MMORPG Legend Brad McQuaid Has Died

Legendary MMORPG developer Brad McQuaid has died at age 51. His death was first reported on the Patheon: Rise of the Fallen forums, this was the MMO he was working on at the time of his death. According to the forum post by Benjamin Dean from Visionary Realms McQuaid died at home.

“Brad was a visionary, a mentor, an artist, a trailblazer, a friend, a husband, a father. He touched thousands of lives with his dreams and concepts. He changed the landscape of video games forever. He will be deeply missed and forever remembered in life and in Pantheon.

Thank you, Brad, for bringing us together through your worlds. Rest in peace, Aradune.”

McQuaid is perhaps best known for his work on Everquest. He joined SOE in 1996 as the lead programmer for the historic MMO and later went on to a producer role and then Chief Creative Officer. Upon hearing of his death his former boss, John Smedley took to Twitter to say “Brad was an amazingly talented creator and Everquest wouldn’t exist without his genius. He will be missed.”

In 2002 McQuaid left SOE to found Sigil Games which created Vanguard: Saga of Heroes which was eventually bought by SOE. From 2012 to 2013 he briefly rejoined SOE before once again going independent. This time it was to create Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen which had its successful Kickstarter in 2014.

It isn’t too much of a stretch at all to say that the entire MMO genre wouldn’t be what it is today without the contributions Brad McQuaid made. It has been asked that the privacy of his family is respected during this difficult time. But, if you would like to share heartwarming stories that his wife and daughter will see Smedley has suggested sending those stories to @aradune on Twitter.

 

Source: Pantheon Forums, Smedley’s Twitter

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Daybreak Releases Additional Lifetime Subscription Offer

You may recall last week we mentioned that Daybreak had a limited time, limited quantity lifetime subscription offer for a few of their older MMOs. Well, just before Christmas on Monday they announced that they had run out of the 4,000 that they had originally made available. Today though, they’ve announced that you’ll have one more chance to get in on this offer. They’ve released an additional 2,000 lifetime subscriptions.

For anyone keeping track at home, that means that if they sell all 6,000 total that has been made available they will bring in 1.8 million dollars. Not too bad at all. This offer is only available for a few more days. It ends on December 31st or whenever they run out. If this is something you want to get in on you shouldn’t wait. This is clearly a very popular offer, it only took 5 days for 4,000 subscriptions to be sold. These could very well sell just as quickly. If they sell at the same rate you can expect them to run out before dinner on Sunday.

The massive popularity of this offer may come as a surprise to many but with Everquest quickly approaching its 20th anniversary it really shouldn’t be. Everquest and Everquest 2 both have a large, very dedicated, very loyal fanbase. These fans would also generally be older than your typical gamer and are more likely to have the kind of disposable cash that is being looked for in the middle of the most expensive time of the year. It would be tragic to see something to Everquest so close to such a monumental date. With so many rumors that have been flying around recently it is very possible that people are buying in simply to make sure that their favorite game, whichever one it may be is still going for another few years.

 

Source: Official Site

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Daybreak Offering Lifetime Subscription for MMOs

How do you make 1.2 million dollars in a hurry? Well, if you’re Daybreak offering lifetime subscription to your MMO catalog is the way to go. This is exactly what they’re doing with a limited availability lifetime all access membership. For $299.99 (henceforth renamed $300 because ain’t nobody got time for that.) players will have lifetime membership benefits in every All Access game. For those who don’t know which ones that includes, we’re talking about Everquest, Everquest II, DCUO, and Planetside 2. Only 4,000 of these lifetime subscriptions will be made available and for anyone wondering, that’s where the $1.2 million comes from ($300 times 4,000 equals $1.2 million). This offer is only available until December 31st, assuming supplies last that long. Which of course Daybreak is warning that they will likely sell out.

If the $300 price tag is a little bit too steep for you at the moment but you do happen to have $200 laying around then maybe you’ll consider getting a 12-month subscription instead. All the same perks, but a hundred dollars less and only for one year. Yeah, we’d go with the lifetime sub if it were us.

