A New F2P MOBA Enters the Field as the Blood of Steel Beta Begins

You might have thought that you’d never see another new MOBA be released because it seemed like the genre burned bright and fast, I certainly didn’t. But, there’s a new free to play MOBA on the scene and it is called Blood of Steel and it is being made by Evolution Studio, the in-house development studio for YC Games.

Blood of Steel is currently in beta with 3 servers for different regions of the world; North America, Europe, and Asia. Beta testing is going on only until December 12th so if you’re interested you’d better jump in soon.

As for the concept behind it, I honestly think the press release said it best so I’m just going to copy that portion below.

In Blood of Steel, you command the army of a legendary commander from world history to conquer cities and expand your territory against other players online to ultimately rule the world. Set throughout the Middle Ages, players choose from multiple authentic battlefields as they engage in 5-v-5, 7-v-7 or 10-v-10 legion-based battles, with each individual player allowed to lead up to 40 AI soldiers. Clever use of terrain, management of different troop types and adapting to dynamic weather systems incorporating variables such as rain and snow are the keys to victory. As well as the legion-based warfare, players can play a one-on-one duel in PvP battles in the Heroes Arena, offering them a chance to truly show their mastery of the complex fighting system.

“Blood of Steel represents our vision of what a true modern MOBA should be, combining classic elements of wartime strategy games, large scale battles, challenge of one-on-one duels and opportunity to compete with your friends online,” said Cao, Game Director of YC Games.

It certainly sounds like a unique take on the MOBA genre and reminds me of the good old days of play Warcraft 2 and Age of Empires 2 with friends. If this is of interest to you then you can check it out on Steam. According to their Steam page the game has a planned release date of January 9th.

 

Source: Press Release

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Interview: Switchblade’s Development and Lucid Games’ Success

Even with it’s explosion to popularity years ago, the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre is still rife with new and exciting ideas to discover. Launching out of Steam’s Early Access program with a new seasonal Battle Pass, Switchblade has driven onto the scene with engines hot for action. Developed by Lucid Dreams, this MOBA combines the best of both worlds in lane-battling, tactical driving, and rapid-deployment combat systemic of classical Strategy Games. Last week I got the chance to sit down and discuss the game’s development with David Deeble, one of the team’s designers.

 

With most popular MOBAs featuring a greater focus on individual characters standing out, rather than their tools, why the focus on different types of vehicles rather than say their pilots?

We started Switchblade with the goal of making a great vehicle action MOBA, so it’s natural that the vehicles themselves are the focus. Early in development we knew that vehicles needed to be more than just tools and that players should be able to identify with certain traits or characteristics inherent to a vehicle’s gameplay – so, you have the sneaky rogue archetype being fulfilled by the Goofer or the Sniper Prince as the glass cannon and so on. By approaching the design in this way, I think that our vehicles fill the role of the traditional character commonly found in other MOBAs. We also allow players to create and customize their own Pilots so they can forge a sense of identity for themselves – it’s a more relatable way for players to interact in our shared spaces within the game.

 

While currently there’s a skin system in place, are we going to see further vehicle customization options arise in future, such as tires or framework in a similar vein of Rocket League or Mechwarrior Online?

Customization on vehicles is something we’ve talked about internally. It’s a topic that comes up in the community occasionally, but not all that often. Ultimately the discussion always comes back to “how does this impact gameplay”, for example any significant change to a vehicle’s silhouette may impact how identifiable a vehicle is over distance – the skin system we have allows us to create some really cool and unique designs while maintaining authorial control in the interests of gameplay. We do have some ideas in the pipeline that could satisfy all considerations though.

switchblade

With the distinction between different vehicle classes (Tanks, Artillery, Support, etc.) and some of the game’s escorting AI mechanics, is there a potential exclusively for Player vs. Environment encounters or perhaps a main storyline in the future?

Never say never, but right now we’re focused on making the best vehicle action PvP MOBA we can.

 

While the roadmap for Switchblade has been largely laid out as early as February of this year, the game is still in Steam Early Access. What are the team’s plans going forward to push outward from Early Access into a full release?

