29 April 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Hardcore MMO gamers never had too much of a reason to check out Valve’s Steam digital distribution service for their cup of tea. Sure, there has always been gems on the platform but never of the massive multiplayer variety. Last year, that all changed with the introduction of free-to-play titles from the likes of Sega, Perfect World Entertainment, Hi-Rez Studios and more. Now another watershed moment is upon us. Valve and Adventurine announced that the subscription-based relaunch of Darkfall is now available on Steam.
Rebranded as Darkfall Unholy Wars, the new title sees the sandbox PvP-based MMORPG reaching an all new audience courtesy of the platform. The twitch-heavy title was passed the Steam Greenlight litmus test in under 24 hours thanks to its focus on rewarding skill and strategy during its real-time fights.
Darkfall Unholy Wars is available on Steam for $39.95 with a $14.95 auto renewal every 30 days. Time to start farming those 78 Steam Achievements.
Seriously, Steam backing subscription-based MMOGs with all the Steam fixings, like Achievements, is potentially the only way this industry could suck more time out of my productive life.
15 April 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Never one to shy controversial topics in the video game industry, Mark Jacobs is expecting the free-to-play genre to get hit hard soon. The lead designer to every Mythic Entertainment game worth mentioning, Jacobs explained to VG247 that the popular F2P business model is just that, another option. He took the analysis further, essentially calling the model an ever-increasing bubble. A bubble, that like the housing market in 2008 and Dot Com bubble in 1999-2000 and everyone before them, is bound to burst.
Again, like those aforementioned bubbles Jacobs expects a catastrophic failure of the F2P model in three to five years due to unsustainable practices. The results? Developer closures and substantial losses for publishers.
You’re going to see a lot of developers shutting down, and you’re going to see a lot of publishers going, oh yeah maybe spending $20 million on a free-to-play game wasn’t the best idea ever. That’s part of the reason, but the other reason is equally as important, that if you go free-to-play, you really have to compete with every other free-to-play game out there.
Jacobs believe that Camelot Unchained, his spiritual successor to Dark Age of Camelot, will fare better by targeting his specific niche of gamers with a (potentially lower) subscription title developed for them. This follows numerous basic business principles of delivering the right unique product to the right target market.
That doesn’t make F2P incorrect or subscription correct. Simply different. To follow the basic business analogy, F2P games are essentially consumer packaged goods that approach a wide market with low margins covered by high volumes.
What’s your take on the potential of a F2P bubble? Could even World of Warcraft launch today and be the same success it was in 2004?
Camelot Unchained is currently over halfway to its $2 million Kickstarter goal with 16 days remaining.
10 April 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Google suggestions agree!
Sadly, the gaming community at large sucks. Not the community that attends Penny Arcade Expo or DragonCon. They’re amazing. Of course there’s plenty of overlap there. It’s when the illusion of anonymity sets in that everything degrades. The adverse impact of the Internet is that many people act as if there are no repercussions to the vitriol that they spout. I’d like to think that most of them do it as a form of fantasy. That is they troll not to express opinions, desires and state of mind that they suppress from everyday life but for kicks, putting people on the tilt or shock value.
The immature behavior isn’t limited to run of the mill players, drunk gamers or, as many will joke, teenagers. I’ve seen my friends do it and hollered at them for adding to the toxic environment. I’ve witnessed drunk gamers be incredibly supportive of lacking teammates instead of flexing virtual beer muscles. And the bans against various pro gamers in League of Legends have been well documented.
Heroes of Newerth’s MilkFat knows what I am talking about, labeling these players as “dicks” in a recent interview.
This vitriol has ruined more than one game for myself and many others. These days I limit my Xbox Live play to a Facebook group that a friend started to avoid trolls. I partly left League of Legends for SMITE due to the player atmosphere. I rarely touch online shooters unless I find a server cluster with a community culture I click with. The fact of the matter is that I value my time and experience more than I did previously. When I game I game to relax, to get away from the day and decompress. Listening to put downs, racist comments and the like is not what I call fun. Continue Reading
9 April 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Blizzard Entertainment was one of the first companies to begin supporting eSports. It began with StarCraft and followed with Warcraft 3. Making it way back in the day. World of Warcraft and its Arena scene was the next attempt. It didn’t really work out. In the meantime, StarCraft became the largest eSports game on the planet, popularizing the sport across the globe. The WoW misfire was followed up by StarCraft II’s scene, which was subsequently dwarfed by increasing popularity of League of Legends.