The recently announced Planetside Arena is most notably not included as part of this lifetime deal, neither is H1Z1. This is likely because they still have a lot more life in them than the other titles. That’s not to say that we think any of them will be closing in the near future, just that they are Daybreak’s older games which naturally puts them closer to the end of their lifecycle.

You may recall that recently Daybreak had layoffs, then very shortly afterward announced Planetside Arena. There were also rumors earlier this year that Everquest and Everquest II were going to be coming to an end very soon. All of this, of course, has made a lot of people very worried about the future of Daybreak Games. If there are in fact problems this might just be enough to save them for the time being.

 

Source: Official Site

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Release Date and Details Announced for EverQuest: The Burning Lands

EverQuest: The Burning Lands, the 25th expansion pack for the classic MMORPG, has gotten a bunch of new details since its initial announcement. Namely, a launch date and word of features coming with the expansion.

everquest: the burning lands

The presser touts a number of new features arriving with The Burning Lands, which focuses on a war that has broken out between the djinns of the Plane of Air and the efreeti of the Plane of Fire. Chief among these new updates is a Luck stat that governs a variety of things that happen to your character, from the amount of critical damage you deal to the chance of succeeding a trade skill combine.

The Burning Lands will also introduce six expansion zones for players to discover, which promise to provide “fantastic environments and architecture” as players traverse the plains of Air, Fire and Smoke. There will also be new spells, combat abilities and AAs; new raids and missions; and new Collections to…uh…collect.

The entire thing goes officially live on Tuesday, December 11th. Those who are moved to pre-order can get a variety of in-game items and beta access to the expansion.

Our Thoughts

This new Luck stat certainly will be an interesting one to consider. We’re curious whether this will actually have an appreciable effect on things or will just end up being a throwaway stat. Considering it’s mostly focused on RNG things, we’re willing to bet on the latter.

Source: press release

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EverQuest Unveils its 25th Expansion

Most MMORPGs only dream of being alive for as long as EverQuest has, let alone releasing a total of 25 expansions. Yet the elder statesman of the genre presses on with the reveal of The Burning Lands expansion, which will bring players of the game back to the Planes.

the burning lands expansion

Details of this new expansion are pretty slim for now, but the latest producer’s letter does hint that players can expect to visit the Planes once again, specifically one involving air and fire. Rather obviously, considering the expansion’s title.

The letter also confirmed that The Burning Lands will bring the expected additions like new monsters, zones and raids, and also unveiled at least one monster: a very burn-y lava snail creature.

Additional information about The Burning Lands is expected in the coming weeks, but for now we can expect to see this new expansion arrive at some point in December. Before then, current players can look forward to the return of the Fall Fun event this November with increased bonus experience, faction bonuses and rare spawns every two weeks until the expansion’s launch.

Our Thoughts

We absolutely have to tip our hats to the devs of EverQuest for creating 25 expansions’ worth of content updates. Obviously, EverQuest was the first out of the MMORPG gate, but it’s still remarkable that the game has lived long enough to see such a milestone. We wish players of the game a good time in both this upcoming expansion and bonus XP event.

Source: official site

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New Daybreak Games Investor to Fund Mobile EverQuest and H1Z1

Apparently, EverQuest and H1Z1 are ready for the mobile spotlight if this Daybreak Games investment news is any indication. A new joint venture between the game publisher/developer and a “diversified holding company” has been announced, which means mobile editions of the above titles are en route.

daybreak games investment

The new partner in question is NantWorks, which will see the formation of NantG Mobile LLC, a new mobile games developer and publisher that NantWorks will have a controlling interest in. This new studio will be handling the creation of mobile editions of the classic EverQuest and the battle royale shooter H1Z1, which will be rebranded as Z1 Battle Royale. The joint venture will also pick up management duties of H1Z1 Battle Royale on PC.

In addition to these new ventures, NantWorks is also putting together an esports venue in El Segundo, California. The LA Times Center is described as “a convening hub for the community and a venue where NantG Mobile will establish esports leagues for multiple game titles”, the first of which will be Z1 Battle Royale.

