Canceled MMOs of 2019

The end of the year is here and that means it is time to look at the games we lost this year. It wasn’t as bad this year as it was last year but there are still quite a few games to get through. Here are the canceled MMOs of 2019.

 

February

Blacklight Retribution

At the end of 2017 Perfect World gave Blacklight Retribution back to its developer Hardsuit Labs and for a brief moment it looked like the game would have another chance at life. Sadly it wasn’t to be and after a couple of years on Steam the game finally shut down.

 

ROSE Online

Though ROSE Online had been in Maintenance Mode since 2016 it still came as a bit of a surprise when ROSE Online shut down. The game had been live since 2005 and 14 years is a great run for an MMORPG. There was news of a mobile spin-off late last year but sadly there hasn’t been any news about it coming West.

 

April

Orcs Must Die! Unchained

After the success of Orcs Must Die! 2 it only made sense that Robot Entertainment would start working on a new game in the series. It was initially released in beta in 2014 and stayed there until April 2017 when it officially launched. In April 2019 the game was sadly shut down and, for those doing the math, it spent more time in beta than it did live. At the time of its shutdown the game had been running at a financial loss for several months.

 

Survived By

Survived By town

A permadeath bullet hell survival game kind of sounds like you just vomited some words but this is exactly what Survived By was. Sadly the development team decided to stop working on the game after it became clear that they wouldn’t be able to meet their original vision. This was the second Digital Extremes game that has been shutdown after Amazing Eternals in 2017.

 

Kritika Online

En Masse shut down the Western version of Kritika Online earlier this year and then just a few months later announced they were bringing it back! Yes, you can actually play Kritika Online right now on Steam where it is called Kritika: REBOOT.

 

Breach

QC Games closed its doors, putting an end to their 4v1 game Breach. The game had been inspired by Shadow Realms, a game that had been in development at Bioware and was canned before the public ever saw it. Though we did get a chance to play it. No reason for Breach’s shutdown was given but considering the studio disbanded entirely it isn’t a stretch at all to assume money was an issue.

 

May

The Culling

The Culling

Times have been rough for The Culling ever since they decided to immediately start working on a sequel to the game. That sequel was a Battle Royale game, a completely different genre to the first game. To say it was an unpopular move would be an understatement. Just a couple of weeks after the sequel launched they closed it and went back to work on The Culling. They even went so far as to make the game free to play. But by then the damage had been done and their players had left.

 

Dragon Nest Europe

Dragon Nest Europe

Action MMORPG Dragon Nest shut down in May this year, but the game isn’t gone entirely. It can still be played in most regions of the world, including North America. Unfortunately IPS from outside of North America are blocked so that is little consolation for European players. This isn’t the first time a region of Dragon Nest has shut down though so there may be hope in the future.

 

June

ELOA aka Warlords Awakening

eloa

ELOA has the rare misfortune of being one of the few games that has been shutdown three times. The first time it was an illegal beta version of the game that was stolen from Webzen who had released it in the east. Webzen contested the game and it was shut down. Then Webzen launched their own version of the game which ran for just a year and was sunsetted due to low population. Then it was brought back again, this time not by Webzen under the name Warlords Awakening. Sadly it only lasted a year too.

 

Atlas Reactor

Atlas Reactor was Trion’s answer to X-COM and sadly it flew under the radar of most gamers. After Gamigo bought Trion they promised to release content for all their games, including Atlas Reactor but it seems that after consideration they decided to shut the game down instead.

 

July

Worlds Adrift

Worlds Adrift

Bossa took a break from their usual games like Pigeon Simulator and I Am Bread to make an MMORPG that had a lot of promise. Sadly, the game didn’t gain enough traction to be commercially viable so the studio decided to shut the game down.

 

Mavericks

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

Mavericks was one of those games that never actually got released but it had so much hype and potential that people were talking about it like it was going to be one of the great games in the genre. Sadly, the company behind it suffered from financial woes and the project came to an end as the company closed down.

 

August

Lazarus

Lazarus the mmo alpha and beta list

Indie MMO Lazarus never made it out of Early Access but it had an amazingly unique premise and those who played it loved it. After 3 years in Early Access the studio decided to sunset the game as they were facing the financial strain of keeping it going.

 

September

Bless Online

bless online dragon

Bless Online was once hyped to be the next big thing in MMORPGs but after waiting years and having more than a few issues the game’s release wasn’t quite what anyone expected. Bless Online has shut down but it isn’t the end quite yet. Neowiz is hard at work on a re-imagining of the game called Bless Unleashed.

 

October

Fallen Earth

Just a short time after celebrating the 10th anniversary of Fallen Earth the game was shut down. This may not be the end. There’s hope for a reboot in the future and the studio is hard at work on that already. There is no date for this reboot though so for now we have to do without.

 

December

Durango Wild Lands

Durango Wild Lands Review Zebraceratops

Nexon’s survival mobile game Durango Wild Lands shut down after just 6 months. Though it should be said that it was in beta testing for 2 years. The fact that the developers released one final patch for the game before it closed made it all the more depressing. It’s likely that Nexon’s ongoing financial issues had a role to play.

 

DEATHGARDEN

Behaviour Interactive announced that DEATHGARDEN, their survival shooter/battle royale game had a decreasing player base and for that reason the game would be shutting down. This is another title that technically never made it out of Early Access, but these days Early Access is more of a soft launch than a beta.

 

Dragon’s Dogma Online

Dragon’s Dogma Online was one of those games that never actually made it to the West, but that didn’t stop a lot of Westerners from playing it anyway. It was actually a follow-up to the 2012 action RPG Dragon’s Dogma and it was Capcom’s first MMORPG. Dragon’s Dogma ran for 4 years before it was shut down, a pretty good run for a game that was a studio’s first MMORPG and never got a global release.

