Also, Ceilarene was hot on the trail of the thieves who stole the crown of Neverwinter. Or somewhat warm on the trail, at least. The crown in question isn’t a magical artifact, though, it’s just a crown. I think it’s just a mark of office, anyhow; it might be magical after all. Either way, it does confer a certain degree of status and it looks really neat, so presumably I should actually chase after the jerks who stole it. That means heading to another district of the city, the Blacklake District. If that sounds like a bad part of town… well, yes.
The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind not-an-expansion lands on PC this morning, at least for those of you who preordered to pick up early access and had the foresight to take off work or play hooky or not have exams. Downloading should begin shortly, ZeniMax says — are you playing?
Last night, Elite Dangerous studio Frontier announced the winner of its second CTRL+ALT+SPACE short film competition. Participants were tasked with creating a video under four minutes using Elite’s camera suite; whether the entry was a trailer or film, the devs were “looking to be dazzled” and were judging on “creativity, originality, ingenuity, […] editing, narrative, and scene composition.”
And now they’ve got a winner: Turjan Starstone and his video dubbed Stardust, created as a tribute to his mother.
“I wrote this to honour the memory of my mother who passed away in March 2015,” he says. “Sadly my mother never got to see the misadventures of Cmdr Turjan. I know she would have been proud of them though. She would have been proud of ‘Stardust’ too, though I suspect she might have tutted at me for being sentimental, because like I say in the video, my mother was indeed a formidable lady.”
He’ll take home in-game rewards along with a video capture card, headset, keyboard, and gaming mousepad. Beautiful work, Turjan. Enjoy it, everyone.
But it wasn’t. Made you look.
Far from being less than it had seemed when I tried out the demos, I quite enjoyed my first week of time spent in Neverwinter. Not that it’s going to tear me away from all other games forever, but it’s a fun experience with plenty of things to hook you into the gameplay quickly without forcing you to dive headfirst into lore in order to find your commitment to the story.
Well that didn’t end well. At the end of the last Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Choose My Adventure, the team didn’t get paid and Starlord (aka Massively OP’s MJ) lost possession of the artifact that suggested that his mom needed his help. So now he (she) has to retrieve it. The audience voted to bring Gamora along for the mission. Will it be successful? Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to not only watch the story unfold but decide in which direction it unfolds.
What: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
It may sound crazy, but a huge number of people who pour eyeball time and money into e-sports don’t even play the games they’re watching. That’s according to gaming analytics firm Newzoo, which last week broke down its stats on the major e-sports franchises and who exactly is watching them in the U.S., Canada, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. Key takeaways?
- 70% of viewers stick to one game.
- 69% of gamers play only League of Legends, CS:GO, or DOTA 2 (the overlap of all three is 8%).
- 42% of e-sports watchers of the big three games do not play any of them
- 191 million people will tune in to e-sports “frequently” this year; an additional 194 million will do so “occasionally.”
Howsabout you? Do you watch, play, both, or neither?
“The MMO genre has sort of walked away from the things that made it unique and has faced an identity crisis since then as MMOs have reinvented themselves as these big giant titles trying to appeal to as many people as possible,” he argues. “As a result, you end up with MMOs that try to do things that smaller scale games tend to do better while not doing any of the things that make MMOs themselves unique.”
The whole video is worth a look-and-listen as he pins down what exactly does make MMOs unique and which MMOs have excelled as actual MMOs (protip: It’s everything from EVE to SWG to WoW, so don’t think this is about subgenre elitism at all). What do you think? Is Isarii right? Is the genre facing an identity crisis? And how do we solve it? That’s what our writers will be debating in this week’s Massively Overthinking.
See, I still remember first seeing Neverwinter in person at PAX East one of these years. (All of the PAX Easts kind of blur together in a mess of overcrowded convention halls, Boston weather, and occasional hotel stays.) I have more or less no attachment to the original games in the franchise, and frankly it looked like it was going to be pretty great. I was really looking forward to playing it myself.
