living world

Global Chat: Getting a hit of that EverQuest nostalgia

Ahh… smell that? Smells like a new batch of EverQuest nostalgia, served up to us as a fresh progression server. For some of the faithful, the chance to get a hit of that nostalgia is absolutely irresistible.

“I love EverQuest,” blogger Stargrace writes. “I love the excitement that comes with playing on a progression server. I love how busy they are, and watching chat channels fly by. I love the community and the fuzzy feelings I get when I think about that time in my life.”

Kaozz explained why this server was in such high demand: “My son was baffled how many people want to play on this type of server. I’ve been waiting on one for years and keep up with the requests in the forums I have seen for so many years.”

And The Ancient Gaming Noob finds it baffling that Blizzard isn’t cashing in on these kinds of servers with World of Warcraft. “Nostalgia sells, these servers are popular, they offer something people want and, more importantly, something people are willing to pay for,” he said.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 season 3 finale predictions

I’ve had enough time to fully reflect on my Guild Wars 2 Living World season 3 experience to date and wanted to circle back through what I now understand to be the state of play in order to gather my thoughts on where the final episode might take us. We’ve bounced across Tyria chasing the White Mantle, bonding with Aurene, helping to secure Kryta, navigating the tricky interpersonal relationships behind Dragon’s Watch members, and helping Taimi get answers about the elder dragons. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ll also have noticed that major expansion spoilers have also been leaked across the interwebs, so my mission is to attempt to draw conclusions for what might feature at the end of this season to lead us neatly into the second GW2 expansion.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to briefly recap on the major story threads of the season so far and will then make some loose predictions about what might happen in the final episode. Note that this piece is most definitely spoilerific for those who haven’t finished the last chapter and also potentially for those who have managed to avoid the expansion spoilers. Feel free to bookmark this one for later if that applies to you!

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Camelot Unchained finishes UI icons, makes ‘major inroads’ into living world support tech

Camelot Unchained hopes you’re not tired of the words “living world” because its devs are busy making “major inroads into the tech to support” just that.

“At the start of the month, we began working with our portal tech to allow players to teleport between zones, primarily to make testing easier,” City State’s Tyler Rockwell explains. “However, we delayed more expanded testing of that tech” — chiefly to improve seamless zone transitioning and terrain generation.

The art is worth a peek this week as usual too, particularly the icons. CSE says its expects the “styling and overall UI to change and grow throughout testing,” these armor, weapon, and crafting icons for beta one are ready to roll. Check them out, along with the weekly recap video, down below.

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Massively Overthinking: Being Uncle Owen in MMORPGs

Ever since the tone-deaf SOE proclamation that nobody wanted to play Uncle Owen in an MMORPG, contrary me has consciously fought that very stupid idea. A whole lot of people wanted to play Uncle Owen, then and now, there and elsewhere. Star Wars Galaxies was a game half full of Uncle Owens. I spent a lot of time literally becoming a moisture farmer as my own form of rebellion. And yet, as I realized while debating with my husband a few weeks ago, the person I really wanted to be was freakin’ Lando. And most MMORPGs don’t allow that either — it’s Luke or GTFO.

Such is the argument made by a recent PC Gamer article, which in its own precious mainstream way argues that “MMOs need to let you be an average Joe” to get out of the clear “creative slump” they’re in.

“With their scale and permanence, MMOs give us the chance to be citizens in a make-believe world we create with the help of our fellow players. When it’s left up to us what kind of role we want to fill in that world, everybody’s immersion benefits from being surrounded by all types of characters with vastly different stories.”

For this week’s Overthinking, I asked the staff to chime in on the concept of Uncle Owen in MMORPGs. Do you play this way? Do you wish you could? And is it the way forward?

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s Flashpoint

I’ve managed to calm myself enough after finishing my Guild Wars 2 Flashpoint initial impressions piece two weeks ago to bring you a much more detailed look at the action-packed episode that is the penultimate instalment in the Living World’s eventful third season. The story contains so many twists and turns that you’ll be dizzy by the end, and in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months and missed all the hype about this content drop, you’ll want to know that Lazarus’ true identity is revealed within Flashpoint.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll unpack the reveals and angles taken by the penultimate episode of Season 3 and will share my most and least favourite aspects of the episode while I’m at it. This article will contain significant spoilers and is not safe to read for those who haven’t completed Flashpoint and have managed to avoid the spoilers so far. You can always bookmark this one to come back to whenever you have managed to find time to enjoy the content for yourself.

