Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.
That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.
Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.
Destiny 2’s recent PC beta certainly brought out curious players in droves, and MMO bloggers couldn’t help but share their opinions on this next evolution of the sci-fi shooter franchise — even if those opinions weren’t too positive.
“It proved to be a deeply disappointing experience,” Superior Realities said. “Not because of anything wrong with the game, but because the beta offered such a small sliver of it as to be entirely pointless.”
Endgame Viable just doesn’t get it: “I know I’m going to regret this, but: What’s all the hype about? I didn’t hate it, but Destiny 2 looked and played like every other shooter.”
How would you respond to those observations? While you think about it, let’s look past D2: The Mighty Space Ducks to more essays on Elder Scrolls Online, EverQuest II, and the dinosaurs of ARK: Survival Evolved.
So hey, Destiny 2
launched for consoles, and a lot of you bought it, if the 1.2 million concurrent player mark
is any judge. We haven’t seen formal numbers from Activision yet, and though Bungie was talking about Destiny 2 preorders ahead of launch, sales so far in
the UK haven’t surpassed Destiny 1’s
as expected, in spite of topping the charts for the year
Console players, meanwhile, will see the Leviathan raid unlocking on September 13th, Trials of the Nine starting up on September 15th, and many other challenges being presented in a slow roll for the next few weeks. So don’t worry if you’ve already plowed your way up to the top in the game right after release, you’ll have more to do soon.
The developers are also hard at work investigating known issues, working server queues in when necessary, and releasing the game’s official soundtrack. So it’s full steam ahead for Destiny 2 fans, there’s more on deck for the next several weeks, and you can count on some bugfixes incoming as well. Relax, listen to a soundtrack, and enjoy the ride. Or enjoy the wait, depending on your platform of choice.
Yesterday, we touched on the controversy brewing in Destiny 2, where Bungie has begun selling one-use consumables dubbed shaders (akin to dyes) – items that were free in the original game. Now the studio’s responded to the criticism.
“Shaders are earned through gameplay: leveling, chests, engrams, vendors. We expect you’ll be flush w/ Shaders as you continue to play,” Bungie’s Luke Smith tweeted. “When you reach level 20, Shaders will drop more often: vendor rewards, destination play and endgame activities. Shaders are now an ongoing reward for playing. Customization will inspire gameplay. Each planet has unique armor and Shader rewards. With D2, we want statements like ‘I want to run the Raid, Trials, or go back to Titan to get more of its Shader’ to be possible.”
There are worse responses, I suppose. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What else is going on in the world of Destiny since its launch? Oh, nothing much. Just a patch for the promised clan progression features and confirmation that the first DLC will indeed bear the “Curse of Osiris” title — that last last bit thanks to the Xbox Store:
Did you stay up last night until midnight, waiting for your turn at Destiny 2
? Were you watching the Bungie feed as it posted launches around the globe, its social media intern hopelessly confused about which countries constitute Central Europe
? Did you take a “sick” day today only to wait in queues
all night and be unable to form your guild
while griping on Reddit about pay-to-win
? Or were you vicariously watching the hoopla through streamers who’ve already beaten the game
in just 12 hours?
Welcome to the launch of an MMO!
We’ve rounded up all our Destiny 2 news, plus the official launch trailer, the epic dance trailer from Japan, the launch message from Bungie, and our hands-on with the game from earlier this summer. PC players, you’ll have to keep dancing until October 24th. Sorry dudes and dudettes.
console servers are beginning their staggered opening today, starting with our friends down under in Australia and New Zealand, where the clock’s just struck midnight and the streaming hoopla is now underway
Multiple outlets are reporting that you may be able to sneak in anyway if you happen to have received your physical disc already, as the servers are already up. Digital folks, you’ll be waiting until the designated time. And PC players, you’ll have to contend with mere beta for now; it launched last week, at least for those who’ve purchased a copy ahead of the final October 24th PC launch.
Remember back in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
, when a shave and a haircut cost you a nickel and a WoW token was selling for about 35,000 gold? Those days are long over, my friend, and it looks like it’s only going to get pricier from here.
Blizzard Watch reports that the cost for a WoW token is on the rise once again, nearly topping 166,000 gold on the North American auction house this week. This is most definitely due to Destiny 2’s PC beta — and it is not the first time that this upcoming Blizzard Activision game has rocked the WoW token economy.
WoW tokens took an expected uptick at the launch of Legion, but they didn’t really start shooting up astronomically until back in February when Blizzard allowed players to redeem them for store currency in addition to World of Warcraft gametime.
