Dean08 May 20178583
We have some sad news about some staff changes taking place at Robot Entertainment following the release of Orcs Must Die! Unchained. Speaking on the ‘Orcs After Dark’ twitch stream this week, Community Manager, Laura “Harmonia” Barrett commented that several staff are sadly leaving the studio following lay-offs that are taking place. Readers may be aware that in the gaming industry lay-offs sometimes happen after games are released.
Typically as games are being finalised there is a big push and need for resources to get a game out the door and then when a game does go live a studio may find itself with a larger workforce and needing to distribute those resources onto other projects which may be in early stages. Kotaku has an informative article on this topic. It is unfortunate that Robot Entertainment finds itself in a similar position of a scenario that is all too common in the gaming industry, the post-ship downsize. Robot is a smaller independent studio and no doubt managing striking these balances is incredibly difficult.
Speaking to REF, the studio commented:
Over the recent years, we have staffed Robot Entertainment to focus almost exclusively on Orcs Must Die! Unchained. After a tremendous effort from the entire studio, last month we launched the PC version. We are incredibly proud of it and are really excited about our plans to support the game, along with the upcoming PlayStation4 version, with new content and improvements. However, our studio demands are different now than they were during the core development of the game, and today we made the difficult decision to let go of 16 full-time employees and six contractors in order to better fit our current direction. These employees are our friends and we are doing all that we can to support them in their future endeavors.
SixOkay is among those leaving
It is with sadness that REF can report that one staff member affected includes Justin Korthof, Marketing Manager – aka SixOkay. Justin who has worked for the studio for around seven years following the announcement of Age of Empires Online, has spent the majority of his time at the studio as Community Manager and has been the main bot talking and engaging with the community and fans directly throughout those years. Justin’s hard work and dedication during that time has fostered a great relationship between the studio and its fans. Fans will miss him greatly on the forums and on Twitch streams. We have no doubt though that his legendary reputation and legacy will take him to big places in the future and we will keep an eye on where the future takes him.
Laura “Harmonia” Barrett will continue to support the community moving forwards as Community Manager. Robot will continue to engage with the community and its fans. Twitch streams such as Insider Access and Orcs After Dark will continue.
K2D2 is also departing
Other staff members include Kirst Kahler, aka K2D2, Associate Producer (localization) who previously worked on all the OMDU lore was a popular face on the twitch streams and Mitchell Waudbaurer, aka MitchellW, customer service is also departing. Mitchell was often found around the forums helping players with technical issues. Winter will continue to provide support for players. All staff affected will be sorely missed.
The studio moves forward with the continued development of OMDU and Hero Academy 2. Expect to see news on both these soon. This week is another episode of Insider Access with Shade that will cover the patch notes for the upcoming update. Be there!Dean19 Apr 20178578
Orcs Must Die! Unchained has now officially launched and is available free to play from www.orcsmustdie.com and Steam. It has been a long road to release and the game has undergone alot of changes since it first became available on the beta programmes. Player feedback during the beta has been the heart of the design decisions made in todays release of Orcs Must Die! Unchained. The game is takes forward that classic formula from OMD1 and 2 and expands on it with new maps, minions, heroes and abilities. Plus introduces for the first time the new head to head mode “Sabotage“.
OMDU is free to play, if you have not already head on over to Steam or the OMD website to download and play! Be sure to leave your feedback on the game and the new Sabotage mode in the comments or forums!
There is also a brand new launch trailer to check out below. The Orcs are back!Dean09 Apr 20178565
It has been a long road to release but it seems now the release is just in sight! Robot Entertainment have announced that Orcs Must Die! Unchained will be launching with patch 2.0 to the masses on April 19th 2017! That’s less than two weeks away! The game will be launching on Steam first with a PS4 release to follow later this year.
There are more goodies up Robot’s sleeve too. The OMDU launch will also feature a brand new multiplayer mode called Sabotage!
This mode sees two teams playing on the same map however, they don’t play together per se, instead they play in another dimension. Both teams main objective is to defend their rift as per normal but additionally they can make life hard work for the other team by choosing and sending in minions into the opposing teams waves. Consumables can also be used as well such as causing a mana drain or minion speed buffs for example. There a bigger minion cards like bosses and powerful spells at players disposal as well. The key to victory will be the teams that communicate well and harmonise the minions and spells that are being sent in to the opposing teams waves.
This new mode tailors to new and advanced players, there is a new tactical map which can be used to see the activity of the other dimension to plot further for the best ways to out-wit them.
