Now that the excitement over the launch of Patch 7.1.5 and Nighthold has died down somewhat, World of Warcraft's team is gearing up for testing on the next big content update for the fantasy MMO.
"We'll be bringing down the 7.1.5 PTR realms and discussion forums today in preparation for the Patch 7.2 PTR. Details to come!" the team posted to Twitter.
Patch 7.2 promises to be a huge addition to the Legion expansion cycle, containing a new zone (Broken Shore), a new rep grind, the continuation of class hall campaigns, class-specific mounts, zone invasions, a base-building system, flying, and the Cathedral of the Eternal Night dungeon.
This weekend marks the debut of WoW's first post-7.1.5 micro-holiday, Call of the Scarab.
So here's a twist in the Nostalrius saga that we didn't see coming: The group has changed its mind about supporting its code on the Elysium servers and in fact has asked Elysium to stop using it, which would effectively shut down the new legacy servers.
The group originally ran a large vanilla World of Warcraft emulator under the name Nostalrius, which shut down last year following a C&D letter from the IP owner, Blizzard. Its admins sought to turn the voluntary closure into a catalyst for eliciting official legacy servers from Blizzard itself, drafting a 276,000-signature petition and meeting with Blizzard's top brass in an attempt to convince the studio to serve that fanbase.
But as BlizzCon drew near after the launch of Legion, the Nostalrius admins turned to threats. "If Blizzard doesn't make an announcement to honour their own core values, be sure that we will," they famously wrote. Blizzard didn't talk legacy at BlizzCon, so Nostalrius announced it would release its code to the community and allow the (much more legally inaccessible) Ukraine-based Elysium group to restart a PvE and PvP Nostalrius emu under its banner, which is precisely what started up in December, with the most recent server launching this past week.
Now Nostalrius says that it believes its actions ran contrary to its goals.
So World of Warcraft patch 7.1.5 is out now... but I'm going to be honest, that doesn't feel like much of anything. It's there, it's all playable, but it feels kind of... perfunctory? There's not a whole lot of additional meat in this patch, it's just refinements and prepwork for the Nighthold and continuing to do the stuff you already do. Which is fine, as far as it goes, but it doesn't exactly fill up my senses.
It's a John Denver reference. Look it up.
Instead, I want to talk about Demon Hunters. And Death Knights, and Monks, and where we're going from here. At this point, we've brought the game's initial lineup of nine classes to a not-much-higher 12... or, if you'd rather look at endgame viability, we've brought the nine viable endgame specs up to a sense-shattering 36. This raises the question of whether or not we actually need or even want more classes at this point, given the huge number of options we already have.
Whatever stability problem CCP encountered with EVE Online's
119.1 patch that caused the studio to implement a rare rollback from yesterday's planned launch
has been fixed, apparently, as the studio says it's now prepared to move forward tomorrow.
"Downtime will begin at 11:00 UTC and may be extended slightly beyond the regular 15 minutes while we use VIP time to perform extended testing of the release," writes CCP. "This release brings a selection of new SKINs for SoCT and Mordu's Legion Command hulls, as well as improvements and fixes to the Fitting Simulation window. In addition to this, there's also a new theme tune for 119.1, titled The Ones We Left Behind, as well as a whole host of bug fixes and graphical improvements."
Let's hope Tranquility won't be offline for hours again for emergency maintenance! Patch overview docs are up on the updates site for those who'd like a sneak peek.
It looks likely that World of Warcraft's Patch 7.1.5 -- a surprisingly packed "in-between" update -- will be coming very soon now. It's always a good sign of an imminent update when the devs bring out a new survival guide video to sum up the patch's main selling points.
If you're into the game's PvP scene, you might end up with better rewards from Legion's Season 1 than what was doled out. This is because Blizzard's standards for top-tier rewards were too strict and resulted in fewer than anticipated winners. The studio said that it will reevaluate rankings and redistribute rewards soon.
Patch 7.1.5 will introduce Mists of Pandaria timewalking dungeons, micro-holidays, the return of the Brawler's Guild, secondary stat adjustments, and class balance changes. You can check out the survival guide after the break.
Sometimes you have to exclude something from a list. I could, for example, praise World of Warcraft: Legion for being a really good expansion yet again... but I already did that. Heck, we already did that. It won an award and everything. And it deserves that award, but let's be real, we did not suffer at all from a paucity of updates over the past year. So it's time to honor some of the other updates that were great this past year that haven't gotten enough recognition.
