Last week, a guildie of mine mentioned that he’d been interested in Crowfall until he realized he couldn’t be a gerbil (Guineacean) of the class of his choosing. It was a total coincidence that the Crowfall devs had literally that same week announced they were nuking their race/class-locked archetype system and disentangling races and classes, so I got to tell him his wish had been granted.
I think this pushes the game more solidly into MMORPG territory, so I’m happy to see it: More customization and choice and variety is what I’m all about. But I was going to play it before, too. For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’m presenting the idea of locked vs. unlocked archetypes to our staff to mull over. How important is it to you to be able to play any race/class combo in a game? Is it something you see as critical to MMORPGs? Is archetype-locking more the domain of MOBAs and ARPGs? When do you let it slide to play a fun game?
EverQuest II recently introduced a new feature with the release of GU103 back on May 10th called the Proving Grounds. That place is no joke. I can assure you that it is pretty aptly named; this little instance is all about showing you and your group what you are made of.
When this feature was first announced, I was pretty excited. Who doesn’t like new content, especially something with replayability? It sounded fun. Initially I had thought (hoped?) that the new Proving Grounds content would be a feature enjoyable by the majority of the population. What I learned — quite quickly — was that my hopes and reality were two very different things. And I learned that the hard way. Hard as in double-digit-death-counter hard. Instead of sinking my teeth into this content, it sunk its teeth into me! Now that’s not necessarily a problem. I enjoy a challenge, and I do so look forward to conquering this one and exacting some revenge. However, I just wish my first experiences with the Proving Grounds didn’t come with more disappointment and frustration than fun because I do think it’s a good idea filled with promise. Read more
If you’re looking for the authentic classic MMO experience, shouldn’t a rough launch be part of it? That’s kind of the sour joke you hear being said concerning the start of EverQuest’s Agnarr progression server. Agnarr opened its doors yesterday to a crowd eager for a time-arrested experience, and yet was immediately besieged by crashes, broken character creation, zone lockouts, queues, and an allegedly rampant duping situation.
The dev team continued to post updates on the forums concerning some of the issues: “The enormous number of players attempting to create characters on Agnarr is straining our systems. We are currently managing the heavy load with a reduced maximum population cap, which we are increasing manually as players get through character creation and into the world.”
When it comes to EverQuest, it turns out you can go back again — over and over again, in fact. This fantasy MMO has earned a reputation for launching and operating progression servers, and a new one is unlocking for the populace today: Agnarr.
So why a new progression server? What sets Agnarr apart from EQ’s other time-locked shards is that Agnarr will only progress through content to a certain point and then stop then and forevermore, giving the community a “classic” server that is forever arrested at 2003. This means that by the middle of next year, the core game through Lost Dungeons of Norrath will be released and then nothing more. This is obviously aimed at players who want a more old-school experience without all of the later additions.
If you haven’t hopped back into EverQuest II since the launch of The Menagerie update earlier this month, you might want to do it today: Today is the very last day to redeem a free level 100 character boost for an existing or brand-new toon. All accounts that existed before April 20th can log in and grab the boost (and its concomitant 320 AAs and properly leveled gear) for nothing; accounts newer than that will need to sub first. The promo runs out at 3 a.m. EDT tomorrow morning (midnight tonight PDT).
MOP’s Stream Team recently hopped back into the game to check out the newly introduced Proving Grounds; you can see that below!
Ever since the tone-deaf SOE proclamation that nobody wanted to play Uncle Owen in an MMORPG, contrary me has consciously fought that very stupid idea. A whole lot of people wanted to play Uncle Owen, then and now, there and elsewhere. Star Wars Galaxies was a game half full of Uncle Owens. I spent a lot of time literally becoming a moisture farmer as my own form of rebellion. And yet, as I realized while debating with my husband a few weeks ago, the person I really wanted to be was freakin’ Lando. And most MMORPGs don’t allow that either — it’s Luke or GTFO.
Such is the argument made by a recent PC Gamer article, which in its own precious mainstream way argues that “MMOs need to let you be an average Joe” to get out of the clear “creative slump” they’re in.
“With their scale and permanence, MMOs give us the chance to be citizens in a make-believe world we create with the help of our fellow players. When it’s left up to us what kind of role we want to fill in that world, everybody’s immersion benefits from being surrounded by all types of characters with vastly different stories.”
