The wide world of Azeroth is home to some of the strangest holidays one could imagine; from the March of the Tadpoles where the young murlocs of the Borean Tundra make their march to safer waters, to Children’s Week where heroes of Azeroth can adopt an orphan and show them the life of a champion. This month, however, features a much more humble and simple holiday, born from the real-world concept of the Chinese New Year. This month Azeroth celebrates the Lunar Festival and the turning of the Elvish New Year.
Held traditionally by the Druids of the Moonglade, the Lunar Festival celebrates the victory of the world’s oldest alliance (namely the Night Elves, Tauren, Furbolgs and Earthen) banding together and repelling the first invasion by the Burning Legion. Heroes of both factions gather not just to honor their ancient heritage but also the wisdom and valor in times of old. Fireworks are shot off in remembrance, a symbol of the moon goddess Elune’s power, though the festivities also have a much darker purpose. Beneath Lake Elune’ara, the Wild God known as Omen stirs in his slumber. Once blessed by the Moon Goddess, Omen was driven mad by the Burning Legion’s power and must be slain once a year lest he return to wreak havoc upon the mortal world. It will take true heroes, blessed by their ancient forbears, to drive Omen back into his slumber.
The Festival never sleeps in Moonglade!
The Lunar Festival, in regards to the rest of World of Warcraft’s holidays, is fairly straight-forward for players with the main draw being Coins of Ancestry. These Coins are given to players who speak to various elders across Azeroth: ancient ancestors bathed in moonlight. Players may then turn in these coins for a variety of rewards ranging from cosmetic dresses, head-pieces and toys to the new seasonal hearthstone: the Lunar Elder’s Hearthstone.
The main goal for most players will be completing To Honor One’s Elders, the holiday achievement that is required for the meta-achievement What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. To Honor One’s Elders is really the best and most rounded of the meta-achievements, and will give players the most thorough cross-section of the Holiday as well as the majority of their currency to spend on the holiday toys.
For those new to the Holiday, you will want to speak to the Lunar Festival Harbingers in your respective major city. They will give you a quest, which will require you to set off both singular and Cluster fireworks in launchers around the area. Purchasing 10 Cluster Rockets and 10 Festival Firecrackers will enable you to complete both Frenized Firecracker and The Rocket’s Red Glare by using them up in 10 seconds. From there players can teleport to Moonglade proper and begin the arduous process of finding the Elders of Azeroth.
“The best Omen was once a hero of this world…”
With the return of the Lunar New Year, the Elders who first fought against the Burning Legion return to Azeroth to offer up their wisdom and insight unto heroes who seek them. The majority of To Honor One’s Elders will revolve around tracking down each individual Elder across Azeroth and paying your respects to them. Each Elder will offer you a Coin of Ancestry which can be redeemed for toys, transmog and more. Each Elder only offers one coin per lunar festival, meaning that each year you can obtain up to 84 Coins of Ancestry to spend. This will afford most of the low-tier toys each year, as well as several parts of the Dragon Costumes (either Head, Body or Tail). Finding an Elder will also reward 75 reputation with your major city factions before any bonuses, meaning you can earn an additional 6000 reputation as well. Its best to gather this at the start of your reputation grinds, as players are reporting these bonuses are not applied to factions past Honored. These are not locked to your account, meaning you could easily gather all the toys in one year with a handful of characters.
For Lunar Festival Finery, players simply must spend a little of their newly earned coinage and purchase one of the dresses or pant-suit transmogs from the Coins of Ancestry vendors in Moonglade. Some of the transmogs are actually quite fetching, and pair well with the new transmoggable flower crowns introduced in 2019!
Dragons just wanna have fun too!
The last achievement, Elune’s Blessing, requires players to complete the quest of the same name and defeat Omen, a summonable max-level boss in Moonglade. Details on how to summon Omen are incredibly limited, however, the process is rather straightforward. Players must first purchase Cluster Fireworks of any kind, and travel to the southern end of Lake Elune’ara. On that shoreline are two cluster firework launchers, which players can use to launch their explosives into the sky! These will summon roughly half a dozen Minions of Omen, ghostly spectral wolves, that must be killed. These spawn in a wide area around the southern parts of Moonglade, from the Stormrage Barrow Dens to the southern bridge and must be killed before more Minions can be summoned. After three or four waves of summoning, Omen himself will appear to terrorize players on the shore. While Omen can still be tagged by only one faction, a ray of moonlight will fall onto his corpse after the great Wild God is defeated. Simply walking into it will give you credit for Elune’s Blessing, and will allow you to complete the quest, rounding off To Honor One’s Elders.
What do you think of the Lunar Festival this year? Have you paid your respects to the ancients of old, are you celebrating with friends in Azeroth, or are you simply goofing off in the battlegrounds wearing a dragon costume?
There have been a lot of crowdfunded MMOs throughout the years and keeping track of them all can be somewhat daunting. That’s why from time to time we like to check in with those games and see how they’re doing. This is a look at 11 crowdfunded MMOs and where they are now.
Ashes of Creation
Crowdfunded: May 2017
In 2018 Ashes of Creation became two different projects. There’s the main MMORPG, but they also now have a Battle Royale game which is currently the focus of beta testing. Last year they also announced that My.com would be publishing Ashes of Creation in Europe. This move was met with a lot of concern from fans. There was also a bit of controversy on the Ashes of Creation subreddit, where the CEO amongs other developers took control of the subreddit. This resulted in the concern that censorship would be a major problem for the group. Even after they got a new community manager the CEO continued to be a mod, which was, of course, an unpopular move.
