The Weekly Raid: Warlords Awakening, Another Korean Cash Grab?
July 26 will mark the Early Access launch of Warlords Awakening on Steam. The Korean fantasy MMORPG has a generic theme to it, but the action combat may tempt Diablo 3 or Path of Exile players to give it a shot between seasons. At least that's what publisher PLAYWITH Inc is banking on. But first, a bit of history.
Originally known as ELOA (Elite Lord of Alliance), or Inspirit Online to those who played on an unlicensed server, Warlords Awakening was previously published in the West by Webzen. That server was shut down in 2016, but the game is now making a comeback via steam. Playwith purchased the IP from the original developer NPICSoft and relaunched the MMORPG in Korea late last year. But just two weeks ago, on July 11, Playwith announced the closure of the official Korean service. Despite the decision of the developer/publisher to shut the game in their home market, the Steam Early Access launch is still set for July 26. The base, and cheapest, package to access the game on that date? $11.99.
Its clear Playwith is taking a page from Bless Online with this one. Relaunching the title in a new region, and charging money for a previously free to play game. But Playwith takes the scam to another level. They didn't develop Warlords Awakening. They simply purchased a previously failed game, changed the name, and slapped a retail price on the whole package. To add insult to injury, they're not even supporting the game in their home region.
The bigger question here is whether this will be an ongoing trend. Since Steam has abdicated all curation responsibilities, there is nothing preventing anyone from purchasing a defunct MMORPG, 'remastering' it, and slapping it on Steam with a $20 founders pack. The Bless debacle has shown that the Western audience is still hungry for a full fledged MMORPG, and there are hundreds of thousands of players that could fall for one of these cons. I'm interested to see how Warlords Awakening does on launch day. Lets get the popcorn ready!
Further Reading: Murasama Blog Post on ELOA / Warlords Awakening