Live in EverQuest II today is the long-awaited GU106: Seeds of Vengeance update. As Daybreak’s previously noted, the update includes the new Shard of Hate zone, the item examine window UI revamp, and new expert and expert event versions of some dungeons, plus the new fast travel feature to the Plane of Magic. There’s a big sale on cash shop items through the weekend, as well as a double experience event over the holiday to aid your leveling.
Beginning today, Daybreak has also kicked off a promotion granting “all existing accounts” a freebie level 100 heroic character, complete with a familiar, mercenary, flying mount, and a full set of gear, plus temporary access to the Planes of Prophecy so that you can actually level to 105 and check out the new stuff.
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.
Next week’s Seeds of Vengeance update for EverQuest II should give the population plenty to do as the game heads into the summer months. Daybreak continued to expand upong the patch’s offerings with a look at new expert dungeons and fast travel options.
GU106 will add expert and expert event dungeons to all Planes of Prophecy instances. You know the drill: higher challenge equals better rewards. The patch also includes an Elixir of the Expert to boost a character’s stats for such dungeons even if they’re somewhat underleveled.
The devs are also helping players zip around the game: “Druzzil Ro has removed the restrictions from the teleportation platforms in Plane of Magic, and opened two new pathways to Metetherial Plains and Amphitheater of Song. Fast travelling from one location to another is as simple as stepping on your closest teleportation platform and choosing your destination.”
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was remarkably reluctant to enter into the field of MMORPGs despite being a perfect candidate (a gaming geek who loved fantasy and sci-fi RPGs). All of the reasons that I had at the time for stalling really could have been boiled down to a single word: accessibility.
MMOs back then looked — and probably were — very inaccessible. They had a payment barrier. They required a lot of setup and hardware. Their interfaces were cluttered and their gameplay interactions were obtuse. Frankly, I got the impression that a lot of them were a mess that was only understandable to those who had put in hundreds of hours to decipher the format.
When MMOs started to become more accessible, particularly with City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars, I eagerly jumped in. Those three titles in particular made giant leaps forward in opening up these games to the first-time player. But that doesn’t mean that MMORPGs have arrived at universal accessibility just yet. Here are ten areas that studios could be improving in order to make their titles more appealing and understandable to outsiders.
What was your first? Not necessarily the first MMORPG you ever played, but the first that made you fall in love with that game and the genre at large? Probably for me, that would have to be City of Heroes, a title which just clicked on all levels and ushered me into a new age of gaming.
I’ll let Katriana tell you hers: “My first MMO, and first MMO love it’s probably fair to say, was EverQuest. I have many memories of my time there, but sadly I don’t have many good screenshots from that time still that aren’t just character selfies. The image below was taken circa early 2003 and is one of the better ones I still have. It represents the crowning achievement of the guild I was in there, the slaying of the first-born dragon Klandicar. It was far from being new or even necessarily notable content at the time, but it was quite an achievement for our little guild.”
HATE. LET INNORUUK TELL YOU HOW MUCH HE’S COME TO HATE YOU SINCE HE BEGAN TO LIVE. THERE IS AN ENTIRE DIMENSION THAT SPANS FOR UNTOLD LENGTHS KNOWN AS THE SHARD OF HATE, REFORMED TO BE EVEN MORE SPITEFUL SINCE HE LOST HIS SEAT OF HATRED. IF THE WORD HATE WAS ENGRAVED ON EACH NANOANGSTROM OF THOSE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MILES IT WOULD NOT EQUAL ONE ONE-BILLIONTH OF THE HATE HE FEELS FOR MORTALS AT THIS MICRO-INSTANT. OBVIOUSLY THAT IS YOUR NEXT DESTINATION IN EVERQUEST II. HATE. HATE.
THE SHARD OF HATE IS FILLED WITH DENIZENS UNDER INNORUUK’S COMMAND WHO WILL EXERCISE HIS WILL AND THIS SLIVER OF HATE IS REPLETE WITH WAYS TO EXACT HIS MISERABLE SPITE UPON THOSE WITHIN. ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE REACHED LEVEL 110 MAY CHALLENGE THIS PLACE OF ANIMOSITY, WITH ALL ACCESS MEMBERS GETTING THE RIGHT TO TAKE THIS ON IN SOLO, RAID, OR HEROIC VERSIONS. IT IS NOT A PLEASANT PLACE TO BE. INNORUUK PROBABLY HATES THAT, TOO. HATE. HATE.
