player housing

WoW Factor: The fate of WoW’s class orders post-Legion, part 1

In the lull between expansions, I’ve been hard at work bringing my alts up to the level cap, unlocking all of the class mounts, picking up the occasional appearance that I really want from the Mage Tower challenge… you know, the usual stuff. And the result is that I find myself asking a question that surprises me a wee bit in the context of World of Warcraft: What is going to happen to all of the class orders?

I neither had an answer nor cared about one when it came to garrisons. Presumably, they’d continue to sit there, a testament to what happens when designers try to make housing that isn’t housing and don’t understand why people like housing in the first place. But the order halls are different. They’re cross-factional, they’re important, and perhaps most importantly, they represent something that makes different use of the resources of the world.

So what’s happening to these orders? How are they changing? How does this play into the war between the Horde and the Alliance becoming properly hot? And might we get some extra lore about these things?

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Final Fantasy XIV plans patch 4.2 for late January, with glamour storage, more housing, and new content

The next patch for Final Fantasy XIV will arrive in late January according to the most recent live letter from producer/director Naoki Yoshida. Of course, players don’t have to just sit back and shrug about “eh, sometime in January,” as the letter also covered some of the features coming along. New dungeons? Yes, two of them, including a hard mode for the Fractal Continuum. The new Sigmascape portion of Omega, improvements to Perform actions, a new set of PvP adjustments… oh, and new storage for chocobos and a whole new system for storing and using glamours. That’s new.

The new system will allow you to save “glamour ensembles” that you can swap to if you’ve already prepared the setup, with all glamours being compiled to work under a single type of prism instead of different types split by crafting discipline. Up to 200 of your most frequently glamoured pieces will be eligible for storage. There’s also the promise of new housing to be released a week after the patch is released, with more information about purchasing changes coming before the patch goes live. And then there are new tomestones, the new Eureka land to both explore and improve equipment, the Ananta beast tribe quests… there’s a lot of stuff. You know, like most FFXIV patches.

As for the further future… we did just get a fanfest site promising a fanfest in November of next year. So, you know, start your speculation engines.

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Tamriel Infinium: Our 2017 report card for Elder Scrolls Online

All in all, 2017 has been a fabulous year for the Elder Scrolls Online, and although I have been light on talking about the game recently, I have jumped in regularly to explore Vvardenfell and Clockwork City. This year ESO saw its first expansion and dare I say its greatest addition to the game: Morrowind. But that shouldn’t diminish the other great stories in the Horns of the Reach and Clockwork City DLCs. Also, ESO introduced one of the best player housing systems I’ve ever seen with Homestead earlier this year. I really don’t know how ESO is going to top 2017.

Let’s pull apart the accomplishments of ESO this year into my standard for grading MMORPGs: The Bartle Taxonomy. MMORPGs are wonderful because of the breadth of different activities that players can participate in. They draw together many different kinds of players, and Bartle’s Taxonomy breaks these players into four different categories: Socializers, Achievers, Killers, and Explorers.

Most people will be a blend of two or more of these categories. I’m going to measure the merits of the game based each category individually using a scale you’ll often find in American schools: A, B, C, D, and F.

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Final Fantasy XIV hopes you can ‘bear’ with another Starlight Celebration

On December 15th, Final Fantasy XIV will celebrate the winter holidays once more with the arrival of the Starlight Celebration. And what could be more festive than an enormous bear in a seasonal costume? That you ride around as a mount? We’re sure that bear is probably just wild about being ridden and about being forced to dress up, that’ll work out great. Happy holidays, we got you an enormous bear.

There are also new tabletop furnishings, a new Orchestrion roll for seasonal music, and a new poster to place on the wall of housing. But the big reward is riding a big bear through the world spreading the joy of the season.

The latest patch delivers a little seasonal joy ahead of the event itself; players no longer have a weekly lockout for Deltascape Crystalloids and can exchange them for weapons more easily, and the turrets in Rival Wings have become somewhat weaker and shorter-range. So that’s not quite as much of a gift as a riding bear, but it should make life happier.

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Interview: ArcheAge’s 4.0 Maelstrom launches December 13 with changes to lunagems, raid finder, and more

Batten down the hatches because a big storm hits tomorrow! ArcheAge’s Maelstrom, with its cross-server navel arena, launches on December 13th. We got to see some of the 4.0 expansion and learn more about it during our demo and interview at PAX West this last fall. And on the cusp of launch, I sat down again with Trion Associate Producer Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan, Executive Producer Merv Lee Kwai, and Community Manager Joe “Muzzy” Brogno to chat more about the upcoming changes. What I learned is that the changes have changes! Lunagems, the raid finder bulletin board, streetlights, and some of the arenas updates have been updated. And one change — the addition of the new turtle ship — will actually not be happening.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s 2017 in review

It’s hard to say whether 2017 was a good year for Final Fantasy XIV.

Sure, on one level it seems obvious. The game launched its second expansion, it continues to drive sales, every financial report shows it doing well, players are happy, content is delivered on a swift and regular schedule, everything seems to be going fine. Yes, the game had a good 2017, it has a pretty good year on each outing. What more needs to be said?

Well, a few things. Because this year also brought out some pretty nasty bits of underlying issues that the game has long had bubbling under the surface, problems that we’ve all known were there but sort of ignored for a long time for various reasons. We’ve got another patch coming around, but the year has shown that as solid and impressive as the title may be (and it is), there’s still room to improve.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Fixing Lord of the Rings Online’s grouping problem

One of the quirks — and frustrations — of MMORPGs is that there never seems to be one game that truly has it all. Even some of my favorites are missing what I consider key features or design elements that are present elsewhere, and it’s maddening to think about how much better the game could be with those features transplanted.

