Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.
Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.
Pretty much everyone assumed that back when Guild Wars 2
planned out mounts, it did so with its cash shop in mind. The game is already not-so-jokingly known as “Fashion Wars,” so it’s got a playerbase primed and ready to splash out for sparkly mounts, especially cosmetic upgrades to what is very likely the best mount system in any MMORPG to date
. The first set of mount cosmetics arrived for Halloween
, a whole pack of skelly skins that players could buy directly. The second set, however, has now landed with a new sales scheme, and it’s caused significant controversy just as anticipated.
As we explained yesterday, ArenaNet has added 30 new mount skins to the game, but instead of selling them directly, the studio is selling them in a hybrid sort of lockbox: You buy one of the mount licenses, which unlocks one mount skin on your account that you don’t already have. You always get a mount skin, and you never get repeats, potentially all the way up to 30 licenses for 30 skins.
Unless you get the one you want sooner. That’s a big unless.
Guild Wars 2 patched in new mounts today
, and they’re gorgeous. But don’t get too excited; they’re in gated behind a weird new RNG scheme that’s not remotely as bad as lockboxes (but still may mildly annoy you). You decide:
“For a limited time, the new Reforged Warhound mount skin is available in the Style category of the Gem Store for 2,000 gems. The Black Lion Stables are pleased to open their doors and offer new mount adoption licenses. Each license will allow you to claim a random mount skin from the Black Lion Stables, and they are available in the Style category of the Gem Store for 400 gems each.”
If you’re familiar with the way SMITE does some of its RNG promos, the new license is kinda like that: You’re at least guaranteed a mount skin out of these lockboxes, but it might not be the one you want, so you’ll be buying and rolling the dice over and over until you get it. Only there are 30 skins. You might be buying and rolling for a while at 400 gems ($5 a pop, or a discounted rate if you buy 10 or 30 at a time). In case you’re wondering, to buy all 30 right now would run you $120 in real cash, though that’ll go up to $150 once the promo is over. It’s worth pointing out we don’t know the odds for getting any of the mounts, only that you do always get one.
Hackers launched an offensive against NCsoft yesterday, targeting several of the company’s MMORPGs in a series of DDoS attacks. WildStar, Aion, Lineage II, and Blade and Soul all posted warnings about the issues to let players know that game stability might be affected.
Several NCsoft Twitter accounts reported the DDoS onslaught yesterday afternoon, saying, “We’re aware of ongoing distributed denial of service attacks directed at our games and are working to mitigate them. If you’ve been experiencing connection drops or sporadic high latency, please know that we’re closely watching the situation and reducing game service impact as much as possible. If you’re experiencing connection or latency issues which you believe to be outside of these attacks, we ask that you please submit a support ticket so we can collect additional information.”
As of this morning, there were no further updates on the forums or Twitter feeds regarding this attack. Additionally, it does not seem that Guild Wars 2 was affected by the attack.
Power to the people! Guild Wars 2
has opened the polls for players to cast their vote
on which fan-created weapon should be made into an actual in-game item.
The design-a-weapon contest resulted in over 900 entries, out of which 20 were selected by ArenaNet to advance as a finalist. Players are being encouraged to vote on which of the 20 should be turned into a Guild Wars 2 weapon, with the three finalists receiving the most votes to get this honor. The voting process will conclude on November 10th.
And while Halloween is over, the minipets live on! Check out the weirdly adorable Mini Choya Pumpkin Gang after the break.
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree discuss the up-and-down week that was Star Wars: The Old Republic, fret over CCP’s studio closures, marvel at Star Citizen’s CitizenCon, and talk about the flurry of MMO releases as of late.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
In the last edition
of Flameseeker Chronicles
, I discussed the opening sections of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
‘s story while providing you with a brief overview of what came before it. The return to Elona has been enjoyable and the character dynamics are developing nicely: The sheer breadth of content offered with the expansion in terms of story is fairly impressive and it deserves a thorough examination and explanation, so you know I’ve been bursting to continue covering it. In this edition, I’ll outline the rest of Act I and will begin into Act II: I’ll discuss Night of Fires, The Sacrifice, and Crystalline Memories. As before, expect significant spoilers
if you’ve not had the opportunity to enjoy the expansion story for yourself yet.
