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

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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

Tree of Savior Lives up to the Hype

Tree of Savior began its second round of closed beta testing in early November, and I’ve been playing it quite a bit since. I wasn’t able to test out the game in its first round of testing, so this was the first time I played it and I have to say right away that I was impressed. Having loved Ragnarok Online from WarpPortal (and various private servers), I’ve long been looking for an MMORPG that filled the void Ragnarok left in my heart when I quit and it looks like Tree of Savior may be it. I’ve played quite a few Ragnarok Online style games in the past, including Secret of the Solstice (was published by Outspark until they shut down), Water Margin Online (some obscure Chinese Ragnarok clone that shut down) and even Ragnarok Online 2, but none of these games came close to the original Ragnarok in terms of variety and depth. Tree of Savior on the other hand, both looks and feels like an improved version of Ragnarok and is easily one of the best fantasy MMORPGs out there. I also love that it’s free to play.

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Similar to Ragnarok, Tree of Savior has A LOT of class variety. I think IMCGames, the studio behind it, said they want to have 80 classes available at launch which is incredible, even though it counts job advancements as individual classes. Most newer games today don’t have nearly as much class variety. Wildstar for example, which recently went free to play, only has 6 playable classes. Dragomon Hunter from Xlegend has only 4. These aren’t older games either. Dragomon Hunter launched into open beta in late 2015, while Wildstar came out in 2014. One of Ragnarok’s biggest appeals to me was its huge roster of classes. Whenever you got bored with one character, you could create another one and have an entirely new experience with the game. Tree of Savior is built the same way. Not only are there going to be 80 classes, but players have a lot of control with how they customize their growth. Each class can be advanced into multiple times, which creates a new infinite path of progression. So for example, when it’s time to advance your class early on as a swordsman you can either A) become a highlander or B) become a swordsman rank 2.

Another aspect of Tree of Savior that’s simply excellent is its musical score. SoundTeMP did the music for Tree of Savior and they’re the same company that composed the music for many notable MMORPGs including: Fly for Fun Flyff, Granado Espada, MapleStory, LaTale, Silkroad Online and even Ragnarok Online. If you have no interest in Tree of Savior, I still recommend you check out the Tree of Savior Soundtrack, because the game’s music is incredible. It’s easily some of the best music i’ve ever heard in a video game.

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Ultimately, I want to emphasize that so far I’m loving Tree of Savior. The second closed beta is set to end soon, so I’ll need to wait till the next round of testing to resume my journey. Too bad there’s going to be a wipe as I worked so hard on my current characters, but alas, I knew going in that I’d have to restart. This game lives up to the hype. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Old MMORPGs Are Still Successful

Older MMORPGs like 9Dragons and Divine Souls are still surprisingly around despite their age. These games launched years ago, but can still be played today, even while newer MMORPGs shut down and close their doors forever. Poor ol’ Infinite Crisis is shutting down less than a year after its launch, but 9Dragons is still alive and kicking since its 2007 release. It’s not particularly successful, but it’s still playable whereas many MMOs aren’t. Continue reading

MMOs I’m Looking Forward to Reviewing

I’ve played a lot of free to play MMOs and MMORPGs over the years from the good to the bad. I’ve lately been playing an odd game called Uncharted Waters Online from Netmarble. I say “odd” because Uncharted Waters is one of the few Japanese developed MMORPGs out there. It’s also not super popular in the West. The game has had a lot more success in China and its home country of Japan, where’s its available as a console MMORPG. I like to play oddball games. I guess it’s what makes me the special snowflake that I am. I’m looking forward to a few oddball Continue reading

Pirates of the Burning Sea – An Old MMORPG That I love

Pirates of the Burning Sea is one of my favorite MMORPGs ever. It’s not one of the most popular MMORPGs ever, and in fact is quite small. I played it for a good month, and I think the game has one of the best aesthetics and some of the best gameplay around. In a sea of sameness, PotBS stands out as completely unique. Since its original release back in January 22, 2008, the game has gone free to play. Continue reading