Crowdfunded: April 2013
After 6 years you would be forgiven if you had forgotten Camelot Unchained. For diehard fans, the developers give weekly updates on how development is going. They cover topics ranging from rubble animation to moss covered ground assets. It wasn’t until mid-2018 that the game finally hit the Beta 1 phase and while they are currently saying it will launch in 2019, previous delays make that seem unlikely.
Chronicles of Elyria
Crowdfunded: May 2016
File Chronicles of Elyria under “the campaign was HOW long ago?!” We can’t believe that we’re already approaching 3 years since we first started talking about Chronicles of Elyria and its idea of your character aging as you play. All in all, the game seems to have lost sight of where and what it is though. Their end of the year blog post was more community focused than anything else. They talked about various community events that they have going on and really didn’t talk about the game that much at all. Right now it just doesn’t look great for the game.
City of Titans
City of Titans
Crowdfunded: October 2013
Late in December 2018, City of Titans announced that it would be pushing Issue 0 launch into 2019. At that point with just a little over a week left in the year, that seemed pretty obvious though. Throughout 2018 they updated fans about the game, including the announcement that they would not use lockboxes in their business model. It seems that the indie development team had a bit of a rough year, which has resulted in them being behind but wanting to remind people that they are still around.
Crowdfunded: February 2015
Development on Crowfall is still trucking along. They launched patch 5.8 in mid-December. Earlier in the year they also reached the 50,000 backer milestone, but there isn’t a whole lot more to say about the game right now. The developers are still working hard and official campaign testing has begun.
Crowdfunded: September 2016
Right at the end of 2018 Dual Universe moved into alpha testing. They also released a roadmap that gives them a launch date in the second half of 2020. They’re anticipating moving into alpha 2 sometime in the first half of 2019. That will be followed by alpha 3 which will contain PvP. Then in the first half of 2020, they’ll have a much larger beta before they launch, and funds have been secured that allowed them to hire more developers. So it’s all good new for Dual Universe fans!
Crowdfunded: October 2013
We’ll admit, things aren’t looking great for Ever, Jane. The development team doesn’t make updates on their official site much and the forums are looking a bit abandoned. The game went into closed beta in 2015, in 2016 it went into open beta, and that is where it has been ever since. In early 2018 they gave the website and forums an overhaul but it was a really quiet year for the game. The only real newsworthy story was the introduction of a personal butler.
Novus AEterno, aka Hades 9
Crowdfunded: December 2013
Unfortunately, Novus AEterno, which then became Hades 9, seems to have been abandoned. There haven’t been any updates on the game since the middle of 2018. This usually only means one of two things. 1. They got a new publisher and are going to wow us with a big surprise reveal in the future. 2. The developers have moved on.
Sadly, most of the time the second is the case. After they lost their funding for Novus AEterno the development team decided to make some changes and create Hades 9 instead. That game never really went anywhere though. So, even though we’ve been following Novus AEterno since it was one kid’s dream being presented at Gamescom we’re going to officially call this game dead.
Crowdfunded: November 2012
Life has never been certain for Pathfinder Online. It has already crashed and burned once but then, much to everyone’s surprise, it came back. While the development of the game is still slowly trucking along its legs seem to be pretty unsteady under it. Those of us at MMOGames would certainly say that Pathfinder Online’s future is…uncertain at best.
Crowdfunded: Constantly since October 2012
At this point, most of what people are talking about around Star Citizen is the money. So far it has raised more than $200 million from fans. With that being said, we did see a lot of development in 2018 on the game. The game is currently in alpha 3.4 and just like other games, they make regular updates. Throughout 2019 their road plan has them getting up to alpha 3.6
Crowdfunded: May 2018
We wanted to end this article on a high note. Temtem launched its backer alpha at the end of November 2018. That may just be the best example of sticking to the timeline of any crowdfunded MMO. Things are looking very bright for Temtem right now, especially as Pokemon as a brand is enjoying more popularity than it has in a long time. That’s sure to spill over to the adorable Temtem.
The Tides of Vengeance have risen again for Azeroth, and the Alliance has begun its movements upon Dazar’alor, capitol of the Zandalari Empire. The arenas have been emptied and its champions awarded with the spoils of war. Season 2 for Battle for Azeroth has officially begun! This week we’ll be diving into everything that’s new with the release of Season 2.
The Battle for Dazar’alor
“Talanji… Forgive me…”
First and foremost is the release of Battle for Azeroth’s second major raid tier, The Battle for Dazar’alor. Drawing the Horde forces away from the seat of the Zandalari Empire, the Alliance mounts a daring offensive to assassinate King Rastakhan and sever any potential political hopes the Horde might have. The Battle for Dazar’alor will feature nine separate bosses in a linear fashion, with each faction assuming the other’s role in the story as things progress. When the Alliance moves to besiege the temple proper, Horde players will temporarily become Alliance races and vice-versa for later segments. The boss breakdown will look something like this:
1st – 3rd Bosses will be flavored over the enemy faction, but each version will have identical abilities.