Hey, you. Yeah, you, dude leeching candy from the bucket you bought “for the neighborhood kids.” And you, lady still trying to decide between “Princess Leia” and “lazy zombie” for your costume (go Leia, duh). Put all that aside and get into some MMOs instead! Halloween is only one night in real life, but in MMORPGs, it goes on for days or even weeks. Some studios will probably even forget to turn it off! Others will let you run around with a flaming pumpkin head mask for all eternity!
Here’s what we’re looking at this year for Halloween across the MMORPG verse.
Let me tell you, I’m not playing RIFT right now but still I am so very tempted to log on and purchase that squirrel mummy mount. It may be one of that game’s best mounts yet, and that is saying something.
“One thing I love about RIFT is that the Ascended never take fall damage, no matter how far the fall might be,” reader Jake said. “While exploring the Gedlo Badlands, I needed to return to the kobold base camp and the quickest way to do so was to cliff dive from my current location. My descent was cut short when I unexpectedly landed on a rope strung across their camp. My mummified squirrel mount looked exactly like its real world counterpart would running along electrical wires.”
I am not done with Guild Wars 2
This may or may not come as a surprise to people, but it’s still the case regardless. I am done with this round of Choose My Adventure with it, of course, and that means I can put Ceilarene down if I so desire (which, to be fair, I probably will for a while, at least). But I am not actually done with the game, and I suspect it will remain in my “vacation” rotation for a while to come. Something to dive into as I feel like it, in other words.
It’s a somewhat surprising outcome to me, as I had expected a pleasant enough bit of reconnection followed by a rather untroubled separation. But no, I had enough fun that I’m not quite willing to announce myself as done with the title just yet.
You hipsters still have your vintage record players, right? I mean, how else are you going to enjoy Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire’s soundtrack on vinyl? Yep, the soundtrack LP was announced today, along with preorders.
“Following the huge success of the soundtrack to the first Guild Wars 2 expansion Heart of Thorns, acclaimed publisher and developer ArenaNet has once again partnered with video game master merchandisers iam8bit to bring Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire’s orchestral soundtrack to the fans. Composed by the incredibly talented Maclaine Diemer (with support from Wilbert Roget II, Brendon Williams, and Stan LePard), pre-orders for the collector’s edition vinyl record of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire’s soundtrack – featuring beautiful album art – go live today.”
It’s 40 bucks, or you can just get the digital editions for $9 on iTunes or Amazon.
We all like making the occasional observation about the weirdness inherent in video games, but most of us also recognize that what we’re really doing is poking fun at the anthropic principle. The real reason NPCs tend to fight rather than just fleeing at the sight of us is, well, the alternative isn’t particularly fun to play. It’s part of an acceptable break from reality, and for most of us, we are willing to accept that fact with a bit of tongue-in-cheek prodding.
What I don’t see very often, though, is an appreciation of the really insane part: What all of this looks like from the perspective of the NPCs – because however many breaks from reality we accept from the game, we are the real breakers of immersion.
Consider, for a moment, that you’re an NPC. Imagine that you have full knowledge of the fact that this is a video game (there’s an old humor blog entry that sums things up nicely). Now imagine that you’re watching PCs. You would quickly come to the understanding that player characters are nuts. Why? Well…
MMO blogger Serrenity, whom many of you will recognize from his clever comments here on MOP too, has a compelling blog post on his personal site today diving deep into the lockbox debate. But far from merely offering another exhortation to stop buying lockboxes, he’s doing some complicated napkin math (and by napkin math, I mean python scripting) to try to understand why publishers are so fixated on selling them.
Since studios are generally not in the business of handing out detailed sales figures and drop rates, Serrenity is forced to calculate potential revenue based on publicly gathered data, which he admits upfront result in rough estimates. “This information is purely extrapolated and used for demonstrative purposes,” he warns.
Using Guild Wars 2’s wiki data on drop rates for the bank access token, he finds that the revenue from selling lockboxes vs. selling that item directly increases 14-fold – almost 1500% higher. And that’s just a minor, relatively undesirable item with a relatively high drop rate; admittedly, nobody’s going to go ham buying lockboxes just for that (we hope, anyway). Plugging rarer, desirable drops that would cost much more upfront (like weapon skins) into his formula sees the estimated revenue soar as high as 12500%. That is not a typo.