Let’s be frank: Not every MMO zone can be a masterpiece of art, design, quest flow, and navigability. I mean, they totally should be, but that’s not how it shakes out in actual games. Sometimes regions get rushed, or the developers get a little too crazy with level design, or someone with a doomsday device in the office threatens to set it off unless an area made up of nothing but jumping puzzles is included.
The end result? “Those” zones we love to hate. We all have them. They’re the ones we seem to relish whining and complaining about to anyone who will listen, often instigating an echo chamber of like-minded grudges. We’ve been there, done that, and felt that our psyche took a hit as a result.
Today I want to look back at 10 MMOs I’ve played over the years to pick out a zone from each that, honestly, I really, really disliked. Perhaps the fact that I still remember them so vividly means that they were more important memories than the well-done zones that escape me at the moment, but I’m not going to think on that too much. Let the gripe session begin!
I have a love-hate relationship with VR. I’ve bought an Oculus Rift and the Touch, but don’t play it much these days. Part of it’s because my college stuff and Japanese stuff are crammed into a small space with my PC, so I can’t take advantage of certain features, but it’s also because the games aren’t very complete. VR can give you some really cool moments, but most of the time, the games are what you’d get on your PC or console, just in your face, and maybe with a few sides of motion sickness and virtual molestation.
Preta: Vendetta Rising is not revolutionary. It’s not even exclusively a VR title, being cross-platform from mobile to PC. The early animations and voice acting don’t emotionally resonate yet; most of what I saw would have been bland if it wasn’t for the fact that this was specifically a VR demo. That being said, developer Illion and game developer JJ Baek are incredibly sensitive to VR’s largest issues, from women in VR spaces to developing content based on consumer realities rather than developer dreams.
Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.
“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.
There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.
After some ups and downs this afternoon — everybody loves the “try again later” message, right? — Valve’s summer Steam sale is finally underway and stable. Here’s what we’re looking at in our corner of the gaming world.
Been saving up your nickels and dimes for trips to the malt shop and the penny candy counter? (Also, do you have some sort of nostalgic time machine or something?) Trion Worlds
has another suggestion for your summer allowance: RIFT
, baby. RIFT
Right now, the studio is handing out double loyalty points for any purchases made in the RIFT cash shop. Loyalty points eventually unlock different rewards, from mounts to pets to titles. The studio notes that these double points will not be handed out for any non-credit bundles, REX, or Patron subscriptions. The promotion will run through next Wednesday, June 21st.
. Thanks Clowd!
First announced back in February, CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc is getting the E3 treatment this week, being available for play (and spectating) at the show. Expect it for PSVR later this summer, though it’ll eventually filter to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive too.
“Sparc is a skill-based, fast-paced, and physical sport only possible in virtual reality,” says the Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online. “In Sparc, players utilize their two PlayStation Move motion controllers to aim and throw projectiles at each other inside a sleek virtual arena, while defending themselves by dodging, blocking, or deflecting incoming attacks from a live opponent. Players can compete against their friends or find challengers via online matchmaking.”
Our own Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest, arguing that “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc.”
“Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition,” he wrote in April. “I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”
It’s hard to decide whether double XP weekends in MMOs are a blessing or a cruel prank. On one hand, hey, faster advancement and a good reason to log in and enjoy a favorite game. On the other hand, you know it’s all going to come to an end right as you are getting used to the faster rate of progression. All good things must end, of course.
Either way you see it, RIFT won’t mind as long as you come to take advantage of its bonus bonanza weekend. From today through the end of Sunday, all experience, planar attunemnt XP, guild XP, prestige, favor, and planarite will accrue at twice the normal rate. This bonus weekend is for all players and comes with no strings attached.
It’s hard to look at an MMORPG and imagine them without dungeons. For some people, these instances are the core of their game experience, offering challenging (well, hopefully) and rewarding group experiences that can be repeated for fun, profit, and optimal performance.
Dungeons and I have a strange history in MMOs. For me, it all depends on the game in question. There are MMOs that don’t really feature compelling or rewarding dungeons (Guild Wars 2), or make grouping up and getting into them difficult, or what have you. Yet in other games, I’ve run dungeons so many times that I could probably pathfind through each one blind. If done right, they can be really fun and offer me a chance to show off my stuff and feel like I’m part of a team.
For today’s list, I want to share with you my favorite MMO dungeons. I’m going to limit myself to one per MMO for diversity’s sake, which might make it a little challenging, but there you go!
Calling it one of the most “monumental builds” to ever come to the game, Villagers and Heroes is preparing to unleash Patch 4.0: Starfall to the populace.
This update has been a long time coming to an antsy population, but by the sound of it, Starfall is going to revamp the MMO from the ground up. The feature list is impressive: all-new talent trees, new feats, more zones, an increase in the level cap, ultimate bonuses, and a revamped loot system.
Villagers and Heroes is currently attempting to drum up excitement for Starfall by enlisting the community to complete challenges, such as writing short stories, to fill up a “star light” meter. The higher the meter goes, the more information about the patch will be revealed — and the more free rewards will be given to all players.
A slightly ambiguous Facebook post had some RIFT
players worried that the game was finished with its current expansion cycle altogether.
In a discussion about RIFT’s proposed challenge servers, CM Brasse commented that “the final expansion update comes this summer. This includes the remaining Primalist souls for those who bought the calling. We think it’s worth waiting for.”
She later clarified on the forums that this wasn’t saying that RIFT was done with the Prophecy of Ahnket cycle but that the update fulfilled the remainder of formerly announced content for the expansion.
When does Final Fantasy become, well, final? It’s probably not going to end with Final Fantasy XIV, which shows every intention of outlasting all of us as long as it keeps pumping out Moogle plushies and Hildebrand quests. On the show today, Eliot lends his FFXIV expertise on the next step of this saga.
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:
When it comes to text-based MMOs created in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, the sheer number of them would blot out the sky. There are certainly more multi-user dungeons (MUDs) than I’ve ever been able to get a handle on when I’ve tried creating lists of the most important to know, but I will say that there are a few that seem to pop up more than others. The original MUD1, created by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, was certainly a watershed moment for online roleplaying games. Learning about DikuMUD is pretty essential, considering its impact on graphical MMORPGs that we still play today.
But there’s another title that often goes unnoticed, unless you keep an eye out for it. It’s a MUD that keeps popping up when you look into the history of the MMORPG genre, one with ties to key players and design concepts that are still active today.
It’s the MUD that shaped the MMO industry, and it was called Sceptre of Goth.
You might recall that back in March, the RIFT
producer’s letter stated that the team was mulling over the idea of instituting limited-run “challenge servers”
that would operate with crazy rules and offer players ways to earn unique rewards for their main characters.
Well, now the team is allegedly surveying players on what they think about these proposed servers. According to a survey email that was sent out to some players, the team said, “In a recent RIFT producer’s letter, we announced our intent to release challenge servers in the future for RIFT. These fresh-start servers would feature the first 50 levels of the classic RIFT game. As a former player, we would appreciate your feedback.”
In other RIFT news, the MMO is throwing a “Shiny Shenanigans Weekend” that will conclude on May 29th. There are new sets to be found, artifact piñatas in every zone, special new rewards, and even a specific that can piñata only be spawned by one of the devs.