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Apex Legends

Apex Legends is a battle royale game set in the Titanfall universe. Squads of 3 Players, using characters with unique abilities, land on an island and fight to be the last team standing.

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Playerbase: High
Type: Battle Royale
Release Date: February 04, 2019
Pros: +Large, vibrant map. +Variety of weapons & items. +Cosmetics & account levels add replay value.
Cons: -Repetitive Gameplay. -Single game mode/map. -Only Supports Squads of 3. +Max 60 players per match.

Gravity Ends Development On Ragnarok Online 2

Less than a week after announcing that Rose Online would be shutting down, WarpPortal made it known via the official forums that development on Ragnarok Online 2 has ended as of January 16, 2019.

The forum post made it clear that while development would cease, the game is not closing down. Players will be able to continue enjoying the game, but with no further events or updates. The cash shop will also remain open, meaning the studio currently has no plans to shut the game down.

Since May 1st, 2013 we have explored Ragnarok Online 2 together. In that time, it has gone through many evolutions. It would not be what it is today had it not been for the community and the team who has worked hard every day to make it the best that it can.

Unfortunately, it is with deep regret that we must announce that Ragnarok Online 2 will not be receiving any further support. Ragnarok Online 2 has struggled as of late, but in the last few years it was thankfully given new life thanks to outside funding. However, despite all the hard work, Ragnarok Online 2 did not meet expectations. This has regretfully resulted in the removal of the development team assigned to Ragnarok Online 2.

Since we know so many still enjoy Ragnarok Online 2, the game will remain open, but without a development team it will remain as it is and will not be receiving any further development, for updates or events. We want to thank everyone who has worked on Ragnarok Online 2 since the servers went live.

Responding to a series of questions posted on the forums, a staff member left this response:

Hello everyone,

I am just going to be popping in and helping to answer some questions that have been posted here.

- At this time, we do not expect there to be further in game events.

- The kafra shop will remain open as is.

- Further development for RO2 is being discontinued, including any updates that were previously being worked on.

- Warpportal will still be handling player reports via the ticket system. There will still be GMs monitoring and responding to player tickets, and removing players who are cheating from the game.

While this news isn't as dire as the one regarding Rose Online, it seems clear that WarpPortal has started to clean house by moving resources away from older game that can no longer carry their weight. WarpPortal published Dragon Saga and Requiem could also be in danger.

Further Reading: Official Forum Post

Record Of Lodoss War Online, A F2P Isometric MMORPG Is Now Available On Steam

Remember Record of Lodoss War Online? The isometric MMORPG launched in the West back in April 2017, following a successful release in Korea and Japan back in 2015.

As of Jan 15, 2019, the free to play MMORPG is available through Steam. While the graphics and slow paced progression wont' appeal to everyone, its clear Record of Lodoss War Online is aiming for a niche audience that grew up playing traditional 2D isometric RPGs. The Lodoss setting is based on a famous fantasy novel from Japan, with a pedigree among role-playing fans comparable to Forgotten Realms here in the West.

Further Reading: Steam Page

Closers To Merge European And American Servers On Jan 29

En Masse, the Western publisher for Closers, made an announcement today that they would be merging the European and North American servers for the game on January 29, 2019.

The official announcement includes a lengthy FAQ which contains most of the usual merger related instructions: delete unused characters to ensure character count doesn't exceed max slots (20), name priority, rank and crew carry-over, and so on.

The stated purpose of the merger, "to ensure the best possible player experience and a healthy in-game economy", likely means the game has suffered from a declining playerbase since its release back in November 2017. The post-merger server is likely to be as good a time as any to give the game another shot.

En Masse also publishes a similar title called Kritika Online through both Steam and their own launcher.

Further Reading: Official Announcement

KurtzPel Steam Page Now Live, Early Access Scheduled For Q1 2019

Anime inspired action MMO KurtzPel launched a Steam store page today. Developed by Korean studio KOG, the same company behind Elsword and Grand Chase, KurtzPel promises fast paced gameplay in both PvP and PvE missions. As with previous KOG titles, Kurtzpel will make heavy use of instancing and stage based missions.

While the Steam page is currently sparse on details, we do know the game is scheduled for an Early Access release in the first quarter of 2019 which means we should be able to play it within the next 3 months. Prospective players looking for more details can check out the game's official YouTube page which contains dozens of videos showing off the game's combat, cinematic, and other details.

Further Reading: Steam Page, YouTube Channel, Official Site

Korean MMORPG Astellia Is Coming To The West In 2019

The official site for the Western (US/EU) version of Astellia went live today with the announcement that the game is scheduled for a 2019 launch! The fantasy MMORPG, developed by Studio 8, was first announced back in 2014 under the working title Project A, and is currently in open beta testing back in its home market of Korea.

Astellia Bills itself as a AAA MMORPG where players collect dozens of magical companion fighters known as Astells which they take into combat in the game's open world, instanced dungeons, faction battles, and in competitive (PvP) battlegrounds. While the game is built on the now dated Unreal 3 engine, the art style still manages to look quite gorgeous in the trailer provided. There are also plenty of gameplay videos recorded on the Korean servers for those who want to take a closer look.

