living world

Perfect Ten: How MMOs can become more accessible

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was remarkably reluctant to enter into the field of MMORPGs despite being a perfect candidate (a gaming geek who loved fantasy and sci-fi RPGs). All of the reasons that I had at the time for stalling really could have been boiled down to a single word: accessibility.

MMOs back then looked — and probably were — very inaccessible. They had a payment barrier. They required a lot of setup and hardware. Their interfaces were cluttered and their gameplay interactions were obtuse. Frankly, I got the impression that a lot of them were a mess that was only understandable to those who had put in hundreds of hours to decipher the format.

When MMOs started to become more accessible, particularly with City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars, I eagerly jumped in. Those three titles in particular made giant leaps forward in opening up these games to the first-time player. But that doesn’t mean that MMORPGs have arrived at universal accessibility just yet. Here are ten areas that studios could be improving in order to make their titles more appealing and understandable to outsiders.

Read more

Guild Wars 2 tortures Dervish fans with an outfit but no class, denies excessive data collection in ‘spyware’ controversy

World polish and bug fixes are at the forefront of Guild Wars 2’s latest patch, which went live yesterday.

Several nagging issues across the game were addressed, including hang-ups in the personal story, raids, and achievements. ArenaNet teased players by adding a “Primeval Dervish Outfit” and scythe to the cash shop, making all Guild Wars 1 refugees pine for that great class.

“A Primeval Dervish outfit, instead of a actual Dervish class… cries in Spanish,” one player said.

It also sounds like there is some movement in the game’s living world storyline: “Peacemakers report a greatly diminished presence of Awakened forces in asuran territories. The Arcane Council nonetheless urges travelers to exercise caution until any remaining malevolent undead are proven to be entirely eradicated.”

Read more

Flameseeker Chronicles: Deep-diving Guild Wars 2’s A Bug in the System (Part 1)

Season 4 of Guild Wars 2 Living World was off to a roaring start with Daybreak so I was expecting a solid follow-up in A Bug in the System, and I can now say I wasn’t left disappointed. ArenaNet‘s focus on interesting story delivery hasn’t waned with time and the narrative is greatly improving as a result: Moreover, the teaser trailer for this episode was stronger than any of the Daybreak or even Path of Fire marketing content in my humble but honest opinion. I’ve rambled on about this before, but the trailer had a smooth delivery and polish that simultaneously captivated current players and contained enough information to entice newbies. The episode is gritty, dangerous, and humorous, and I’m delighted to share its twists and turns with you.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll discuss the main plot points for this episode and will share my highlights with you. This article is best read after completion of the episode if you’re worried about spoilers, though tags will be used where needed to avoid the biggest spoilers.

Read more

Jukebox Heroes: Five great YouTube channels for MMO music

As a collector and reviewer of MMORPG soundtracks, I owe a great debt to fellow music lovers who take the time to somehow extract files from the game directories and make these tracks available to the world at large. YouTube has been an invaluable treasure trove of MMO music, thanks to these devoted fans, and I thought I would give some of them props today for their hard and continuing work.

While there are plenty of channels where you might see a person post a playlist at one point for a single game, there are a handful of YouTubers who see their mission to continually post new music for ongoing online games. Today we are going to look at five channels and the game soundtracks that they cover. We’re talking hours and hours of music at your fingertips here, so set aside your plans for the rest of the day and get listening!

Read more

Guild Wars 2’s Current Activities Team shoves kitties in your face

If you were hired to work at ArenaNet on Guild Wars 2, what team would you want to join? The C.A.T. people make a bid for your hypothetical allegiance this week as they explain why Current Activities Team is the place to be.

So what is this specialized team about? The Current Activities Team is a cozy squad that whips up “small-scale interesting activities, events, and stories” for Guild Wars 2 that are inserted between living world and expansion releases. The team members also handle festivals, legendaries, the birthday gifts, and so on. This stacks up to be between three to five tiny releases during each living world cycle.

It sounds pretty fluffy and fun, plus they get to shove cats in everyone’s face. Seriously, they’re kind of nuts about cats. They even created a cat raid boss. Get to know this team after the break!

Read more

Guild Wars 2: The first forum chat covers boss difficulty, instance chaining, and season rewards

ArenaNet is trying something new for Guild Wars 2 this season: In addition to its episodic AMAs on Reddit, it’s opened up a temporary Q&A forum on the new content. It’s certainly a lot easier to read and find replies! Most of the topics since yesterday revolve around lore, and as I’m trying to avoid spoilers myself, I won’t subject you to them, but there are some more general ones that aren’t just AMA repeats that I can draw your attention to.

  • Players didn’t make much headway with ArenaNet in the ongoing complaints about the difficulty of the solo story bosses.
  • Planning for this episode began in November of 2016, to give you an idea of how long these things percolate.
  • The studio agrees some of the instance chaining in this episode goes on for too long. (It was done for story purposes.)
  • Will the personal story ever be developed again? “It’s something we consider often,” Jessica Price says, but it’s probably not happening, given the number of races, personalities, and backgrounds would need to be taken into account (1800 combos before personal story choices).

