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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MMO Money: Trion Worlds Was Acquired by Gamigo

It has been a week of acquisitions with some unlikely names in the news. Most notably Trion Worlds was acquired by Gamigo, according to rumors. Fatshark also made the news for an acquisition while Behaviour sold a 20% stake in their company. Plus, Superdata makes some bold predictions about Virtual Reality. Find all of that and more below in this week’s MMO Money.

 

Fatshark Acquires A Sweet Studio AB

Fatshark, the makers of the smash hit Warhammer: Vermintide and Vermintide 2 have announced that they’ve acquired A Sweet Studio AB, the makers of Flower Pop Adventures as well as several other games. The acquisition means that the entire 9 man development team from A Sweet Studio AB will begin working on new content for Vermintide 2. All of A Sweet Studio AB’s games will also now be in the hands of Fatshark, however, there hasn’t been any indication yet that there are plans to do anything with them. It also hasn’t been announced how much money changed hands in this acquisition.

Source: Press Release

 

Arena of Valor Lifetime Player Spending

huge disappointment for Tencent

According to a recent report from Sensor Tower, Arena of Valor has brought in $15 million in revenue since it launched a year ago. After a year the game is still going strong and September was the best month it has ever had with the game grossing $1.7 million. The MOBA has been downloaded 16 million times, with 1.1 million of those happening in the last month. So, clearly, MOBAs aren’t dead yet. The United States accounts for 30% of all earnings to date with Germany second accounting for 14% of revenue.

However, it is worth noting that this doesn’t include China. The reason for that is that in China the game goes by a different name, Honour of Kings. If you follow the monthly charts released by Superdata this name will be very familiar to you. They’ve been at the top of the monthly earning chart for mobile games all year. Last year Honour of Kings/Arena of Valor was the top mobile game by revenue, bringing in $1.9 billion for Tencent. With only a couple of months left in 2018, it looks pretty obvious that Honour of Kings/Arena of Valor will be at the top of the mobile charts for the whole year once again. We can’t wait to find out how it compares with 2017’s 1.9 billion dollar revenue.

Source: Sensor Tower

 

Mobile AR Overtaking VR By 2021

According to the research firm Superdata, Augmented Reality apps are due to double year over year and reach $2 billion in revenue in 2018. However, by 2021 they predict that number will pass $17 billion which will mark the point where they’re generating more than virtual reality. Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore now have a combined 117 million users every month and there are more than 3,000 apps that support this technology.

Before we get to 2021, Superdata is predicting that 2019 will be the year of VR. This is entirely down to the launch of the Oculus Quest. Superdata predicts that the Quest will outsell the Oculus Rift by three to one in its launch year. At the same time, Superdata is predicting that CCP’s CEO, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, has talked about VR in a recent interview and it doesn’t look good. “We expected VR to be two to three times as big as it was, period,” Pétursson said. “You can’t build a business on that.” He also went on to talk about the Oculus Quest saying, “If it does take off – and I mean if – we’ll reassess. The important thing is we need to see the metrics for active users of VR. A lot of people bought headsets just to try it out. How many of those people are active? We found that in terms of our data, a lot of users weren’t.”

The Oculus Quest is launching in Spring 2019 with a price tag of $399 with 50 compatible games at launch.

 

Source: Games Industry, Destructoid

 

Behaviour Interactive Gets an Investment From Gaea

Dead by Daylight

Gaea Interactive now has a 20% investment in Behaviour Interactive, the makers of Dead by Daylight and Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade. The two companies were already working together on a mobile game based on Game of Thrones. Behaviour cited the need to build its business in China as a motivation to take the investment.

Source: Games Industry

 

Trion Worlds Takeover

Yesterday, the MMO industry was shocked by the massive announcement that Trion Worlds had been sold. At the moment there is still a lot of rumor and speculation floating around. The biggest rumors are that they were bought by Gamigo and that Trion will be going from 200+ employees down to 25. The layoffs seem to have taken place immediately with Linda “Brasse” Carlson saying that she would only be around until the end of the day. On Twitter CEO Scott Hartsman asked to be contacted by anyone in the Games and Tech scene that is hiring because they have a lot of great people needing jobs.

This year hasn’t been great for Trion. Devilian shut down in March after a long battle to get new updates from the developer Bluehole, who had found a hit in PUBG. In July they were hit with a round of layoffs, including the associate producer of ArcheAge. There was also the relaunch of Defiance 2050, which was received fairly negatively.

What comes next for Trion…we will just have to wait and see, but if it has in fact dropped down to just 25 employees then things may look very grim.

