It’s finally time for me talk about Project Gorgon as a released product. As you might have guessed, I was avoiding the game prior to launch. I’ve spoken out against early access a lot and have realized that, at this point in my gaming/career, playing games I’m passionate too early can be a threat to both work and play. I wanted a relationship with PG, but I didn’t want to rush into anything pre-release. I wanted it as complete as possible.
MJ’s streamed it a bunch of times, including the day before launch. Eliot’s comments from his pre-release CMA feel spot on still post-release. However, as the resident old-man Asheron’s Call fan with a review copy, I think I can add a few comments about how Project Gorgon compares to AC1&2, plus how developer Eric Heimburg’s infused PG in AC-esque ways.
It’s not exactly a secret that one of my first loves in any MMORPG is roleplaying. The whole reason I have multiple alts in Final Fantasy XIV (a game where no one ever needs any alts) is for roleplaying, I’ve spent more time roleplaying over the years than I care to admit, and one of the things that basically caused me to write off Star Wars: The Old Republic for future play options is the server merge eliminating roleplaying servers. That’s one of the things I’m here for.
At the same time, I also don’t think that it’s something that everyone is obligated to take part in. I would prefer that you be into that if you’re on a roleplaying server, but even there you have your own reasons, and as long as you’re not disrupting people it doesn’t seem like something you should be at all obligated to do. Some people don’t want to spend hours carefully crafting character backstories; that’s fine. We all enjoy our hobbies differently.
For something that is right in the name of the genre, roleplaying tends to attract a lot of passionate opinions about how important it is to the genre’s identity. Heck, there are even people debating what, precisely, qualifies as roleplaying compared to not roleplaying. So what do you think, readers? How important is roleplaying to MMORPGs?
I am a huge advocate for guilds that can remain friendly to the under 18 crowd. One of my favorite Star Wars: The Old Republic
guilds, Unholy Alliance
, is open to everyone. They have rules in place that make the guild friendly and fun for both adults and those under 18. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend any MMO for those under 13 that wasn’t specifically made for children unless they are accompanied by a trusted individual over 13. If you’re a guild leader, I believe it’s in your best interest to keep your guild friendly to those under 18. It gives you a greater opportunity to grow the guild, and teenagers are some of the best advocates for the game.
On the other hand, many guilds are 18+ and with good reason. Some have even gone so far as to say they don’t want members under 21. Granted, the guilds I’m talking about are usually roleplay guilds. In fact, SWTOR has the most 18+ guilds per capita over any other game from my perception. It’s tough to find a roleplay guild in on Star Forge that accepts players under 18. Although I don’t believe that every guild should be this way, I can understand some of the reasons why, and not all of them have to do with erotic roleplay — although that’s in there. What are the mature-themed guilds that you will find in SWTOR? And do they have to be mature-themed? Let’s answer that below.
Half an eternity ago, my merry band of MMO PvPers and raiders ran headlong into a gang of roleplayers, and it changed my guild forever. I’ve reminisced before about some of my favorite roleplaying moments in MMOs, many of them in City of Heroes and Star Wars Galaxies, games where the play-your-way pace of the game led to amazing storytelling and impromptu encounters, the kind that make you research obscure planet names, spend hours on the perfect costume, and accidentally stay up until 4 in the morning… typing.
But in the post-SWG, post-City of Heroes era, I dropped out of roleplaying as a core activity. I’m not going to be that jerk on the RP server talking about sportsball, mind you, and I’ll still make sure my toons have appropriate names and sufficient backstory, but I don’t hang out in taverns waiting for something interesting to happen nowadays. And honestly, I’m not entirely sure which MMO would be the ideal home for a roleplayer anyway.
You tell me – what’s the best MMO to roleplay in as of 2018?
When Star Wars: The Old Republic
first released, an old Star Wars Galaxies
argument popped up, and the crux of that argument was this: “No one wants to be Uncle Owen.” If we say that SWG
pre-NGE was the Uncle Owen game, where players could successfully play a simple moisture farmer, and compare it to SWTOR
, where you can be a member of the Dark Council, then we would see that SWTOR
is clearly the winner if we are talking about the sheer number of players. However, SWG
was one of the founding MMOs; it helped kickstart the genre. There were just not that many people playing MMORPGs at that time, so comparing the raw numbers is a bit unfair.
The argument continues. If we look at the story in the upcoming Battlefront II game, we see a kind of Uncle Owen story. The main protagonist of the game is a Commander of a squadron of Imperial soldiers that we have never heard of until now. Her name is Iden Versio, and she is, for all intents, a faceless Stormtrooper. Star Wars fans are very excited about playing through this storyline. I’m one of them.
