The other day, Bree was complaining about how so many screenshots from modern MMORPGs suffer from a bland and monochrome palette. Coming to the rescue, then, is our team of expert One Shotters, scouring online games for vibrant looks and colors!
Zulika Mi-Nam kicks us off with this delectable piece of Portal Knights scenery: “The last few days I have been playing Portal Knights. I guess it is like a Stargate/Minecraft combo? It scratches the same itch that EQ Next did for me, not that I was a builder. I just like exploring and some type of progression. This is more combat oriented though.”
How’s that doggy going to get down, Zulika? Throw that dog a bone already!
EverQuest II players know the game suffered some unanticipated and lengthy downtime this week. Daybreak says it was dealing with “technical issues with [its] servers” and thinks it has those licked, but it’s delaying GU103: The Menagerie (as well as the planned level 100 boost promo) to May 9th all the same.
The good news is that today and tomorrow, the game is making up for all that with a massive experience buff.
“To thank you for your patience and support, we’ll be activating Triple XP (AA, Adventure, Tradeskill) for ALL players and ALL servers starting now. This will run until Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 11:59PM PDT (07:00 UTC),” Daybreak writes. “In addition, we’ll be activating Double Ascension Scrolls starting on Monday, May 1, 2017 at 12:01AM PDT (7:00 UTC). This will run through Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 11:59PM PDT (07:00 UTC).
Deep in the comments of the MMOs-vs.-survival-sandboxes thread from last week, reader miol_ produced a beautiful comment about how MMO players have become a minority in their own genre, which he then expounded upon for us in this provocative email.
“I’ve reached the opinion, that since the launch of WoW and its clones, the ‘original’ MMO-playerbase became a minority in their own genre. Before, we were but hundreds of thousands of MMO players, but then came Blizzard with WoW and its legions of fans in the dozen of millions at its peak, starting to dictate what the new success of MMOs should look like. Even if we others tried to vote with our wallet and feet, we became a minority, having only a fraction of our initial influence, while many devs tried desperately time and again to find ways to get at least a portion of the new Blizzard playerbase.
“Am I wrong with that perception of history? Am I totally missing something? Or are ‘we’ are slowly becoming a majority again, now that WoW and its clones are seeing steadily declining numbers (instead of us winning more players to ‘our side’)? How do we lobby better for ‘our cause’? Or can we only wait and see, until the genre is small enough again? Or is it too late? Have we ourselves grown too far apart into our even more niche corners of personal taste since SWG, while production costs and our demands for production value have skyrocketed at the same time? How could we come closer again?”
Let’s tackle miol_’s questions in this week’s Massively Overthinking.
First there was EverQuest. Then there was Ever, Jane. Now there’s EverClicker. This sort of trend could go on (wait for it) forever.
KingsIsle, the studio behind both Wizard101 and Pirate101, is branching out into the mobile space and is looking for fan support to propel its newest title onto Steam. On the Wizard101 forums, the team asks the community to head over to Steam Greenlight to vote for EverClicker in the hopes of seeing it hit the big time.
Oddly enough, both 101 games have yet to debut on Steam themselves, but KingsIsle said that EverClicker could pave the way for that. “It’s easier to start our journey onto Steam with a game that isn’t hugely complicated with a lot of moving parts,” the studio said. “Starting with EverClicker on Steam allows us to learn the process. If successful, we hope to be able to offer more of our games on Steam and other distribution outlets in the future, which could include games such as Wizard101 and Pirate101.”
Are you cooperative or competitive in EverQuest II? Do you like to work with others or work against them? The good news is that according to the newest producer’s letter, you’ll have an opportunity to do both with the game’s new “co-opetitive” challenges. (That’s their term, not ours.) You’ll work together with your group to clear content, and in the process you’ll be hindering and trying to go faster than other groups doing the same challenge. The rewards are new loot, including the upcoming Familiars, companions that can allow you access to stat boosts and the like.
The game is also offering a free level 100 boost token for players with accounts existing before April 20th, or players who make a subsequent account with paid membership time before the promotion starts up on May 2nd. There are also plans in motion for the game’s upcoming expansion and a new time-locked expansion server with special Heritage quest rewards. So there’s a lot to look forward to on the game’s live servers for the next couple of months, whether you like being part of a team or working against a team. Or both.
The next EverQuest progression server is on its way on May 24th, but it’s a little different than previous progression servers because this one won’t ever catch up to the live game. It’s not supposed to. No, this server is meant to be locked into the era of Planes of Power; after six total expansions have been released (The Ruins of Kunark, The Scars of Velious, The Shadows of Luclin, The Planes of Power, The Legacy of Ykesha, Lost Dungeons of Norrath), the server will stop there. No more progression.
Of course, this is a good thing if that’s exactly your favorite era of the game and when you’d want to stop anyway, so the game’s 12-week schedule for each expansion might be just perfect for you. The server is also a true box server, meaning that multiboxing isn’t allowed, so you’ve got to play the game with everyone else as the developers intended. You can hop on to the new server on May 24th, and all of your questions about raid lockouts and the like have already received helpful answers in anticipation.
