EA Has Been Given a Guinness World Record for Most Downvoted Comment on Reddit

EA has been given a Guinness World Record for the most downvoted comment in Reddit history, an event I’m sure they’d prefer the world forgot. It is for the now-infamous comment from an EA community manager responding to complaints about Star Wars Battlefront II’s lootboxes. The comment got 683,000 downvotes. That’s an amazing 600,000 more than the next highest downvote count. It is rather astonishing just how big it got. However, while people were angry with EA for their perceived greed, there was also a lot of brigading going on. Which raises the question of why this incident appeared in the most recent edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

It was spotted by Reddit user -amsha- in the 2020 Guinness Book of World Records who then posted a picture of it on the Star Wars subreddit. In the 7 hours that the post has been on Reddit it has earned 58.3 thousand upvotes.

The award has sparked conversation and raised quite a few questions in the MMOGames office. Did the Guinness World Records actually send EA a physical award for this? If so, how angry were the higherups who opened that package? Will they be hanging it up somewhere for all to see? But the question that sparked the most debate was if this is even deserving of recognition with a Guinness World Record? The general consensus on that last one is a big no. But also the feeling that the world records generally aren’t what they used to be and that these days they feel more like an attempt to sell books than actually marking anything that’s noteworthy. What do you think? Does EA deserve to be recognized for this? Does putting it down in the book immortalize it for the rest of time? Let us know in the comments.

 

Source: PCGamer

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10 Absolutely Shocking or Surprising MMO Events

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

Save the Whales – Lockbox Legislation Around the World

Video Game Industry Scandals Star Wars Battlefront 2 lockboxes

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Video Game Industry Scandals League of Legends Riot Games

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

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

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

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

 

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

Video Game Industry Scandals PUBG

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Video Game Industry Scandals Bless Online

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

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

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

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

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

 

Who’s the Parent – Daybreak / Columbus Nova Chaos

Video Game Industry Scandals Daybreak PlanetSide Arena

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

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

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

 

Elves on Spaceships – Pearl Abyss Purchases CCP Games

Video Game Industry Scandals Black Desert Online

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

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

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

 

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

Video Game Industry Scandals World of Tanks

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

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

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

 

Not So Heroic – Marvel Heroes Downfall

Video Game Industry Scandals Marvel Heroes Gazillion

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

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

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

 

Worlds Divided – Gamigo Buys Trion Worlds

Video Game Industry Scandals Trove

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

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

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

 

Guild Lost – ArenaNet Layoffs and a Grim Future

Video Game Industry Scandals ArenaNet Guild Wars 2

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

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

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

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Ewoks and Crystals are Coming Back to Star Wars Battlefront II

If you’ve ever wanted to play an aggressive tribal teddy bear or would like to blast said teddy bears in the face, then the upcoming Night on Endor update coming to Star Wars Battlefront II next week will be of interest to you. The update will bring a new limited-time mode to the multiplayer shooter along with the return of the Crystals cash shop currency.

night on endor

Let’s get the more fun thing out of the way first: Ewok Hunt will have two teams facing off against each other on a darkness-covered Endor map; one team of stormtroopers armed with flashlights and significantly more advanced weaponry; and one team of Ewoks armed with spears, Wisties, and a variety of other skills.

For every stormtrooper taken out, another Ewok spawns until the Imperial forces are completely overrun, but the Ewoks are vastly outgunned as the stormtroppers must hold their ground until an extraction ship arrives.

Now for the not-so-fun thing: the game’s Crystals cash shop currency will also be part of the Night on Endor update, along with over 50 new character skins such as Endor Leia and Endor Han. As mentioned when the game’s loot boxes made their return, Crystals are a cash-only currency that can only be used for Appearances and not for loot boxes. Additionally, Credits earned from playing the game can be used to purchase Appearances as well.

