It may be hard to believe, but it has already been about four years since SOE decided to close down the troubled yet cult favorite Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. On July 31, 2014, the game world went dark, and many players found themselves saying farewell to Telon for good.
While I was not a regular player of Vanguard, I did admire the game for its interesting concepts (like its diplomacy system), its gorgeous visuals, and — pertinent to this column — its soundtrack. There was a lot of artistry involved in this title, and while it was hampered in many ways for many reasons, Vanguard left a legacy that is still fondly remembered by some.
Part of that legacy is its music, and other than screenshots and recollections, it is the only part of Vanguard that we can still experience today. The soundtrack was composed by Todd Masten, who has worked on many other video games such as the Age of Empires series. So let us take a trip back to this fantasy MMO and hear the music of a dead world brought back to life.
Get ready to level your butts off, because EverQuest is tossing a surprise bonus weekend to players for this week’s unexpected downtime. From now through the end of Sunday, all servers have activated a 25% bonus XP boon that should help everyone made up the lost time.
“On Wednesday, our live server patch was met with a number of issues that led to a lengthy downtime,” Daybreak explained. “We appreciate you all being patient with us as we worked to bring the servers back up, and wanted to show our appreciation by granting all players some extra experience to make up for the lost game time.”
Earlier this month, Pantheon’s community team tweeted out a question that keeps coming back to me: “What motivates you to play an MMORPG for long periods of time, as in months, sometimes, years?” My first reaction was a pretty common one I bed and was true for me for a long time: friends and guildies! I certainly played some games far longer than I would have otherwise because I wanted to hang out with friends (EverQuest in particular is coming to mind).
But in recent years, when I already “see” my friends and guildies every day in external chats, I’d found games need some other draw too. Housing is probably the biggest one. I don’t usually get sucked in for dailies or anything like that, but give me a house that I love and want to keep up – that I’ll not only log in for but pay for, as my continuing Ultima Online fees prove.
What keeps you logging into MMORPGs over a long period of time?
Massively OP reader Steve wants us to revisit the Daily Grind on making death more meaningful without making it more annoying. His letter was long, so let me paraphrase a bit:
“It feels to me like underlying point was, ‘MMOs are too easy, so how do we make them harder?’ The question of video game difficulty is something that is seldom ever tackled head-on, as it tends to draw out a somewhat vocal minority. There are so many worthy topics about how people define difficulty, twitch skills vs. depth, easy vs. hard, difficulty vs. accessibility, easy vs. engaging, shallowness vs. depth, and so on. These are things I’d love to really see discussed more online, and very few sites will actually touch it. But I think that MOP’s community is overall mature enough to actually have some discussions about this without it devolving into a fist fight.”
I’m sure you’ll prove him right! Right, guys? Guys? So let’s talk about MMO difficulty in this week’s Massively Overthinking. What do we really mean when we talk about “difficulty” in MMORPGs? Are games easier than they used to be, and if so, is there something studios should do to change that?
For those playing the now-free H1Z1 battle royale, a small Thursday patch might hold a few changes to improve your game experience.
It seems as though the primary purpose of this patch is to optimize the game’s performance, an effort which is vital to any PvP-focused title. Players using older computers will see the most improvement, although Daybreak is helping everyone out by putting an end to exuberant players who keep spamming the celebration emote.
Other tweaks include reducing the match countdown timer, showing kill receipts in team spectate mode, forbidding players from getting around ping restrictions by grouping up, and allowing players access to the map right away when going into Fort Destiny.
Now that Lord of the Rings Online
has emerged from Mordor, it’s preparing to go back in the future. SSG’s Rob Ciccolini and Jerry Snook
opened up about next couple of updates with MMO Central, teasing an epic confrontation with the giant spider Shelob. Before this takes place, however, Update 23 is going to deliver what sounds like a new region and lots of new instances.
“Our next update will move towards the Grey Mountains, but as we expand we expect to have some reference or maybe even a short appearance because that will be the beginning of [Shelob’s] storyline,” said Ciccolini.