For this week’s Overthinking, I asked the staff to chime in on the concept of Uncle Owen in MMORPGs. Do you play this way? Do you wish you could? And is it the way forward?
I have always found this part of the development cycle to be the worst part. Right now, we are sitting at the point in Elder Scrolls Online when you really don’t want to move forward progressing your character because some of the endgame or character progression, in general, will change next week. However, you are very excited about what is to come in the next expansion, and you really want to play ESO at the same time.
It’s a strange phenomenon, and one that is unique to MMOs. When Skyrim was about to release Dragonborn a few years back, it had been a little bit since we had visited Skyrim. For me personally, I had a little game called Star Wars: The Old Republic that I had been playing, so when Dragonborn came out, I replayed Skyrim to refresh my memory before jumping into that expansion. However, MMOs are meant to be played all the time, and well, we’ve been playing ESO this whole time leading up to Morrowind. How do we do to channel our excitement?
Well, I have some fun suggestions for every Elder Scrolls fan. These are my five suggestions for things to do while waiting for ESO: Morrowind to release.
We’re sorry to report this evening the passing of an MMORPG genre veteran, John Tessin, who worked for SOE for 13 years, most extensively on EverQuest II.
John’s daughter told friends and family that he’d been suffering from cancer but that his death was nevertheless sudden. She asked for a small donation through GoFundMe to handle burial expenses not being covered by veteran’s benefits; as I write this, that fundraiser has already exceeded its ask thanks to the generosity of developers and gamers.
Big hugs go out to John’s family and colleagues from all of us at MOP.
EverQuest II just opened up a new type of content to players: the Proving Grounds. Each week for two weeks there’s a new competition where two teams race to complete a challenge first. Massively OP’s MJ went in to the first challenge last night with friends, and it was quite the eye-opening experience. Today the group is going to try the new pirate-themed version that just opened. There will likely be much feeding of the Death Counter! Join us live at 9:00 p.m. for a peek into this new feature.
What: EverQuest II
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
Kind of a weird and fascinating week for MMOs, as an expansion has a legal showdown with a charity, a western MMO is announced, and Vvardenfell decided to come to us two weeks early. Is the industry shaping up for the most explosive June on record? It might just be!
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Indie MMO Pantheon’s latest newsletter recaps the past month, so if you’re paying plenty of attention to the game, you’ve already seen the featured Monk stream. But Visionary Realms has also put out a bit more information on both the new class and the acclimation system. The studio is damn proud of acclimation in particular:
“Acclimation is a method of dealing with the harsh environments you will find in the world of Terminus. By using various infusions on different parts of the body, characters can help mitigate the external forces that may impact them. These infusions are on a tier based system, with lower tiers being more common and the highest requiring more advanced gameplay to attain. As with most of the systems planned for Pantheon, a measure of player interaction will be present in the form of craftable infusions. Another level of complexity is achieved by allowing more than one environmental system to be active simultaneously. Players will be able to use multiple infusions at once to help counteract their effects.”
Pantheon’s Monk is also on display; old-school EverQuest players are going to feel right at home with the class, which designed “not as just a fantastic pulling class, but also as capable melee DPS, short term crowd control and as a suitable offtank.”
If you’ve wanted to get back into EverQuest II but felt overwhelmed by how far behind the curve you’d be, it’s your lucky fortnight! Now you can be totally overwhelmed by all the max-level skills instead! With yesterday’s launch of GU103 The Menagerie, Daybreak is offering all players free boosts to level 100. And this gift isn’t just for All-access members: From now until May 23rd at 2:59 a.m. EDT, anyone with an account created before April 20th, 2017, can log in and claim a free bauble that will grant 100 levels, 320 AAs, and a set of ready-to-wear gear. Brand-new accounts can also get the bauble if they subscribe. That boost will definitely come in handy if you want to participate in the new update as well as the latest expansion!
EQII’s GU103 update offers new quests (the Kunark Ascending epilogue quest and a new heritage quest), introduces familiars (unique pets that bestow powerful buffs), and opens up the first cooperative competition zones (accessed via the multi-server battlegrounds server). Called Proving Grounds, these first limited-time experiences are Race to Completion challenges, pitting two groups against each other to see who finishes first. First up is Battle for Felwithe, running until May 16th. The second, Battle Upon the High Seas, will then go from May 16th through the 23rd.
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?