Massively OP’s MJ has played sandboxes set in space, in prehistoric times, in apocalyptic wastelands, and in fantasy worlds. But until now, she hasn’t played one set in the world war eras! Foxhole has hit early access, and she is heading in to check it out. Unlike many games of these eras that are lobby-based, Foxhole is a persistent world. MJ’s not feeling especially keen on the combat side of things, but she can also participate in the other strategy elements like resources, supply lines and base building. Join us live at 6:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 6:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 12th, 2017
Enjoy the show!
MMOs these days shy away from calling themselves massively multiplayer, so it’s always strange when a game that we wouldn’t assume is an MMO confidently adopts the label. I’m talking about Foxhole, a war game we might have binned alongside World of Tanks or PlanetSide 2, but it appears to be more like Battleground Europe, as its devs call it a “massively multiplayer game where you will work with hundreds of players to shape the outcome of a persistent online war.”
“Foxhole is a large scale war game with emergent gameplay and unique sandbox features. The pre-alpha version of Foxhole has already been live for over a year and over 200,000 players have helped us shape the game as it is today. The process of developing the game with a live audience has allowed us to deliver on the gameplay that makes Foxhole so different from other online war games. We hope to continue this journey of development in Early Access, and make Foxhole an even better experience than it is today.”
Did we say early access? We did — the game hit early access yesterday and has surprisingly good reviews, probably because it’s a lot more finished that most of the pieces of crap that stumble into the program.
Have you felt despondent at the apparent decline of the production of new, bold MMOs? According to Meridian 59 creator Brian “Psychochild” Green, these games are actually everywhere these days — they’re just disguising themselves due to the apparent stigma that comes with the MMO label.
Green looks at games such as Destiny, Game of War, Star Wars: Uprising, and Pokémon GO as examples of how MMO mechanics and features have spread outside of the strict walls of the traditional MMORPG.
“[Augmented reality] games will become big within the next few years; we’re already seeing [it],” he predicted. “They may not look like the MMOs you’re used to, but if you’re patient I’m sure the traditional MMO will probably make a comeback. And, hopefully a lot of the advancements made in other types of games help push MMOs forward a bit. And, when we have the big MMO renaissance in a few years, we’ll have a lot more options than cloning a creaky, aging game.”
I have joked, not entirely without seriousness, that part of what I like about being on an underpopulated server in Final Fantasy XI is the simple fact that it destroys any temptation I might have to get involved in the serious endgame. There’s no doubt that I do not need to get involved with it, obviously, but it’s very easy to get my attention by waving a pretty piece of armor or two in front of me. But without the crucial number of people around to make getting into it easy, I lose momentum and go back to focusing on other things. A bullet dodged, there.
Of course, the other side of things is that a smaller server can feel more empty, more barren, and generally lacking in several of the aspects which make a massively multiplayer game… both of those things. I play on one of the largest North American servers for Final Fantasy XIV, so I get all of those advantages there… along with server queues, crowding, and all of the downsides of having tons of people in a contained space. Both variants have positives and negatives, in other words. Which strikes you as better, dear readers? Do you prefer smaller or larger servers, and why? (If your answer is “I prefer no servers,” that counts as a vote for larger servers, since you can’t get much bigger than 100% of the game’s population.)
Last week on the Massively OP Podcast, we tried to answer a question from long-time listener Spagomat, who told us he keeps going back to older MMORPGs because newer ones just feel like the same design tropes playing out, over and over again. “It feels as if the genre has discovered a collection of design boundaries over time and can’t figure out how to surmount them,” he lamented.
“So I was wondering if you could lay out, say, a list of the top-10 design innovations of the past 3-5 years. Whether well-known and influential or tried in some small game and mostly undiscovered, anything you could say has changed the landscape, or could be a seed for change in the future.”
While Justin and I came up with a few, some of them were definitely older than five years, like level-nullification, and others aren’t catching on as well as we might want, like co-op harvesting nodes. Can you guys do better? What’s the greatest MMO innovation of the last few years?
“Father of MMORPGs” Dr. Richard Bartle, author of the pioneering research that spawned the Bartle test, is publishing two new books about our imperiled genre.
MMOs from the Inside Out: The History, Design, Fun, and Art of Massively-multiplayer Online Role-playing Games, the longer of the pair, will focus on MMORPG design.
“[It] speaks to the designers and players of MMOs, taking it as axiomatic that such games are inspirational and boundless forces for good. The aim of this book is to enthuse an up-coming generation of designers, to inspire and educate players and designers-to-be, and to reinvigorate those already working in the field who might be wondering if it’s still all worthwhile.”
MMOs from the Outside In: The Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games of Psychology, Law, Government, and Real Life will examine MMO research and educate readers on “how the world can change MMOs,” both for good and bad.
This morning’s Daily Grind inquisitor is Kickstarter donor Nepentheia, who wonders about the “RPG” in MMORPG:
What RPG elements that create a more immersive experience do you feel are missing from (more recently released) MMOs?
Hunger and thirst spring first to mind, followed by meaningful travel and day-and-night cycles. Very few MMOs include these elements at all.
This week’s Massively Overthinking comes from Kickstarter donor Syllable, who wonders,
“Why do you think MMOs are not as popular as they were few years back?”
Is it true? Under what definitions and caveats? If it’s true, then why? And if not, why do people believe it to be? I posed these questions to our writers — and now I pose them to you.
Just when you think that Star Wars: The Old Republic
will change things around and actually do something that will appeal to the Killer-type of MMO player
, it shoots itself in the foot time and time again.
I was caught completely off guard last week when I read that SWTOR had partnered with the Electronic Sports League. Competitive gaming was one of the last things that I thought SWTOR would get into. I thought that perhaps this was finally BioWare‘s appeal to that kind of player. But then, in typical BioWare fashion, it fumbled at the one-yard line.
In the past, I have been hypercritical of the way BioWare treats the competitive player. It has always seemed that the developer hasn’t paid anying attention to what’s worked and not worked in the past. It appeared that it copied what games like World of Warcraft would do not because it was highly successful but because WoW had done it.
This time, however, things seemed to be different. Although the proposed jump into competitive gaming isn’t completely original, it was a step outside the box.
Aventurine is teasing Darkfall’s latest patch, which is currently scheduled for the “last week of February.” A new clan perks system based on the player perks system is in the works, as are leaderboards, mount changes, and significant alterations to the PvP sandbox’s fast travel system.
“Instant travel makes the world feel less populated since players can and will avoid to their advantage other encounters, or congregate massively and instantly to places of action, ” Aventurine explains. “Removing the easily available summon friend capacity, as well as rune stones, will increase player movement out in the world and give more meaning to [the] traveling-faster-on-roads risk-reward mechanism.”
[Source: Patch announcement
[More coverage: Official site