Now that the next World of Warcraft expansion is almost upon us, it’s time to say farewell to Legion and all that that entails. MMO blog Leo’s Life took some time for a retrospective that examines the highs, lows, and patch rollout over the past two years.
“Aside from the penalties to alts, I think Legion delivered an amazing package,” he said. “The timing of content release was good, the content was relatively bug-free, the lore was solid, the flows inside each zone worked… it was all rather seamless.”
We’ve got plenty of additional MMO essays for you after the break, covering topics such as player housing, grouping, events, ageless MMO thrills, and more!
Last week, we reported on an emerging lawsuit lodged over the new Westworld mobile game. Bethsoft is suing Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. over what it characterizes as copyright theft from Fallout Shelter. Behaviour (you know it from MMO Eternal Crusade) developed Fallout Shelter for Bethsoft and stands accused of reusing its design, actual code (complete with identical bugs), and “substantially similar gameplay” for Westworld for Warner Bros., entirely without permission. Bethsoft claims Behaviour and WB breached their contract, misappropriated trade secrets, infringed on copyrights, and unfairly competed with it in relation to the two games; it demands that the court put a halt to distribution of the Westworld game and award Bethesda appropriate damages.
Warner Bros. isn’t rolling over for this. The media conglom told GamesIndustry.biz that Bethsoft’s claims are unsubstantiated and untrue – that WB never asked Behaviour to re-use Fallout Shelter’s code, and that Behaviour didn’t do it anyway.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin agree that two is the best number in the world, especially when it comes to video games! It’s a hodge-podge of topics, including Guild Wars 2’s latest episode, The Crew 2’s launch, Trion Worlds’ Gazillion acquisition, 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:
A trio of companies known best to our audience for their MMOs are gearing up for a big court battle in the streets of Sweetwater.
Bethsoft is apparently suing Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. over alleged copyright theft in the brand-new Westworld mobile game. You’ll recall Behaviour from its development of MMO Eternal Crusade, and of course Bethsoft owns Fallout – it’s Fallout Shelter that Bethsoft believes was “ripped off” here.
Bethsoft says Behaviour and WB breached their contract, misappropriated trade secrets, infringed on copyrights, and unfairly competed with it in relation to the two games. Apparently, Behaviour developed Fallout Shelter for Bethsoft and stands accused of reusing its design, actual code (complete with identical bugs), and “substantially similar gameplay” for Westworld for Warner Bros., entirely without permission.
I was a wide-eyed, naive kid when I first stepped into Ultima Online in 1997, and as it turns out, the developers were too.
That’s my takeaway from reading through the Ultima Online chunk of Raph Koster’s new book, Postmortems. Koster, as any dedicated MMORPG fan will recall, went by “Designer Dragon” back then as the creative lead on the game. Having come from a MUD background, he and his wife Kristin Koster were instrumental in shaping Richard Garriott’s seminal MMORPG and therefore the genre as we know it.
Koster kindly sent us a preprint of the book, unwittingly robbing himself of $35, as I was going to buy it anyway, and it’s massive, folks: over 700 pages spanning three decades and the majority of the online games Koster’s worked on during his long tenure in the gaming industry. Some of those games are definitely of more interest to our readers on Massively OP, in particular Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. It’s the Ultima Online chapters I aim to cover today.
What do you get when you mash up Rimworld, The Sims, and EVE Online? Probably a big mess, but adjacent to that mess somewhere is Seed. Developed by Klang Games and using Improbable OS, Seed is a colony simulator in which players will make high-level management decisions about a fledgling settlement while their villagers go on living and working even while the player is offline.
It is an unusual and different sort of MMO than players are used to seeing, which is why it might be prudent to watch this short interview by PC Gamer to understand the full sales pitch for this sci-fi title.
“What we’re doing is a game that’s about simulating life. That isn’t a space that’s been explored before. We think we’re pretty early movers in simulation-based MMOs,” said Klang Co-Founder Mundi Vondi. Check out the interview below!
When we moved over here to Massively Overpowered, some of us transplanted our long-running columns to the new space. I perhaps felt most devastated that I was going to lose all of the Game Archaeologist articles that I had painstakingly researched over the years. So my mission with this space became two-fold: to rescue and update my older columns while continuing to add more articles to this series on classic MMOs and proto-MMOs.
