Posts Tagged ‘mmorpg’

Why Champions Online?

26 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

I ask this question because it seems like nobody else in the industry is going to ask it. Why is Cryptic Studios making Champions Online? It baffles me that they would even think about persuing another game in this direction. Don’t get me wrong, I liked City of Heroes and all that, and I fully believe in Cryptic’s ability to make awesome MMORPGs based on superheroes, but it just seems so odd. Allow me to start from the beginning.

A few months ago, Cryptic and NCSoft agreed on a deal to transfer ownership of City of Heroes/Villains over to NCSoft. Before this, the game was published by NCSoft, and was owned by Cryptic. Cryptic then announced that they had been working on a new MMORPG, one that was not yet announced. Of course, everybody, at that time, knew that Cryptic had entered into a deal with Marvel and Microsoft to create a new super heroes MMO based off the Marvel comics entitled: Marvel Universe. It was naturally assumed that this was the “unnamed” project that Cryptic would be working on (MMOCrunch.com was no different). As it turns out, however, Marvel Universe got the axe by Microsoft and the title slipped into oblivion. Of course a few days after we all heard about the Marvel Universe news, we also heard about Champions Online.

Now back to my original question. Why Champions Online? Why would Cryptic, who already had a good relationship running a successful MMORPG for NCSoft suddenly sell their old property to them to begin work on a new IP based roughly around the same idea? City of Heroes was a success, and still is (130,000 subs and counting). Perhaps it was because NCSoft refused to allow Cryptic to make a City of Heroes sequel. Let’s face it, most of the time, MMORPGs do not need/warrant a sequel. They usually aren’t profitable and players from the first game don’t want to lose everything they achieved to begin work on a new one for the sequel. So, is that it? Was Champions Online birthed simply because of NCSoft’s refusal to support a sequel? Perhaps Champions Online was actually City of Heroes 2, but upon rejection of the idea late last year by NCSoft they decided to continue to persue it under a different name. We’ll probably never really know. . .

Of course, a lot of my article here is speculations and conjecture. I don’t know why exactly we have what we have today. However, it still seems a bit odd to me that Cryptic would want to sell City of Heroes and then go out and start a new MMORPG that would put itself in direct competition with their old IP. Something must have happened that caused the split between the two. But if not my theory then what else could have happened?

Is WoW Killing the Industry?

22 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Over the years that WoW has had it’s mega-success very few people have stopped to look at the pieces that have been left in the games wake. It’s very easy to look at the numbers of subscribers and amount of profits they rake in each quarter and claim that the industry as a whole is growing and is very healthy, but is it really? In all of WoW’s success have they almost single handedly killed the industry?

Just to clear things up before I continue, I like WoW. To me, it is a very polished game that was loads of fun. While I don’t currently retain my subscription to it I did play for about 2 years. . . I even had a druid at level 70. Please refrain from calling me a WoW-hating fanboy of another game. All around I am a huge fan of Blizzard. I had to get that out of the way, sorry.

Anyways, back on topic, I am sure if you were to ask a number of developers the primary reason for their games floundering or not acheiving the same level of success as WoW they would blame it on the extraordinary success of the World of Warcraft. So, are these developers just bitter and envious of success, or do they actually hold some merit of truth? Look at it this way: Lord of the Rings Online is often touted as a very successful MMORPG. However, that said, if you look at the recently updated MMOGChart.com website you notice that LoTRO still only has around 300,000 subscribers. This is a far cry from the 10,000,000 that WoW boasts in it’s ever increasing fold. How is a game that is called a “break-out” hit in 2007 only account for 3% of what WoW has?

This, of course, isn’t to say that all industry flops are WoW’s fault. There have been plenty of stinkers released that failed on their own accord. Vanguard launched way to early and as such became known as one of the biggest flops in the history of MMORPGs. WoW had nothing to do with that. However, for games such as Tabula Rasa, and Pirates of the Burning Sea, both decent games that are inherently different from WoW, is the success of the World of Warcraft causing shortages of subscriptions for these games? Probably, both of these games were funded heavily, and launched with hopes to gain a sizable subscriber base to make the games profitable. Unfortunately, I doubt either one is profitable right now, and that only spells out one thing: less investor interest.

My entire point with this article is basically to look at the success of WoW, and the flops of almost every other MMORPG in comparison, with the eyes of an investor. If you had money to sink into an MMORPG property would you, honestly, be willing to take such a gamble? Afterall, the chances are extremely high at this point that the game will not achieve the same level of success as WoW, and as such will never gain the same amount of money. In fact, you probably will never see a return on that investment ever again. . . Is that something you really want to invest money into? Probably not, and I am sure this has turned away at least one investor prior to my writing of this. I guess the only thing we can truly hope for in the de-thronement of WoW into a more stabilized MMO economy by the likes of Warhammer Online and Age of Conan.  