We have some major updates on the horizon including Leagues (our first competitive playlist), a brand-new map and new vehicles. We’re in a pretty good place right now in terms of stability and all our major systems are in place so our focus can begin to shift toward content creation and managing the live game. Ultimately, we’ll leave Early Access when we feel ready but it’s pretty close!

 

As with many games in the industry, microtransactions are often frowned down upon, particularly with the traditional or seasonal pass. How does Switchblade’s Season Pass stand out in this often-downtrodden field?

Our focus has always been on creating a great multiplayer experience that anyone can jump in and enjoy from day one. Microtransactions in Switchblade are completely optional and purely cosmetic – and they always will be! Our pre-alpha testers may remember our old “Tech” system that allowed players to buy items and modify their stats – we learned the hard way that this was completely counter to the type of experience we wanted players to have. One of the key pillars when creating our Battle Pass was to get the right balance for players to earn everything in a reasonable time frame – but we also give time-poor players the option of progressing their pass. It’s a fine-line between balancing the system for good commercial sense and not pissing off our community – I think we’re doing a good job if we’ve got content that players want to spend a little money on to support us while not interfering with anyone’s enjoyment of the game.

switchblade

Are there plans in the works to see an expansion of the world’s story beyond the edges of the game’s narrative arena?

Yes! Actually if you check out some of the vehicle descriptions in-game you’ll see hints at the wider Switchblade universe. Internally, we have a wiki page with plenty of lore that really fleshes out the world, it’s definitely something we want to get out there in future releases.

 

Currently there are concerns that there’s not a real end-game feel to gameplay, rather a tepid, eventual finale with the destruction of the enemy base during matches. How is the team working to diversify the end-gameplay?

We’re constantly gathering analytical data from the live game and listening to the community, and that really feeds back into our plans to improve the game. It’s still early days, but we’re working on a more refined ruleset for overtime and actively investigating how to make a more satisfying back-and-forth with Tower destruction. In earlier versions players could actually heal their own Towers, and while we felt this perpetuated “turtling” it gave players a reason to defend an exposed power-core rather than abandon it completely. We’re working right now to create a good balance between attack and defense, while not letting one team snowball a victory.

 

How happy is the team overall with Switchblade’s production and reception thus far?

We’re absolutely thrilled – the game’s out there, people are enjoying it and we have a strong and passionate community who are really invested. They can be pretty tough on us but we love it – we’ve always maintained that it’s their game as much as it ours!

switchblade

Currently there’s a very wide spread of vehicles across the different types. Is there a planned or ideal cap for the development team?

The cool thing about Switchblade is that we’re still finding fun new ways to play. When we start developing a new vehicle we ask ourselves how will this vehicle challenge players, what niche does it fill that we haven’t explored yet. So long as we can answer those questions then we’ll keep updating the roster. We’ve got some really cool vehicles in the pipeline that expand on the tactical aspect of the game, so right now the sky’s the limit!

 

Is there anything you’d like our readers to know about Switchblade, its upcoming development and its future?

It’s a great time to be playing Switchblade right now – the upcoming launch of competitive Leagues is our biggest update yet and I’m really excited to see how competitive play changes the game, we’ve also got the new Monorail map just on the horizon and of course our very first Battle Pass is still running. Switchblade is a real labor of love for us so if you’d like to join our passionate community then you can grab the game free on Steam and on PS4 from the PSN store.

A big thanks to David for sitting down with us to talk about Switchblade.

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MMO Business Report: Let’s Hunt Monsters, Mobile Esports, and More

In this week’s MMOGames Business Review we’re going to take a look at Pokemon Go’s biggest competition, Let’s Hunt Monsters. We also have a look at the mobile esports scene, a new location-based mobile game, and PUBG Mobile. What can we say, when it comes to business at the moment mobile gaming is the thing everyone is talking about while the rest of the world is WoW crazy.

 

Let’s Hunt Monsters is Pokemon Go’s Largest Competition

There have been many games that have tried to capture the success that Pokemon Go has had since it released in 2016. Games like Jurassic Park Alive, Ghostbusters World, The Walking Dead Our World, and Harry Potter Wizards Unite have all failed to make any significant move in that direction. But, there is one game that stands out above the others, Let’s Hunt Monsters.

