Year in Review: 2018 in Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go may have been released in 2016 but 2018 was the year that the game really worked out what it is and found its groove. While it may not have the massive mainstream popularity it had when it first launched it has now reached a point where, if it had been released in this state…the whole world may very well be playing. That’s not to say that Pokemon Go isn’t successful in its own right. In 2018 it had nearly $800 million in revenue worldwide as well as hitting the $2 billion in revenue milestone in September 2018. What did the game do last year that worked so well for them? Let’s find out in our review of 2018 in Pokemon Go.

 

January

Niantic started off the year strong with the introduction of Community Day, a monthly event in the game that has players all around the world out in their cities catching ‘mons. This event is without a doubt the backbone of what has made 2018 so successful for Pokemon Go. Players around the world are really getting into these events. Some make cookies to hand out to fellow players. Others organize meetups. There’s nothing quite like going out into your town and seeing just how many players there are, all with the same goal.

 

February

Certainly, no slouch of a month though nothing that had a real lasting impact on the game. Three events were held, Valentines, Lunar New Year, Legendary Week, and the second ever community day. They also had a number of smaller events that kept players coming back throughout the months.

 

March

Research and Special Research were released in March which, if Community Day is the backbone…consider research the legs. Research and Special Research give players something to do in the game day to day besides just catching Pokemon. They’re also very rewarding and in some cases, the only way to get certain Pokemon. The rest of March there were a number of events running for a limited time, and of course, Community Day.

April

April Fools Day, Kanto Week, Community Day, and Earth Day in April. Events that got us out into the world playing the game, but ultimately didn’t really bring players in either.

 

May

Community Day and Adventure Week were the highlights in May. They were still keeping players engaged but the next big introduction to the game wouldn’t come until June.

 

June

My Little Pony says friendship is magic, and Niantic is fully on board with this. In June they introduced the Friends feature. The introduction of this feature brought back a flood of players who had previously abandoned the game shortly after the launch hype died down. With it, players could become friends with anyone in the world and trade gifts from them. This also resulted in players being able to get Pokemon whose catch location says somewhere they haven’t been. Thank you, Japanese friends!

In June they also started the Global Challenge, a challenge that kept players going out every day to complete research, adding to all the research completed in their area of the world and unlocking rewards for all. This event continued throughout July.

 

July

Throughout July the Global Challenge continued alongside other events, including their anniversary. At the end of the month, they introduced Lucky Pokemon. This gave players incentives to trade their older Pokemon which until that point they had been hoarding. It certainly isn’t a game-changing feature, but at the time it was the boost that trading needed.

 

August

August was another rather tame month by Pokemon Go standards. By that, of course, I mean that they had a festival, an Eevee community day that lasted for two days, a new special research, and introduced Niantic Kids. You know, a tame month.

 

September

In Korea, Pokemon Go had an entire week dedicated to it in September. Along with this, they began beta testing the Pokestop submission program. This will allow players to suggest places that should be Pokestops in the future. This is also when the Global Challenge bonuses were released. Then came community and Meltan. Meltan is as we now know a tie in Pokemon to tie into Lets Go, new games that are now available on the Switch. At the time though, Nutto was a complete mystery that had Pokemon Go players enthralled.

 

October

A psychic day followed by a female Pokemon event, followed by the introduction of Gen IV pokemon, then community day, then Halloween. October was another one of those busy, but not really all that busy months.

 

November

In November Niantic introduced what was at that point possibly the second most requested feature for the game, Adventure Sync. This allows players to get egg distance and walking rewards even while Pokemon Go isn’t running. You can even use it on exercise equipment so long as your phone is in your pocket.

November is also when Let’s Go released, along with it a new special research for Meltan. In between, they had a few more events, including our good old friend Community Day.

 

December

For many players, myself included, December was the highlight of the year. Niantic started off strong with a community weekend that brought back a few of the previous Community Day Pokemon. Then, out of nowhere, we were surprised by the release of PvP. This has been a feature that players have wanted since the very beginning. Now players can battle Pokemon vs Pokemon and get sweet rewards. Niantic also went to great lengths to make sure that it wasn’t a feature that is totally required. Though, if you want to evolve certain Pokemon it kind of is. After the introduction of PvP, we had a special raid weekend and a holiday event to end the year.

 

As you can see Niantic worked hard to keep players busy throughout 2018. Hopefully, this development pace works well for them and they can keep it up throughout 2019 as well. Of course, if all goes well they will also be releasing a Harry Potter game similar to Pokemon Go. This may end up hurting their bottom line. But only time will tell. As for last year, they had a great year.

