Video: NCSoft Shows MMORPG Spirit

Before Throne & Liberty.

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Video: Throne & Liberty Trailer

Project TL drops Lineage from name.

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NCSoft Stock Jumps Up After Q3 Report

Stocks trading 23% higher after income report.

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Lineage Eternal Is Ten Years Unreleased

Happy vaporware-versary.

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Lineage 2: Revolution Adds Onmyoji Update

Limited time regions with supernatural themes.

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NCSoft Q2 Financial Highlights: Lods of Emone

What’s that spell? Loads of money! Probably.

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2010’s: Remembering Those Games That Went Out For Gas (And Never Came Back)

The 2010’s brought us closer than ever with developers and that means a lot more instances of people shall we say fudging the truth and maybe being a little more optimistic about their company’s future than was realistically possible. We’ve seen plenty of games in the past decade disappear after promising us that there was no way in hell that they would be gone forever. Just up and vanished in a puff of smoke. Like they got raptured.

Let’s talk about some of them.

Now I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I spent far more time than this piece deserves looking up each game on this list (plus a hundred other titles that didn’t qualify) and scouring their websites/social media just to make sure I had my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed on the developer going dark. I was specifically looking for games/developers who never announced cancellation but just went silent one day and never came back. I also disregarded Kickstarter MMOs because the workload was big enough already. That’s a piece for another day.

If I missed some comment from a dev, it’s because it was shoved in the corner somewhere nobody would ever see it. Also this list isn’t meant to cast shade on any developers, so please; All comments about how I’m disrespecting the development process by making this list can go in the box below this piece. As always, defamation threats to, c/o Randy Pitchford.

#1: City of Steam: Arkadia (Mechanist Games)

City of Steam was a not-so-successful game that rebranded and relaunched as a much-less-successful game steeped to the brim in microtransactions. It’s hard to believe that Arkadia shut down in early 2016 with the promise that the game was “resting: not retiring.” Boy has City of Steam been in a long sleep because after four years there is no indication that the game is ever coming back. It’s like a permanent form of narcolepsy, also known as death.

Just check out this quote from the website.

“City of Steam certainly isn’t retired, but we’ll need time to reflect on these things. A sequel would have to do justice to the world in a way that honors the original, addresses as many critiques and quirks as possible, and improves or innovates at the same time. It would also have to be good enough to make up for the shortcomings of the original – stuff that no one was really happy with. Rushing into such a massive commitment would be foolish, and would risk destroying the goodwill that still exists for the game.”

Fans of the original City of Steam may be happier that the game is gone for good, since judging by reviews on Mechanist Games’ current lineup the company hasn’t just stayed the line with their predatory microtransactions, they’ve gotten much worse. Mechanist Games’ follow up titles to City of Steam have pretty much all shut down by this point: Spirit Guardian, Heroes of Skyrealm, War Clash, with Game of Sultans remaining. The players were not happy with them, and that is a horrible track record for four years.

Who knows, maybe Mechanist can surprise all of us with a decently built City of Steam follow up that respects its players time and money. I’m not holding out hope.

#2: The Missing Ink (Redbedlam)

The Missing Ink was a pretty basic MMO with a somewhat interesting concept: Player avatars were two dimensional cardboard cutouts existing in a three dimensional world. At one point the folks at Redbedlam took the servers down and announced that a new game design would be coming that same year.

“We’ve taken the TMI servers down for now, but we’ll be back later this year with a BRAND NEW game design – watch this space!”

That post was from January 2014. Whoops. You can actually play Redbedlam’s last title Bedlam, and I posted a whole article about this company last year. There is nothing left of Redbedlam let alone their 2014 dreams of relaunching The Missing Ink, except for one employee taking Steam residuals and probably making a phone call to get investment. He should hit up the guys that invested in the Juicero, they’ll fund anything with a pulse.

#3: Alganon/Line of Defense (3000AD)

I know I’m going to get a Tweet/comment from Derek Smart himself over this post, but I’m going to add it to this list anyway. Alganon shut down its servers for migration in 2017 and never brought them back online. For the record, I’m going to go on a limb and say that I’m probably looking forward to Alganon’s return at least more than any of my readers outside of Derek Smart himself. Probably more than a large portion of the gaming public. I expect my study points for those three years of downtime, Smart. Literally unplayable.

If Alganon comes back I will be greatly surprised and impressed and will be the first person to jump on board with coverage, as right now it feels like the box set of Matlock that I bought on sale at Amazon Prime Day. Yes I’m actively working on it, no I haven’t actually started watching the DVDs yet. The same goes for Line of Defense which is undergoing an engine change and hasn’t posted a new developer diary in over a year. I’m sure Line of Defense will come out at some point in the future, perhaps not my lifetime and published by the third Sonny android model loaded with Derek Smart’s consciousness. It’ll be at the same point where people stop funding Star Citizen’s alpha client in 2342.

We get it; 3000AD is a small company and things take time. I’m just not convinced that they are going to happen at all.

