The free-to-play MOBA Transformers Universe is entering open beta tomorrow, which means that players will be able to register and then immediately jump into the giant fighting robot action. Jagex is celebrating the big step this weekend by offering double XP and $75,000 in prizes.
Why can't the Autobots and Decepticons ever get along? Well, sadly they're programmed to punch each other forever. That does make the Transformers setting a fitting one for a game about brutal, neverending war, however. It's a slightly unexpected direction for Jagex, the creators of the relatively peaceful MMO, Runescape, so we caught up with vice president David Nicholson to ask him about building new bots and the challenges of capturing the magic of a much-loved series.
The time is now. It is the age when the Autobot and Decepticon war comes to browsers across the globe. To celebrate the summer launch of Transformers Universe—the new free-to-play robo-battler—we’ve teamed up with Jagex to offer PC Gamer readers a special offer ahead of the worldwide roll-out.
Developer Jagex Games could have made Transformers Universe a MOBA, but instead it calls the game a MOTA (massively online tactical action game). Which, really, is a unique name for a third-person, class-based multiplayer action game. Maybe a little bit like Smite, but with a few Transformers-specific twists. If that sounds like something you're ready to pay for, the developer announced its Founder's program today.
Transformers Universe interview: CCO Alex Horton on big changes and working with a beloved franchise
Once an MMO, now a class-based, multiplayer tactical action game, Transformers Universe has seen a lot of radical changes.
As Chief Creative Officer at Jagex, the developer working on Transformers Universe, Alex Horton is the perfect person to tell us what led the company to make those changes, what it’s like working with one of Hasbro’s most treasured brands, and what we can expects from the game when it finally comes out.
Transformers Universe is about to go into its first public beta this weekend. In the run up to that, we’ve got two exclusive new reveal trailers of transformers created especially for the game.
By now you might be a little confused about what Transformers Universe is. The game was first announced in 2011 as an MMO. Then, just last month, developer Jagex announced that Transformers Universe is in fact a massively online tactical action game, or MOTA, which clearly evokes MOBAs. If you look at the two recently released trailers, however, Transformers Universe looks most like a class-based multiplayer action game (maybe a little bit like Smite) with a few Transformers-specific twists.
Bombastic robot punches are the name of the game in this new trailer for... oh, it's Transformers Universe. That's the name of the game. Jagex's online game will be morphing into a released state this summer, so here's a minute and a bit of giant metal monsters smacking, bombing, and lasering each other into scrap. Whether it bears much relation to the MMO that... Oh, what? Transformers Universe isn't an MMO any more? Well, what is it then? Oh... Oh dear.
I'm not sure infographics are the best way to impart understandable data. For instance, there are pieces of information that can be processed at a glance. Things like: RuneScape 3 has received 300,000 new players in the last month. That makes sense as a statement. It is some people, finding their way into a heavily updated game. Jagex's infographic version of how popular their game is? "Every minute, 2,076 cows are slain."
Don't worry, they also tell you how many burgers that would make.
Jagex have announced the release date of Runescape 3. As with 2004's Runescape 2, it's more of a major iteration to the underlying tech powering the base game, rather than a standalone sequel. This third levelling up of the free-to-play MMORPG is due to occur on July 22nd, bringing new "player-generated content" to the game, alongside an HTML5 engine upgrade.
Runescape 3 preview: how one of the world's longest-running MMOs plans to hand control to its players
RuneScape is more than 12 years old. It’s one of the world’s longest-running and enduringly popular MMOs, and yet it’s not a game that gets talked about very much. There are reasons for that: a long silence on the part of its developers, Jagex, one of the largest independent studios in Britain – they’ve traditionally preferred to work with their community directly. Then there’s the prevalent feeling that browser games are less legitimate than a program you need to install, a notion that the last decade in games has shown to be totally outdated. Finally there’s the relatively insular and self-sustaining nature of the game’s community: a central core of passionate people for whom RuneScape is their game, to the exclusion of other MMOs.
