At this year E3’s, a lot of the big companies in gaming let journalists behind the scenes, rather than forcing us to spend hours of expo time in line. In fact, some even slipped us a few nuggets that other press weren’t being given (or due to their lack of knowledge of our genre, didn’t understand). Small nuggets, but things that excited me as a fan. It’s not a true MMO, but Nintendo gave us some interesting news about Splatoon 2’s Salmon Run mode, a new feature in the 4v4 multiplayer shooter, and I got my hands on it and a Nintendo Switch to boot.
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An RPG based on Magic: the Gathering is one of those things I have both long wanted and long assumed was just never going to happen. Now it’s happening, and it’s happening at the hands of Cryptic and PWE. That doesn’t necessarily make me enthusiastic about the business models, but it does mean (based on the studios’ other games) that it’ll be good solid fun to play just the same.
It makes me especially happy because it’s possible to play a lot of MtG without ever knowing anything about the setting, too. Now you sort of have to.
My time with MtG as an active player is definitely in my rear-view mirror, but it’s possible to have a passing familiarity with the game but not really get what in the world is there to base a non-card game upon. Since I tend to absorb this stuff, though, my mind was immediately set aflame with visions of teleporting between planes, summoning creatures, and collecting artifacts. So let’s take a look at the lore behind the cards and speculate a bit on systems, shall we?
Friday is when Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood comes out. It’ll be early on Friday, too, at around 5:00 a.m. EDT. And that’s not too far from when I normally wake up, which means that the temptation to wake up a few hours earlier and take part in what will no doubt be a mad rush on the servers is… significant, let’s say.
Of course, I remember when World of Warcraft would launch an expansion and my wife and I would actually stay up past midnight to take part in the launch and the first moments of live service. We’d usually try to nap the day before, rearrange our entire schedules crudely around the servers being up. It was only for a couple of days, but it was notable.
At this point, I won’t do that, but I could live with getting up a couple of hours early. What about you, dear readers? Do you alter your sleep schedule for major MMO releases? And if so, what do you consider “major” enough to qualify?
After four years and over 700 MMORPG music tracks, the Battle Bards have arrived at their 100th show! For this centennial spectacular, Syl, Steff, and Syp reminisce about the most notable shows, their best soundtrack discoveries, and their favorite tracks. This super-sized show gets wrapped up with a bout of listener emails and a promise of another amazing hundred episodes!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
When I spoke to ZeniMax Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler a few months back, I was intrigued by the PvP that Morrowind was offering The Elder Scrolls Online. When it hit the test servers, I found it to be exactly what I thought it would be. But because of my playtimes or just the general activity on the PTS, the queues didn’t pop much, so I didn’t get enough of an impression of the Battlegrounds during the test.
However, since the chapter hit the live servers, I’ve been able to spend a good bit of time in the no-Champion Points version of the instanced PvP zones. (As many of you know, I have a heavy aversion to Champion Points, so I apologize that my impressions of the Battlegrounds are only reflective of that.)
Now, I enjoy PvP sporadically. I would not consider myself a hardcore PvPer. But there was a time when I spent all of my game time in both instanced and open-world PvP, so I am not ignorant of the interests PvPers: balanced classes, interesting and unexploitable maps, and strategic and engaging objectives. Of course, there will always be balancing issue when you’re dealing with the number of class combinations ESO carries, but they are relatively balanced. And the other interests fall in line with most other MMO PvP. There is one major flaw that appears effective on paper, but when you factor in human nature, it fails almost every time: 4v4v4.
Ever since becoming an MMORPG player and especially since covering these games professionally, I’ve realized one of my greatest pet peeves is the attitude the broader video games media maintain toward our genre. I don’t want to accuse with too broad of a brush or construct a strawman here, but too often I’ve read articles covering MMOs as if the author were either worried about contracting some sort of horrible disease by even mentioning the game or suffering from a superiority complex about how much better other types of games were.
Somehow worse are the sites that employ a “token” MMO player as a writer, as if to foist this terrible genre on some lunkhead so that the rest of the staff can cover the latest groundbreaking edition of Call of Duty, Madden, or Battlefield.
See, I don’t claim that MMOs are better or worse than other video games, yet they do have something special that seems to elude journalists who sneer at grinds or roll their eyes at players foolish enough to care about these games. Sometimes it feels like nerds dumping on other nerds so that the first group can feel superior in some aspect of their life. I don’t know.
