[Rant] Monkey King Online Isn't A Game


This is my recollection of playing Monkey King Online by R2 Games.

After logging into the game and creating my character, I got up and walked out of the room. I nuked a frozen breakfast burrito: a mixture of jalapeno, egg, and cheese. My microwave has this annoying bug where it will occasionally register the same button twice. Luckily I never forget this little problem and managed to avoid cooking the burrito for 14:45 instead of 1:45. It says 1:30 on the instructions but I have a low wattage microwave. Hold on, I have to press “complete quest” and equip some more armor. My character is around level 30 by the time the burrito finishes cooling down.

Anyway, back to the burrito. El Monterey is a great brand if you like breakfast burritos. They have a fantastic egg & bacon breakfast burrito, and are fairly priced compared to the competition. Had to press “complete quest” there, sorry. What was I saying? Oh yea, they also have egg, sausage, and cheese as well as just an egg and sausage burrito. I have a very large-chested and scantily clad combat NPC following me that is marked as my “mount.” That can’t mean what I think it does.

I’m about halfway done with my burrito as my character hits level 41. My coffee has been depleted. If you don’t mind spending money on great coffee, I highly suggest Tonx. Twelve bucks for a six ounce bag of beans sounds high, but it comes out to about 70 cents per cup and it is more than worth it since you get coffee from new places every other week. The cup I’m drinking is from the Sumatra and contains a hint of dark chocolate and graham cracker. Fantastic. They send you new shipments every two weeks, shipped and roasted the same day.

As for the burrito, it’s rather laughable that the package brags 260 calories and 9 grams of protein. Great, until you notice the 510mg of sodium and 65mg of cholesterol. That is, granted, what you expect with any egg-based meal. Is it so much to ask for a breakfast burrito that is made with egg whites? Scratch that, I already know the answer.

It’s like those Guzzlers you get from the store. Now I enjoy these far more than an adult should, but you can’t deny that the Guzzler has a lot less sugar than soda (10g per serving compared to 39g in a can of coke), and also contains real juice. The strawberry kiwi has 20% Niacin (Vitamin B3), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Biotin, and Pantothenic Acid. Biotin can be used to help with neurological issues related to type 2 diabetes, making Guzzler quite a catch-22. They are cheap, though, at 3 for $2 at Tops.


I’m in a guild now. I don’t remember ever joining one, but I am in a guild. Anyway, it’s time to take a shower. I mentioned the word shower to my friend and he said “shower? I barely know her.” I don’t get it. My character is level 50. I couldn’t decide between The Hobbit or Hunger Games sequel to watch on Amazon, so I went ahead and picked The Hobbit because it is more interesting. Two and a half hours, though.

I got about ten minutes into the film and then had to take a pause to change the air conditioning filter in the apartment. You are supposed to change the filter once every 90 days, and since it’s been slightly over a year since we last changed the filter, it was about time to fork up the $10 and buy a new one. You’d be amazed how dirty a small apartment’s filter can get after a year. Despite the multiple inch thick layer of dust and grime caked onto the filter, I felt a bit hungry and figured I’d go to Wendy’s. My character is still level 51 and questing.

Turns out Wendy’s does not make the Ciabatta Bacon Burger anymore, which is a disappointment. I loved that burger. There isn’t anything special going on at Wendy’s right now, so I settled on a #1: Dave’s Hot’n’Juicy. There is something about the square shape of the hamburger that just makes sense. After enjoying my burger, I figured I’d head home. Make sure the game was still going. I finished The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, which is a fantastic movie with a lot of suspense and action.

As for Monkey King Online, this game is mediocrity at its finest, to the point where I’d much rather talk about my breakfast burrito and AC filter than go into the finer details on just how bad it is. Mix a horrible user interface that is full to the saturation point with shiny buttons and a constant stream of rewards to keep your attention, and big numbers very early on for the kiddies. The game throws everything but the kitchen sink at you, a barrage of tasks that are exactly the same in all but name. Main quests, side quests, daily quests, Punish the Gods, Karma quests, guild quests, event quests, forbidden quests, safeguard quests, dharma quests, etc. Login rewards, play rewards, goddesses, conquests, multiplayer, challenges, server events, new server events, beta events, power up tasks, forced in under the idea that if you just overwhelm the player all at once, they won’t realize that there really is nothing going on.


