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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Xbox Details Refund Policies for Marvel Heroes Omega

With the unceremonious shutdown of Marvel Heroes Omega, many players on consoles were demanding refunds. It would appear that at least Xbox players have some timelines laid out in a set of Marvel Heroes refund details posted on the console’s support page.

marvel heroes refund

Here’s the rundown:

  • if you’ve bought any DLC for the game between September 1st and November 29th, you’ll get an automatic credit or refund.
  • If you bought anything between October 31st and November 29th, your form of payment will be credited.
  • If you purchased between September 1st and October 30th, you’re getting a store credit.

The process appears to be automated and should arrive to player accounts by January 31st of this year according to the support page.

While the PlayStation Support site doesn’t have any Marvel Heroes-specific details, players on the game’s subreddit have reported that refunds appear to be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Our Thoughts

And so it goes as the final pages of Marvel Heroes Omega are written. While a similarly automated system for PS4 players would be nice, it appears that console players on both sides are seeing their money back.

Sources: Xbox support site, Marvel Heroes Omega subreddit

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MMOGames Best of 2017 Awards

What a year! 2017 was certainly a weird one. The gaming industry was put in the public eye more than ever before. There was scandal, there was joy, and there was a whole lot of money being thrown around. But what was the best of the best this year? It’s time once again to look at the best MMOs of 2017.


Games That Shut Down – Marvel Heroes


There were quite a few games that shut down this year but none bigger, or more poorly handled, than Marvel Heroes. It was filled with a lack of communication, a possible sex scandal, Disney calling off the deal they had and Gazillion shutting down. For fans, though, it came out of nowhere. The console version of the game had just launched a few months before and it seemed like everything was going well…until it wasn’t. It’s sad to see the superhero genre shrinking even more and we’re sorry to see Marvel Heroes go.


Best Sandbox MMO – Black Desert Online

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

It has been a great year for Black Desert Online. They’ve continued to put out new classes and new content. This year at Gamescom they showed off what the 4k console version of BDO looks like and its graphics are incredibly lifelike. This was also the year the game released on Steam, giving it a massive boost in player numbers. Oh, and Pearl Abyss says they’d like BDO to last another 20-30 years! This is fantastic news for anyone who has seen their favorite game shut down. All in all, it was a great year for Black Desert Online and we can’t wait for next year.


Best Mobile – Vainglory

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

Vainglory has continued to be one of the best, if not the best, MOBA you can play on a mobile device. In fact, it’s the best mobile game you can play with multiple people. Best of all, early next year it will be getting a 5v5 mode so you’ll be able to play with even more people if your device can handle it. As a result, its eSports scene is growing. Next year the mobile category is going to have a lot of competition, but this year Vainglory was an easy decision to make.


Best PvP – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

Speaking of easy decisions, giving best PvP to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was the easiest decision. It may have spent the whole year in beta testing but hands down it was the most talked about game this year (Other than that Star Wars game…you know the one). PUBG has brought so much joy to gamers this year we had to include it on the list. Now that it has launched we can’t wait to see what they come out with next.


Best New Online Game – Fortnite

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

The best new online game of 2017 has to go to PUBG’s competitor Fortnite. Players have been having a blast in this battle royale since it launched earlier this year. It boasts 30 million users and at one point had 1.3 million people playing it concurrently. Epic hit on something great with this game.


Best MMO Expansion – Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

We’re kind of cheating a little bit for this one. Morrowind isn’t a proper expansion, it’s a DLC. This is something that the studio stressed heavily before it launched. However, we’re allowing it because it was just so much fun. With new dungeons, new quests, and the Halls of Fabrication trial it takes about 30 hours of playing to complete all the new content. It was great to get a new tutorial after having run through Coldharbour so many times. We’re also huge fans of all the Easter eggs in the game. We had a great time playing Morrowind, even if it wasn’t a true expansion.


Best Beta – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds spent months around the top of the revenue charts. For a game that was still in beta, it made a whole lot of money. It also brought a lot of happiness. The game made for some fantastic viewing this year as it thrived on Twitch and, well, everywhere really. It was the most fun to be had in a beta and it didn’t really feel like a beta at all (if you can forgive a few bugs). After all the testing, the game has now officially launched. Congratulations PUBG!