Today I’m going to attack my pet peeve head-on by listing 10 things the mainstream games media doesn’t get about why MMORPGs are special, beloved, and captivating.
We’ve had many chats here on Massively OP concerning the best and most flexible player housing systems in MMORPGs — and lamented games that lack such systems entirely. But today I would like us to discuss housing systems that ultimately let us down.
Last weekend I jumped through a ton of hoops to finally get a small apartment in Final Fantasy XIV, only to find myself let down by the end product. The prerequisites were annoying, the cost prohibitive, and the decoration tools basic and weirdly difficult to use. Although perhaps the biggest let down in this category came with Guild Wars 2’s home instances, which during the lead-up to launch I had envisioned as being a much larger housing system. Now I know the truth, that the only customization I can put into these areas is a big hunk of candy corn to mine.
Which MMO housing system disappointed you? For a bonus topic, would you rather a lackluster housing system over no housing at all?
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What’s the most newbie-friendly MMO? According to Pete at Dragonchasers, it’s Final Fantasy XIV. He’s been pretty impressed by the support structure that the game has in place for new and returning players.
“I don’t usually interact with other players in MMOs (ironic, I know) but when I was randomly invited into the Novice Network I accepted,” he wrote. “It’s a pretty active channel and at least for the short time I’ve been in it, quite civil […] This experience drew me out of my shell a bit, and by Sunday afternoon I’d dug out a bluetooth keyboard so I could talk in the Novice Network more easily. Overall the way FFXIV welcomed me as a player kind of re-kindled my love of MMOs.”
I’ve been asked several times for my opinion on how best to handle the influx of non-WvW Guild Wars 2 players to the game mode in the wake of the reward system update. As you’ll all know, I am not a committed WvW player and tend to play the mode only when I have a specific need to or when I’m helping out a friend, but nevertheless, I have compiled some helpful advice for those who wish to start skirmishing now. Make no mistake about it: WvW can be as entertaining as it is intimidating when you get into the groove, though to get the best out of the game mode you’ll need to pick up on WvW etiquette fairly quickly.
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll help you navigate the rapid-fire world of WvW, giving you advice on keeping commanders happy, getting the best out of your efforts, chatting strategically, and setting your toon up for WvW success.
I was writing a post earlier this week with a pair of screenshots labeled sequentially — “eso1.jpg” and “eso2.jpg” — which mentally startled me because, you know, Elder Scrolls Online II doesn’t exist. And it struck me that out of the core AAA MMORPGs — and even the big up-and-coming crowdfunded indies — only a tiny handful are sequels. Maybe more importantly, none of the major MMOs right now has given any hint that a sequel might be incoming, which you might consider a sobering thought or a relief that studios are leaning toward supporting what they’ve got instead of splitting their playerbases.
Put aside what’s been rumored (or not rumored) and tell us: Which MMORPG do you think deserves a sequel?
But all of that’s in the future. Right now we’ve got a couple of days left, and I’m here to tell you that it’s your last chance to get everything ready to go. If you’re pumped as heck about this expansion – and let me tell you, I certainly am – you’ll want to make sure your last few checklist items are taken care of. So let’s give a last-chance checklist for people to accomplish over the next four days, yes? Or, well, three and a half now. It’s the noon slot, you see.
Electronic Arts’ pre-E3 event, EA Play, this past weekend afforded us not only the chance to scope out the details of what’s new with Star Wars: Battlefront 2 but the opportunity to play a demo of it. No, it’s not an MMORPG; it’s decidedly a multiplayer shooter, and this sequel is looking promising in key ways.
We covered the original Star Wars: Battlefront, and I’ve played it before for gaming outlets, but I was one of the people who did so and then closed their wallets. Despite the fact that the game was fun, many saw it primarily as an incomplete, multiplayer game. I bought and greatly enjoyed Titanfall, a similar game that emphasized multiplayer action, but that at least had a bit of a narrative and some really unique game design features. It also didn’t charge essentially twice the price of a regular game for DLC maps that split the game’s community. SW:BF1 was pretty and had a little immersion going for it when it stuck to locations in the original trilogy, but it didn’t feel worth the price of a finished AAA game, let alone two. It was Battlefield developer DICE doing Star Wars multiplayer lite.