As you probably have heard, there was a Bless influencer event this week, with a couple of media and a smattering of MMO streamers in attendance. The leak of the price points happened soon before we went in, but none of the people in attendance, devs or streamers, really seemed fazed by it. Most people seemed ready to have a good time.
For someone like me, who was initially blown away by Bless circa 2011, the game had fallen off my radar, especially after the game’s rocky trip to Russia and initial Korean release. The western build-up for me has felt like a big PR push, with the pricing model dangled like a feature that people actually should be excited about. Basic questions like, “How does endgame work?” were easier to find on Reddit, Steam, and fansites than any of the PR I was reading. I was concerned, to say the least, but things like “tame almost any mob!” and “100v100” battles intrigued me. Though nothing I saw is probably going to change any core fans’ mind, it may be useful to those on the fence.
Take a look at your main character in your main MMORPG right now. What is he or she wearing? And did you get it through play or from the cash shop?
This topic came to me as I was surfing the Guild Wars 2 Reddit earlier this week; a Redditor was polling players on whether they thought there was a good balance of cash-shop cosmetics vs. cosmetic gear acquired through actually playing the game. It’s a tiny bit hard to answer this one for Guild Wars 2, as multiple people pointed out, as you can convert the gold you get while playing legitimately into gems to buy cash-shop cosmetics (or just buy lockbox skins with gold from the gamblers). Plus, GW2 isn’t called Fashion Wars for nothing. But still: Almost all of my characters are running around in cash-shop cosmetics there. I may complain about the lack of new skins and the overabundance of buttcapes, but I like to spend money on games I want to support, and cosmetics are one of the least objectionable ways to do it. And GW2’s are still slick (vs. a lot of the in-game armor, which is grindy or group-centric).
In Trove, which is another of my favorite games lately, most of my characters are running around wearing at least core outfits from ancient Steam pack sales.
Do your MMORPG characters primarily wear in-game armor of cash-shop cosmetics? And do you see that as a problem, one way or another?
NCsoft’s first quarter 2018 financial results are in, and it’s… kinda OK? Guild Wars 2 saw a big drop-off, though that’s to be expected since the previous quarter saw revenues from Path of Fire. “GW2 sales dropped 32% QOQ but increased 66% YOY, as some of the 2nd expansion pack effect was included,” NCsoft notes.
Blade & Soul continues to perform well QOQ, though it’s lost a quarter of its revenue YOY, and Aion revenues surged, NCsoft says, “fueled by the change in the monetization scheme.” Lineage itself at one time seemed to drive the company all by itself, but it’s down QOQ and YOY too. So is the company’s mobile games branch, which was riding high on Lineage M last year but is now “stabilizing” at what one might assume is a more realistic number (which is still higher than the five big MMORPGs combined).
As MMO Culture reports, the investor call itself admitted that Blade & Soul II for mobile has already been delayed into 2019 as it “didn’t meet expectations.” It’s apparently gotten a new team and new redesign, which is basically what happened to Lineage Eternal way back when, you’ll recall. And speaking of that: Project TL is supposedly still on schedule, with a launch still on track for next year.
Some MMOs pump out an endless stream of previews for their big patches, especially the type that overhaul major game systems or balance combat, to the point that by the time the update hits, everybody has the bullet points memorized and we can type the post from memory. Guild Wars 2
hasn’t been one of those for the last few years, which is why you’re only just reading the patch notes for today’s balance patch
and underwater combat revamp
right now, as the game is actually patching.
ArenaNet’s just-released blog on underwater combat states that the studio’s goals were to make underwater combat just as effective as on-land combat, make underwater movement even better, and make underwater skills have proper parallels to land skills.
“Your character may still appear to move more slowly than they do out of water, but enemies shouldn’t take longer to kill,” explains the studio. “Traversing an underwater environment should be a fluid experience, and you should feel like you’re still playing your own character and profession.”
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.
The Deadeye is in an all right place in terms of DPS, but that alone isn’t good enough in Guild Wars 2
. The problem is that it’s still kind of a mechanical mess, and the latest post on the official forums
for the specialization makes it clear that a big chunk of the reason for that is malice. Malice gains are hard to track and understand, and thus players have to sort of guess at how it’s raising and how to best move through skills.
Thus, the next revision to the specialization isn’t focused on improving numbers but on play patterns. Malice is gained through attacking in a unified and comprehensible fashion, with a bonus consumption of Malice stacks coming with stealth attacks. So you pop out of stealth, open fire, then offer a big stealthy finishing blow. That seems all right, doesn’t it? It should mean that your sniping still pulls in solid numbers while also being more fun to play and offering more interesting gameplay.