European dead zone sure sounds festive, right? Well, it looks pretty, anyway. Bungie revealed the open world environ in a new video from Gamescom yesterday
. The new trailer shows players stalking through ruined cathedrals and swampy caves and tech camps, highlighting adventures, quests, loot boxes, the rep screen, exploration, lore acquisition, and endlessly shooting baddies. Really, it’s mostly that.
Meanwhile, Destiny 2 project lead Mark Noseworthy is featured in a long piece on Rolling Stone, in which he points out – without using the word – that accessibility was a problem in the original game that D2 is meant to rectify.
“It was a game that became difficult to recommend. It got to this point where, you know, your brother-in-law or someone would ask you, ‘Hey, should I be playing this Destiny game?’ And my first instinct would be like, ‘Mmm, I don’t know if I’ve got enough time to carry you for that period of time, where I’m gonna have to explain everything.'”
Notably, Noseworthy says he’s already requested time off after launch — to actually play the game.
Believe it or not, kiddos, there were other games in the Warcraft series than just a certain MMORPG. Warcraft III, which came out two years prior to World of Warcraft, was a smash hit that was soon overshadowed by its massively multiplayer sequel.
That doesn’t mean that Blizzard completely forgot about the game — or that players stopped enjoying it. Similar to how the studio continued to support Diablo II a decade or so after its release, Warcraft III is due for a gameplay improvement patch in the near future.
Patch 1.28.6 is currently on the test realm (a first-ever PTR for the title, in fact). The main focus here is to make maps more balanced and easier on the eyes so that all sides have a more-or-less equal start to each game. Still, the team admits that there are still projects that it wants to accomplish with this 15-year-old game: “We are aware Warcraft III matchmaking is a bit long in the tusk; we will be improving matchmaker logic for a future patch.”
Are you thinking about picking up the Necromancer pack for Diablo III when it gets released? Blizzard hopes to sway you into the “yes” column by showing some of the extra goodies you’ll be getting if you buy this bundle.
The Necromancer pack includes the titular class, two more character slots, two additional stash tabs, a portrait frame, wings, a half-formed golem pet, a wings of the crypt guardian, and some banner options.
Meanwhile for those players who prefer the good old days of Diablo II, you might be interested in the new Curse of Tristram player mod that’s recreating the game using the StarCraft 2 engine. Check it out below!
Confession time: I have spent an absurd amount of time in the Diablo universe over the years (ask me about that time a Best Buy dude was a jerk to me when I went in to buy Lord of Destruction because lol girls don’t play Diablo II! Grrr.). And I’ve played a ton of Diablo III, though I usually stop short of obsessive grinding. But I couldn’t really tell you the details of the lore. Playing ARPGs for the lore is really not what I do.
That’s what makes the LORE YouTube video on Diablo III’s lore so illuminating. I have played through this game half a dozen times and couldn’t have narrated this mess of a storyline. As the video itself notes, everybody’s clicking through the dialogue to get back to the game!
The LORE channel is pretty damn amusing overall; the channel’s done clips for World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online too. Check it out below:
It seems that it really wasn’t too long ago that I was filling in the time between night classes by boning up on video game news. I was drinking up all of the hot up-and-comers, such as Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, when I caught word that the maker of Diablo was trying to do the same thing again, only more online, in 3-D, and with a cool modern-day/futuristic/horror vibe.
There’s no better way to put it than to say that from the start, Hellgate: London looked all kinds of cool. Oh sure, you can scoff now with your perfect 20/20 hindsight, but I’m betting that more than a few of you thought the same with me around that time. Diablo but with guns and an online persistence — how could we not be intrigued? One of my most vivid memories was being torn between the idea of buying a lifetime subscription deal for $150 or not (again, this was before the free-to-play era, but also before the era of us spending the same money on alpha access. I’m just saying that you can’t judge me.).
Massively OP reader Francois recently pointed us to IGN’s Top 100 RPGs of All Time, which we thought was worth a nod since unlike many such lists, it includes several early MMORPGs: including EverQuest (100), EVE Online (81), Phantasy Star Online (63), and of course, World of Warcraft (5), plus other multiplayer games we’ve covered in the past, like Diablo II, Titan Quest, Torchlight II, Stardew Valley, Neverwinter Nights, and more Ultima, Elder Scrolls, and Final Fantasy franchise games than you can shake an ancient console cartridge at.
But I can’t help but feel as if the MMOs that were included were added more for their saturation and fame and ubiquitousness during a certain time period than for their actual quality as RPGs, especially once you apply IGN’s rubic, which mentions requirements like story, combat, and presentation. I bet gamers with more experience in the breadth of MMOs could come up with a few more examples — maybe even a few made sometime after 2004 too, yeah?
Which MMOs would you include among the greatest RPGs of all time?