Thanks for reading.

Battle of the Screenshots! EVE vs. PoTBS Edition

18 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

So I was sitting here, at my computer, looking through screenshots of some of my favorite games. Yes, that’s right, sometimes I like to look at screenshots as opposed to actually playing the game. I’m just cool like that. Anyways, I got to thinking which games have better graphics. Of course, at this point, I, in no way, was thinking specifically of Pirates of the Burning Sea and EVE Online, but it did eventually lead into that. The games are already compared to each other on so many levels why not graphics as well? Both are touted as having fantastic environment graphics, as well as ship graphics. Enjoy the screenies, and don’t forget to tell us which ones you prefer!

Here, we have two screenshots, each depicting beautiful backdrops and gorgeous effects. For EVE Online (left) the lighting is especially well-done. For Pirates of the Burning Sea (right) the water just leaps right out at you. Our verdict: Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Now these two shots are actually contrasting each other. We have EVE (left) featuring a very bright, orange screenshot with loads of detail and backdrops. The sun in the background makes the shot look particularly gorgeous. Pirates (roght), on the other hand, has a darker backdrop. While the darkness helps conceal some of the bland textures in the background, it also takes away some of the beauty of the water. Our verdict: EVE Online.

Finally, we have two screenshots that show a bit of action. EVE (left) has a lot of detail in the background as well as an aweomse picture of a ship firing at something. On the other hand we have a Pirates screenshot (right) showing off some of the battle sequences. The water, as always, looks spectacular. The real gem in this shot is the physics of the wood flying up after the initial explosion. Also if you look closely at the water you’ll notice some excellently rendered reflections in the water. Our verdict: Pirates of the Burning Sea.

So, this round, Pirates of the Burning Sea took the torch in a 2:1 victory. It’s not all that surprising, to be honest, despite receiving a graphics overhaul recently, EVE Online is still a few years older than Pirates of the Burning Sea. All of the screenshots were, obviously, looked at with an artist’s perspective in mind as I believe games are one of the highest forms of art out there today. A lot of work and care goes into giving each of these games gorgeous graphics.

So, which do you think are better?

No KoTOR MMO. . . I think

13 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Looks like I have some bad news for a bunch of Republic fans today. Although it’s not 100% confirmed, given the recent rumours, and now this EA investors report I’d say the possibility of an MMORPG based on Knights of the Old Republic is practically non-existant.

According to the rumours, and this report definitely confirms them, BioWare has begun working on a third installment of Knights of the Old Republic. This has been confirmed. What hasn’t been confirmed is whether or not this will be a traditional sequel to the beloved franchise or an MMORPG. However, I really wouldn’t get your hopes up for the latter. As you can clearly see above it shows that BioWare is working on 4 projects now: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, KOTOR, and “New MMO”. Had KoTOR been the “New MMO” they probably wouldn’t have separated it with a comma like they did with every other game in the report.

Once again, this is not confirmed, but I really wouldn’t get your hopes up. You’ll only get tham dashed later. On the lighter side of the news today, I have been hearing murmurings of a new Star Wars MMO being made by an unannounced company. Anything has got to be better than the one that’s out now right?

LOTRO: Book 12 is Upon Us

12 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Getting back into LOTRO about 2 weeks ago, I’ve been looking torwards to the next bid game update, Book 12. Aside from the usual bug fixes, new quests and character balancing, Book 12 actually has some things worth talking about. First up is the new outfit system. While not adding anything to the actual game play, I’m actually pretty excited about this. One of my big pet peeves in MMORPGs is that characters look way too similar, there are usually never enough options to make you feel as though your character is unique. With this new system in place they have added hundreds if not thousands of different outfit combos that you can now use to make you character distinct. While these new outfits provide absolutely no bonuses to your characters stats, they do make you look sexy :)

Second and more importantly Trubine has added a new area, The Delving of Fror, in the PvP zone of Ettenmoors. In an attempt to make PvP worth playing they have introduced “soul stones” which are dropped by mobs within this dwelling. These stones can be traded to item vendors for a number of armor, weapon and jewelry sets as well as consumables and crafting recipes. Creeps can also use these stones to purchase new corruptions, new skills, new traits, special sessions and new environmental mod.

Now the really interesting part is that in order to take control of the Delving of Fror, all other zones within Ettenmoors must be taken over. This now gives PvP players a reason to attack these other zones other then to get valor tokens, which are worthless. Another small but cool feature is that if your in the Delving of Fror when one of the zones is lost, the main doors shut close, trapping you withing the zone while mobs begin to flood in. In cases like this you need to either map out or use a special skill to flee before the enemy gets you.

I’ve been pretty harsh on LOTRO in the past, but it looks like there getting on the right track. Some more work on PvP and they might have a decent game on their hands.

What's Next for Final Fantasy? MMO Edition!