Source: MMORPG

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Gamigo Acquires Trion Worlds and Guts its Staff

Free-to-play publisher Gamgio has made a rather large purchase in the form of a Trion Worlds buyout, which also reportedly heralded the end of many employee jobs. The business deal apparently cleared yesterday and reports have since been rolling in about the initial fallout after the event.

trion worlds buyout

In an official statement from Trion, it was confirmed that the company’s studios will remain during the transition but “others will not be making the journey.” While the official statement is mum on the specifics of how many will not join “the journey”, an anonymous source has told Gamasutra that only 25 employees remain of the studio’s original 200+ staffers.

On the subject of those employees, CEO Scott Hartsman has sent out a tweet asking hiring manager friends to reach out to him directly for contact information in an effort to help those who have been displaced get new jobs in tech and gaming.

As for the MMOs under Trion’s banner, the same statement about the buyout confirms that “the games will go on.” In the case of ArcheAge its 5.0 update will release as scheduled.

Our Thoughts

We first want to extend our well-wishes to all of those who have been affected by these layoffs and hope they find new work sooner rather than later. Second, it’s hard to believe that “the games will go on” unimpeded after such a massive cut to Trion’s workforce, but all that can be done at this point is to wait and see what happens.

Sources: Gamasutra, Eurogamer, Twitter, ArcheAge forums

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Trion Worlds Layoffs Include ArcheAge Associate Producer (UPDATED)

A round of Trion Worlds layoffs have hit the MMO dev and publisher, taking among others some members of the ArcheAge staff including an environment artist and the MMO’s associate producer.

trion worlds layoffs

At the time of this writing, the number of jobs lost is unclear. Early reports do count customer support and environment artist Jessica Pate and associate producer Seraphina Brennan.

Trion’s community relations director Linda “Brasse” Carlson expressed her dismay at the news of Brennan’s job termination and her ardent support of her work. “Seraphina is one of the best colleagues I have ever had the pleasure to work with, and there is NOTHING she cannot do,” wrote Carlson in a Facebook post. “Hire this woman, she is a worthy investment in skill, dedication, grace and personality.”

Meanwhile, ArcheAge has also lost community manager Joe Brogno, though this is of his own volition than part of any layoff wave. “I’m off to pursue one of my other passions,” wrote Brogno in his outgoing forum post. “If I am successful, it’s largely because of all that I have learned from being your CM on ArcheAge.”

UPDATE – July 20th 11:41am EDT: We’ve gotten word back from Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman about the layoffs and have included his full statement about the matter below:

“We’ve had to make the difficult decision to eliminate 15 positions throughout the company. We are extremely grateful for those who have been impacted for their hard work and contributions to Trion Worlds, and will be offering each of them severance benefits and job placement assistance. This is not related to the performance of the individuals affected nor of Trion Worlds as a whole, but was necessary to enable us to develop the upcoming projects that we have planned in the best ways possible.”

Our Thoughts

We want to wish any of those affected by the layoffs the very best and hope that they land on their feet soon. As for ArcheAge itself, while these layoffs do seem pretty imposing, all that can be done is to wait and see what impact, if any, they’ll have on the game’s operations in the future.

Source: Massively Overpowered

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Trion Worlds Offers MMO Freebies to Welcome Gazillion Players

Since Trion Worlds decided to snap up Gazillion’s assets, the company likely has a few more sets of eyeballs upon it, wondering what’s next. For those players, a Gazillion Welcome Package of sorts is being offered, extending some freebies for every live MMO under the Trion umbrella.

gazillion welcome package

The package in question is less like a whole bundle and more like a selection of offerings for the various MMOs and multiplayer games that are currently running:

The packs in question are being offered for a limited time only and are applicable only to Gazillion players who have registered a Trion Worlds Glyph account with the same email address as their Gazillion account, so if any of those sound good to you, you’ll perhaps want to act quickly.

Our Thoughts

That is…exceedingly generous of the folks at Trion Worlds! With that all said, perhaps the best gift of all would be to know for sure what, if anything, is happening to Marvel Heroes. Though considering the way CEO Scott Hartsman spoke, that game is very likely long gone in its original form. Still, those are some good freebies for some good games.