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WoW Wednesday: Your Warcraft Guide to Blizzcon 2018

The best weekend of the year now dawns upon us! Blizzcon 2018 has finally arrived and with it comes a smattering of panels, showings, demos and reveals for the greatest games we’re expecting this year. For Virtual Ticket Holders, this year not only do we get exclusive content before the Convention starts, but we also have a demo available for World of Warcraft – Classic, featuring the Barrens for the Horde and Westfall for the Alliance. While we’re saving our impressions of the demo for next week, this week we’ll be giving you the best tips and directions to make the most out of your Warcraft experience at Blizzcon this year!

For those of us possessing a Virtual Ticket, there is already a smattering of content for us to enjoy! Several games of the 2018 Arena World Championships have already been played, up to the Upper Second Round. Those with a deep appreciation for Arenas may want to watch these prior to the finals, as this is where some of the fiercest competition lies between combatants. There are a number of exclusive pieces, including Faces of War, a behind the scenes video showing the process for creating the main cinematic for Battle for Azeroth, and The Vault, showing off some of Blizzard’s old merchandise and WoW Relics.

World of Warcraft – Classic is also now available for pre-download and will remain playable throughout Blizzcon for those wanting to step back into the past of Azeroth! For those attending Blizzcon in person, World of Warcraft – Classic will be available to demo throughout the facility. Demos will feature leveling between 15-19, and players can make any race/class combo from Classic they wish! While sessions of the demo will be time locked, progress will be saved for players so they can continue on their next login. As Battle.net integration will be included as of Day One, players can still engage with their friends across Battle.net, but Dungeons and Zoned Battlegrounds will not be accessible. Reportedly all of Classic will be developed during Patch 1.12, Drums of War, and will feature all content released to that point at launch.

Blizzcon opens up live on Friday, November 2nd, with the Opening Ceremony being streamed from all available stages at 2 PM EDT! This will feature planned action from all of this year’s competitions as well as several previews of what’s to come that day on each stage. The Arena World Championships then continue with their lower brackets in Hall C and will continue throughout the weekend.

The first major Warcraft panel begins at 5 PM EDT. Voices of War: Horde vs. Alliance is one of Battle for Azeroth’s mainline panels this year in North Hall, and features several of the mainline voice actors for World of Warcraft. This panel will specifically be focusing on the performance aspects and development of the actors as they worked throughout Battle for Azeroth and how they shaped the game around them.

Starting up at 6:30 PM in Hall D, World of Warcraft: What’s Next will begin featuring the next major pieces of content for its Battle for Azeroth expansion. With Patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance on the horizon its far more likely that instead of content for the next major content patch we will probably see content being designed for Patch 8.2 and beyond. If I had to hazard an educated guess, attendees will see the panel will more than likely feature developments in the Azerite system and future Warfront integration.

Launching right afterward at 7:15 PM in the North Hall is Battle for Azeroth Cinematics: Expanding the Narrative. Featuring members of the Story and Franchise Development team, this panel will go behind the scenes of developing the story for World of Warcraft and expanding it in the world of Azeroth through its in-game cinematics.

Starting up on Saturday at 12:30 pm, the 2018 Mythic Dungeon Invitational will play out in Hall C. Featuring some of the greatest Mythic+ Teams in Azeroth, the Invitational will feature a race against time and each team to determine who is the best team in the World.

Shortly after at 1 PM begins Immersive Sounds of Azeroth in the North Hall. Featuring the Warcraft Sound Team, this panel will deep-dive into how music and sound shaped the player experience and storytelling in Drustvar. Following that, David Arkenstone and his Tavern Band will be playing a live performance of several pieces from the Battle for Azeroth score!

Opening up at 2:45 pm is Build A Panel: World Creation In WoW. Headed by members of the World Building and Level Design Teams, attendees will get to witness how the zones of Azeroth are put together throughout the entire design process. This panel will build a zone for its onlookers from starting concepts to its completion.

Beginning at 4:30 pm is the World of Warcraft – Classic panel, Restoring History. Here developers will recount their stories and struggles in redeveloping the world of Azeroth from the ground up for Classic.

Resuming again in Hall C, the final rounds of the Arena World Championship start up at 5:15 PM, and will last until the finals later that night.

Returning for another year, the always anticipated World of Warcraft Q&A begins at 6:30 PM in Hall D. Here members of the community will have the opportunity to ask the heads of development all their questions about the fabulous world of Azeroth.

