The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from MechWarrior Online, Mu Origin, Dark Age of Camelot, Astellia Online, Marvel End Time Arena, Ragnarok Online, and Guild Wars 2, all waiting for you after the break!
I would like to start this article by saying that there are a lot of things to like about Secret World Legends, but for me, those good things — despite their being some of my favorite things about RPGs and MMOs — make it hard to overlook what I consider the flaws of the game.
Although there were always weird bits to The Secret World’s storytelling, like the silent protagonist, I’ve long considered it to be some of the best storytelling in MMORPGs. With the launch of Secret World Legends, that has not changed. In fact, I would say that as an introduction to the game, it’s improved. The weak point to the game has always been the combat. There were some very confusing things about it, which have been fixed, and there were some aesthetic issues, which have not been fixed.
I am very torn about how to approach my impressions of the game. I want to come at it as someone who hasn’t played it before because it’s being sold as something new. But at the same time, I have played the game, and I know exactly why I never played it for more than a week at a time. I approached the game from two different perspectives: Would this impress someone who has never played it, and will returning players who didn’t stick with it over the last couple of years be interested enough in the changes to come back?
In my mind, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
is all about sticking the landing. After a few years of FFXIV
being out, the game has consistently earned high praise from people who play it. Heavensward
was recognized as a definite high point for the game, improving more or less everything in the game and adding more besides. So the question was whether or not Stormblood
would continue down the same road or try to dramatically upend things, break down what once worked well and lose sight of what people enjoy.
The good news, then, is that it sticks the landing.
Everything that worked well in Heavensward has been brought forward and refined, and the parts that hadn’t worked so well have been trimmed away, repurposed, or outright removed. It feels very much like an expansion to the same core game, but in the process it manages to address almost every complaint I had over Heavensward almost incidentally. And it continues on in the high standards the game has set for itself over the years, resulting in an expansion which I’m already in love with after finishing the main storyline.
Phoenix Labs’ not-Monster Hunter monster-hunting game Dauntless is obviously standing in a big shadow after E3 2017. I wasn’t yet fully aware of what Monster Hunter World was doing, but I’ve seen solid games lose to their larger rivals who are slower to innovate in the past. Capcom, while constantly disappointing Mega Man fans, is generally quite good with its co-op hunting series. RaiderZ, a Perfect World published not-MH game that also tackled the monster hunter genre, made minor changes to the formula and came as an actual MMO but still shut down. Though the Phoenix Labs guys weren’t aware of RaiderZ‘s failure, they seemed barely fazed by Capcom’s announcement, and maybe they’re right. Surprisingly, they’ve innovated a few things Capcom itself is doing while also adding a few things Capcom isn’t.
I like naval combat in my MMOs. That’s my weakness. Vehicle combat is great, but for some reason, I especially like boats. When I heard there was another pirate multiplayer game being revealed at E3 2017, I knew I’d have to check it out. Fortunately, I’d already been scheduled to check out Ubisoft’s press section of their booth, giving me a rare opportunity to see Skull and Bones behind closed doors.
The pirate’s code(s)
Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Skull and Bones is not nearly the same as Sea of Thieves. At all. Sea of Thieves is a good pirate simulator. You get drunk, you swing a sword, you dig for treasure.
In Skull and Bones, you’re a pirate ship, not a captain. Your ship is your class, like a tank or a sniper. It’s much more about boat play than character play. Don’t think of the triad though, as I didn’t see any “healer” type boat. And don’t think you’re just in a death match, as the pirate aspect was still there, even in my battleground-esque demo.
Like many readers, I was originally disappointed when Destiny wasn’t released for PC. I’m not even a Halo fan but could see that the title had promise. Release, though, sounded just OK. I fed my sci-fi MMO-ish need with doses of PlanetSide 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic and largely ignored the title, aside from the fact that major gaming sites seemed happy with the expansion. I figured it was one of those few decent console games not made by Nintendo that PC players just wouldn’t get. Whatever.
Fast forward to the announcement that Blizzard would add Destiny 2 to its launcher to ensure its PC release. PC fans freak out. World of Warcraft token values skyrocket. Massively OP writers and readers note its potential to define the genre. The chance to demo it at E3 put me on the hype train, but the reality has caused me to pump the breaks.
As I mentioned in MassivelyOP’s Best of E3 Overthinking article, I came away from this year’s con thinking Sea of Thieves was the best playable online multiplayer game with a playable demo there, despite that demo being “terrible.” What I mean by “terrible” is that it created the potential for some of the worst parts of gaming to come true. There’s a reason most MMOs demo a battleground, boss fight, or newbie experience: Those are easy to demo, especially for non-MMO fans. Some demos give players a zone to explore, which is better, when done well. Rarely are people put into a situation where the entire demo requires coordination, but Rare did it, and it paid off, despite the fact that it’s not selling an MMO.
