Columns Category

Enjoy a run-down of our recent long-form pieces, both game-specific and more general. You might also be interested in our list of all of our columns and recurring articles. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

The Survivalist: Another year, another Survival Game guide

A new year, a new batch of survival games! Yes, the genre has become so popular that one guide, no not even two guides could contain all of the survival goodness. More keep cropping up. I certainly can’t say as I mind, since this is the style of game that has been giving me the feeling of having an impact on my environment. And it’s not all the same collection of zombies, although there is still plenty of that. It is interesting to see what new takes developers are bringing to the table. Want to do a survival reality show? There’s a game for that! How about living like a viking? Yup. What if you want to be the psychotic killer that survivors are trying to, well, survive? Got you covered. Fell like upping the ante and surviving via VR? There are a few of those available.

If you are looking for a new survival to sink your teeth into, here’s the addendum for some newer games in development as well as some newly discovered ones since the last mega double guide. Note: This collection will be a mix of multiplayer and single-player titles with some uniques thrown in.

Read more

Wisdom of Nym: The final countdown before Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.2

We still don’t technically know when Final Fantasy XIV is launching its next patch, but we can also figure it out. It was always slated for late January, and there’s another live letter this Friday, which means that the patch is almost certainly arriving on the 30th. Considering that we always get patch notes before the actual release, I’d say it would be a bit silly to have a whole preview event the day before patch notes come out, and it wouldn’t really mesh with prior experience.

In other words, we’ve got a little more time before the patch, and there’s more to be seen about what it actually entails, so let’s talk about both our known unknowns and our unknown unknowns as well as breaking down some other bits that we haven’t heard about yet which are conspicuous for their absence. It’s worth paying attention to some of this; that’s my point here.

Read more

Jukebox Heroes: Black Prophecy’s soundtrack

With just about a year of live operation to its name before closing, Black Prophecy wasn’t really here long enough to cement itself into the minds and hearts of most MMO players. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you never heard of this 2011 spaceship game. It didn’t offer much depth and failed to draw attention to itself even though it was a member of a relatively small subgenre of MMO.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about, of course. For 2018, I’m working through all of the soundtracks that I have yet to feature in this space, and Black Prophecy will be the first to fling itself out of an airlock and into your heart.

The soundtrack itself is fairly decent, if short, and was composed by Dynamedion, a European company that specializes in video game music. Four composers, a 70-piece orchestra, a 20-person choir, and “great expense” was used to make this OST. I think it’s well worth your time to explore, so let’s dig this one out of the historical archives!

Read more

One Shots: Poster perfect

One of the things that impresses me about the submissions to One Shots here is that so many of these pictures really could be blown up into high-resolution posters and be hung as honest-to-goodness art. I’ve always been meaning to comb through my screenshots folder and take the best of my best to a store and get that done, but I am a lazy man and figure that you all will keep my eyeballs entertained for one more week.

Here’s a good example of a poster perfect pic from Camelotcrusade, who shared this interesting shot from Star Wars: The Old Republic. “It feels like a galaxy far, far away now, but I really liked the title cards for Knights of the Fallen Empire,” he wrote. “Here is one of my favorites which transposed my character against a backdrop of galactic war.”

Read more

The Daily Grind: How important is your MMO circle of friends to enjoying the game?

I’ve been fortunate, over the past couple of years, to make some really good friends in MMOs. Those friends are not the reason why I play games, though. Honestly, if all of my friends in Final Fantasy XIV stopped playing the game, I would still enjoy playing the game, and I hope most of them would still be my friends even afterwards. But they aren’t the reason why I play.

That is not universal. Some of my friends have even indicated to me that they’re only playing certain games because I’m there; if I left, they would leave. That doesn’t mean they don’t necessarily enjoy, say, World of Warcraft; it just means that their primary reason to stay centers around the company.

And I am sure that there are people out there who overlook issues in Star Wars: The Old Republic or Blade & Soul specifically because of their groups of friends; the games would be fun without those groups of friends, but it’s easier to ignore the non-fun parts when friends are there. So what about you, readers? How important is your MMO circle of friends to enjoying the game?

Read more

LOTRO Legendarium: My LOTRO wish list for 2018

Ever since I’ve been writing this Lord of the Rings Online column — which spans back to 2010, if you can believe it — I’ve started out every year with a little tradition of making a wish list that I’d like to see happen for the game. This year, I actually debated whether or not to do it, because Standing Stone Games has already sort of laid out its big plans for 2018 (or at least some of them) and I know that the studio’s smaller stature means that we probably can’t expect as much as we once did.

But then I thought, hey, it’s tradition. And why is it a bad thing to aspire to greater things and encourage the studio to reach for those? Should we just roll over and give up on this title that we love? Far be it! So I’m dusting off some old ideas and tossing in a few new ones to give to you my list of 11 things (for 11 years) I want to see happen in 2018 for LOTRO. Let me know what some of your wish list items in the comments too!

Read more

Betawatch: Sea of Thieves heads to closed beta cove later this month (January 12, 2018)

Avast, feast your eyes here, ye swabbies: Sea of Thieves be settin’ sail for the waters of closed beta on the 24th of January for both PC and the Box of X. Hoist the mainsails and prepare to have your senses bedazzled, as no shroud separates ye from the testing, nor any NDA. Ye can even read up on the intelligence what governs those fancy skeletons that be dancin’ about, or ye could pick up a fine new hand-held controller for a heft spot of dubloons.