#4: Earthrise (Silent Future)

The Earthrise reboot is totally being developed by Silent Future, a German team who ironically have been completely silent about the game other than to deny the idea that the game is going nowhere when I brought it up a year ago. It has not been taken out back and shot, no matter what common sense and the complete lack of progress over the past eight years since Earthrise first shut down might tell you.

Will Silent Future have the funds to build Earthrise, now a nine year old game that was out of date even back when it launched in 2011, into a product viable for the current market? I’m going to guess no, just judging by their recent releases peaking in the realm of one concurrent player on Steam. I’m also not sure which company is gullible enough to fund development of a reboot of a game that was wholly rejected by the public eight years ago, but then again Justin Roiland’s company bought that Radical Heights trademark so you never know.

#5: All Of Jagex’s Not-RuneScape MMOs

I could probably fill a limosine with all of Jagex’s cancelled MMO projects, so for the sake of time let’s just roll them into one number. Jagex has hinted at more MMOs over the years than I can count (and I can count to four), but every few years the company likes to drop a hint via press release or in a RuneScape update that it has some new IP in the works. What new IP? Who can say. It’s a fantasy game, a sci-fi game, a shooter, an RPG with MMO-like elements. It’s built on Java, it’s built on RuneScript, it’s built on Unreal. It’s literally three days away from beta and cancelled.

What isn’t it? Getting published. We’ve been having this conversation for over a decade now about how Jagex needs to stop treating its new games like hobby projects. Can Jagex recreate that RuneScape magic? Or push another product to publication? As literally the only person still running a Funorb-oriented website into 2010, I hope so.

#6: Lineage Eternal/Project TL (NCSoft)

But Conrad, I hear you say, Lineage Eternal is definitely coming out! Nah. Lineage Eternal is going so well that the game is ahead of schedule according to NCSoft, which is naturally why it has been delayed and changed numerous times over the course of the last decade. I’d be more ready and willing to believe NCSoft’s promise that Lineage Eternal would be going into closed beta testing this year were it not for the fact that they have literally made this very statement in quarterly reports for at least seven years. That’s not an exaggeration.

It’s been nine years since Lineage Eternal was first announced with the first round of cancelled beta tests dating back to 2013. Now that Lineage is quickly becoming the Duke Nukem Forever of MMORPGs, maybe it’s best if Gearbox buys out the property and Randolph Pitchford helms its launch. Technically speaking he can’t do any worse.

#7: Black Prophecy Tactics: Nexus Conflict (Gamigo)

Black Prophecy Tactics was to be the prequel to the failed MMO Black Prophecy, a game that fared so poorly in its life that it shut down barely a year after launch. Black Prophecy Tactics meanwhile was deep into its second beta test in September 2012 when everything went dark. To the best of my knowledge and research, the cancellation of Black Prophecy Tactics was never formally announced; it’s certainly obvious considering all of the MMORPG catalog websites that still to this day show the game as “in development.” No press releases, no announcements, nothing. Just a poof and roughly three people wondering what ever happened to this game.

Gamigo: The pinnacle of communication.

#8: UFO Online (Gamigo)

Gamigo-published games have a habit of just up and ghosting us. I couldn’t tell you for sure if UFO Online ever fully launched, but I do know that it was announced in 2010 and then went into beta in 2013. Again, we’re dealing with 2010-2015 era Gamigo who tended to treat their game launches like they were the location of CIA spies; not for distribution to the public.

I’m willing to put my money on the notion that UFO Online never launched, but if it did it ghosted us like last night’s Tinder date.

#9: Dynastica (Dynastica Ltd.)

I want to know who the hell is paying for some of these websites. Dynastica went into its second closed beta phase on April 4, 2011 and subsequently went completely dark. For some reason unknown to man on Earth and God in the sky, the website is still online albeit mostly nonfunctioning. Signups are closed, the server is presumably long gone, but the domain and the website are still live.

I can only presume that it’s being paid for by some preloaded Paypal account and nobody’s actually paying attention to it.

#10: Bounty Hounds Online (Suba Games)

Ah Suba Games, the only publisher who can beat Gamigo for the early-mid 2010’s race to “who can advertise their games the least” awards. The prize is a bunch of shuttered games. Bounty Hounds Online has never been cancelled, at least not in an official capacity or in a way that is still accessible today. Suba Games seemed excited to get Bounty Hounds Online approved through Steam Greenlight and the title seemed to be enjoying some attention during the closed beta phases.

And then everything died. We’ll never know what became of Bounty Hounds Online (other than the obvious that it has been cancelled) but like every other game on this list we didn’t even get the courtesy of a goodbye kiss.

#11: Land of Britain (Potato Killer Studios)

I’ve heard worse studio names than Potato Killer Studios but gosh darnit I can’t think of any of them off the top of my head. Land of Britain is a new Dark Age of Camelot at least in the sense that it was going to deliver three factions, innovative gathering, crafting, PvP combat, PvE, and KvK, perhaps a little TlC, CBS, and AT&T as well. What it won’t deliver is a game, since the domain has been dead since June 2018 and is now for sale. You can get it for nearly $4 grand. Don’t buy it.