 

Maintenance Mode

These games haven’t been shut down yet but for most games once they go into Maintenance Mode their days are numbered. These are the games that were put into Maintenance Mode in 2019.

 

Ragnarok Online 2

Ragnarok Online 2

Gravity moved the development team that was working on Ragnarok Online 2 onto other projects and ended development on the game, but it is still playable for the time being.

 

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Oddone Games developer Young-chae Kim said that Tree of Life had been a project he had dreamed of making his entire life. Ultimately he couldn’t make Tree of Life a better game due to inexperience. So they ended development of the game and started working on other projects.

 

Battleborn

Battleborn gameplay

Battleborn had the misfortune of being released at the same time as Overwatch while competing for the same audience. Since then the game just hasn’t had the population necessary to keep going. 2K announced that Battleborn is now in Maintenance Mode and they’ve been kind enough to let players know that it will only be around until 2021.

 

Elder Scrolls: Legends

The Elder Scrolls: Legends

Players of the Elder Scrolls card game Elder Scrolls: Legends had been patiently waiting to hear about new content for their game when it was announced on Reddit that none would be coming. Elder Scrolls: Legends hasn’t shut down just yet, though who knows how much time it has left?

 

Honorable Mention

Foundry System in Neverwinter and Star Trek Online

Foundry STO

The Foundry System, which allowed gamers in Neverwinter and Star Trek Online to create their own missions, was sadly shut down earlier this year. While this is just one feature in a larger game, it was a beloved feature that meant a lot to players of those games. For that reason we wanted to give the Foundry System an honorable mention.

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Top Online Gaming News Stories of 2019…So Far

Can you believe this year is already halfway over? It seems like just yesterday we were logging in to Apex Legends for the first time. As is tradition at MMOGames we’re taking a look back at how the year has gone so far. To be honest, things aren’t looking all that great, though there is one shining bright spot on the year so far, see if you can spot it. This is the MMOGames list of the top online gaming news stories of 2019…so far.

 

10. Bless Online Sunset

Why Steam Can Be a Terrible Thing For MMO Players - Bless Online

For a while, it was one of the most anticipated upcoming MMORPG that players in the West were dying to get their hands on. In fact, the world first heard about it back in 2011, though it was then canceled in the West by publisher Aeria Games because of “quality standards” and “technical difficulties [that] cannot be overcome.” Neowiz then said they would self-publish it and set out to make the game better. Last year the game finally launched in the West, just as the first shutdown was announced. Today the game has shut down in all regions of the world except on Steam But even that is not to last. The game’s last day will be September 9th.

 

9. Amazon Game Studio’s Woes

This is a news story that just broke a few days ago but it has the potential to have a massive impact on the future of the studio and games being developed by them. In fact, according to reports, multiple games that were unannounced were canceled and dozens of employees are facing finding new jobs. The good news, for now, is that their MMO New World is one of the games that is being made a priority. However an anonymous interview with the Wall Street Journal suggests that the problems at Amazon may be even bigger than what we’ve already seen. Lumberyard, the studio’s game engine, wasn’t designed for multiplayer games. This may mean more trouble in the future.

 

8. Blizzard Cancelations and Ongoing News

This has been a bit of a weird year for Blizzard. Many issues seem to be connected so rather than focusing on just one, we decided to count Blizzard as a story all of its own. Most recently, they’ve canceled two games that were in production and lost two major players in the esports department within the last month. Activision-Blizzard’s last quarterly report showed that revenue dropped nearly a quarter in the last quarter and announced they are going to skip Gamescom 2019, in order to save money. Earlier in the year Blizzard laid off a reported 800 employees in what was called a bloodbath. All of this adds up to one thing; everything is not ok at Blizzard. This isn’t likely to be the end of Blizzard’s woes either, so expect this story to continue throughout the rest of 2019.

 

7. Anthem Disappointment

To call Anthem a disappoint is perhaps a bit of an understatement but it is true nonetheless. The world, character, and gameplay are considered by many to be lackluster. Aggregate review scores put the game somewhere between 54 and 65 out of 100 depending on which platform you’re playing on. Andrew Wilson, the CEO of EA, made a statement saying while Anthem had a disappointing launch they are still hopeful the game can be successful. He has also had to reassure fans that Bioware isn’t at risk of being shut down due to the games failure. It will be interesting to watch Anthem for the rest of the year to see how it progresses.

 

6. WoW Classic

It may have been announced back in 2017 but this is the year WoW Classic is set to become a reality. This year there have been a few stress tests and more are planned for July. News on WoW Classic is actually pretty sparse. They’ve held tests and a makeup test, that’s about it. The real story so far is the fact that everyone is talking about playing WoW Classic. I guess August just can’t get here soon enough.

 

5. Apex Legends Rises and Falls

Just as the world was getting a little bit bored with Fortnite, Apex Legends swooped in and grabbed everyone’s attention. For a brief time, it looked like the game had the potential of becoming bigger than Fortnite but Revenue from Apex Legends also dropped sharply. In April, just two months from launch, the game was only bringing in a quarter of what it did in its first month. What went wrong? Well, aside from having a number of bugs and issues that often get ignored by players the game isn’t being updated quickly enough to keep people engaged. To make it even worse, this seems to be intentional. Respawn has said that they’re looking to make fewer updates that are of higher quality, but when your audience is used to Fortnite, that doesn’t go well.

 

4. Riot Games Walkout

This year the games industry saw its first-ever walkout in the main office of Riot Games along with their Dublin and Ireland offices which had a few employees participate in support of their friends and coworkers in Los Angeles. In LA they were protesting the use of forced arbitration for several ongoing sexual misconduct accusations. While Riot has made some small efforts to improve the situation by getting rid of forced arbitration, those efforts haven’t included the ongoing cases. If you’d like to read up on the entire backstory of the walkout as well as the aftermath you should read this article and this one. Oh and just to add more fuel to the fire, the State of California has accused Riot of not cooperating in its gender discrimination investigation. This story isn’t over yet though and we expect to hear more about it again soon.