Other improvements are planned for Star Wars Battlefront II in the future, such as the start of the game’s second season, a variety of balance and bug fixes, plans to address Hero Starfighter leveling speed, and a number of other items. These topics are all addressed in the first of a monthly series of community letters planned from the devs.

As for the Night on Endor update itself, players can expect that to arrive on Wednesday, April 18th. More details can be read on the game’s site.

Our Thoughts

Look, I’ll be honest…any reason to blow away Ewoks, I’m all for. As for the update itself, we are certainly curious to read your thoughts on the planned adjustments to the game in the future or whether you think Star Wars Battlefront II has turned the corner with regards to its monetization, so be sure to share them below.

Sources: press release, official forums

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MMO Money: Fortnite Forever

A large portion of every MMO Money article we’ve done for months now has been dedicated to lockboxes, but it seems like things might be calming down on that front as politicians and players move on to focus on other things. In reality, they’ve all just been distracted playing Fortnite, which has continued to be a massive success for Epic.

 

More Battle Royale in the Future

Fortnite Success

Analysts are predicting that there will be more Battle Royale games in the future following the massive PUBG and Fortnite success. An article on investors.com was released that said some investors are worried that Fortnite is drawing attention away from games like Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Grand Theft Auto. Wall Street analysts predict that Fortnite will have a modest impact on the major game publishers in the short term, but long-term they’re predicting that EA, Activision, and Take-Two are all likely to introduce Battle Royale games of their own or release it as part of a game already in the works. Analyst Michael Olson from Piper Jaffray, an investment banker and management firm, believes that we will see Battle Royale modes for games like Call of Duty and Battlefield in the second half of 2018 or early 2019. If that’s the case, it will mean that these are likely to be revealed at E3. MMOGames will be keeping a close eye on these publishers to see if the prediction comes to pass.

 

Sea of Thieves UK Hit

Despite the launch issues and the complaints that there isn’t much content in the game, Sea of Thieves is top of the UK charts for the week ending March 24th. The previous week, Burnout Paradise Remastered topped the list but after several high profile releases, it has dropped down to 6th. On Metacritic, Sea of Thieves currently has a 70% based on critic’s reviews and a 5.3 based on user reviews. Will Sea of Thieves be able to hold on to that top spot after such a rough start? Only time will tell, but it is going up against Far Cry 5 which released this week so chances are pretty slim.

 

Vivendi Sells Ubisoft Stock

You may recall that Vivendi has been trying to do a hostile takeover of Ubisoft for some time now. They own a 27% stake in the company, or at least they did until recently. It would appear that the idea of a hostile takeover is behind us now as Vivendi has sold its stock in Ubisoft. Part of the sales agreement adds that Vivendi cannot buy more Ubisoft stock for the next five years. At the same time this was revealed, Ubisoft announced they were teaming up with Tencent to move into the Chinese market. Tencent will operate several of Ubisoft’s most successful PC and Mobile games.

 

Fortnite Tops iOS Charts

It seems like just yesterday every other story was about PUBG, now every other story is about Fortnite. Not that we’re complaining, it’s a great game. Fortnite has also made the leap to mobile where it instantly topped the charts in just about every market it was released in. In just 4 days after release, the game made $1.5 million, just on iOS.

 

Epic Releases $12 Million in Paragon Assets for Free

paragon v.40

Do you remember that other game Epic was working on that wasn’t Fortnite? Paragon, the MOBA they canceled. Well, Epic is being epic and releasing 12 million dollars worth of assets from Paragon for free to be used in Unreal Engine 4 development. $12 million and that isn’t even all of their assets that they’ll be releasing from the game. It wasn’t all amazing news though. There was a rumor that Tencent may buy the game from Epic. The release of these assets pretty much killed that rumor, leaving people who had their fingers crossed disappointed.

