‘Buy-to-play’ is a term that refers to games that have box or download fees associated with them but do not incur a mandatory subscription. Some have optional subscriptions and are more properly referred to as hybrid B2P. Most have cash shops and microtransactions.
Has enough time gone by to start erasing memories of Revival, that ambitious but troubled horror MMO that was canceled back in March 2016? While the project is dead, its developers have forged on — and one has made the jump to another indie MMORPG.
Chronicles of Elyria announced this past week that it picked up Adam Maxwell to become the game’s new lead designer. Previously, Maxwell worked on RIFT, Star Citizen, World of Tanks, and Revival (in addition to almost a dozen other titles). Hopefully this new berth will be a good fit for him and Soulbound Studios.
Maxwell says that it was an easy jump from Revival to Elyria: “Half my fun getting to know everyone here has been in asking questions like, ‘So how did you all handle…’ and then randomly picking a feature from Revival. Weather, NPC memory, narrative dynamics… every answer is different from Revival, but they always hit the same mechanical goal. I feel like the two projects are siblings separated at birth. It’s both awesome and eerie at the same time.”
Hey remember Destiny 2? That cute li’l sequel from Bungie that launched on console and core MMO players promptly forgot all about it? Well, in case that’s you, Bungie has a sweet new PC-capped trailer out to remind you that PC is coming next week. There’s even a countdown on the official site in case you’re bad at clocks. The trailer is shiny. So much jumping. All the screenshake. Insert all your PC master race jokes down below, or save them up for smack-talk during the preload period, which begins on Wednesday of this week.
And by the way, if you’re looking for a cheap place to buy it? A couple of my guildies pointed me to Green Man Gaming, which has the PC edition for 15% off with the SUCHWOW10 code. (Non-affiliate link. Thanks, Onyx and Kiry!)
When The Elder Scrolls Online
launched its very first Halloween event last autumn
, it was huge news for a game that largely eschewed real-world holidays in favor of more sedate in-lore events. Fortunately, the event became a trend, and now the Witches Festival is returning to Tamriel
The event kicks off on Friday, October 20th, and runs until November 1st, complete with a 100% experience buff. Once you grab the associated event item from the cash shop (it’s a freebie, at the cost of only your dignity), you can kick off the Witchmother’s Bargain quest, or if you did it last year, you can just access your old quest item for the buff instead.
Bosses will drop themey loot as well, but probably the best addition is something that simply wasn’t available last year because the system wasn’t in the game yet: a house! Tick off four specific achievements and you’ll be cozying up in a thatch-roof Exorcised Coven Cottage in exchange for some in-game gold. ZeniMax does note that players can also buy the home in the cash shop instead, but it’ll be leaving the cash shop in just a few weeks: “You will not be able to purchase this home for crowns or gold once the event ends, so don’t miss your chance to own this ‘haunt away from home’!”
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Project Gorgon, Star Trek Online, Bless, Skyforge, Wakfu, Roblox, War Thunder, Aion, Elite: Dangerous, New Dawn, Travian, Astroneer, and World of Warcraft, all waiting for you after the break!
When it comes to unusual ways for Massively OP readers to get around in MMORPGs, there seems to be no shortage of bizarre methods for getting from Point A to Point B. So why not an ocean creature that is known more for hanging about than keeping a dedicated commuter schedule?
“I really loved the free seahorse mount World of Warcraft gave my character when I started adventuring through the Vashj’ir undersea zone,” Mysecretid said. “You can’t use the seahorse mount anywhere but Vashj’ir, but it sure looks nice. Even the ornate bit and bridle design impressed me.”
I have to wonder if, when mounted, your character is thinking, “You know, this is just too ridiculous, even for this game. I really should say something to management.”
This past weekend was not the first time I have attended a developer’s convention, but Frontier Expo 2017 was one of only a very few times when I have been able to attend the first one of its kind. Last weekend, I got to witness the birth of Frontier Developments’ fan convention, held in London, UK. At 1500 attendees, it may have been a relatively small gathering compared to conventions like PAX or other more established cons, but it was still great. In fact, it offered fans a few firsts of their own! Besides your classic meeting-and-greeting, game announcements with reveals, and after parties (including live entertainment by Jim Guthrie, the musician who created the Planet Coaster music), folks got to try their hand at the studio’s really old games on their original equipment in the Frontier Developments museum.
Even more than that, attendees got to meet and listen to world-renowned experts in the fields of paleontology and astrobiology. Not because these would sell the game, but just because they are subjects of interest to fans. How many studios have offered that?
Now there were understandably a few bumps and learning experiences in this first endeavor, but in all, I say the inaugural FX2017 was a resounding success! It was easily the most chill convention experience I have ever had, and I look forward to next year’s show (and hanging out with the space loach more!). Let’s dig in!
So here is an interesting conundrum: Say you have a highly anticipated raid in the works that you’ve already delayed. Now that the new launch date is approaching, you’ve discovered a pretty significant exploit but don’t have the time to properly institute a fix. What do you do?
