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The Daily Grind: Are superhero MMOs doomed to be niche?

Super-hero, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Comics, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Valiance Online
When Valiance Online launched its Kickstarter a few weeks ago, Massively's commenters posed an interesting debate over the viability of the superhero MMO market in general, not just the workability of a genre with three competing City of Heroes spin-offs. Some readers are convinced that the superhero genre is too risky and niche for MMORPGs, noting that the existing superhero MMOs have been more or less solid but small, nowhere near World of Warcraft huge. Fantasy, and to a lesser extent sci-fi, just dominates this scene. (Although we had a moment of hope when Blizzard first revealed Overwatch, it turned out to not really be much of an MMO.)

And yet superheroes are killing it in movie theaters; the comic genre has transcended geek culture to become thoroughly mainstream. There should be a huge audience for such games, and superhero MMOs just plain make sense: They're an ideal setting for fun skills and powers, beating up bad guys, and dressing up in costumes.

So what's the deal? Why haven't we seen a staggeringly huge superhero MMO? Are they in fact too niche after all?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Valiance Online cancels Kickstarter, seeks stress test applicants

Betas, Super-hero, City of Heroes, Business Models, Game Mechanics, News Items, Crowdfunding

Valiance Online
Silverhelm Studios has announced that Valiance Online will be accepting sign-ups for its inbound stress test starting today. Valiance Online is one of at least three fan-led superhero MMORPGs attempting to fill the City of Heroes niche, though Valiance has no intention of licensing the CoH IP if fan efforts to purchase it from NCsoft are ultimately successful. It promises semi-freeform character builds, power customization, an open world environment, 25 zones, character alignment, and a player-run economy.

The Kickstarter for the game, begun less than a month ago, was apparently canceled ahead of schedule last night with $34,680 raised of its $150,000 goal. A dev posts suggests the loss of the team's marketing manager during the campaign was a setback. Developers have assured backers that they will not be charged and that the game will continue development. "We're still running funding campaigns on our website for anyone interested and are discussing other options as well," says the studio in the Kickstarter comments.

Stress test signups will open on the official site later today.

[Source: Silverhelm press release]

The Stream Team: Patrolling Marvel Heroes' Industry City

Super-hero, Video, Marvel Heroes, Livestream, The Stream Team

Is it possible for Marvel Heroes 2015 to drown players in loot explosions? Massively's MJ thinks it is! But that's not a bad thing -- unless you happen to be MJ's inventory space, that is. Marvel Heroes' newest game mode, Industry City Patrol, adds even more opportunities for fast-paced action and equally fast loot collecting; the timed challenges keep you on your toes while the bosses drop plenty of goodies. And if that's not enough, the Midtown Madness and Cosmic Chaos events are in full swing as well. Do you think MJ can clear space and take in all the prizes? Join us us live at 9:00 p.m. for a romp through Industry City while MJ fights the ultimate villain: a full bag.

Game: Marvel Heroes 2015
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, November 24th, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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DCUO's War of the Light Part II now available

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, DC Universe Online

SOE wants you to know that War of the Light Part II, the 12th DLC pack for DC Universe Online, is available now.

The update allows players to travel to Zamaron, otherwise known as the home of the Star Sapphires. New content includes four- and eight-player operations, a four-player alert, a two-player duo, a single-player challenge mode, and new open world solo missions. New gear is available, too, as are six additional skill points, new collections, new feats, and new base items.

Don't forget the new trailer after the break!

[Source: SOE press release]

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Marvel Heroes publishes Thor's level 52 review

Super-hero, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Marvel Heroes, Dev Diaries, OARPG

Gazillion has published one of its Marvel Heroes level 52 reviews, which is basically a dev blog focused on endgame goals and designs for a particular hero. In this case, that hero is Thor.

Thor's Odinforce is a big part of his current review. It functions as his secondary resource and allows players to unlock upgraded versions of his powers by building Odinforce and managing its decay over time. And don't forget about God Blast, his new ultimate that unleashes "the full might of the mighty Mjolnir in a terrifying, concentrated blast of white-hot divine intervention."

Marvel Heroes adds new game mode

Super-hero, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Marvel Heroes

Gazillion has added a new game mode to its Marvel Heroes online action RPG. It's called Industry City Patrol and it features new bosses, artifacts, medallions, and "uniques found nowhere else," according to the game's website. Gazillion says that it has also added "improved spawning technology to reduce lag," as well as multi-phase events that encourage players to cooperate and progress together.

Arcane Supergirl arrives in Infinite Crisis this month

Super-hero, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, MOBA, Infinite Crisis

Arcane Supergirl is coming to Infinite Crisis, according to developer Turbine's latest press release. Arcane Supergirl is "able to summon firebird and flame at will," and she'll be available for play on November 26th.

Click past the cut for a new video that focuses on both gameplay and lore.

