That’s right: I started this resolutions business last year, and now I am compelled to continue the tradition. It’s a new year and a new game, so it’s time for some new goals. It’s also a great time to look back over 2017 and see how well I did with my first attempt at in-game goal setting.
So, has World of Warcraft seemed a bit more… buggy to you lately? Because there have been some notable bugs since the whole worldwide level scaling thing. There’s the unintentional raid boss health bump; there’s an unintended issue wherein enemies in Heroic dungeons have less health than the normal scaled version. It’s kind of a mess, and that’s why the game is undergoing another round of maintenance today starting at 10:00 a.m. EST. Yep, on a Friday.
It’s going to be a long maintenance, too, running until 6:00 p.m. EST, so hopefully you didn’t have the day off with plans for an extended session in the game. There’s no official word about what will be changed in maintenance, although there are obviously several possible bugs to be patched out. We’ll see what’s getting changed when we see the list of updates today, but considering that the original patch ran long on maintenance, don’t be surprised if today runs longer than expected as well.
In Trion Worlds’ state of the game post for the MMO, the studio said that discussion and feedback over the challenge server idea led to a slightly different tack, which is to make a fresh start server with a different business model (no lockboxes and a smaller store presence), accelerated progress, monthly milestones, special rewards that carry over to other servers, and an “end” to the server’s run at a designated date.
“We have the opportunity to experiment with this fresh RIFT server using an oft-requested subscription model and progressively unlocked content,” Trion said. “Our goal for RIFT Prime is to provide the experience that many of you have requested: no lockboxes, a significantly reduced store with more of the current store-based items obtained through gameplay (or removed entirely) — plus the excitement of sequential progression through RIFT’s content with monthly milestones and achievements.”
It was sort of a smack in the face to go to old raids in World of Warcraft yesterday. Not in the slap-in-the-face disrespectful sense, but in the sense of just being extremely surprising. Every raid boss was suddenly sporting way too much health, and some more recent raids were suddenly impossible to beat at level 110 with decent gear. What the heck? Were we never meant to do Mists of Pandaria raids solo, even when they got patched to make it easier to solo some of them?
The answer is that it’s not you; it was an error. Due to the changes made to health calculation with the patch, raid bosses wound up with far more health than they were meant to have, and the team is looking into how to fix the issue, especially for raids in Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor. So you might have to wait a little longer for your transmog farming runs, but it’s a known issue that is getting addressed and fixed.
Who knew that warehouses could be so exciting? Don’t say such things to Ship of Heroes, because this superhero MMO is currently enthralled with its improvements of what could otherwise be a mundane locale. It’s here where player heroes will go for a quick fight or an involved mission, so it’s kind of neat to see the starting point of future content.
The dev team said that it designed this district from first-hand experience: “Our team has a lot of expertise in industrial engineering, and it shows — while some parts of the city are markedly futuristic, many details in the Warehouse District are true to life. Even in the 25th century, humans still need things like cranes to lift heavy objects, and air conditioning units to transfer heat away from complex machinery. These simple solutions are both practical, and physically tough enough to survive stray shots when Nagdellian raids move through the area.”
Want a closer look? Massively OP’s MJ recently went on a super-powered tour of the district with the dev team.
Yes. There is indeed a yeti with a sniper rifle in the header. Let us all pretend that he doesn’t exist and he might not target us for destruction. His attention is no doubt preoccupied by Just Survive’s January 16th update, which begins with a full wipe and hopefully goes uphill from there.
Don’t get your hopes up too much for a major content patch, however, because this update is mostly about “bugs and fair play.” Probably the elimination of the former and the support of the latter. Daybreak announced that it has made significant improvements to the game’s anti-cheat system and fixed a dupe exploit.
“While we were initially hoping to push this update out without requiring a wipe, escalating abuse of the exploits fixed within indicated that it would be best for our players to wipe out the unfair advantage that these abusers had gained through cheating,” said Daybreak.
A content update is on the way “several weeks” from now with a new tier of construction, raid re-balancing, and the upgrade system.