Besieging the Temple; The Alliance moves to attack King Rastakhan’s seat of power. Horde players will temporarily become Alliance races for three bosses culminating in a fight with King Rastakhan.
Pursuing the Alliance; The Horde returns to Dazar’alor with a vengeance and seeks to kill the Alliance invaders. Alliance players will temporarily become Horde races for three bosses, culminating in a fight with Lady Jaina Proudmoore, who is the last boss of the raid.
During the ‘Neutral Wing’ players will play as their own characters but the second and third wings are story-type encounters written for one faction. Both factions will have nine bosses to defeat in a linear order, just with the added bonus of you get to see what you’d look like with that faction change…
Looking for Raid Wing 1 and Mythic Difficulty will open the week after your region’s particular launch of Season 2.
Step Into The Arena!
“More bones for the arena!”
Battle for Azeroth Season 2 brings a new and darker title to the mix, “Sinister Gladiator.” With the rollover into the next season of Rated PvP both personal and matchmaking ratings will normalize and return to zero. This means a fresh-start for all players seeking to carve their name in the halls of conquerors. Returning to Season 2 is the graduated Elite Gladiator system, rewarding players who advance their rating with progressive unlockables for your Elite Sinister Gladiator set and the seasonal Tabard and Cloak. Those looking to claim the Gladiator Title and the Sinister Gladiator’s Proto-Drake must also win an additional 50 games in the Elite bracket (2400+). Those looking to claim the “Sinister Gladiator” title must place in the top 0.1% of rankings, as well as claim 150 victories in Season 2. The Gladiator’s Dreadflame enchantment appearance will still be attainable for those who hit 2100 rating in Season 2.
New to Season 2 are temporary “Elite Class” titles. These seasonal titles will be awarded to players who reach the Elite bracket. Players who earn a Conquest Chest each week will now also find a Quartermaster’s Coin among their winnings, ten of which can be turned in for a piece of Gladiator level equipment.
Returning to the Rated PvP circuit are Vicious Saddles. Used as a currency for those wishing to purchase one of the Vicious Racial Mounts, the saddles were mysteriously absent in Season 1. For Season 2 players can obtain their Saddles after claiming their first mount, the Vicious Black Warsaber and Vicious Black Bonesteed for the Alliance and Horde respectively. Players will earn an additional saddle each time their bar caps out for wins over 1400 rating.
At this time Gladiator PvP sets from Season 1 will be unavailable to purchase until a later date.
Seasons don’t fear the reaper.
With the start of the new season comes a new host of adjustments for Dungeon Delvers in Azeroth. To follow the curve of player gearing, Heroic and Mythic dungeon difficulty has increased by 30% across the board, with Mythic+ Keystone levels decreasing by three (Mythic 5 Keystones in Season One are now Mythic 2).
With the defeat of G’huun, and the rise of Bwonsamdi, a new Mythic affix has been introduced as the Seasonal Affix: Reaping. Added to every Keystone that is level 10 or higher, Reaping affects non-boss enemies throughout your Mythic+ Dungeon. Whenever the group completes 20% of the Enemy Forces Bar (20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100%), Bwonsamdi will ressurect every enemy defeated in that 20% span. They will then traverse the dungeon to assault your party. While they do not possess True Sight or stealth detection, they have a gigantic player aggro radius. These enemies have set abilities between dungeons (depending on what type of mob they were in life), posses 50% of their original health, do not aggro other monsters in your dungeon, and are not affected by other Mythic+ affixes (like Bursting). If players run out the timer on their Mythic+ dungeon they may barter with Bwonsamdi to, “Serve him in life and in death,” and receive a 20% buff to health and damage until the completion of the dungeon.
Players banking up their Titan Residuum for the Ethereal Traders will be pleased to note that Titan Residuum does not reset between seasons, meaning you can continue to save it for upcoming gear in Season 2. The amount players gain through looting their weekly chest and scrapping higher levels of Azerite Gear has also increased.
Upgrading Gear Tables!
“Show her no mercy. She will show you none.”
Along with the the Battle for Dazar’alor, players will find new loot with increased item levels in their weekly activities. Baseline rewards in Normal, Heroic,Mythic and Mythic+ dungeons have been increased by 30 item levels, bringing them on par with Uldir raid rewards.
Gladiator PvP gear will now begin at item level 375 in both the Conquest Chest and regular rewards from Rated Player vs. Player activities. When the Chest rewards fall under Azerite Gear pieces, players will now have 4 pieces of gear to choose from. On weeks when the gear rewarded is neither a piece of Azerite gear, trinket or weapon players will be able to choose between two different item slots of gear (e.g. Legs and Wrists week 1, hands and rings week 2, etc.).
Item rewards in the Battle for Darkshore Warfront have been increased by 15 item levels. Consequently the new requirement to enter the Battle for Darkshore is iLvl 335, and enemy difficulty has been increased by 15%. Emissary rewards for World Quests have likewise been increased and items may reroll their stats or update with the start of the Season.
Starting January 22nd for the US and January 23rd for EU servers, Azerite Knowledge will begin scaling once again for your Heart of Azeroth. This means levels for your necklace will get easier to obtain each week.