Monkey King Online falls into the lowest tier of MMOs in terms of quality. They are pumped out by the hundreds every year in China and Korea with a few making their way westward thanks to publishers like R2 Games. Isometric free to play games that are heavy on the cash shop and so self-aware of how mind numbingly boring, uncreative, and unintuitive they are, that the game revolves around mechanics that allow it to play itself. Your character will take quests, complete them, turn them in, and even buy his own flipping potions using the money picked up from mobs. I only had to lift a finger to equip new items and occasionally hit “complete quest” when the game wouldn’t turn it in automatically, and my character was raking in cash by the millions.

The whole genre is shovelware, developed by companies that make nothing but shovelware, and peddled by overseas publishers who only traffic in shovelware. Each successive game is a clone upon the last which improves absolutely nothing aside from devising more efficient ways to milk the “whales,” people with a lot of expendable cash and not a lot of good taste or sense in how to spend it. Thanks to the fact that this game cost roughly the video game equivalent of a dollar burger at Wendy’s to develop, it will coast on said whales.

Monkey King Online is mindless, it is boring, and with poorly animated characters that appear to be running on a giant green screen, it isn’t much to look at. It is unapologetic in its weight towards the cash shop, especially after level 50 when progress grinds to a halt, you run out of quests, and are forced to grind mobs to the tune of less than a hundredth of a percent of progress per kill. If you’re going to have your computer doing something while it’s idling, at least have it be something with higher odds of a productive outcome, like finding someone willing to make a second season of Firefly.

Otherwise I have no strong opinions on the matter.

SOE Shutting Down Four MMOs


Sony Online Entertainment has announced that four of their MMOs will be shut down later this year: Wizardry Online, Free Realms, Vanguard, and Clone Wars Adventures. Free Realms and Clone Wars are set to shut down March 31st with Wizardry and Vanguard following on July 31st. Sony attributes the sunsetting of Free Realms and Clone Wars as being due to its user base growing up and finding new games, while Wizardry Online was due to a mutual agreement with the publisher. In the case of Vanguard, SOE was unable to get past technical issues with the game’s outdated engine.

player population numbers have decreased making it difficult to justify the resources needed to support and update this game. This is an older game and we’re experiencing more and more technical challenges to continue running and updating it in a way you deserve. Simply put, these are issues that cannot be fixed in the long term and as a player, we would be doing you a disservice and going against our company commitment to provide the best gameplay experiences. So given this information, sunsetting the game later this year is the inevitable conclusion.

Vanguard is the oldest title to shut down, having launched in 2007, with Free Realms and Clone Wars going live in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Wizardry Online launched last January. Vanguard being shut down is especially saddening when you consider that (prior to being stopped by technical issues) the company seemed rather excited to start working on it. Still, the good news is that workers affected by the shutdowns were apparently absorbed into the SOE hive mind to work on other projects.

(Source: Vanguard Announcement, Clone Wars Announcement, Wizardry Announcement, Free Realms Announcement)

MMOrning Shots: To Waaagh! And Back


Warhammer Online comes to a close today, after five years of operation. As much as we joke here at MMO Fallout about the MMO and just about everything else surrounding the game and its developer, we’re always sad to see a game shut down. There might not have been a lot of people playing Warhammer, but you can’t deny that they were a dedicated bunch. Warhammer Online still sits in quite a few eyes as having the best player vs player combat on the market, and the only true successor to Dark Age of Camelot.

While we are on the subject, has anyone seen Mark Jacobs’ upcoming MMO, Camelot Unchained?

Archlord Shutting Down In January


Archlord is one of those games whose history I have found difficult to track. This MMO began under Codemasters way back in 2005, launching to pretty low reviews before it went free to play and ultimately shut down in 2009. Webzen, who published Archlord in other territories, took on the role of global publisher. At one point, Webzen started talking about something called Archlord X, which according to this rather poorly translated Facebook notice from September 2012, has ceased development.

Thank you for waiting for release of Archlord X. We notice that all Archlord X contents containing various quest, enhanced battle system and efficient user interface will be applied to Archlord’s major expansion on September. We believe that qualified contents from Archlord X, which was used to enhance Archlord contents, will offer you exciting game environment. Please come to Archlord to enjoy Archlord X contents.

Sadly, Archlord itself will be shutting down January 1st, likely in preparation for the launch of Archlord 2. Compensation packages have not been finalized, and Webzen has promised more details in the coming weeks.

On August of 2009, Webzen.com was thrilled to release Archlord globally. Since official launch, we have been working hard to build a strong community and gaming environment through new content updates and various events. Unfortunately, we have come to a difficult decision to end this long journey we have enjoyed and cherished together. We understand that this will disappoint many of our players.