To help explain Sabotage more, Nananea is on hand with a useful introduction video taking players through the new concept. Check it out below:
Sabotage is about head-to-head fun, its not a direct replacement for the now departed PvP mode. Speaking on the Orcs After Dark stream this week, designer Jerome Jones commented that this mode is designed to be light hearted fun in similar vain to games like Mario Kart. Where Mario Kart is an “elastic” racing game where players who fall behind gain bigger and better items, in Sabotage a similar effect will happen. Be sure to also check out the commentary on the stream below, but beware the audio issues with volume. I recommend pressing the button to skip the audio issues segment.
Not long now
With the release now less than two weeks away its time to get excited about OMDU becoming ready for the masses come April 19th. Tell your friends!Dean20 Mar 20178549
Hero Academy fans rejoice! The turn based tactics game which proved very popular when it launched in early 2012 is set to get its sequel! The original marked Robot Entertainment’s first mobile game and was not only a hit with players but proved critically successful too, winning the “Best Mobile Game” at the DICE 2013 awards. It will soon be time to return to the Academy with Hero Academy 2 which is being developed by BonusXP.
You might be wondering who these folks at BonusXP are and you might be interested to know that the studio shares alot in common with Robot Entertainment. BonusXP was founded by Dave Pottinger, John Evanson and Jason Sallenbach who have all helmed from Ensemble Studios. The studio is based in Texas along with Robot Entertainment. BonusXP also has legendary game designer Bruce Shelley on board. This commonality and highly trusted studio staffers makes BonusXP a great partner to deliver Hero Academy 2 whilst Robot continues to work on Orcs Must Die! Unchained.
Hero Academy was a great formula and its looking like Hero Academy 2 will retain the core gameplay but will be taking it to the next level. The most notable change is that Hero Academy 2 will be using real-time matches. This means there will be no more long waits for players to make their moves. Instead players will be making moves there and then, this should greatly speed up the pace of games.
It also appears there is a new card collecting mechanic with players choosing the cards to bring into battle. This should mean more diverse matches with wider ranges of strategies. Mechanic improvements like this should really take the game to the next level of additional depth. The visuals have been given an overhaul too. According to the official website:
Hero Academy 2 builds on the original’s amazing tactical gameplay. We’ve added exciting new characters to the familiar fan favorites, all done in full-3d environments. Matches are real-time now. You can also customize your teams by collecting cards and building your own decks.
The game will be coming to both iOS and Android and will be launching some time in 2017. Get excited with the brand new teaser trailer below!
TrailerDean28 Feb 20178542
Some important news for Orcs Must Die! Unchained players in the EU. It has been announced today that from March 14th GameForge will be transitioning Orcs Must Die EU services to Robot Entertainment. This means that on that date it will no longer be possible to play Orcs Must Die! Unchained on the EU client.
Never fear, however, EU players will be back up and running from the 21st March on a new unified account with Orcs Must Die NA players, managed by Robot Entertainment. All players currently on the EU client will have the option to migrate from their Gameforge account to a new Robot Entertainment account from March 21st.
Gameforge Producer, Andy Duthie comments:
This has been a very difficult decision for us to make but we believe this is the best for the future of the game. Robot Entertainment have proved to be excellent partners in getting to this stage and with the game now coming into fruition it is best for them to continue shaping it moving forwards.
What does this mean?
For the community this means that the EU and NA player base will now be combined, growing a new single, unified community between these new regions. This not only includes the in-game player base but also community forums and such like. You’ll now be able to add friends in-game for all players between these regions. The new blog on the Orcs Must Die website indicates:
We are still working out the specifics, but we fully intend to maintain EU and NA communities on the Orcs Must Die! website. Our goal is to foster one big, happy OMDU community as much as we can while still making sure we pay specific attention to regional communities.
There will still be actual servers in the EU region, so there should not be an impact on network performance.
Transferring your account purchases, account level etc
The migration tool that launches on March 21st will guide players through the process of transitioning to a new Robot account. All in-game purchases, gold and account level will be transferred to your new account. Gold will be converted at the correct Robot Entertainment rate. Players will not be losing out on anything via this conversion in terms of purchases and game progress.
However, unfortunately friends list and other social features cannot be transferred to your new Robot account. Additionally, if your username is already taken on the Robot account system, you will have to create a new one.
Week long maintenance also brings new patch
There will be one week long maintenance from when the EU servers close on the 14th until migration opens on the 21st March. This maintenance will enable Robot Entertainment and Gameforge to prepare for the upcoming account migrations. There is more good news to this maintenance, it will also see a new patch release for the game too. Mark the 21st in your calendar as a day to watch for new OMDU content and unified player-base!