There’s no word on when this venue will break ground or ultimately open as of right now. Similarly, there’s no timeline on when Z1 Battle Royale or EverQuest’s mobile version will arrive.

Our Thoughts

So one could see this a couple of different ways. Either Daybreak Games is chasing the new hotness and other publishers, or they’re looking to sell off their assets to fleece these game IPs bare. Then again, maybe they’ll actually put together compelling mobile titles, who knows?

Source: press release

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10 Most Popular Gaming Articles in 2018, So Far

2018 has by all accounts been a pretty “meh” year for MMOs and online gaming…unless you work for Epic. But that hasn’t stopped all of you wonderful readers from coming to see what the writers are talking about. So we’re taking a little time to look at the most popular gaming articles in 2018, so far. This also gives us a glimpse into what is most popular at the moment. The answer may surprise you.

 

10. 6 Shutdown MMO Emulators You Can Play on Now

Lego Universe - MMOGames.com - Your source for MMOs & MMORPGs

With new MMORPGs in short supply these days many people are looking to the past to play old games that are sadly no longer with us. Many are playable thanks to fan emulator projects. Fan favorites like City of Heroes, Lego Universe, and Star Wars Galaxies make the list along with a few surprises you won’t want to miss. Check out 6 Shutdown MMO Emulators You Can Play on Now.

 

9. 2017 Online Games Financial Review

Star Citizen

This was the first article in what became a 4 part series looking at how the games industry performed in 2017. In this first article we had a look at the Steam Best of 2017 awards, which itself almost could have been its own article. We discussed the fact that Star Citizen raised $37.91 million in 2017 alone, which is actually down from other years. Superdata also released a ton of amazing information about the industry in 2017. The best of it was the list where they named PUBG the top premium PC game by revenue. That list also included surprises like Guild Wars 2 and Divinity: Original Sin 2. If you want to check out the full series here it is:

2017 Online Games Financial Review
2017 Games Industry by the Numbers
2017 Games Industry Revenue
Esports Industry in 2018 by the Numbers

 

Bonus: If you’re interested in seeing the business news from E3 2018 be sure to check that out too.

 

8. Why Aren’t Superhero MMOs Hugely Successful?

Early in the year we had a look at one writer’s opinion on why superhero MMOs aren’t hugely successful in a time when in all other forms of media the superhero reigns supreme. The article looks at all the major superhero MMOs. It also briefly touches on the idea that in the vast majority of games the player character is a superhero. They may not be wearing tights and a cape but they still perform super human feats.

 

7. Bless Online Interview with the Devs

Remember a few months ago when the internet suddenly went wild for Bless Online? This was just before the start of Early Access and the hype was real. But, the first cracks were starting to form. We published this interview with the Bless Online developers that got people asking a lot of questions about the proposed business model. They also took exception to the idea of a potion you have to buy from the cash shop to stay out of PvP. Were these the first signs of the disappointment we had ahead of us still? Maybe.

 

6. Elder Scrolls Online Fang Lair Dungeon Guide

Thurvokun fight

Fang Lair was one of the two new dungeons introduced to Elder Scrolls Online in Dragon Bones DLC. The guide will help you navigate the dungeon and help you get through each boss fight. It seemed to be quite popular with MMOGames readers who needed a little help getting through the dungeon.

 

5. Art of Eorzea: Depth of Field Basics & ReShade DoF Settings Guide

reshade dof settings

Yes, the next article is in fact another guide. This one is totally different though as it is focusing entirely on taking amazing screenshots in Final Fantasy XIV. It is an amazingly comprehensive guide on Depth of Field, one that even has it’s own index to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to have gorgeous screenshots in FFXIV.

 

4. MMO Money: Top Grossing Games of March and Tencent Breaks Records

Tencent mobile financials - MMOGames.com - Your source for MMOs & MMORPGs

Tencent has been breaking records all over the place this year as they slowly take over the whole industry. One of these days all games will be Tencent. Why did this particular MMO Money article get so much attention? It may have had something to do with the rumors around Daybreak and getting a new Everquest game. MMO Money is the business focused column that comes out twice a month covering every detail of the lootbox controversy, quarterly reports, and any other news that involves money.

