It’s been a long tradition (from before my tenure) to use a black-and-white version of the first picture of the week for the header here at One Shots. It’s interesting to me to see how much a screenshot changes when the color is stripped from it; sometimes it becomes more interesting and sometimes you lose the lustre that color imbues.
This is my roundabout way of saying that today’s EverQuest II picture goes from being so-so to vibrant when you transition into the colorized version. Reader The Lurker says that he took this on during a sunrise ride: “Here I am heading to Qeynos early in the morning and taking a shortcut over the fields. Hopefully no angry farmer will see it and give chase — it’s a gamble!”
So what does it look like when our Massively OP interns get finished coloring inside of the lines? Let’s find out!
What? Massively OP’s MJ has another copy of Guild Wars 2 to give away, you say? And this is a deluxe edition? Well hot diggity dog, that’s more than enough reason for her to delve deep into the lands of Tyria! Not only that, but there are tons more sights for her to see, vistas to experience, mobs to introduce herself to, and more than a little trouble she can get herself into. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you…
What: Guild Wars 2
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 11th, 2015
Would you like to talk about Black Desert? Stuff’s happening with the game. You can learn how to hunt whales, white or otherwise, and you can learn about the game’s next class. Or you can read a fandom rant about the issues that have cropped up with the game during its testing phases, although as always you might want to take that rant with a grain of salt or two. It’s a good habit to get into.
Elsewhere in the MMO space, meanwhile:
You want more? Ah, all right, jump on past the break and check out our full list as always.
This week’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Kickstarter donor JakeDunnegan, who is worried about the future of MMORPG guilds.
When EverQuest came along, I was introduced to the concept of guilds, which was a bit different from league play in Tribes. Voice chat in EQ wasn’t really a thing unlike the need for Roger Wilco in Tribes. And guilds added so much to playing. Since grouping was so critical in EQ, being in a guild was a must for effective play for anyone but Necros and Druids, who were the only effective solo players at the time.
Requirements for getting in some guilds were extremely stringent, yet the real-world rewards were unlike much we see today. It wasn’t uncommon at all for people to be in the same physical area to get together or folks travelling to stop in and have dinner with fellow guildies. I did this on many occassions, even planning a small weekend stop-over at a guild leader’s house about a half a day’s drive away.
All this and I played EQ for only about two years. We eventually started our own guild, and it would ebb and flow as new MMOs came out, but the game that really, effectively, killed off the concept of guilding — for me, anyway — was the ironically named Guild Wars 2.
NCsoft West has laid off a number of support staff and is moving its customer service operation to a third-party provider, according to Polygon. Today’s layoffs are apparently the final phase of a corporate restructuring announced in October of 2014.
Sixteen staffers at NCsoft’s Austin location were let go, which was basically that office’s entire support team, according to an anonymous tipster who was among the affected.
The official statement from the company is below.
Two days ago, World of Warcraft launched the WoW Token service, which will kill the game forever. It thus joins the list of every expansion and change to the game since launch as a herald of certain doom.
Joking aside, it’s understandable that players would be a wee bit apprehensive, since this is a bold new direction for the game. Sure, people have always traded real money for in-game currency, but before it was usually under the table, shady, and generally the sort of thing that resulted in bans and accounts being stolen. Now it’s totally legitimate. Plop your credit card on the table and get some game money.
But while it’s new territory for World of Warcraft, it’s not new territory for MMOs. There are a lot of titles that have, in various ways, codified the idea that you can drop some real coin and pick up virtual coins. To the great surprise of no one, none of these games has erupted in flames as a result of it.
Are you unable to contain your excitement for Heart of Thorns much longer? Do you need a taste of the expansion right now? Because you can have it… soon. A taste, anyway. On April 14th, Guild Wars 2 players will get a taste of the expansion with a public beta for Stronghold PvP. Everyone will be able to log in and queue up for the new PvP mode, no hoop-jumping necessary.
During the event, the Stronghold format will be the only map available for unranked Arena, although other maps will still be there for players invested in working up the ranks. Want to jump in but don’t currently own a copy of the game? It’s going on sale over the weekend for $9.99 for the base edition or $14.99 for the deluxe edition.
Guild Wars 2 makes me tick because the creatives at ArenaNet have laid such a unique and amazingly vast world at my character’s feet, filled with a plethora of different colours, sights, sounds, and peoples. As a ravenous explorer, I adore how diverse the scenery is in Tyria: My wanders can take me to such diverse environments, from the snowy tundra of the Shiverpeaks, indelibly marked by the ravages of the mountain’s inhabiting Elder Ice Dragon Jormag, to the seared planes of war-torn Ascalon, huge expanses of barren wasteland sporadically dotted with the last remnants of the lush environs that once comprised the area. Sometimes beautifully picturesque, other times realistically gritty, and even sometimes truly touching, every little crevice of Tyria holds something interesting to see.