While published by Nexon in Korea, the Western Astellia homepage makes no mention of Nexon, and the familiar logo is no where to be found. Instead, it seems like BarunsOn E&A will be publishing the Western version of Astellia. The game promises not to include P2W (pay to win) elements, with a notice that sign ups for beta are set to start soon. From the feature list provided, it seems like Astellia will play like a classic MMORPG, with a traditional 'holy trinity' class system. Players can get a sense of what to expect by viewing the feature list:


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
Solo Dungeons
Group Dungeon
Scaling Dungeon Difficulty Levels

PVP Arenas
Solo & Group Versions

PVE Arenas
Horde Mode Content

Large Scale PvPvE Content

Avalon is a persistent Tri-Faction Map where players vie for dominance each week.

In-depth & Rewarding Crafting System

Further Reading: Astellia 2019 Launch Announcement

Activision And Bungie Are Splitting Up, Bungie To Take Over Destiny Publishing

destiny 2 banner

Bungie was founded in 1991, but came to global fame after it was purchased by Microsoft in 2000 and the release of Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001. As the years went by, the relationship with Microsoft grew dull. In 2007, Bungie split from Microsoft and became an independent studio once more. The terms of that divorce meant Microsoft got to keep the Halo IP, forcing Bungie to come up with a new one: Destiny.

To help launch their new project, Bungie made the dubious decision to sign a 10-year publishing contract with Activision, but now the two companies have announced that the relationship is coming to a premature end. A joint statement released on the official Activision twitter account makes the split official. Bungie released a lengthier post on their official site outlining the split. While the full terms of this early termination have not yet been made public, we do know that Bungie is getting custody of Destiny.

The breakup is a bit complicated due to the fact that the PC version of Destiny 2 is currently hosted on the Battle.net launcher under the Activision label along with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. It has not yet been made clear whether PC players will have to migrate their Destiny 2 accounts away from Battle.net.

Why the sudden split? Many sources who have followed the Activision/Bungie partnership have stated that it has been rocky for years now. But a more likely catalyst is that Bungie has once again found a more alluring suitor. This time its NetEase, China's second biggest gaming company. NetEase made a $100 million investment in Bungie last year, and we suspect a stronger partnership between the two to emerge as 2019 continues.

Further Reading: Bungie Post on Activision Split, Bungie/Activision 10-year Agreement (2010), NetEase $100 million Investment

ROSE Online Is Shutting Down On Feb 11, 2019

Its been a good run. Rush On Seven Episodes aka ROSE Online, will be shutting down on February 11, 2019. WarpPortal, the Gravity owned publisher that hosts the game, made the announcement today via the Rose Online Facebook page.

The in-game item mall is already closed, and players who still have points in-game will be able to transfer them to other WarpPortal PC MMORPGs including Ragnarok Online, Ragnarok Online 2, Record of Lodoss War Online, Dragon Saga, or Requiem. Premium currency transfer requests will be accepted until March 1, 2019 so get it done before those points expire. Effected players can use this link to file a support ticket to initiate the transfer.

Rose Online has been struggling for years, the game never got around to releasing all 7 'episodes', as the game's planets were called. As one of the first Korean MMORPGs to make it to the West, way back in 2005, many of today's MMO gamers still have fond memories of the 3D anime-inspired title. There are still several private servers for the game running, veterans seeking nostalgia still have a place to turn.

Further Reading: Official Announcement

The Weekly Raid: How Can MMOs Keep Players Online Longer?

As gaming has gone from a niche activity to a mainstream past time, developers have come up with all sorts of ways to entice players to either keep playing, or to at least make daily play a habit. MMORPGs were some of the first to play with such mechanics. World of Warcraft's rested experience, and later daily quest feature were meant to reward players who played at least a little every day. Ultima Online's 'Power Hour' with increased skill gain for the first hour of player each day is an even older example.

But it was mobile and browser games that gave the basic blue print of login rewards and daily chores that has now swept across the entire gaming industry. Even non-RPGs like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm have daily missions to entice an hour or two of gameplay each day. This basic system seems to work well enough for such games, games with set matches or specific tasks to complete. But how can MMORPGs go beyond such check-list mechanics to truly keep players involved for longer?

Achievement hunting is a common hook, these have the advantage of at least being a little more open-ended. Players can pursue the ones they're interested in, such as 100% map completion, while ignoring ones they find too much of a hassle. Many social features such as player housing, mini-games, and crafting can also be considered play-time-extension mechanisms. But in today's environment of unlimited entertainment options, the MMORPG genre needs some fresh ideas on how to keep players playing.

We discuss some of our thoughts on this subject in this week's podcast, share your own thoughts below!

Nexon Founder Looking To Sell $10 Billion Controlling Stake

Kim Jung-ju, the founder South Korea's largest gaming company, is putting his entire 98.64% stake in holding company NXC Corp for sale. NXC Corp itself controls 47.98% of Nexon and ~80% of Korbit and Bitstamp, two cryptocurrency exchanges.

The stake is currently valued at ~$10 billion which would make it biggest ever Korean sale of this nature. Kim Jung-ju founded Nexon in 1994 and the company's first MMORPG Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds was released in 1996. Nexon has since grown into both a developer and publisher of PC and mobile title around the world. The company's most successful franchises are MapleStory (2003), and Dungeon Fighter Online (2005), both of which are still highly profitable.

Investment banks Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley are orchestrating the deal, and will invite prospective buyers to start making bids early next month. Due to the size of the sale, the list of potential buyers is expected to be short. Chinese gaming giant Tencent is the most likely bidder since it holds the Chinese license to DFO from which it makes over $1 billion a year in revenue. Other potential bidders include NetEase, Kakao Corp, NetMarble, and American publisher Electronic Arts.

Those interested in more details on the sale should read the write up by Korean business news site Pulse.

Further Reading: Pulse article

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