Let’s Hunt Monsters is a monster-hunting AR game from Tencent that has only been released in China. It just recently crossed the $50 million mark in player spending on iOS. This is, of course, only 4% what Pokemon Go has grossed. But, it is more than double the amount of Jurassic Park Alive, the next highest-earning AR game. This is quite a remarkable feat for a game that isn’t based on a pre-existing IP and has only been released in one market while others have seen a global release.

It is important to note that Pokemon Go hasn’t been released in China yet, though there are plans for it to go forward. When it happens though it is expected to be done with Tencent’s rival NetEase. One of the complications Pokemon Go is facing in China is that Google Maps is banned in the country. Pokemon Go relies on Google Maps to function so as you can see, there’s a bit of a problem for Niantic.

 

Source: SensorTower

 

Mobile Esports Games Poised to Overtake PC Competitors

arena of valor switch

According to a new report from Niko Partners, mobile esports games generated $15.3 billion last year compared to PC’s $16.1 billion. The report also states that China is overwhelmingly the largest market for both mobile and PC esports accounting for $5.6 billion and $6.4 billion respectively. It also points to League of Legends as the biggest PC esports game, having grossed $1.9 billion last year. This is down from $2.1 billion last year. On the mobile side of esports, it is Tencent’s Arena of Valor which is taking the lead. It grossed $2.5 billion last year, up from $2.4 billion in 2017. But, while mobile esports games are set to overtake PC there were 4 PC esports titles which generated over $1 billion last year in comparison to mobile which only had 2.

The report also suggests that there is going to be a shift from spectator focused tournaments towards more open regional tournaments. “Mobile esports tournaments will engage consumers not only as spectators but as participants,” said Niko Partners managing partner Lisa Hanson. “This will create mass market participation and engagement, growing a far larger audience for esports and generating new opportunities for revenue. We will see esports transition from fewer large tournaments to the addition of large numbers of smaller tournaments that are open to everyone who wants to compete.”

 

Source: Games Industry

 

$1.75 Million Raised by Cerberus Interactive for Location-Based Games

Cerberus Interactive is working on a location-based strategy game which is said to be the first of its kind. It has grabbed the attention, and finances of the CEO of Reddit Steve Huffman and CBO of TikTok Blake Chandlee who were some of the lead investors in this round.

“We believe our marketing-driven approach to game design is a new way forward for mobile game development that has double fold benefits – players get features which are important to them, and studios are able to mitigate financial losses,” said Khan. “Premiere mobile titles require a great deal of capital, and with the funds raised thus far, we hope to not only pioneer a method that greatly reduces the risk involved, but also reshapes the mobile game development industry as a whole. We expect ‘Atlas Empires’ will be our proof of concept.”

Atlas Empires being developed in collaboration with fans and players. It democratizes the process to ensure they have a strong fanbase from development and going forward which is certainly a novel way to develop a game. Should it prove to be successful though it would be interesting to see it attempted in other games going forward.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

PUBG Mobile Now Highest Grossing Mobile Battle Royale in the World

Revenue for PUBG mobile is up an amazing 748% year on year thanks to its release in China. After just 60 days China has become PUBG mobile’s highest-grossing market, accounting for 28% of everything the game has grossed to date. But, it isn’t just China that is contributing to PUBG Mobile’s success, in the United States revenue for the game rose 565% year on year from 4.8 million to 32 million monthly. It is important to note that these numbers for China only take into account the iOS version of the game, Android isn’t included, which means that in reality, the numbers are much higher.

Revenue for PUBG Mobile last month was 5 times higher than its closest competition in the genre, Fortnite and Knives Out. The game has spent 3 months now at number one globally amongst all mobile games according to SensorTower. Superdata however, who release a list of the top 10 grossing games for PC, Console, and Mobile, didn’t list PUBG Mobile in their recent list for July 2019. It’s always interesting to see how two different companies can come to different conclusions about a game’s revenue. It is possible that Superdata simply doesn’t have the information about PUBG Mobile to include them on the list, though this seems unlikely considering PUBG is on their list for PC. It may also be that because SensorTower’s data only includes iOS that they have come to completely different conclusions than Superdata who includes Android and iOS.

