Culture & Community Category
The softer, gentler side of MMORPG life. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
What’s the best borough of New York City? If you said Queens, Brooklyn, or the Bronx (no one ever says Staten Island), you’re going to be a wee bit disappointed when The Division launches in March. The game is taking place solely in midtown Manhattan at first; creative director Magnus Jansen explained that, “With the level of detail we have, doing midtown Manhattan is a huge open-world experience and more than enough to sink your teeth into.”
Of course, if you like midtown, it’s not an issue. And and you can take heart in knowing that the game’s PC version isn’t just a simple port; the graphics options have been uncovered and include unlocked framerates, depth of field, volumetric fog, all of the good stuff. Yes, you might be stuck in a single borough, but at least it can look very pretty. In a post-cataclysmic environment sort of way, we suppose.
This isn’t an idle question, either. The fact that the first expansion brought us to Ishgard meant that the entire story of the game went in a different direction than if we had gone elsewhere, focusing upon the known but somewhat intentionally vague Dragonsong War and making it the central point of the story. As we prepare for the next expansion, I can see three obvious areas that may lead us onward into the world, and each one brings with it certain assumptions and stories that we have yet to hear.
Tomorrow’s the big launch day for Blade & Soul for anyone not already enjoying the head start opportunity. Users on Reddit have helpfully compiled several useful tips for the game that may not be immediately evident if you’re new to the game. And no, these aren’t the usual sort of “you can press X to open the X-button window” tips you’ll see on loading screen – these are serious tips about what weapons to unseal, which ones to upgrade, and which quests are actually worth the time it takes to complete.
It’s all useful stuff that might not be immediately self-evident, like the functionality behind the game’s “Bidding” loot system, wherein everyone submits an amount of money and the winning bid is distributed among the rest of the party. You can also jump below the cut to check out the Twilight Garden, if you want to see how pretty some of the later game can be. It’s all useful to know before you make the decision to play or not play on launch.
I hated pets when I first got started in MMORPGs. Pets in early MMOs had such terrible AI and were such a nuisance to control that they gave their masters bad reputations for years to come.
A couple of games changed my mind along the way, though: Guild Wars 1 and Titan Quest, and maybe Hellgate London too. While not all MMORPGs, they all had extremely powerful summoning classes that basically made the game into a steamrolling experience where the player had to do very little but keep the summons coming. By the time City of Heroes added Masterminds, I was actively seeking out a class I once looked down on.
What pet classes and summoning classes have you enjoyed in MMOs? What’s the very best pet class in an MMORPG?
That’s where Molior RS comes into play.
Molior RS is a project by a team of RuneScape fans to remake the game using Neverwinter Nights 2’s Aurora Engine toolset. These fans have been toiling away at recreating the landscape and features of RuneScape’s world while also including many of the same quests and skilling system. However, there are plans to go beyond what RuneScape offers to make improvements on the game.
It’s one of those things you really have to see for yourself, so check out Molior RS after the break.
I love me a good in-game marketplace. It always makes me think of commerce, of adventure, and of clashing worlds. Too bad we’re usually sprinting through them in MMOs at 35 mph, eh?
So thank goodness that reader Jayle decided to slow down and take this picture from Black Desert: “I took this shot during the first beta. Just thought it’d be of interest, I haven’t seen many shots of Calpheon. Black Desert really has captured that working market city feel.”
Come with me, little piggies. Let us go to market and procure some roast beef.
At the risk of giving you more information than you all want to hear, lately my anxiety issues have been reaching a fever pitch. But you know what tends to calm me down? Daily quests. Running through the motions on Yavin 4 in Star Wars: The Old Republic, befriending the Vanu Vanu in Final Fantasy XIV, even just flying about for a spot of repeatable content in Star Trek Online. Give me something repetitive that takes just enough brainpower to keep my attention but can still largely fall back on muscle memory, and I’m happy.
The nice thing about MMOs is that they frequently feature activities that can be very comforting. Maybe it’s as simple as flying about while farming or gathering. Perhaps you feel much better when you do a bit of roleplaying. I know one friend who was calmed by turning on Flight in City of Heroes and just gliding around various areas of the city, not doing anything, just roaming. So what about you? What do you do in MMOs to calm down, or do you find just playing an MMO to be the opposite of calming?