Source: official site

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Trion Worlds Buys Up Gazillion Assets to Expand its Publishing Arm

Looks like Trion Worlds is making some big moves. The company has recently completed a full Gazillion acquisition including licenses, trademarks, patents, domains and IPs. And, yes, that most definitely includes Marvel Heroes, which as we know went through a rather catastrophic shutdown last year.

gazillion acquisition

What’s being done with the licenses and IPs isn’t immediately clear, but Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman seems to be more interested in the tech developed by Gazillion to help put together MMOs, which will play into a larger strategy to improve the company’s publishing division.

“We‘ve built an amazing ecosystem in support of our games and those we’ve published. We’re excited to add more tools to our library in order to embolden our teams and partners to create truly fantastic games,” said Hartsman.

The company is reportedly already working with developers using Trion’s tools to help bring their games to a large audience, though who those dev teams are was not revealed. “What if you want to publish a game on the PC as well as the PlayStation 4? There is store, security, customer service, server hosting, distributing processing, and other kinds of work to do,” remarked Hartsman. “We believe developers can use us to get to a global scale. We want ourselves and other developers be able to make games and succeed and have sustainable life cycles.”

Our Thoughts

All of this reads a bit like Marvel Heroes will remain dead, living on only as a framework for MMOARPGs in development to use. That said, who’s to say that perhaps some developer will take up the Marvel Heroes mantle and utilize the building blocks Gazillion created to make a re-release or new version of the game? Time, ultimately, will tell.

Source: VentureBeat

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How Much Money MMO Developers Make

Talking about wages is an incredibly taboo subject, you’d never just ask someone how much they make (if you’re curious why this is a bad thing watch this). So with that in mind, let’s look at some wage information from the United States Department of Labor. Specifically, we’re looking at how much money MMO developers make every year.

Before we dive into the numbers we should talk about where this data comes from. If a company wants to hire foreign employees on an H1-B visa they must first submit a labor condition application, in which you must list the base salary for the job. This information is then public knowledge. The fine folks at loveforgames.com have taken the data and sorted it into a very easy to use tool and now we’re going to take a look at it. Keep in mind that this is just the base salary and it doesn’t include bonuses or equity programs. It’s also broken down by company by loveforgames or you can search by job title. Job title is a little bit more challenging because studios all have slightly different names for positions. Each listing also has the start date so we know roughly when the opening was available.

 

Gazillion

How Much Money MMO Developers Make

We start with one of the strangest studios to see on the list, Gazillion, who of course made the last few months of 2017 very interesting with everything that went down with Marvel Heroes and the studio suddenly closing. The last job they had listed before they closed was for VP, Engineering. What makes this job most interesting isn’t the $215,000 salary, it’s the fact that the start date would have been October 23rd, 2017. So the studio was looking to fill this position just as everything started going south. If they hired anyone for the position, they would have arrived to a studio that had already missed out on doing anything for the release of Thor: Ragnarok, which was really the first sign that things weren’t normal.

 

Riot Games

One of the studios with the most jobs on this list is Riot Games with 334 listings since 2010. For reference, League of Legends was released late in 2009. The very first job on the list is for a Systems Engineer and at that time the pay was $115,000. This was a position they were looking to fill again by October 2011 with the same salary. In September 2017 they were looking to hire a Senior Producer who would make between $180,000 and $190,000 a year. Starting just a month earlier was a Senior Software Engineer position which was given a range of $127,608 and $220,000. Not only is that a massive range, it also shows that being towards the top of the command chain isn’t always where the pay is at. For reference, all of these were for their Los Angeles office, which is currently hiring for 91 positions.

 

EA

Shadow Realms Screenshot Coast

EA actually tops the list with 476 listings, which makes a lot of sense because EA has many fingers in many markets. Unfortunately, it also makes it a bit of a challenge to know exactly where in the company the job listing was for. Some of them do list Visceral or Origin and they all have a location listed. So if there’s an EA job listed for Austin, Texas, you know that’s Bioware. Which, as it so happens the most recent job on the list was for a Database Engineer and they would have started March 2nd, 2018 with a base salary of $114,354. In late 2016, Bioware Austin was looking to hire a Senior Database Engineer for $115,277. In 2012, at their Playa Vista office, they were looking to fill a position for “Software Engineer Ii” and the salary for that job was $191,360,000 which is, hopefully, a mistake on loveforgames’ part because this application was approved. In reality, their highest paying position listed is for Vice President, Mobile at the end of last year who would have started out making $255,000 to $270,000. If you’re curious about the artistic side of things, a Concept Artist in August of 2017 in Playa Vista, California was looking at $80,000.