I’ve been pleased with the results so far because TGA is a series that I really don’t want to see vanish. As MMORPG fans, we should consider it important to remember and learn about these older titles and to expand our knowledge past the more popular and well-known games of yesteryear.
Now that we have quite a catalogue of Game Archaeologist columns, I thought it would be helpful to end the year by gifting this handy guide to you that organizes and compiles our continuing look at the history of the genre. Enjoy!
We don’t cover the Battlefield games much on Massively OP, but this particular story caught my attention anyway because of the company and subject involved. According to a piece on Gamasutra, EA has effectively stymied a player-run effort to resurrect several Battlefield games, including Battlefield Heroes, as de facto emulators with online services, which have attracted significant fan support.
Revive Network says it was issued a polite request – not a formal cease-and-desist demand – by EA’s legal team, casually asking the site-runners to put an end to distrbuting the clients that make the resurrection possible.
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?
Today we want to give a shout-out to Massively OP reader Katriana for a really neat project that she shared recently! A Secret World
fan, Katriana recreated the iconic Franklin Mansion’s blueprints, landscaping, and decorations from the MMORPG.
Franklin Mansion is Secret World Legends’ quintessential haunted house, sporting secret passages, a dark history, plenty of ghosts, a squad of cats, a time travel mirror, and one old lady who is stoically riding it out until her death.
Check out her work in this gallery and give some props to Katriana in the comments!
Let’s face it: There isn’t really a huge pool of MMORPGs from the 1990s to explore in this column. By now I have done most of them, including some of the more obscure titles. Yet there has always been this one game that I have shied away from covering, even though it (a) was an actual MMO from the ’90s and (b) is still operating even today. And that game is, of course, Furcadia.
So why my reluctance? To be honest, I suppose it was my reluctance to tackle anything in the “furry” fandom without knowing how to handle it. I don’t quite get the fascination with wanting to pretend to be an animal, and some of the expressions that I’ve seen in the news and online from this community have made me uncomfortable. Thus I kept away because I was worried that a piece that I wrote on Furcadia would devolve into a nonstop stream of jokes to cover that personal disquiet.
But I’ve tiptoed around this MMO long enough, and I have come to realize that there is virtue in earnestly trying to understand a subculture that is outside of my bubble, even if I don’t end up appreciating or liking it. Casting off preconceptions and simple snark, let us take a look at this unique title and see what it has to offer for the larger genre.
It looks like any hopes of a Sims Online resurrection as a fan emulator project might be put to rest for good. The creator of FreeSO, a somewhat popular Sims Online emulator, announced that Electronic Arts had been talking with him about TSO. While he complied with the initial communique to remove blatant Sims references and related logos, the games developer sent a second email that basically put the kibosh on FreeSO as well as a side project to bring the original Sims to mobile devices:
“I received further correspondence from EA, regarding my plans to bring TS1 to mobile devices, as well as potentially FreeSO. To protect their IP, they asked that I cease and desist any efforts to bring either of these games to mobile or any other plaforms. While both projects are entirely legal (copyrighted content and references to The Sims provided by the user, not the replacement engines themselves), I do not want to step on EA’s toes, and will obviously comply with their requests rather than starting some kind of expensive legal battle.”
As a gamer, I have many regrets that certain projects never came to fruition or the ones that did ended up not being quite as advertised. And in the field of MMORPGs, I definitely regret the flop that was The Sims Online, because I think it was an actual good idea done really, really badly.
On paper, such a game has so much going for it. The Sims was and still is a very popular franchise with a lot of name recognition among players. It stresses creation and creativity over destruction, and opening the franchise up to massively multiplayer seemed like a logical step. Yet TSO stumbled with its antiquated graphics, characters that had no “free will” of their own, and incredibly dull gameplay. Also, too many brothels.
I think it’s an idea that’s worth another go, maybe as EA looks at The Sims 5 and thinks about connecting players to each other more than in the past. I’d be all over an MMO that’s 80% player housing and 20% making virtual characters piddle their pants because I removed the door to the toilet. What do you think?