arenanet

Seattle-based studio responsible for Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2.

Massively OP Podcast Episode 144: Harry Potter and the Deathly ARG

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree wrassle a mess of eastern mobile MMOs that are leaping onto the scene, imagine a world full of Harry Potter gamers wandering about, discuss SWTOR’s server merges, and take Guild Wars 2 to task for lockbox missteps.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking more of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story

As promised, Flameseeker Chronicles is back with a continuation of the Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire story deep-dive I’ve been crafting over the last few weeks. I’ll briefly recap you on where we left off and then will launch into covering the rest of Act II. The volume of story content that came with the latest expansion is appreciable and deserves to receive a thorough breakdown, and I can’t wait to share more of it with you while adding some thoughts as I go. Not everyone is as enthused with the story, of course, so I hope these unpacking articles also help anyone who doesn’t wish to dedicate time to more than the bare bones of the story: You can always use breakdowns such as these to fill any lore gaps that arise from you skipping content you don’t enjoy, after all! Note before you proceed that, just as was the case in the other story breakdown entries, this article will contain significant spoilers if you haven’t completed Act II of the story for yourself.

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NCsoft’s 3Q 2017 financials: Lineage M drives record profits, Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire isn’t too shabby either

NCsoft had an exceptionally good third financial quarter this year, reaching a record high in sales and operating profit for the company, and it’s almost entirely thanks to the mobile MMORPG Lineage M, which didn’t even bleed the rest of the Lineage franchise as you might have expected (Lineage and Lineage II held remarkably steady this quarter compared to last, as did Aion and Blade & Soul).

Good news for Guild Wars 2 as well; NCsoft notes that ArenaNet’s flagship brought in over $20B Won, “an increase of 49% [quarter-over-quarter], driven by the second expansion pack sales” that saw US and European sales figures in particular increase 13% QOQ “on the back of Guild Wars 2 performance.” $20B Korean Won is about $18M US. So Path of Fire at least performed well enough for NCsoft to gloat about it, twice, and it’s a big boost to GW2, especially considering Q2 2017 was the game’s worst ever – but it didn’t top Heart of Thorns’ huge showing two years ago.

Before you ask, no, we don’t know how well WildStar is doing; NCsoft doesn’t report it separately anymore. But it’s still flying. That’s enough.

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Guild Wars 2’s fourth living story season is set to begin November 28

ArenaNet just announced that the fourth season of living world content will kick off in Guild Wars 2 on November 28th. The teaser provides basically no other information, stating that “season 4 will continue the epic story of Tyria, seamlessly transitioning from the events of Path of Fire.” Which is helpful, since the larger part of the new trailer is actually clips from last year’s season – until you get to the part with ol’ Balthy and his ruination of the desert.

It does appear that the living story will maintain the two-to-three-month cadence and be available only to those who own Path of Fire, though we assume you can still “claim” the episodes without owning it. Trailer inc!

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Here’s how Guild Wars 2 players will go broke on Black Friday

You know it’s coming. When the turkey and pumpkin pie meet their demise, the Black Friday sales will start. Guild Wars 2 fans will face a special temptation this year, thanks to plenty of tempting merch on For Fans By Fans.

The official merchandise store for the MMO offers t-shirts, plushies, bags, art prints, Path of Fire items, and the oh-so-essential Quaggan coffee mug. But you’ll want to hold off from buying right now, because from November 24th through the 27th, anyone who spends $50 or more in the store will get an in-game code for a random mini-pet in Guild Wars 2.

Switching gears a bit, some friendly community datamining turned up a small, unused island map for the recent expansion. While it’s not finished by any means, it is kind of interesting. Check it out on Imgur!

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Divining the details of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite from a Pokemon Go player’s perspective

When we first heard rumors about a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go, I said I could barely imagine what the game might be like before listing several other IPs that would translate better as AR games. It’s not that I don’t like the Harry Potter series (I do) or Niantic (someone’s got to push the envelope). My issue is that I can’t see how their respective styles could combine to create something great.

So I’ve gone back to some of my pre-POGO notes about Ingress and what would need to change before it went live and, well, Niantic clearly thinks differently than I do because this game is very much happening. I thought it might be useful to consider Niantic’s past and how it may affect its upcoming game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Let’s dig in.

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Perfect Ten: A list of all the MMORPGs I supposedly hate

Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.

Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.

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Working As Intended: Guild Wars 2’s new mount licenses are still lockboxes, but they’re not the worst lockboxes

Pretty much everyone assumed that back when Guild Wars 2 planned out mounts, it did so with its cash shop in mind. The game is already not-so-jokingly known as “Fashion Wars,” so it’s got a playerbase primed and ready to splash out for sparkly mounts, especially cosmetic upgrades to what is very likely the best mount system in any MMORPG to date. The first set of mount cosmetics arrived for Halloween, a whole pack of skelly skins that players could buy directly. The second set, however, has now landed with a new sales scheme, and it’s caused significant controversy just as anticipated.

