Well, that didn’t last long. RIFT
has already yanked its controversial $100 random mount packs
from the game store following strong opposition from the community. “We put a tremendous amount out for the holiday season. As always, we follow player feedback and LISTEN. We’re also pretty agile, so when the resounding feedback on the Orphiel’s Mount Crate came in, we took it down,” the studio posted
Lest we become seasonal grinches, we want to pass along the word that Trion is throwing a lot of promotions and giveaways in its MMOs this month. RIFT players who log in before January 4th have a chance of winning a collection of 40 mounts, can enjoy the Fae Yule event, and buy a year of patron status for $99 (which is one mount’s worth! Too soon?).
Trove has login rewards and a Snowfest event, ArcheAge has a prize giveaway for people who poke their head into the game, Defiance is selecting a few players for a jackpot bounty, and Atlas Reactor is doubling up on its XP and discounting its freelancers and skins. Good stuff!
We were talking on the podcast this week
about how Trion Worlds tends to aggressively pursue different revenue streams in its MMOs — and how those actions sometimes cross the line and land the studio in hot water with the playerbase. For example, RIFT’s pay-to-win shortcut
a week or so ago.
So consider the following and tell us if it’s a smart or silly move on Trion’s part. Apparently the studio is now selling a $100 box that pays out one of 42 random premium mounts to the purchaser. As some players have noted, it’s not a smart buy, especially considering that you can obtain some of the mounts in-game for much, much cheaper.
CM Brasse dropped a comment on the Reddit discussion of this box, saying, “I do appreciate how you state the obvious for us… you really, really do NOT have to buy these. They are entirely cosmetic and it’s a pure choice for customers. Vote yea or nay in accordance with your thoughts and wallet. I am not one for mount fever either, but some are all about the stables!”
. Thanks Greaterdivinity!
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.
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree sort out the pile of expansions and updates that developers are scrambling to get out of the door before the holiday break. From vampires to kobolds, there’s something for everyone this month, and it only looks to get nuttier with the new year!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
Reacting to massive community pushback over what is perceived to be pay-to-win packs
in the RIFT
store, Trion Worlds announced that it is pulling the items
— at least for now — to reevaluate the situation and ask the community for more feedback.
“We’ve seen the feedback on the limited time Collected Intel packs and have decided to take the short term action to switch them off for the time being (the holiday packs remain up),” CM Linda Carlson said. “Taking them offline now gives us time to review ALL the feedback, together with in-game data, next week when the dev team is back in office, and make careful, reasoned decisions.”
The Collected Intel packs in question involve a currency that is bought with real money and can be used to purchase endgame gear, which some saw as breaking through the P2W barrier. Trion is asking for players to submit all feedback to this thread, although we will not stop any of our readers from sharing their thoughts on this move below.
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.
Look, we can all agree that “pay-to-win” is, at the very least, a difficult concept to be certain about. Right? There’s a lot of stuff where you can argue that a game is or is not pay-to-win just by slightly moving the goalposts. But then you have RIFT opening up sales of Captured Intel packs on the in-game store for real money, and we can all agree that yes, this is what pay-to-win definitely looks like.
Why? Because Captured Intel is a currency used to buy endgame gear. This is literally buying a currency used to advance in the endgame. If this doesn’t trip your pay-to-win sensors, nothing will.
A Reddit thread explains the issues with this quite eloquently (and already has at least one person actually arguing that it doesn’t count as pay-to-win if you can just buy endgame gear, so that works great). It also points out that the best thing for players to do at this point is to point out that this is not all right and then go on to not buy the packs; they’ll only be sold if people buy them, after all. Words to live by.
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?
At times, I feel like I must be the responsible adult in the MMORPG genre and sit down some of these artists and tell them that while I appreciate their ambition and imagination, not everything can be turned into a mount. Not everything should be turned into a mount. We need to have some sort of standard, some line that must not be crossed.
I feel like RIFT crossed that line with this mouse mount. It’s a little too on the nose with the whole notion of leveling in games being a rat race, eh?
“Here is my new Sinister Cappie mount telling a fishing story (it was this big!),” said Ironweakness. Frankly, I want to hear the story where someone captured a giant mouse and then trained it to provide transportation to battle-happy adventurers.
Step aside, turkey and fambly rage: It’s time to buy stuff. Because we don’t already unload our wallets the rest of the year on MMOs! Oh wait, yes we do. In any case, here’s a quick roundup of all the best MMO Black Friday 2017 sales on Steam and elsewhere.
As you plan your Black Friday shopping strategy (ours: sleeping in and lazily shopping on Amazon Prime), Trion Worlds wants to help out by giving you a heads-up on all of the deals that the studio is throwing for its games next week. Here’s the rundown:
All starter packs will be 50% off during Thanksgiving week. All Class Packs, plus the Creators Pack, Collectors Pack, and Battle Pack will be 70% off, while the Essentials Edition and Double Dragon pack will be 80% off, through November 27th.
- RIFT: Premium mounts will be 25% off from November 22nd through the 29th, and some previously lockbox-exclusive mounts will become available for direct purchase.
- ArcheAge: Sales up to 80% off on certain items. Also, here thar be lockboxes.
- Atlas Reactor: All packs will be 75% off and Golden Age skins will be discounted from the 22nd through the 28th.
- Defiance: Players can get up to 65% off on Titan bundles and gold editions. Also, more lockboxes.
Source: Press release
Many people believe that server merges are innately bad because in games like ArcheAge
(or even all the way back to Star Wars Galaxies
), they were done completely wrong or the game itself wasn’t designed for its servers to ever consolidate. However, other MMOs – RIFT
comes to mind – have nearly perfected server merges. And for the most part, server merges help the game and its population. Because many of the smaller servers combine together with larger servers, there are more people around, group-finder queues tend to pop faster, PvP is more dynamic, and roleplayers can reach the all-important critical mass.
If I were to just look at the Star Wars: The Old Republic server merges from the perspective of the overall benefits of combining different server communities, I would have zero issue with them. SWTOR is one of those games that has no innate issues with combining server save for players losing character names. It could be done without losing character names, and I will get into the flaws of that system in a bit.
Now, let’s talk about my specific perspective having experienced two server merges by BioWare, then we will get into the details of how this latest one affected those in my community.
The latest batch of lockboxes in RIFT
isn’t making friends among the playerbase.
The current Autumn Harvest lockboxes seem to contain more exclusive items than in years past, which has upset some players who wanted to have the option of purchasing these cosmetics through the in-game store. Of particular note is the Green Budgie mask and Raven wings, both of which are lockbox exclusives.
“The ONE item I was most looking forward to in this event were the wings. I am severely disappointed they are only available in a gambling box, as that means I will not get them,” a player wrote.
“Personally my problem isn’t even in the boxes, or the RNG itself,” another noted. “It’s in the fact that not only you have to basically gamble for everything, paid or not, but your chances are also so terrible that you end up losing to the system most of the times. So instead of being a system of surprise rewards, what we have now is a system of surprise frustration that doesn’t even surprise anyone at this point.”