How many times have you read the comments on an EVE Online
article and found someone talking about an experience they had that turned them off the game? They were suicide ganked and lost a month’s worth of progress in 30 seconds, scammed out of all their ISK, or their corporation fell apart after a war declaration
. Even former players who look back fondly on their time in EVE Online
will relate some event or trend that ultimately pushed them away from the game, whether it’s a gameplay change that ruined the way they liked to play, their alliance suddenly losing all of its territory, a valued friend quitting the game, or a social structure they relied on breaking down.
These natural breaking points happen to all players eventually, and some will invariably take the opportunity to quit the game when they occur. EVE is more of a long-term hobby than a game, so it’s only natural that some players will leave the game if something catastrophically upsets the way they’ve learned to enjoy that hobby. Lately I’ve been thinking about these moments in which a player can lose something they’ve invested heavily into, and wondering whether there’s something more that could be done to minimise these failure states. Should CCP provide safety nets for players against catastrophic failure, or is this just part of the player-directed nature of the sandbox?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I consider some of the things that can push a player to breaking point, and whether additional safety nets would make a difference.
After my second week in, I have to admit that I’m kind of bothered by Warframe
. Or, more accurately, the fact that I like the game’s overall mechanics doesn’t fix the fact that it has some seriously irritating bits of work running through the whole experience.
None of this is to say that the game is bad, mind you. In fact, the second week, if anything, reaffirmed the fact that this is in fact a well-polished game with a clear picture of what it wants to be. All of that is commendable. The issues that it has are entirely down to issues of choice and the investment needed to make those choices, and the fact that it frequently prevents you from getting information that might be entirely valuable.
But then, the game also still does a good job of letting you enjoy running around while shooting stuff. So it’s a mixed bag that’s going to hit everyone a little bit differently, in other words.
One of the important things to note about World of Warcraft lore is that it’s never been static. It will retcon itself six ways from Sunday letting you know that the stuff you thought was true was never actually true, and it’s something the franchise has been doing since the second installment of the series was launched. (Remember when Azeroth was the name of the human nation, not the freaking planet?) This is not a game where the lore has been carefully planned out so that you can make reasonable predictions much of the time, this is where the lore repeatedly changes as new installments come out.
This is fine. I really like games where all of the lore is written out and planned well in advance (obviously) but I also have appreciation for the way that WoW’s backstory does change with the tides. It rarely outright invalidates the past, but the past is not static as we learn more about it.
Enter the speculation about Druids in Kul Tiras, speculation that seems to be getting backed up with increasing amounts of evidence. And as I look at all of this, I can’t help but note that even a moment’s consideration reveals that this is an enormous mess for the game’s overall lore.
This week, I’m going to depart a little from the usual insights into the world around Star Wars: The Old Republic
and talk about another studio that isn’t owned by LucasFilm
and certainly isn’t owned by Electronic Arts
. I’d like to talk about Fogbank Entertainment
Some people believe that a studio makes a game what is it. Others believe that it’s the IP that the studio carries that makes the video game unique. I think that IP and the studio name carry weight. I certainly would not play SWTOR as much as I do if it carried an IP like Valérian and Laureline. But one of the primary reasons that I believe that SWTOR performed as well as it did (or didn’t, depending on your opinion) was the quality of the people behind it. For me, some of the most integral people to making a good game are the writers. And many of the SWTOR writers have moved on from BioWare and have effectively started their own studio: Fogbank.
If you recognize names like Daniel Erickson, Alexander Freed, Drew Karpyshyn, and Hall Hood, then you will definitely want to see what they are up to at Fogbank Entertainment. If you don’t know who they are, then give me a moment to explain why they are superstars of the gaming and MMO industry.
Around the time I started working at Massively-that-was, there was an article that I quite liked talking about how four high-profile MMO failures were not necessary. It was a product of its time, but the point was made that these games didn’t have to wind up in the state they were in. The mistakes that were made were not unexpected problems, but entirely predictable ones that anyone could have seen. Heck, some people did see them and pointed them out, but nothing was changed.
I think about that a lot when I think about other MMOs and online games because there are a lot of titles that, even if not entirely failed, are in states they never needed to be in. These stories are, at the very least, stories of some failures where the failure was not an inevitable end state, nor are they messes that had to be made. The writing was on the wall, the warnings were given, and someone just kept on keeping on and ignored all of the signs. And here we are.
If I were to tell you that ArcheAge’s
next big update is launching next month, you’d tell me that it’s too soon. And we’d both be right! Although 4.0 was just released last December
, and North America has been on a six-month cadence for getting the content after it launches in Korean, 4.5 will hit servers on April 5th. Yes, that’s 4.5 on 4/5 — easy to remember, no? Executive Producer Merv Lee Kwai
explained that as XL Games is putting a renewed emphasis on the Western market, North American and the European regions get to launch an update first after Korea for the first time, instead of waiting until after Russia and China.
So what goodies do we have to look forward to before the other regions? Dubbed Legends Return, this update introduces dragon mounts, two new world bosses, a crafting commission system, and Battle Balance (a change to skillsets). There are also changes to regrading equipment and the bruisers badges. And last but not least, new fresh start servers are opening up, this time with a time-locked twist. To get a feel for all these changes, I sat down and previewed the new content with Kwai, Associate Producer Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan, and Community Manager Joe “Muzzy” Brogno .
