arenanet

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

Guild Wars 2 posts small patch, plans Classic Guild Wars retrospective Q&A

Guild Wars 2’s patch this week isn’t a whopper like the balancing patch, but it does fix the nasty event bug in Bugtide Coast that plagued MJ and me during our last stream! You can also now sit on benches in the PvP lobby, and a bunch of classes got tweaks – including the Mesmer, which was finally nerfed in PvP.

Maybe more importantly, at least for anyone anxiously awaiting the next episode of the living story season, @that_shaman now estimates based on datamining that we’re likely three weeks away from the launch of that, so expect the next trailer in two.

Meanwhile, for those more into classic Guild Wars even now, ArenaNet is collecting questions and comments about the game that started it all beginning today through Friday; devs will be answering questions about the original game through June 15th.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 171: Bless you, my subscriber

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin delve into the future of Lord of the Rings Online, debate when a sub isn’t a sub, head on into Summerset, fly high with Worlds Adrift, and more!

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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Global Chat: Dipping back into MMO underwater combat

Guild Wars 2’s recent renovation of underwater combat has brought back some interest to this oft-neglected sphere of gameplay. Inventory Full’s Bhagpuss used this occasion as an opportunity to examine the role of underwater combat in general and the changes to GW2 in specific.

“The undersea worlds of most MMOs weren’t quite so unforgiving but still they were shunned,” he notes. “Developers tended to avoid them too, other than blocking out something wet and watery in the most perfunctory manner possible. It was quite a surprise when Guild Wars 2 launched with a goodly amount to see and do below the surface, any number of bodies of water, from inland lakes to the open seas, offering much the same opportunity and inducement to explore as their counterparts on dry land.”

Once you towel off from that essay, join the MMO blogosphere as it looks at DC Universe Online, World of Warcraft, RIFT Prime, and more!

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One Shots: A sense of place

Why do you play MMORPGs? What keeps you questing through these ever-growing worlds? I think a lot of us might answer like Zyrusticae in Blade and Soul here, as we enjoy inhabiting and exploring virtual fantasy worlds.

“See, this is the sort of thing I play MMORPGs for,” Zyrusticae writes. “That sense of ‘place.’ Being somewhere else, even if it’s only behind a computer screen. Old shots, yes, but still some of my favorites just for that. It’s a very pleasant feeling, really.”

Will you find your sense of place in the following player screenshots? Let’s find out!

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Guild Wars 2 tournament needs players to sign up and donate

Eager to watch — or even participate in — the next big Guild Wars 2 tournament? Then you’ll want to stay tuned to the Unity Gaming Organization 5v5 Conquest Tournament that’s kicking off this weekend.

UGO’s tournament is back from last year and prizes players who can adjust to the most recent meta for the MMO. Players can sign up for the tournament through this Saturday and tune in to watch others compete for a growing prize pool, gems, and in-game gold. In fact, the organization is asking fans to contribute gold and money to boost these rewards.

The North American tournie will take place on Sunday, May 20th, while the European version is coming a little later on June 3rd. Both can be viewed live on Twitch.

Source: Guild Wars 2

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The Stream Team: Gabbing all about Guild Wars 2

Success! Massively OP’s MJ has finally nabbed Bree for some GW2 adventures! What adventures? Does it matter: It’s Bree and MJ gabbing all about the game. It doesn’t matter where they go or what they do, they will still cause trouble. Don’t believe us? Tune in live at 6:00 p.m. as this dangerous duo take over…

What: Guild Wars 2
Who: Bree Royce & MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 17th, 2018

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Perfect Ten: How MMOs can become more accessible

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was remarkably reluctant to enter into the field of MMORPGs despite being a perfect candidate (a gaming geek who loved fantasy and sci-fi RPGs). All of the reasons that I had at the time for stalling really could have been boiled down to a single word: accessibility.

MMOs back then looked — and probably were — very inaccessible. They had a payment barrier. They required a lot of setup and hardware. Their interfaces were cluttered and their gameplay interactions were obtuse. Frankly, I got the impression that a lot of them were a mess that was only understandable to those who had put in hundreds of hours to decipher the format.

When MMOs started to become more accessible, particularly with City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars, I eagerly jumped in. Those three titles in particular made giant leaps forward in opening up these games to the first-time player. But that doesn’t mean that MMORPGs have arrived at universal accessibility just yet. Here are ten areas that studios could be improving in order to make their titles more appealing and understandable to outsiders.

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Guild Wars 2 game director talks about the free market and lootboxes

Convenience and cosmetics. These are the foundational pillars of Guild Wars 2’s microtransactions, and back at GDC earlier this year, Game Director Crystin Cox opened up about how ArenaNet monetized its game using these pillars along with the free market and lootboxes.

“Expressing yourself, relating to other people, showing off, making a visual representation of who you are, is hugely important to a lot of MMO players, so that was always very high on our list,” she said. As for convenience items, Cox emphasized how the studio “respected people’s time” and wanted to make items that could trade time and money if so desired.