 

Pantropy Kickstarter Canceled

Pantropy

We’re moving away from Epic and Fortnite to talk about Pantropy now. The sci-fi MMO shooter was holding a Kickstarter campaign, but it was struggling to reach its goal. In fact, it was only just a little over halfway to the €75,000 goal when the devs pulled the plug. It isn’t all bad though, the devs have promised that they’re going to make changes and come back again sometime at the end of March. They have also received multiple publishing and investment offers, but they reassure fans that they are going to remain independent. The game is still expected to be released in Steam Early Access later this year. It will be interesting to see if this move of relaunching their Kickstarter campaign works. Many times the relaunch of the Kickstarter doesn’t get as much press as the original and also doesn’t make as much money.

 

H1Z1 Charts

We’ve been talking about H1Z1 for a few weeks now. It started out with the shocking report that the game had lost 90% of its playerbase. Shortly after that, the game launched, giving it a very small boost in player numbers. Then Daybreak made the game free to play and it received a substantial boost in players. Since that happened in early March, H1Z1 has seen a very slow decline in player numbers on Steam. It’s a bit early to say for sure, but it looks like March 2018 has been the best month they’ve had this year thanks to the change in their business model.

 

Star Wars Battlefront II Won’t Have Lockboxes

Star Wars Battlefront II

It was only a matter of time before we had to talk about lockboxes. There isn’t anything new on the political front at the moment. Instead, we get to talk about the most controversial game of the entire lockbox saga; Star Wars Battlefront II. EA announced that they are overhauling the entire progression system. Lockboxes won’t be coming back and everything you’ve unlocked already is yours to keep.

Just a week after this was announced it came out that EA may also be starting work on a new Star Wars game, this one will be open world. This came from job listings that mention creating a Star Wars open world game. So, if you had hopes that Disney might pull the plug on the agreement with EA, it seems that this isn’t happening, for now at least.

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Loot Boxes are Returning to Star Wars Battlefront 2

Yes, you read that headline right; Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot boxes are making their return to the game as expected. However, they will be coming back with some significant changes – namely the fact that they’ll be full of only cosmetics and cannot be bought outright.

battlefront 2 loot boxes

The new update will see the game’s Star Cards removed entirely from the lockboxes and earned only through gameplay. Specifically, players will earn XP for the classes, heroes and starships that they play in multiplayer towards levels. Once a level is earned, you earn a skill point that can be used to unlock or upgrade an eligible Star Card.

As for the loot boxes themselves, they’ll only be earned through logging in daily, by completing Milestones, or by finishing timed challenges. This means that loot crates are no longer for sale and will only be stuffed with either Credits or cosmetics like emotes or victory poses.

So where does that leave the game’s store? That will have cosmetics only, such as new looks for hero or trooper units. Items offered in the game store can be purchased either with earned Credits or the game’s Crystals store currency.

Updates to the loot crates and Star Cards of Star Wars Battlefront 2 are due to arrive on Wednesday, March 21st, while the game’s store is due to open once more sometime in April.

Our Thoughts

On the Light Side of things, we’re delighted that the game’s loot boxes are entirely removed from being purchasable items and can only be opened through actually playing the game, let alone full of only cosmetic items. On the Dark Side of things, the first question that comes to mind is what the disparity will be between Credits cost and Crystals cost of game store items. Time will tell, but in the meantime this could be a positive move.

Source: official site

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Biggest MMO News Stories of 2017

It has been a busy year for the online gaming industry! We had some good things happen and some not so good things right beside them. The good news was great and the bad news was amazingly bad. So as we come to the end of the year, it’s time to reflect on the year that has been. It’s time to take a look at the biggest MMO news stories of 2017.

 

Ashes of Creation has Largest Kickstarter for an MMORPG Ever

It may feel like forever ago but in June, Ashes of Creation saw massive Kickstarter success, becoming the largest Kickstarter for an MMORPG ever. They raised $3.2 million from more than 19,000 backers. But it wasn’t without controversy. Ashes of Creation offered a referral program to backers, something which violated Kickstarter’s rules. After a bit of back and forth between Intrepid Studios and Kickstarter, it was declared just a misunderstanding and Ashes of Creation has gone on to have an incredibly vocal and successful year.