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Listen to these brand-new Guild Wars 2 and EVE Online music tracks

An odd but interesting connection between Guild Wars 2 and EVE Online is that both games use Soundcloud extensively to post their soundtrack pieces as each MMO continues to develop. Seriously, there are so many tunes for both games on that site, that if you wanted to spend an afternoon awash in great tunes, you certainly could.

However, we would be remiss if we didn’t point you to several brand-new tracks for these games that released this week. Starting with EVE Online, check out the MMO’s newest theme song, “The Luminous Eye:”

With this past week’s Flashpoint episode release, Guild Wars 2 added a trio of new tracks for its Living World season three soundtrack (you’ll need to scroll down on the list):

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Flameseeker Chronicles: First impressions of Guild Wars 2’s Flashpoint

I can’t quite believe that we are already on the penultimate chapter of Guild Wars 2‘s third Living World season, but if I were under any illusion that the story is rolling quickly toward its climax, then it was shattered upon watching the fabulous trailer for this story instalment. The fifth episode of Living World Season 3 is available to experience for yourselves right now and I know so many of you will be thrilled with its shocking reveals and fast-building action. The episode in question, dubbed Flashpoint, takes us into the thick of the action in yet another lore-rich zone that’s bursting with intrigue. Logging on any time from now until the release of the final episode of Season 3 will bank Flashpoint in your story journal for later play, so don’t forget to relog if you aren’t actively playing right now.

I was invited to another super-quick playthrough with the developers on the stage client in preparation for today’s launch so that I could throw out some quick first impressions to coincide with release day for this week’s Flameseeker Chronicles. I had a 30-minute guided session with the devs followed by free rein over the last weekend, but large chunks of what I experienced is information I’m not allowed to divulge just yet. I played through a little over a chapter during my playtesting and my jaw was on the floor for most of that time, so I do urge you to check out the content for yourself if you’re at all invested in the lore. Although my coverage will be as spoiler-free as possible, proceed with caution until you have played through for yourselves if you’re worried.

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Massively Overthinking: Are MMORPG players a minority in their own genre?

Deep in the comments of the MMOs-vs.-survival-sandboxes thread from last week, reader miol_ produced a beautiful comment about how MMO players have become a minority in their own genre, which he then expounded upon for us in this provocative email.

“I’ve reached the opinion, that since the launch of WoW and its clones, the ‘original’ MMO-playerbase became a minority in their own genre. Before, we were but hundreds of thousands of MMO players, but then came Blizzard with WoW and its legions of fans in the dozen of millions at its peak, starting to dictate what the new success of MMOs should look like. Even if we others tried to vote with our wallet and feet, we became a minority, having only a fraction of our initial influence, while many devs tried desperately time and again to find ways to get at least a portion of the new Blizzard playerbase.

“Am I wrong with that perception of history? Am I totally missing something? Or are ‘we’ are slowly becoming a majority again, now that WoW and its clones are seeing steadily declining numbers (instead of us winning more players to ‘our side’)? How do we lobby better for ‘our cause’? Or can we only wait and see, until the genre is small enough again? Or is it too late? Have we ourselves grown too far apart into our even more niche corners of personal taste since SWG, while production costs and our demands for production value have skyrocketed at the same time? How could we come closer again?”

Let’s tackle miol_’s questions in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Check out WoodenPotatoes’ multi-video Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns review

YouTuber WoodenPotatoes, whom you might remember from Tina’s top five Guild Wars 2 vloggers review earlier this week, has posted a lengthy review of Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns, now a year and a half on. It’s a critical look at the promises made for the expansion, the expectations we had for it, what was actually delivered, and how the game has progressed over time to now.