 

3. Echoes of Eorzea: ReShade Settings Guide

reshade dof guide

We return once again to making FFXIV looking great with another guide. This one takes you through the settings you should use in ReShade, a post-processing program that enhances a game’s graphics. It’s another incredibly long, incredibly in depth dive into which settings you should use, what they do, and making your game look great.

 

2. 10 MMORPGs You Should Play in 2018

Everquest

If you’re looking for a list of older MMORPGs you should play in 2018 this is the place to get it. This list purposefully didn’t include anything new. Instead the focus was entirely on games that have an established playerbase and are just great fun to play. Some of them also make the list because it looks like they might not have much life in them. So, try them while you can. I’m looking at you Everquest.

1. 7 Ways to Earn Gold Quickly in Guild Wars 2 in 2018

This article may have originally been published in 2017 but in 2018 it got a massive update which helped revitalize it and make it the most viewed article on MMOGames this year, so far. The article is exactly what it says in the title, ways to earn gold quickly in Guild Wars 2. It walks through the little things you can do like logging in and doing your dailies all the way up to the best farms to jump on. It gets updated every time ArenaNet releases a major patch to include all the new ways to earn gold.

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MMO Money: Top Grossing Games of March and Tencent Breaks Records

Superdata has released their list of the top grossing games of March, and nobody knows what is going on with Daybreak Games. Plus there’s fantastic news for Tencent who are breaking records with money and there is a lot to talk about around the lockbox saga. Find all of this and more in this week’s MMO Money.

 

Top Grossing Titles in March

MMO Money: Top Grossing Games of March and Tencent Breaks Records

Superdata has put out their monthly list of the top grossing games for PC, Consoles, and Mobile and there has been a move in the top of the charts. Dungeon Fighter Online took the top spot from League of Legends who held it in February. This came on the back of their third-anniversary celebration and a limited event that challenged players to level up new characters. Fortnite and World of Warcraft both overtook PUBG which slipped to seventh on the list. Speaking of Fortnite, it is now the largest free to play console game of all time! This is in terms of revenue generated and monthly active users. Also in March, it increased revenue by 73% from February to generate $223 million across all platforms.

 

Daybreak Layoffs and Rumors of New Games

Everquest

Daybreak has been having an odd couple of weeks, to put it mildly, and no one really seems to know what’s going on exactly. It started with their (maybe?) Russian parent company being investigated. Then they came out and said that no, they weren’t owned by that company at all! Despite many documents saying otherwise…Massively has done an amazing job covering it all and one little paragraph wouldn’t do the whole scenario justice so be sure to check out what they’ve been saying. The most recent updates though have been that there are confirmed layoffs. Not long after the layoffs, a rumor came out saying that they were working on Planetside 3 and Everquest 3. Also part of that rumor is that both Everquest and Everquest 2 are getting their last expansions next year.

 

Dota 2 on the Decline

New data from Superdata shows that Dota 2 is on the decline. Ever since the 7.00 update in late 2016, Dota 2 has been on a slow decline in popularity. The downward trend picked up steam in the last few months though. The emergence of the Battle Royale genre could be one of the reasons for this decline. Dota 2 is also approaching 5 years old, at which point it’s perfectly normal to see a declining population. It isn’t the end for Dota 2 though, Superdata thinks that Dota Plus can provide a steady revenue stream for the game. This means it could keep going for some time.

 

Tencent is Breaking Records with Investments

Tencent mobile financials - MMOGames.com - Your source for MMOs & MMORPGs

According to data from Digi-Capital, Tencent was involved in 40% of all money invested in game company funding over the last 12 months. They were also part of more than three quarters of all industry mergers and acquisitions. Tencent’s largest acquisition was the $2 billion deal for Vivendi’s stake in Ubisoft.

2017 was a bit behind 2016 when it came to market investments and mergers and acquisitions. In 2016 the industry reached a peak with $28.4 billion invested, whereas 2017 saw only $22 billion worth, though $17 billion of that was in mergers and acquisitions.

Finally, Digi-Capital predicts that the software and hardware market revenues will reach $160 billion this year and be more than $230 billion by 2022, just 4 years from now.

