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MMOs.com Podcast – Episode 150: User Created Content, Bless, PoE, & More - YouTube
MMOs.com Podcast Episode 150 - Omer (@remotayx) and Erhan (@Ehaltay)
This is episode one hundred and fifty of the MMOs.com Podcast and we look at the most recent news and happenings in the MMO and gaming world. As always we jumped right into the Weekly Raid, "Can User Generated Content Work in MMOs?" We talked about the use of player made custom costumes / clothes in MapleStory 2 as well as possible player made content in Dual Universe. We also talked about how player made content has played such a big role in gaming history and how it could be applied to MMOs. We also talked a great deal about Bless's monetization plans.
The impact of user created content, including such things as mods, maps, addons, and so on, can hardly be overstated. Entire genres have spawned from mods like Counter-Strike, Dota, and various Battle Royale modes. The dream of bringing the creativity and scale made possible by user generated content into the MMO genre has been around for years. Before Minecraft, Notch worked on a MMORPG called Wurm Online which offered a vast, modifiable world. Unfortunately, the complexity proved to limit its appeal to a niche audience.
Since then, we've seen projects like EverQuest Next & Landmark burn out before even launching. Even more benign forms of user created content like add-ons seem to be on the decline. World of Warcraft, which launched way back in 2004, allowed users to customize not just the UI but to create add-ons which gave players access to a host of data including databases of items, auction house stats, and much more. While there are still some add-on friendly MMORPGs like Elder Scrolls Online, many others strictly prohibit their use.
In anticipation for their Steam Early Access launch this week, World's Adrift developer Bossa Studios has done a number of interviews in the gaming press. I was particularly fond of a GamesIndustryBiz interview that highlights some of what World's Adrift has already accomplished and what's in store in the future.
Of particular note is the fact that an in-game tool called Worlds Adrift Island Creator is available to all players. All of the islands featured in the game were created by users using this tool. The Steam Workshop now allows players to vote on and rate which submitted islands deserve to make it into the live game. This sounds familiar to what Landmark was trying to achieve coupled with EverQuest Next. The difference is that World's Adrift is actually pulling it off, albeit at a far less ambitious scale. While World's Adrift does include persistent world and bills itself as a MMO, its certainly not at the same scale that EverQuest Next was trying to achieve.
That doesn't mean World's Adrift can't serve as a great example of what is possible for the genre going forward. Powered by the much hyped SpacialOS engine, World's Adrift claims that all downed ships and altered landscapes (player created bases and so forth) will be permanent in the game world. That means players will be able to discover the crashed ships of their friends, or even popular personalities like streamers.
Responding to a claim that relying on user generated content could be a form of exploitation, Bossa Studio co-founder Henrique Olifiers responds:
"If you think about Minecraft, for instance, or every mod that you play - isn't that outsourcing the game to the community as well? If you play Counter-Strike, you're playing an outsourced game, because it was a mod on Half-Life.
This is nothing new. If you go back to the days of Neverwinter Nights and the Aurora toolset, you played the main game but the fun of it was the mods and the stuff made by people who enjoy it. DayZ was a mod, PUBG was a mod, Dota was a mod... I could go on. There is something there that the industry overlooks and doesn't appreciate how much the players have created over time."
The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset expansion is now out on PC and Mac. Players can now journey to the Summerset Isles, the ancestral home of the High Elves. And, as expected, Bethesda has released a new cinematic trailer to mark the expansion’s launch.
“The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset is now in Early Access on PC/Mac and will be available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on June 5, 2018. Queen Ayrenn has opened Summerset’s borders to all, but ancient enemies and Daedric forces plot in the shadows to bring forth a very different future for the island and its people. Gather your allies, explore a paradise unmatched in its beauty and ancient history, and prepare to fight for the heart and soul of Summerset – and ultimately, Tamriel.”
If you haven’t grabbed a copy, the Summerset is still available for pre-purchase. Pre-purchased expansions include a free copy of the Morrowind expansion, the Nightmare Senche mount, new costumes, pets, and more. You can grab a copy here.
And now, without further ado, I present to you the new Summerset launch trailer.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset - Official Cinematic Trailer - YouTube
Echo of Soul Phoenix, a reboot of Aeria Game’s Echo of Soul MMORPG, officially launched in December last year featuring new content and gameplay changes that made progressing through the game a little bit harder. Aeria Games, however, continued to run classic servers for players who didn’t want to make the change. Sadly, the studio announced that they will be shutting down their western classic servers on Wednesday, May 23rd.
“With solemn news and heavy hearts we will have to announce the closing of our Classic servers. On May 23, 2018 during the maintenance, the NA and EU Classic servers will close their doors forever. The Classic servers have left us with countless memories, friendships and bonds. 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. The web shop will be closed for Classic making purchases unavailable, but the servers will remain open until this date.”
Aeria is inviting classic players to join the Phoenix servers and is offering a welcome package for all new players. “[. . .] 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,” says the studio. “Classic will be missed dearly from all players and the team, but you can rise again with your new legacy in Phoenix.”
Hi-Rez Studios has brought out the mighty ban hammer and is actively cracking down on toxic SMITE players. According to a recent developer update, the studio has taken action against over 2,000 players on all platforms because of allegedly toxic in-game behavior. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands more have faced the studios wrath in Season 5 alone.