Outside of Land of Britain, Potato Killer was also supposed to launch a TCG tie-in called Fangold. That never happened either. Their last post is in December 2016 thanking Microsoft for the BizSpark Plus program. Money well spent.

#12: Eden Falling (Razor Edge Games)

Eden Fell and Eden Died, and as such will not be Eden Finished. Eden Falling is a turn based RPG that promises to bring a tabletop experience to the online gaming realm. What it doesn’t bring is a finished game or a present developer, since Eden Falling hasn’t had a press release or a dev diary since 2017. A trailer was released in late 2018 but otherwise the team has been pretty mum. Mums the word.

The website is still online and so are the forums if you want to discuss off-market Xanax and pirated copies of Madden with the hundreds of bot posts that are the only accounts still active.

#13: Lux (Ignis)

Lux is a hand drawn MMO from Chimera (Ignis) and sure the website has been updated with a 2020 copyright but there’s also a link to the company’s Google+ account and that hasn’t been a thing since April.  April, right? Who even remembers Google Plus? I forgot about it a week after Google stopped hardcoding it into Youtube. Lux had a failed Kickstarter campaign back in 2016 to put the title on PC, Xbox, PS4, and Mac. Accompanying the game’s campaign was one for a graphic novel tie-in that despite raising over the paltry goal with 23 backers was also canned. The Kickstarter tells backers to stay tuned for more information.

We all know where this is going. The website lists “pre-orders soon,” and if you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. The last sign of life I could find was in 2018 when after nearly two years of inactivity someone posted a link to the Lux website on their Facebook page. Two years to post a link for a website for a game that is absolutely not ripping off Don’t Starve.

The most entertaining part of Lux’s history is that if you look at their Twitter account the last thing that they posted about the game is an expression of excitement that the team is working with Ignis to continue development. In March 2017. Someone decided to use the account five months later in August to ask a couple questions about a rented Conan Exiles server and how to change harvesting rates.

Mobile Drives Explosive Sales For NCSoft In Third Quarter

NCSoft’s third quarter results are in, and the results are incredible. Thanks to strong performances in the mobile sector, the Korean developer/publisher has posted record sales and profits, as can be seen in the chart above. Mobile gaming now makes up 82% of NCSoft’s sales figures, posting 551 billion won in sales ($491 million USD) in just one quarter.

The popularity of NCSoft’s mobile titles in Korea has driven its sales up over 260% over the last quarter while Guild Wars 2 saw revenue increase 50% from sales of the latest Guild Wars 2 expansion. Lineage II, Aion, and Blade & Soul all saw their revenues drop slightly while Lineage experienced a small increase in sales. Lineage II Revolution expansion overseas and strong performance of Blade & Soul in China also helped with royalty revenue.

(Source: NCSoft)

Mobile Dominates NCSoft Quarterly Report

NCSoft’s second quarter finances have been released and they are quite a doozy. While sales grew 8% both quarterly and over last year, profit and income both dropped 56% and 66% respectively thanks to increased labor costs and marketing increases. Just how much? 370%, from 5.1 billion KRW in Q2 2016 to 24.1 billion in 2017. Similarly, labor costs jumped 24% and “variable costs” went up 186%, due in part to a 244% increase in royalty payments. Ouch.

On the game’s side of the report, mobile has dominated NCSoft’s revenue reports and has become the largest sector by a wide margin, even against Lineage which continued to drop in revenue thanks to a lack of promotion over the second quarter. Every other title in NCSoft’s library (as noted below) also dropped by some factor in revenue during this period, with the sale of mobile games making up for their shortcomings. The launch of Lineage M, the mobile Lineage port, is also to thank for a drop in Lineage revenue as some players made the jump over to mobile.

Guild Wars 2 is expected to receive a substantial bump thanks to the impending launch of its next expansion. The full report can be found over at the NCSoft website

NCSoft Q4 2016: Wildstar Disappears From Report

NCSoft has released their fourth quarter financial statements and the news is quite positive. Compared to the same period last year, sales rose 20% with operating profit up 36% over the same period, thanks to strong performance from major IPs and strong launches in the mobile market. The report notes that sales have hit a historic high thanks to geographical expansion and new business models.

Over on the game’s front, Lineage 1 continues to impress with a 42% increase in sales over last year, an insane jump for an MMO that is going on nineteen years old. Another title to see solid annual growth was Blade & Soul, which continues to be popular as it rolls out worldwide. Lineage II saw a fair amount of growth while Guild Wars 2 continues to rock steadily as it awaits a new expansion pack. The other category contains Lineage Red Knights, whose successful rollout boosted the category by 97%.

One game you may note as missing from the sales breakdown is Wildstar. It isn’t there. It appears that the game’s sales have dropped enough that it is no longer worth listing as a product separate from the “other” category.

(Source: NCSoft Finance)

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