Apparently I am a pot-stirrer. On my side blog, Bio Break, I like to throw out conversation starters every now and then, and one such recent post concerned side quests. Namely, I mused about getting rid of them altogether in MMORPGs. This generated a lot of interesting conversation around the subject among other bloggers.
In An Age said that side quests are vital for pacing: “Pacing, meanwhile, is all about enhancing the main story. How do you enhance a story? By fleshing it out. Giving context to its development. Allowing breathing room in which to digest the latest narrative bombshell. Bringing the world in which the story exists to life.”
“I’m a fan of side quests if they’re done well overall. I don’t expect every single one to be breathtaking storytelling,” said Gaming SF. And Bhagpuss goes the other way: “I have to wonder whether, rather than putting side quests on ice, it isn’t the main quest itself that should be deep-sixed. If side quests add breadth and depth to the world, don’t main quests try to put that world in a box and close the lid?”
If you’ve missed the memo, World of Warcraft is taking players to Argus in patch 7.3. That’s the former home of the Draenei, a stronghold of the Burning Legion, and probably not a great place to stop if you’re looking for the best boneless wings money can buy. Previews for the areas of Mac’Aree and Krokuun are now available courtesy of WowHead, and you can check out the tours just below if you can’t wait to explore the landscapes offered by this alien world.
Of course, you might want to know a little more about how you got here in the first place. That’s also fine, and it’s something covered by the next installment of the Warcraft Chronicle series coming out in March 2018. While we don’t know the details, it looks like it’ll cover events around the time of Warcraft III, so it may be useful to bone up on that information once you’ve gotten through the threats available on Argus.
Outrageous. Ridiculous. Exciting. Exploitative. Controversial.
This past week’s announcement of Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor’s launch date and pre-order packages set ablaze discussions and arguments among the community, both in-game and without. World chat was streaming by quickly as players debated the pros and cons of the reveal, while the forums blew up with huge posts defending and criticizing the pre-order packages.
While this is not the travesty that some are making it out to be, I definitely agree with those that say Standing Stone Games misstepped with this announcement and needs to take some action to rectify the confusion and value of the upcoming expansion. While LOTRO players seem united in their anticipation for Mordor, some of that enthusiasm has been dashed with how the dating and packages have been handled, and that is a shame.
Let’s break it all down and see what we’ve learned and what pre-order might be best for you!
Players have datamined a bit out of World of Warcraft’s most recent test realm patch that hints at the destination of the next expansion, with what appear to be pieces of leveling gear and even some voice lines. These could, of course, be red herrings, but there’s also the possibility that we’ll be heading off to the long-rumored south seas and confronting the Old Gods at long last; considering the thrust of Legion, it would make a certain amount of sense.
In other WoW news, if you weren’t around during the time of the Black Temple raid – and probably even if you were – you missed out on a set of encounters that many raiders cite as some of the most memorable in the game’s long history. The dungeon is coming back as part of the next Timewalking event, and a new article on the official site walks through the process of initially making the Black Temple as well as how it got updated for players to explore once again.
The flood of information concerning World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3 and Argus continues to wash over the community as testing proceeds, starting with a new Ion Hazzikostas interview that revealed many interesting facts about the MMO’s future direction.
As a decimated “husk” of a world, Argus was better suited to the end of the Legion than its own expansion, Hazzikostas explained. He did note that players won’t just be going around a dead landscape, as invasion points will offer adventurers the opportunity to leap around the galaxy to other planets to help counter Legion incursions (and yes, some of these places already have been datamined).
“It is our most ambitious expansion in a lot of ways,” Hazzikostas said. “We’re taking you to a whole new world and trying to tell a story on a grander scale than we have in the past.”
So what does the blogging community think of the first IP-related new MMORPG to be announced in years in Magic: The Gathering? It’s a little more confused than enthusiastic, to tell the truth.
“To me, this announcement is somewhat similar to announcing that they are making an MMORPG out of Poker. Um …. okay?” said Endgame Viable.
“I suspect there are other sets that are more popular or more likely to be chosen as the main basis for the game,” writes Gaming SF, “if Cryptic’s more recent releases for the Neverwinter game are anything to go by then this new MMORPG is likely to feature content that ties into upcoming MtG cardsets to cross-promote both the cards and the game among fans.”