With Battle for Azeroth’s first season of content drawing to a close, now is no better time to take a moment and reflect on the story of this expansion so far. For those that have played through each of the major War Campaigns, things are certainly getting interesting in the war between the Horde and the Alliance. This week I wanted to take a look at an incredibly muddy conflict and ask one question: Who are the bad guys in World of Warcraft Tides of Vengeance?
Most players would immediately point their fingers at the Horde and their current Warchief, Sylvanas Windrunner. She is more colloquially known as the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, a nation of Undead who have been rejected by their nations and found solace in each other. Whether through means of vengeance or simply finding companionship in those that share their struggle, the Forsaken endure simply because there is no where else for them to go. With their population dwindling, the Warchief has seen fit to create new Forsaken by the means of the Val’kyr, raising the dead into life. Some choose to join willingly, others are told that if they are not Forsaken then they can deal with those who seek to destroy the Undead.
On the other side of the equation sits the main race of the Alliance: the Humans. These are a hardy, adaptive people who in just two generations have been reduced from Seven Kingdoms and a population in the potential tens of thousands to just two nations and a few hundred between them. Humanity is quite literally backed into a corner and is strung together in an alliance of necessity for their survival at the core. Headed by High King Anduin Wrynn the Alliance hopes to take a virtuous path towards the future with the Light in hand.
Separately these two nations are the current driving force of both the Alliance and the Horde. Both of their leaders want the best for their people and both have incredibly big shoes to fill now that the Burning Legion has been routed. How did two factions that, at one point, had a serious ceasefire, come to full-out war?
The answer is simple: Azerite. When the Burning Legion was defeated its master, Sargeras, plunged his weapon into the world of Azeroth, wounding it greatly. Azerite rose to the surface in response, a literal scab over the blood of the world. A new mineral rising from the surface of the world is something that is hard to miss, and both factions readily jumped on it. Despite Azerite first appearing exclusively on Kalimdor both factions were quick to jump into researching it; so quick that it is incredibly difficult to reliably form a timeline on the situation. While the Alliance was reportedly first to send an expedition to investigate in the novel Heart of the Storm, traces of their presence would not appear until long after the launch of Battle for Azeroth, after Horde forces had already begun mining the rare mineral. Both groups were met with lethal hostility by the opposite faction and few survivors on either side.
The War of Thorns
Saurfang attacks from the North.
In an effort to control the continent of Kalimdor, and fearing an Alliance built on Azerite power, Sylvanas Windrunner laid siege upon the island-nation of Teldrassil in an attempt to slaughter their leadership and hold the Night Elf homeland hostage against the Alliance, effectively breaking the native people and severing their ties with the enemy. In the final aspects of an utterly brutal campaign the Warchief came toe-to-toe with Malfurion Stormrage, Archdruid of the Cenarion Circle and defender of the Night Elven people. In their battle High Overlord Saurfang intervened, hurling his axe at the back of Malfurion Stormrage and mortally wounding the druid. Sylvanas departed leaving the Overlord with one command: kill the Archdruid and return to her side to claim their victory. Instead Saurfang made an unprecedented move and defied his Warchief’s orders, believing his coming to his Warchief’s defense in such a manner was an incredible mark of dishonor.
To put this in perspective, High Overlord Varok Saurfang has never outwardly defied an order from his Warchief, even when the threat of death has been involved. Despite friction between past Warchiefs, and even superior commanders in Northrend, he has not once deserted his duty to the Horde, even when his son was slain at Icecrown and the Wrathgate. He could in fact be one of the more moderate voices among the leadership of the Horde. As noted in the novel War Crimes, at the trial of Garrosh Hellscream, who Saurfang defected from to join the Siege on Orgrimmar, the Overlord was one of a handful of people who did not believe that the deposed Warchief deserved a death sentence. Instead he believed that Garrosh should be tried by Orcish Customs and face the Overlord in mak’gora, a duel to the death to determine whether he would live and repent or perish for his crimes against the world.
When held at bowpoint by the High Priestess of the Night Elves, Tyrande Whisperwind, Saurfang gave her an ultimatum to either take her beloved and flee or try to stop the Horde and die. When the Elven commanders fled, Saurfang returned to his Warchief’s side. In response, Sylvanas performed the only thing that could potentially break the Night Elven people and set Teldrassil to the flame, murdering thousands of civilians, priests and Sentinels in the blaze. Despite how it galvanized the rage of several main Night Elven heroes, such as Warden Maiev Shadowsong, its clear this tactic worked on members of the Night Elves both who still live and who have been raised as Forsaken, including Delaryn Summermoon who now believes that Tyrande, Malfurion and even her goddess betrayed the Night Elven people.
“Burn it… BURN IT!”
Despite hoping to end a war long before it began, Sylvanas now found herself embroiled in a savage conflict that brought itself right to her doorstep. Soon after the Burning of Teldrassil, the Alliance besieged the Undercity, burning a swath through the Tirisfal Glades in their assault and rendering the land uninhabitable, even by the Forsaken. Rapidly devastating and routing the Horde forces, the Alliance savaged their way up to the front gates of the Undercity led by High King Wrynn. In an attempt to drive them back, Windrunner unleashed the Blight, a necromantic biological weapon that slaughtered the Alliance wholesale. Sending heroes of the Horde, armed with chemical masks and suits, she saw that her wounded were returned to the Undercity before raising the fallen as Undead, stripping the Alliance of their foothold on the region.