I think Naoki Yoshida has severely overestimated how much I wanted to chase after a Scorpion Harness again.
One of the things that I mentioned way back when about the Diadem was that it felt like a Final Fantasy XI zone in Final Fantasy XIV. We don’t know all of the details about Eureka yet, but what we’ve learned so far definitely seems to indicate that it’s meant to be a similar experience. Heck, the visuals alone are doubling down on that; you can’t add in gear that’s specifically meant to look like the Scorpion Harness without inviting comparisons to the original Final Fantasy MMO.
We don’t know nearly as much about Eureka as we might like to know, but we do know something, at least. So let’s review what things we do know, speculate about the stuff that fills in the gap, and start considering what the experience of exploring this new zone will feel like, yes? I’m excited, at least.
Welcome along to Guild Chat
, the column through which we examine all things guild-related and solve problems faced by fellow members of the Massively Overpowered community. This edition is rather different, however: I had the opportunity to interview the key players in a Guild Wars 2 guild named POOF
that featured in ArenaNet’s Friend/Ships campaign
, which you may have read a little bit about in Flameseeker Chronicles
. Friendships have been at the forefront of ArenaNet
‘s minds for the last month or so and POOF’s guild story is one that was featured within the campaign (the video is below for those who haven’t seen it). I asked them about how they organise their guild, what makes POOF so special, and how they support their members, and I’m delighted to share their insights with you in a special edition of Guild Chat.
We are getting right down to it in our look at the top 32 best World of Warcraft tracks. In today’s column, we’ll be breaking into the top 10 with some of my absolute favorite pieces that have been added to this long-running (and extensively scored) MMO.
If you’ve been going on this journey with me this far, I want to thank you for your patience and interest! For me, it has been a great reminder of the game’s musical journey so far and has also served to whet my desire for Battle for Azeroth’s score.
Let’s get going!
Last week, we looked at the composition of the Alliance in World of Warcraft. This week, we’re looking at the Horde. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you missed the prior column, catch up and get back to us here.
One of the things that’s always been true about the Horde in World of Warcraft is that it is, by and large, a more heterogeneous collective of races and nations. This is partly by design, and partly because the Horde just seems to have a different way of handling its membership and its populace. If the Alliance needs a group of skilled trackers in a new landscape, it’ll find its best scouts and train them; the Horde, meanwhile, will just befriend a local group of existing trackers and welcome them into the Horde.
Does that sound a bit off the mark? Well, let’s take a look.
A festival dedicated to getting sloshed? No, this isn’t college life — it’s EverQuest II’s Brewday! Every year near St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration dedicated to libations runs throughout Norrath. There are drunken quests to do, pink elephants and talking cabbages to collect, tons of themed crafts to make, and plenty of drinks to partake of. This year’s festival runs from March 6th at 3:00 a.m. EST to March 20th at 2:59 a.m. EDT.
While it is disappointing that Daybreak has not added any new content to the festival for 2018, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do. And there are a couple new items to acquire — namely a spiffy griffon mount and the next crafting recipe book. Here’s a guide to get you through the weeks of revelry. You can also get a visual walkthrough of some tasks by watching The Stream Team festival escapades from 2015, 2016, and 2018.
You know, I’ve been oddly impressed with the starting experience for the past couple of titles I’ve been playing in Choose My Adventure
. Both of them have managed to avoid one of my pet peeves, where characters tell you that there’s no time to explain when there is not only time but an immediate and obvious necessity to explain. Starting off Warframe
immediately made it clear that there was, in fact, no time to explain, because I was surrounded by hostile enemies with some form of restraint device on my frame.
That isn’t to say that you start off with no idea what was going on. You get the absolute barest overview of what’s taking place before you launch into your first encounter, which makes it clear that you’re waking up slowly and have to get right back into the thick of things right away. But it was an impressive experience insofar as it really does feel like you shouldn’t quite have a clear picture of what’s going on. Something is happening, yes, but there has not yet been time or opportunity to explain much.
The original Lead Systems Designer for Star Wars: The Old Republic
was a man named Damion Schubert
. A friend of mine used to call him my nemesis because he seemed to be in charge of everything that I disliked about SWTOR
. At community cantinas and other interaction with fans like the Guild Summit, he said that he is work on SWTOR
would not be done until he was able to give guilds their own flagships. He was true to his word. On May 11th, 2014, BioWare launched Galactic Strongholds
, and with it guild flagships. Shortly after, we found out that Shubert had moved onto a different project.
Now, Shubert isn’t really my nemesis, but Strongholds in many ways have been a point of love and contention for me, especially when it came coupled with Galactic Conquests, a system that never really lived up to its potential.
With Update 5.8, the BioWare team is looking to revamp Conquests. As promised in the 2018 roadmap, BioWare Community Manager Eric Musco gave us a more detailed update on Conquests on the forums. But the changes to Conquests won’t be as meaningful to you unless you understand where Conquests are currently.