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:
Remember back before Guild Wars 2
launched and its underwater content was touted as the most innovative thing in years? And remember when it launched and underwater content actually was miles ahead of underwater content in pretty much every other game – but was still mildly annoying? And then remember how ArenaNet kinda stopped developing much for it, and now you just skim yourself right over water altogether?
That’s changing, though we don’t know quite how just yet. ArenaNet posted this morning that it’s pushing out the planned balance update next Tuesday on May 8th, and with it, big changes to underwater combat too.
“The next Guild Wars 2 balance update arrives on May 8, bringing a sea change to underwater combat! We’re enhancing underwater skills and utilities so you can blast the barnacles off anything that tries to nibble your toes while you’re swimming. Keep a lookout on the morning of the May 8 balance update—we’ll publish a developer blog post that wades through all the details.”
If Guild Wars 2’s
abrupt pull-out of PvP e-sports and tournaments a year ago
filled all your 20-slot bags with stacks of pure sadness, take heart: Players are trying to fill the void. Not with a $200,000 prize pool as ArenaNet
once did, mind you, but it’s still got a cash prize. We’re talking about The Mist Challengers Tournament
, a player-hosted series of PvP events, the first of which is this weekend, beginning at 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday and streamed live by WoodenPotatoes.
“The Mist Challengers Tournament aims to bring new and experienced players together in a two bracketed Tournament! If you’ve never stepped into an arena before, or you haven’t left one since Pro League ended, this is the tournament for you! We will be providing gold prizes for anyone who enters, even if you get knocked out first round, and increasing gold the farther along you get in the First, or Challengers Bracket. All donations to increase this prize pool are welcome, more info on that can be found on the Battlefy link. Additionally the top 2 teams from the Challengers Bracket will be allowed the opportunity to participate in the second bracket, the Invitational, where they will join the top 6 teams across both NA and EU. The most exciting part? These 8 teams will be battling it out for a prize pool of $2,000!”
With all the holidays and events in all the games that Massively OP’s MJ highlights, sometimes it is hard for her to just go in and play. Today she’s making a point of popping in just to enjoy some regular, everyday adventuring. Surely doing so will be peaceful and uneventful, right? Oh, right — this is MJ we are talking about. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. as she revisits her Norn Ranger.
What: Guild Wars 2
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 30th, 2018
Hah, you thought this one was going to be about Daybreak. But it’s not. No, today’s Daily Grind was actually inspired by something Guild Wars 2 icon @that_shaman posted earlier this month. For curiosity’s sake, he linked to a rather old leak (not of his making, to be clear) from Guild Wars 2 supposedly of a very early version of the Sandswept Isles map. Only there was one problem: It turned out to be, as he put it, “a well timed and convincing fake,” as confirmed by ArenaNet.
“When that image came out, we panicked for a split second before taking a closer look,” ANet’s Linsey Murdock explained. “Sandswept Isles never looked like that during development. It was a good educated guess since the PoF map showed the cube (which did move during development) and a nicely done photoshop. Sorry to break it to you but that ‘leak’ was faked.”
Maybe it’s because my job demands we be laser-focused on the truth all the time, but stuff like this fascinates me. Why would anybody go to so very much trouble to anonymously craft and post a fake? What do they get out of it exactly? Who puts that much work into a troll that will eventually be outed? I dunno the answers. But I can sure see why the community (and even @that_shaman) fell for this one because I likely would’ve too.
What would you say is the greatest hoax or fake leak in all of MMORPG history?
It occurs to me that it is very difficult to find MMOs that I have literally never played before in some capacity. There are titles on the list, of course, but it’s a short list. Which amuses me, since anyone who listens to me on a regular basis knows that I have a small number of games that I consider “my” games, and usually there are just two that are fairly consistently on that list. But it’s part of the job; back when I first got this job in the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (the late aughts), my lifetime game count was at four. Maybe four and a half, if you want to count the Champions Online beta that talked me out of playing it at launch.
Of course, that’s one of the interesting elements not just of this job but about MMOs in general. You react differently depending on how many MMOs you’ve played, and considering that these games are big, long-term time commitments, that can produce some interesting dynamics. So let’s go ahead and take a look at what your personal lifetime count says about you and your understanding of the genre.
World polish and bug fixes are at the forefront of Guild Wars 2’s latest patch, which went live yesterday.
Several nagging issues across the game were addressed, including hang-ups in the personal story, raids, and achievements. ArenaNet teased players by adding a “Primeval Dervish Outfit” and scythe to the cash shop, making all Guild Wars 1 refugees pine for that great class.
“A Primeval Dervish outfit, instead of a actual Dervish class… cries in Spanish,” one player said.
It also sounds like there is some movement in the game’s living world storyline: “Peacemakers report a greatly diminished presence of Awakened forces in asuran territories. The Arcane Council nonetheless urges travelers to exercise caution until any remaining malevolent undead are proven to be entirely eradicated.”