b2p

‘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.

The Daily Grind: Do you expect MMO expansions to include new classes, or is a new spec good enough?

Back when Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire was announced, a number of our commenters sparred over whether or not the game’s elite specs should more properly be considered and counted new classes. Some people argued that they were literally new classes; others maintained that the amount of class content in the specs, when taken together, surpassed merely adding a new class and a few new skills for existing classes. I tend to sit in the camp that says they’re not classes or the equivalent of classes, and while I’d personally rather have a new class and an excuse to roll a new toon, specs might be better anyway because they’re content for everybody.

It was a lively debate, one that suggested to me that an awful lot of us still expect new classes from MMORPG expansions. And now that we’ve had a weekend with Path of Fire’s elite specs, this seems a good time to ask: Is it true? Do you expect MMO expansion to include new classes? Where do you stand on things like “elite specs” in lieu of a new class to roll?

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One Shots: Hugs not drugs

This week’s edition of One Shots is brought to you by the National Hugs and Fistbumps Council, which recommends that everyone enjoy at least five full embraces every day, preferably without something creepy whispered in the ear. “I can feel your tummy gurgling against my tummy.” That sort of thing.

It’s also brought to you by Kawaii Five-O, who’s having some fun in Final Fantasy XIV. “I’m enjoying the Moonfire Faire festivities with a special someone,” she said. “While not an unplayable race, I do wish the Au Ra (females in particular) more closely resembled their early concept art that depicted them as being much more demonic and imposing looking and less of a cutesy human with horns and a spattering of scales.”

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Trove’s subclassing system launches with Eclipse next week

A total solar eclipse isn’t a common event — the continental US hasn’t seen one in almost 40 years. So it makes a lot of sense for games to take advantage of the occasion, and that’s exactly what Trion is doing with Trove next week with its Eclipse update.

The highlight of that update isn’t eclipse glasses, although perhaps it should be: It’s actually the subclassing system that we’ve been stoked about for months. It’s probably going to remind you more of Marvel Heroes than of Guild Wars, as each of the existing classes, when taken as a subclass on a character, will provide a specific passive bonus — but it’s based on your power level in that other class. So since my mains are a Tomb Raiser and Candy Barb, I could take Candy Barb as the subclass on my Tomb Raiser for this bonus:

“Provides extra Stability and has a chance to drop candy when damaging an enemy. The candy increases attack and either movement speed or healing.”

Which I will do because candy. But the exciting bit is that it provides people a reason to play multiple classes and benefits those with a deep bench on their account. Check out the whole list of bonuses on the official site — spot any obvious synergies?

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Guild Wars 2’s second Path of Fire preview weekend is about to begin

Update: It’s live!

Didn’t get a chance to jump into Guild Wars 2 during last weekend’s Path of Fire preview weekend? You’re getting another chance today, although this leg of the event will focus on the game’s elite specs as they play in PvP, not the on the first PvE map and mounts.

We anticipate that it’ll launch any minute now based on last week’s start time. The weekend event will be followed up by the launch of PvP season 8.

Massively OP Guild Wars 2 columnist Tina Lauro Pollock deep-dived the expansion last weekend and delivered her thoughts in a special Flameseeker Chronicles yesterday, so tune in to that while you wait, and check out the dev diaries on all the elite specs down below. Will you be testing any out?

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Massively Overthinking: Alone together vs. forced grouping in MMORPGs

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that everyone has at some point seen the xkcd called Isolation, but if not, there it is. No matter what the age and era, someone’s always preaching that people were more sociable in the long long ago. In this comic, however, Randall Munroe isn’t even contesting that. His point is basically no duh and so what. Yes, we become less sociable with random people in our immediate vicinity as we gain more and more access to ideas, entertainment, and people not in our immediate vicinity thanks to technology. Ultimately, replacing impromptu stranger interaction with the amusements of our choice appears to be what a lot of people wanted all along.

MMORPG players surely see where I’m going with this because we have the same eternal struggle when it comes to in-game socializing, grouping, community, and stickiness, the tug-of-war between the people who want to play alone together and the people who think that forced grouping is the only true path to enlightenment.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to reflect on the alone together vs. forced grouping spectrum, to talk about where they stand on it, whether that position’s changed through the years, which games are addressing the divide the best, and how the two sides can move forward in a dynamic MMO genre.

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The Stream Team: Exploring Bloodroot Forge in Elder Scrolls Online’s Horns of the Reach

What is lurking in Bloodroot Forge ? Massively OP’s MJ just got ESO’s latest DLC Horns of the Reach and she is eager to explore this new dungeons. She has no idea what she will find there, though. Will it be great glory and rewards, or death and destruction? What monsters will she face? Join us live at 3:00 p.m. as MJ delves into the new dungeon. Perhaps she will even make it out alive!

