The Classic MMO Formula Works

I was perusing some new free to play games on Steam the other day and I ended up trying this new shooter from Neowiz Games called Black Squad. It’s a very traditional Korean lobby based tactical shooter that plays almost exactly like Combat Arms or Alliance of Valiant Arms. Everything from the game’s interface to to core gameplay mechanics reminds me of other Korean tactical shooters. Despite not offering anything new the game had over 13,000 concurrent users. Those numbers came down a bit of the last week, but it still gets 7,000 – 10,000 concurrent players. Compare that to the recent open beta of Lawbreakers, an innovative new arena shooter from Boss Key Studios / Nexon which only got 4,500 or so concurrent users and quickly fell off each day of the open beta. How is it that this buy to play FPS that had a significant budget got so outperformed by a run of the mill lobby based shooter? Argo performed equally poorly on Steam despite offering an innovative new experience with an emphasis on realism. I think it’s because despite “generic” being a negative adjective for games it’s what people actually want. Continue reading

Final Fantasy XIV – A Small Critique

Final Fantasy XIV is my favorite modern MMORPG. I’m reluctant to say favorite MMORPG, because I grew up playing Dark Age of Camelot and EverQuest, so both of those games will hold an extra special place in my heart. There’s a lot to love about FF14, namely its gorgeous graphics, unique multi classing system, adorable emotes, countless glamors, and excellent late game boss mechanics. It also has the best player housing system I’ve seen in an MMORPG, but I haven’t seen the new homesteads in Elder Scrolls Online, which I heard was great. The one thing that nags me about FF14 though is that each job has zero actual customization. This means that every single Black Mage has access to the exact same set of skills. In fact, there’s ZERO difference between every max level black mage in the game. That’s right; zero class customization. Most people don’t criticize this feature because the class system overall is pretty great, as everyone can play EVERY class on a single character. Switching between classes only requires a player to equip a new weapon. Tired of being a mage? Just equip a bow and now you’re an archer! Being able to play every class on one character is great, but it doesn’t excuse the lack of customization on a per class basis. Yes, there are stat points, but there’s only ever 1 viable stat point build per class.

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Revelation Online’s Early Game Sucks

Having played both phase 1 and phase 2 of Revelation Online‘s closed beta tests I think it’s time for me to share some of my feelings about the game. This is by no means a full review for Revelation Online, but rather a quick overview of my thoughts. First of all, I really like the game’s graphics – not so much its sharpness, as games like Black Desert Online and Moonlight Blade both look way nicer, but I really like the open world persistence of the game. It feels like a lot of modern MMORPGs gave up on having a seemlesss open world. Even great games like Final Fantasy XIV and Blade and Soul don’t have expansive worlds. Instead, everything is gated in smaller zones. I’m glad to see some Chinese MMORPGs go back to the wide open worlds that MMOs became famous for. Prior to BDO and Revelation, I remember this style being a big part of Lineage 2. (Even Lineage 2: Revolution, the mobile MMORPG, has an open world!) Continue reading

Hearthstone Has A lot of Competition

Every passing month seems to bring forth a new collectible card game trying to dethrone Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone as the #1 online CCG. And with good reason. According to gaming analytics firm SuperDataResearch Hearthstone brings in about $20 million a month for Blizzard due to its tremendous success on PC and Mobile. Prior to Hearthstone’s launch the online CCG industry was relatively small with only a handful of relatively unknown projects. After Hearthstone, it’s a whole another story. It seems like every major game studio worth their salt is chasing after the market that Hearthstone created. Obviously CCGs were around well before Hearthstone, but it wasn’t popular on mobile or PC, just offline. Continue reading

Steam Greenlight Lets Private Server Through

Steam Greenlight proves once again that Valve, despite all its success, can be quite incompetent. A private server made its way through Greenlight all the way up to official launch. Khan: Absolute Power from “Blaze Gamers” is absolutely a private server and the company behind the game doesn’t own the license to the game. The funny thing is, despite this being public knowledge at this point, Valve has not removed the game from its store. Not removing the game from the store sends the wrong signal to the gaming community and opens Valve to potential lawsuits from IP holders. The thing about Khan Online is that the IP holder is likely some bankrupt South Korean company, so Valve won’t be getting any complaints from them, but it does send the signal that Valve sanctions private servers. Continue reading

Playing some Mobile MMOs!

As many of you are already aware, I’m not a fan of most mobile games. I simply cannot stand monotonous pay to win mobile strategy games like Clash of Clans, Clash of Kings, or Clash of whatever. It blows my mind that a game like Clash of Clans makes over $1 billion a year (according to SuperDataResearch) when they’re extremely 1 dimensional and require no skill. But somehow all my friends play Clash of Clans…. I guess I need new friends. I recently when on a road trip from California to Las Vegas and since I didn’t need to drive it gave me some time to explore the vast world of free to play mobile games. I’ve always been a fan of MMORPGs so I started my quest by searching the Google Play store for “MMORPG”. Continue reading

Oddball MMOs

With the hundreds of MMOs out there including mainstream titles like The Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft there are quite a few oddball games out there too. Games most people probably never heard of. One such title is Areeb World from Remal IT, a Middle Eastern technology conglomerate. Most of MMORPGs nowadays are developed in South Korea or China with a few titles hailing from Japan, but Areeb World is from Saudi Arabia. I personally haven’t played Areeb World yet and probably never will because of its business model. The game is buy to play and costs a cool $54.99 on Steam. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to shell out $54.99 for an oddball game that looks like a mix between Spirit Tales and Dragon Oath, which for those that don’t know are two really old sub-par games. The explosive growth of free to play MMOs has reshaped the entire industry. Nowadays, only the premium franchises (think Final Fantasy XIV and The Elder Scrolls Online) can get away with charging money these days. Continue reading