 

Source: SensorTower

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Esports Isn’t Mainstream Yet, But It’s Getting Close

We’re closing the gap! Esports is finally starting to be recognized by the mainstream as more than some stereotypical teenagers binging Call of Duty in their mom’s basement all night. You know, munching Cheetos and inhaling energy drinks? Esports is starting to be seen as a real sport. While we’re not there just yet, seeing the perception of media makes one thing very clear: esports is here to stay and they’re not just “playing” around anymore.

The Fortnite World Cup Surely Was, Well… Epic

Fortnite World Cup esports

Let’s take the recent Fortnite World Cup as a solid example. Epic Games are the makers of Fortnite and the Epic Engine that runs the majority of your favorite games. They put on a real spectacle in July! During the three-day event, 19,000 fans gathered at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City to watch a bunch of kids play video games. That’s no small feat, considering the stadium and event sold out, something very mainstream.

Back in February 2019, Epic Games announced that on top of the $100 million prize pool announced back in May 2018, they were dropping another $100 million for 2019. For comparison sake, the more mainstream horse race, The Kentucky Derby, had a prize pool in 2019 that was only $2 million, while the mainstream tennis-focused Wimbledon’s entire prize pool equaled over $41 million (34 million GBP) for 2019. 

 

The New Kids On The Block

We’re not talking chump change here. In fact, 16-year-old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf took home $3 million from his first-place solo finals finish. During the duos finals, Emil “Nyhrox” Bergquist Pedersen and David “Aqua” Wang (aged 16 and 17, respectively) split their winnings of $3 million. These three kids won the combined spoils equaling three Kentucky Derbies. 

Let’s not forget about the viewership. What makes the more traditional sports so popular is that the average everyday person can root for their team both in-person and from home. This is the part where esports has some work to do. While the Fortnite World Cup finals peaked at the impressive 2.3 million viewers across YouTube and Twitch, the 2019 Kentucky Derby had 16.34 million at its peak, according to NBC. While the 2.3 million doesn’t include “fans watching in-game and on other streaming and social media platforms,” such as Twitter, Facebook, and within Fortnite itself, there’s no way they hit the same numbers as the horse race. Let’s not even try to compare that to the 98.2 million that watched the 2019 Super Bowl.

 

Esports Isn’t Just Another Sport, It’s Better

Esports has an evolutionary edge, though. While the aforementioned horse racing and tennis sports don’t generally change at all, video games do often, and they do so really quickly. A weapon in a game could get a buff (upgrade) or a nerf (downgrade) in the very next patch, or a new map could be released, changing the entire landscape for that game. Developers tend to make updates to their games to fix bugs, errors, or to change the way one plays their game! And what of sequels?

While Epic Games has created a truly adaptable game that doesn’t need a Fortnite 2, games like Call of Duty and Madden have yearly releases, keeping players on their toes to learn new mechanics every twelve months or so for the competitive market. The professional players at the officially sanctioned Call of Duty World League jump ship the second that a new game launches for the new season, for instance. Players that want the newest roster of NFL teams are likely to grab each year’s Madden. Even the incredibly popular Blizzard title, Overwatch, that harbors the seasonal Overwatch League is allegedly flirting with the idea of a sequel.

So, where does that leave us? Esports is still volatile, but expanding near daily. Each year, esports athletes are getting younger and younger, retiring in their 20s, and making names for themselves. It’s not going to help anyone to mince words here. Esports, as a whole, has three key points that need to be addressed to really make it big with the mainstream viewership: leveling off, camera views, and product options. 

 

What Esports Needs To Do

What I mean by “leveling off” is that the average viewer doesn’t want to learn all new rules every time they turn on the TV. The constant tweaks and patches to games are surely going to confuse fans that don’t play the game. Where football has remained unchanged for decades, a new map, mode, or changes to that sniper rifle over there would change the game entirely. 

If you’re watching a game being played, you want access to the action. That’s why camera angles and views are another key point to address here. In most traditional sports, the focus is on the player holding the ball or in a single area. In a game like Fortnite, where there’s 100 players all at once, that can get trickier if there are three big fights going on in three different areas.