 

3. World Health Organization’s Gaming Disorder

This year the World Health Organization added Gaming Disorder in their International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. Basically a big list of things that can go wrong with the human body and mind. But this was quite a controversial decision, one that has a lot of people questioning the politics behind the act. As expected industry officials have denied that gaming disorder, and in fact gaming addiction is a problem. Lobbyists like the ESA have been quite vocal about this in fact. Meanwhile, academics and journalists believe that the research is incomplete and that there isn’t enough known to make a proper diagnosis. It has been indicated that the WHO was feeling political pressure from some countries in Asia to see this get pushed through quickly. In the future we may see the WHO change their stance on gaming disorder. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.

 

2. Nexon Founder is Getting Out

Kim Jung-ju, the founder of Nexon is selling his majority, 98.64%, stake in the company that is estimated to be worth just under 9 billion dollars. Throughout this year a list has been slowly building of companies that may be interested in buying that 98.64% stake. Names thrown around have included Disney, Tencent, EA, and many others. It sounds like this story won’t be over until October when bids are officially locked in. Until then, anything is possible.

 

1. Players Return to City of Heroes

We’ll be honest with you, short of finding out that aliens exist and play Fortnite there isn’t going to be a bigger story this year than the return of City of Heroes, even if it is in an unofficial capacity. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock or you’ve been stranded on an island without internet for the last couple of months, lets quickly get you caught up. Yes, City of Heroes is back on servers that are being run by the fans. They aren’t emulators and are in fact being called rogue servers by some organizations. The biggest collection of servers, called Homecoming, has more than 100,000 registered accounts. While still in it’s early days they are anticipating creating new content to keep the 15 year old MMO fresh for those who are playing. Homecoming has a bunch of improvement updates already in place, but some people didn’t like those changes so they made servers of their own that don’t include those improvements. Those servers aren’t as popular as Homecoming, but some of them have a few thousand players. City of Heroes is really the one big bright spot in a not so amazing year and we can’t wait to see what directions they end up taking in the future.

 

What will the rest of 2019 hold? From the looks of it, we will continue to see many of these stories in the news for some time to come and we’ll be following them every step of the way. Be sure to check back every day for more news from the online gaming industry and keep an eye out at the end of the year for our update on how the year has gone.

The post Top Online Gaming News Stories of 2019…So Far appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Bless Online Developer Merging with Parent Company

Bless Online developer Neowiz Bless has announced that the independent subsidiary will dissolve and merge with its parent company Neowiz. This is happening as Bless Online didn’t have the success that the company had expected either in their native country South Korea or abroad. The official reason for the merger is to “enhance management efficiency” and “enhance corporate value.” The good news is that this merger is unlikely to have much of an impact on shares. This is because the company was wholly owned by Neowiz. At the moment it isn’t clear what all of this will mean for Bless Online. However, Bless Unleashed which is launching on Xbox One later this year will still be released.

Why Steam Can Be a Terrible Thing For MMO Players - Bless Online

One can’t help but wonder if the immense amount of time in between the announcement of Bless Online and its release had something to do with the game’s trouble finding success. Those who were excited when it was announced found themselves waiting years before the game was finally playable. By which time attitudes had changed and interest in the game had died. On Steam Bless Online has mixed reviews, just 40% of 9,700 views are positive. According to SteamCharts in the last 30 days, the peak number of players playing Bless through Steam has been just 691. When you look at the numbers like that it’s pretty easy to see why this merger is taking place.

There’s no word on how many jobs will be lost in this merger, but hopefully, everyone lands on their feet quickly. The merger is set to take place before June 19th and we expect to find out more about the future of Bless Online in next couple of months before Neowiz Bless shuts down for good.

 

Source: MMOCulture, SteamCharts

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10 Absolutely Shocking or Surprising MMO Events

The video game industry isn’t all about making games; that would be so downright boring. That is why now and then we get a shocking scandal, surprise announcement or surreal occurrence. Here are 10 controversial or surprising happenings that spread like wildfire and in some way changed the industry.

Save the Whales – Lockbox Legislation Around the World

Video Game Industry Scandals Star Wars Battlefront 2 lockboxes

Do you like gambling? Great! So why aren’t you inside a casino? Oh, that’s right, most games nowadays come with some sort of gambling feature called lockboxes. The premise is simple and ingenious: you are promised amazing in-game rewards that will be all the rage. So, what should you do? Purchase more and more of these boxes to increase the odds of getting that rare piece of gear or costume. Go on, put that credit card to use, games don’t make themselves, you know?

That was sarcasm, in case you didn’t notice. Always be responsible with your spending.

The shady thing with lockboxes is that the odds of really getting something worthwhile are incredibly slim and shrouded in secrecy, not to mention that they have this tempting allure that many players aren’t able to resist. It does sound a lot like gambling, right? That is how you end up spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on randomized pieces of loot.

Oddly enough, it was China that first started looking into this matter and demanded that developers publicly revealed the odds of earning an in-game item. Crossfire was one of the first games to come to light and the ludicrous 3% proves that lockboxes are a wonderful deal… for publishers.

Other regions such as Belgium and The Netherlands started investigating lockboxes, with some games such as Overwatch stopping the sale of lockboxes in affected regions. Electronic Arts was involved in this controversy as well, with games such as Star Wars Battlefront 2 and FIFA 18 being mentioned as examples. Of course, other countries aren’t entirely sure about this subject. France and Ireland, for example, aren’t the biggest fans of lockboxes but see this practice as a legally grey area.

Lockboxes are a touchy subject and will surely continue to be discussed during the following years. My advice to you is: if you really like a game and want to support the development team by spending some money, which you should totally do, look at the item shop and leave lockboxes alone.

