It’s been a glorious, if very long and busy, year for Guild Wars 2, so I’m sure ArenaNet is eager to see Wintersday approaching at long last. With Wintersday comes the giving of gifts, however, which can make even the coolest Snowman melt under the pressure to impress. Luckily, there’re plenty of GW2 options available this holiday season, whatever your budget and interests.
Don’t be the Grentch who ruins the festive fun for fans this Wintersday: Sit up, pay attention to this handy-dandy gift guide, and I’ll help you find a gift that’ll make the GW2 fan in your life coo with joy this holiday season. Whether or not you’re familiar with the MMO yourself, you’re sure to find something in my list to cater to both new fans of the franchise and veteran players alike. Perhaps you’re the die-hard GW2 fan yourself and you want to use the holidays as a good excuse to get some friends or family to join you in Tyria: I have you covered too!
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a tough time deciding what kinds of gifts to buy all of your totally real, not-at-all imaginary friends when the holiday season rears its head. Thankfully, gamers are pretty easy to shop for, especially when it comes to the world of MMOs where people tend to be particularly devoted to one or two games of choice. You can just buy ’em some game-related swag, or even do your gift-giving in-game and surprise ’em with a piece of awesome gear or a rare pet.
But maybe there’s someone in your life who isn’t into MMOs, and you’d like to bring that person into the fold. Whether your would-be gift recipients have never touched a game in their lives or have already gotten their toes wet with a few free trials, we’ve got some (incredibly obvious) ideas to help you give the greatest gift of all: a crippling MMO addiction that will leech that special someone’s free time and bank account for years to come. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Or taking, depending on how you look at it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from 18 years of playing MMOs, it’s that games train us to abide by some pretty weird codes of conduct.
Drop a bag on the ground in real life? Anyone who snatched it from the ground at your feet would be chased down and arrested for a thief. Pick up a fallen bag in Ultima Online, though, and that’s just business as usual. The game doesn’t consider that stealing, and neither do most players.
And sometimes the game mechanics make conduct a heinous crime in one MMO but a cooperative event in another. Harvest a tree in Guild Wars 2, great – everyone else can harvest it too. But do it in World of Warcraft and you’ll be branded a node-stealing jerk. And those guys who harvest while you’re in combat next to the node? They’re destined for the special hell.
But surely there are some rules that are universal, right? What would you say are the most basic rules of conduct for playing in an MMO, things that everyone should know and are applicable to almost every game world?
In order to create the most truly challenging MMOs that connect players with the specific virtual environments they’re traversing, developers have always worked on unique ways to make navigation and adventuring as important to the MMOverse as every other way to play trope. At the core of any good exploration-heavy MMO should lie a solid set of movement mechanics that enhance the explorative experience and add layers of challenge or intrigue to the game at hand, rewarding the brave adventurers among us for completing epic journeys across dangerous environs. Those same movement mechanics can also bleed into an MMO’s combat system to create a more complex, engaging encounter that provides a fantastic potential for differentiation between enemy types in specific zones.
In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’m going to run through some of my favourite movement mechanics, discussing their best implementations and how they enhance some of the MMOs that employ them.
Guild Wars 2 and One Shots is a pairing as old as time immemorial. Thus, it’s great to bring this good-looking MMO back into the headlining position with a submission from reader Siphaed.
“After drinking a very odd looking potion, I felt kind of queasy,” he wrote. “Wondering around a bit in Lion’s Arch, people were running from me, screaming. Could not figure for the life of me as to why they would run from a little Asura such as myself. Perhaps they were afraid of my genius? So while wondering on the beach I glimpse into the water and my reflection with quite the shock. And to think that the Charr looked ugly to begin with…”
This isn’t the only startling transformation you’ll witness today. Watch! As players turn a jumble of pixels into stunning creations after the break!
Guild Wars 2’s raiding guild drama earlier this week naturally made me think of guild drama I’ve experienced myself. I mean, if you’ve been playing MMOs in guilds long enough, you’ve probably seen everything that can go on in a group: screaming matches, cyberstalking, cybering, divorces over video games, spies, guild vault thieves, drunk deleting characters, that one time a kid faked his death for attention and we only figured it out when we contacted his family with sympathies… oh, yeah. Seen it all.
All of that makes the time I went off on a Ret Pally in Vent during a vanilla World of Warcraft raid for rolling on a tanking mace “for PvP” look pretty tame in the drama department.
What’s your worst MMO guild drama horror story?