 

ArenaNet

ArenaNet, currently just one studio working on one game…or are they? Guild Wars 2 isn’t known for being mobile friendly but in September, they were looking to hire a Head of Mobile Production Management and Analytics. A position that offers $220,000 to $230,000. A 3D Artist in April 2017 would have made between $47,965 and $67,000. Though the most recent position they have listed is for Senior Producer, which pays $130,000 to $140,000 a year. That’s the same they were offering for a Systems Analyst position just a few months earlier.

 

Trion

Many of the positions Trion has been looking to fill through the years have been related to localization, something that makes a lot of sense. Languages have included the two you would expect to see; German and French, but Korean and Russian also make an appearance. Also, very oddly, most of the applications were withdrawn. It may have been because they filled the position with someone in the US, or maybe they decided not to hire for the job overseas after all. We can also compare their Senior Producer job with ArenaNet for a moment. In late 2016, Trion was looking to hire one with a salary between $131,000 and $144,000. They’re pretty much the same, despite being a year and a half apart and two states away. It does seem to suggest that pay isn’t really a reflection of where the studios are located, so maybe if you were deciding between the two you might make the move to Washington to work for ArenaNet where your money would go a bit further than Redwood City, California where Trion is based.

 

Cloud Imperium

At this point, we kind of have to talk about Cloud Imperium since they’re on the list. Unlike many of the other studios, this one has only had 3 job listings. They were for Character Artist, 3D Artist, and Graphics Programmer. The jobs had starting dates in 2014 and 2016 and the salary ranged from $54,000 for Graphics Programmer to $80,000 for Character Artist.

 

Blizzard

We can’t talk about MMOs without talking about the king of them all, World of Warcraft, or at least the creative minds behind it, Blizzard. The most important thing I learned through my looking into Blizzard is that their Austin, Texas office holds Dodgeball tournaments. If that’s not the best perk, I don’t know what is. Most of the jobs though are, as you might expect, for their main office in Irvine, California. The most recent job was for Senior Concept Artist II which pays $112,504 a year. They also have one of the few community management listings, in 2016 an Associate Community Manager job had a salary of $53,601.

All of this has just barely scratched the surface of the information available, so, if you’re interested in knowing how much money MMO developers make head over to loveforgames where you can find information on even more studios like Hi-Rez, Turbine, ZeniMax, and Daybreak Games.

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MMO Shut Down Concerns in 2018

As of writing this, we are 67 days into 2018 and we have already lost 10 MMOs, MOBAs, and other types of online games. This counts games that have shut down and those that have been announced will be shutting down in the near future. That’s one game lost for every week of this year, which is a startling amount. So let’s take a look at which games have shut down, the reasons for them getting shut down, as well as trends for previous years.

2018 got off to a rough start with Perfect World announcing that they were closing down not one, but two games; Battle of the Immortals and War of the Immortals, which were both shut down just a few days later on January 9th. It really came as no surprise to anyone that these games were shut down, they never really had a large population, but this isn’t the last time Perfect World will appear in this article.

MMO Shut Down Concerns in 2018

In mid-January, it was announced that Perpetuum’s official server would be going offline. This was somewhat inevitable as development on the game stopped back in September because of low population and income. Sadly, the cost of keeping the server running was just too high, which is why the official server is leaving so soon. It isn’t all bad news for the game however, there’s a semi-official private server keeping the game alive that is being run by one of the former devs.

The first MOBA that announced it would be shut down this year was Paragon. Epic stated that the game had trouble expanding beyond its core player base. The lack of growth slowed development and  it eventually became clear that it was time to shut the game down. Epic offered full refunds for everyone who had ever bought the game, a really nice gesture for those still disappointed about the end.

I didn’t say it, they did.

At the end of January, LinkRealms announced they would be shutting down. The game never gained much traction outside of its core audience and sadly funds to keep the game running were running out. It first came onto the scene back in 2010 when it entered beta and was only added to Steam in 2016. At this point, there’s starting to be a bit of a pattern behind the shutdowns.

When Perfect World announced they were closing Motiga it was only a matter of time before Gigantic, the MOBA they had created, would follow. So, again, at the end of January when the announcement was made that Gigantic was shutting down, it wasn’t much of a surprise. As of writing this, the servers are still online and they will remain so until the end of July. Once again, difficulty breaking into the market was to blame. The lack of audience and the difficulty of fixing some of the issues with the game sadly proved too great.

The third MOBA to close in just one month was NCSoft’s Master X Master. This was a game we learned would be shutting down all the way back in November. In the shutdown announcement, it was said that the game failed to connect with the players. The game wasn’t sustainable with the population it had, so the decision had to be made, purely for business.

