It’s not every day that you walk into a building dominated by an enormous griffon, the enormous statue replicating the mount in Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
. You could, of course, argue that the griffon is functionally an upgraded version of the glider from Heart of Thorns
, but that just brings you back to the idea that Path of Fire
is closer to what people wanted from Heart of Thorns
in the first place. It’s a bigger expansion for people not interested in the rather narrow focus of the jungle.
Which makes sense, since according to the game director, Mike Zadorojny, the focus of what the expansion was meant to be about was radically different between the two expansions, and Path of Fire was closer to an expansion of the base game.
I had the chance to sit with Zadorojny and chat about various issues of both current development ant future direction, although we did not have that chat on the back of the griffon. (There were people waiting in line.) But considering the nature of the griffon and the talk, it might have been appropriate.
RIFT’s new Prime progression server certainly has recaptured or recruited many MMO bloggers to the game as of late, and it is all anyone seems to be talking about. So how’s the word out on the web?
Nerdy Bookahs observed that Trion “chose a perfect time” to release the progression server. The Ancient Gaming Noob initially felt conflicted but soon fell into a groove: “There was the feeling of life in the game, with lots of people around and public groups to join and things just happening everywhere.” And GamingSF said that he’s “coming along swimmingly” on the shard.
It wasn’t all kudos and praise. Endgame Variable hedged his outlook by saying that RIFT Prime was “fun, but I don’t think it will last very long.” Inventory Full felt disillusioned with the way the original game was handled and said, “RIFT simply doesn’t have the depth or breadth of content of either of the EverQuest games, nor the nostalgia factor.”
Read on for the MMO blogosphere’s thoughts on other topics, including inventory woes in Guild Wars 2, the classic multiplayer dogfight sim Air Warrior, and the early access release of Project Gorgon.
Everybody saw NCsoft’s financials last month, I’m sure – Guild Wars 2 bouncing back thanks to Path of Fire, Lineage M driving revenue, and Blade & Soul outperforming almost everything, pretty good news all around.
What we didn’t cover was the associated conference call and Q&A, which has only recently been fully transcribed in English and has a few nuggets worth highlighting
- CFO Jae-Soo Yoon told listeners the company is working on 13 new titles, of which the largest are Blade & Soul II, Aion Tempest, and Lineage II Mobile, all mobile titles, and Project TL for PC.
- To make those happen, the company’s hired “around 1000” new employees over the last two years. One analyst was skeptical about those numbers, suggesting that NCsoft is overspending on labor compared to an unnamed smaller company launching far more games; Yoon counters with some polite shade by suggesting NCsoft is going to for quality over quantity.
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.
If you walked away confused by NCsoft’s most recent quarterly financial report, Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. might be able to sort it out for you.
The Seoul-based analyst firm suggests that the Lineage series, which appeared strong at first glance, actually turned in weaker than expected revenue, in spite of the fact that Lineage M was the top-grossing game on Android and iOS. “The biggest surprise was marketing spend, which jumped 10% QoQ and 69% YoY, despite the absence of any new major titles,” the firm notes. “We believe this suggests the company spent as much on promoting Lineage M’s massive updates as it typically does on promoting new titles.”
That said, the firm still calls the company a buy: “We see little reason for concern in terms of profit and valuation in 1H18 and see potential for earnings growth and a re-rating in 2H18, driven by new releases.” What new releases would those be? Blade & Soul II (first half of the year) and Aion Tempest and Lineage II M (last half of the year).
NCsoft has money to cheer about this past financial quarter, as it posted another year of solid growth. Revenue and operating profit were up 87% and 86% respectively year-over-year, though of course the quarter doesn’t quite compare to the blockbuster that was Q3 last year when Lineage M hit Asia.
Lineage M continued to drive good mobile sales for the company even after its shine wore off, accompanied by Aion, Lineage, and Lineage II, which are down YOY for the quarter and the year. Blade and Soul is outperforming everything but mobile at this point and this quarter held even YOY, at least globally.
And as for Guild Wars 2? Well, no surprise there: The Path of Fire expansion was quite a boon, more than doubling the game’s quarterly revenue YOY and pushing total revenue past 2016’s (though not past 2015’s, when Heart of Thorns launched at a price two-thirds higher). (Recall that SuperData just included GW2 on its top 10 list of premium PC games by revenue [at an annual figure slightly higher than what’s represented here] and that Q2 last year was the game’s worst quarter ever, so this is a comfortable comeback.)
