It’s been a rarity in recent years for there to be that much MMORPG news to comment on in the blogosphere, new MMO launches have been few and far between compared with the heady days when I started this blog. But the last 24 hours or so have been an avalanche of big-ticket news items for those following the genre.
Wildstar is to shutdown
I’ll start by repeating the now common knowledge that Carbine and Wildstar are to shut down. That was a gut punch, weirdly I’d only logged back into Wildstar last night to play around on a lowbie character just for the feels. Massively OP had run an article or two looking at the game and I was feeling in the mood for slightly zany Sci Fi – it’s the closest MMO to the Starfinder tabletop RPG I can think of, which is my current offline obsession.
Naturally I’m very, very sad that the game is going. Of course I’m also complicit in this news since I haven’t played regularly since the summer 2016. It’s one of those things about the genre: there are way more games than any individual can reasonably play (though some do make a darned good attempt at playing all!). The content dearth, oft the prelude to a game being wound up, was the killer for me. I find it hard to keep engaged with a game in maintenance mode.
CCP bought by Pearl Abyss
This is a strange one, I read about it over at The Ancient Gaming Noob, as I do anything Eve related since I’ve never actually played the game. But Eve and it’s home studio have long been held up as the example that subscriptions can work and that studio’s only need keep a stable, relatively healthy, population happy to have success. That said, the real reasons behind this will probably not surface anytime soon: is it that CCP had financial troubles and had been looking for a buyer, or that both companies saw possible ‘synergies’ in the mood? In either case I can’t see what it’ll bring beyond financial arrangements – is a new joint game likely, or VR Black Desert?
The mention of the latter company did remind me that Black Desert has revamped its graphics and has a login promotion on at the moment, must go grab those freebies!
Daybreak Games joint venture with Nantworks for mobile
So Daybreak Games – the studio behind both Everquests, DC Universe Online, some zombie/survival game and the publisher of Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online – has also announced a deal too. This isn’t a takeover though, it’s a “joint venture”, a term which takes me back to my studies of the oil industry in developing countries. This isn’t a legal or financial blog (honest!), so I’ll ignore any implications of the implied investments or of that chosen structure – in any case the company is joining forces with a ‘diverse holding company’ to start porting a game or games to mobile.
I couldn’t care less about H1Z1 if I tried, and I’m long over mobile gaming – I mostly played some for about a year on an old iPaq, and briefly on an earlier iPhone circa 2006-8. More recent forays into Pokemón Go confirmed my views, however. Gaming quickly drains any mobile device’s battery, plus I generally need my time out of the house/not in work for more important things than yet more gaming on the side (like blogging and learning Japanese).
Mobile Everquest doesn’t sound that appealing to me. The linked press release doesn’t mention if this could eventually include either of the two published titles – LOTRO and DDO – I guess DDO might actually make quite a fun mobile game given the early action combat model?
THQ Nordic have bought up the rights to Kingdoms of Amalur
This is a little news item that I could have easily missed but that bought back some memories. I loved the Kingdoms of Amalur Playstation game, it was a single player RPG set in a fey-inspired fantasy world. The game played well – you built your character by mixing and matching three main skill lines. It had action combat with interesting and varied enemies to fight. Sadly a hard drive crash wiped out my save of many hours of gameplay robbing me of some of the enthusiasm to play. I subsequently loaned the game to someone, and still haven’t got it back: this news item reminded me of that. The bigger news from back in 2012 when this was last a big thing, was the implosion of the game studio behind this game, they were working on a MMORPG set in the same world (referred to under the codename of Project Copernicus), but financial mismanagement caused a big and very public collapse of that company. I suspect the MMO idea is long dead, and will never rise again. But a remastering of Amalur or even a sequel single player game built on the assets of the first could be a nice happy ending to the sorry tale of Project Copernicus.
A final older piece of news is that a new Lord of the Rings Online MMORPG is being made by Athlon Games. Never heard of that company, the community reaction was predictable but also as has already been commented, it will not necessarily mean anything for the future of the current Lord of the Rings Online. Firstly Standing Stones Games has existing form for keeping a MMO going in the face of a newer competing title (their DDO vs Neverwinter by Cryptic). Secondly the new game apparently will be set in an earlier time period: a “prequel to the Lord of the Rings novels”. It’s planned to be free to play so I’ll take a look, a LOTR game in a modern engine could be interesting, but can any company do nearly as well as Standing Stones Game at crafting an interesting game world within such a detailed and iconic setting?