 

Riot Games Bro Culture, Testicle Flicking and Gender-Based Discrimination

Video Game Industry Scandals League of Legends Riot Games

Riot Games achieved intergalactic fame riding on the success of League of Legends, but by late 2018 it was talked about due to the worst possible reasons: an alleged culture of sexism, a “giant fraternity,” and a “bro culture” where women were not welcome. It was a place where women were discriminated against, as their career progression was stifled as positions went to less-qualified men.

Kotaku created an amazing article with several interviews that dropped like a bomb in the already fragile and scandal-ridden video game industry.

Naturally, this piece spread like wildfire and had severe repercussions, with Riot Games having to undertake some serious damage control. Riot’s COO Scott Gelb was in the spotlight by facing accusations from multiple employees about repeatedly flicking testicles, farting on employees or humping them for comedic effect. Sounds like a lot of fun when you are on the receiving end, right?

To cut a long story short, several former Riot Games employees started sharing their experiences after reading the articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and the least that can be said is that it is some heavy reading. Riot Games eventually apologized, but the damage was done, and the past can’t be erased. How it has affected the studio – and League of Legends – remains a bit of a mystery, but I doubt that it did them any favors. And it’s so easy to apologize after your humiliating studio culture is revealed to the world…

 

A Bad Case of Battle Royale – PUBG Corp Sues Left and Right

Video Game Industry Scandals PUBG

Here’s a lawsuit for you! And you! Everyone gets a lawsuit!

There is no denying that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was the game that kickstarted the Battle Royale craze. It remains as one of the most played games in its genre, but it is now trailing behind Epic Games’ Fortnite, and Respawn’s Apex Legends is also proving to be a worthy challenger.

However, if there is one thing that developer PUBG Corporation can’t claim is having invented the Battle Royale genre or its mechanics. That is why suing Epic Games sounded more like a desperate attempt to put a stop to the rising fame of Fortnite Battle Royale than an authentic, credible case. It felt more like a kid throwing a tantrum because someone stole his candy. His delicious, everlasting candy.

But before the Epic Games lawsuit, there was a previous one targeting NetEase. PUBG Corporation wasn’t pleased with Knives Out and Rules of Survival, going to the extent of detailing several game mechanics over 100 pages. Claiming copyright infringement for things such as a pre-game lobby, the air jump, character attributes and much more seems a bit of a stretch. Sure, I’ll admit that the frying pan armor may be somewhat original, but still…

PUBG is a huge success and shady copycats were bound to happen, but it will be a depressing day when a studio is granted the copyright for trite game mechanics or a completely unremarkable game idea. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that the day will never come.

 

Trust Us, This Time It’s Good – Bless Online Western Release Mess

Video Game Industry Scandals Bless Online

Bless Online is the perfect lesson in exaggerated hype and subsequent disappointment. May its legacy serve as a warning for future generations about the dangers of high expectations.

For the lucky few who aren’t aware of the whole situation, Bless Online is a Korean fantasy MMORPG that was several years in the making and had a large budget as well. A few lackluster betas led to a Rebuild project that ended up not changing that much, and the attrition between original western publisher Aeria Games and developer Neowiz was a clear sign that Bless Online wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

Ultimately, Neowiz decided to self-publish Bless Online in the west through Steam, but with a major twist – it was going to be buy-to-play! An unfinished, buggy mess of a free-to-play Korean game that the western crowd was now expected to pay for. Oddly enough, many players cheered this decision because things are always better when you pay, right? With the reality shock and negative feedback stemming from the Early Access phase – because Bless Online wasn’t in development for long enough, you know –, there was a 180º turn and Bless Online’s official launch marked a switch to the original free-to-play business model. Too little, too late?

Apparently, yes. As the original Korean servers shut down, along with the failure of the Russian and Japanese versions. The Steam release of Bless Online is now the sole focus of Neowiz. Unsurprisingly, it is bleeding players and its future is uncertain, to say the least.

But I saved the best for last! Out of the blue, Neowiz and Bandai Namco announced Bless Unleashed, further stirring up the hornet’s nest, a.k.a. Bless Online PC players claiming that resources were being shifted to this upcoming game. This Xbox One exclusive is developed in Unreal Engine 4, is free-to-play and is scheduled for a 2019 launch. How does that old saying goes? Fool me once, shame on you…?

 

Who’s the Parent – Daybreak / Columbus Nova Chaos

Video Game Industry Scandals Daybreak PlanetSide Arena

Daybreak Game Company was in the spotlight for an important part of 2018, and no, it wasn’t due to the massive layoffs (around 70 people). It was because of all the confusion surrounding Daybreak’s alleged parent company, Columbus Nova.

The makers of Z1 Battle Royale, DC Universe Online and PlanetSide Arena, among others, were involved in a tangled web of miscommunication, doubt and unexpected twists. Daybreak has officially denied any affiliation with Columbus Nova, claiming that Jason Epstein, former member of Columbus Nova, is the primary owner of the studio. This conflicts with a 2015 privacy policy which described Columbus Nova as the parent company.

This almost feels like a detective movie, involving a Russian oligarch, billions worth of frozen assets and nail-biting suspense. All that is lacks is a romantic subplot, but let’s not make it more complicated than it already is.

 

Elves on Spaceships – Pearl Abyss Purchases CCP Games

Video Game Industry Scandals Black Desert Online

What does it take for one Korean studio to acquire a hugely reputed developer with a massive hit that has been live for more than 15 years? The answer has three words: Black Desert Online.

Pearl Abyss delivered a stunning MMORPG that is almost unrivaled when it comes to graphics and action combat. It is also incredibly deep and complex – so much so that it’s awfully grindy and requires a hefty dose of patience, and usually money, to become a powerful player. There are reports of players having spent over $5,000 USD on Black Desert Online, and I’m betting that is the tip of the iceberg.