Best F2P – Warframe

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

Warframe is one of those games that everyone knows someone who plays yet it rarely gets talked about. Even though it’s four years old at this point, Warframe has seen a massive surge in players in 2017. This year it became the second most played F2P game on Steam with 121,000 concurrent users. This underrated game released its most popular expansion yet, the Plains of Eidolon, which added new weapons and an open world zone. 2017 was a fantastic year for Warframe and a great year to play it.


Most Anticipated – Chronicles of Elyria

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

There are a lot of great games we’re expecting to come out in 2018 so it was really difficult to pick just one. However, Chronicles of Elyria came out just a little ahead of the rest in our minds. With true MMORPGs becoming a dying breed, we have a lot of hope in Chronicles of Elyeria to help the genre we adore. It’s also promising to introduce something we haven’t really seen since Mabinogi: aging. We’ve been following development on this game since it was first announced and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

An honorable mention needs to go to Crowfall, however, which is clearly a favorite for the MMOGames’ writers.


Best MMO – Final Fantasy XIV

MMOGames best MMOs of 2017

Final Fantasy XIV has continued to impress and entertain its players throughout the year of 2017. Not only did it make an excellent appearance at Gamescom and host the incredibly successful Fanfest 2017, but we also saw the release of the newest expansion Stormblood, which has received high praise all around from fans old and new.

Its dungeons and raids are not only beautifully designed visually but provide interesting challenges and mechanics for a wide variety of skill levels. Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t only caters for those interested in raiding as the landscape, content, and characters of Eorzea inspire thousands of artists and content creators to generate beautiful works of art and establish wonderful communities surrounding game-inspired projects. The main storyline continues to reward the player throughout Stormblood with dramatic and heartfelt experiences along the way, allowing the player to immerse themselves in the content. This makes Final Fantasy XIV not only one of the best MMOs of 2017 but also one of the greatest of this generation.

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Marvel Heroes Omega Faces a Mounting Wave of Refund Demands

It’s been a pretty rough few days for Gazillion Entertainment and a particularly frustrating few days for players seeking a Marvel Heroes Omega refund. Agitation over the game’s sudden closure has spilled out with myriad players demanding their money back and the game’s devs keeping generally silent.

marvel heroes omega refund

A report on the situation focuses on console players in specific, who only had access to Marvel Heroes Omega for a small number of months versus PC players’ years. The game’s official forums reflect the difference in temperment, with a quick scan showing far more angry (and closed) threads on the console side than the PC side.

For it’s part, Marvel Heroes did make posts regarding adjusted costs of in-game items on November 16th. PC players being granted 1,000G a day and a cost of 50G for in-game items and console players seeing item costs reduced to one Eternity Shard or 1G.

That said, Kotaku’s attempt to reach Marvel, Sony, Microsoft and Gazillion for further comment about refund demands were not answered back. Further, the Marvel Heroes terms of service states refunds are offered only to those affected by identity theft and that content can be removed at any time without requiring that Gazillion pay its players back anything, which is noted as a clause in the vast majority of EULAs.

Our Thoughts

So it comes down to legalese versus a sense of goodwill to fans – especially those who feel that they’ve been duped. The entire matter is pitiable to say the least and we hope that Gazillion Entertainment will offer up some manner of official response sometime soon.

Sources: Kotaku, official forums 1, 2

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Marvel Heroes Omega Heralds the Age of Apocalypse

If you’re a villain named Apocalypse, you’re probably not bringing pie and puppies. With that in mind, the Marvel Heroes Omega Apocalypse event that has arrived to PS4 and Xbox One players will see you battling the resurrection of one of Marvel’s more dangerous villains. And, again, there will not be pie and puppies.

marvel heroes omega apocalypse event

Apocalypse is threatening to be resurrected by Mister Sinister and Clan Akkaba and it’s up to players to stop it in the “Apocalypse Awakens” encounter. Level 11 players in groups of 1 to 5 will have to confront the forces of En Sabah Nur in his Egyptian burial chamber, including the cloned Horsemen versions of Jean Grey, Storm, Psylocke, and Magik.