 

Mobile Game Boom

We’ve been seeing mobile gaming becoming more and more popular every year, but 2017 saw an absolute boom for the industry. In a report from Superdata in August, revenue from mobile gaming was expected to increase by $6.7 billion this year. In comparison, PC and console combined were expected to increase by only $1 billion. If you look back at the news over the last year, you can see the growth in action. You’ve got titles like TERA M and BDO M, mobile ports of popular MMORPGs and not the only ones either. In September it became apparent that Blizzard is getting in on the mobile scene as well with the discovery of a job posting for a mobile MMORTS. Next year looks like it will be even bigger for mobile gaming with just about every major studio at G-Star having at least one mobile game to show off. Superdata estimates a growth in the mobile gaming industry of $8.1 billion next year.

 

Secret World Legends Rebrand Success

In March the online gaming community was stunned to learn that Funcom would be rebranding and relaunching The Secret World. Those who follow the financial reports for Funcom would have known it was coming as the relaunch was outlined in the Q4 report at the end of February. It wasn’t until the end of March, however, that we knew exactly how big it was going to be. Complete with changes to combat and much more, The Secret World became Secret World Legends and officially launched in June. In August, it was revealed that there will be a Secret World television show, being worked on by Johnny Depp’s publishing company. Funcom’s Q3 report showed the most profitable YTD 3Q in the company’s history. So, it’s safe to say that Secret World Legends has been a smashing success. We couldn’t be happier for them.

 

Final Fantasy XIV Trial Expands

There were some big changes to the Final Fantasy XIV trial period this year. Previously they had offered 14 days of game time for free, something that used to be quite common in the industry before F2P became the norm. But many games change up that model as time goes on, and that’s exactly what FFXIV did this year. Now players can trial the game until they reach level 35 without any restriction on how long it may take. Was it a success? Well, in August’s quarterly report it was clear that FFXIV saw an all-new high in player numbers with 10 million cumulative players. Did the new trial have a part to play in this growth, though? Or was it all down to the release of Stormblood? The world may never know.

 

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ Runaway Success

It isn’t often that we see a game have massive success before it has even launched, but that is certainly what happened with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds this year. 20 million copies of the game have been sold and it has set seven Guinness World Records! The game has also spent much of the year in the top 10 grossing PC titles, passing heavyweight World of Warcraft in the charts back in August. The most recent report from SuperData puts it at the second highest grossing PC title.

 

Ascent: Infinite Realm Brings Hope to the Future of MMORPGs

Ascent: Infinite Realm

Project W, or as it’s now known, Ascent: Infinite Realm managed to bring a dash of hope to those looking for the next AAA MMORPG experience. As so many studios move away from the genre, Bluehole and Kakao show they’re as dedicated as ever with an all-new title. Ascent: Infinite Realm was officially revealed during G-Star 2017 as a steampunk fantasy MMORPG. It is expected to begin beta testing sometime in the first half of 2018 for English players. In Korea, the testing is already underway.

 

EVE Online Players Destroy Ship worth $6,000

Back in May a group of EVE players successfully brought down a Vanquisher Titan worth over 400 billion ISK, that’s $6,000USD. The event is just one in a long tradition of EVE players tackling amazing feats and winning. This year CCP also celebrated their 20th anniversary as a company and EVE Online reached its 14th anniversary! It’s wonderful to see that even after all this time, EVE can still wow us.