If you missed Guild Wars 2’s
Twitch stream this afternoon, and you probably did because it’s Friday and ain’t nobody got time to watch a few hours of Twitch in the middle of a work day, then you’re going to want to get caught up, as the devs outlined some of the new stuff coming over the next month. Lore-friends got an earful too, as it was confirmed that Devona
– of classic Guild Wars
fame – was confirmed to be the Herald of Balthazar in Path of Fire
. Dun dun dunnn!
The community is still buzzing over the incoming alacrity (it’s getting a hefty nerf) and Mesmer meta changes too (phantasms and shatter skills are getting a revamp), in addition to the alliance system and WvW shakeup we covered yesterday.
Finally, ArenaNet is kicking off a new contest, this one for those folks who have a great Guild Wars 2-related story about friendship. Anyone who uses the hashtag with such a post will be entered in a sweepstakes, the prizes for which include merchandise, custom portraits, and a PAX West 2018 studio invite.
I’ve been considering this question ever since my husband and I upgraded our six-year-old’s Guild Wars 2 account with Path of Fire and we found that trioing there is actually quite a lot of fun (and frustrating because again, six-year-old, but also fun!). That got me to wondering which other MMOs we might consider once he’s a bit older and doesn’t need games that are quite as visually gore-free as GW2.
We’ve talked about great MMOs for duos before – along with the worst. Most MMOs with level or zone scaling are going to work, as will some MMOs with a sidekicking feature. On the other hand, some MMOs really don’t scale up to “one more person” particularly well; they have grouping systems where a trio is still one body short of the “real” content, offer sidekicking systems that work only for pairs, or limit rewards for doing regular game content with multiple people. Some are just a challenge to coordinate more bodies: I’ve really struggled playing Trove with him, for example, because it seems so hard to team up effectively and stay together in basic content there.
What’s the best MMORPG for a trio? Can you think of any MMOs that are particularly suited to trios over duos or groups of four or more?
It’s a new year and a new you! Well, probably the old you a few days past the expiration date, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely useless. For example, you probably have enough mental cognition and digital dexterity to log into an MMORPG and create a new character before you dissolve into an unslightly mess of bones and goo.
To celebrate the debut of 2018, the Massively OP legion is out in force to create new characters with all sorts of crazy resolutions!
First up is CapnLan: “My first character creation for the new year is technically an old one. I recovered my old FFXIV character from 1.0 but they had me run him through the new character creator when I logged in for the first time. I touched him up a bit with some new options and went for a stroll around Ul’dah. Here’s a quick shot I took of him with all his hilariously outdated 1.0 gear in front of the New Year decorations on the main street.”
As we did in 2014, 2015, and 2016, today I’m going to recap our annual awards and other meta articles from the end of 2017. We gave out 19 formal awards this past year, all in addition to dozens of other recaps, roundups, listicles, predictions, bloopers, oddities, polls, provocations, and retrospectives. It was by far our biggest content dump to date, even bigger than last year!
Following our deep-dive into our awards and the attached reader polls, I’ll be recapping all of the end-year articles in one convenient place in case you missed something over the holidays – enjoy!
As our review of the past year of Choose My Adventure rolls onward (a bit longer than originally planned), we enter what I think of as the trifecta of disappointment. Why? Well, the word “trifecta” is fun to say. Try it a few times. Also, because the were three titles among the back end that were pretty notably disappointing.
There are always going to be titles with Choose My Adventure that don’t connect as much with me; after all, the games that I play on a regular basis are not chosen based on a random number generator. But these titles in particular are disappointments, each for their own reasons. And then, in the middle, there’s a game that is far closer to “not mine, but not bad,” which is a different matter altogether. Life, in short, is a rich tapestry.
Last year was positively stuffed with updates, expansions, and cool stuff. A lot of years I struggle to remember which major updates happened in the past year, due partly to my own faulty memory but due largely to the simple fact that not a lot of them really stuck out for me. This year? We were awash in updates. Some games literally gave me multiple choices about which update I thought was “the best” just because, well, there were so many.
So the list that follows is, honestly, a fragment of what could be chosen. At least one of them is something you will probably disagree with. And that’s fine, because thankfully, last year (as mentioned) contained tons of great updates for people to enjoy. So without further ado, let’s delve into the best updates of 2017 and gush for a bit about how many cool things got added to games last year.
Polls are a quantitative sort of magic that we don’t often get from our other articles – at least when they aren’t being brigaded – which is why I love our Leaderboard column.
Let’s take a look back at our best MMO polls of the year! And if you want a few more, you can look back at our polls from 2016 and 2015 too.