Some patches just don’t go down smoothly. World of Warcraft wound up extending its patch time for patch 7.3.5. pretty thoroughly yesterday, with the game’s servers not coming back up until around 8:00 p.m. EST. But they’re back up now, and that means that you can enjoy the patch in its entirety. (Or you can this evening, when you get back from work.) Wowhead has also compiled a full list of the patch’s undocumented changes, which are significant for players looking into enjoying everything that the patch has added into the game.
On the “good news” side of things, there have been notable buffs to the reputation gains for Army of the Light and Argussian Reach reputation, with the weekly faction quests for Argus now rewarding 1000 reputation for both and more opportunities to earn insignias and reputations from world quests. (Since Alliance players need these reputations at exalted for allied races, this is good.) On the bad news side? Older raid bosses have had their health pools increased to the point where some are no longer possible to solo, thus harming players farming these bosses for transmog purposes. That part is suspected to be an error, but regardless, it’s a good list of positive changes for the most part.
A new year, a new batch of survival games! Yes, the genre has become so popular that one guide, no not even two guides could contain all of the survival goodness. More keep cropping up. I certainly can’t say as I mind, since this is the style of game that has been giving me the feeling of having an impact on my environment. And it’s not all the same collection of zombies, although there is still plenty of that. It is interesting to see what new takes developers are bringing to the table. Want to do a survival reality show? There’s a game for that! How about living like a viking? Yup. What if you want to be the psychotic killer that survivors are trying to, well, survive? Got you covered. Fell like upping the ante and surviving via VR? There are a few of those available.
If you are looking for a new survival to sink your teeth into, here’s the addendum for some newer games in development as well as some newly discovered ones since the last mega double guide. Note: This collection will be a mix of multiplayer and single-player titles with some uniques thrown in.
Got some alts you want to level up in World of Warcraft? The experience is about to become much broader when patch 7.3.5 arrives tomorrow with level scaling across the game. Level 60 characters can go to Outland or Northrend as you wish, get rewards that scale with their level, and you can actually expect to finish up zones without outleveling them halfway through the story arc! It’ll be great for allied races when they arrive and any older alts you’ve left partway through the crawl to the Broken Isles.
Meanwhile, your high-level characters have a new questline to explore the aftermath of the Antorus raid (or the full raid to clear if you’re relying on LFR), and there’s a new battleground added into the mix. You can also collect legendary tokens, get four extra slots for your backpack with an authenticator, and take part in the upcoming Ulduar timewalking option. And that’s all tomorrow! So you’ll have some stuff to do, in other words.
In other words, we’ve got a little more time before the patch, and there’s more to be seen about what it actually entails, so let’s talk about both our known unknowns and our unknown unknowns as well as breaking down some other bits that we haven’t heard about yet which are conspicuous for their absence. It’s worth paying attention to some of this; that’s my point here.
The “when will Battle for Azeroth” speculation train is rolling once again because it looks like patch 7.3.5 is just around the corner. We haven’t actually been told when that’s landing yet, of course, but the World of Warcraft community continues to push forward with the sort of boundless optimism that it’s so well known for. “This time is going to be different!”
Here’s a spoiler for the future: It’s not. This time is going to be exactly the same, just like how previous times have been exactly the same, just like each time we’ve talked about this have been exactly the same. Betting on anything before October is optimistic, betting before September is wildly unrealistic. Similarly, betting on 2019 is pessimistic, and later than January is wildly unrealistic just as surely.
“We recognize that the scales are tipped too far towards Tess at the moment, and Eververse was never intended to be a substitute for end game content and rewards,” Bungie writes. “So, we’ll be making three changes for upcoming Seasons: We’re shifting the balance of new content in favor of activity rewards over Bright Engrams. This includes adding Ghosts, Sparrows, and ships (to date found only in Bright Engrams) to achievement reward pools. We’ll provide a gameplay path to earn Bright Engrams and all contained rewards (including Event Engrams). We’ll give players more direct purchase options and make adjustments to Bright Engrams to allow players to get the items they want more often.”
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?