 

Marvel Heroes’ Rocky Send-Off

marvel heroes omega open beta

Sadly, not all news can be good news and some of this year’s biggest stories weren’t good news at all. Perhaps one of the biggest and strangest was the oddity behind the shutdown of Marvel Heroes and their creator Gazillion Entertainment. It all started in October when Gazillion missed launching their Halloween event and did nothing for the release of Thor: Ragnarok. They were also completely silent on social media for weeks. By mid-November, Disney announced that Marvel Heroes was being shut down and that their business partnership with Gazillion was dead. While it had originally been announced that Marvel Heroes would sunset after a period of time, which is traditionally the case, it became clear that it would be much sooner than expected. A credible tip from a former Gazillion employee revealed on Wednesday, November 22nd that the game would shut down on Friday, November 24th. The game actually stayed online over the weekend and was turned off on Monday, November 27th. Gazillion employees found out that they were out of a job just before Thanksgiving and the studio quickly shut down. It may be one of the messiest and ugliest game sunsets there has ever been.

 

Vanilla World of Warcraft Coming at Last

For years, a certain subsection of World of Warcraft players have been itching for an official vanilla WoW server and now they’re going to get it. The Warcraft Classic server was just one of the amazing announcements made during Blizzcon this year. The announcement itself was incredibly light on details which unlocked the floodgates on questions. Since the announcement, we’ve not heard anything else about it and we don’t expect to for some time.

 

Everyone’s Talking Lockboxes

2017 will be known as the year that the stand against lockboxes and a lot of the blame goes to America’s least favorite company, EA. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, hello, and congratulations on coming out of your coma. It’s a story that has had government officials chiming in and resulted in the most downvoted Reddit comment ever. Because of the fiasco around Star Wars Battlefront II, EA lost $3 Billion in stock value. The saga doesn’t seem to be over yet either, EA seems determined to go ahead with their plan, City of Titans has vowed not to use lockboxes, and there are of course the various governments who are trying to get something done. In the meantime, every time a game does something that includes a lockbox there is a little bit of controversy. No one can know for sure what will happen next year, but we do know that this topic won’t go away quietly.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 Tweaks Credit Earnings

No matter how good the game might or might not be, the dominating topic for Star Wars Battlefront 2 has been its economy and progression system. The latest in the ongoing epic features some shifts to Star Wars Battlefront 2 credits rewards as part of an “initial” step to more changes.

star wars battlefront 2 credits

As of the shooter’s most recent patch, players will be seeing bigger end-of-match credit payouts overall, with more credits being handed to those players who performed the best in each team. The credit cap in Arcade Mode is also seeing a raise to a maximum of 1500 credits, and Daily Login Crates will be offering more crafting materials to let players make the Star Cards they want.

The post announcing the changes made sure that players bear in mind these adjustments are only the first of several steps to improve the game’s progression and economy, though how many steps there will be and what other updates on that front are planned was not announced.

The post did make sure to nod towards its free updates tied to The Last Jedi, which will introduce hero characters Finn and Captain Phasma, new maps, and new vehicles. The single-player campaign will also get new chapters that chronicle the formation and rise of The First Order. All of the updates in question are due in the next few weeks.

Our Thoughts

We’ll hold our opinions until we see how the game’s subreddit users take to these adjustments. More credits certainly sound like a welcome addition, but considering how volatile everything is when the topic of Star Wars Battlefront 2 comes up, it’s just best not to assume anything at this point. That said, it’s likely going to take a whole lot more than shifting credit earning numbers to rebuild player confidence.

Source: official site

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Governments Strike Back Against Battlefront 2 Loot Boxes

The parallels to a resistance rising up against an empire are not lost to us, so we’ll fight the urge to quote every relevant line in the films and simply report that both the Belgian government and the state of Hawaii are making moves against Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box practices.

battlefront 2 loot box

In a continuing story earlier this month, the Belgian Gambling Commission has officially ruled that loot boxes do constitute gambling according to VTM News.

In specific, Minister of Justice Koen Geens has stated his intention to outright ban in-game purchases if you don’t know what you’re purchasing, and is quoted as saying that “mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child”. The process to ban loot box-style purchases will take time due to Geens having to approach Europe on the matter, but did declare his intention to try.

