Major MMO studio owned by EA, famous for its RPG franchises and particularly to MMO players for Star Wars: The Old Republic
Making a list of the “biggest” MMOs currently running is always an exercise in frustration. It’s easy to put a few things on the list – no one’s going to argue with placing World of Warcraft on such a list, for example – but then everything else always gets mired in opinions and controversy, and endless cycles of “why isn’t this game I love on there while another game I don’t like is there?!” I speak from experience.
Still, on our list of the healthiest MMOs at the moment, we’ve got only three licensed games: Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Those are by no means the only entries on the licensed game list, of course, but there does seem to be something of a dearth of those. And perhaps that’s more understandable than it seems. For all that we talk about how one setting or another would be perfect for an MMO, there are some unique troubles you inevitably run into when you get into the licensed MMO shuffle.
The latest patch for Star Wars: The Old Republic
is doubling your rewards
. Your experience? Doubled. Command XP? Also doubled. Other things? Doubled. Incoming damage? Probably not doubled, because that’s not a reward
, that’s an impediment
to a reward. But the ongoing events of the game are also
doubled, as the patch turns on the Nar Shadda Nightlife event as well. So you still get more doubling. Double everything.
And it can continue. For example, guess how many fixes were added for The Nathema Conspiracy? Double that number, there are a lot of fixes. (If you guessed the right amount initially, please halve that number, then double it. We have a theme going.) It all coincides nicely with the latest movie to hit the screen, so enjoy some extra rewards, have fun in Nar Shadda, and have fun repeating the word “double” until it loses all meaning.
When it comes to notable years in the MMORPG genre’s history, 2008 stands out as one of the most significant. World of Warcraft’s debut onto the scene in 2004 caused an upheaval in ways far too numerous to go into detail here. Suffice to say that its overwhelming popularity drew the attention of game designers who looked at the staggering numbers of players and found themselves envious of the potential to grab a slice of that money pie.
Many projects went into high gear following WoW’s launch, with plenty of them trying to copy the formula and structure that Blizzard established in the hopes of making it at least partially as big as that game. So-called WoW clones began to pepper the market and there was a sense that gamers were ready to move on from World of Warcraft to the next generation of MMOs. In many players’ minds, this would be either 2008’s Age of Conan or Warhammer Online, two big-budget MMOs with strong IPs that carried a lot of the weight of expectation.
Little did anyone realize that 2008 represented a bubble that was about to burst on the industry and the WoW clones that followed — including Warhammer Online. Today, we’re going to take a look at “bears, bears, bears,” the high hopes of Mythic Entertainment, and how WAR became a casaulty on its own battlefield.
Polygon recently had an interview with Conan Exiles creative director Joel Bylos focused on the game’s slavery mechanics, a “feature” I had entirely forgotten about, probably because the game calls such NPCs – whom you are encouraged to capture and enslave – “thralls.” Bylos likens thralls to the ‘bots of Westworld: They serve multiple purposes, from dancing for entertainment to manning base defenses as “intelligent turrets.” Essentially, he argues, they’re a mechanic that allows a single human player to build out and staff a mini empire.
I thought it would be interesting to explore the subject of slavery in Massively Overthinking now that Conan is back in the headlines (and getting good reviews). Should slavery exist in MMOs and other online games? Does it get a pass because it’s NPCs, or does it make you uncomfortable to see your player potentially cast as a heroic slaveholder?
Star Wars: The Old Republic
producer Keith Kanneg
just dropped the next roadmap
earlier today, outlining the features upcoming before September and a little bit beyond. Although he didn’t give much detail about the future of the story for the game, he gave us enough hints that we can speculate about the direction it’s headed.
At the very top of the roadmap post, Kanneg thanks everyone for such a great first year as producer of SWTOR and hopes that everyone enjoyed the traitor storyline. The story ends with a lot of questions unanswered, but unfortunately, those questions will not be answered until sometime after September according to the post. However, it’s possible that some of the setups this summer are pointing toward what the developers have planned.
Kanneg said the devs have been listening to players and “as a result, [they will] be making a lot of changes based on your feedback, beginning with our PvP plans this summer.” 2018 will be the summer of PvP for SWTOR, so let’s break down everything that the developers are doing.
Into the Void just became Out of the Vault! Massively OP’s Larry and MJ are trapped in a SWTOR
vault and need to find a way out before the now-smiling Valyn finds them. Yah, no one wants to see that! The KOTET’s
Chapter VII journey continues, so join us live at 6:00 p.m. to make all those big decisions in our Choose My Alignment adventure.
What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
With the ever-developing, ever-growing nature of MMORPGs, the expansion truly has a life of its own. By now we are well acquainted with the cycle that runs from gestation to obsolescence and can usually point to where any particular expansion is on this chart.
