10 June 2013
| | iTZKooPA
It’s unfortunate that Another One Bites The Dust exists, but necessary. This column chronicles the fateful announcements ahead of an MMOGs’ downfall, a company closure or, in some truly sad cases, both. Grab your Big Gulp and let some hit the floor for the fallen.
Real-time strategy and PvP experts Petroglyph Games have had a difficult year. The ambitious task of creating an enjoyable MMORTS fell flat when Trion Worlds removed End of Nations from the studio’s creative team. Struggling, the company soldiered on, with its new-age MMOG – that’d be MOBAs – product Rise of Immortals. A fiercely competitive subgenre championed by League of Legends, RoI received a lukewarm reception. Thus, Petroglyph relaunched the title with a massive update known as Battle for Graxia.
The revamp failed to gain any significant traction since its release only two months ago. The company will reward faithful players with a cache of free Petroglyph coins to spend on anything in the game up until its closing on June 27. Despite the sad news, the company remains somewhat positive of the title’s future specifically stating that it retains the “right to bring BFG back online at some time and hope to do so in the future.”
Until such time, there isn’t much positive happening for the former Westwood Studios crew. The attempted Kickstarter also failed. More fuel for the Mark Jacobs ‘F2P is unsustainable‘ fire.
10 June 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Hey, what’s that? There’s a big game convention or something going on this week? Oh, cool. Normally E3 isn’t a bastion of MMOG news, but Wargaming.net never misses a marketing opportunity. But hey, why wait for the actual convention to start when you can just push out your trailer and beat the crowd?
The official E3 trailer is all pomp and circumstance as there’s very little in-game footage on display. That being said, the cinematic trailer is a testament to the company’s overall skill at getting the adrenaline pumping. Things go boom, slice through the water at unfathomable speed and there’s bass. Lots of it.
If the World of Battleships Michael Bay edition didn’t suit your fancy, perhaps the other Wargaming.net E3 tidbit did. That, of course, being the final for real official announcement that World of Tanks is heading to Xbox 360. This shock absolutely no one that’s been following the recent industry purchases of Wargaming.net.
9 May 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Take a pedigree of board and card game development. Now, after cementing the foundation of your company with years of that experience, absorb the knowledge of the most successful massively multiplayer online video game of all time. What’s that a recipe for? “Success” you say? Sure, but ho…oh! I see now.
Cryptozoic, the creator/publisher of a variety of deck-building and trading card games and a handful of normal board games, including taking over the World of Warcraft TCG after the Upper Deck split, announced an upcoming revenue stream. Hex, the hopeful MMO TCG from Cryptozoic is currently sitting at 41% of its funding goal on Kickstarter with 28 days to go. At this rate the title is almost a shoo in for funding.
Gear, bonuses, customization, RPG aspects, multiplatform, 6 classes and 8 races, guilds, advanced PvE AI, auction house. The list goes on. Literally. They’ve already secured far too much of my money after reading the whole post.
If I pay enough, perhaps I’ll get another card named after a pet.
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.
8 March 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Richard Garriott, or Lord British, the mastermind behind the Ultima universe, is returning to the core video game market despite his current company, Portalarium, having a stated focus of creating content for the social network market. Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues is to be a fantasy RPG that harkens back to actually role playing.
Not an MMOG by any means, but Shroud of the Avatar will offer an online component, including PvP. The Kickstarter project seems in no risk of failing having accumulated nearly a fourth of its $1 million goal in 24 hours.
- Interactive virtual world
- “Deep” original fiction
- Physical game items available to collect
- Multiplayer online game with the capability to be played solo or offline
- Classless system
- Player housing
- Crafting system that can be a hobby or career
- PvP with minimized griefing
- Scene based encounters
Now which backer level to go for…
Hit the jump for the official reveal trailer.
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.
19 February 2013
| | Mordil
I actually have heard and somewhat followed (through MMO-Champion’s news postings) this project for a long time now. It started as a small April Fool’s joke awhile back, and has now gone full blown into a serious development cycle.
I feel very in tune with the developer company, named Upheaval Arts, as this project is very much akin to the Amalos project I’m working on.
Here’s the description of the project from Upheaval Arts on YouTube, and the trailer.
For the last two years we’ve been developing a project known as ‘StarCraft Universe’, an MMO-Style RPG Mod for StarCraft II.
We’re excited to release the single-player Prologue of our game designed to introduce you to our story, and teach you how to play!
StarCraft Universe takes place in an alternate timeline, 11 years after the events which transpire in the ‘In Utter Darkness scenario of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign. It’s our vision of how the universe may have been for any survivors of the hybrid onslaught which ensued, had Kerrigan died.
If you’re curious why we’re only releasing the single-player content, it’s because we need to release this project slowly to ensure all of our core systems work properly. This project is a massive undertaking, which completely alters the way the SC2 engine operates, and we’re a very small team without a big QA department. YOU guys will be our quality assurance!
Multiplayer content has been in development for a while now, and we hope to bring you some in a few months if this release runs smoothly.
14 February 2013
| | iTZKooPA
Both of these headliners have been in the news recently for vastly different reasons. Wargaming.net has continued to celebrate its champion status of the F2P market, announcing a massive visual overhaul to World of Warplanes and the purchase of Day 1 Studios to accelerate its entry into the console market. On the flip side, superstar designer Chris Taylor’s Gas Powered Games made headlines for a last ditch effort at staying afloat through Kickstarter.
The Kickstarter for Taylor’s action RPG Wildman was canceled earlier this week.
Now the tandem are together, as the pair announced that Wargaming.net has swooped in to purchase Gas Powered Games, which admitted to being in trouble during its Kickstarter campaign for Wildman. The financial terms have not been disclosed.
The plans Wargaming.net has for GPG have not been revealed as of press time. GPG is a PC-centric developer with a focus on strategy titles.