11 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

And I ask this because, in all likelyhood, Square-Enix’s next big MMO project will probably be another Final Fantasy game. Anyways, according to our buddies over at Massively, it would seem that there is a tasty little rumour flying around: Square plans on announcing their next big MMO at GDC this year. Now I’m not going to delve into the where, what, why, etc of this matter. For all that kind of news you can go ahead and click on the link above. What I am going to be talking about here are the possibilities of what that MMO might be and how it pertains to the Final Fantasy world.

In the past couple of years Square has gone on record as saying two things (paraphrased of course):

  1. They wish to expand the Final Fantasy VII universe and add more games to that legacy.
  2. They are currently developing FFXIII to be the next “FFVII” and plan on making at least 3 games in the Novus Crystallis world.

So, what does this mean for MMO gamers? Well, while no details have really emerged as to what these expansions will be exactly, there could, very well, be a planned MMO in the works for either one.  Although, I will go on record as saying that an MMO based off of FFVII is highly unlikely. Most RPG gamers know the world, and also know that it isn’t really big enough to suit the needs of an MMORPG. Without extensive world reconstruction (perhaps making the game 500 years in the past or future) Final Fantasy VII would not work well in an MMO environment. That said, however, Square-Enix does see and understand that there are very real competitors out there who are using the power of branding to aid their games like Lord of the Rings and Warcraft. Square may want to pull out the big guns in order to reinforce their game which would mean reviving their most popular Final Fantasy franchise in MMO flavor. Still though, I find it to be highly unlikely, which leaves us with Final Fantasy XIII.

Now, we don’t know much about Final Fantasy XIII. We don’t really know the world, characters, or any of that mish-mash usually associated with RPGs. We don’t know these things because the game is still in development. This leads me to believe that a futuristic FF MMO could be in the works under this numerical “sequel”. It would make perfect sense:

  1. The game’s world is supposed to be huge and epic.
  2. Developing the game now means that they could be making it so that the game’s storyline and world are easily adaptable to MMO status.
  3. Square-Enix really wants to make this series of games their stand-out titles, and what better way to do that than to allow you to mingle through it with thousands of other players at the same time.

There you have it. Those are my two predictions of what the next big MMORPG from Square-Enix will be. Of course, I have no insider information (I don’t speak Japanese :( ), so this is all based off of my own personal speculations and observations of the market. Square may completely throw me a curve ball and not make an MMORPG based off the Final Fantasy world at all. Maybe they will *gasp* make an MMORPG based off Dragon Quest! I love those games. :)

Thanks for reading.

Ed's Weekly Watch #3

10 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Back again folks with another weekly watch! This week has been fairly slow accually, we are nearing the launch of some of the greatest MMO’s ever made though. Like AoC and WAR, oh boy, 2008 will be fun beyond belief.

 

In a message involving me, I have just gotten back into the Lord of the Rings Online. My server is Gladden and my name is Altheron, feel free to message me in-game.

 

MMORPG.com’s contest for a Ideazon Zboard Reaper™ & Reaper Edge™ keyboard and mouse is going on. Click here to register in the contest. Remember, you must have an MMORPG.com account to register, so make one! 2 Days left!

 

John Smedley, SOE’s CEO, is hosting a dev blog here. Check it out! Mabye he will do something good this time!

 

Age of Conan…The soon to be king of MMORPG’s has finally uploaded their beta devolopment Q&A videos! Check them out! #1 here, #2 here, and #3 and #4 here!

 

Just a little warning, if you play Lord of the Rings Online, there has been a fradulent email being sent around telling you that you have been illegally trading accounts and in-game currency. If you know you haven’t been doing this and you get this email, ignore it. Plus, if it really WAS Turbine, they may ask for username, but never password.

All we can do is wait in agony for the release of the MMO’s of 2008, it will be amazing and I am looking forward too it tremendously.

No Nipples For You!

5 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Ok, so the Age of Conan rating was just released today. M for Mature which means 18+. However, there are some stipulations by the ESRB board here in America that just astound me. No Nipples! I am allowed to decapitate, maim, slaughter, drink, fight, and pretty much have a good time with the ladies, but NO, I cannot see nipples. Seeing nipples will just ruin the rest of my life! I can go to war, buy cigarettes, and vote, but wait the ESRB is here to save me from nipples! Ok, end of sarcasm. My big question is “why only nipples?” An M rating from the ESRB is basically a NC-17 rating for the movies, which if I am not mistaken, allows full nudity. I think it is quite backwards. What do you think?

UPDATE: Apparently some bad information came out. Check this link for the updated information. Here is the basics:

-full blood
-full fatalities
-breasts with nipples
-not full nudity

Do not know how that bad info got out, but thankfully it has been corrected. Yay for nipples! Oh and I do not have the uncensored version of the above picture.  Perhaps I should change the name of the title to “Nipples for All?”