It was only due to the timely arrival of Archmage Jaina Proudmoore that saw a moderate victory for the Alliance and broke the defenses of the Horde. Abandoning the city, Windrunner and her retinue blighted the remains of the Undercity, refusing to let it be used as an Alliance stronghold in the region. With their fleets decimated by the Legion and their forces diminished from two bloody battles, the Horde and Alliance then turned to the Zandalari Empire and the Kingdom of Kul Tiras respectively for aid, both commanding the greatest naval fleets the world has ever known.
The War Campaigns
Both War Campaigns go into detail over what each side is willing to do to win, and who really has the upper hand in this conflict. The Alliance discovers that Sylvanas has recruited more of the Scourge’s top lieutenants into her fold, promising the vampiric San’layn that if they can control their hunger and prove their usefulness, they can have a place in her Horde. The rest of the Horde, ignorant and unknowing of this dark move, instead attempt to work on dismantling the Kul Tiran fleet, the only true force that could potentially rival the Zandalari Empire’s navy and challenge their rule over the seas. In both cases the lines here become incredibly blurred and indistinct when it comes to why each commander in this war truly wishes to be involved. Sticking around after talking to the heroes of both the Horde and the Alliance paints a telling story of the conflict.
In looking at the Horde their commanders are incredibly diverse; Nathanos Blightcaller, Champion of the Banshee Queen leads her expeditionary forces and the war effort in Zandalar. Garona Halforcen, infamous assassin of High King Llane Wrynn has become the Horde’s Mission Specialist because she claims to see the hubris of the Alliance, stating that, “Perhaps it is time to fell another King.”
Nathanos Blightcaller echoes her statements, though with the darker tone Forsaken are known for. Believing humanity has become hypocritical in their quest of following the Light and their abandonment of the Forsaken, an entire nation of people, Nathanos (and Horde Champion Lillian Voss) believe that the only method to prove them otherwise will be the killing and raising of the Alliance to force their perspectives to change. While fatalistic to the extreme, he certainly isn’t wrong. During the Horde’s War Campaign players will come across a tidesage by the name of Thomas Zelling; he is a native of Kul Tiras, who has become deathly ill and will soon die. After proving his power to the Horde he begs Lillian Voss to see he is raised as a Forsaken, so that he can protect his family even after his death. Raising him from the grave with one of the Val’kyr, Zelling returns to life as a Forsaken and rushes off to meet his family who immediately reject him as a monster. Left alone with no one else to turn to, Zelling resigns himself to his life as a Forsaken with a promise from Nathanos Blightcaller; as long as he serves the means of the Horde his family will remain unharmed.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Alliance, with High Commander Halford Wyrmbane leading the 7th Legion forces in Kul Tiras. Aided by Spymaster Mathias Shaw, both share stories about their career in the Alliance if the hero wishes to stand around and listen. Wyrmbane, a career soldier, has fought the Horde all of his life. Mathias Shaw sees himself more as a tool of the king, stating, “… If I had to choose between satisfying honor and getting the job done, I’ll pick the latter every time. For the Alliance, of course.” This results in them using tactics time and time again that others would see as utterly dishonorable: from the trapping of the San’layn to kill them to the hit-and-run bombing of Horde forces at sea, much to Falstad Wildhammer’s delight.
This paints the conflict in two vastly conflicting ideals. For the Horde this is a war that has long since bubbled beneath the surface of the world; in fighting through the Darkshore Warfront introductions members of the Horde’s races fight side-by-side against raised skeletons. Even Orcs, who wholeheartedly revile unnatural magics like fel and necromancy, fight against the mutual threat of Tyrande Whisperwind. Much like Sylvanas’ original promise with the War of Thorns, this is a fight not just for their security but for their vengeance. The Horde is tired of feeling as, ‘the Other,’ in Azeroth and will now take any efforts to protect their home, perfectly illustrated by King Rastakahn’s bargain in the Zandalar Forever questline.
For the Alliance this war is less a war of ideology and the continuation of a long, tired crusade. While willing to fight tooth and nail to the end, this is a war the Alliance feels they’ve fought before and are still in the right on. To Wyrmbane and Shaw this is just another day in the life in pushing back their life-long enemy. In planning movements against the Horde Shandris Feathermoon, the General of the Sentinel Army, talks more about purging the Horde and the Forsaken in your quests together than simply seeking vengeance. The Dark Irons brought on board to strike a foothold in Zandalar unleash horrific elementals and fire magic to burn the Bilgewater Cartel’s forces alive, effectively glassing the beach.
The Tides of Vengeance
“I have a plan to ensure that the Proudmoore family pays dearly for Rastakhan’s death…”
This isn’t to say that neither Faction acts what most players would ascribe to them as, “typical.” The Forsaken still use and raise the dead of the Alliance as tools in their war for the psychological value. Nathanos even tells his forces to, “Blight it from shore to shoreline,” in the Battle for Darkshore, though the Forsaken do not use this recklessly. Even in their War Campaign after finding the body of Derek Proudmoore, the Crown Prince of Kul Tiras, they use his corpse to draw out the elite forces of Boralus so that a small group can infiltrate the heart of the capitol.