Allow me to explain.
E3 is drawing to a close, with its reveals over and done with — all that’s left is processing our interviews and hands-on pieces. But in the meantime, we decided to take this week’s Overthinking to consider the field. MMORPGs haven’t shined brightly at E3 in a long time, so our expectations are usually low — the con is interesting to us more for what’s happening on the multiplayer front.
So that’s what we asked our staff: What’s the most interesting or grabby-hands MMO or MMO-ish thing from E3 this year? Which game would get your best in show and why? There’s also an extra bonus section on the con itself courtesy of our writer on the floor.
At this year E3’s, a lot of the big companies in gaming let journalists behind the scenes, rather than forcing us to spend hours of expo time in line. In fact, some even slipped us a few nuggets that other press weren’t being given (or due to their lack of knowledge of our genre, didn’t understand). Small nuggets, but things that excited me as a fan. It’s not a true MMO, but Nintendo gave us some interesting news about Splatoon 2’s Salmon Run mode, a new feature in the 4v4 multiplayer shooter, and I got my hands on it and a Nintendo Switch to boot.
When I spoke to ZeniMax Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler a few months back, I was intrigued by the PvP that Morrowind was offering The Elder Scrolls Online. When it hit the test servers, I found it to be exactly what I thought it would be. But because of my playtimes or just the general activity on the PTS, the queues didn’t pop much, so I didn’t get enough of an impression of the Battlegrounds during the test.
However, since the chapter hit the live servers, I’ve been able to spend a good bit of time in the no-Champion Points version of the instanced PvP zones. (As many of you know, I have a heavy aversion to Champion Points, so I apologize that my impressions of the Battlegrounds are only reflective of that.)
Now, I enjoy PvP sporadically. I would not consider myself a hardcore PvPer. But there was a time when I spent all of my game time in both instanced and open-world PvP, so I am not ignorant of the interests PvPers: balanced classes, interesting and unexploitable maps, and strategic and engaging objectives. Of course, there will always be balancing issue when you’re dealing with the number of class combinations ESO carries, but they are relatively balanced. And the other interests fall in line with most other MMO PvP. There is one major flaw that appears effective on paper, but when you factor in human nature, it fails almost every time: 4v4v4.
What’s the most newbie-friendly MMO? According to Pete at Dragonchasers, it’s Final Fantasy XIV. He’s been pretty impressed by the support structure that the game has in place for new and returning players.
“I don’t usually interact with other players in MMOs (ironic, I know) but when I was randomly invited into the Novice Network I accepted,” he wrote. “It’s a pretty active channel and at least for the short time I’ve been in it, quite civil […] This experience drew me out of my shell a bit, and by Sunday afternoon I’d dug out a bluetooth keyboard so I could talk in the Novice Network more easily. Overall the way FFXIV welcomed me as a player kind of re-kindled my love of MMOs.”
In this week’s MMO blogger roundup, we have essays on LOTRO’s attention span, the thought behind soloing in online games, and first impressions of Black Desert. Read on!
If you were given the opportunity to jump in and experience Path of Exile
upcoming The Fall of Oriath
expansion early, you would, wouldn’t you? I thought so. I had just that chance this past week, poking around on a special alpha server before the beta opened up Wednesday night. And while I didn’t want to see and do everything (because I was adamant about not spoiling the whole kit-and-kaboodle for myself or for you), I had a decent share of adventures. And playing through this preview has emphasized a few things, namely that I really, really need to devote more time to playing, and also that the Winter Witch is freaking cool! This expansion really is a doozy, adding a huge chunk more of content and polishing up content that was already there. Without a doubt I would definitely recommend the game even more so now — in fact I already have! Why is that? Based on my initial impressions of The Fall of Oriath
, the game is even better than before in more ways than one.
If you thought I was enjoying my time with Neverwinter
as a whole, you would be right. I am
enjoying my time with the game as a whole, and while there are bits and pieces which don’t totally sell me, my initial impressions have been positive. Heck, even my impressions from the last week or so of play have been mostly
positive, with a lot of good experiences and a few which are…
Yeah, I could say “less good,” but I’m going to go with just plain “rage-inducing.”
Here’s the weird thing: At least one of the things which inspired a rage-spike from me was something I had been waiting for from the moment I started playing the game, and people who have read my work long enough probably know what that means. So join me as I find the item I dread more than any other in games by Cryptic, an item that appears in both of the other titles run by the studio that makes me start shuddering with rage every time I see it.