What: The Elder Scrolls Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, August 17th, 2017

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Impressions of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire preview weekend experience

I’m delighted to have found a moment to bring you an extra edition of Flameseeker Chronicles that outlines my thoughts on the first Guild Wars 2Path of Fire preview weekend. From last Friday until Sunday, every player was invited along to take some tentative steps into the Crystal Desert and get to grips with the raptor mount. We were also treated to a little bit of introductory story that ties the new zone directly to the Living World Season 3 finale without missing a beat.

So today, I will break down my preview experience into the main points, including my highlights and unfortunately ending on a pretty crummy negative. I’m hoping that further development based on the feedback from this weekend will help to lessen or negate my issue though, so I won’t be frowning for very long! Note that this article will contain some spoilers regarding the introductory story, so it’s best avoided if you are waiting until September to find out more on that front.

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Global Chat: The MMO blogosphere’s reaction to Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire

It seems like the entire MMO blogosphere wanted to chip in thoughts on the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire announcement, whether or not each writer was playing the game. So what did they all think?

“Finally, something other than dragons to fight!” enthused Occasional Hero. “I love mounts. And I love leaping and jumping mounts,” wrote Aywren Sojourner. “BUT. We all know what else a mount system introduces — cash shop opportunities!”

GamingSF ran down the features, saying that he’s on the fence as to whether or not to come back: “The best way to know that, I suspect, is to play some of the game in the time between now and the 22nd of September.”

Not everyone is on board with the expansion. “The announcement did not in any way overcome my healthy skepticism of the ‘horizontal progression’ philosophy of the game,” chimed in Endgame Viable. And In An Age seems like he’d wants to play, but admits that the business model puts him in a “mental bind” regarding both expansions.

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Perfect Ten: MMOs obsessed with the floating islands trope

One of the fun things about this hobby is that certain tropes repeat themselves constantly. And they’re usually weirdly specific tropes, too. Poop quests, for example. So many MMOs have one quest or another that make you dealing with poop. Someone has a fixation that is probably not entirely healthy, and that someone keeps getting hired to design quests.

But sometimes you try to come up with a trope that’s so specific that it has to be unique. Or at least rare. “MMOs that feature a zone full of floating islands requiring flight to travel around.” At least one zone, and it is traveled around via flight. That cannot be common, that has to be…

Wait. How did I not only get a full list but actually have to decline some entries? How the heck did this happen? There are this many MMOs using this astonishingly specific trope? How did this happen and why?

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Elite: Dangerous has passed 2.75 million sales

Good news for the Elite: Dangerous crew; according to the Frontier Developments Twitter account, Elite: Dangerous and the Horizons expansion have passed a grand total of 2.75 million sales. The phrasing is slightly ambiguous, as it could mean the combined total of each one’s individual sales is 2.75 million or that the game has sold 2.75 million copies altogether. Both are impressive, certainly, especially as the last sales data we had was from January 2016 when the base game had sold 1.4 million copies.

If you’re part of the crowd and plan to be out for PAX West in the near future, you can take part in the studio’s planned Frontier meet-up for fans and community on August 31st, 2017. The event is first-come-first-served and does have limited capacity, so you should make your plans soon, but it’s there if you want to go. The rest of us can sit back and relish the days when 825,000 sales was a major milestone.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 131: Just surviving

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree break down the big Guild Wars 2 news, celebrate FFXIV’s momentous milestone, muse about Dual Universe, and more! We also have a special interview with H1Z1: Just Survive Creative Director Ben Jones about the massive overhaul to this survival sandbox.

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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Destiny 2 teases PC open beta with sweet Nvidia trailer

Hey, graphics junkies and PC fans. Are you hyped for Destiny 2’s PC launch yet? In case you’re not, Bungie and Nvidia have a brief video out effectively demonstrating why waiting a little longer for the game to hit PCs is going to be worth it.

“Experience Destiny 2 in 4K with uncapped frame rates in the PC Open Beta August 29-31. Pre-purchase Destiny 2 on PC Exclusively at Blizzard Battle.net and get 24 hour early beta access starting on August 28. Begin Destiny 2’s epic cinematic story campaign, fight below the surface of Nessus in the three-player cooperative Strike Inverted Spire, and enter the Crucible to put your competitive multiplayer skills to the test in two 4v4 modes.”

We’re sure it’ll be pretty for you console folks too. Just not as pretty. And hey, you get to play five weeks sooner. Eyeballs below.

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Guild Wars 2 deep-dives Path of Fire’s elite specs for every class

ArenaNet has a new dev vlog out today focusing on the development of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire elite specs. Some of the class specs were born from a great name and concept, the studio says, like the Mesmer’s Mirage, whereas others were put together via a systematic review of game mechanics and consideration for what each class is currently lacking, like the Necromancer’s new support skills.

ArenaNet announced yesterday that it’ll be announcing even more (heh) about the elite specs throughout the week; expect the team’s livestream on Thursday ahead of the PvP preview weekend this Friday, then mount details on August 28th and story info coming at the beginning of September. In the meantime, the dev diary and the older elite spec videos roundup are down below.

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