As mentioned before, new games come out constantly and each have their own respective athletes. There’s no way to compare this phenomenon to classic sports either. A professional Halo player may not also be a professional Call of Duty player, even though they’re both of the same “first person shooter” genre. A pro at Street Fighter might not be any good at Mortal Kombat, even if both are considered fighting games. Each game has clear lines in the sand due to different mechanics. Sure, one could say the same about traditional sports, but we’re talking hundreds of games at an unprecedented scale, not a few dozen.

 

Where Will It Lead?

Needless to say, when I call it the “mainstream viewership”, I don’t mean the Millennials and Gen Z generations that already watch these things on Twitch or YouTube. Viewers that are used to watching know how to adapt quickly and easily. I’m talking about the main media outlets and the average everyday person. While some outlets have dipped their toes, such as the Overwatch League being presented on ABC or the TBS-backed eLeague, allocation is clearly skewed still. While we have an uphill battle still to go, it’s not all bad.

blizzard esports

More and more esports stadiums and physical places to play are popping up all the time. More schools are looking into the idea of adding esports to curriculum. Professional traditional sports stars are investing in pro gaming teams, such as NBA star Rick Fox and Echo Fox. Parents are embracing the idea that their kid may not be cut out to be a Varsity football player, but they still can be an athlete with the right training and focus. 

Plus, with big money moves like what Epic Games is working through, it’s only a matter of time before esports hits that mainstream. It’ll be no time before we start seeing the finish line. Until then, esports will continue to grow.

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Switchblade, the MOBA with Vehicles is Now Free to Play

Vehicle-based games are rare so when Switchblade graced our inbox we knew had to talk about it. Switchblade is a 5v5 team-based MOBA where all the combat takes place with heavily armed sci-fi vehicles in a massive arena. The game is currently in Early Access and is being developed by UK development team Lucid Games. You can find it on Steam right now and Playstation 4 is scheduled very soon.

From a development standpoint, the move to free to play also represents a transition from Early Access to beta. Of course, this can’t quite be accurately displayed in places like Steam. For them being in beta means that the game is effectively feature complete. Beta is about getting player feedback, squashing bugs, and introducing more content.

If you’re interested in learning more about the game there will be a developer livestream tomorrow, January 23rd at 3 PM GMT on Twitch. They don’t have an agenda planned for the livestream but they will be there to answer player questions, celebrate the launch of free to play, and giving away some in-game currency. If you have a question already in mind send them a tweet and they’ll be sure to answer it on stream. This is especially great since 3 PM GMT is 10 AM Eastern so there’s a good chance you won’t be able to watch the stream live anyway. Thankfully the livestream will be available on social media after it wraps up so you’ll be able to watch it whenever you get the chance.

If you’re interested in giving Switchblade a try head over to Steam where you can grab it for free. If you haven’t already seen it be sure to check out the brand new, explosion-packed trailer below.

Source: Press Release, Official Blog

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22 Online Games Shut Down in 2018

While this is the year that Fortnite made it big, it wasn’t a year without some very sad departures. We saw studios close and beloved games disappear. We’re taking a look at the online games shut down in 2018 with a wide view that includes MMORPG, MOBA, and Battle Royale alike. These are the games we sadly lost in 2018.

 

Shutdown

 

RuneScape Classic

RuneScape Classic, not to be confused with RuneScape or Old School RuneScape, sunsetted earlier this year. Jagex touted the evolving nature of their tools and those self-same tools being incompatible with RuneScape Classic, leading to an increased chance of abuse and data breaches. The game itself may have broken without any warning as things continued developing away from the original codebase. Also in this year, Jagex shut down Chronicles: RuneScape Legends, Ace of Spades and their FunOrb game portal.

 

Just Survive

Just Survive

Daybreak Games has had an odd year, what with being implicated in the ongoing drama that is the presidency of Donald Trump. Columbus Nova and Russian oligarchs aside, Just Survive was originally H1Z1. Like any good zombie virus, it mutated into two variants with a battle royale spawning off of the sandbox survival game. Now Just Survive is gone and the battle royale seems to have been the survivor. Per the official statement “While this chapter for Just Survive has come to an end, we are discussing the possibility of allowing our partner and developer of Z1 Battle Royale, NantG Mobile, to bring Just Survive back online and take over the development of the game sometime in the future. Should we have further information to share regarding that matter, we’ll be sure to inform you accordingly.”