“Over 20,000 players have been suspended or banned in SMITE during Season 5 so far. However, this latest action today represents a ramp-up in our suspension activities, especially on Xbox and PS4, where our tools and processes have improved the most.
One of our top priorities is making sure the player experience is positive and fun, and we’ve done major work recently to help us handle in game toxicity. We’ve been working hard to improve our machine learning tools to better identify players that have shown trends of negative behavior, as well as ramp up the efforts of our internal team at Hi-Rez that checks player reports and chat logs.”
Hi-Rez says that player reports are instrumental in maintaining a positive game environment and is encouraging players to continue to make full use of the in-game reporting system. The studio also says that this is just the first step to promoting positive behavior and handling negativity in the game. “We have more improvements planned for the coming months to continue this initiative, so stay tuned,” the studio said.
The SMITE team is also hard at work polishing up the upcoming Dragon’s Fortune 5.9 update. Watch the devs talk about it in the Dragon’s Fortune showcase video after the jump.
SMITE - 5.9 "Dragon's Fortune" Showcase - Live Show VOD - YouTube
Conan Exiles has seen a steady decline in its playerbase since the game’s Early Access launch in January 2017. The open-world survival MMORPG peaked at 53k concurrent players in February 2017 dropping to a 3k-player average in just five months, mostly because of negative reviews on Steam.
Surprisingly, Funcom was able to turn things around, regaining most of their playerbase when the game launched earlier this month. According to analytics tracking website GitHyp, the game peaked at 49k concurrent players on May 13th, just a few days after its May 8th launch date.
The tracking site says that the game’s successful comeback is because of the developers’ dedication to improving the game. “When it debuted on Steam, feedback from players was Mixed with many complaining that the $29.99 game was unplayable in its current state,” says GitHyp. “Since coming out of early access last week with a $10 higher price tag, reviews from players have changed to Mostly Positive — placing it back in Steam’s top 10 most played.”
Funcom also rolled out a small update for Conan Exiles over the weekend which introduced the new AFK system along with a number of bug fixes. The same update also just went live for console versions of the game.
Check out the official Conan Exiles cinematic trailer after the jump.
Summer is here and Pokemon GO is celebrating with new Pokemon variants with a distinctly tropical vibe. If you’re a long-time Pokemon fan you probably know what I’m talking about. Niantic announced that they will soon be releasing Alolan forms of the original 150 Kanto Pokemon.
“Sunny days are ahead! Whether your forecast calls for rain or shine, we’re celebrating all around the world by introducing some special Pokémon from the tropical Alola region to Pokémon GO. Get ready for some of the Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region to appear in their Alolan forms! These unique variants were first seen in the Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon video games, and they will make their way to Pokémon GO in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for news related to this exciting change—and don’t forget to tell your friends! Stay safe, and happy exploring!”
Alolan Pokemon have unique traits and skills that set them apart from their Pokemon “ancestors”. What this means for the AR game is still unknown since Niantic has been skimpy on the details. But, we’ll let you know as soon as we hear more.
Square Enix released patch 4.3 "Under the Moonlight" for Final Fantasy XIV today which introduced additional main story content, a new alliance raid, updates to the Manderville Gold Saucer, new Namazu beast tribe quests, a new dungeon, new housing craftables, new emotes, hairstyles, balance changes, and much more! Check out the official patch 4.3 trailer below:
FINAL FANTASY XIV Patch 4.3 - Under the Moonlight - YouTube
This is a big update to the game and should keep players busy for quite a while. The new alliance raid roulette should help gear people up as well. There's still a lot of goodies set to launch in the near future:
Bless is only 1 week from its early access launch date (May 28th) and to keep the hype train going Neowiz released their newest trailer for the game titled "Tame the World of Bless":
[Bless Online] Tame the World of Bless - YouTube
The trailer shows off various regions in the game as well as the unique creatures that inhabit them. With 660 unique creatures available for taming, the game's taming system seems pretty in-depth. Tamed creatures can be used as mounts or simply as companions.
Bless Early Access begins on May 28th for those who purchase founders packs and May 30th for everyone else.
The Chinese gaming juggernaut Tencent has acquired a majority stake in New Zealand based Grinding Gear Games, best known as the studio behind the Action-RPG Path of Exile.
Tencent now owns 80% of Grinding Gear Games, but no dollar figures were released. We'll likely get those numbers during Tencent's next earnings report. In the mean time, GGG says Tecent's invest will not effect the independence of the studio. So far, Tencent has been a good steward of the gaming studios it has purchased or invested in. Tencent owns Riot Games and Supercell, the mobile studio behind Clash of Clans and Clash Royale. Tencent also has a 40% minority stake in Fortnite developer Epic Games.
Grinding Gear Games managing Director Chris Wilson states the some of the funds made available will be used to expand studio from 114 to 130 full time employees. Many more expansions are planned for Path of Exile which first entered open beta back in 2013. A major update, dubbed 4.0.0 is scheduled to enter beta testing by early 2020.
Path of Exile offers one of the best implementations of the free to play model. Besides cosmetics, the only advantage paying players receive is additional storage space in their stash. The game has grown in popularity each year since its release and is still seeing double digit growth in its playerbase.