The Alliance follow much in suit, from Humans to Night Elves. High Commander Wyrmbane is often the voice of reason throughout the War Campaign, bringing his experience and knowledge of the Alliance to temper the attitudes and plans of his peers. His long-term plan in besieging Dazar’alor works to minimize casualties across the board, instead looking to shatter the Zandalari fleet and draw out the Horde forces from the civilian Zandalari Empire. Even Tyrande Whisperwind, Avatar of Elune, stays her bloodthirsty blade when faced with the gibing of Deathstalker Commander Belmont (though this is more of her opinion that he isn’t worth the effort).
The entire war, in my opinion, can be summed up in one daily quest. During an assault on Vol’dun there is a quest, Vulpera for a Day, where the Alliance seems to have assaulted a roving caravan of the native Vulpera. However, upon attacking the interlopers, several members of the 7th Legion will instead say that the Horde is responsible and they will slay them for their attack on the defenseless creatures. Despite two warring factions attacking each other for incredibly justified reasons, there are other forces at work driving them together like rabid dogs in the same kennel. This is a conflict that has been brewing for both the Horde and the Alliance for some time but undoubtedly there are whispers at the edge of the world, hoping to capitalize on the burning of empires.
So here’s the question, Who is the villain in this war? And who, or rather what, wants to see the world aflame?
Nexon has announced AxE: Alliance vs Empire, a new mobile MMORPG that will be released later this year. Pre-registration for the game is now open and if you register now you’ll get a limited time starter pack. In that starter pack, you’ll receive in-game gear and free currency.
Players can pick from one of six classes. Each character can be equipped with weapons, armor, and abilities that are tailored to fit every playstyle. The game has a single player open-world adventure for players to enjoy in between a variety of PvP combat modes.
The PvP modes range from 4 vs 4 tactical matches up to 75 vs 75 faction warfare. In addition to the PvP players can take part in cooperative battles that include dungeons and raids. To aid with that AxE has a robust social system. They include a built-in voice chat system so players can coordinate and create strategies.
Players can also keep track of their rivals thanks to the chase and revenge system that allows players to track enemy players and chase them down in real time.
“AxE has been created from the ground up to bring a PC and console quality MMO and open-world gameplay experience for gamers around the world,” said Tommy Lee, General Manager of NEXON M. “We’re excited to bring this incredibly deep universe and its fast and fun social gameplay that has already been enjoyed by millions in Korea and Japan to the rest of the world soon this year.”
More than more we’re seeing the MMORPG genre making the shift to mobile. Nexon is one of the developers who is paving the way with a number of new games. Just take a look at the MMOGames MMO Beta List, in the announced category there are more than 10 mobile MMORPGs. However, they haven’t been hugely popular with western players. It will be interesting to watch how AxE is received and if it gets embraced or not. Check out the trailer for AxE below.
It’s time to finally start getting back into our normal routines for the new year. That means it’s time for another look at the business side of the MMO industry. This week we’ve got lawsuit news, acquisition news, and a $7,000 bundle for Shroud of the Avatar.
Funcom Acquires Zona Paradoxal (ZPX)
Funcom announced that it had acquired a 50.1% majority stake in Zona Paradoxal, a work-for-hire studio based in Lisbon. They have previously worked with the company on Conan Exiles, Mutant Year Zero, and other games.
ZPX will remain independent from Funcom and continue to work with other clients. However, Funcom is set to be their primary client going forward. Thanks to the acquisition the studio is also planning to double in size from where they are currently with 15 employees.
For Funcom, this means having more developers on hand to help them with their upcoming titles, of which they have 5 in the works. Conan Unconquered, a top secret game being released Halloween 2019 being made with RockPocket, a Heroic Signatures game, a Conan single player game, and an open world multiplayer game.
Do you remember 38 Studios? They were the studio that made Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and were working on Project Copernicus that shut down in 2012 after running out of money and has since been the subject of a long legal battle. The studio was moved to Rhode Island after being promised a $75 million loan then failed. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) argued that the studio was destined to fail after it wasn’t disclosed that they would receive only $50 million of the promised $75 million. This resulted in a lawsuit between the SEC and Wells Fargo and the Commerce Corp. That lawsuit has now been settled, however, the details have not been revealed and it seems pretty unlikely that they ever will be. We may not know how it ended, but it is nice to finally see the final chapter of 38 Studio’s story come to an end.
Though it is the end for the studio it may not be the end for the Amalur IP. In September 2018 it was bought by THQ Nordic. This means that yes, there is the possibility for Project Copernicus to be brought back to life. However, with the state of the MMORPG genre, it is far more likely that they will use the IP to create other games. Still, we have our fingers crossed for Copernicus.
While the Blizzard/Netease partnership has been received somewhat poorly in the West it is doing fantastically in the East, specifically in China. So much so in fact that they are extending their partnership until 2023. The partnership began in 2008 with Starcraft II and the Battle.net platform. Now they’ll be working together to bring World of Warcraft, the Starcraft series, the Diablo series, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch to Chinese audiences for 4 more years. This seems to be leaving room for new games in the Starcraft and Diablo series. Does that mean we can expect more in the future? That does seem somewhat likely, or maybe they’re just leaving themselves open to possibilities. We will have to wait and see.