Last and certainly not least is Artist at Work: Creating World of Warcraft Art at 7:15 PM in the North Hall. Joined by members of the artistic time, developers will showcase the creative process behind Battle for Azeroth’s visual design, ranging from the beginnings of concept art to model and world texturing, and even the final stages of the 3D art design process.

To close off the weekend, Blizzard has one of the largest closing ceremonies yet to be featured at the convention. Beginning at 8:30 PM, artists, and musicians from across the world will play on several of the E-Sports stages throughout the evening. This year Blizzcon features Train, Kristian Nairn of Game of Thrones fame and YouTube Violin Sensation Lindsey Stirling.

Blizzard Entertainment opens its doors to the world in Anaheim this weekend, from November 2nd to 3rd.

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18 MMOs Shut Down in 2018…So Far

For the first three months of 2018, it looked like we might have a crisis on our hands as more games than usual were shutting down. Thankfully, in the last three months, things have slowed down significantly. With that being said, there have still been 18 MMOs shut down in 2018 so far.

 

Battle of the Immortals and War of the Immortals – January 9th

Battle of the Immortals

Perfect World Entertainment started off 2018 by announcing they were shutting down two of their older games. There was no reason given for the shutdowns, but a declining player base as the games aged is a pretty safe bet. But this actually isn’t the beginning of the PWE story, back in November they shut down Runic Games, the makers of Torchlight, Torchlight II, and Hob. At the same time they downsized Gigantic’s studio Motiga, but more on them further down.

 

Perpetuum – January 25th

perpetuum like eve online

In September 2017 the developers of Perpetuum came out and said that while they always knew it would be a niche game, it never really took off. With that in mind they ended development on the game, though kept the servers online while they looked at their options. Sadly, by mid-January, the costs of keeping Perpetuum online became too much for the developers and they were forced to shut the game down.

 

Master X Master (MXM)- January 31st

master x master free-to-play

After spending much of 2017 trying to appeal to former City of Heroes players by bringing out beloved iconic characters from the game, MXM ultimately shut down at the end of January. From the start though it seemed like a questionable proposition. It was late to the MOBA scene and trying to take an idea that had already been used by Blizzard of using iconic characters from their various games. Unfortunately for NCSoft, most of the games they focused on are practically unknown in the West and the games that are well known are controversial or downright unpopular. The exception to that is Guild Wars 2, which MXM hardly touched at all. Ultimately, NCSoft admitted that they failed to connect with players.

 

Linkrealms – January 31st

The journey for LinkRealms was a long one, though it only spent a short bit of that time on Steam. The game went into Early Access in early 2016, then it was announced the game would be free to play from October of that year. Sadly, without any money coming in, the developers couldn’t keep the game running and it had to shut down.

 

Scrolls – February 13th

Scrolls closing down

Anyone who was a fan of Scrolls knew the game was going to be shut down eventually. Perhaps what is most shocking in fact is how long it stuck around. It was announced all the way back in 2015 that Mojang wasn’t developing the game anymore and that the servers would stay online “for some time”. Well that time finally came this year, which honestly is a pretty good run for a card game that wasn’t getting any new content. Scrolls is perhaps best known as the cause of a lawsuit between Zenimax and Mojang over the use of the word ‘Scrolls’ in the name.

 

Demon’s Souls – February 28th

Demon’s Souls had a long run of almost 9 years when it was announced that the game was shutting down. The game is still playable as all the online components were completely optional, but it was an option people loved nonetheless.

 

Devilian – March 5th

Devilian Shutting Down

Devilian was a victim of its brother game’s success; that game is PUBG. Both were created by the same studio but when PUBG started to get big, Devilian started getting neglected. Trion, who were publishing Devilian in the West tried their best to work with Bluehole with no success. In the end, they decided to call it quits for the game.

 

Battleline: Steel Warfare – April 7th

Battleline

Bandai Namco’s tank shooting game went under the radar for a lot of people. In fact, the sunset wasn’t covered by any of the MMO focused gaming sites, MMOGames included. We only found out about it thanks to one of our readers who pointed it out to us, thanks Alberto Honorato! Fans didn’t take the news well on Steam and left some pretty harsh comments about the game on the sunset announcement.

 

Cabal 2 – April 18th

Cabal 2

Despite being live for around 3 years, the developers used the kind of language you usually see in sunset announcements for newer games. They said the game didn’t resonate with as many players as they’d hoped. If this were the case though, why did Cabal 2 last as long as it did, with updates, and new content even? The second reason they gave fits the narrative far better: continued operation is no longer sustainable.