Devotees of the scenic route are rewarded for their exploits with vistas, strategically positioned interactive spots that provide the MMO rambler a visual treat in the form of sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding region. Players usually enjoy the challenge of reaching some of the more out-of-the-way locations, even if I always curse profusely at my not-so-dexterous fingers when solving some jump puzzles. For this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’d like to round up a list of my personal favourite vistas in no particular order. Ranking them seems quite impossible and subjective, but this is a rundown of those that I’ve oohed and aahed at most. I’d love to hear your list of top vistas. Whether it’s the challenge of reaching them, the view you find when you get there, or the lore of the zone, let me know in the comments which vistas are your favourite and why.
Is it too easy to forget that MMOs, like all video games, are made by people just like you and I? Belghast over at Tales of the Aggronaut thinks so; he says that our inability to see devs as real folks breeds hostility and makes it “hip to be mean.”
“I have a hard time viewing these companies as the evil empires they are made out to be,” Belghast writes. “No one sets out wanting to make a horrible product, and no one deserves to feel like they are hated by the people that are supposed to be their fans.”
The blogging community has plenty of kind, helpful, and critical words to say this week, including a return to Star Wars: The Old Republic, a guide to Guild Wars 2 achievements, and why data mining messes up the fun for all of us.
It’s hard to be a Sylvari in Guild Wars 2 at the moment. After all, the plant people have an undeniable tie to the elder dragon Mordremoth, a tie that even they aren’t fully aware of. It makes the time before the launch of Heart of Thorns a perfect time to play through the game’s story as a Sylvari to understand the magnitude of Mordremoth’s power, a topic discussed on the most recent installment of the official Guild Wars 2 community show, Points of Interest.
This particular episode focuses heavily on exploring the story, understanding what’s coming in the expansion, and how the game’s designers intend to make future portions of the personal story more resonant for players. The Mastery lines, in particular, will allow players to explore more thoroughly and look at aspects of story instances they may not have previously seen. The team is also trying hard to make sure that story matches more closely what’s going on in a given zone, as the current incarnation of personal story quests are often disconnected from the zone players are in. Take a look past the break for the full episode recording.
Last September, a Guild Wars 2 player shared a story about his departed wife. She died from complications during the birth of the couple’s son, and she had been a fellow GW2 player who enjoyed picking up rabbits and wielding a hammer on her character, Hiralyn. It’s a tragic story we’ve all sadly heard before if we’ve played online games for a while: a fellow player, a person, a life cut short unexpectedly with a shared memory of a game.
Now, Hiralyn stands in Cragstead. According to the official posting, design lead Mike Zadorojny put in the time necessary to add a memorial to the departed player, placing her character surrounded by rabbits with a few lines of dialogue about creating a legacy for her son, even if she couldn’t be there. It’s as touching a tribute as you could hope to see to a player lost.
We’ve added some screenshots below for those of you who can’t make the journey to meet Hiralyn.
Just because Guild Wars 2 is adding more zones with Heart of Thorns doesn’t mean that these maps will be the same-old experiences with a verdant coat of paint. The team said that it’s stocking its “jungle playground” with plenty of toys, choices, and experiences that will offer high replayability and player adaptivity.
In a new post today, the team said that the map is split into vertical biomes with a wide variety of activities: “Players can explore jumping puzzles in the trees, hopping from crashed and flaming Pact airships to giant, grasping Mordrem vines, and they can scale rope bridges and wooden walkways that connect the forest floor to colorful hylek tree-frog villages in the boughs.”
Other features coming with the new maps include a day/night cycle during which worse mobs come out in the darkness, branching choices in story missions, the return of player character vocal dialogue, and NPCs that appear on the map based on decisions that the player has made.
[Source: Making the most of Maguuma
This guest Soapbox
was commissioned through Massively Overpowered’s Kickstarter campaign and is authored by Tyler F.M. Edwards
, who blogs at www.superior-realities.com
. The opinions here represent the views of our guest author and not necessarily Massively OP itself. Enjoy!
The concept of “stickiness” is always a hot topic in the MMO community — stickiness being the sum of those game qualities that ensure player retention and keep people coming back. Fans and journalists talk about it often, and I don’t doubt that MMO developers devote an enormous amount of time and money to making their games sufficiently sticky.
But this obsession with stickiness can do more harm than good, and when developers focus on retention, they risk losing sight of what really matters: making games that are fun to play.