I can spend hours with an outfit designer in an MMORPG. When APB
was a new thing, I literally spent whole game sessions in front of its customization terminals. And I am only slightly embarrassed at the hundreds of millions of credits that I’ve spent on Star Wars: The Old Republic
cosmetic armor. I knew it was only a matter of time before Elder Scrolls Online
created its version of an outfit designer to steal away my time and money.
When ESO introduced wardrobes and costumes years ago, I believed that we weren’t going to get anything more. However, Update 17 last week added a new layer of character customization. With the addition of the Outfit System, there isn’t really anything else players need to make their character look the way that they want.
ESO‘s designer takes elements from other outfit systems that work and create its own unique way of allowing players to piece together items. In fact, I would say that ESO‘s outfit design is close to perfect.
I know it’s a simple and basic thing, but I absolutely adore a great skybox in my MMORPGs. There’s something about looking up at a majestic and vibrant sky in-game that puts me right in the middle of the world and immerses me in the environment.
Fallen Earth will always be remembered fondly by me for its gorgeous sunsets, and World of Warcraft definitely brought it with some of its painterly clouds and patterns in the latest expansion. Lord of the Rings Online and Final Fantasy XIV both have crystal clear nights full of twinkling stars that make one feel small and awed.
Which MMO offers the best sky views and which zone makes for the best gazing? Bonus points if you include pictures!
This particular part of September is loaded with MMORPG and MMO birthdays. In addition to ArcheAge, whose corgipocalypse we’ve been covering already, and Ultima Online, doomed to ding 20 by Monday, there are a few more we’ve not mentioned yet. Let’s remedy that!
is turning eight today, and it’s putting on a pretty sweet party
, plus a different one in the EU
. US players can look forward to bonus experience, cake, and Kroemede’s Revenge; through the weekend in the EU, expect a Cake Hunt, in-game boots, gifts, and temporary mounts, plus an event about poppys. I don’t know, it’s Aion
, man, just go with it. We’ll be streaming some of the US festivities on Saturday, so stay tuned!
Fallen Earth also turns eight today, though you won’t find any hoopla on the official site, where there’s been no news since last year. MOP’s Justin judged it in maintenance mode as of at least this past summer. It’s OK, Fallen Earth. We’ll have a slice of cake in your honor.
Hey, remember CrimeCraft? I had forgotten all about it, but we covered the Vogster-designed MMO from 2008 onward on Old Massively through its 2009 launch and subsequent free-to-play conversion that same year (a bit before F2P was popular!). Back then, it was competing with the original All Points Bulletin for the title of best Grand Theft Auto copycat, and it even managed to get banned in Australia. In 2012, the game was picked up by Mayn Games, and it is Mayn Games delivering the bad news to players here in 2017.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must announce CrimeCraft is closing on August 31, 10:00 am CET (04:00 am EST),” writes the studio today. “For the past years, we did our best to support the game and make players to enjoy it. It was a very hard choice to make, but despite the overwhelming support of our loyal players, this was the way it had to go. We are grateful to all players for continued support of the game.”
People seemed to quite like my piece last week about how my wife and I wound up married in no small part due to World of Warcraft. Of course, I also alluded in the column to the fact that World of Warcraft was hardly our final destination, and we’re currently playing Final Fantasy XIV quite happily together. We’ve also gone into Final Fantasy XI, City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Fallen Earth, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic… a lot of different games, in other words. And I’m just counting the ones we’ve tried together.
I don’t think that there’s any one surefire way to always find the right game for a couple to enjoy, but I have had a fair amount of experience with it now, and it’s helped that we’ve both spent a lot of time working on finding what works and what doesn’t in this field. So here’s some (hopefully) helpful tips about finding a game that you and your romantic partner of choice can enjoy together.
The one thing that I thought we could all count on forever was that the MMO life cycle was pretty easy to understand. A game is launched, then it runs for a certain amount of time, then it shuts down. That last part kind of sucks, but the point is that you know when it’s time to move on. The life cycle is clearly one of creation, then life, then death, like a potted ficus or a cheap desk chair you get at Target.
But then sometimes you have a cheap desk chair that breaks in a crucial way, but you manage to screw the right sort of braces together so you can keep using it for another year after it should have been thrown out. And sometimes an MMO is born, and then it lives, and then it… doesn’t live, but it’s not actually shut down or in maintenance. Or it isn’t clear what’s going on with it, due to what seems to be total abandonment. Or it updates more than games which are supposedly live.
That’s what this column is all about. MMOs in a weird sort of limbo, where some facts are clear, but the results or the overall trajectory make no sense. Sometimes it’s not even clear if the game has actually launched or not. It’s weird.