For Lord of the Rings Online, I have to say that my biggest frustration with the game design is that dungeons might as well be non-existent. Oh, they’re in the game (and raids and skirmishes too), but LOTRO has never cultivated a dungeon-running community of the sort that you see in contemporary MMOs.

In other games, I enjoy changing up the routine by grouping up with others for a run through detailed setpieces as we battle our way to the final boss. I enjoy the rewards that those runs bring and learn a lot more about how to play my character. This has almost never been the case for me and LOTRO, and it’s not for a lack of trying. This MMO has a grouping problem that undercuts participation and interest in the dungeon scene, making such runs an anomaly instead of part of the mainstream. I have some observations from my point of view and some thoughts about how it could be fixed.

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The Daily Grind: What feature from another game would you import into your favorite MMO?

One of the everlasting points of contention between me and the MMO industry is that no game gets everything right. Gah! Can’t you mold perfection, devs? Like it’s that hard. Anyway, so often I see a great feature in one game that I wish would become the industry standard — but it doesn’t.

For example, I would love to port WildStar’s housing system to every other MMO I play, because I’ve never experienced a better and more enjoyable homesteading experience. It makes me grit my teeth to play, say, World of Warcraft and feel that big hole where housing should go. I’d also lug around RIFT’s instant adventures as an alternative to typical questing when I wanted a change-up once in a while. And what about giving every MMO City of Heroes’ character creation system? I’m down for that.

What feature from another game would you, if you could, import into your favorite MMO right now? How could you see that feature improving the game?

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Identity answers player questions, gives game overview

A trio of Identity’s developers sat down for an extended question-and-answer session about what’s happening with the creation of this virtual life simulator. The good news is that there is a whole bunch of additional brainpower working on the project, as the team has tripled in size over the past month.

The devs explained why the early progress faced a lot of delays: “We didn’t have the programmers that really knew how to solve some of the issues we were facing. We were doing a lot of learning on the job back then… We were struggling trying to get over each hurdle.”

Player customization, law and order, and player housing are the three critical features that the team considers at the core of Identity, as it’s being designed to be a very social MMO. There are numerous sound issues with the video, but if you’re patient and curious, there’s some interesting information and sights below!

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The Game Archaeologist: Vanguard Saga of Heroes

The significance of Vanguard’s development, release, long-running drama, second chance, and eventual closure should be of great interest not just to game historians but to everyone who plays MMOs, period. What happened with this game caused a huge fallout in the industry, and we are still feeling some of its effects even today.

As our own Bree once put it in her blog, “Vanguard’s implosion was a big deal at the time and marked the beginning of the post-World of Warcraft destruction of the industry that hobbled Age of Conan and Warhammer Online a few years later.”

While the crash and burn of Vanguard was a very well-known tale several years ago, I’m wondering if today there might be many who are quite unfamiliar with what happened to this unassuming title back around 2007. Let me put on my old fogey glasses and we shall begin!

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Massively Overthinking: Taking risks in MMORPGs

Last weekend, Brendan wrote a great column on how to stay safe from gankers in EVE Online, noting that the newbies are commonly given what he considers bad advice to just stay in high-sec; indeed, he smartly quoted Shedd: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

The article prompted a discussion in our work chat about risk-taking in MMORPGs. “After every one of Brendan’s (excellent!) tips, I keep mentally adding, ‘or alternatively, don’t play EVE,'” Eliot joked. And they’re both right. If you’re dead-set on being a “ship” in the risky gameworld of New Eden, staying in “harbor” defeats the purpose of playing EVE. But this is a real world where you don’t have to be a ship – you don’t have to play EVE. You don’t have to risk it all just for some pixel gratification.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writing staff to dish on risk-taking, in EVE or elsewhere. Are they into it? What kinds of risks are they willing to take, PvE or PvP? What do they think about risk-vs.-reward in MMOs?

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Trove continues to fine-tune its Adventures update

As any game developer knows, a new content update is not only an opportunity for players to have more fun but for the game to brew up more bugs. And thusly the hotfix was born to deal with the more egregious problems that couldn’t wait, and developers rejoiced.

While Trove’s November Adventures update contained a lot of new toys and improvements to the social clubs, it wasn’t perfect. And so now the game is on its third post-patch hotfix, this one mainly focused on correcting some issues that arose with clubs, such as the reinstatement of the membership cap and club portal visibility in the main hubs.

Other tweaks include fixing some client crashes, more information in the club fixtures tab, and a guard against club decor overlapping (which Trion calls “Franken-fixtures”). One thing that this hotfix didn’t address was the removal of tethering, which Trion Worlds said will be coming in a future patch.

Source: Patch notes

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The Stream Team: Get your Wizard101 Empyrean Castaway’s Bundle

Did you miss out on the holiday deals this weekend? Well, Massively OP’s MJ has something better than a sale: a giveaway! She has a handful of Wizard101’s Empyrean Castaway’s Bundles to share. Like most bundles, it comes with armor, a pet, and a mount. And on top of a house, it includes an extra housing space elixir! Each pack gives:

  • Castaway’s Bungalow House
  • Junk-Copter Mount
  • Puffy Packfish Pet
  • Raider Scrap Attire
  • Raider Scrap Blaster
  • Extra Housing Space Elixir

Does that list look enticing? Who wouldn’t want a personal helicopter? Well don’t miss out! You can’t beat free, so tune in live at 3:00 p.m. as MJ practices her wizard spells while giving away goodies.

What: Wizard101
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

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