 

Lootbox News

The biggest news in the Lootbox controversy in recent weeks was Belgium calling out Overwatch, CSGO, and Fifa 18. The Belgian government has even gone so far as to say that these companies are violating the law with their lockbox mechanics. An announcement from the Minister of Justice said in a press release that the loot boxes must be removed and… If that does not happen, the operators risk a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros. When minors are involved, those punishments can be doubled.” Things got serious, fast! An EA spokesperson spoke with Eurogamer saying, “We strongly believe that our games are developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world, and take these responsibilities very seriously. We care deeply that our players are having a fun and fair experience in all of our games, and take great care to ensure each game is marketed responsibly, including in compliance with regional ratings standards. We welcome the dialogue with Minister Geens on these topics, as we do not agree that our games can be considered as any form of gambling.” Belgium hasn’t set any deadline for companies to change their games so it may be some time before we see anything else come from this.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, four out of ten popular games they studied were found to be in violation of their Betting and Gaming Act. The Gaming Authority didn’t say which games they studied or which games were in violation but Dutch language news site NOS reports that Fifa 18, Dota 2, PUBG, and Rocket League are the four games in violation of the law. Unlike Belgium, the Netherlands has given the companies a June 20th deadline. The Netherlands is also pushing for EU-wide legislation on lootboxes.

Based on player feedback, Tera has revamped their lockbox system. They made sure each one will contain something the player will find useful and you can also find out what is in each box.

Then finally, there are what seems like conflicting reports from Superdata and Juniper Research on the future of lootboxes. Superdata is saying that game marketers will be pushing the idea of “no loot boxes” this fall more than things like “60fps” and “4K HDR.” While Juniper Research is saying that loot boxes will be a major factor in industry growth over the next 4 years. Juniper has also likened loot boxes to gambling, so it’s not that they necessarily stand behind the practice. Superdata, on the other hand, believes that the anti-lockbox sentiment will continue to grow and developers will find other ways to monetize their games. Specifically, they point at Fortnite: Battle Royale which brought in $126 million in revenue in February without selling a single box. Superdata also acknowledges that lockboxes aren’t going away anytime soon with games like Overwatch making over $600 million from them.

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Multiple Layoffs at Daybreak Games Confirmed

According to Twitter, and MassivelyOP, there were quite a few layoffs at Daybreak Games today including H1Z1 software engineer Grat Crabtree, manager of operational engineering Steve Melton, and community manager J Goldberg.

layoffs at daybreak games

 

These layoffs only add to an already eventful week for Daybreak Games after allegations of being affiliated with Columbus Nova and Russian sanctions, press announcement tampering, and chief publishing officer Laura Naviaux leaving the company. Since then, reliable sources from within Daybreak, according to MassivelyOP, have confirmed that the company was owned by Jason Epstein and not Columbus Nova and it has no affiliation with Russia.

It’s estimated that the number of layoffs at Daybreak are around 70 and much of the gaming community is rallying around those affected. The hashtag #DaybreakJobs is circulating on Twitter, bringing game studios and former Daybreak employees together.

Our Thoughts

With all the potential scandals and layoffs, this was not a good week to work at Daybreak Games. We just hope that everything can get cleared up as soon as possible, and our thoughts go out to those who lost their jobs. If you have a lead on a potential industry job, please reach out via #DaybreakJobs on Twitter.

Source: MassivelyOP

Articles related to Daybreak Games

Daybreak Games’ Chief Publishing Officer Leaves the Company
New Daybreak Games Connections Discovered, LotRO and DDO Say They’ll Remain Unaffected
$2B Worth of Assets from Russian Company Columbus Nova Frozen, Daybreak Claiming No Affiliation

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If You Could Do It All Again – Progression Servers

We live in an age of the geek ascendant. Superhero movies continue to draw in billions of dollars and don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. The movies and shows we loved in the past are being remixed, reworked and rebooted, for better or worse.

Gaming is making more money than ever and continues to work its way into every aspect of peoples’ lives. You can play a game pretty much anywhere now.