Mojang’s card game Scrolls shut down in the middle of February. This was another that was only a matter of time. Development on the game stopped in June of 2015. At the time Mojang promised to keep the servers online until July 2016 at least. So, the fact that it lasted as long as it did is amazing itself. When development stopped in 2015 it was because of the population and the inability to sustainably continue development. Most games are not so lucky to get such a long lead time to the moment the servers are taken offline.

At the end of February, Cabal 2 announced they were shutting down in the west, though exactly when that’s going to happen is still up in the air. In the announcement, it was said that continued operation was unsustainable and Cabal 2 didn’t resonate with as many players as they had hoped.

Demon’s Souls, part of the Dark Souls series, was well known for having a robust online system. Or rather, it was. It was shut down at the end of February, though this was no surprise for anyone who was a fan of the 9-year-old game. To be clear, much of the game is still playable but the online components; seeing player messages, summoning others to your game, and other such features are now inaccessible.

And now that brings us to the beginning of March which has already seen the end of Trion’s Devilian. We found out in January that it would be closing. Unlike the other games, this one was closed because the developers, Bluehole, had stopped working on the game. Bluehole Ginno, the creators of Devilian, was renamed the PUBG Corp and from then on the game was pretty much forgotten.

 

A Look at the Past

If you take a look at the last three months of 2017 you’ll see that 7 titles shut down. The most notable of them all was Marvel Heroes. The difference between 7 and 10 doesn’t seem very big, however, we’re not yet three months into 2018. If we continue to have an average shutdown of one game every week, we’re looking at possibly reaching 14 online games closing this year. That would be double the amount from the previous 3 months.

But, maybe there’s more going on here. After all, the end of the year happened and that tends to bring about big changes. So, how many games were shut down from January to March in 2017? 7, just like the last three months of 2017. In 2016 there were 13 games shut down which is very close to what we may face this year as well. So is this year abnormal or were we just really lucky in 2017? What will the rest of the year hold for online gaming? Maybe right now it just feels like a lot because we’re still in the moment. If nothing else comes from this article, then hopefully it serves as a reminder to keep playing and supporting your favorite game financially. A game can’t run without some sort of income.

The clear theme across all these titles is a lack of population and a lack of funds. Is it a sign of market saturation? Quite possibly. It certainly seems like MOBAs are past the point of saturation. More of them are shutting down than launching and it would seem that audiences have found the game they prefer.

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Why I Won’t Be Playing Rift Prime

Below is my personal opinion, they are not the views of MMOGames as a whole nor do they reflect the thoughts of anyone except me and others who share my thoughts and feelings on the matter.

When I first heard about Rift Prime, I was intrigued. I was a massive fan of the game before the first expansion released. Even after I stopped playing, I continued my subscription for another year in the hopes that something would pull me back in. So, of course, going back to a vanilla server appealed. It is the state I loved Rift in and I only left after the release of Storm Legion, which by the way I pre-ordered and bought the collector’s edition of, but when I started reading the announcement for Rift Prime there were a few problems.

First, it appeared that when the server ends, your characters would just be gone. Of course, that didn’t sit well with a lot of people. Who wants to go through all that play time for them to just up and disappear? Especially since you won’t be ready for it. How often is anyone really ever ready to say goodbye to their characters? Thankfully, we know now that this won’t be the case anymore. When the server ends characters will be transferred to a F2P server. Which…eh…if I’m honest, I’m not hugely thrilled with. Yes, it’s an improvement, but right now we don’t know how long the server will last.

Rift Prime

That brings me to the primary (pun intended) reason I won’t be playing Rift Prime. We don’t know how long this new server will last. Will it go on for three months or three years? If it’s three months…why bother? I can just as easily roll up a character on the F2P servers and play the old content for three months. The thing is though…I’m already not doing that. If I’m going to go back to Rift, there has to be something pulling me back, and a couple of months of me paying for a nostalgia trip isn’t enough.

When I read the FAQ and the launch date announcement, I actually whimpered a little bit. Dimensions, by far my favorite thing that came from Storm Legion, will be available on this server. I never really got to play with my dimension since I left the game shortly after Storm Legion released. Their addition to the server makes it so much more attractive. I WANT to play on this server, but I also want to know it will last.

Vanilla Rift originally ran from March 2011 to November 2012, less than two full years. I remember quite clearly at the time saying to myself that they were burning through dragons too quickly, and I was concerned about what would come once they had gone through them all. It seems like this is just going to be a repeat of history. After they’ve gone through the content of vanilla Rift they’ll move on to Storm Legion, which will once again be where they lose me. So, yes, I want that part of the server’s run to last, even if I know ultimately I will leave again.