(Source: Archlord)

Ragnarok Online 2 Sunsetting In Korea

ss_b11c54b5aec674182049328756e8730d885caa82.1920x1080Ragnarok Online 2 is shutting down in Korea. As reported by MMO Culture, Gravity has announced that the Korean servers will come down on December 23rd, and that services in North America and Europe will not be affected by the change. The shutdown notice points to a lack of players as the reason for the service being sunsetted, although it does include the possibility that the game may be revived in the future.

(Source: MMO Culture)


Mechanist Games Will Compensate Players


As plenty of you already know, City of Steam’s English servers under R2 Games are shutting down November 21st. In a press release by Mechanist Games sent out today, the developer has revealed plans to compensate backers and restore the faith of their community. While not all of the details are final, when City of Steam: Arkadia launches in November, supporters will find their Electrum restored.

We will recharge all original supporter accounts their total Electrum’s worth on the new Mechanist servers. We want to restore faith in our players, especially those early adopters who believed in us.

Unfortunately, characters created on R2’s servers will not be brought over to Arkadia, however accounts will be compensated based on how far they managed to get in the original game.

Mechanist will be opening new servers, not continuing R2’s servers. But to honor the loyalty of returning players, compensation will be given on these new servers based on the specs of their old characters. We have a strong desire to give everyone the fresh new start this game deserves, but we also really want to thank the loyal players who stuck with City of Steam and welcome them home, whether they spent Electrum or not.

Gamers in City of Steam’s other territories will be happy to know that their service will be mostly uninterrupted. Foreign language versions of City of Steam will also be upgraded to Arkadia, but will continue to enjoy their current publisher.

Those game versions are not affected by the English version’s publishing handover. They can continue playing now, and enjoy the improvements that come along with City of Steam: Arkadia when it is ready. And just like any other version upgrade, all the non-English language versions will also receive it.

(Source: City of Steam)

I Don't Think Divergence Is A Serious Game


Divergence Online is the next up and coming hardcore indie sandbox, and you can go ahead and stop reading there if you are as tired of that sentence as I am. Maybe it is the four years of writing MMO Fallout that has made me jaded, but when I hear about an indie hardcore sandbox MMO, I no longer have the reaction of a child on Christmas morning. I have the reaction of his friend down the street who knows exactly what his day is going to involve: hand-me-down socks wrapped in a hand-me-down shirt, and Uncle Rob will get drunk and pass out on my bed so I’ll be sleeping on the floor again. I’ve learned a lot from throwing money at projects like Mortal Online, and the lesson is never invest in the guy who advertises his project as being great because it’s kind of like that Ultima Online game back before EA watered it down for the stupid masses.

So Divergence Online came to my attention in the way that games in this genre usually do: The fans start being obnoxious, I get emails accusing me of being a corporate sellout and asking why I opt to cover “crappy themepark games” designed for “children” by “scam artists,” and how the game they sunk three figures into at an Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign is going to rock because the developer is an old school guy who played Ultima Online and that the hardcore sandbox is really what the majority of players crave, but are just too stupid/apathetic to see the truth. The same players who months after the game’s launch will be emailing me asking why I bothered to support said game, noting that the more hardcore sandbox genre is viable but that the developer was not the person to bring it into the new era. And they would be correct. The hardcore sandbox is viable, you could look at early Ultima Online and current Eve Online to see that, and yes the problem is that the torch continues to be carried by those not strong enough to lift it over their heads and those strong enough are not willing to throw into the fight.

That said, I don’t believe Divergence Online is a serious game. Not in the sense that I’m implying that the whole thing is on the level of a Stargate Worlds ponzi scheme, or that the guys working on it have any goal other than to make a great game and obviously some money in the process, but that the project is likely to follow in the same line as its predecessor: A series of unfulfilled promises held back by a lack of funding built by people who are better suited for smaller projects. In previous editorials, I’ve pointed out that an MMO is probably the worst genre to pick for your startup game, they take the kind of time, planning, personnel, and most importantly funding that indie studios just don’t have access to. I also don’t have much faith in MMOs that change direction and engine multiple times before launch. Once again it shows a lack of planning and concrete direction, one that often kills even big budget titles like Tabula Rasa.