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Not So Massively: Overwatch's reveal, Hearthstone's expansion, and Dawngate's sunset

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Lore, New Titles, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Consoles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, HEX, Hearthstone, The Division, OARPG, Overwatch

NSM - Overwatch
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.
  • Blizzard announced online team-shooter Overwatch at BlizzCon. Chris Metzen says Blizzard is trying to build a more representative game with less hypersexualization.
  • Hearthstone is launching in December and getting a new expansion: Goblins vs. Gnomes.
  • EA's MOBA Dawngate is shutting down in three months.
  • League of Legends introduced Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance.
  • MMOTCG HEX dropped its beta key requirement but denied that it is in open beta.
  • Heroes of the Storm's closed beta starts January 13th. It's also getting a sweet Diablo III-themed map.
  • Diablo III previewed its upcoming season. According to content designer Kevin Martens, Diablo was once considered for an MMO, but no longer.
  • David Braben says Elite: Dangerous' December 16th launch date is "sensible."
  • Star Citizen passed $60 million in fundraising.
  • Quirky indie MMOFPS Hunternet boasts 700-player battles.
  • World of Tanks' 9.4 patch added Stalingrad map and tweaked strongholds.
  • The Crew hinted at a new "PvP mode" and season passes.
  • MechWarrior Online's latest dev vlog covered inner sphere quirks and faction switching.
  • Ubisoft said that The Division's PC experience won't suffer because of consoles.
  • Some jerk swatted a Bungie/Destiny exec; the internet demands prison time for said jerk.
  • The latest World of Speed vid features nearly four minutes of gameplay.
  • Bigpoint's Shards of War introduced a new sentinel, Vox.
  • Undead Labs discussed balance in Moonrise.
  • Dota is now the subject of a course at Chongqing Energy College in China.

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Touring DCUO's War of Light Part II before next week's release

Super-hero, Interviews, Patches, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online

The DC universe is a big one, and DC Universe Online has multiple storylines involving various heroes and villains playing out through its DLC trilogies. So far, however, only the first part of each trilogy has been available to play. But that's all about to change! Starting next week, players finally get to sink their teeth into the continuation of one when the second part of War of Light, which premiered earlier this year, finally releases. Members will be granted early access to War of Light Part II on November 11th while everyone else gets the DLC on the 18th (with the exception of European players who will get it on the 19th). But thanks to a tour with Creative Director Jens Andersen and Assistant Creative Director SJ Mueller, we didn't have to wait until next week to see what's in store.

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BlizzCon 2014: Blizzard takes on superheroes with Overwatch

Super-hero, New Titles, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Overwatch

overwatch
Blizzard announced its newest game today at BlizzCon -- and it might just make you forget all about Titan. The game is Overwatch, a superhero-themed "team-based multiplayer shooter" that is very reminiscent of Team Fortress 2.

The studio revealed the new title with a pair of trailers, one giving a Pixar-esque introduction to the world and the other showing off in-game footage. Blizzard said that Overwatch will be "very approachable" for audiences.

So when is Overwatch coming out? "It is nearer than you think," teased Chris Metzen, following that with news that the beta is coming in 2015 and the title will be playable at this week's convention.

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DCUO gets new skimming movement power

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, DC Universe Online

DC Universe just got a new movement variation, and Skimming represents the first such addition since the superhero MMO's 2011 launch. Skimming allows players to "swoop, glide, and soar on Aero Discs like Mister Miracle," according to SOE's press materials. Skimming also shares a skill tree with Flight, meaning that they both "have the same aerial traits and abilities as well as feats, races, and trophies."

Members get Skimming for free, while free-to-play gamers can purchase it in DCUO's cash shop. Game Update 42 is also live, and you can read all that via the official DCUO website. Don't forget to click past the cut to view Skimming in action!

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Marvel Heroes' Juggernaut, multi-speccing, and upcoming story content

Super-hero, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Classes, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, OARPG

After a bit of a delay, Marvel Heroes fans saw the release of Juggernaut as a playable hero over the weekend. A new hero alone is enough for many players to dive in and try things out, but Juggernaut also comes with a power system unlike that of any other on the game's roster. To learn a little bit more about this villainous hero, we talked with Ryan Collins, Creative Designer and Community Manager of Gazillion, who also dished some details on the much anticipated multi-spec feature a well as upcoming story content.

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The Stream Team: Juggernaut pounds his way though Marvel Heroes

Super-hero, Video, Classes, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Livestream, The Stream Team

In the argument of brains vs. brawn, Juggernaut... oh, whom are we kidding? Juggernaut doesn't argue -- he just pounds things! And now he's a part of the Marvel Heroes lineup. Massively's MJ rarely plays a smash-em-up tank character, but she wants to check out this new hero and is inviting you along for a peek. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. and see what's all the rage in new heroes.

Game: Marvel Heroes
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Valiance Online launches its Kickstarter today [Updated: It's live now!]

Betas, Super-hero, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Promotions, Crowdfunding

Valiance Online
A post on Valiance Online's Facebook has good news for fans of the upcoming game: SilverHelm Studios will be bringing the game to Kickstarter today. "It's packed with all manner of goodies for you to get your hands on," Design Director Nate "Paramount" Vogeding writes. "These things will be exclusive to our KS backers and backers alone. That's right; it won't be coming back around again." Vogeding also promises more pre-alpha invites and tells readers to "let everyone know that yes, there is a city coming back and very soon!"

Valiance Online is one of several fan-backed superhero MMOs vying to become City of Heroes' spiritual successor. In September, SilverHelm told followers that it will not be licensing the CoH IP if it is eventually secured from NCsoft by City of Titans.

[Update: The Kickstarter is now live, with pledges ranging from $1-$10,000 and a funding goal of $150,000. We've embedded the trailer below.]

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The Daily Grind: Do you like beefcake avatars?

Super-hero, Classes, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Marvel Heroes

Marvel Heroes' new Juggernaut character sounded intriguing. Then I got a look at him and he went from probable purchase to lol-no-way!

Despite the intriguing momentum mechanic and the appeal of smashing everything in sight, I really can't stand beefcake character models. It's not just an MMO thing either. I find Gears of War unintentionally funny due to how absurd its cast looks, and Batvillain Bane is one of the silliest comic book baddies I've ever seen.

What about you, Massively readers? Do you like beefcake avatars, or do you laugh and steer clear like I do?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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