Diablo III’s PvP now canned, Blizzard Entertainment isn’t looking to tone it down. In fact, the company announced that it has purchased the IGN Pro League technology and assets. Blizzard is absorbing the league, including various staffers, to create “high-quality web and mobile content” of its products.
The $100,000 Shootmania launch tournament will be the last tournament held under the IPL brand. IGN chose to sell its eSports brand to become platform agnostic, according to executive vice president Peer Schneider. IGN will now partner with multiple organizations to cover their events, rather than taking the full burden of production upon itself.
8 March 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Chris "The Hoarder" Taylor
Wargaming.net, maker of F2P strategy titles such as World of Tanks, World of Warplanes and World of Battleships, has been on a buying spree lately. First a middleware company, then snapping up Day 1 Studios to expedite its entry into the console market. It’s most recent purchase was that of Gas Powered Games, the Seattle-based studio that hinged its future on the Kickstarter project Wildman, which failed to meet its funding goal. The mid-February deal in the books, Wargaming.net still hasn’t divulged exactly what Wargaming Seattle will be working on.
But the meeting of the minds has happened. Senior Producer Chris Keeling recently visited the offices of the new studio, absorbing the reinvigorated developer’s positive vibes. Keeling refrains from discussing specifics, but acknowledges that the visions of Chris Taylor and Wargaming are on the same page; bringing fun, innovative ideas to the F2P genre.
Perhaps most interesting is Taylor’s expectations of the purchase. With the firm’s administration being handled by the parent company – a round of hiring is expected – Taylor can return his entire focus to what he does best, game design.
27 February 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Mythic Entertainment announced earlier today that part of Warhammer Online will be taken offline on March 29. It’s not the MMORPG proper, but a spin-off that Mythic hoped would be a lucrative one. Wrath of Heroes, the free-to-play MOBA that went into open beta way back in 2011 will never see the beta label removed.
Dubbed by producer James Casey as an “experiment,” Wrath of Heroes has not been dubbed a failure in the company’s eyes.
We were able to test new server technology, learn more about the free-to-play market, and engage in endless quick, down and dirty, three-way battles any time of day or night. On all of these fronts, we were able to make great inroads and insights and deliver a fast and frenetic game.
Gems, the RMT currency, will not be refunded. Instead, Mythic is awarding supporting players past, present and future with a free month of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning and a code to open a Wrath chest in the MMORPG. Mythic will also be releasing work-in-progress heroes until the title shutters its doors.
You can find out more about the impending shutdown, including what the chest contains, on the official FAQ.
27 February 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Alright, fine. We’re hijacking this bit of news in a self-serving interest. Wanna fight about it? You do? Crap…how about I buy you a drink instead? Now that my wallet’s lighter, back to the news. And it really is news!
Blizzard Entertainment has reportedly announced that the company will be attending Penny Arcade Expo East, the annual gathering of everything nerd in Boston. It’s noteworthy because the company rarely ventures outside of its own venue, BlizzCon, these days. Even routinely skipping E3. Perhaps skipping BlizzCon 2012 has given the company some motive. Or, as most people are assuming, Blizzard wants to begin putting Diablo III for PS3/4 into the hands of consumers!
The catch there is we already knew that’d be shown at PAX East. As GameFront pointed out, the email is more mysterious, referring to the “new Blizzard project” that isn’t an expansion, Project Titan or a sequel. Blizzard All-Stars mayhaps?
Whatever it is, the traveling Lore Hound crew will have it covered for you!
21 February 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Clearly, if you’re here, you’re an MMO gamer. And, if you’re here, you may not be super interested in the ongoing attempts by multiple developers and publishers to expand the genre to consoles. Far more have failed to launch than anything, although Sony has had a moderately successful track record thanks to inhouse Sony Online Entertainment products (DC Universe Online) and good relations with Square Enix (Final Fantasy XI).
The official announcement of the PlayStation 4 came with one massive announcement from Blizzard Entertainment and a rather expected reveal from Bungie. Let’s start with the predictable. Destiny, the freshly announced MMO shooter from Bungie, will head to the PlayStation 4 as one of its target platforms. A PC release still remains in the discussion.
The more unexpected announcement came from Blizzard’s Chris Metzen. Standing in front of the jumbo screen the shadeless Metzen revealed that Diablo III will be heading to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, complete with 4-player co-op without split screen. We’ve known Blizzard has been investigating the feasibility of a console port for some time, but the exclusivity – at least so far – and implementation are what set this announcement apart.
Looking for more on the #PlayStation2013 event? GamerNode has a good recap including many first-look items.