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]

Choose My Adventure: Starting out fresh in DC Universe Online

Last week was supposed to be when I kicked off playing DC Universe Online, but thanks to various real-life time obligations, I just didn’t have the chance to dive into it. My original idea of just doing a slapdash job and not actually playing it because Daybreak fans are accustomed to disappointment didn’t go over well, either. So I had to delay until now, when I actually did play some DCUO. It did, in fact, happen.

And much like the first time when I played, I found myself hit with something right out of the gate: There should literally be no reason for me not to like this. I love superheroes. I like action combat. I enjoy colorful settings. I like the things that this game is doing which are distinctly different from other superhero games. I like the whole idea of movement modes and everything. There’s a lot of stuff in here that should be very distinctly delighting me.

But it’s not.

Read more

The Daily Grind: How much of your gaming budget is spent on MMOs?

There was a time in my life when my budget consisted of two basic line items – things I needed for survival and video games. Everything else was superfluous. At that point, video games made up a good chunk of my budget. My overall spending on games has gone down over the past several years, but my spending on MMOs as a percentage of the whole has gone up; I didn’t buy anything in the Steam sale this summer, but I keep up my subscriptions to games, I often buy cash shop fluff, and so forth.

Of course, we all have different amounts of money to spend on gaming every month. But for some people, $100 on MMOs is barely any part of their monthly gaming budget, and for others $5 on Star Wars: The Old Republic is pretty much it for the month. So today we ask you, dear readers – how much of your gaming budget is spent on MMOs? Do you buy a lot of games and spend comparatively little on MMOs, or do you spend most of your money on MMOs regardless of an actual dollar amount?

Read more

Perfect Ten: EverQuest’s EverExpanding franchise

When Daybreak announced last year that it was cancelling the highly anticipated EverQuest Next project, the series’ forward momentum lurched to a halt. This wasn’t helped by other EverQuest entities that have been retired over the past few years, leaving only the two aging flagship MMOs to carry on the legacy of the franchise.

For franchise it is. It might be fuzzy in people’s memories (or simply absent from them), but there was an era where EverQuest was the MMORPG at the top of everything, and Sony Online Entertainment wasted no time in capitalizing on its popularity. Spin-offs, sequels, and alternative versions spawned into being, creating a library of EverQuest games.

In fact, there are more than enough to fill up a full list of 10 titles — and then some! So today let’s look at some of the lesser-known entries in EverQuest’s ever-expanding franchise and muse about what might come to this series in the future.

Read more

Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s living world season 3 in review

The Guild Wars 2 story arc found in the Living World’s third season has contained more twists and surprises than even I had anticipated, and I feel that an in-depth recap of the season to date will help keep the meandering threads of lore fresh in our heads as we await the final episode of the season. Although I have an extensive back catalogue of episode deep dives for those who want more detailed information, I felt the need to summarise the key events of the season in one place for simplicity’s sake, especially since that last episode will be upon us relatively soon if the usual ArenaNet content release cadence is anything to go by.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, you’ll find a complete summary of the Living World season so far, complete with links to more in-depth coverage of each episode for those who perhaps missed a little story along the way. Remember to log into the game to bank the current episode, Flashpoint, while it’s live to save the need for a gem purchase down the line.

Read more

Wisdom of Nym: Diving into Omega in Final Fantasy XIV

It’s kind of ironic that Omega may be the first time in Final Fantasy XIV where the eponymous foe is our actual antagonist. The Binding Coil of Bahamut and Alexander both featured the named Primals, but in both cases we weren’t really picking apart anything they did; Bahamut was just doing what came naturally while Allagan devices prodded at him, and Alexander was essentially fulfilling something that had already happened. Omega, on the other hand, is aware of us and not our biggest fan to begin with.

I wound up powering through the entirety of Omega’s normal mode on the same day it was released, somewhat to my surprise. (It was a bit of a highlight.) Obviously, not everything is going to be clear on just one playthrough, but now that we’ve gotten our first week or so with our new high-end endgame stuff, it seems like a good chance to pick apart what worked, what didn’t, and what’s worth considering with this new raid. Both in terms of story and mechanics, I might note.

Please note, of course, that there may be minor spoilers within. There’s nothing that gives away big chunks of plot, but if you haven’t yet done Omega and really want to remain wholly unspoiled… tread lightly.

Read more

EVE Evolved: Does EVE Online need more conflict-drivers?

Of all the terminology associated with EVE Online, the one thing that’s always made me a bit uncomfortable is to hear players describe PvP as “generating content.” It’s an oddly sterile euphemism that seemed to surface years ago during the era of the blue donut when large alliances organised faux wars for the entertainment of their restless troops, and it doesn’t sit right with me. PvP in EVE is supposed to be about real conflict for solid reasons, not generating content for its own sake. It’s about smashing a gang of battleships into a pirate blockade to get revenge, suicide ganking an idiot for transporting PLEX in a frigate, or forcibly dismantling another alliance’s station because you just hate them so much.

EVE PvP can be visceral and highly personal, not just something fun to do or a game of strategy but a way to settle old grudges and punish people for whatever the hell you want. World War Bee was a brutal mix of Machiavellian politics and massive fleets of highly motivated players coming together, not just for some fun gameplay but to try and completely annihilate the goons. So what the hell happened? Why are so many people sitting in nullsec fortresses and farming ISK, building huge capital fleets and complaining about the “lack of content” in PvP today? Does EVE‘s conflict engine need a tune-up?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the factors limiting real conflict in EVE today and suggest three possibly controversial changes that would drive further conflict in New Eden.