With Project Gorgon now out on Steam early access, many first-time visitors to this strange game are feeling out the world and its systems. So what are they discovering?
Tales of the Aggronaut said that he was “hooked” when he put in a good weekend: “Part of the charm of this game is that it plops you into the game with no real warning or advisement about what you should be doing.”
“There’s never any doubting the sheer personality evident in every aspect of the game,” recommended Inventory Full. “The enthusiasm and good nature of the tiny development team sweeps all cynicism away.”
Project Gorgon not your cup of tea? Join us after the break for blog essays on Second Life, RIFT Prime, Shroud of the Avatar, and even Dungeons & Dragons!
Video games have always been a remarkably insular field; that’s the nature of development. Someone produces Super Mario Bros, and a few years later Sonic the Hedgehog sounds like a really good idea for some reason. But then you have games like The Great Giana Sisters, games that don’t try to just copy parts of what made the inspiration good but just copy the whole thing with one or two changes.
For normal video games, this can work out decently; a game that just doesn’t get much traction still sells some copies, hopefully. Just because Croc wasn’t Spyro didn’t mean that no one bought the former. But for online games, these trend-chasing games are almost always dramatic failures that litter the landscape. Why is that? Well, there are pretty good reasons, and today seems like a good time to talk about that.
It may not be the Highest of Silly Days, but Bristlebane is still going in EverQuest II. And that means plenty of silliness for Massively OP’s MJ to partake in. Crazy quests and crazier rewards await, so join us live at 8:00 p.m. for the final days of this festival.
What: EverQuest II
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
Daybreak’s loss is Amazon’s gain — again.
Former H1Z1 Community Manager Greg Henninger revealed that he has jumped ship from Daybreak over to Amazon Games Studio. “I am moving on to another adventure. I’m sticking with the games industry, I’m still going to be around,” Henninger said to H1Z1 fans last month.
Yesterday, he tweeted that he was starting his first day at Amazon Game Studios this week. It looks probable that Henninger has joined John Smedley’s studio team, as he is staying in San Diego and Smedley retweeted Henninger’s job announcement. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K, Bill!
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 Atlantica Online, War of Rights, Dungeon Fighter Online, Pokemon Go, Crossout, Battlerite, EverQuest, ARK Park, Reign of Guilds, Orbus VR, Avabel Online, and Overwatch, all waiting for you after the break!
RIFT’s new Prime progression server certainly has recaptured or recruited many MMO bloggers to the game as of late, and it is all anyone seems to be talking about. So how’s the word out on the web?
Nerdy Bookahs observed that Trion “chose a perfect time” to release the progression server. The Ancient Gaming Noob initially felt conflicted but soon fell into a groove: “There was the feeling of life in the game, with lots of people around and public groups to join and things just happening everywhere.” And GamingSF said that he’s “coming along swimmingly” on the shard.
It wasn’t all kudos and praise. Endgame Variable hedged his outlook by saying that RIFT Prime was “fun, but I don’t think it will last very long.” Inventory Full felt disillusioned with the way the original game was handled and said, “RIFT simply doesn’t have the depth or breadth of content of either of the EverQuest games, nor the nostalgia factor.”
Read on for the MMO blogosphere’s thoughts on other topics, including inventory woes in Guild Wars 2, the classic multiplayer dogfight sim Air Warrior, and the early access release of Project Gorgon.
Spring has sprung! And for EverQuest II, that means a return of Beast’r Eggs and Bristlebane. Norrathians get to celebrate the season by immersing themselves in frivolity and fun, pranks and pets, egg hunts and event rewards… but only for a limited time.
More than most events, these two are time sensitive. While the Bristlebane Day festival startes yesterday and goes for two weeks, The Highest of Silly Days is only one day — April 1st. And the Beast’r Eggstravaganza only lasts a single week, ending early on the 4th. The chances of missing out on the semore time-limited festivities is too high, so I’m going to help you make sure you can catch these celebrations this year! I’ve got tips and tricks as well as a general guide to help you make the most of both festivals.