non combat mmo

Global Chat: The MMO expansion lifecycle

With the ever-developing, ever-growing nature of MMORPGs, the expansion truly has a life of its own. By now we are well acquainted with the cycle that runs from gestation to obsolescence and can usually point to where any particular expansion is on this chart.

The Lazy Goldmaker outlined the typical progression of MMO expansion packs with a six-step cycle that focuses heavily on the economy and raiding: “After the final raid of the expansion we will enter the last content drought. This is typically the longest period with nothing exciting added to the game. We are in the middle of this phase of Legion currently. Most of the markets from the live expansion will still be viable, but profit margins will be decreasing, as will prices on all goods.”

Read on for more MMO blog essays, including ones that cover EVE Online, Wizard101, SWTOR, and LOTRO!

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A glitch in Shadow’s Kiss freaked out its own developers

When you’re building a game about bloodsucking undead sex monsters, you probably need to sport a hearty demeanor. But even the makers of Shadow’s Kiss ended up creeping themselves out when some ragdoll physics went awry while placing corpses. Also, “placed corpses” should be an automatic hire on anyone’s résumé.

“We had some challenges with the corpses in the scene,” the team admitted. “The first screenshot shows that when the corpses went to ‘ragdoll’ mode, something terrible happened. It looks like something out of a Clive Barker novel or a failure of the Philadelphia Experiment.”

Steel yourself for the PURE HORROR that awaits you below!

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Perfect Ten: MMOs with different (camera) perspectives

By the time that World of Warcraft came on the scene in 2004, the MMORPG industry had already gravitated toward standard when it came to the interface — specifically, the camera angle. MMO players and devs seemed to prefer third-person views that either peered over the shoulder of avatars or followed right behind them. For decades now, we’ve grown used to watching our characters’ rears as they jog along, and we can’t really imagine the experience otherwise.

Yet when you think about it, while this camera perspective is overwhelmingly used in the genre, it’s not the only one that crops up in MMOs. We’ve seen both old and new titles experiment with the camera angle, sometimes out of style and sometimes out of necessity (here’s a great Gamasutra article on the subject).

For today’s list, we’re going to look at 10 MMORPGs where the camera is positioned in a different way than you’d normally expect, especially if you are coming from modern games.

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World Adrift posts its public roadmap, improves climbing so it doesn’t kill you

The veil of secrecy has been lifted from Worlds Adrift, and now every Tom, Dick, and Jane will be able to know what the team is working on, thanks to the new public roadmap posted on the website.

Soon-to-be-released projects include male haircuts, beards, an updated hotbar, beginner assistance, the Kioki region, alliances, and a public test server for all founders.

Another bit of good news is that an improved version of climbing is now in the game. So how is this new version of climbing better than the old one? “It doesn’t kill you,” said the devs. “We had to make people feel confident that they weren’t going to die.”

Smashing.

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The Game Archaeologist: A Tale in the Desert

Once asked what he thought was the most innovative MMO from the last decade, Dr. Richard Bartle, the creator of MUD, gave a succinct answer: “A Tale in the Desert. Note that ‘innovative’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘successful.'”

Right there is the crux of A Tale in the Desert’s unique position in the MMO industry. Instead of storming down a path well-traveled, it took a machete and made its own trail — a trail down which few have followed. It is an “odd duck” of a game, skewing as far away from combat as possible to focus instead on crafting and politics. Even though its focus pegged it as an eternally niche game, the MMO proved that constant fighting isn’t the only thing that can draw an online community together.

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The Game Archaeologist: World of Warcraft’s Corrupted Blood pandemic

It began with an exploitable glitch. It exploded into an uncontained nightmare of death. It established a meme as strong as Leeroy Jenkins. It even saved lives.

One of the most notorious events in World of Warcraft’s history didn’t emerge from the design of Blizzard’s controlling developers, but rather from players looking to grief the community. In a prank that briefly grew out of control, a pandemic was set loose upon the game’s world that decimated the population and changed the landscape overnight.

This was the Corrupted Plague incident, and it would go on to leave a mark upon World of Warcraft that remains to this day.

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Glitch-inspired Children of Ur abandons Google Chrome due to incompatibility

The uphill struggle to rebuild Glitch has hit a rather significant snag in Children of Ur.

“It saddens us to bring you this news, but Children of Ur is no longer working in Google Chrome, our browser of choice,” the team said on Facebook. “This is because Chrome is no longer supporting a feature that Polymer (which we heavily rely on) uses. CoU will not run on Chrome for the indefinite future, as resources are very limited. From this point on, Mozilla Firefox is the browser to use in order to play CoU. Unfortunately, the game is very choppy and somewhat slow in their browser.”

This notice was the first development post about the game since May 2017. Children of Ur is one of two indie community projects that have been attempting to bring back Glitch in some way, shape, or form, the other one being Eleven.