Source: Press Release
Tencent Gets Minority Stake in Vermintide Developer Fatshark
Vermintide and Vermintide 2 are quite easily the most popular multiplayer Warhammer games to have been made in a long time and that is paying off for their developer Fatshark. Tencent has now acquired a 36% share of the company worth 500 million kronor, approximately $56 million.
Fatshark has said that the investment will strengthen its position as an indie developer and help facilitate future growth. CEO Martin Wahlund spoke to Games Industry saying, “We are excited to announce that Tencent has chosen to invest in Fatshark. Tencent is known for investing in market leading top rated companies. With the investment, Fatshark is in a strong position to continue to grow while staying independent. Our unaltered mission will be to bring high-quality games to our fans around the globe.”
We can’t wait to see what this means for Fatshark and Vermintide 2 in the future.
A law firm is currently investigating claims that Activision-Blizzard committed securities fraud or other unlawful business offenses following the news that Bungie would be parting ways with Activision. In its press release, the law firm offered very few details but did specifically mention Bungie and the sharp decline in Activision’s stock price following the announcement. They also offered a link to join a possible class action lawsuit.
This is clearly only the beginning of this story. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the story and Activision’s share price, which has been slowly recovering since all of this took place on January 11th.
Source: Press Release
Shroud of the Avatar Offering $7000 Bundle to Fund Episode 2
Shroud of the Avatar is getting a bit of a change in its business model, moving to what is now considered a more traditional one. However, they’re also offering 8 people who happen to have $7000 laying around the opportunity of a lifetime. The Lord of the Island: Episode 2 Bundle costs $6,999 and includes a ton of amazing in-game and real-life perks. What do those perks include? A silver ring crafted personally by Lord British himself and an in-game version of it. A tour of the Portalarium offices. Finally, dinner with Lord British, Darkstarr, and Atos either in Austin or New York City. This offer is only available to 8 people total and one of them has already been sold.
Of course, the majority of us don’t have $7,000 that they can spare but that’s okay! We can still buy items in the cash shop which is about to change. The cash shop will be available in game, while the website will only have currency and maybe one or two things available in it. This is coming after the company has had a lot of feedback about the cash shop. This will also mean that the cash shop can be localized, something that hasn’t currently been possible.
Every time we think that we’ve heard the last of AAA MMORPGs another one gets announced. The latest is Astellia, being created by Studio 8 and published by Barunson E&A. The game is currently in open beta in Korea, being run and developed by Studio 8 and Nexon. Here in the West they have several beta events planned before they plan to launch later this year.
Westley Conner, the Producer of Astellia at Barunson has said this about the game in the press release announcing the game, “We know the fear that so many MMOs wind up as Pay-2-Win in this genre, and we’re committed to making sure that Astellia never veers in that direction. Instead, we’re all about Play-to-Win, and we can’t wait to explain how at PAX South.” Yes indeed, they will be at PAX South where players will be able to their hands on the game. They’ll also be hosting a panel which will be livestreamed on Sunday, January 20th at 12:30 Eastern in which they plan to reveal more details about the game.
As for what we know so far…well, here’s a list of features they provided:
The Astell Companion System
Dozens of Astels to acquire, level, and build effective support teams that can combo directly with your character based on classes and skills.
Customizable Skills & Combos
Player Skills have various facets that can be upgraded for different results; reduce cooldown, improved accuracy, increased damage etc etc
Holy Trinity Class System
5 Unique Classes that each serve a purpose; Warrior, Ranger, Assassin, Scholar, Mage
Robust Dungeon System
Scaling Dungeon Difficulty Levels
Competitive Arena between Players
Solo & Group Versions
Horde Mode Content
Solo & Group Versions
Large Scale PvPvE Content
Avalon is a persistent Tri-Faction Map where players vie for dominance each week.
In-depth & Rewarding Crafting System
It’s exciting to have a new MMORPG to add to our watch list. Check out the trailer below and let us know in the comments if you’re interested too.
With the Holidays behind us there’s only one big thing on the minds of adventurers in the World of Warcraft. Looming on the horizon comes the big additions for Patch 8.1 Tides of Vengeance; The Battle of Dazar’alor raid and the change-over to Battle for Azeroth Season 2. A whole host of changes have already made landfall with the releases of Tides back in December but end-game content will drastically change with the opening of Dazar’alor. This week we’ll be giving you the checklist to make sure you’re ready for January 22nd, when Season 2 of Battle for Azeroth begins.
Time Is Running Out!
Rated PvP Players will see their ratings returned to zero on the launch of Season 2.
With the change over to Season 2 a ton of content will become unavailable to players who haven’t participated in Season 1. While most Hall of Fames have closed worldwide, there is still plenty of time to claim your hard-earned Feats of Strength in Uldir! Both Ahead of the Curve and Cutting Edge for G’huun, the Raid’s final boss and the Old God of Undeath will become unavailable with the start of Season 2. Keystone Conqueror and Keystone Master for Season 1 will also become unavailable with the rollover, awarded for completing every Mythic +10 and +15 within the time limit respectively.
As always, a change of Seasons means that rewards for Player vs. Player gameplay will also be retired. Both the Seasonal Ranking Feats of Strength such as Challenger: Battle for Azeroth and onward will no longer be available, including various seasonal rewards. Players will no longer be able to grind for their faction’s Vicious War Mount, obtain the Dread Gladiator Mount, fight for their Seasonal Titles and the Elite Gladiator set for your armor specialization will no longer be obtainable (however recolors through the Warfront Caches will still be available). Ratings will also be returned to zero on your region’s respective weekly reset, meaning that any further progression for Rated Titles will be unobtainable.