“I think you’d be crazy to say that Heart of Thorns didn’t disappoint at release,” he says in the first video. “It disappointed me. The story was too short, the content was too limited, and very importantly, it didn’t feel like much more had been added with the raw expansion than if they’d simply continued the previous living world season instead. And that would’ve been free.”

But since then, he argues, ArenaNet has fleshed out the game and made 2016 the game’s strongest year (though it wasn’t without its own content droughts). If you’re a fan or former fan of the game, it’s worth a look — it certainly resonates with me and echoes a lot of the complaints (and praise) we’ve seen over the last many months down in our own comment section.

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Maclaine Diemer opens up about composing Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns

Today we are sitting down with ArenaNet Lead Composer Maclaine Diemer, who players might best know from his work on Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns and Living World Season 3. Diemer picked up the baton from Jeremy Soule, the original composer for the base game, and has been pumping out terrific music for the MMORPG ever since.

Massively OP: At this point in your career at ArenaNet, how many pieces of music have you composed for Guild Wars 2?

Maclaine Diemer: I think about this from time to time, but I honestly don’t know. I’d say it’s in the “several dozen” range, between all the holiday festivals, Living World content, Heart of Thorns, and other miscellaneous stuff like cinematics and marketing videos. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s Bastion of the Penitent raid lore

As promised, I’m making a return to the lore found within Guild Wars 2‘s newest raid Bastion of the Penitent now that we’ve summarised the raid encounters together and touched on why the introduction and implementation of raiding in GW2 are problematic for many players. Although this raid isn’t as large as its predecessor the Forsaken Thicket, it contains enough welcome dialogue and juicy side-story action to be just as exciting to break down for those who don’t wish to raid. A surprising but nevertheless appreciated update for a rather old story arc occurs in this raid, which will form the backbone of my ramblings when it comes to Bastion lore.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll take you on a lore-heavy deep dive of the Bastion of the Penitent so you can enjoy a glimpse at its lore without entering the raid yourself. Should you plan on raiding in the future, you might want to skip this one if you’re particularly sensitive to spoilers.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Creating a better balance in Guild Wars 2 raiding

One of the major concerns aired by the Guild Wars 2 playerbase regarding raid content is the risk of juicy raid-only story details being gated away from the bulk of players. In comments found on part one of my breakdown of Bastion of the Penitent, the most recent raid wing, many of you again discussed this problem and brought up other issues with how ArenaNet presents raiding to players in the game. Although I had planned to run my second installment in the Bastion of the Penitent series to cover the lore found in the raid, after seeing the content of your comments, I thought that I should give space to some of these complaints to see if we can perhaps come up with some suggestions for improvement in future.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll take a look at the most pressing gripes players have about how raiding has been implemented in GW2 while examining how this could be built upon to create larger appeal for the content that’s being created without alienating diverse sects of the game’s community.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Getting to grips with Guild Wars 2’s Bastion of the Penitent

ArenaNet launched a new standalone raid tier, dubbed Bastion of the Penitent, alongside The Head of the Snake Living World chapter, but I’ve not had a moment to discuss it since the launch last month until now. I realise that raiding doesn’t have the broad appeal of the Living World content, and that affects how I prioritise coverage of new Guild Wars 2 developments, but I always come back to raiding content since I personally get so much enjoyment out of it. This raid wing has been no exception: The encounters start off at an achievable level of difficulty and ramp up to pose more of a challenge fairly quickly, and even the easier encounters have clever mechanics that keep things fun.

In the first part of my Bastion of the Penitent coverage for Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll talk you through the rough mechanics of each boss fight, ignoring for now the lore you’ll find locked behind the raid wing’s door until the next part and also refraining from giving very specific meta or group composition advice. I’ve decided to leave that for any requested in-depth boss encounter guides you require so that I don’t bore you with more raid coverage than you want to see! This edition is more of a what-to-expect rundown than a definitive guide to the encounters. As ever, let me know your thoughts on the raid in the comments and feel free to request detailed, phase-by-phase encounter breakdowns if a particular boss is giving you trouble. I haven’t yet attempted the bosses on challenge mode, but if you’d like me to do so and provide you with any successful strategies I employ, then I will – all in the name of gamer science!

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