As for the dual currency system, Cox said that it has turned out quite well for the MMO: “I think we’ve done incredibly well with the free market because it accurately represents the value of the things that people are purchasing.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 170: Mild West Online

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin do their darndest to shape the MMO industry by holding up Wild West Online as a cautionary tale and talking about how studios need to think before applying real-world labels to games.

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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Hands-on with Bless Reborn at Neowiz’s San Francisco media reveal

As you probably have heard, there was a Bless influencer event this week, with a couple of media and a smattering of MMO streamers in attendance. The leak of the price points happened soon before we went in, but none of the people in attendance, devs or streamers, really seemed fazed by it. Most people seemed ready to have a good time.

For someone like me, who was initially blown away by Bless circa 2011, the game had fallen off my radar, especially after the game’s rocky trip to Russia and initial Korean release. The western build-up for me has felt like a big PR push, with the pricing model dangled like a feature that people actually should be excited about. Basic questions like, “How does endgame work?” were easier to find on Reddit, Steam, and fansites than any of the PR I was reading. I was concerned, to say the least, but things like “tame almost any mob!” and “100v100” battles intrigued me. Though nothing I saw is probably going to change any core fans’ mind, it may be useful to those on the fence.

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The Daily Grind: Do your MMORPG characters primarily wear in-game armor or cash-shop cosmetics?

Take a look at your main character in your main MMORPG right now. What is he or she wearing? And did you get it through play or from the cash shop?

This topic came to me as I was surfing the Guild Wars 2 Reddit earlier this week; a Redditor was polling players on whether they thought there was a good balance of cash-shop cosmetics vs. cosmetic gear acquired through actually playing the game. It’s a tiny bit hard to answer this one for Guild Wars 2, as multiple people pointed out, as you can convert the gold you get while playing legitimately into gems to buy cash-shop cosmetics (or just buy lockbox skins with gold from the gamblers). Plus, GW2 isn’t called Fashion Wars for nothing. But still: Almost all of my characters are running around in cash-shop cosmetics there. I may complain about the lack of new skins and the overabundance of buttcapes, but I like to spend money on games I want to support, and cosmetics are one of the least objectionable ways to do it. And GW2’s are still slick (vs. a lot of the in-game armor, which is grindy or group-centric).

In Trove, which is another of my favorite games lately, most of my characters are running around wearing at least core outfits from ancient Steam pack sales.

Do your MMORPG characters primarily wear in-game armor of cash-shop cosmetics? And do you see that as a problem, one way or another?

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Revenues for all NCsoft MMORPGs are down in Q1 2018 except… Aion?

NCsoft’s first quarter 2018 financial results are in, and it’s… kinda OK? Guild Wars 2 saw a big drop-off, though that’s to be expected since the previous quarter saw revenues from Path of Fire. “GW2 sales dropped 32% QOQ but increased 66% YOY, as some of the 2nd expansion pack effect was included,” NCsoft notes.

Blade & Soul continues to perform well QOQ, though it’s lost a quarter of its revenue YOY, and Aion revenues surged, NCsoft says, “fueled by the change in the monetization scheme.” Lineage itself at one time seemed to drive the company all by itself, but it’s down QOQ and YOY too. So is the company’s mobile games branch, which was riding high on Lineage M last year but is now “stabilizing” at what one might assume is a more realistic number (which is still higher than the five big MMORPGs combined).

As MMO Culture reports, the investor call itself admitted that Blade & Soul II for mobile has already been delayed into 2019 as it “didn’t meet expectations.” It’s apparently gotten a new team and new redesign, which is basically what happened to Lineage Eternal way back when, you’ll recall. And speaking of that: Project TL is supposedly still on schedule, with a launch still on track for next year.

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Classic Guild Wars 1 just got a huge graphics update

This week, classic Guild Wars 1 has gotten its first real update in the years since going into maintenance mode. As we noted on Tuesday’s podcast, the update follows player feedback and requests in the original game’s recent AMA, which apparently took even ArenaNet by surprise (though it shouldn’t; this game is beloved for a reason!).

The patch notes tell the story: It’s primarily a graphics settings update, but it makes a huge difference to the 2005 MMORPG. In addition to getting better window support and improved anti-aliasing options, the game now boasts a level of detail toggle setting that makes the distant world look gorgeous.

“A new ‘Advanced’ option checkbox has been added to the Graphics options panel. This will replace the ‘-lodfull’ command line option that was added recently. Model LODs will always use the highest available LOD (Level Of Detail), regardless of distance, including the disabling of ‘imposter’ models. The max draw distance will be doubled. Ground cover vegetation draw distance will be pushed out even further.
Terrain LODs will almost always draw in highest.”

Big cheers to ANet’s Stephen Clarke-Willson for making it happen. Now, we’re expecting lots of GW1 screenshots for One Shots over the next few weeks!

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