Instead, I think I just played a lot of other games and never actually even installed it. I’m sure I had my reasons. I’m not sure they were good reasons, though.
After a few hiccups with voting (not to mention walking!), Massively OP’s MJ figured things out and made it through the first part of the Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series story relatively unscathed. Relatively. Now it’s time to move on to the next adventure — hopefully with Rocket Raccoon still a part of the crew. Of course, how things develop has everything to do with what you, the viewers, decide! Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. to continue our single-player-turned-multiplayer Choose My Adventure experiment.
What: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017
On today’s podcast, Justin teased me for running a virtual yard sale as I attempt to clean out my house in Ultima Online. I’m not quitting the game, mind you, but I did feel the urge to purge my hoard a bit to give myself some options, since right now, I’m obligated to sub every few months to hang on to that digital house lest I lose everything in it. If I were going to leave for a longer period of time, as I’ve done before, I’d need to get rid of most of my loot in a hurry and figure out whom to bequeath my house — if anyone.
Totally coincidentally, this morning I ran across a post on the Marvel Heroes sub whose author says he’s quitting and was looking for a “tasteful” way of giving away all his stuff.
Both incidents prompted me to wonder what other people do — does it depend on the game? What do you do with your stuff when you quit an MMORPG?
During last week’s podcast, Justin and I bumped into a tangential topic about competitive PvE and how relatively rare it is in MMORPGs, which seems weird, right? It was once the nature of MMOs to make us scuffle with other guilds in open-world dungeons, but with the dawn of instanced PvE content, devs didn’t replace that type of content the same way they’ve embraced raiding and PvP. You’ve got achievements, sure, and gear show-offs, but outside of Guild Wars-esque challenge missions and WildStar PvE leaderboards, it’s just not something most MMOs bother with.
Why is that? Should they? And how do you want to see it done? I posed all these questions to the Massively OP team this week for Massively Overthinking!
I have sort of an odd relationship with “story” in gaming. JRPGs really got me into gaming and inspired me to focus on my writing voice(s). Though the quality of narration in MMOs are just bad, some of my early experiences with the genre (particularly Asheron’s Call‘s GM driven story arcs that gave players a way to interact with lore as a group) opened up the possibility of group narratives, especially for those who roleplayed. In fact, as odd as it may sound, I think RP PvP in general showed me just how strong of a feature it can be for someone like me, from virtual Darkfall pirates trying to steal my boat to Star Wars: The Old Republic Jedi fighting for alignment while my bounty hunter simply struggles to make the most money while making the fewest enemies.
Still, sometimes we don’t want to go grind through 20 mobs to get to the next part of the story, or suffer through a raid dance to choose the fate of a character we’ve been interacting with solo. It’s one of the reasons I figure MJ and Larry’s Choose My Alignment is so popular: You still get that story vote without having to be a member of the actual group. It’s odd, being an older MMO player who still sometimes struggles with accepting solo play in MMOs, but the story aspect is the part I get. It’s actually the main thing that kept me in SWTOR.
But there are other options for this kind of play, primarily through TellTale Games and its Crowd Play feature and new game, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Don’t worry story fans, as I’ll keep this article spoiler free!
Back when I mentioned that I was learning to like Black Desert a while back, I got this tweet from the game’s official account. That was awesome. I liked it immensely. And while I don’t think I ever actually learned to love you guys (sorry!), I definitely do have a degree of appreciation. It just never crossed over into actual love. (Not least because my heart is already sworn to another game. You all know it.)
I’ve kind of struggled to summarize my feelings about Black Desert in my mind. The trouble isn’t that they’re negative feelings; it’s just that, much like my feelings on The Elder Scrolls Online’s battlegrounds, it’s easy to take them as negative when that isn’t how they’re meant. I certainly didn’t dislike the game, and it’s definitely not bad; I kept feeling like I was brushing up against the same territory as I did with the aforementioned ESO. But where I walked away from that game thinking “this is a lot better than I remember, even if it’s still kind of tedious in places,” I’m walking away from Black Desert feeling as if the game keeps giving me tools to solve problems I don’t have.