Source: Facebook. Thanks Xanward!

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Ever, Jane eyes a new update, overhauls forums and website

We haven’t checked in with pre-eminent roleplaying MMORPG Ever, Jane in a long time – since last summer, in fact – but the game, as it turns out, has been humming right along in in beta.

You’ll recall that in autumn of 2016, the Jane Austen-themed social MMO had launched into open beta with loads of quest and lag bugs repaired, special events in October, proximity chat, login stability, and new content. In December of that year, studio 3 Turn Productions rolled out the 3.1 update with the home ownership system. A year ago, update 4 hit the server with even more housing as well as horseback riding and carriages. And then… well, that’s the last newsletter on the official site, though we covered the card-playing update this past summer.

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Global Chat: Avoiding MMO activities

Have you ever noticed that you play it way too safe in your MMOs, especially when it comes to interacting (or not) with others? Aywren of Sygnus wrote an honest blog post lately in which she felt challenged to examine and even buck her “safe patterns” in life and gaming and to try to get out of her rut and try new things.

“On my gaming blog, I’ve talked about my struggles with grouping in MMOs, and how FFXIV specifically had to pick me up and forcibly throw me out of my safe zone if I wanted to keep playing it. This is something I still struggle with,” she admitted. “I do everything I can to avoid stressful dungeons, raids or classes. I’m still afraid of tanking and healing for strangers outside my FC.”

Join us for more thought-provoking blog posts from the MMO community as we fill up your screen with the latest in Global Chat!

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A Tale in the Desert has launched its eighth Telling since 2003

Last summer, we included classic sandbox A Tale in the Desert in our Whatever Happened To column as one of those games that had just slipped off our radar. That was because of how relatively quiet the game had become since its ownership changeover in 2014 and seventh Telling in 2015. Back then, there were whispers of an eighth Telling – that’s the world reboot the game periodically goes through – but there’d been nothing major since.

Until now. ATITD sent out a news blast to players this week alerting them to the fact that the beta test for the Tale 8 is complete and the real deal has launched as of yesterday..

“Tale 8 introduces factions to the game, upon leaving Welcoming Island you must decide on a faction you wish to be apart of,” says Pluribus Games. “Your interactions with your faction will be rewarded, giving you new powers to build community buildings and participate in community events.”

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The Daily Grind: What’s the most unused place or feature in your favorite MMORPG?

I really like abandoned places in games. One of my favorite articles ever was about Glitch, after it sunsetted, when I recapped my experience touring the abandoned secret places that were inexplicably built into that MMO.

That article popped into my brain again last week when Kotaku wrote about abandoned modes in GTA OnlineGTAO is one of the biggest, most lucrative online games in the world, a top-10 game even last year – and yet there’s so much to do, Kotaku argues, that most of the game is suffering from the old MMO problem whereby old content is a ghost town as everyone is in the new stuff. Hence, abandoned modes.

Of course, MMORPGs are constantly struggling to fix that problem by giving us reasons to go back into old content, but they’re not always successful. What’s the most unused place or feature in your favorite MMORPG?

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Fortnite’s 2.4.0 patch was delayed in part to fix the dang building glitch

Fortnite’s 2.4.0 patch was supposed to release today, but last night, Epic announced a delay to “further improve stability and hammer out some remaining bugs.” That apparently includes the building bugs that have plagued the game.

“You may have noticed in the patch notes that there’s no fix in to solve the building issues players have been experiencing,” the studio tweeted. “We are aware that some of you are being affected by these problems and are working to solve this ASAP. […] Please continue reporting this and providing examples and we’ll keep you updated as we make progress on a solution.”

Players were also compensated for all the downtime and bugs of 2.3.0 with 1600 seasonal gold and 20 battle stars.

When it does finally launch, 2.4.0 will include the new minigun, cozy campfires and new expedition types in Save the World mode, controller tweaks, 3-D resolution preferences, performance adjustments, and UI updates.

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Massively Overthinking: What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play?

A comment on Reddit about the current size and viability of Kritika Online got me thinking about MMO playerbases in general lately. We all know that there’s a stigma attached to little games; the big games with big servers and millions of players feel safer, and nowadays people just assume a small MMO has one foot in the grave. But it isn’t always true. We could also rattle off some smaller MMOs that seem to be moving along just fine, with bills paid. Sure, they’d like to be bigger, but they’re holding steady and know how to work the playerbase they do have rather than constantly alienate their current customers in search of new customers. And some MMO gamers actually prefer those sorts of titles. After all, if the game has just a few thousand people, it’s much easier to get to know a large slice of them, plus have your voice heard by the developers and actually influence the gameworld.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to reflect on the smallest MMOs they have played, and then consider how big an MMO has to be in terms of playerbase that they’d consider playing it now. What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play, and why?

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