RRRRREADY FOR RAIDING?!
Right now is the best time to get your character ready for the release of Dazar’alor! While Looking For Raid difficulty will launch one week later, it’s believed that the item-level requirement to enter will be approximately 350, making that the low-bar goal to prepare your character for its launch. Normal and Heroic raiders will be looking to score at least 15 item levels higher due to increased difficulty scaling.
While many players are already far ahead, it’s also recommended your Heart of Azeroth should be around level 35, making most pieces of Uldir gear unlockable.
If you find your main or alts are a little lacking on the gearfront, consider jumping into the Warfronts! Winning in the fields of battle will guarantee a piece of item level 340 gear. Two additional pieces of 370 gear will also be available throughout your warfront cycle, one from the quest to win the particular warfront and the second from quests available once the warfront has closed. Mythic+ dungeons can also be a quick way of obtaining item level 350 gear and can serve to supplement your gains.
The Horde War Table, planning for the Assault on Stromgarde.
For those looking to power-level your Heart of Azeroth start by hitting all of your daily Warfront contributions. These daily quests not only offer a substantial amount of reputation but 500 Azerite as well, meaning you can easily cross one full level PER DAY of turn ins. The weekly Island Expedition and daily World Quest faction rewards can result in 1000 Azerite, a titanic amount for anyone, even in the late level twenty range of their Hearts.
For anyone leaping right into Dazar’alor on launch day, make sure your guild is well equipped with supplies. As always flasks, war-scrolls, runes and more can be vital to your raid’s success. Ensure your cooks have their feasts well and ready! For scribes entering Dazar’alor, a new Vantus Rune has the chance to drop from an unknown boss in the raid. Ensure you come equipped with enough parchment and inks in case your recipe drops that week.
If your main characters are already set for Season 2, consider chipping away on some of your more vital grinds. Reputation is a huge one to consider for those looking to fill out their profession recipes, as every new faction on Zuldalar and Kul Tiras has several vital recipes for your professions. The Honourbond, 7th Legion, Proudmoore Admiralty and Zandalari Empire are also reputations you should consider exalting, as they are tied into current or upcoming Allied Races.
Vindicator Jaelaana, the 7th Legion’s representative for Alliance players in Kul Tiras.
If you find that you are twiddling your thumbs waiting for new content, consider changing up your gameplay until Season 2’s release. For PvE players consider taking up some battlegrounds and work on grinding honor. Rewards for honor levels include unique mounts, toys, titles and more! Likewise PvPers can work on grinding away at several Mythic+ Dungeons for unique mounts and transmog pieces.
If the end-game doesn’t appeal to you, consider taking up a new character to tour throughout Azeroth! While you may not remember it, there’s quite a bit of the world most players don’t get to see due to the curve of leveling. With the new implementations in experience point reductions, leveling is now far more painless than it was at the launch of Battle for Azeroth.
Tour The Old World!
For the Player who only wants to focus on one character, look at exploring the wider world of Azeroth! Every player still has quests left uncompleted, storylines left unfinished, and secrets left undiscovered in the wide world of Azeroth. Consider working on several of the game’s more difficult Feats of Strength, which we’ve covered previously here on MMOGames.
Several players may also not be aware of the Glory of… meta-achievements tied to particular raid tiers. Since Wrath of the Lich King many players can now complete difficult challenges or manipulate boss mechanics to increase the difficulty of the encounter and earn achievements. Most of these are collected under the Glory of… series. All of these meta-achievements reward unique items, which are often mounts and titles.
Are you ready for the Battle of Dazar’alor? What are you doing to prepare for Season 2 of Battle for Azeroth? Let us know!
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.”
Some games aren’t quite gone yet, but the developers are no longer working on them.
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, 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
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.
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 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.
While most of us in the Western party of the world was settling into our turkey and opening presents we missed a new MMORPG announced on Christmas Day. It’s being called Project BBQ at the moment and it was announced by Neople. It will have elements of the beloved Dungeon Fighter Online IP.
If you haven’t heard of Dungeon Fighter Online it is one of the highest grossing games of all time with more than $10 billion in revenue and more than 600 million players. It is consistently at the top of the Superdata’s PC charts in terms of worldwide revenue every month to this day. It has been live for more than 5 years at this point and is still going strong.
The new MMORPG has only been in development for a year now so it is still a ways off but on Christmas Day Nexon and Neople held a Dungeon Fighter event called Dungeon & Fighter Carnival. There they announced Project BBQ along with a Dungeon & Fighter mobile game for the South Korean audience.
Our friend over at MMO Culture has uploaded the game reveal trailer which of course looks gorgeous. They also have a few more screenshots than what we’ve included here so if this game grabs your interest be sure to check them out over there.
We don’t have any word yet on if this game will be released in the West at all, but we all have our fingers crossed hoping that they will. As we learn more about the game we will be sure to pass the news on to you.
If there was ever any doubt before it seems pretty clear now. The future of the MMORPG lies in the hands of developers in the east. Project BBQ is just one in a long line of upcoming MMORPGs currently in the works by developers in the East, mostly in South Korea.