When we first heard rumors about a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go, I said I could barely imagine what the game might be like before listing several other IPs that would translate better as AR games. It’s not that I don’t like the Harry Potter series (I do) or Niantic (someone’s got to push the envelope). My issue is that I can’t see how their respective styles could combine to create something great.
So I’ve gone back to some of my pre-POGO notes about Ingress and what would need to change before it went live and, well, Niantic clearly thinks differently than I do because this game is very much happening. I thought it might be useful to consider Niantic’s past and how it may affect its upcoming game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Let’s dig in.
With Curse of Osiris and season two on the way for Destiny 2, the team at Bungie has some time to fill with events to keep players busy and sated. Right now there’s a battle for resources that will conclude on November 14th, awarding one of three factions the winner and making its special weapon available for all.
Next up is a Clarion Call event that will begin on November 17th and continue through the 20th. During this event, players who are teamed up with at least one other clan member will receive double XP for all activities.
Bungie said that it readying the game for an upgrade that will take advantage of the new hardware on the market: “On December 5, along with the launch of Curse of Osiris and Season Two, we’ll be deploying an update to Destiny 2 that will deliver stunning gameplay with high dynamic range (HDR) lighting to these new consoles. You’ll also see adaptive 4K resolution on the PlayStation 4 Pro and 4K on the Xbox One X.”
Back in May, I wrote a whole article about why I was leaving World of Warcraft behind. All of the reasons I had back then? Still valid. Fact is, I’m still proud of that column (to the extent that I’m proud of anything I write; low self-esteem is a hell of a drug). So why am I here talking so much about Battle for Azeroth? How are you supposed to reconcile those conflicting facts? Do I hate this game or not?
The answer to those questions, in reverse order, is this: no; I highly doubt anyone actually wants to reconcile anything about my stated views; and because what we’ve seen so far actually addresses a lot of the problems I wrote about back in May. New information means new evaluation.
Obviously, this is not a blanket statement of “the next expansion will make everything better” because there are far too many question marks left to feel smug or confident about that. But, and this is an important “but,” we’ve got signs that several of the problems from Legion are actually being addressed. And considering that Legion was pretty good already, that brings us to a good spot.
Last weekend, even Massively OP was obsessing over BlizzCon, and we thought it would be fun to poll the writers, including those who watched from the sideliness rather than diving into the liveblogging, on their assessments of the event, particularly as they pertain to the MMORPG industry. What were the highlights and lowpoints? Where do we stand on World of Warcraft’s new expansion and classic servers? Let’s dig in!
There are lots of things that I’m genuinely excited about when it comes to the next World of Warcraft expansion. Battle for Azeroth has a premise that gives me reasons to be hopeful, systems that seem pretty cool, and at least one thing that I’m pretty sure I want (even if I’m not sure whether or not the final version is exactly how I want it). So we’re starting from a good point here.
We’ve also got some time until the expansion is released, and based on the total lack of any firm information on dates for testing, much less launch, I would be surprised to see this expansion before November 2018. So that leaves us with some pretty big questions to be answered, and the more answers we get sooner, the better. So let’s take a gander at the questions we’ve still got hanging over our head after the expansion reveal.
If shifting sands and certain death doesn’t warn you away, you just might discover the mysteries of an ancient and long-dead civilization buried underneath the deserts of Revelation Online
This week’s zone spotlight in the MMO is for Scavenger’s Borough. As the name implies, the region is more of a lawless scrabble under a harsh desert sun. Yet there are interesting locations to discover and a trio of factions with which to contend as players make their way through the area. Plus, there’s a robot factory. For real.
“While the dangers that lie within Mech Citadel are well-known, hardy adventurers plumb its depths, hoping to uncover long-forgotten technologies of the Fire Civilization,” the team posted. “The abandoned military robotics factory is a popular destination for the fearless.”
The last time I saw this many people asking “why?” about a new World of Warcraft expansion was at the announcement of Mists of Pandaria. I agreed then, too; the idea of bringing in the Pandaren to the game seemed to be slipping into territory that just didn’t feel appealing to me. I’m still not entirely sold on the idea, a fact which is not helped at all by the fact that the very next expansion was so creatively bankrupt the team seems to have thrown every good idea at once into Legion.
Really, we don’t know what happened behind the scenes of Warlords of Draenor development, but that seems like a plausible theory.
So, yes, Battle for Azeroth. That is the actual title of the next expansion, one which feels almost as if it was cobbled together by drawing a few random words that usually get used with the game and hoping they assembled a coherent sentence. It seems, at face value, like a really dumb idea, especially since the very basic premise is one that you know is absolutely not going to be resolved by the end of the expansion.
Every so often, when I can think of no better introduction, I put some genuine musing into the opening of What Are You Playing. Usually it’s meant to be absurdist nonsense, but this past weekend is an example of my actually thinking about something, debating how I felt about the whole Allied Races announcement for World of Warcraft. It feels like something I wanted, and yet it feels like it’s not actually how I wanted it, which was an odd sensation.
In some ways, allied races seem like something that we’ve long needed in the game, especially since some of the races in question have just been around for so blessedly long. In other cases, they seem like a patch on another issue… and yet it’s another issue that’s being addressed in the same breath. And at the end of the day, you can explain a lot of it just by thinking about action figures.
Itching for something to do this weekend? How about some freebie games?