Of course, this is my own curated list, so if you're looking for objectivity combined with a subjective rating like "best," you may be looking for love in all of the wrong places. Let's take one last look through 2016 at all of the really cool game updates that made the onslaught of deaths and tragedy at least slightly more pleasant.
World of Warcraft is horning in on one of the most famous Easter eggs in the Diablo franchise: the cow level. As part of the Diablo 20th anniversary event, WoW players can mooove into a bovine-infested instance.
The cow level is accessed by killing a treasure goblin, which can spawn anywhere in Legion, including the dungeons. Doing so opens a portal to the cow level, which is a small farm crawling with udderly ridiculous foes. There's even a cow king that drops a ton of loot, including a Twelve-String Guitar that plays the Tristram theme. Players will want to milk this mini-event for all its worth, as it ends on January 11th.
Don't believe us? We wouldn't steer you wrong. Check out the following video for eyewitness accounts!
The elves of Suramar hold a font of great power, and under Grand Magistrix Elisande they have thrown their lot in with the Burning Legion. Anyone who has stepped into Suramar in World of Warcraft knows that the zone has gone from being a band of Suramar refugees desperately seeking survival to being the site of an all-out civil war, with the Grand Magistrix and Gul'dan at the heart of the Legion's machinations for the city. When the Nighthold opens, it's time for players to take on the Nightborne and Felborne who serve the Legion and smash an orcish warlock in the face.
Aside from Gul'dan and the Grand Magistrix (who has power over time, if you recall), players will face an assortment of beasts and creatures, along with notable foes like the demon Krosus from the Broken Shore and the dreadlord Tichondrius. Normal and Heroic modes for the raid will open on January 17th, with the first Raid Finder Wing opening a week later on January 24th, followed by the subsequent three wings once per week. Get ready to take the fight to the heart of the capital.
Last week, we posted a rundown of the most popular MMORPG articles of 2016, calculated strictly by the number of pageviews they got. Today, we're going to take a look at the most popular articles of 2016 as measured by comments, which provides an entirely different overview of the year and the genre. The other list was stuff you clicked on, but this? This is the stuff you cared enough about to comment on -- and boy did you ever.
This year has been a pile of garbage and I'll be glad it's over. It's not that I'm convinced 2017 will be any better than 2016, mind you; it's just that I'll be glad that 2016 is gone, since it contains a whole lot of strife and misery and evil. And I could just predict 2017 for World of Warcraft, but the reality is that what I see as the most likely possibilities for the game involve the developers not learning obvious lessons and sailing gleefully into another big content gap, which doesn't exactly make 2017 feel more welcoming.
That doesn't mean that's inevitable, though, so instead of just a set of predictions, I'd rather go for a more straightforward wish list. Forget what I expect to see; what do I want to see? I mean, aside from the Draenei rising to a place of prominence rather than being perpetual victims, since if there was any expansion to do it this would be the one, but I think that whole Light's Heart thing already shot the chances of that to hell.
This year, we’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2017.
Early in November, EVE Online's Ascension expansion ushered in a new free-to-play chapter for the sci-fi sandbox (no matter how much they tried to get us to use "clone state"!) and boosted its concurrent numbers back over 50k.
Meanwhile, BlizzCon gave us a clearer picture of Blizzard's anemic-but-better-than-usual plans for Diablo III and its relatively rapid cadence plans for World of Warcraft in the post-Legion era. The Nostalrius saga reared its head again too as the emulator made plans for a relaunch. RIFT's Starfall Prophecy expansion also rolled out to players.
Read on for the whole list!
Every week for the last few years, we've expanded on our "Daily Grind" theme with a Leaderboard poll. I've had a blast taking over Leaderboard; Daily Grinds always get lovely qualitative answers, but numbers! tallies! bar graphs! Polls are a quantitative sort of magic that we don't often get from our other articles -- at least when they aren't being brigaded.
Let's take a look back at our best MMO polls of 2016!
Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for MMORPG the Year, which was awarded to Final Fantasy XIV last year.
Recall that in 2014, we couldn't reach consensus on an MMO of the year. In fact, enough of us voted "nothing" that "nothing" is exactly what won, which was a depressing way to end the year. So last year, we took readers' advice and opened this category up to all MMOs, provided they did something noteworthy this year. We've done the same this year, though as you'll soon see, we needn't have.
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, and congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and winners.
The Massively OP staff pick for MMORPG of 2016 is...