Rift Prime

Why can’t Trion give us an idea of how long this server will run? Is it, as has been speculated, that the runtime will be quite short and they’re hoping it will convert to new players on the main servers? Are they worried that if they give a timeline and it isn’t met that there will be backlash? Or is it simply that they don’t know how quickly they’ll get through the content with their monthly release schedule?

So, of course, I’m not going to express an opinion like this without offering up a solution. My solution to the problem is quite simple: give us a guaranteed 8 months to 1 year on the server. At which time Trion evaluates the population and sees if it’s worth continuing. Maybe I’m the only person out there who wants a permanent vanilla Rift server, in which case yes, shut the server down and move characters to other servers but, based on things I’ve been reading in blogs and on social media, this doesn’t seem to be the case. It seems like there are others like me out there who want something longer lasting as well.

In an interview with Massively, it was said that Trion is considering alternate rulesets and many other options for the future, but it also seems like their future depends on the success of Rift Prime. With such a big question mark over the server right now, I question how well received the server will be. Will they see the popularity and success they’re hoping for? Personally, until I know for sure, I’m not interested in spending the money. But if Trion can give us an estimate, I will quite happily pay for Rift Prime in the hopes that it will soon lead to a vanilla Rift server.

Or maybe I’m just letting nostalgia for a game I fell in love with in beta get the best of me. I had my heart broken by the game when Storm Legion launched, and this seems like a great way to return to a game that I really loved, so maybe I am jumping the gun a little bit. Maybe I need to sit back and wait. Maybe I need to get my thoughts out there now while they’re still on my mind and give people the opportunity to respond to them. Giving Trion feedback from potential returning players, people who want to give them money for their ideal version of a Rift server. They’ve got a great foundation for this idea, but it may all fall apart because we don’t have this one little detail.

I certainly hope that isn’t the case though. For now, I’ll continue watching from a distance and hope that more information will be released. I also hope that Rift Prime is successful enough that more servers are created and we do get that vanilla Rift server so many of us hope will be released.

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Devilian Shutting Down March 5

It looks like there’s more bad news on the MMORPG horizon, especially if you happen to still be playing Devilian. Trion’s action MMORPG will be closing its doors on March 5, 2018.

 

Devilian Shutting Down

 

The official announcement from Trion went up this weekend, but it didn’t offer much insight other than stating that Trion Worlds and Bluehole Ginno have come to a mutual agreement to shut down Devilian. However, there were reports from players that a bug has existed for months that caused the client to crash to desktop after launching. It’s likely that there simply wasn’t enough revenue coming from the game to keep it updated and fix the current errors.

In order to compensate players, Trion is offering current Devilian players an option to transfer their credits to one of the company’s other titles along with welcome packages. Here are the available options:

ArcheAge – The Erenor Eternal Starter Pack, containing:

  • Mirage Snowlion Mount
  • Moonsand Fox Pet
  • 50 Bound Tax Certificates
  • 5 Bound Vocation Tonics
  • 5 Bound Vocation Expertise Tonic
  • 30 Days of Patron Status

 

RIFT – The Ascended Essentials Pack, containing:

  • Storm Legion Souls
  • Nightmare Tide Souls
  • Primalist Calling and Souls
  • Ascended Souls
  • 6 Character Slots per Server
  • 2 Bag Slots (Slots 4 & 5)

 

Trove – The Trove Essentials Pack, containing:

  • Ten class Tokens
  • Fire Wings
  • Trovian Supercycle
  • Tome: Dragon Coin
  • Tome: Jade Clover
  • 10 Omni Mount Unlockers
  • Trove Topper
  • S.S. TrovianTrovial Sail
  • 50 Gem Booster Boxes
  • 100 Bombs
  • 15 days of Patron Pass time

 

Defiance – T.I.T.A.N. Augment Bundle, containing:

  • 250 Arkforge
  • Random Legendary Chip
  • Random Tradeable Legendary Shield (Titan’s Fury Synergy)
  • (these items are claimable on one character)

 

Atlas Reactor – All Freelancer Pack

  • Includes every character ever made unlocked in Atlas Reactor

 

Our Thoughts

Even though Devilian might not have been the most popular MMO around, it’s still unfortunate to see yet another game shutdown. This is especially true for action MMORPGs after the unexpected closure of Marvel Heroes last year.

 

Source: Trion Worlds

 

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