Your favorite game is going to die. I wrote about that. Some games are never even going to get to launching in the first place, unfortunately. But then there are these titles: games that went the distance when it came to development, marketing, promotion, testing… but somehow didn’t quite manage to stick the landing past that. These are the games that, in Transformers terms, are the hi-then-die cast of the MMO space.
That doesn’t always mean the games are bad, mind you. Some of these games were great fun. But through a combination of business model issues, publisher issues, player population, and just general weirdness, these titles couldn’t make it to a year and a half in the wild. Heck, some of them couldn’t even make it to a year and a quarter. And if you want to peruse this list and wonder why all of these titles are gone but Alganon is somehow still operating… well, we’re just as confused as you are.
It’s hard to look at an MMORPG and imagine them without dungeons. For some people, these instances are the core of their game experience, offering challenging (well, hopefully) and rewarding group experiences that can be repeated for fun, profit, and optimal performance.
Dungeons and I have a strange history in MMOs. For me, it all depends on the game in question. There are MMOs that don’t really feature compelling or rewarding dungeons (Guild Wars 2), or make grouping up and getting into them difficult, or what have you. Yet in other games, I’ve run dungeons so many times that I could probably pathfind through each one blind. If done right, they can be really fun and offer me a chance to show off my stuff and feel like I’m part of a team.
For today’s list, I want to share with you my favorite MMO dungeons. I’m going to limit myself to one per MMO for diversity’s sake, which might make it a little challenging, but there you go!
See if you can follow the chain of progression here. In APB Reloaded’s most recent dev diary, the team says that it’s about done ironing out issues and fighting DDoS attacks in its console versions (problems that have been going on since early April). Once that is done, the devs want to bring some of these improvements and optimizations to the PC and figure the best way to do that is… by creating a new game mode. Because stress testing or something?
Honestly, it sounds like they’re trying hard to emulate the popularity of other titles: “Seeing the success of Battlegrounds and H1Z1 survival mode, we realized we have almost all the ingredients in APB to create a gangland survival game, and we want to your help to make this event as fun as possible.”
Jump on that survival bandwagon! If the proposed event is popular enough, APB hopes to incorporate it as a regular game mode following the summer.
APB Reloaded can’t seem to catch a break this month. Following severe lag and crashes with its console version earlier in April, yesterday the title was struck by a nasty DDOS attack that hurt both its Xbox One and PlayStation 4 performance, causing latency spikes and network outages.
“At the start of the weekend we began seeing an issue on our PS4 environment. We initially thought it was due to the recent patch or seasonal event but as time went on the issue spread to our XB1 environment as well. We have now identified the issue to be related to a new type of DDOS attack against our servers which spams our network and is causing latency and connectivity issues within the game,” the studio wrote yesterday.
The good news is that the crisis seems to be resolved as of this morning, which means that the seasonal event for the Xbox One can proceed as planned.
Massively OP reader Suikoden wrote this great question to the podcast — too good to let just Justin and me answer it. It’s a two-parter!
“Back when I used to be a hardcore MMO gamer circa 2000-2010, I felt that MMOs of that era were designed more toward the hardcore gamer and even catered to us more. Within the last 5 years, I’ve had to develop into more of a casual player. However, I now feel that games once again cater to me and my current playstyle. Did the MMO genre evolve alongside me, from a more hardcore-centric genre to a more casual playerbase? Or is it the same as it always was and I just feel that it caters to me because it’s designed to feel like it caters to all playstyles? And if there was a change, do you feel it is for the better or for the worse for the genre?”
I posted Suikoden’s questions to the team for this week’s Massively Overthinking!
With the soft launch of APB Reloaded on the PlayStation 4 have come some hard truths: namely that the game isn’t quite where the devs want it to be.
Players have reported both numerous crashes and severe slowdown with the console edition. Apparently the slowdown is thanks to APB’s incredibly high character detail that’s since caused issues whenever new players load into areas, and most of the crashes were due to a single memory issue. Fortunately, the devs say that they’re on the case and have fixes coming in the first patch.
APB soft launched on consoles on March 30th and will continue as such for 30 days until its formal launch. The team is giving players freebies if they log in to play during this period.
If your main reason for not playing APB Reloaded at this point is the fact that the game is not on the PlayStation 4, you have a rather odd reason, but one that’s being rectified. The game’s soft launch on the console platform is scheduled for today at 11 a.m. EDT, allowing console owners to download the game and play as much as they wish. The “soft launch” designation is mostly to note that the game will receive minimal communication over the next month while developers address any major bugs or issues.
Players can also earn unspecified free goodies by logging in to put the console version through its paces, with the promise that all of the goods will be delivered when the game patches after 30 days. You can also earn a “Founder” tag for playing on the platform for at least 10 hours. So, hey, if you’d like to take part in some shooting antics and you’ve got all of the required hardware, you can get some stuff out of it.