For Destiny 2’s Prestige raid, Bungie has decided not to delay a second time, electing instead to push the raid (and its exploit) live on October 18th and monitor player activity for the time being until the fix is ready to deploy. Sounds legit.
“We can now detect if any teams use this exploit to gain an advantage,” the studio posted. “This will take some extra time to verify, but we will be able to crown the winners with the confidence they deserve.”
One of the points of the polls and discussions for Guild Wars 2
the other week was that while I could focus on either map antics or storyline progression, I wouldn’t be doing just one or the other. Some of this is just practicality – if a story mission is bringing me close to a waypoint anyway, it would be silly for me to just shrug and not pick it up, and it’s kind of important that I use whatever means available to me to pick up more Hero points. But some of it was the fact that the game has, in many ways, an organic flow.
The game’s story doesn’t always bring you to the important places, but it usually at least strives to push players into spaces where they’re going to brush up against points of interest. (By which I mean “all the various map icons” rather than the game-specific definition of “point of interest.”) The intent, then, is not that you spend all of your time doing one thing or the other; you spend your time doing both, running through story instances and then hopping back out as it becomes relevant.
We’ve been complaining about lockboxes a lot lately as an unwelcome psychological trick in gaming, so this morning, I wanted to talk about a welcome one. To do so, let me invoke the wisdom of blog The Psychology of Video Games. Author Jamie Madigan discusses “automatic helping behaviors” that studios can take advantage of to combat toxicity; he notes that researchers have found your attitude doesn’t always control your actions – you can often be tricked into an attitude based on your actions.
So if a game like Guild Wars 2 finds a way to incentivize you into resurrecting other players and helping them in combat, you begin to perceive yourself as the kind of person who helps – and you might just begin reflexively helping elsewhere, even when you don’t have to. That leads to situations, at least in GW2, where people will actually stop fighting to rush over to res a stranger, perpetuating that warm fuzzy feeling.
In a game like Overwatch, it’s even more automatic, as your character fires off compliments when characters nearby perform well. See and hear “yourself” do that enough and suddenly, that’s the kind of player you are.
Are you a fan of MMOs that employ this “trick” to encourage cooperation and community building? Where else have you seen it used to good effect?
MOP reader Sally Bowls is on a roll with the good questions lately! She lobbed us one this past weekend that seems a good follow-up to a comment thread discussion about the problems inherent in unregulated three-way factional PvP/RvR (and how a game like Camelot Unchained will regulate it). By way of example, she noted that a certain MMO griefer famously argued in favor of strategy that basically made the opponent not want to log in, using tactics like creating timesinks and hassles in a sandbox. “Should the dominant faction on a RvRvR server ‘camp’ the smallest to try to drive them off?” she wondered.
“If it’s about fair PvP, then that is anathema. But if you see the game as being about your faction being at war with other factions, then not doing your utmost to win that war is incompetence. Neither is bad design per se, just a conflict in understanding of the goals. And will Camelot Unchained really be RvR, doing everything legal for your realm to win? Or will it be about PvP battles, with the RvR rhetoric being more marketing fluff than von Clausewitz and Machiavelli? If camping a mine hurts your kill/death ratio but makes the opponent weaker due to hassles or crafting, is that winning or losing? Is an RvR game really about realms vs. realms or is it just another BG?”
I’ve pitched Sally’s comments to the team for consideration in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Is RvR just a more carebear-friendly way to market FFA PvP? Do you play RvR or factional PvP to win or to have fun, and how does that differ from a more open FFA sandbox? How would you design three-way factional PvP to keep people from quitting and stop griefing before it starts?
Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.
One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.
One of the reasons raiding continues to be a sore spot in the MMORPG community is that it’s difficult — if not impossible — to find a good solution to bringing inexperienced players up to speed with veterans without frustrating both groups. It’s an issue with which Destiny 2 is currently grappling without a graceful reply.
Instead of using a traditional raid matchmaking system, Bungie’s answer to the raid grouping conundrum is by using “Guided Games.” These attempt to replicate a mentor-mentee relationship between the masters and novices, but so far it’s not working as planned. Players are being thrown together with others from around the world (raising language barriers), some can’t or won’t use voice chat (which is problematic on consoles), queues are quite long for novices, and experienced raiders feel resentful over having to bring new players up to speed over and over and over again.
I feel like making a bold statement today, so here it goes: Destiny 2’s soundtrack is far and away better than its predecessor — and I include any of the DLC’s music as well.
Oh, I didn’t dislike Destiny’s OST overall, but aside from a handful of noteworthy pieces, it wasn’t much more than sound and fury to me. Destiny 2, on the other hand, boasts meticulously crafted tunes that span an emotional spectrum of excitement, contentment, uncertainty, struggle, defeat, and victory across its rather expansive album. It was a delight to listen through the 44 tracks that make up the launch album and a struggle to choose just six of my favorite pieces to share.
The score was handled by a team of composers, including Michael Salvatori, Skye Lewin, Rotem Moav, Pieter Schlosser, and C. Paul Johnson. I truly hope that the game’s popularity spurs players to pick it up and hear some excellent video game music on its own. Let’s listen through a sample of what this OST has to offer!