So given that gaming is so popular and also given that costs are so high in development, why do we never see reboots? Where is the Amazing Spider-man of Azeroth and where is the superior Spider-Man Homecoming of the Alliance and Horde? Clearly World of Warcraft itself in this example is the Sam Raimi Spider-Man, for better or for worse.

This whole idea came from the news of RIFT Prime. RIFT Prime, if you hadn’t heard is an upcoming vanilla and progression server from Trion Worlds. They are bringing back the subscription model for it and they are dumping lock boxes and the vast majority of items currently available in the store. They also promise to progressively unlock the content of the game through in-game milestones and monthly achievements for players.

All in all, that sounds like an awful lot of fun. Be sure to watch here for more when we get our hands on it.

What I would like to discuss is not a vanilla server like Blizzard is working on for World of Warcraft. It’s not a progression server like Trion is doing for RIFT or like Daybreak has done previously for EverQuest and EverQuest II. It’s not even a retooling like Funcom pulled off with Secret World Legends, ripping out the combat in The Secret World and repackaging the game with new combat mechanics and some graphics love.

I would like to discuss what you would do if you could do it all over again. Creating a brand new MMO from scratch is a labor of love, as well as a vast undertaking in terms of hundreds of hours of work to say nothing of the financial cost. Yes, there are ways to bring down some of these. There are ever improving tools available to developers and hobbyists to create games and scale them up for larger and larger audiences. Between free engines available to people and new technologies like we are seeing used in Crowfall or by SpatialOS, the future looks very interesting for people to experiment in. What if you didn’t have to though…?

What if we not only got a vanilla World of Warcraft or a vanilla Everquest II but then took them in a different direction entirely? When some of these MMOs have been out for years upon years and built constantly on the content they began with, there are always some bits that people did not like nearly as much as research might have suggested. There is always that one release no one likes. In terms of Guild Wars 2, I can point to specific moments in the Living World that I just hated (We are all looking at you Braham) and wish we could get rid of.

I am not suggesting a head-canon type situation where you just ignore what you do not like and pretend it isn’t there. I am suggesting continuing the development of the games we enjoy but if the vanilla servers get enough promise and population, bringing them in entirely new directions. Every expansion ever has contained the “true ending” from the previous iteration. Either factions must work together to beat a bigger bad giving you a generic ending that favors no one, or the nominal good guys win like the Global Defence Initiative always does. The only real difference that springs to mind in the typical “you won!” ending method would be XCom 2 taking the view that you lost in the first game but hey, that’s XCom baby. If there’s ever a Dwarf Fortress 2, it will likely up the ante and physically punch players to remind them of losses.

I personally would love the opportunity to see the ‘What If’ games, the separate small servers who go off in experimental directions. What if Wrath of the Lich King ended differently, leaving one version of Azeroth with an entirely different playing field? What if Mordremoth had won at the end of Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns and the server brought in PvP as Sylvari run wild over the other races of Tyria? Or what if Heart of Thorns had broken off differently, with the first season of the Living Story focusing not on Scarlet Briar but following through Malyck’s journey of self-discovery and the sleeping Dragon that was such an intimate danger to all Sylvari.

What if RIFT Prime keeps the Blood Storm around longer? What if the Dragons that originally sold so many people on the game were all still around and the content went another way?

What we will have in Secret World Legends isn’t really a new story told with an old game, they’re going to build on what the old game had and move on from there. There are all sorts of possibilities present in a reboot and new directions they could take. What we have in Final Fantasy XIV was a wiping clean of a damaged slate and starting anew.

How many expansions have there been for the games we love where you have been left wondering, what if we had taken another path? What if you could do it all again…but the expansion you know should come after is riding entirely on the outcome of what we are playing.

What if that tangent server, that restart, ended up in an entirely new place? How exciting would our worlds be then? Clearly there would be issues in execution. Issues with divided teams and divided directions. At least in games with multiple servers, if the new MCU Spider-Azeroth ends up outperforming the original, you can migrate people over. Why not experiment with it at least once? Why not take the worlds that players know better than the one they inhabit and then change course in an all-new way, instead of playing the greatest hits all over again?

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