The Lazy Goldmaker outlined the typical progression of MMO expansion packs with a six-step cycle that focuses heavily on the economy and raiding: “After the final raid of the expansion we will enter the last content drought. This is typically the longest period with nothing exciting added to the game. We are in the middle of this phase of Legion currently. Most of the markets from the live expansion will still be viable, but profit margins will be decreasing, as will prices on all goods.”
Read on for more MMO blog essays, including ones that cover EVE Online, Wizard101, SWTOR, and LOTRO!
What began as a general vision statement for BioWare quickly turned into a treatise on how the studio is going to handle Anthem’s multiplayer mode.
General Manager Casey Hudson returned for another dev blog in which he attempted to reconcile the studio’s focus on players being the “hero of your story” while participating in Anthem’s multiplayer environment.
“We’re taking this problem head-on and structuring the entire game design to provide a specific solution for this,” Hudson wrote without going into detail on said solution. “We think it creates a unique experience where you have control over your own story, but your story is set in an ever-changing multiplayer world. And yes, even though Anthem is meant to bring out the best parts of playing as part of an online community, you can choose to play through the story with only your friends, or even on your own.”
Hudson said that BioWare has other teams working on envisioning future games and different experiences. He also confirmed that Anthem will be shown live before an audience at EA Play (June 9th through 11th).
EA’s quarterly financial report and investor call turned out to be a doozy this year with quite a bit of useful news. To wit:
BioWare’s Anthem is set to ship “in the last quarter of the year, and in the last month of that quarter,” so if we’re counting by fiscal quarters, that’s March 2019, and no wiggling out of this latest delay, EA. According to PCGN, multiple execs inflated the hype, arguing it’s a “stunning and ambitious” game with a “fundamentally social experience.”
Also, in spite of industry interviews to the contrary, it appears that EA learned basically nothing from the Star Wars Battlefront II fiasco that drove the ancient lockboxes-are-gambling argument out of weary corners of the online gaming market and into mainstream politics. The plan going forward appears to be fighting the perception – now codified in Belgium – that lockboxes are gambling in the first place. “We don’t believe that FIFA Ultimate Team or loot boxes are gambling firstly because players always receive a specified number of items in each pack, and secondly we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money,” CEO Andrew Wilson said during the call.
Tabletop games and MMORPGs seem like they would go well together, but remarkably they often don’t. That’s true for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is that we have a lot more games adapting different source material separately. You can certainly run a Star Wars: The Old Republic-themed game with a Star Wars tabletop system, but neither one is based on the other. (Technically there was a supplement published for it, but that was covering the first two single-player games, which themselves were based on that tabletop system.)
But there have still been incursions from MMOs into the tabletop space, and MMOs which pluck that fertile ground for the seeds of inspiration. So let’s spend today looking at these games, when you can log off of your favorite MMO, gather around a table with your friends, and keep playing your favorite MMO. More or less.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin look ahead at the next generation of MMORPGs in development while saying farewell to a couple of the old guard. It’s a podcast full of conspiracies, time magic, debates over subscriptions, and way too much talk about Farscape!
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:
May the fourth be with you, Massively OP readers. I hope you are having a wonderful unofficial Star Wars holiday. And if you’re thinking about jumping back into Star Wars: The Old Republic
to celebrate, then I would highly recommend that you drop down enough subscription money to play through the recent storyline.
I’m rarely surprised by a SWTOR storyline anymore. Even if there is a nice twist, it’s not totally unexpected, and it can usually be predicted that your character will play a side role in whatever conflict is happening in the galaxy at large. But it seems to me that BioWare has taken that criticism to heart and shifted focus in its storytelling in a big and surprising way.
In order to get into the depths of what I mean by SWTOR returning to form, I will have to spoil the storyline, but I also would like to help encourage people to play through this storyline. So I will compromise: The first part of this article will be a spoiler-free discussion of the long flashpoint that makes up the majority of Update 5.9, The Nathema Conspiracy. But the second part will be completely hidden under spoiler tags and will discuss what sets this storyline apart from the previous two years of storylines.
If you’ve always thought that there was a conspiracy over at BioWare, it turns out you were right. It also turns out that it’s a good thing there is one, because The Nathema Conspiracy is making Star Wars: The Old Republic
Game Update 5.9 is here with a brand-new flashpoint that wraps up the traitor saga and brings back the companions of Felix Iresso, Akaavi Spar, and Mako. In honor of the patch, double rewards are running and point games for repeatable objectives have been increased.
You’ll also want to log in tomorrow, when the May the 4th holiday will grant you a free astromech pet (and if you’re a subscriber, a speeder as well).
The patch notes are just the beginning — tune in tomorrow, when Massively OP’s Larry will bring you his first impressions of this game update!