A small patch that’s going out to EverQuest II’s servers today is correcting one slight issue that players have had on the time-locked expansion shards. Apparently, auto-attack damage had been reduced on those servers, a problem that the patch will correct.
There are a few other adjustments in the patch, most concerning the Realm of Despair and Ruins of Kaesora raids. You might want to give the patch notes a once-over to see if any of this affects your gameplay.
In other EverQuest II news, right now there’s an event going on that is awarding double ascension scrolls until Thursday midnight. So if you’re working on fleshing out your ascension class, take advantage of this bonus while it’s running!
When World of Warcraft was in beta and I first gave it a go, I remember being absolutely captivated by questing. It wasn’t as if no MMORPGs before hadn’t included quests. Most of them had, in some way or another, be they Ultima Online’s escort quests, EverQuest’s epics, or Star Wars Galaxies’ missions. The thing that made all the games prior to Blizzard’s 2004 spectacle so different was that questing wasn’t the primary thing to do to advance your character to the cap — it wasn’t the core gameplay element at all. So those of us who were tired of grinding out mobs to level up welcomed a different paradigm, not quite realizing that we were seeing a huge shift in the way MMORPGs were going to be designed from then on out in terms of what players were expected to do — and what we would no longer be able to do at all.
Fast-forward to today: Now when an MMORPG is announced and looks to be primarily quest-driven, at least to the cap, players moan and groan about boring and tedious quest grinds. Just another themepark, people say. I’d rather log out than do one more pointless quest.
Are you also sick of MMORPG questing?
The graveyard of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak Game Company is certainly full enough to be considered a threat if there was ever a zombie uprising among MMORPGs. From PlanetSide to Free Realms, there are plenty of live games that were disposed of in this grim fictional burial ground. But there are also those stillborn titles that never had the change to make or break in a live environment. EverQuest Next might be the most fresh in our minds, but go back a handful of years and you might have seen players lamenting the loss of a different promising SOE game: The Agency.
The Agency seems like a natural fit for the studio’s focus on first-person shooters and a willingness to branch out from strictly fantasy territory. Instead of dragons or stormtroopers, players in this game were to face off against terrorist organizations and dastardly spy agencies, all in the pursuit of living out the ultimate James Bond fantasy.
But instead of sitting on our desktop, The Agency exists only in a forgotten corner of this imaginary cemetery. Today, let us tenderly brush off its worn tombstone and remember what we can about this canceled spy shooter.
Bunnies and eggs! Flowers and grass! Lots and lots of chocolate as we hoard every Cadbury thing we can find! (Or maybe that’s just me?) Yep, Easter is this weekend, making it a convenient time for MMOs to shower us in stuff to keep us indoors and playing instead of outside marveling in the end of winter. We’ve collected a few of those events down below!
I’ve mentioned in a previous Daily Grind that I once fell asleep in the middle of an incredibly boring raid in EverQuest. It wasn’t even that late and I wasn’t overly tired; I was just super bored of the whole pull-fight-inch-forward ordeal. My friends had to call me to wake me up so we could continue on. Embarrassing? At the time, yep. Now I realize it was just one more reason to hunt for more interesting types of gameplay — for me.
I wouldn’t say, however, that EverQuest was the most boring MMORPG I’ve ever played. In fact, as I contemplated how to phrase this question, I remembered that there are plenty of MMORPGs — EVE Online, for instance — that seem extremely exciting while you’re reading about their highlights, though the day-to-day is fairly mundane. And I’ve got to take into account different tastes; I guarantee most of you would find my resource spreadsheet obsession in Star Wars Galaxies dreadfully dull, yet even just typing about it gives me a pang of regret that it’s gone.
What do you think is the most boring MMORPG around, and why?
After over a month of voting and counting down, we’ve arrived at the final six picks for your favorite MMORPG theme songs of all time. It’s been absolutely illuminating seeing the formation of this list and the placement of certain tracks, and I’m glad that everyone who wanted to got to participate.
Before I reveal the top six themes, here are a few honorable mentions:
Are you ready? I know I am! Here we go!
One of the more alarming trends in MMORPGs from the past few years, to me anyway, is the weakening of in-game economic systems, and not just from themepark shortcuts.
My first MMORPG was Ultima Online, where personal trading and vendor malls were ubiquitous, where you could drop dead and see everything you’d held looted and carted away by players and mobs alike. And I remember the MMO community outage when EverQuest introduced “no drop” and “no trade” items as, it was understood, an attempt at combating gold and item farmers. Most of you probably know that concept better as “soulbound.” It’s commonplace now, but at the time, it was the kind of decision that literally forks genres.
We’ve come a long way down that themepark fork since then, it seems to me: We now have many MMOs where you can’t drop stuff, games where you can’t hand items directly to other players except by mail (if at all), games whose devs cap item values to interfere with the market, games that refuse to consider an auction hall, and games whose auction halls are basically toys for well-connected guilds and no one else, never mind the multitude of MMOs where corpses can’t be looted or crafting exists as a useless minigame to keep crafter types from noticing they’ve been demoted to second-class citizens.