 

Paragon – April 26th

Epic has been having…please forgive this…they’ve been having an epic year thanks to Fortnite. But in the middle of all their epic winning (sorry, I had to), they shut down their MOBA Paragon. Fans were, of course, disappointed and hopeful that Paragon would get bought by someone, but that wasn’t to be. Epic released Paragon Assets for free to use in Unreal Engine 4 development, these were worth $12 million.

 

Special Mention: LawBreakers/Radical Heights – May 14th

LawBreakers

Boss Key shut down in mid-May and as a result are getting an honorable mention on this list. Neither of the studios two games have actually shut down yet, however. Radical Heights, the 80s themed battle royale game with an incomplete map is still getting a peak concurrent player base of around 250-300 people every day. LawBreakers, on the other hand, is averaging 0-2 concurrent players during the week which goes up sometimes as high as 15 on the weekends. Why neither game has actually been shut off yet is anyone’s guess.

 

Echo of Soul – May 23rd

Life was never easy for Echo of Soul in the West, but they kept trying anyway. In fact, though the Echo of Soul classic servers are shutting down, the Phoenix servers are alive and well. So it isn’t really the end of Echo of Soul just yet.

 

Swordsman Online and Jade Dynasty – June 5th

Swordsman Online

Swordsman Online

Here we are once again at Perfect World Entertainment shutting down two games at once. The teams working on Swordsman Online and Jade Dynasty are being moved on to bigger and better things. Though what they are is anyone’s guess. They also said that they felt there was nowhere else for Swordsman Online to go.

 

More to Come…

We know already that Perfect World Entertainment has at least one more game to sunset this year, Gigantic. The MOBA with fantastic art just never really took off and with the studio having been closed… well, we knew it was coming.

In addition to Gigantic, we already have shutdown dates for Runescape Classic, Runescape Legends, and Ace of Spades.

What will the rest of 2018 bring us? Only time will tell.

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MMOGames’ Most Anticipated MMO of 2018

Here we are at the end of another year of gaming. It certainly had its ups and downs, just take a look at the most popular news stories to see. 2018 is already starting to look incredibly exciting so we asked the writers and Editorial team at MMOGames what their most anticipated MMO of 2018 is.

 

Hannah Richardson-Lewis

I’ve been thinking a fair bit about my most anticipated MMO of 2018 recently and I have honestly come to the conclusion that I’m not really “hyped” for anything. MMOs are definitely in a strange place at the moment, but that being said, there is certainly some intriguing stuff on the horizon. Crowfall, Chronicles of Elyria, and Ascent: Infinite Realm are all games I will be watching closely. However, my most anticipated MMO is still World of Warcraft. It is my MMORPG home, and I will definitely be playing Battle For Azeroth. Anduin is cool now, okay?

 

Nick Shively

crowfall livestream

The MMO that I’m most looking forward to in 2018 is one that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time: Crowfall. It’s finally to the stage where the actual game is going to start coming together. Until this point, ArtCraft has been building a foundation for a potentially great game, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of interesting content to playtest. Crowfall was expected to soft launch in 2017 but that wasn’t to be the case and honestly, I wasn’t really surprised at the delay. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to the game, but I don’t mind waiting for it to be polished and we should see some type of public release in 2018.

 

Rissa Trent

I’m really looking forward to Dual Universe – it might be a worthy competitor for Star Citizen. It may also pave the way for more sandbox MMORPGs, and honestly, we can’t have enough of those. It’ll give the players a chance to forge their own alliances and write their own story rather than having the game write it for them, and honestly, I think that’s the way MMOs should be heading.

 

Hendrik Cone

My most anticipated for 2018 has to be Crowfall. I am not personally invested in the PvP side of things which may make the pick very odd but I can’t wait to see it all come together. There’ve been a few crowdfunded MMOs in recent memory but this is the one that always sticks in memory for me between the technology used, the pedigree behind it and the potential of it all going forward. All of that, but come on, we know the real reason why Crowfall will be the game of 2018. The world loves Porgs at the moment. Guineceans, your moment is now. Come up from your burrows, holster those pistols and let the world see your glory.