As we explained yesterday, ArenaNet has added 30 new mount skins to the game, but instead of selling them directly, the studio is selling them in a hybrid sort of lockbox: You buy one of the mount licenses, which unlocks one mount skin on your account that you don’t already have. You always get a mount skin, and you never get repeats, potentially all the way up to 30 licenses for 30 skins.

Unless you get the one you want sooner. That’s a big unless.

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Guild Wars 2 balances classes and adds spectacular new mounts – for a price

Guild Wars 2 patched in new mounts today, and they’re gorgeous. But don’t get too excited; they’re in gated behind a weird new RNG scheme that’s not remotely as bad as lockboxes (but still may mildly annoy you). You decide:

“For a limited time, the new Reforged Warhound mount skin is available in the Style category of the Gem Store for 2,000 gems. The Black Lion Stables are pleased to open their doors and offer new mount adoption licenses. Each license will allow you to claim a random mount skin from the Black Lion Stables, and they are available in the Style category of the Gem Store for 400 gems each.”

If you’re familiar with the way SMITE does some of its RNG promos, the new license is kinda like that: You’re at least guaranteed a mount skin out of these lockboxes, but it might not be the one you want, so you’ll be buying and rolling the dice over and over until you get it. Only there are 30 skins. You might be buying and rolling for a while at 400 gems ($5 a pop, or a discounted rate if you buy 10 or 30 at a time). In case you’re wondering, to buy all 30 right now would run you $120 in real cash, though that’ll go up to $150 once the promo is over. It’s worth pointing out we don’t know the odds for getting any of the mounts, only that you do always get one.

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WildStar, Blade and Soul, Aion, and Lineage II come under DDoS attacks

Hackers launched an offensive against NCsoft yesterday, targeting several of the company’s MMORPGs in a series of DDoS attacks. WildStar, Aion, Lineage II, and Blade and Soul all posted warnings about the issues to let players know that game stability might be affected.

Several NCsoft Twitter accounts reported the DDoS onslaught yesterday afternoon, saying, “We’re aware of ongoing distributed denial of service attacks directed at our games and are working to mitigate them. If you’ve been experiencing connection drops or sporadic high latency, please know that we’re closely watching the situation and reducing game service impact as much as possible. If you’re experiencing connection or latency issues which you believe to be outside of these attacks, we ask that you please submit a support ticket so we can collect additional information.”

As of this morning, there were no further updates on the forums or Twitter feeds regarding this attack. Additionally, it does not seem that Guild Wars 2 was affected by the attack.

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The Daily Grind: What would Blizzard need to do to get you back into World of Warcraft?

In last night’s Massively Overthinking on hopes and fears for BlizzCon – which kicks off this afternoon! – I laid out my thoughts on Blizzard’s MMORPG meta, my worry that World of Warcraft’s yet-to-be-formally-announced will bedazzle us with cool, slick ideas… but the studio won’t have learned any lessons from the genre beyond its borders. As a gamer and blogger, I’m thrilled to see some spectacle, no doubt. This is one of my favorite events of the year. But for me to seriously consider going back as an active player, Blizzard would have to do way more than the inevitable free catch-up character booster. And I’m not sure Blizzard is willing to try harder than, say, ArenaNet or ZeniMax to ensnare ex-WoW fans like yours truly – not when the company can more easily snag those desirable “MAUs” in cheaper games in simpler genres.

Assuming you’ve played WoW and aren’t playing now: What would Blizzard need to do to get you back into World of Warcraft?

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Vote for your favorite player-created Guild Wars 2 instrument of death

Power to the people! Guild Wars 2 has opened the polls for players to cast their vote on which fan-created weapon should be made into an actual in-game item.

The design-a-weapon contest resulted in over 900 entries, out of which 20 were selected by ArenaNet to advance as a finalist. Players are being encouraged to vote on which of the 20 should be turned into a Guild Wars 2 weapon, with the three finalists receiving the most votes to get this honor. The voting process will conclude on November 10th.

And while Halloween is over, the minipets live on! Check out the weirdly adorable Mini Choya Pumpkin Gang after the break.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 142: The state of the sci-fi MMO genre

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree discuss the up-and-down week that was Star Wars: The Old Republic, fret over CCP’s studio closures, marvel at Star Citizen’s CitizenCon, and talk about the flurry of MMO releases as of late.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

Read more

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