Other news for betas? Aye, ’tis a fine time to discuss the other ships what sit full in the water.

Now, I’ve told my tale and told it true, so ye ought let me be. But first, cast your eyes to the horizon, and ye can see our full list of games what be in beta testin’ right now! Aye, a beautiful sight; take a fine boat below, and keep your eyes peeled if one of those salty dogs what slipped into a new test phase without us recognizin’ it ahead of time.

Read more

WoW Factor: Guessing at Battle for Azeroth’s release date using math

The “when will Battle for Azeroth” speculation train is rolling once again because it looks like patch 7.3.5 is just around the corner. We haven’t actually been told when that’s landing yet, of course, but the World of Warcraft community continues to push forward with the sort of boundless optimism that it’s so well known for. “This time is going to be different!”

Here’s a spoiler for the future: It’s not. This time is going to be exactly the same, just like how previous times have been exactly the same, just like each time we’ve talked about this have been exactly the same. Betting on anything before October is optimistic, betting before September is wildly unrealistic. Similarly, betting on 2019 is pessimistic, and later than January is wildly unrealistic just as surely.

Read more

Choose My Adventure: Starting fresh in Project Gorgon

I’m really glad to be heading into Project Gorgon for the first CMA of the year. Not just because it’s a title which I have absolutely no experience with, although that helps. No, it’s also because Project Gorgon is another installment in the ongoing and non-absolute answer to the longest-running question in MMO history. Now that we have this neverending game with all of these moving pieces to play with, what are we actually here to do?

That sounds like a straightforward question, but I think it’s important to consider the reality that this has always existed and always been an issue. No matter how much you might enjoy an MMO, ultimately, you need a goal of some kind, and thus most of them have made a point of offering one. It’s important to note that “goal” is not a synonym here for “endpoint,” as most MMOs feature a goal of some sort but not a point when you are supposed to actually be entirely done forever.

Read more

Tamriel Infinium: Three things MMORPGs could learn from Elder Scrolls Online

Looking at the title, you might think that I believe Elder Scrolls Online is the perfect MMO, and in that case, you’d be incorrect. Elder Scrolls Online might have won the Massively OP MMORPG-of-the-Year award, but if you read my post in that article, you will notice that ESO won my vote for that award from me because it didn’t have any major blunders – not because it did everything the best way possible.

That being said, there are a lot of things that other MMOs can do to rise to the level of competency where ESO currently sits. I would like to spend a few moments here at the beginning of a new year to talk about the things that ESO consistently gets right and that other MMOs can learn from.

Read more

The Daily Grind: Would you play a PvE game with full item decay?

One of the most insightful comments I ever saw about Darkfall (yes, Darkfall) was that, realistically, in a game with open PvP and full looting, it was inevitable that you’d lose all of the good gear you had on. That would always be a real risk, and it would always happen sooner or later. The real question was how long it would take you to rebuild to full power after such an event and how tedious it was to do so.

I’m not fond of that style of gameplay as it stands, but I still think about it, because it doesn’t need to be “full loot and free-for-all PvP” for that core principle to stand. A game with nothing but PvE could still have you lose gear as soon as you die, or it could ensure that your gear would eventually break and be unusable forever no matter how much you repair it.

On the one hand, this would kind of damage the very environment of a game like World of Warcraft with its emphasis on perpetual improvement; at the same time, it could also be seen as a way to break away from the game’s ever-upward treadmill, and it would mean that continued gear drops from world quests would still provide meaningful gear even if you have something better right now. So what do you think. Would you be interested in playing a PvE game where your gear decayed to nothing and you had to rebuild? Where you replaced a piece not because you got a stronger one, but simply because it was always time-limited?

Read more

Perfect Ten: 10 tips for crafting a unique MMO character name

Tell me if you’ve ever been here: You just finished spending way too much time pouring over options in the character creation screen and have finally settled on a race, class, and visuals for your upcoming hero. But then you draw a blank on the character name field — or worse, your usual nomer has already been taken and you’re in the 98% of MMORPGs that don’t allow for duplicates.

What do you do?

Because I’m not one of those players who is content to slam my head on the keyboard and accept the letter soup as an acceptable name for the next 200 hours of my gaming career, crafting the perfect name is very important to me. I have roster of names that I typically use, but those aren’t always available, especially in older games that have witness the passage of thousands of players before me.

So I’ve come up with several tips and techniques to create a fun names that exude personality, charm, and style without falling into stale tactics. And because I am your oldest and dearest friend, I’m going to share these tips with you today.

Read more

Flameseeker Chronicles: 2018 Guild Wars 2 predictions

I adore looking back on last year’s predictions about what’s to come in Guild Wars 2 in the next twelve months: Even when my predictions are totally wrong, they stand as an excellent marker of how I was feeling about the game and what the gaming climate was like at the time the predictions were made. I love making new predictions each year and it’s a key part of my annual MMO checklist, alongside setting my personal gaming goals for the year ahead to look back on at a later date too. This year’s predictions blend safe bets based on where development is currently at with some more far-reaching points of note.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll look back on my old predictions and appraise them retrospectively, and I’ll also set new ones for 2018. This article will be spoilerific by nature if you’re not caught up with current developments, so skip for a while it if you’re behind.

Read more

1 2 3 133