It’s been a weird 2018 for Guardians of Ember. Back in February, Valve booted its publisher, Insel Games, off Steam, citing review manipulation in regard to another of its games, Wild Buster. Wild Buster was heavily affected, such that Insel transferred its publishing rights and rebooted it with a new name to get it back on the platform this past spring.
So what happened to the MMOARPG Guardians of Ember, the Runewaker game that was actually pretty decent at what it did? It kept on running through the studio’s own website and the Humble Store, but now, it’s upping its profile with a move to European mega-publisher Gameforge.
“Gameforge — the leading western publisher of popular Asian free-to-play multiplayer online games like SoulWorker, Elsword and NosTale — today announced that it has acquired the publishing rights to Guardians of Ember, the popular Hack’n’Slash MMORPG from Taiwanese developer Runewaker — creators of Runes of Magic and Dragon’s Prophet. […] Guardians of Ember will officially re-launch later this year in North America and throughout Europe through Gameforge. Currently, the game is being operated by Insel Games in the west; Information regarding how existing Guardians of Ember players will migrate their accounts and game data will be shared soon.”
At this point in MMORPG history, it might be hard to find titles that aren’t on Steam already. Late to the Valve party, however, is Runes of Magic, which is finally arriving on Steam some time this month.
Perhaps best known for being the most World of Warcrafty of all World of Warcraft clones, Runes of Magic has been operating for more than nine years now as a free-to-play MMO. The game unified its forums back in June and is no doubt hoping that it will get a boost in attention and play hours with the Steam debut. We did a recap of the last few years of Runes of Magic back in 2017 to bring readers up to the common era.
Any Massively OP readers still play Runes of Magic or have plans to pick it up on Steam? Let us know in the comments!
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.
Listen to Episode 122: Happy town (or download it) now:
The impact of Myst in 1993 was akin to an atomic bomb going off in the PC gaming world. The leap forward in graphical fidelity (aided by the large storage capacity of a CD-ROM and all of the full-motion video and gorgeous images tucked into it) captured gamers’ imaginations and made this adventure title the best-selling PC game of all time, at least for several years. Brothers Robyn and Rand Miller’s story about a stranger who had to solve puzzles through a good-looking (if deserted) landscape was devilishly difficult, yet that challenge kept players coming back for months and even years.
The Myst franchise surged forward at that point, with several sequels, remakes, and ports selling like hotcakes through the final game’s release in 2005. Yet something interesting happened along the way when an offshoot of the series — Uru: Ages Beyond Myst — evolved into an MMO. With a focus on multiplayer exploration and puzzle-solving instead of non-stop combat, it may be one of the very few MMOs out there that eschews fighting for brainpower.
It’s an oddity, no doubt, and despite it being an incredibly niche title, it has fascinated me enough to pull me into a research rabbit hole. So let’s take a look at Myst Online: Uru Live!
With a dozen members of the all-star cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine returning to reprise their roles for this June’s Star Trek Online: Victory is Life
, one actress has the advantage over the others. Chase Masterson is back for at least her third stint in the MMO, having played fan favorite Leeta in past updates (including as a hologram and as a Mirror Universe villain
With the heavy Deep Space Nine focus on the game’s third expansion, it’s good to see the reunion of a cast from a show that’s now 25(!) years old. Masterson has since gone on to act in many TV shows and movies, perform as a jazz singer, and found an anti-bullying organization called Pop Culture Hero that uses film, comics, and TV to take a stand against bullying in schools and communities.
We sat down with Masterson to talk about reprising the role of Leeta, the continuation of Deep Space Nine, the benefits of maturity, and how we all can be heroes.
The final Deep Space Nine cast members reprising their roles for Star Trek Online: Victory is Life
were announced today, bringing the total up to an impressive 12 voice actors
from the series.
The full roster of DS9 vets that will be encountered in the expansion include Alexander Siddig (Doctor Julian Bashir), Andrew Robinson (Councilor Elim Garak), Armin Shimerman (Quark), Aron Eisenberg (Captain Nog), Bumper Robinson (Elder First Dukan Rex), Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun and Brunt), J.G. Hertzler (General Martok), Max Grodénchik (Grand Nagus Rom), Chase Masterson (Leeta), Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys), René Auberjonois (Odo), and Salome Jens (Female Changeling).
Can you believe that Runes of Magic has been operating for nine years now? That’s a long time. Like… well, like nine years, actually. The important thing is that it’s been running for a while, and you can reap the benefits for the anniversary. For one thing, you can take part in a screenshot competition with your guild; the three best submissions of anniversary parties within each game region will be rewarded with a variety of useful items.
Of course, you can also be rewarded with useful items just for logging in; a new present will wind up in the mailbox of the first character you log in with from March 16th to March 19th. There’s also a 200% boost to quest experience, a 200% boost to drop rates, and a whopping 500% boost to talent points from combat. So after nine years, you’ll be getting a big dose of progress improvement in a short span of time. Get in there and start celebrating.
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.
Were you there?
Many of us were. Many weren’t. Either way, November 23rd, 2004 was a watershed date for the MMORPG industry and one watched and experienced by millions of gamers. It was on this day 13 years ago that Blizzard finally transitioned World of Warcraft from beta testing to live operation, ushering in an age of Azeroth, DKP minus, murlocs, and Leeroy Jenkins.
I was there, both at the end of beta and the start of launch. As time had made a mockery of my memories, I can only remember brief bits: The server downtime, the rise of the phenomenon, making footprints in Coldridge Valley with my Dwarf Hunter, and pretty much shoving every other game to the background for the next year or so.
I thought it might be worth the effort of dusting off the cobwebs of my — and your — memories by revisiting the first three months of World of Warcraft’s live operation, taking us from November 2004 through January 2005. What happened during this time? How did Blizzard respond to the floodgates of players pouring into this game? How different was it from what we play now? Let’s reminisce together!
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.