With such revenue numbers, it’s clear that Pearl Abyss had a bit of pocket money. They decided to use it on the acquisition of CCP Games, makers of the intergalactic epic EVE Online. Apart from the upcoming release of EVE Online in Korea, we don’t know what other plans Pearl Abyss has for the Icelandic studio. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t involve spaceships landing in Black Desert Online.

 

A Handful of Nothing – Wargaming Seattle Closes Without a Single Release

Video Game Industry Scandals World of Tanks

Gas Powered Games is a name that brings back some pleasant memories. It takes me to a time when I enjoyed playing the Diablo-like Dungeon Siege, or the complex real-time strategy series Supreme Commander. However, in 2013 the studio was suffering from severe financial issues and ended up being purchased by World of Tanks publisher Wargaming.

Thus, Wargaming Seattle was born, along with hopes of a new “big free-to-play MMO” that never saw the light of day. Five years later, not a single piece of info or a measly screenshot was released to the public, and Wargaming decided to cut its losses. The studio was closed, affecting a 150-strong team and leaving the gaming community oblivious to what kind of project was in development.

However, this isn’t stopping Wargaming’s ambitions. The Belarusian company acquired Edge Case Games in November 2018 and has several partnerships with various developers, one of the latest being Ukrainian studio Frag Lab, which is working on a next-gen free-to-play MMO first-person shooter.

 

Not So Heroic – Marvel Heroes Downfall

Video Game Industry Scandals Marvel Heroes Gazillion

There was once a time when Marvel Heroes merged the best of two worlds: Diablo-like gameplay and super heroes. Sure, it didn’t have the greatest start, but just as it happened with other online games – League of Legends is the perfect example –, it eventually got better as development progressed, gameplay was finetuned and new heroes joined the fray.

After a few years of live service, some worrying news came to light, and not all of them involving the game. A sexual harassment scandal concerning Gazillion’s CEO Dave Dohrmann is a major problem, and Disney’s (owner of Marvel) intention to cut ties with Gazillion was a death sentence. It all ended with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2018, meaning that the studio wasn’t paying its creditors and was forced into bankruptcy by the same entities.

Gazillion workers ended up without any kind of PTO or severance, making the entire situation even more dramatic.

 

Worlds Divided – Gamigo Buys Trion Worlds

Video Game Industry Scandals Trove

Trion Worlds was once one of the most prolific free-to-play games publishers and developers. Trove, Rift, Defiance and Atlas Reactor are all their own doing, and you certainly have heard about ArcheAge as well.

While some of these games were moderate successes, they weren’t enough to keep the company afloat. In October 2018, German publisher Gamigo acquired Trion, along with the full rights to the aforementioned games. They even managed to get a few Gazillion assets (makers of Marvel Heroes) in the deal as well.

Gamigo was undoubtedly one of the top players in the free-to-play market when the genre was on the rise. Recently, however, its catalog is more discreet, with the decent shooter Ironsight being one of the latest releases.

 

Guild Lost – ArenaNet Layoffs and a Grim Future

Video Game Industry Scandals ArenaNet Guild Wars 2

For some reason, ArenaNet felt to me like one of those studios that couldn’t do any wrong. Sure, it’s not like they have done much besides Guild Wars and its sequel, but both MMORPGs were critically and commercially acclaimed, thus my appreciation and admiration for their spotless track record.

Nonetheless, there are very few studios that manage to keep going for years without the occasional new release. Founded in 2000, ArenaNet was allegedly working on two new projects, but delayed development and a shift of staff from Guild Wars 2 to these unannounced games ended up being an unsuccessful move.

Reports mention over 100 layoffs at ArenaNet following a restructuring decision by the studio’s owner NCSoft. The future of ArenaNet is now uncertain, and if there aren’t any new games in an advanced stage of development, there is only so much that new Guild Wars 2 expansions can do. I fear that we will end up seeing the talented staff being engulfed and separated by NCSoft in a not-so-distant future.

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Bless Online: Legendary Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

Bless Online, also known simply as Bless, is a brilliant epic fantasy MMORPG from Neowiz which centers on an ongoing war between two warring factions. The vast and incredibly detailed world of BLESS is painstakingly brought to life by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible through the award-winning Unreal Engine 3 graphics technology. Soak in the sights and completely immerse yourself in this living, breathing world full of rich lore and history. Create your character and choose from one of nearly 10 races and 8 classes, and set off for adventure and excitement! To become a legendary warlord is no mean feat, but Bless and MMOGames have teamed up to bring you a special giveaway to help you do exactly that. Enter the Bless Online: Legendary Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway now for your chance at a key that unlocks the Bless Online: Legendary Warlord Pack DLC for free on Steam, a 99.99 USD / EUR value!

Bless Online: Legendary Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

 

What You Get From The Bless Online: Legendary Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

  • NOTE: All components (Excluding the Premium Membership) are character bound. Please be sure to redeem them on the character you wish to have them!
  • The Bless Online: Legendary Warlord Pack DLC from Steam, a 99.99 USD/EUR value, that contains:
    • Exclusive Costume, Weapon, Mount, and Pet skins
    • 7900 Lumena
    • Premium Membership (60 Days)
    • Skill Reset Scroll x5
    • Gender & Appearance Change Item (1 Day)
    • Inventory Expansion Ticket, 8 Slot Expansion x2

 

How To Redeem Your Bless Online: Legendary Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway Key

  1. NOTE: All components (Excluding the Premium Membership) are character bound. Please be sure to redeem them on the character you wish to have them!
  2. Launch the Steam client software and log into your Steam account. If you do not have a Steam client, go here to install Steam and create an account.
  3. Click the Games Menu.
  4. Choose Activate a Product on Steam.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.
  6. Players can claim the items in the Account Mail in-game.

