guild wars 2
Guild Wars 2
Launch Date: August 28, 2012
Genre: Fantasy Hybrid Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid B2P (Cash Shop, No Sub, Paid Expansions)
For as long as Massively Overpowered exists, this will be one of the most memorable years in our site’s history. It was the year that, after seven year of operation, old Massively got abruptly shuttered by AOL along with Joystiq and WoW Insider. It was also the year that the community rallied around us and Kickstarted the hell out of a new site, giving us the chance to create MOP as an independent MMO entity.
2015 will no doubt be remembered for a lot of other things too, of course. I don’t think anyone could have predicted all of the craziness and unexpected turns that happened in our genre over the past 12 months. Let’s take a walk back through the year-that-was to cover the biggest, strangest, and most exciting stories that we covered.
Last night, Blizzard posted a dev blog to explain just how World of Warcraft Legion plans to drive a wrecking ball into the game’s existing PvP paradigm.
For starters, honor and conquest currencies are being replaced with honor points akin to experience points and awards on the new honor track, all the way up to 50, at which point you can “prestige” — that is, start over at level 1 and increase your prestige level and rack up some cosmetics. Awards include honor talents that work only in PvP.
Gear, on the other hand, will no longer matter, aside from a “small modifier based on your average item level” because you know they just couldn’t let that go.
“As soon as you zone into a PvP instance, the stats on your gear will be nullified, and you’ll be given a pre-determined set of stats that’s uniquely configured for your specialization. Furthermore, any set bonuses, enchants, Legendary bonuses, or trinket effects will be deactivated.”
This also means PvP gear is going away as a thing to grind for. So basically it’s close to what Guild Wars 2 does, and it’s what Blizzard has been hinting at off and on since it first introduced arenas back in Burning Crusade.
Last month’s Thanksgiving holiday in the US prompted several MMO bloggers to share their thanks for gaming and other geeky goodness. Stars of the Spiral had an entire list of thanksgiving, including a shoutout to CMs: “I give thanks to the community managers of Pirate101 and Wizard101 as well as #JuliaFromKI. Without them, the KingsIsle community would not be the same.”
Braxwolf is thankful for the discovery of personal creation: “Writing blog posts, producing podcasts, dabbling in video, designing wordpress pages, even organizing communities…these are all things that have tapped into a deep-seeded desire that I didn’t even realize was there. I prefer creating content to actually playing the games!”
Belghast shared a desire to be more thankful on a regular basis: “I should have more childlike joy about the things I am doing, rather talking about how this or that is a portent of a big coming failure. I am tired of seeing the bad in my hobby, and I am tired of feeling like everything is going to s**t… and quickly.”
Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for best MMO update or expansion of the year.
Last year was a bit heavier on MMO updates and thin on expansions since that was the trend, so the award was expanded to include both, and it was won by Guild Wars 2’s April feature pack patch. This year, we had expansions and patches aplenty!
All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Update or Expansion of 2015 is…
Today is not a winter’s day, nor is it the start of winter days. That’s the solstice, which is on December 22nd this year. But it is the start of Wintersday in Guild Wars 2, which is… an extended celebration based upon Christmas festivities, which is also not for another week and change. So the timing is a mess all around, but the festivities are all right.
Of course, that’s not all today’s update contains; there are also Fractal changes, bug fixes, and quality of life improvements. But it’s the holiday part that’s the closest to being timely just the same, since Fractal Day isn’t until May.
A guide is currently in progress for the various goings-on around the holiday over on Dulfy.net, if you’re wondering how you can grab the most out of the celebration. There are also new hairstyles available in the gem store, which aren’t particularly festive but can serve as an excellent way to feel more festive. Or just serve as, you know, new hairstyles.
Back in our holiday gifts guide for the MMO hipster, I made a joke about demanding game soundtracks on vinyl. Little did I know back then that this was something about to become a reality for Guild Wars 2.
iam8bit and ArenaNet, publisher and developer of the acclaimed Guild Wars® franchise, have teamed up to release a special Collector’s Edition 2xLP Vinyl featuring the Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ soundtrack on 180-gram colored vinyl. The vinyl release offers fans a new way to experience the evocative, orchestral score composed by Maclaine Diemer and Lena Chappelle for Heart of Thorns, the first expansion for the fan favorite, best-selling MMO Guild Wars 2®. With audio mastered specifically for vinyl by Telegraph Mastering Studio, listeners can revisit their quest to battle the vicious Elder Dragon Mordremoth as the orchestra takes them through the perilous Maguuma jungle with the special release of this enchanting soundtrack.