It’s been a good ride on the OMDU EU servers. We have much enjoyed the excellent streams from FaTeReLLa before her departure late last year. The community forums have been full of useful discussion from Siege through to Survival. Good times await the unified playerbase and community. Thank-you Gameforge for supporting the EU players for the last three years.
To read more about this announcement be sure to check the new blog by Robot’s VP of Production, Chris Rippy on the link below:Dean18 Feb 20178535
Temper is set to return to Orcs Must Die! Unchained after a very long break. The Order hero was last seen way back in phase 1 of the closed beta. Fans have long been awaiting his return and returning he is in patch 1.8 due out Tuesday 21st February! As with all returning heroes he has been given a full design re-work. Here is a look at Temper’s new skills:
- Swing! Punch! Smash! (LMB): If used in quick succession, Temper anvil punches, swings his hammer, and delivers an uppercut, building his rage.
- Exploding Hammer (RMB): Temper throws his hammer. On impact, it knocks back and damages enemies over time in its radius.
- Happy Place (Q): Temper soothes himself, converting rage into health and a movement speed boost. Attacking cancels ability.
- Hammer Slam (E): Temper brings both weapons down in front of him, setting the surrounding area on fire.
- Bull Rush (Shift): Temper charges forward, knocking back enemies in his path.
- Rage of the Forge (Passive): Temper gains strength as he builds rage, exploding at max rage and damaging and knocking back enemies.
Patch 1.8 is also introducing a new type of resource. In addition to mana there is now an additional resource called “rage”. Unlike mana which regenerates over time, rage will re-fill based on damaging enemy minions. Here is what Robot has to say about this interesting new mechanic:
Rage is a new resource in OMD!U. Like mana, it is used to fuel abilities, but unlike mana, it is generated by damaging enemies and decays when heroes are out of combat. For Temper, we feel that rage more accurately fits our portrayal of him as a misunderstood minotaur who is trying to refocus his anger issues into something more positive–defeating the Unchained.
Since the refocus of OMDU to Survival from Siege, one hero has struggled with his slightly confusing kit. Stinkeye has had alot of feedback that his set up was quite complicated and difficult for players to grasp. As of patch 1.8, Robot has listened to that feedback and things are changing. Here is what Robot have to say:
We’ve received lots of feedback on Stinkeye’s new design and we decided to makes some sweeping changes. The new design is more active than before patch 1.6, but less complicated and overwhelming than he is currently. We believe we have found a happy medium. Below are the skills that have changed or have returned to their prior functionality.
- Arcane Anomaly (RMB): Conjures an orb of arcane energy that charges and then detonates, dealing arcane damage in a radius.
- Zephyr of Oasis (E): Summons a totem that increases the movement speed of allies and slows the movement speed of enemies. May be attacked to destroy the totem and stun nearby enemies for 3 seconds. Note: The size of the totem has been increased significantly.
- Wrath of Oasis (Q): Summons a totem that shoots nearby enemies. When shot with Prestidigitized Projectile, the totem shoots 3 projectiles at nearby enemies. Lasts 20 seconds. Note: The size of the totem has been increased significantly.
- Shaman’s Blessing (Passive): After a totem expires, a mana orb appears at the totem’s previous location.
Stinkeye Weaver changes:
- Reduced Totem Testament’s additional projectiles to +1 (from +2).
- Reworked Booming Benediction. It now replaces mana orbs that drop from totems with Tears of Oasis, which provide the benefit of three drops (Unchained, mana, and health) combined.
- Reduced Arcane Awe’s stun duration to 1s (from 3s).
In addition to Temper and the Stinkeye re-work the new patch brings 2 new maps, Orcatraz and Orcri-la for Survival and some existing maps are now making their way for Endless:
- Baths (1-10)
- Throne Room (11-25)
- Crogon Keep (46-75)
- The Wall (76-100)
Steam achievements are also on the way, for those who enjoy achievement hunting! As always there is a whole lot more in the patch notes. Be sure to check them out. Also catch up on Insider Access below where Doug “ShadeDev” Houserman is on hand to delve through the patch notes!Dean14 Jan 20178524
Robot Entertainment are back from the holiday break with a new patch for Orcs Must Die! Unchained. This new patch brings new maps for higher account levels, plus leaderboards for all maps, new consumables and various game design tweaks to guardians, traps and heroes.
You can check out the full patch notes now over on the official forums. The patch is landing on January 17th – that’s next Tuesday!
Last chance for winter vanity
Also important to note is that this new patch will also end the current offer on winter vanity which are available via the winter chest in the store. If you fancy getting your hands on the winter witch herself or maybe Santa’s little helper, be sure to pick up the chests before Tuesday!