Welcome to the first issue of Almost Massive, a bi-weekly column that will feature news on pseudo-MMOs, MOBAs, CCGs and other games that do not normally fit into the definition of MMORPG. I hope to bring you the best news stories from this very site as well as upcoming game announcements and editorials.
Multiplayer gaming isn’t what it used to be. Yes, MMORPGs have cornered the market on truly massive numbers, but there are a lot of games out there that feature the ability to play with large (but not quite massive) groups of players or smaller, tight-knit groups of friends, similar to what a MMO player would do while raiding. While I am a huge fan of “true” MMOs, I just as often enjoy logging in for some quick action or fun roleplay with a more immediate game.
We were in the middle of a group email discussion the other day -- this time about how MMOs are perceived as “dying” – and the point was made (wisely so, and one that I have used before!) that even games that are said to be “single player” now feature some sort of multiplayer mode. Someday, thanks to faster internet, more powerful mobile devices and better design, all games will feature at the least large groups of friends and, hopefully, massive numbers of players in one persistent space. That means “true” MMOs and these multiplayer, “pseudo-MMOs” will simply meet in the middle. It will be glorious.
For now, though, we generally have to choose between a massive online game or, well, just an online game. That’s not a bad thing, of course, as the following examples will show you!
First up we have a story about Monster Hunter 4 and its original BAMs, or big-ass-monsters. Our own Robert Lashley reviewed the game and came up with some pretty interesting points. He covers gigantic sand-dragons, how it feels on handheld and what you might expect when playing. It even features online multiplayer!
Next, let’s talk about Taichi Panda’s soft launch. If you fancy yourself a fan of the adorable black-and-white critters and have a need to get your multiplayer action on, then you might be excited for this new title that will be coming to iOS and Android. This action RPG boasts the same graphics engine as MMOs Age of Wushu and Black Gold Online, so at least you know it will look nice.
Right now the game is in a “soft launch” mode, meaning that you can get it on iOS, but only in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Android support? “Comming Soon.” [sic] The game features an upgradeable pet system, action-based combat and multiplayer mode. It does look promising!
For details, please run to the official website at http://panda.snail.com/en/
Chaos Heroes Online is now available on Steam, so feel free to check it out for the low cost of zero dollars. It’s being described as a fast-paced, highly-competitive, action-packed MOBA (don’t they all say that!) that features Faction versus Faction warfare, a “heavy emphasis on consumables” and more interaction with the map than you might be used to. You’ll also have timed matches and a need for tight, aggressive gameplay.
Hailing from South Korea, Chaos Heroes Online is a successor of the Korean Warcraft 3 custom map DotA:Chaos. In the game, heroes battle on multiplayer maps to hopefully win a match through careful planning, skill and strategy. Previous Chaos Heroes Online players will be offered a unique limited skin as well.
Developed by a fan, the original modder ??? (Chogosu) is still the lead designer on the team. If you like MOBAs with fifty-minute time limits and the ability to re-equip your hero during battle, then go to the game’s Steam page here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/290830
A bit of Elite: Dangerous news this week. Community goals are group-oriented, well, goals that offer the eventual payout of expanding known space. Players can solo through them or will join up with others to achieve these goals.
Perhaps players will want to build a capital ship together? Great news, that’s a community goal! The goals are designed to foster teamplay, universe expansion and the immersive qualities of the game.
French, German and Russian localizations were added as well. Read the full patch notes on the Elite: Dangerous site.
The Crew added a new PvP Elimination in a recent new patch. Ubisoft has posted the latest patch notes for the racing game, and the addition of a new PvP mode jumps out immediately. On top of the new mode, players can expect performance tweaks, graphics tweaks, cooperative mission tweaks and tweaks to tweaks. (I kid on that last one.)
Read the full update information at The Crew’s official site.
Victor Vran, an action RPG from Haemimont Studios, was revealed recently. The studio is best known for the Tropico series and announced that it has been busily working on the new title. If you like Van Helsing or Diablo, you will probably want to check out the game’s new trailer. It shows how the game is coming along, and so far it looks to be very promising. According to the video, you’ll brandish awesome weapons and will gain “tons of loot” (not pounds, TONS) and be able to customize your character’s build. The title also promises group play with friends. Awesome!
Heroes of the Storm players will now have a “complex hero” (emotionally?) that is really 3 heroes at once. The group is made up of Baleog who deals splash damage to enemies, Erik who has a longer-ranged attack and moves faster and finally Olaf, the one who charges and has a lot more health than the others.
These three will start off with basic abilities but players can unlock special abilities as the match goes on.
You can find out more about the new Lost Vikings on the Heroes of the Storm site!
If you have any news that you think needs to be seen and we haven’t already covered it, let me know! There’s a lot going on out there in the multiplayer world, and as I said earlier a lot more coming in the future. I’m excited to bring you the news round up each time.
I’ll also be posting some of my thoughts on specific titles. I’ll be reviewing mobile games, card games (as though I am not already addicted enough) and anything that falls under the “other” category. Want to see something in particular? Let me know in the comments section!
See you next time!