 

WildStar

Carbine Studios, the developer of WildStar, was shut down by NCSoft earlier this year and with it the game itself. According to reporting in Kotaku, Carbine had been pitching projects to its parent company but failed to gain any traction with them. This along with the general decline of WildStar led to the business decision to close the studio and game.

 

Master x Master

Master X Master mxm

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

 

Paragon

paragon v.40

Epic Games used to be known as the creators of the Unreal Engine. These days they are probably known to everyone above a certain age as “the guys who make Fortnite.” Before the meteoric rise of Fortnite, however, there was Paragon. Paragon failed to take off in the already crowded MOBA market and soon was overshadowed by its battle royale cousin. In possibly the showiest goodbye possible short of giving out the server code, Epic Games gave full refunds to all players and then made $12 million worth of assets and art available for free in the Unreal Engine marketplace.

 

LawBreakers & Radical Heights

LawBreakers made news in that its shut down came not as the company tried different things but as the company ceases to be. Cliff Bleszinski’s Boss Key didn’t achieve the success they had hoped with LawBreakers and looked for options to stave off what was looming ahead of the company. They turned to the battle royale market and brought Radical Heights to the table. They may have had more success if they had broken out as a go-to game but in a genre that was dominated by PUBG and Fortnite, the 80s themed Radical Heights failed to achieve any heights at all. With its last failed attempt, Boss Key is no more.

 

Devilian

This one will have shades of Paragon around it. Trion Worlds, the publisher in the west, had to shutter Devilian as the developer Bluehole Ginno decided to discontinue work on the title. Devilian had its last run in March. How much of that came as a result of Bluehole Ginno becoming the PUBG Corporation and going all in on 2017s rising star is anyone’s guess. As it was the Diablo-like had a reasonable run but ultimately must have failed to grab enough of an audience for a maintenance mode conversion.

 

Various Perfect World Games

Gigantic beta 2.0 - MMOGames.com - Your source for MMOs & MMORPGs

Jagex isn’t the only publisher that had multiple closures this year. Perfect World Entertainment bid adieu to three entries this year, some more venerable than the others. Jade Dynasty, clocking in at a respectable 9 years, and Swordsman Online, itself four years old, was announced for sunset. Unfortunately, they were soon joined by Gigantic, the MOBA developed by Motiga. Poor Gigantic had the looks but sadly not the hooks to keep players in and playing. As the official statement put it, “Despite our best efforts, we were unable to find an impactful solution that would help Gigantic breakthrough in a crowded market.”

 

Breakaway

Screenshot

Amazon Studios came out swinging when it was announced. A 4v4 mythological sports brawler Breakaway, a survival MMO New World and the development engine Lumberyard. Lumberyard is still going, New World is in alpha but Breakaway… isn’t.

“In spite of our efforts, we didn’t achieve the breakthrough that made the game what we all hoped it could be. After a lot of soul-searching, the team decided to focus on new ideas. As a result, Breakaway is no longer in active development.”

 

Club Penguin Island

Club Penguin Island

The children’s MMO Club Penguin closed in 2017 only to be replaced by Club Penguin Island. Sadly for the dozens of employees at the game’s Kelowna, British Columbia studio, it wasn’t to last with Disney deciding to cut costs and with the title.

 

Linkrealms

Linkrealms Screenshot Beta Lava

Earlier this year Linkrealms players received an email saying the game would shut down. Linkrealms was a game in the style of Ultima Online and despite being f2p on Steam, came to a close in February.

 

Dead and Back Again

Sometimes there is a light at the end of the tunnel for games going dark.

 

Perpetuum Online

perpetuum

The Robotic forces of Perpetuum Online proved at the start of the year that there is no eternal thing, no perpetual motion and sadly announced a shutdown after several years of service. The death came as a consequence of the financial situation, servers being expensive to run if there aren’t enough people spending money on keeping them going.