Meanwhile in the US, Representative Chris Lee of Hawaii has held a press conference about what he calls “predatory practices in online gaming”. In the conference he directly calls out Battlefront 2, calling it a “Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money”. Lee’s proposed actions against loot box practices include legislation that would prohibit access to games like Battlefront 2 to underage children.

Rep. Lee further took to Reddit, calling on the people to contact their state representatives and voice support for similar legislation against microtransactions and loot boxes. “This is a fight that unites everyone, even the most polarized conservatives and progressives. Doing something is a political win for Democrats and Republicans alike,” wrote Lee. “We don’t need to change the laws in every state – we just need to change a few and it will be enough to draw the line and compel change.”

Our Thoughts

We were pretty sure that the outcry against EA’s business practices would be a catalyst for something changing, but we were definitely not expecting governments to actually attempt to help out. To say that this might be a real turning point doesn’t feel like such a stretch anymore.

Sources: VTM News via PC Gamer, YouTube via PC Invasion, Reddit

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Star Wars Battlefront 2’s Store Closure Prompted by Disney Execs

While the outrage from fans certainly started the fire, it was reportedly a finger-wagging from the House of Mouse that brought EA the heat. EA’s decision to freeze the Star Wars Battlefront 2 store offerings came from the owners of the Star Wars license itself, Disney.

star wars battlefront 2 store

There were initial reports that seemed to suggest as much, but now word from The Wall Street Journal has indeed confirmed that Disney executives were upset at the mounting discontent directed at the multiplayer shooter. The report states that even Disney’s CEO Robert Iger had gotten wind of the uproar and became “alarmed”, but ultimately it was head of consumer products and interactive media Jimmy Pitaro’s message to EA that led to the decision.

To the likely delight of over-starched suits in the investor’s board, EA’s forecast for 2018 doesn’t appear to be affected deeply by the microtransactions stopgag, with an expected $5.1 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ending in March according to a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Incidentally, EA has also made tweaks to progression and loot crates for its open-world racer Need for Speed: Payback, which was facing similar outcry from fans and drawing parallels to practices applied in Battlefront 2. A post to the series’ subreddit details a number of adjustments including increased REP and Bank rewards in Bait crates, after events, and for competing against a Roaming Racer, and an increased chance to see Air Suspension in Shipments.

Our Thoughts

This pretty much lends just a bit more weight to the assumption that EA will once more open its maw and attempt to eat every wallet within reach once Battlefront 2’s launch has passed and the upcoming Star Wars film’s launch hype cools. We’re desperately hoping to be proven wrong, of course, but we’re also not going to hold our breath.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Need for Speed subreddit via IGN

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 Temporarily Closes the In-Game Store

It feels like every hour this week I’ve been writing about Star Wars Battlefront 2 microtransactions and that’s for pretty good reason; it’s been the dominating topic among the game’s community and a catalyst for ongoing discussion about loot crate practices as a whole. The latest chapter in this ongoing epic has been penned by DICE, announcing a temporary freeze on all in-game purchases.

star wars battlefront 2 microtransactions

DICE GM Oskar Gabrielson made the revelation yesterday, admitting that the entire in-game purchasing system was implemented incorrectly. “We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention,” opens the post.

As a result, all in-game purchases will be shut off and all character progression will be purely attainable by playing the game while the devs work on “listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning”. The announcement does note that Crystal purchases will return at a later date, with more details on how microtransactions will work to be revealed later.

Our Thoughts

So there’s two ways one can look at this: either this is a positive step and means big changes to Battlefront 2, or this is just a temporary reprieve put in place so day-one sales look nice and juicy for the investor board and then EA can spring a predatory microtransaction trap on buyers later. Which side of the equation do you fall? Or do you have some other thoughts about the matter? Does this change your mind about the game? Let us know below.

Source: official site

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