It will probably come as no surprise to those of you reading that I’ve been taking part in a weekly tabletop roleplaying game for the past several months, but that ended this past Wednesday. Ended with a fun and fitting conclusion, yes, but still ended. I am a bit unsure about how I ended up turning my character into Optimus Prime, however. Yes, I made a sentient golem as part of the setting, but my goal there was more about having a character without clearly defined gender cues. What I actually wound up doing was leading an entire movement of fellow automatons seeking freedom from the long-diluted bloodline that created us.
Also, we set a lot of places on fire, but that wasn’t really ever my fault.
Obviously, that is not something I’m playing this weekend. I’m playing something else. So is the rest of the Massively Overpowered staff, and being as this is our weekly installment of What Are You Playing, we’re going to tell you what we’re playing. And then, if you would be so kind, you can tell us what you’re playing down in the comments. Seriously, it’s always cool to see.
Generic humans aside, I’ve always had a fondness for dwarves in fantasy literature and games. They feel less Mary Sueish than those arrogant elves and more serious than the goofy takes you often see with gnomes and goblins. The dwarf I know and respect is one who exudes capability, strength, loyalty, and brute fighting force.
Unfortunately, dwarves have all but been run into the ground by the trope steamroller, which has forever painted them as vaguely Scottish underground axe murderers who are too obsessed with gold and their own beards. Fantasy MMOs have done dwarves no favor by recycling these tropes again and again. I really wish that a game would come along that would dare to use a race like dwarves but in a non-stereotypical fashion.
Are there any fantasy races that are too tropish for your liking? What would you like to see done with them?
So far in our exploration of the topics in Rachel Kowert and Thorsten Quandt’s book The Video Game Debate: Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Video Games, we’ve tackled the state of modern game research, online games and internet addiction, moral panic and online griefing, and the role of games in education (and vice versa). Today, we’ll focus on video games and cognitive performance — your brain on games!
I was recently reminded that for a long time gaming was identified as something that could, at minimum, be used to master reaction times. In 1982, Chevy Chase of all people actually highlighted both the potential and fear of the power of games in terms of their impact on cognitive performance.
Ever since Elite Dangerous dropped its Horizons expansion and allowed players to land on planet surfaces, captains have been scouring the galaxy for interesting sights. Well one player has found the following definitive proof that we’re not alone in the universe: barnacles.
Yes, you read that right. Giant alien barnacles with a strange symbol on them were discovered on Merope 5C, and once the awe of this find wore off, giddy players did what they do best by trying to blast it with mining lasers. “As I type this, I can hear weapons fire,” one captain posted. “If this does end in war, then we clearly started it.”
The discovery of the barnacles wasn’t by accident; Frontier had been giving clues to the community about the possibility of extraterrestrial life for a while now. If you’re in-game, you can check out the stellar barnacles for yourself at -026.3496°, -156.4044°. Alternatively, you can get an eyeful of barnacles (and hear what kind of weird noise they make) after the jump.
Here’s a fun thought exercise for you all: explain the differences between Fire Mages and Destruction Warlocks in World of Warcraft. But before you do so, let’s make things a little more interesting by saying that you cannot use abilities, rotations, or resources to differentiate between the two of them. In other words, you can’t differentiate them based upon what they do; you can only differentiate them based upon what they are.
In this case, it’s not very difficult. Fire Mages are masters of fire magic through careful study and practice. They’ve mastered the art of flame almost as a thought exercise, specializing in the most destructive form of arcane application but still primarily devoted to learning. Destruction Warlocks, meanwhile, have forged pacts with demons to borrow the intrinsic powers of the nether realms. It’s possible – even probable – that those pacts will eventually have an additional cost, but for the time being the Warlock may use demonic powers for personal gain.
This is the importance of class fantasies and why they’re important to the game moving forward. And it also demonstrates the problem with them, and it hints at why these fantasies have suddenly become more important with Legion.