Wargaming announced that its F2P battler Total War: ARENA will host an open weekend even for folks not already in the open beta, running today through the early hours of Monday. “The open weekend will allow full access to the latest version of Total War: ARENA, letting new commanders test their mettle in epic scale 10 vs 10 multiplayer battles,” says the studio. “Choose a commander from three historical factions: Romans, Greeks and Barbarians, and fight on ancient battlefields with your own customized army. This follows on from recent content patch 2.2 that added Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, a new Roman commander and master of defensive and supportive play.”
Guardians of Ember will also open its doors until November 5th; that promo is also already live. Inselgames notes that “through the whole weekend players can try out each of the six different classes, create unique builds with more than 300 skills and a dual class system at their disposal. Fans of traditional MMOs will enjoy features like housing, crafting, fishing and can use the Group Finder to make new friends. More action awaits the brave heroes of Olyndale as they slash their way through hordes of enemies, level up, and tackle randomized and instanced dungeons in the new nightmare mode together with their allies or alone.”
Source: Press releases. Thanks, Eboni!
Enough of World of Warcraft’s two biggest factions palling together on adventures across time and space — war has come to this game once more. Blizzard announced World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth at BlizzCon today after months of rumors swirling about this next installment.
The seventh expansion for the game will find the Horde and Alliance at each other’s throats, with the two sides recruiting six new playable races and exploring new continents and islands. Players will be able to unlock these new races (with four coming over from Legion) through quests, explore the Alliance continent of Kul Tiras, march through the jungles of Zandalar, and upgrade a new legendary Heart of Azeroth neckpiece with new powers and traits.
The Horde and Alliance will compete over previously uncharted islands and fight in the 20-player co-op warfronts that were inspired by classic Warcraft RTS maps. Additionally, the leval cap will be raised to 120 and cross-realm social groups will connect players between worlds.
A beta test for the expansion is “coming soon,” but we’ve got that amazing cinematic trailer plus the expansion features trailer for you after the break!
Still bummed over the loss of World of Darkness and Revival? Shadow’s Kiss may be for you. Last year, we covered the vampire fantasy MMO when it set up shop on Patreon. This week, it’s landed on Kickstarter proper, with all the accoutrements vampire fans will expect.
“Shadow’s Kiss is a game of darkness, adventure, passion, and horror, set in the fictional city of San Cipriano. The game casts you as a vampire (or possibly other supernatural creature…) who goes on quests, faces off against other supernatural factions, and gains items of power to rule the night. While Shadow’s Kiss incorporates many of the classical elements of a Massively Multiplayer Game (MMO), it also seeks to innovate, especially in ways that make for an interesting gaming experience within a society of vampires and supernatural creatures. Parlay and diplomacy are critical parts of the experience, including building your influence in vampire society through intimidation, bribery, and seduction. You cooperate or compete with other players to rule the various aspects of the city, including law enforcement, organized crime, and the media. Your rise to power, and your story, are built around your Rogue’s Gallery, also known as your Cast of Characters, which are the allies, enemies, thralls, spies and blood dolls you’ve acquired through questing and exploration.”
This year’s Halloween event for Neverwinter
is kind of harshly named, you guys. Seriously, “Masquerade of Liars
?” That’s a rather severe appellation to slap on what amounts to a particularly big costume party, isn’t it? You wouldn’t want to label a friend dressed up like a doctor a “liar,” so long as it happened around Halloween and didn’t include actually pretending at being a doctor. Although considering that the eponymous city of Neverwinter is beset by factions who can assume vaguely humanoid form and would love a chance to sneak in while disguised, perhaps it’s not harsh enough
Regardless, you can pick up a scarecrow to fight by your side, a number of masks to let you look like a famous monster of Halloween or Dungeons & Dragons lore (well, from the neck up, at least), a new mysterious costume, and even some seasonally appropriate orange and black dyes. Jump on in to all of the lying festivities on October 26th; just be ready to start telling the truth again on November 1st.
MOP reader Sally Bowls is on a roll with the good questions lately! She lobbed us one this past weekend that seems a good follow-up to a comment thread discussion about the problems inherent in unregulated three-way factional PvP/RvR (and how a game like Camelot Unchained will regulate it). By way of example, she noted that a certain MMO griefer famously argued in favor of strategy that basically made the opponent not want to log in, using tactics like creating timesinks and hassles in a sandbox. “Should the dominant faction on a RvRvR server ‘camp’ the smallest to try to drive them off?” she wondered.
“If it’s about fair PvP, then that is anathema. But if you see the game as being about your faction being at war with other factions, then not doing your utmost to win that war is incompetence. Neither is bad design per se, just a conflict in understanding of the goals. And will Camelot Unchained really be RvR, doing everything legal for your realm to win? Or will it be about PvP battles, with the RvR rhetoric being more marketing fluff than von Clausewitz and Machiavelli? If camping a mine hurts your kill/death ratio but makes the opponent weaker due to hassles or crafting, is that winning or losing? Is an RvR game really about realms vs. realms or is it just another BG?”
I’ve pitched Sally’s comments to the team for consideration in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Is RvR just a more carebear-friendly way to market FFA PvP? Do you play RvR or factional PvP to win or to have fun, and how does that differ from a more open FFA sandbox? How would you design three-way factional PvP to keep people from quitting and stop griefing before it starts?