Then in a wonderful turn around for this article, Perpetuum came back in the Open Perpetuum Project.  As they happily announced on the Steam Community forums: “The Open Perpetuum Project, a community run server and development initiative, has stepped up to host and develop features for their server for all players to enjoy.”

 

Maintenance Mode

Some games aren’t quite gone yet, but the developers are no longer working on them.

 

The Crew

The Crew

Robbing Peter to pay Paul is an old story. Moving development teams around as necessary is as old as the first computer. Earlier this year Ubisoft moved things around leading to the announcement that there would be no further development on The Crew in favor of The Crew 2 and the move of the first one into maintenance mode.

 

Hand of the Gods

Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics

Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics, a turn-based strategy game from Hi-Rez Studios also entered maintenance mode this year. As noted on Twitter by Hi-Rez president Stewart Chisam, “We have been working on and off on a nice bug fix patch to come out sometime soon. But no major content updates on the schedule. Servers will stay up as long as we have enough people wanting to play.”

If there are any of those left, they certainly aren’t haunting the subreddit which is remarkably quiet.

 

Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale

Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale

Created by Define Human Studios, Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale certainly had the look of a very pretty Battle Royale game. Unfortunately this month the axe came down somewhat on the Islands. Unable to financially support development costs, the decision was made by Define Human Studios to convert the game to free to play with the promise that servers will continue to stay up for the foreseeable future. It’s still free to play on Steam if you want to have a look at how the game is progressing without developer support.

 

Fragmented

Fragmented

The developer of Fragmented came out early in 2018 to say that the game was only in maintenance mode.

“Future patches will likely be similar to the last couple patches, focusing on streamlining and bug fixes.” Said Above & Beyond’s J.C. Smith. What began as an attempt to help out the other Above & Beyond game, The Repopulation, sadly failed to deliver salvation.

 

Fractured Space

Fractured Space

Fractured Space from Edge Case games entered maintenance mode this October. The spaceship based MOBA blended shooter combat with strategy and multistage maps to create something new for players to get to grips with. Sadly it wasn’t able to draw in a large number of players and entered maintenance mode. In a surprising turn, a month after the news of the quasi-shutdown, our business column reported on Wargaming picking up the developer Edge Case Games to work on a still-unannounced MMO. World of Spaceships anyone?

 

It’s sad to see so many great titles on this list. Did one of your favorites shut down this year? If so, which game did you move on to? Hopefully 2019 is a little kinder to our hearts.

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Heroes of the Storm Reworks Stitches and Sylvanas

It’s time for another set of character reworks for Heroes of the Storm. This time around, it will be two of the first characters introduced in the game: Stitches and Sylvanas. In addition to the hero updates, changes to experience gain, catapults, and armor will be making their way to the Nexus.

Heroes of the Storm

Stitches has been a core tank in Heroes of the Storm since its inception, but his talent tree has been lacking for quite some time. In this update, he’s receiving more of a facelift than a complete rework. The range of his Hook ability is being slightly reduced but additional talents are being added for it, and Slam is receiving the slow effect as a baseline to the ability. Additionally, his passive now applies Vile Gas to enemies attacked instead of releasing it after receiving damage.

On the other hand, Sylvanas is receiving a couple of core gameplay changes, which likely stem from the reduced significance of lane pushing because of the previous updates to tower ammo and now experience gains. First off, Withering Fire now expends all five arrows at once instead of building up charges. Her passive is now an active ability that lasts 10 seconds and stuns all minions, mercenaries, and structures for 3 seconds but it has a 40-second cooldown. Additionally, basic attacks infect enemies with Banshee’s Curse for 3 seconds and heroes with 3 stacks of Banshee’s Curse receive 25 percent bonus damage from Sylvanas. Finally, Mind Control is now a skill shot ability that forces the first enemy hero hit to walk towards Sylvanas while being silenced and slowed.

Heroes of the Storm 2019 updates

The rest of the changes were outlined in the 2019 gameplay update blog, but here is a quick overview. Forts and Keeps will no longer provide experience while tower experience has been decreased by 50 percent and passive experience increased by 15 percent. Destroying a fort will now spawn a catapult every third minion wave, killing enemy mercenaries will reward 100 percent additional experience, and armor will no longer stack with only the highest armor modifier being applied to heroes.