Let’s move on for the moment and look at dueling expansions, Kickstarter issues, and adventuring underwater!
As a studio, Blizzard certainly isn’t against liberally “borrowing” others good ideas and making them its own, so it stands to reason that the studio has no problem with stealing from itself.
Icy Veins notes that datamining discoveries for World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3 indicates that a Diablo III rift-type system is coming to the MMORPG. The datamining found references to items that allow players to enter “greater” and “lesser rifts,” which is certainly familiar to anyone who has engaged in that brand of solo content in Diablo III.
The site also pulled up data on the eight new world bosses that are going to be included with Argus. These Legion baddies are going to be worth hunting down for their item level 930 loot, which has been extracted and displayed for all to see.
The excitement is real and the threat is strong: World of Warcraft players are spearheading a counter-invasion to the Legion world of Argus in Patch 7.3. The content update went onto the test servers earlier this week, and players are already mining it for as much information as possible.
If you’re dying of curiosity and in the mood to be spoiled, Icy Veins posted a half-hour video showing the introduction quest to Argus that takes players back to the Exodar and then to outer space. As a bonus, we’ve tossed in BellularGaming’s 10 major features of Patch 7.3.
Give them a watch (or don’t!) after the break.
While the World of Warcraft raiding community soldiers on through the new Tomb of Sargeras and everyone else curses their luck at legendary item drops, Blizzard has activated Patch 7.3 on the test server.
This is a capital-B Big Deal for the game, as 7.3 is destined to take players to the world of Argus for the very first time. The studio said that players will use a ship called the Vindicaar as their new headquarters to stage a counter-invasion into Legion-held territory. Argus will eventually offer three zones to players, although only the first one is on the test server. The planet will be a no-fly zone and will apparently feature a lot of story.
“Most (but not all) of the new stuff in 7.3 takes place on Argus,” Blizzard posted, “and as you might expect, this is hostile territory. Demons patrol every crag of Argus’s shattered surface, and sometimes it seems as if the planet itself is out to get you. This will be a very story-driven update, but we’re also designing areas with sandbox elements intended to be enjoyed even after you complete the main quest, with gameplay and challenges on the planet’s surface reminiscent of past endgame areas such as the Molten Front, the Isle of Thunder, and the Timeless Isle.”
has today announced that PlayStation 4 fans will see their beloved Skyforge invaded by mechanoids on June 27th
. In fact, the studio says it like it’s a good thing, and it probably is if you like loot and don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, and it’s nice of them to tell you exactly when they’re going to show up, right?
“The Mechanoid legion has an uncontrollable thirst for knowledge and seeks to increase their own computing power,” studio Allods Team writes. “The robotic army is rapidly approaching and all players are being called on to defend their home planet from these menacing invaders.”
The so-dubbed Mechanoid War is considered a free expansion as the PS4 is doggedly catching up with the PC version of the game; the bundled content dump promises a new Divine Form appearance for elite players, plus “all new battles in challenging invasion zones, exciting boss battles, a completely new 10-man raid as well as the new and stronger generation 2 equipment as rewards.”
After four years and over 700 MMORPG music tracks, the Battle Bards have arrived at their 100th show! For this centennial spectacular, Syl, Steff, and Syp reminisce about the most notable shows, their best soundtrack discoveries, and their favorite tracks. This super-sized show gets wrapped up with a bout of listener emails and a promise of another amazing hundred episodes!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 100: Centennial spectacular (or download it) now:
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!
Nexon’s wildly popular sidescrolly MMO MapleStory is gearing up for two new updates this summer that’ll “allow players to strengthen their characters with new job skills, fight in new areas and travel to a new planet.”
The first, coming in June and dubbed Override: Evolve, opens up 5th job advancement skills for all classes, updates the Legion System, and retools the Omega Sector with new maps and a new boss.
The July entry, Override: Venture, sends players to the planet of Eluna for mining (joy!) and adds a new area called Arcana that revolves around the spirit tree.
Check out the new pics and trailer down below!