Read more

Flameseeker Chronicles: First impressions of Guild Wars 2’s A Bug in the System

Today is the day we’ve been waiting for: After a short delay, episode 2 of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season, A Bug in the System, is finally ready to release. It feels as though Daybreak was a lifetime ago after being spoiled for so long with super-fast episodic content drops throughout the Path of Fire story, so I’m delighted to finally get to grips with some new story now. I had a little glimpse at the action two weeks ago in a dev-guided preview and was honestly left jaw-dropped, so it’s been exceptionally difficult waiting for its release to talk about my impressions. The episode is dangerous, political, and impactful, and I am just about hanging onto my seat as I get to see more today.

In this episode of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll recap on Daybreak’s content for those who haven’t quite caught up before launching into my first impressions of A Bug in the System. I played for around 45 minutes with some key developers and have only had a glimpse at the content, so this article will be a nice teaser for today without spoiling too much more than the trailer does. Having said that, if you would prefer to go in fresh, give this one a skip to avoid potential spoilers until you’ve played yourself.

Read more

Massively OP Podcast Episode 159: Panda punching

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin dive into deep mysteries, get ready for a slice of RIFT Prime, and once again try to figure out just what the heck Daybreak is doing with its H1Z1 franchise. Also, BREE SINGS. It’s as amazing as you always imagined.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

Read more

ArenaNet delays Guild Wars 2’s next living world episode to ensure it ‘lives up to standards’

Were you expecting Guild Wars 2 to drop a new living world episode trailer today, complete with deets on when the episode is rolling out? We were too. Turns out it’s all been slightly delayed.

“We are fast approaching the end of our 2-3 month cadence window for Living World Episodes and this morning we were hoping to unveil the Episode 2 Trailer along with the announcement of its release date,” says ArenaNet’s Mike Zadorojny. “However, as we were preparing the episode for launch we discovered issues that we want to take additional time to address, to make sure it lives up to our standards. Once we have nailed down the last few details, started the process for moving the build to Live, and are confident when the episode will launch, we will release the trailer. Thank you for patience and bearing with us as we put the finishing touches on Episode 2. We look forward to playing the next chapter of Living World with all of you once it is released.”

Maybe next week?

Comment

Perfect Ten: Major MMO expansions and updates to expect in 2018

Now that we’re almost 1/12th of the way through 2018, it’s probably about time to stop anticipating the year and start experiencing it. We have already looked at MMOs coming this year, multiplayer titles on the way, the current healthiest MMOs, MMO predictions, and the best value games on the market. So what’s left?

Expansions. Expansions and major content updates are what’s left. It might seem a little presumptuous to try to outline what’s coming this year, since many studios still have their long-range plans under wraps, but when we sat down in the MOP office to talk about it, we ended up with a much larger list than anticipated.

So here’s a look at the major MMO expansions and content updates we are expecting and anticipating over the course of this year. After this? You’re on your own, kid.

Read more

Flameseeker Chronicles: 2018 Guild Wars 2 predictions

I adore looking back on last year’s predictions about what’s to come in Guild Wars 2 in the next twelve months: Even when my predictions are totally wrong, they stand as an excellent marker of how I was feeling about the game and what the gaming climate was like at the time the predictions were made. I love making new predictions each year and it’s a key part of my annual MMO checklist, alongside setting my personal gaming goals for the year ahead to look back on at a later date too. This year’s predictions blend safe bets based on where development is currently at with some more far-reaching points of note.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll look back on my old predictions and appraise them retrospectively, and I’ll also set new ones for 2018. This article will be spoilerific by nature if you’re not caught up with current developments, so skip for a while it if you’re behind.

Read more

Guild Wars 2 is hiring a writer and narrative designer

We regret to inform you that while ArenaNet is definitely hiring a Writer / Narrative Designer for Guild Wars 2, it is also a job you are probably not qualified for. (This is in a general sense, mind you; if you’re a regular reader and have shipped two AAA games, by all means, go forth.) But it’s still interesting for those of us who are not qualified for the position, as it offers a hint about how much more writing is going to be coming out of the studio with upcoming patches. (And also that Riot Games just picked up the former holder of that job, Michael Yichao.)

Obviously, it doesn’t hint at all about the content of those stories, but it’s a senior position that indicates a need for more words, more characters, and more narrative. If that’s your favorite part of the game in the Living World, you have reason to be happy. But you probably don’t need to send off your resume, although if you do, make sure to check out the twitter feeds of ANet’s Bobby Stein and Tom Abernathy, which are stuffed full of advice for aspiring applicants.

Read more

Flameseeker Chronicles: A Guild Wars 2 2017 column retrospective

Welcome along to a rather festive retrospective in which I sum up 2017 for both Guild Wars 2 and Flameseeker Chronicles! A large glass of buck’s fizz and a good helping of homemade Christmas cake have fuelled the writing of this article, though I didn’t need cheery holiday snacks to brighten my Boxing Day morning when I had so many articles to look back on and a huge amount of excellent gaming memories to reflect on. Once the festive season is over, I’ll write up my predictions for 2018 and will revisit my 2016 crop to see if I was in any way accurate, but for now I wanted to reflect back on a year well done.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll revisit the milestones that made it a great year for GW2 and the content spawned from them, hopefully finishing my reminiscing with a solid picture of how the year refined the game and what direction ArenaNet might take in 2018. This will be a useful rundown for those of you who might have missed some entries along the way and wish to get to the good bits while enjoying any festive time off you have. Enjoy my musings and have a very happy holiday season!

Read more

1 2 3 10