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.
A nasty bug on EverQuest’s progression servers has kept players from completing an expansion boss for over a year now, with bug reports and complaints to Daybreak resulting in no action taken whatsoever. Whenever players engage the Rathe Council, a fight made up of 12 enemies, the mobs frequently despawn and respawn before the fight can be completed.
Even worse, according to a tipster’s report, is that guilds and individuals can intentionally trigger the despawning to keep others from finishing the fight. This has kept guilds and players from progressing through the Planes of Power expansion if the fight is encountered in its open world version.
Sometimes I am just so proud of our One Shots crowd here at Massively OP. I keep coming up with ludicrous screenshot challenges and you all continue to rise to the occasion. Even when I ask for spiders. Giant spiders.
We got ever so many.
Vincent leads the arachnid parade with this pic from Final Fantasy XIV: “I give you Arachne Eve, the first boss in the Weeping City (aka ‘Wiping City’) raid. My alliance was not amused I was taking screenshots mid-battle — especially as I was the healer. But y’know… priorities.”
At least he has learned the important lesson that One Shots is more important than anything else in your gaming life. You should all be this devoted.
If you’ve ever taken a look at an item tooltip in EverQuest II and had the distinct impression that you were being prepared for a calculus exam, it might not have been just your lack of comprehension. Daybreak agrees that the item examine screen has grown too “cluttered,” and as such, the studio will be streamlining it for this month’s content update.
Some of the big changes that players will notice is a column format to group related stats together, a separate area for item effect descriptions, and more.
This revamp is coming on May 24th with GU106 and is only the tip of the iceberg for the patch’s offerings: “This game update is packed full of new content, including a return to the Shard of Hate where solo players, groups, and raiders will all be confronted with new bosses, puzzles, and locations within the plane that have never been seen before! There will also be new expert dungeons, a revamped item examine window, new missions, and more!”
Massively OP reader Sorrior recently sent in a question about raiding, a topic we haven’t discussed in a while.
“I have noticed raiding tends to lead to more homogenization even without PvP and a bigger focus on numbers when making classes as opposed to their feel and style. I also see a correlation with a bigger emphasis on raiding and the decline of community quality. On a personal level, I feel like raiding should be about the joy of taking on foes you cannot defeat alone with allies/friends, but I feel many treat it as a chore or just see the numbers nowadays. Or they are just after the gear, which also seems to bring in a lot of people who focus on the numbers rather than the experience. I thought talking about why we raid and what we enjoy about it as MMO players while discussing ways to preserve the feeling of community might be fun.”
I think talking about that would also be fun, which is precisely why we Overthink it in this column. So let’s do it: This week I’ve asked the Massively OP staff whether they raid now or ever did, what they raid for, and how they feel raiding fits into the modern MMO from a mechanics and community standpoint.
Look down — and it’ll be the last thing you’ll ever see! That’s because fury and death arrive in the form of short character races in MMORPGs. Even if they hit below the belt, their music is sweet to the ears! In this episode of Battle Bards, the crew take on themes from Gnomes, Halflings, Dwarves, and other short races in MMOs.
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 120: Short stuff (or download it) now:
Time keeps on slipping into the future for the EverQuest progression servers, Ragefire and Lockjaw. Both servers have put matters to a vote, and the results mean that both are going to be leaping headlong into the Omens of War expansion. For those of you keeping track, that means that the progression servers are now up to 2004 in terms of expansion unlocks, and you can go and live in that particular time warp right now if you so prefer.
Well, not live in it, but at least play in a version of the game that hearkens back to those halcyon days when no one had a smartphone and everyone was really excited about The Sopranos. It’s a blast from the past, which is the whole point of the time-gated expansion server; feel free to lean in and enjoy the game you remember from back in the day.