost her father and had retreated into the game in her grief, the team sent her a giant 15-pound goodie box full of Overwatch as consolation.
Looking for a few good deals on MMOs and multiplayer games? Both Humble Bundle and GOG.com are running some sales right now that might cut you a deal on a title you’ve been eyeing.
Humble Bundle’s Sci-Fi Week includes price breaks on No Man’s Sky ($23.99), Osiris: New Dawn ($12.49), the standard version of Elite: Dangerous ($13.49), the commander deluxe version ($31.79), and the season pass for Elite: Dangerous Horizons ($17.99).
GOG.com’s Most Wanted Games Sale isn’t quite as relevant for the online gamer, although you can pick up Grim Dawn for a respectable $7.49, Torchlight for $3.79, and Torchlight II for $4.99.
When I bought my husband Elite Dangerous a few weeks ago, he asked me what it included, and I gave him a blank look – what comes in what Elite package and season is a wee bit confusing even for me. So the FAQ Frontier posted on the upcoming Beyond – Chapter One and its beta – which begins today – is most welcome to us, and I bet it will be for you too.
So here’s the deal. Everybody who owns any version of the game can access the beta for Beyond – Chapter one today, even if you’ve never picked up the Horizons season pass. That won’t hold true for launch, but it does for beta. The exception is on console; consolers can’t play the beta at all, but they will be able to buy the update.
The most important advice? “We wouldn’t advise taking time off to play the beta first thing tomorrow, as we don’t have an exact time that this will go live!” Telling it like it is! Check out the whole explainer on the official forums and let us know if you’re diving in!
A comment on Reddit about the current size and viability of Kritika Online got me thinking about MMO playerbases in general lately. We all know that there’s a stigma attached to little games; the big games with big servers and millions of players feel safer, and nowadays people just assume a small MMO has one foot in the grave. But it isn’t always true. We could also rattle off some smaller MMOs that seem to be moving along just fine, with bills paid. Sure, they’d like to be bigger, but they’re holding steady and know how to work the playerbase they do have rather than constantly alienate their current customers in search of new customers. And some MMO gamers actually prefer those sorts of titles. After all, if the game has just a few thousand people, it’s much easier to get to know a large slice of them, plus have your voice heard by the developers and actually influence the gameworld.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to reflect on the smallest MMOs they have played, and then consider how big an MMO has to be in terms of playerbase that they’d consider playing it now. What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play, and why?
The Battle Bards are always up for a musical bargain, and on today’s episode, they’ll deliver two MMORPGs for the price of one (sitting)! It’s a look at two rather obscure eastern MMOs, Cabal Online and Cabal 2, both of which have some surprisingly good music tucked away. So expand your video game musical horizons with 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 111: Cabal Online 1 and 2 (or download it) now:
Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti has a provocative article on his personal gaming blog, Bio Break, this week on MMORPG housing.
“I once again wonder why open world housing is this holy grail that some players and developers seem hellbent on chasing,” he writes. “It’s an ideal, a beautiful mirage couched in the notion of players inhabiting the very world they play, allowing them to stroll through neighborhoods of fellow adventurer’s homes and basking in the connectivity of it all. Yet it’s a failed experiment, one that is proven time and again to have far more drawbacks than benefits.” After listing off his complaints with the mechanic, he ultimately concludes that “we simply don’t need fixed open world housing, even in sandboxes.”
But being Justin, he also asked for feedback on why the joys are worth the drawbacks – and how to fix the system so it works instead of running off the rails. That’s just what we’ll do in this week’s Overthinking. Is he right about not needing this type of housing? And if not, how would you fix open world housing?
When I spoke to Elite Dangerous’ devs at this year’s Frontier Expo 2017, the company’s first fan expo, they admitted that communication went dark for a time. But it wasn’t for any worry-worthy reason: No, it was because the devs were preparing for Beyond, the big update road map for 2018 that was revealed on stage at the con. And what a reveal it was! The crowd was quite excited about the announced features spanning four updates throughout the year, including squadrons, fleet carrier ships, a codex, new ships, improved mining, revamped planetary graphics, and more. As Lead Designer Sandro Sammarco said, “Elite is an ongoing project. It’s not finishing any time soon.”
Along with the big news reveal, I also spoke with Chief Creative Officer Jonny Watts and Producer Adam Woods about these updates that focus on three areas — core game, narrative, and new features. This is what I learned.
It is kind of impossible to stroll around the MMO blogging community as of late and not trip and fall into a pool of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
impressions and opinions. So why not dive in and see what lies under the surface of these experiences?
GamingSF suffered from technical issues that kept him from getting into the expansion initially, but when he did, he recognized that it had some “really nice features.” Why I Game concurs with this sentiment, noting that there are “a lot more nods to exploration this time around.”
“Story is okay, nothing amazing, some funny bits help, and I find it gets better as it progresses onward,” ECTmmo.com wrote. “The actual places you get to travel to and explore in this expansion are what makes it shine, well, that and the mounts.”
We’ve got even more Path of Fire impressions after the break, as well as a look at Star Trek Online, Elite Dangerous, and Ultima Online!
Names and titles fascinate me. While sometimes they have no deeper meaning than to sound pleasant and be memorable, a label can indicate purpose, history, and connection. MMORPG names are, of course, as varied as the stars in the sky, with many of them slapping “online” or “age of” somewhere in there to designate their category. But every so often, we witness a game that changes its name as part of its development and business evolution.
Today I wanted to run down 10 MMOs (well, nine MMOs and one expansion) that received notable name changes over the years. I’m not going to talk about games that created a weird rebrand for a business model shift but mostly stuck with the original title afterward (such as DDO Unlimited or WildStar Reloaded), but instead games that had vastly different names than what they ended up using.
Good news for the Elite: Dangerous crew; according to the Frontier Developments Twitter account, Elite: Dangerous and the Horizons expansion have passed a grand total of 2.75 million sales. The phrasing is slightly ambiguous, as it could mean the combined total of each one’s individual sales is 2.75 million or that the game has sold 2.75 million copies altogether. Both are impressive, certainly, especially as the last sales data we had was from January 2016 when the base game had sold 1.4 million copies.
If you’re part of the crowd and plan to be out for PAX West in the near future, you can take part in the studio’s planned Frontier meet-up for fans and community on August 31st, 2017. The event is first-come-first-served and does have limited capacity, so you should make your plans soon, but it’s there if you want to go. The rest of us can sit back and relish the days when 825,000 sales was a major milestone.
It makes sense, sort of, that in an MMO where you can dress up as a dragon year-round that Halloween might be a favored holiday. In any case, Istaria is certainly getting the jump on the ghosts and ghouls of the fall holiday by staging a fall festival contest right now.
Players are being encouraged to put their artistic skills to work with the theme of “things that go bump in the night.” Short stories, mural designs, and mask paintings are all needed, and it sounds like the team might incorporate the best of these into the fall festival itself. The winners will get a special title and perhaps something more.
The contest will run through September 16th, with the winners declared on September 30th. Curious what this MMO’s been up to over the past year? We recently investigated what’s been happening with Istaria and found out a few interesting results.