Additionally, a new toy-themed event will take place just in time for the holidays, which will include a slew of new mounts and skins.

Heroes of the Storm

 

Source: Blizzard Entertainment

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Revelation Online MOBA Game Mode Released

In a time when every other studio is looking at how to either get on the Battle Royale bandwagon or the Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality bandwagon My.com, the makers of Revelation Online have decided to go back a couple of trends with a Revelation Online MOBA game mode.

The game mode is a competitive 5v5 mode in which players can pick from a variety of iconic NPC heroes from Revelation Online. It has the tradition 3 lane setup that MOBA veterans will all be very familiar with. Destroying the enemy team’s crystal is the ultimate goal of the game, though of course getting rewards is pretty sweet too.

These days you don’t see many new MOBAs being released. During their height of popularity, you couldn’t go a day without a new one being announced. Sadly, most MOBAs didn’t live very long before they were shut down due to low population. EA’s Dawngate was perhaps one of the most famous to shut down during that time. Since the end of the boom though you don’t see MOBAs mentioned all that often anymore. So seeing that Revelation Online has a MOBA mode now was certainly a surprise. Was it something they had started planning back when the genre was at the height of its popularity? Maybe they’re hoping to grab people who are unsatisfied with the current MOBA options. Or maybe the devs just thought it would be a fun addition to the game. Whichever the case may be we’re now seeing the fruits of their labor and what a surprise it is.

The MOBA game mode was released as part of Revelation Online’s Mythical Conflict expansion which focuses entirely on this new mode and is now live. If you’re interested in seeing the new mode in action check out the trailer below.

 

Source: Press Release

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Dota 2 Update 7.20 Makes Huge Adjustments to Gameplay

I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not a Dota 2 fan, or a fan of MOBAs at all. With that said, as someone on the outside looking in, even I can tell that Dota 2 update 7.20 has made some pretty massive changes to the way the game is played; from items to mechanics to heroes, there was very little that was untouched.

dota 2 update 7.20

The patch notes website for the latest update is a laundry list of updates with bare little frills, detailing all of the adjustments made to the MOBA’s map, mechanics and more. The page is broken up into three pieces with details about general gameplay adjustments, item changes, and hero changes.

Of note to most will be the general section, which has modified several overarching aspects of play. Rewards for deny mechanics have been adjusted; the formula for armor has been changed; mana and HP regen has been reworked to follow your attributes; and Towers have all seen a rise in HP.

Really, there is a whole lot of things to digest, so the Dota 2 fans out there will want to scour the full notes for all the salient details.

Our Thoughts

Like I said, not a Dota 2 guy, but those are some genuinely impactful adjustments. Which leads me to think that this is all meant to shake up what might have been a stale meta. Ideally, that will indeed be the case and people won’t just end up being aggravated by everything that’s new.

Source: official site

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Smite is Headed to Nintendo Switch

I don’t know about you folks, but for a while my gaming-related social media feeds seemed to be coated with the running gag of how every game should arrive to the Nintendo Switch. It would appear that Hi-Rez has taken that joke to heart and announced a Smite Nintendo Switch release. Go figure.

smite nintendo switch

Much like the Nintendo Switch edition of Paladins, Smite will feature 60 FPS gameplay along with cross-platform multiplayer and cross-platform character progression. According to a report from Massively Overpowered, all other Hi-Rez games are opening up their cross-platform options as well, including current and future consoles.

Smite will likely release as a free-to-play title, but for now there is a Founder’s Pack on offer today that unlocks every god in the game currently available and coming down the pipe. It also adds 400 Gems, two skins – one of which is unique to the Nintendo Switch – and access to the closed beta.

Closed beta/early access will begin on January 24, while the full launch has yet to get a date.

Our Thoughts

Clearly, Hi-Rez Studios is keen to have their games on as many platforms as possible. We’re also hard pressed to think of many MOBAs on the Nintendo Switch, and the plans to further expand cross-platform multiplayer is pretty excellent news. All in all, positive stuff for Smite fans.

Sources: official site, Massively Overpowered

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