 

Enter Via Gleam

Sign in with a selection of options within the Gleam widgets at the end of this post and complete one or more entries to enter. You can select all of them or just one, it’s entirely up to you, though the more you choose, the more chances you have to win! This round of the giveaway will end on Monday, November 26, 2018. We will contact the winners by email, so be sure to check your email often! If you have any questions, please contact us.

 

Bless Online: Legendary Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

The post Bless Online: Legendary Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Bless Online: Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

Bless Online, also known simply as Bless, is a brilliant epic fantasy MMORPG from Neowiz which centers on an ongoing war between two warring factions. The vast and incredibly detailed world of BLESS is painstakingly brought to life by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible through the award-winning Unreal Engine 3 graphics technology. Soak in the sights and completely immerse yourself in this living, breathing world full of rich lore and history. Create your character and choose from one of nearly 10 races and 8 classes, and set off for adventure and excitement! To help new adventurers go from beginners to warlords quickly, Bless and MMOGames have teamed up to bring you a special giveaway. Enter the Bless Online: Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway now for your chance at a key that unlocks the Bless Online: Warlord Pack DLC for free on Steam, a 49.99 USD / EUR value!

Bless Online: Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

 

What You Get From The Bless Online: Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

  • NOTE: All components (Excluding the Premium Membership) are character bound. Please be sure to redeem them on the character you wish to have them!
  • The Bless Online: Warlord Pack DLC from Steam, a 49.99 USD/EUR value, that contains:
    • Exclusive Costume, Weapon, Mount, and Pet skins
    • 1200 Lumena
    • Premium Membership (30 Days)
    • Skill Reset Scroll x1
    • Gender & Appearance Change Item (1 Day)

 

How To Redeem Your Bless Online: Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway Key

  1. Launch the Steam client software and log into your Steam account. If you do not have a Steam client, go here to install Steam and create an account.
  2. Click the Games Menu.
  3. Choose Activate a Product on Steam.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.
  5. Players can claim the items in the Account Mail in-game.

 

Enter Via Gleam

Sign in with a selection of options within the Gleam widgets at the end of this post and complete one or more entries to enter. You can select all of them or just one, it’s entirely up to you, though the more you choose, the more chances you have to win! This round of the giveaway will end on Thursday, November 15, 2018. We will contact the winners by email, so be sure to check your email often! If you have any questions, please contact us.

Bless Online: Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

The post Bless Online: Warlord Pack Steam DLC Giveaway appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Bless Online Developer Interview

Bless Online recently released its level 50 update. To help explain what this update brings, and the future of the game, we spoke with JC Lee, the head of development for Bless Online.

Why Steam Can Be a Terrible Thing For MMO Players - Bless Online

Will there be any changes to the crafting system? New Recipes?

Although there aren’t any changes to the crafting system itself, the maximum amount of crafting materials of the same type that can be stored in 1 inventory slot has been increased, and new crafting recipes for new equipment related to Zeeto’s Laboratory have been added. Aside from that, the crafting recipes for equipment and accessory enhancement materials (Ymir’s Horn/ Sharp Horn of Ymir / Ymir’s Skin / Sturdy Skin of Ymir / Ermekis’ Energy / Power of Ermekis) that can be earned through crafting have also been changed due to changes to the enhancement system.

 

Will new players be able to experience some of the content or is it reserved exclusively for higher levels?

The new raid, Zeeto’s Laboratory, is a level 50 raid, and the new areas and story quests are intended for level 50 players. However, the other improvements and additions we made such as the enhancement system streamlining and the new guild features will be enjoyable for all players.

 

In your news release you mentioned quality of life improvements – could you elaborate more on that?

Probably the biggest QoL change is the streamlining of the enhancement system – we felt that previously it was too complex and not as intuitive for players to use. By reducing the categories for enhancing, we think it will be much more user-friendly for both new and experienced players. We’ve also added new guild features, made UI and UX improvements, and rebalanced some class skills, and fixed a variety of bugs and issues.

 

What new skills can we expect to see with the level cap increase?

There will not be a skill expansion within the level 50 update. It is currently being developed as a separate, future update.

 

Can you tell us a little more about what we can expect to find in the burning desert?

Geographically, there are a lot of interesting areas. For instance, there’s a Sandworm Pit located in the middle of the desert that has a Baraka nest, and players need to jump over the floating stones to get there. Even though characters don’t suffer any damage if they fall, they might get eaten by the sandworms below there. It’s also possible during the daylight hours in the major desert spots and outskirts to get heat stroke, which can decrease Physical Defense and Movement Speed. Players should avoid this area.

The story behind the Burning Desert is also worth mentioning. You can discover Ash-Ruha’s Cradle when chasing Guido and trying to find out about his conspiracy. However, it has been said that one must leave the ruins as quickly as possible since you will be exposed to danger. Players can increase their Movement Speed by getting energy from the Barakas on the floor!

Are there going to be any new features for premium players vs. free players?

There won’t be any changes to the optional premium membership, no. And free players will have access to all the same game content that those who purchased Bless previously do.

 

With this new update, will we see any improvements to the overall game performance and optimization?

We’ve made a great effort to improve optimization, and some performance improvements were added at launch! While we are still actively working on further changes that we hope to add to Bless soon, we don’t have any going into the 11/7 update.

 

How many new areas will the DLC open up?

If you mean how many new areas are added in the Level 50 Update, there are two – Shaqqara and the Burning Desert. It will not be walled behind a DLC, however; it is available to all players for free with the latest update.

 

Can we expect any special events on launch day?

The ongoing Level UP Event will continue even after the Level 50 cap update, and we’re also planning to upgrade the Level 45 Reward Box, which is currently being sold for 1 Lumena, to a Level 50 Reward Box.