So my lack of faith in Divergence Online has nothing to do with the alleged antics of the creator, the “jerkness” level of a programmer doesn’t matter to me, otherwise you wouldn’t see the multiple interviews with Derek Smart here. I’ll even go further and say that it has nothing to do with some of the more questionable decisions presented in the Kickstarter campaign, like the inclusion of a $20 emote package that offers a “@#$% Yo’ Couch” emote, a scene from The Chapelle Show whose level of being overly quoted is only beaten by “I’m Rick James, bitch,” and it also gives the “slow jerk” emote, with the reminder to avoid eye contact. The other emote pack for $20 promises to recreate the exotic dance from Star Wars Galaxies, a reminder that you can prove your worth as a sandbox mmo by paying reference to previous popular sandbox games. Divergence Online goes further with its borderline crazy promises by offering a never-ending world that continues to procedurally generate as you walk towards its borders, a promise that will no doubt either be nowhere near as exciting as it sounds or will be scrapped or delayed indefinitely.

In the end, Divergence Online is a story we’ve heard of a thousand times before. Some guy wants to create a hardcore sandbox with full loot, free for all pvp, permanent death, and skill-based progression, and in order to sell his project he will jump on the bandwagon of hatred against anything that could be considered mainstream, because achievements, loot, particle effects, and more aren’t real features and they wouldn’t dare add anything in to insult you as a consumer. It’s a level of anti-mainstream thinking that has, perhaps ironically, become mainstream in the indie sphere, and will be defended endlessly until talk turns to walk, and the same people heralding the game as the next coming of Ultima Christ drop their support with that simple message “this just wasn’t the game to do it.”

On the other hand, I can always hope that Divergence Online breaks any expectations and becomes the next big sandbox title, in which case Ethan Casner may come over to my house and hit me with a folding chair WWE-style. The big sandbox games from Ultima Online and Eve Online all started out as small projects with low prospects and tiny budgets, and while the former became the largest subscription MMO of its time, the latter now holds its place as one of the most popular subscription MMOs ever. So it obviously can work.

But as far as Kickstarter/Indiegogo goes, I’m spent.

Disney Shutting Down Its Less Popular MMOs


Disney appears to be cleaning house with some of their less popular MMOs. The company announced today that both Toontown and Pirates of the Caribbean Online will be shutting down on September 19th, just a month away. Both games have already stopped accepting payments and have opened their doors to be played for free until the servers shut down. There wasn’t much of a reason given other than the usual shifting development focus, although the obvious answer is that few people still play Toontown or Pirates Online.

“The Walt Disney Company is committed to offering high-quality, entertaining play experiences in both online virtual worlds and mobile apps. At this time, we are shifting our development focus towards other online and mobile play experiences, such as Club Penguin and a growing selection of Disney mobile apps.”

(Source: Toontown, Pirates)

Blizzard's Titan MMO Rebooted, Restructured


“Interested” isn’t quite the word I would use to describe my attitude toward Blizzard’s upcoming MMO, Titan. It isn’t anything personal against the developer or the game itself, it’s just that at this early of a stage in development where everything we know about the title is from rumors and even the title itself is in codename phase, to get excited for Titan makes about as much sense as getting your hopes up for Sony Online Entertainment announcing Video Game: The Video Game. I say this because the news that Blizzard has drastically reduced the development team and has rebooted the title with a new direction and a delay until 2016 means nothing to me.

Rebooted to what? From what? I can hardly be happy or sad to see the old version go when I knew absolutely nothing about it. I’m sure that if Titan does indeed find its way to release, in some form or another, we will eventually find out what the original game was intended to be. Until then, you can’t miss what you never knew you had.

Jagex Introduces Microtransactions In RuneScape

When Jagex introduced the Squeal of Fortune, they did so with the premise that the mini-game was balanced. Powerful and expensive rewards were relegated to untradeable and extraordinarily rare chances, and each player was only offered one spin per day (two for members). Today, however, Jagex has reversed years of outspoken anti-real money trading policies by introducing an update allowing players to purchase extra spins.

Spins can be bought in packages of 10, 20 (with 5 bonus spins), and 40 (with 35 bonus spins) for $5, $10, and $20 respectively. Jagex has denied that this constitutes paying for an advantage as players are not buying a specific item. The company has also denied that this constitutes gambling as there is no chance of “loss,” as players will always win something, even if it is a cheap 50 coin payout.

The gambling issue, however, stands to be a very important one. This update puts Squeal of Fortune in a similar bracket with lotto bags that many free to play games offer, and depending on if anyone decides to bring question, may constitute gambling and be subject to varying restrictions, laws, and even bans depending on the country.

Regardless of any potential and currently unknown legal implications, this move is sure to draw fire from the community, thanks in part to Jagex’s extreme stance over the past decade against any form of extra payment in return for advantages, and the justifications from developers (see above) as to how this does not violate the core principles is not being received well.

Hopefully more to come as this story develops.


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