Read more

One Shots: R.I.P. Firefall

Do not go gentle into that good night forever,
Old MMOs should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the server.

Now that I’ve well and truly butchered a classic poem, I’ll turn the funeral proceedings over to Ralph the Wonder Llama, who has these kind words to say about the recently deceased: “Well, at least it’s finally official. Rest in peace, Firefall. You will be missed. Ares 35, signing off.”

Is it just me, or is anyone else getting Tabula Rasa flashbacks?

Read more

The Game Archaeologist: Where are all of the open-source MMOs?

Recently we had an interesting question come in from reader and Patron Rasmus Praestholm, who asked me to do a little investigating: “What (if anything of substance) exists in the MMO field that’s not only free, but open source? The topic of open source came up briefly in a recent column, where Ryzom was noted to have gone open source at some point. But have any serious efforts actually gotten anywhere starting out as open source?”

As some graphical MMORPGs pass the two-decade mark in video game history and are being either cancelled or retired to maintenance mode, it’s an increasingly important topic when it comes to keeping these games alive. Not only that, the question of open source MMOs involves the community in continued development, with the studio handing over the keys to an aging car to see what can be done by resourceful fans.

But has anything much been done with open source projects in the realm of MMORPGs? Is this something that we should be demanding more of as online gaming starts using more accessible platforms such as SpatialOS? Let’s dig a bit into this topic and see what we turn up.

Read more

Betawatch: Albion Online gets ramped up for launch (July 7, 2017)

It’s really just about time for Albion Online to launch, isn’t it? Less than two weeks to go, now, so the title is winding down its beta on July 9th in anticipation. That also means certain founder packs will no longer be sold after Sunday. There’s a big beta finale planned, though, so don’t worry that it’ll pass without incident.

Of course, betas on a whole aren’t hitting any sort of finale. Look, we’ve got more news about them just below.

And yes, Virginia, there is a list of games in testing just below. Did something slip into a new test phase or tacitly launch without telling us? Then please, let us know in the comments. Or talk about betas you’re involved with, that’s also cool.

Read more

Massively Overthinking: MMO ragequitting

Ragequitting. Most of us have probably done it once or twice from groups or single-player games or even MMO sessions in our time. My husband ragequit (disgustquit?) an Overwatch match the other night where his own teammates were spewing toxic slurs in voice chat, leading to a rating hit for him rather than the people poisoning the game (another problem for another column).

But what about ragequitting an MMORPG altogether? A game where you have time and money and friends and loot and achievements, sometimes years’ worth? Have you ever up and just walked out on an MMORPG? If so, what prompted it, and did you ever regret it or change your mind? I posed these questions to the Massively OP team for this week’s Overthinking roundtable!

Read more

EverQuesting: Falling for EverQuest II’s new progression server, Fallen Gate

A new time-locked expansion server got rolling last week in EverQuest II — are you on board? I wasn’t initially planning to participate; my gaming time is at a premium with so many games and so many goals, and spare time is simply non-existent. That said, I now have a little Aerakyn Mystic fluttering her dainty dragon wings about the starting zones.

So how did I get suckered into joining this server? With the offer of a cool and punny mount that can be claimed on live servers! Now that I am there, however, I’m finding more reasons to stay. Perhaps I will continue my adventures there beyond the level 10 needed for the Pedipowered Posterior Punter.

Could Fallen Gate be a new home for me? Could it be for you? Read on to learn more about what this special server offers then you can decide if you want to join us there.

Read more

The Daily Grind: When do you know it’s time to stop playing an MMO?

It’s possible I just haven’t played a large enough number of MMOs, but I’m relatively certain that there are no games which pop up a helpful notice telling you to stop playing the game forever at a certain point. That being said, I know that I personally have signs indicating I should probably stop playing. If I find myself dreading logging in, for example. If I no longer can answer the question of why I’m playing. If I lose all of my RP partners and see it as a relief rather than a loss. If certain individuals are associated with the game. You get the idea.

As much as we might say that certain things lead us to leave the game, I think most of us have a more organic system; it’s not one thing that causes us to drop WildStar or Star Wars: The Old Republic or Guild Wars 2 from our play rotation, it’s a lot of things that we tie back to one observation. But perhaps that’s just me. Tell me, dear readers: When do you know it’s time to stop playing an MMO? Do you ever regret making the decision when you do?

Read more

Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls Online’s mid-term report card

At the beginning of every year, I give the games that I am embedded in a letter grade centered around the four different player types featured in Dr. Richard Bartle‘s taxonomy. And at in the middle of the year, I like to see where things are so far.

Of course, I know that the paper that the taxonomy is based on is over 20 years old now, and the theories don’t apply 100% to MMORPGs. But I believe that there is enough of a connection between what people want from an MMORPG and the player types from Bartle’s paper that we can draw a connection.

The four different player types are Socializer, Achiever, Explorer, and Killer. For grades, I take a look at Elder Scrolls Online and ask, for instance, “What would an Achiever think of what ESO has done this year?” And then just as important, I ask, “What could be done to improve the game for the Achiever?” Of course, it really just boils down to my opinion, but I’d like to think I’ve been pretty good about putting myself in other people’s shoes in the past and looking at games from their perspectives.

Read more

1 2 3 4 109