In the Level UP Event players can get rewards for leveling up their character from level 1 through level 50 (with different rewards being given out at different levels). Existing characters can get rewards that match their current level. We’ll also have the Daily Attendance Check event ongoing, where players get rewarded for logging in and checking off their attendance.

To wrap this up I’m going to ask the question that’s on everyone’s mind: are we any closer to the release of the Mystic?

Regarding the Mystic, we’ll have more detailed plans to share for its release later, as we want to ensure that it has been sufficiently reworked to fit with the revamped combat system that we brought to Bless on Steam.

 

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

Just that we hope they enjoy the new update, and that we’re already looking ahead to the next one! Later this year in another update, we’re also planning to add a new dungeon and a new stage 3 to Rift of Time and Space (that hasn’t been released in any region before). There’s a lot to look forward to!

The post Bless Online Developer Interview appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Bless Online: Novice Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

Bless Online, also known simply as Bless, is a brilliant epic fantasy MMORPG from Neowiz which centers on an ongoing war between two warring factions. The vast and incredibly detailed world of BLESS is painstakingly brought to life by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible through the award-winning Unreal Engine 3 graphics technology. Soak in the sights and completely immerse yourself in this living, breathing world full of rich lore and history. Create your character and choose from one of nearly 10 races and 8 classes, and set off for adventure and excitement! To help new adventurers get off on the right foot, Bless and MMOGames have teamed up to bring you this super helpful giveaway. Enter the Bless Online: Novice Pack Steam DLC Giveaway now for your chance at a key that unlocks the Bless Online: Novice Pack DLC for free on Steam, a 19.99 USD / EUR value!

 

Bless Online: Novice Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

 

What You Get From The Bless Online: Novice Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

  • A free unlock of the Bless Online: Novice Pack containing the following items:
    • Premium Membership (30 Days) – A 30 Day Premium Membership that offers special benefits such as premium mount/pet skins, convenience items, and in-game buffs.
    • Skill Reset Scroll (x1) – The ‘Skill Reset Scroll’ resets all gems and skill growth points, allowing players to make new choices about their tactics.
    • Gender & Appearance Change Item (1 day) – Change your character’s appearance any way you like with the Gender & Appearance Change Item!

 

How To Redeem Your Bless Online: Novice Pack Steam DLC Giveaway Key

  1. Launch the Steam client software and log into your Steam account. If you do not have a Steam client, go here to install Steam and create an account.
  2. Click the Games Menu.
  3. Choose Activate a Product on Steam.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.
  5. Players can claim the items in the Account Mail in-game.

 

Enter Via Gleam

Sign in with a selection of options within the Gleam widgets at the end of this post and complete one or more entries to enter. You can select all of them or just one, it’s entirely up to you, though the more you choose, the more chances you have to win! This round of the giveaway will end on Monday, November 12, 2018. We will contact the winners by email, so be sure to check your email often! If you have any questions, please contact us.

 

Bless Online: Novice Pack Steam DLC Giveaway

The post Bless Online: Novice Pack Steam DLC Giveaway appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Bless Online Confirms a Free to Play Launch

It turns out the devs of Bless Online believe the game is ready for primetime. A free to play Bless launch has been confirmed, granting the early access MMO its firm calendar date for release…and it’s a lot sooner than many perhaps expected.

free to play bless launch

Tuesday, October 23rd will mark the date when Bless Online exits early access and goes live fully as a free-to-play game. Before then, there’s a new update that introduces a high-level Patala raid and a Halloween-themed event out now.

Those who bought in to the game’s early access will be rewarded depending on the tier of founder’s pack they purchased. Rewards include varying lengths of Premium Access time, costume and mount skins, and pets among other goodies.

“It’s been a long road, but we’re excited to finally launch Bless Online on Steam this month,” said Sungjin Ko, executive producer of Neowiz Bless Studio. “We believe that the Free to Play version of Bless, with all of the improvements we’ve made since Early Access began, will mark an auspicious beginning to the game’s life here in the West.”

All of the information about the game’s free to play launch as well as the rewards for founders can be found here, and a trailer is below.

Our Thoughts

It will certainly be interesting to know if this shift to free-to-play will mean a new lease on life for Bless or if it’s too little, too late as one of our own writers pondered. As for the release itself, we had a moment to ask questions of the devs about this launch and its plans from here, so be sure to check that interview.

Source: press release

The post Bless Online Confirms a Free to Play Launch appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Bless Online Interview: Early Access, F2P Release and Beyond

So we now know that not only does Bless Online have a launch date, but it’s doing so as a free-to-play game. However, does this really make the game finished? Do the folks at Neowiz think that early access was a mistake? Where does the game go from here? We had the opportunity to speak with the devs once again in a Bless launch interview to see if we could get some answers to these questions.

bless launch interview

So the first and obvious question is: what made you change your mind on the game’s business model?

For the past 5 months of Early Access, we have updated Bless Online with a variety of content and have received a lot of feedback from our North American and European players and collected meaningful data.

With the official release now before us, we have been immersed in preparing an improved player experience and next-level quality service using the data that we have collected during EA as the foundation. We want as many players as possible to experience and witness the completed Bless.

The transition to F2P will be the chance for many new players to easily experience Bless, and we expect that the influx of both new and existing players will enrich the Bless World with a more lively and active atmosphere.

The next obvious question, perhaps: what makes Bless Online’s cash shop avoid being called “pay to win”?

When Bless Online was presented on Steam, we understood that players in North America and Europe tend to value fairness, and accordingly developed a principle to stay away from P2W.

In line with this principle, we avoided having items in the shop purchasable with paid currency that could have a direct impact on the game experience. Instead, we focused on having cosmetic and convenience items for players to buy with paid currency such as costumes, mount skins, and combat XP bonuses. We also implemented a feature that allows players to exchange their content points earned from playing the game into paid currency.