 

Shannon Doyle

The MMO I’m most anticipating in 2018 is Stardew Valley multiplayer. What? That isn’t an MMO? Well, it should be. Okay, okay…the game I’m actually most looking forward to is only very loosely an MMO, it’s Niantic’s Harry Potter Wizards Unite. A mobile game that follows in the footsteps of Ingress and Pokemon Go before it. I’ve been a big fan of Ingress since it was announced back in 2013. I was also one of the legions of fans who tried out Pokemon Go when it first came out. I still have the game installed on my phone but living so far from a city, I don’t really play it. My hope is that Niantic learns from Pokemon Go and takes inspiration from Ingress to make a game that people can really enjoy wherever they are, even if they don’t have a Pokestop nearby. I also hope that it is embraced by the world the way Pokemon Go was, but maybe this time they’ll stick around? At least if things don’t go well, I’ll still have Stardew Valley multiplayer.

 

LagunaLevine

My most anticipated online game for 2018? I’ll optimistically go with Crowfall. I’m not doing so many MMOs these days (call it a holdover from my time in Japan that emphasized local multiplayer), but the idea of a “lobby game” which has a persistent lobby feels right. I loved the old World of Warcraft Alterac Valley map when each BG match took at least a day or longer to complete. It had that world PvP feel without people complaining about getting “ganked” when they clearly chose a PVP server. I’m more on console so it may not stick, but hey, Overwatch gets my attention, and I largely play that solo despite owning it on PS4 as well.

 

Jonathan Doyle

Vermintide 2.

KILL SKAVEN KILL CHAOS KILL SKAVEN KILL CHAOS KILL SKAVEN KILL CHAOS KILL SKAVEN KILL CHAOS KILL SKAVEN KILL CHAOS KILL SKAVEN KILL CHAOS KILL SKAVEN KILL CHAOS KILL SKAVEN KILL CHAOS KILL SKAVEN KILL CHAOS

BARDIN TO SAVE THE DAY YE WAZZOCKS

 

Chris Hughes

"massive" update

MMOs are dead! Long live Games as a Service!

Actually, no, I’m full of it. 2018 in MMO gaming can certainly seem piecemeal, but ultimately there are more than a few titles that tipped their hats at us this year that have me looking forward to the next year in my beloved genre. After considering several of them, my mind keeps going back to one title in particular that always stands out to me: Crowfall.

Not only does this one feel like a PvP sandbox that I could probably stomach, it also appears to be one that actually wants me – the softest of sheep – to play the way I want to play in terms of crafting. Crafters are valued and necessary to the war effort and that’s more than most MMOs out now can say. Plus the game’s style of RvR has me intrigued to see if Crowfall is the missing piece to make me fully appreciate sandbox-style MMOs.

To the point of 2018, I think we’ll start to see crowdfunded games finally wrap development and release, further legitimizing crowdfunding as an honest way to make dream titles come true and not another winking scam artist looking to cash in.

Except for Star Citizen. That damn thing’s never coming out.

 

You may have seen there was a bit of a theme for MMOGames’ most anticipated MMO of 2018. There’s a whole lot of hype for Crowfall. There was also a lot of discussion about crowdfunding and the future. There’ll be even more of it in our predictions for 2018, which will be out after Christmas.

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Heroes of the Storm Breaks Down Changes to the Early Game

Getting the ball rolling in any MOBA match is easily one of the most important steps. so changes to Heroes of the Storm early game mechanics due for 2018 are looking to make that process more meaningful, particularly when it comes to laning.

heroes of the storm early game

As mentioned previously, structures are seeing a couple of big changes with the removal of limited ammunition while reducing structure damage to minions and increasing minion damage. 2018 will also completely remove standalone towers – a move that has already been used in the new Volskaya Foundry map. To compensate, standalone tower stats have been rolled into nearby towers, forts, and keeps to give them a little boost. Forts and keeps will also get the True Sight buff to help players effectively defend against stealthy characters.

Regeneration Globes are also getting tweaked, switching from allied to neutral after three seconds and remaining available for anyone to pick up for an additional three seconds. The idea is to get players to think more strategically about winning lanes as well as giving skilled players the chance to grab more Globes.

On the subject of individual skill, HotS will be simplifying battleground timers to grant players more space to perform before peeling away to contest an objective. Objective spawns will also get a 30 second warning before they appear so players can coordinate strategies on the fly.

Finally, HotS will be making a variety of tweaks to Knight, Hellbat, and Siege Giant Mercenary Camps specifically with unique buffs and debuffs. The devs will also keeping an eye on other Mercenary Camps to ensure they still maintain an impact across through the duration of a full match.

All of the proposed changes can be read on the Heroes of the Storm website.

Our Thoughts

This writer is by no means a MOBA expert, so we’d love to hear your opinions on what these changes mean to you in Heroes of the Storm. Do you agree with the adjustments being made to the early game? Is there something that needs to happen in the other phases of a match? Be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Source: official site

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