“On one level, it’s been great,” says Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard, who has been with the company since 2009. “When your friend told you [about RuneScape] it was like ‘wow, I’ve just discovered something’. Perhaps that was a better moment than if you’d approached it cynically because it had been advertised to you – I don’t know. But I think we missed out a bit, as an organisation, to get players to understand what we’re passionate about and the kind of experiences we want to give them.”
In response to high community demand, Runescape developer Jagex launched a petition system to determine whether or not it would relaunch of a version of the game servers as they existed in 2007. Many vocal Runescape players feel that this era, before the implementation of a new, hotbar-based combat system and some other controversial features, presented a superior experience. As of now, the petition has passed the 50,000-player milestone and guaranteed that the servers will go live. Further milestones will reduce the subscription price for the classic game and possibly lead to the creation of a new team to create new content independent of "mainstream" Runescape.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Ace of Spades’ indie-developed alpha version was broken in many small ways, but the sandbox shooter’s foundations were remarkably solid. It was Minecraft spliced with Team Fortress 2, a shooter that let players slowly build and destroy a blocky environment. Runescape publisher Jagex took the game and some of its developers in-house, and promptly broke it.
Runescape overlords Jagex have announced their latest title: multiplayer FPS Ace of Spades, which mixes Minecraft-style building and blockiness with team-based killing for up to 32 players. If the name rings a bell, that's because it's a prettified and expanded version of an indie game we were playing over a year ago. That's now being described as the "prototype" version, this new one featuring cleaner visuals, double the players, and "tons of insane game modes". Oh and it's heading to Steam this December.
Runescape devs, Jagex, made it clear that they're determined to stomp out all botting with a massive account nuke last year that banned 1.5 million bot accounts in one day. The battle continues with a new initiative that will name and shame cheaters in an open court setting.
"From today, any player caught botting will be given two warnings to allow them to change their ways, after which they will be permanently banned from the game - with no appeals," say Jagex. "At each warning stage the botter's avatar will change to signify to the rest of the community that they have been caught botting. After receiving their second and final warning should they break the rules again, the bot avatar will be transferred to a new area called Botany Bay to await the judgment of the community."
Runescape, the oldest and simplest free to play MMO, is finally moving with the times. This weekend will see an open beta weekend for The Evolution of Combat, making enormous changes to the way the game is played. For the last week the new upgrade has been in closed beta with 50,000 testers trying their best to break it but now it's available to all.
This article first appeared in PC Gamer UK issue 233. Written by Matt Lees.
What are you doing, Matt?” asked my friend. It was March 2002 and he had spotted me through the window of our college computer room. Why wasn’t I in the pub with the rest of our friends? I explained that I was playing a free fantasy MMO called Runescape. Technically, that was true. It was certainly true enough to suffice as an answer for now.
“Oh. Right.” He was clearly unimpressed by the low-resolution 3D blobs trundling around the screen. “Is it to do with killing dragons and goblins?” “Yes,” I lied. “It’s just a bit of fun.” I wasn’t happy that my new friends at college thought I was spending all my free time killing waves of magical monsters, but it was better than the truth. The truth was that, driven by impatience and greed, I had found myself running a coal mining business fuelled by child labour.
At this year's Runefest event, Jagex revealed a number of alarming statistics regarding the number of bot accounts and gold farmers the devs have recently booted out of Runescape. The figures, picked out by Massively, suggest that between 100,000 and 200,000 bot accounts are created in Runescape every day.
Jagex released the figures to celebrate "bot nuking day," in which they launched new anti-bot measures that they estimate to have removed 98% of the bot accounts in Runescape. At the height of the nuking process, 9,000 bot accounts were being banned every minute. By the end of the day, 1,500,000 bots were gone.
Jagex throw open the doors to Runescape Classic for the final time today. Classic takes players all the way back to 2004, a few years after launch, just before it received a huge revamp and upgraded to Runescape 2. Players can log on now for to enjoy the nostalgia of those ancient graphics, reflect on how far Runescape has come in the last ten years, and most importantly, get a free hood and cape!
Co-founder of Jagex, Paul Gower has answered a few of our questions about Runescape Classic, and Jagex have sent over a few screenshots that show the enormous difference between Runescape of old, and today's much prettier incarnation.