Every MMO seems to have its breakout race, and for many Guild Wars 2 players, it’s the lovable and squishy Quaggan. So what if we were to tell you that geek apparel store iam8bit was going to sell new Quaggan merchandise for the Christmas season? Would you go “oooOOOOooo!” at that?
‘Tis true. Starting tomorrow, both a Christmas Quaggan Sweatshirt and Quaggan Plushie will be available on the store to pre-order. Of course, if you can’t wait until then, the standard Quaggan plushie is already available as well as Guild Wars 2 art prints, posters, and t-shirts. The only question we have for you is, what will you be buying your favorite Massively OP staffer this holiday season?
No MMO can be in the spotlight eternally. Even some of the biggest names out there — your World of Warcrafts, your Guild Wars 2s, your Star Stables — wax and wane in the amount of press and attention they get depending on what they’re doing and how well their PR department is functioning.
It doesn’t take much for a title to fall off of practically everyone’s radar. In some cases it’s merely a matter of passing time and slipping popularity, but in others it’s just that the game or its marketing team hasn’t done anything of note in a long, long time. So that’s when you get MMOs that, when mentioned, cause the listener to cock an eyebrow and say, “Huh. That’s still around?”
Today we’re going to look at 10 such titles — not to demean them or laugh at some misfortune but to call attention to MMOs that are still humming along even though they’re not headlining news or ripping up Steam charts.
If you’ve got five-plus hours to kill and you’re a fan of Guild Wars 2, you might enjoy checking in with the Heart of Thorns launch megastream. ArenaNet has published the lengthy session on YouTube, and it looks back at the past nine months of lead-up to the game’s first expansion. The stream features developer guests including producer Tre Fitzgerald, producer Brian Cautrell, game director Colin Johanson, and host Rubi Bayer.
Take a look after the cut!
Hello again, friends, and welcome back to Choose My Adventure. As you may or may not have noticed, CMA took a little hiatus last week on account of my having some computer issues that ultimately ended up requiring me to reformat. But now I’m back with a fresh, clean hard drive, and not one but two weekends’ worth of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns playtime to talk about.
But before we get down to that, here’s a recap of the last column’s voting results: While the gender vote was a close contest, with female eking out a victory by a slim 12 out of 274 votes, the polls for my character’s class and race were considerably more decisive. The race vote went to Sylvari with a commanding 41% of the vote (the next-closest contestant, Asura, had only 19%), and as predicted, the class vote was little more than a formality, with a sound majority of you voting to see the newly added Revenant class in action. Well, I did as I was told, and I’ve got a lot to talk about, so let’s jump in.
I’ve already brought you my initial impressions of the Gorseval raid encounter
followed by a quickfire interview with Guild Wars 2 Associate Game Director Steven Waller
to clue you in on the first Heart of Thorns
raid wing that launched yesterday, but there’s still so much to say in this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles
! I managed to spend some time raiding last night, and I was particularly keen to test out the enhanced squad UI functionality that has also been introduced to Guild Wars 2
expansion. Although the new system is multipurpose and doesn’t just apply to raiders, it seems particularly apt that its release coincides with this type of endgame content.
Today I’m going to take a good look at the enhanced squad UI that has been created to more efficiently handle the community’s grouping needs. I’ll talk about its features and impact on grouping to save you having to dig too far to get to grips with the new grouping functionality.
Guild Wars 2 introduced the first wing of its new raids to players yesterday. To make these new raids as good as they could possibly be, ArenaNet recruited high-end guilds full of raiders dedicated to achievements like world first clears. The idea was that these guilds would take part in the testing but would not then immediately brag about world first kills after months of practice on this content no one else had played.
It appears that the guild Death and Taxes did not get that particular memo. The guild has now been removed from further raid testing, and a valuable lesson has been learned about raid drama. Further raid testing is ongoing; you can read the full statement from ArenaNet regarding the removal just below.
A passionate WildStar discussion-slash-debate in my guild the other day on the subject of MMO combat styles had us all taking sides on what was obviously better. There were those who found action combat, with its faster skill usage and focus on positioning, quite thrilling. Then there was the crowd that preferred the older tab-targeting style with global cooldowns and more abilities for the option to think through fights and not just button mash. And that’s not even counting games like Guild Wars 2 that take a bit from column A and column B.
Maybe action combat is more the wave of the future and in line with what gamers are used to in other PC and console titles, but I still prefer systems like those found in RIFT and SWTOR. I’m not quite willing to have all of my MMOs be boiled down into six buttons that I smash with impunity like a toddler.
So what’s your preferred style of MMO combat?