We are doing our best to match our perception of P2W with our players’ and make sure everything is aligned. However, we are well aware of the players’ worries that we may change our minds along with the conversion to F2P. While this is not the case, we are going to work extra hard to both try to avoid any P2W and to correct quickly with patches if we misjudge any new aspects of the game.

Many people accuse Neowiz of using early access as a “cash grab”. Are you concerned that a free-to-play launch will poison the well against anything the game’s cash shop offers?

We believe that the transition to F2P will not have a big impact on revenue growth since it still adheres to the anti-P2W principle and since there won’t be a significant change in the sales structure. The biggest reason why we decided to have the F2P transition during the official launch is because we wanted to provide the best experience possible for players in content that works best with [a] high numbers of players, such as PvP, PvE, Siege of Castra.

What kind of items can we expect to see in the cash shop?

The F2P switch will not change many of the items that are available at the cash shop. We will continue to add new costumes, pet skins, and mount skins just as before.

Has the general negativity surrounding the more vocal people in places like Steam had any effect on the decision to go free-to-play?

Player feedback and comments have played an important role when improving the content of the game during Early Access, however the decision to switch to F2P was not made because of our awareness about the negative comments, but rather because we want Bless to become a game that everyone loves and can enjoy for a very long time.

bless launch interview

Do you think this shift to a free-to-play game will help repair relations with those who perhaps feel disappointed?

We think that the official launch will be a great opportunity for players to see all the progress we’ve made since the start of Early Access. We, of course, hope that those who already purchased Bless during Early Access will also enjoy the founder thank you gifts that we have planned for them, and we hope that they will also enjoy the new content that will be arriving with release. We think all players, both new and old, will be able to experience Bless in a great new way at official launch.

What do you say to those who believe that the game is unfinished and being rushed out the door?

We know that when Early Access began, there was a mismatch between our expectations of EA and many of our players’ expectations. We saw EA as a time of active development where we could work closely with the community, gathering and implementing their feedback as we prepared Bless for its official release later in the year. However, we think that when players experience Bless at launch, they will see just how far we’ve come since the start of EA.

You recently confirmed your selections for the Bless Emissaries. Do you think they’ll help in bringing Bless Online into a new light?

Absolutely! We believe that each and every one of our Emissaries will not only help to bring Bless to new audiences but also to show off the game in their own unique ways. In the program, we strive to encourage not just participation, but creativity as well. The next Emissary activities are planned for the Halloween content, but that will just be the first step.

Has the team had regrets in how they’ve handled early access? Is there anything that you feel could have been done differently?

We felt that, despite some unexpected issues at the start, Early Access was a success. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and we wish that we would have had a better idea of what player expectations of Early Access would be going into it. As mentioned previously, we saw EA as a time of ongoing development and improvement, while many players ended up expecting a fully complete game. Having more knowledge of this would have allowed us to perhaps better set player expectations for EA.

What sort of things do you hope the team will do in order to demonstrate that Bless Online is a completed, finished and fully-realized MMO?

Bless at official launch will be “content complete.” Throughout Early Access, we’ve been continuing to add new content and make improvements, and we think that it is finally in the place that we want it to be for release. With launch comes a whole new raid and afterward, sometime in November, we have an update planned focused around raising the level cap to 50. From launch onwards, players can expect to see brand new content that they would expect to be added post-launch [just as] with any other MMO title.

Do you think that early access was a bad idea? Would things have been different if the game were tested internally or with a select number of outside testers?

Definitely not, we are glad that during Early Access we were able to work closely with the community to gather their feedback and make improvements to Bless based on it. We are grateful to the players that they were willing to share such valuable feedback with us; it was because of player feedback on the combat system that we originally implemented the combat rework for the Steam version of Bless. Having players get a feel for the game in a live environment can oftentimes produce the most useful feedback.

bless launch interview

What features can players expect when Bless officially launches?

Besides of course all the many improvements and content updates that have been added over time since EA began, players can look forward to German localization being added, an assortment of fixes and adjustments, and a whole new raid. We also plan to provide EA users with rewards during the official release as a token of thanks for their contribution in developing the game during the EA period. Soon after the official release, around November, there are also plans for a large scale level expansion update in Bless.

How does the update cadence for Bless Online look post-launch? How frequently can players expect content updates and how big will those updates be, roughly?

There will be a large-scale update around November that includes the addition of new dungeons along with the level 50 expansion. After that, there are updates planned for new dungeons, a restructuring of the Rift of Space and Time, skill expansions, and more. We will be looking at the player influx and player opinion and will adjust update schedules and plans accordingly. As always, we will continue to work hard to bring a new variety of content to Bless for our players to enjoy.

Beyond content, will there be any kind of in-game events or seasonal events to look forward to?

Of course! First up will be Halloween events for the month of October. After that, we will be working hard to prepare seasonally appropriate events for the NA and EU audiences.

We also have the monthly Attendance Check events, with which we aim to provide a variety of rewards that both new and returning users will be satisfied with. We are preparing future promotions as well, such as a Siege of Castra promotion, a Rune Break Prevention promotion, a Dungeon Drop Rate promotion, and a Hot Buff promotion. We think all of these events and promotions will help players to enjoy Bless even more.

Can you offer any indication on what the next big update to Bless Online will be after launch?

Yes, there is a large-scale update planned for around November, after the official release. We plan to raise the characters’ max level to 50, open new areas, and reveal two new dungeons. We hope to give our users more freedom and fun with this update. We’ll have loads of details on it in the very near future.

What final words would you like to share to the Bless Online community?

We can’t wait for official release, and we are so grateful to the community for all the support they’ve shown us and Bless Online through Early Access and beyond. We have more in store for after release, and we’re working as always to make it the best it can be. Thank you!

 

As always, we’d like to thank the developers of Bless Online for taking the time to answer our questions.

The post Bless Online Interview: Early Access, F2P Release and Beyond appeared first on MMOGames.com.