In addition to the new fight against Apocalypse’s mounting forces, the update introduces Jean Grey, Storm, Psylocke, and Magik as the next Omega Prestige-capable characters. The update also adds Omega Items that are earned by playing content in the new Omega difficulty setting.

If you happen to be a fan of the way the four X-Men look dressed like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, then you can also unlock these looks through the Apocalypse Loot Box or as part of the Age of Apocalypse Event Omega Pack, both of which are only available for a limited time.

A trailer showcasing the new event can be seen below.

Our Thoughts

Those variants of the X-Men look outstanding! Of course, fighting Apocalypse in almost any Marvel game is going to be an event in and of itself, so we hope that players of this MMOARPG have a great time all around. Do it for the pie and puppies!

Source: press release

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Marvel Heroes Details its Omega Prestige System

In an effort to prepare players for upcoming endgame content as well as unlock the “true potential” of its roster, Marvel Heroes is introducing its Omega Prestige system; a new tier of character advancement coming to the MMOARPG soon.

omega prestige system

The new system, which was teased earlier with the addition of Elektra and a new event to the console edition of Marvel Heroes, works similarly to the existing Prestige system but with some fairly notable differences.

For one, there will be several visual differences apparent for the Omega Prestige-powered character, such as a unique name badge, unique Flourish, and a new aura that can be toggled on and off. On the more mechanical side of things, Omega heroes will get two new traits, a reduced cooldown of their Ultimate power, doubled Hero Synergy bonuses, and a unique Legendary item themed after the chosen character.

The first character getting the Omega treatment will be Spider-Man, though more will be added soon. Getting Spidey to the new Omega Prestige ranks involves first getting him to Prestige Rank 6, then purchasing the Omega Prestige Recipe for 200 Eternity Splinters. After learning the recipe, players have to craft hero-specific Omega Prestige capabilities at a cost of 400 Eternity Splinters and 400 Omega Essence. The Omega Essence drops from any foes you defeat if you’re playing on Cosmic difficulty or higher.

Of course, if all of that sounds like an endless grind, there will be a Spider-Man Omega Prestige Pack that bundles the unlock and a variety of other goodies for $39.99. This unique pack will be on sale for one month only, however.

The new Omega Prestige system will arrive to PS4 and Xbox One players on Thursday, August 31st. You can find out all of the specifics on the Marvel Heroes Omega website.

Our Thoughts

All of this sounds like a pretty long journey, but then again the majority of Marvel Heroes players love leveling alt characters to the highest possible heights already anyway, so we’re sure this new progression system will take hold. All we want to know is when PC players will get access to this new Prestige advancement.

Source: official site

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Marvel Heroes Omega Adds New Event and Elektra on Console

PS4 and Xbox One players are getting a fresh dose of Marvel Heroes Omega content today. Specifically, a new Defenders event is arriving and the game’s roster is expanding with the addition of the infamous assassin Elektra.

marvel heroes omega content

Marvel Heroes Omega’s 41st roster addition comes complete with a unique skin based on Marvel’s Daredevil TV show, along with a Hell’s Kitchen Loot Box with skins for Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Punisher. The new update also introduces an event where players must battle members of The Hand for unique rewards.

In addition to the new content, Gazillion has also announced the Omega Prestige system, an advanced leveling system for select Heroes which is said to offer “some of the most powerful and visually stunning benefits currently available”. The first character to gain this new advancement system will be Spider-Man, with further details on the Omega Prestige system coming to the Marvel Heroes Omega website soon.

In the meantime, Elektra can be gained with the timed-exclusive purchase of an Elektra Pack in the PlayStation Store and Xbox Marketplace. After that, she’ll become available to purchase with in-game currency on Monday, September 25th. You can check out Elektra in action in the trailer below.

Our Thoughts

We’re always eager for a new Marvel Hero to play with and are certainly happy for a new in-game event, but we’re most curious about what this Omega Prestige system is all about. Consider our eyes peeled on the Marvel Heroes Omega website.

Source: press release

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