Pre-orders for the LP have just begun. Buyers will get a digital version of the music as well, and those who sold off their record players in the ’90s can pick up the soundtrack on iTunes and Amazon Music “at a later date.”
Here’s a bit of MMORPG e-sports drama for you: A major Guild Wars 2 e-sports team bailed from competition last night. Competing in the game’s ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League for a cut of $200,000 in prize cash, a member of team Zero Counterplay apparently abandoned play mid-match, handing the win to its opponents. Member aerodynamique explained his team’s motivations on Reddit, citing multiple problems with Guild Wars 2’s PvP design and technical problems with required anti-cheating software:
You know, I was gonna write an entire post that explained that we had one ragequit and one legitimate D/C due to ESL Wire, and then I realized; It does not matter, because, at this point in the game’s meta, it is just not worth dedicating more than thirty seconds to this game. Everybody can say we’re unprofessional or terrible at Guild Wars 2 all they want, but, the fact of the matter is that if one point getting capped at the start of the game makes us call a GG, and makes one person leave, while another simultaneously d/c’s due to ESL Wire (which already gives us 300+ ping), this game just isn’t worth spending time on.
On the Guild Wars 2 official forums today, ArenaNet’s Gaile Gray has outlined a number of balance changes heading to the game, once again shifting the meta and generating salt from the usual suspects.
[O]ur strategy for adjusting the meta-game in Guild Wars 2 after the release of Heart of Thorns focuses on releasing balance updates on a set cycle – each and every quarter. We began this cadence with the release of HoT in October which undoubtedly changed the way that the game is played across all game modes. In the weeks following the launch of HoT we made a number of tweaks to elite specializations as we began to notice trends that did not align with our design goals. Today we stand about a month and a half since Heart of Thorns was released, and once again we feel it is necessary to make some adjustments for the overall health of the game. This week we will be making a few changes to address some emergent gameplay that has cropped up across multiple game modes.
In particular, expect tweaks (read: nerfs) to Runes of Durability, Mesmers’ Echo of Memory, Meditation interaction in Temple of the Silent Storm, and Revenant skills including Demonic Defiance, Radiant Revival, and Coalescence of Ruin.
Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the best MMO trend of 2015.
Last year, we chose sandbox and social gameplay as the awardee in this category. This year, all trends were back on the table. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Trend of 2015 is…
Now that we’re into the thick of December, I’ve given myself permission to finally turn the radio station over to the all-Christmas-all-the-time channel for the duration of the month. I love Christmas music — love it — but I also try not to overdose on it and by so doing ruin it for years to come. So one month of the year I give myself permission to gorge on sleigh bells and drummer boys, and for the remaining 11 months, I try hard to forget it exists.
One disadvantage of the radio station, however, is that it generally plays the same 40 songs by the same 40 artists, eschewing newer and different tunes. I don’t like that, which is why I’ve been trying to expand my Christmas music collection to include such deserved hits like “Christmas Vacation” and “Toy Packaging.” Another aid in my collection quest? MMOs and their propensity for churning out lovely holiday tracks.
Today, let’s sit back with a hot cup of cocoa and sip on these seasonal serenades.
I think about MMO fashion a lot because I’m a weird person who doesn’t get invited to a lot of parties (or maybe it’s the other way around). What puzzles me is how most MMOs seem to get very close to developing good cosmetic wardrobe systems and then drop the ball in different areas.
For example, RIFT has it going on with a terrific wardrobe system right now — but generally not-so-great armor designs. Guild Wars 2 got pretty fun with its system, but I never liked its high cost of dyeing and its samey armor sets. SWTOR still hasn’t gotten on board with the whole “save designs to a collection” mechanic that most MMOs are using. The Secret World is tons of fun — but you can’t dye any of the clothing pieces or save multiple outfit loadouts.
In your opinion, which MMO has the best cosmetic wardrobe system?
You know one of the reasons I like writing this column? Because one of these days I’m going to be able to make a list of the best characters from Transformers and Bree isn’t going to stop me. But I also like the fact that we all know the column is completely subjective, so that when people read this they do not think that this is a carefully researched piece wherein I can prove that a given game is the best free-to-play title on the market using, like, numbers.
I hope that’s true, anyhow.
But moving along, it’s the holiday season, so you probably want a new game to play, but you both need to avoid buying games (someone might have bought one for you) and you don’t have much money (because you bought everyone some random thing already, let’s just say Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus). So here are the 10 MMOs that I think make for the best free-to-play options on the market right now based on completely subjective reasoning.