However, the biggest place where we see the Uncle Owen controversy is in the SWTOR roleplay community, and I believe that if we study their arguments for and against playing a powerful character, we will gain a greater understanding why some storylines work and others do not.
I really hate when non-RPers get their kicks out of making light of what roleplayers are doing to have fun. Many times, the roleplayer will be standing at the bar minding his own business on an RP server no less, when all of the sudden some bored 12-year-old in a 40-year-old body spams as many particle effects at the people just attempting to have a conversation in character. You’d think if that happened enough that it would cause people stop roleplaying; I’m fairly certain that’s in the back of the griefer’s mind. Sometimes it works, but most of the time, I like to believe that it just strengthens the roleplayers’ resolve. They try harder to find a place where they can be comfortable doing what they enjoy doing, or they simply ignore the flashing effects around them and barrel through.
But the funny thing is I don’t believe it’s that kind of thing that actually drives roleplayers from a game. I believe that the biggest detriment to roleplayers is other roleplayers, and the biggest hurdle in attracting new roleplayers to the gameplay style is ourselves.
Last week, we reported on an impending roleplaying event in Elite Dangerous that was set to influence the outcome of Premonition, a game-based novel by author Drew Wagar. What players did during the event to hunt down or defend accused assassin Salomé was expected to be incorporated into the book, including NPCs being killed off permanently.
I’m sad to report that while many players did rush to Salomé’s (as played by Wagar himself) defense, the event was predictably run off the rails by players. First, a multi-guild faction calling itself Premonition Allied Coalition (PAC), which was sanctioned by Wagar and ostensibly there to protect the NPC, allegedly began threatening and attacking non-PAC players who arrived in the event locations, causing extreme uproar across the Elite subreddit.
And that, according to Ars Technica, is when the chaos really began, as amid the pandemonium, Salomé’s ship was actually destroyed by a PAC member who was in fact a mole named Harry Potter (sigh) from gleeful and notorious Elite griefer group Smiling Dog Crew, who had convinced PAC it could be trusted this time, and MMO players for some reason believed them.
On the Morrowind subreddit a few days ago, a player was recounting a particular roleplay-slash-griefing episode on a hardcore-roleplay Ultima Online emulator. The player explains that he spent months roleplaying as a bartender serving drinks to the adventurers he befriended. But he was actually planning something far more nefarious:
“For over a year I roleplayed with these people as a simple barman, pretended to be their friend and confidant, and then during a harvest festival where every player on our server was in attendance and I was [paid] to provide the food and drink… I poisoned every last morsel of food, every drop of drink, and after the [regent] delivered his speech and all of these fools raised their goblets for the toast and took that deadly sip, I stepped onto the stage and revealed what had happened. They [were] all going to die, and die they did. Now this was a permanent death server (hardcore RPers, mind you), and some had been playing those characters for 8 years, and there they all were, collapsed and dying. Soon they were all unconscious, as you could only die if you went unconscious three times in one day or if a certain psychotic bartender came and cut off your head… which I did to every player in our group of 38. They were all there, and unfortunately so was I.”
On the left in the screenshot above is a windmill in the town of Cragstone in Asheron’s Call. On the right is, well, the same windmill, but in the ruins of Cragstone hundreds of years later in Asheron’s Call 2’s. The latter game’s post apocalyptic setting is quite fitting, all things considered. The sequel was a mechanical departure from the original in many ways, but built on the same lore fans still crave. Not all Asheron’s Call fans would come along for the ride, but the sequel did find fans who never touched the original. AC2 also is about to go offline twice, so, well, there’s that. But there is a reason a sequel was made, and I’d wager the reason it went offline has more to do with the game’s broken past than its innovations.
Join me today as I take a look back through the history and highlights of Asheron’s Call 2. (The original game was the subject of a similar piece earlier this week, so don’t miss that either.)
For some reason, this time of year always seems to be a down time in the activity of large-scale MMORPG development. Although Star Wars: The Old Republic
is a bit of an exception to that rule with its new expansion coming out in about a month, there are still many people kind of standing around wondering what to do. I am not one of those people. In fact, my friends and I have done something kind of crazy: We started a new guild in what would likely be considered a very low time for the game. The crazier part is that it seems to be thriving.
We have gone from about four active members a day to about 20 or more concurrent players on a night in about a week. I’ve lost track of how many people log on in a day. I know there are bigger guilds out there, and I don’t claim to know all the secrets. However, I do think that what my friends and I have done is significant, and you might be interested in it too, especially if you’re an old-school gamer.
When I say old-school gamer, what I mean is a pre-videogame gamer. I mean tabletop gamer. During this huge lull in actual game content, we have taken this time to make our own game out of SWTOR by introducing pen-and-paper mechanics to the things we do. If roleplay in an MMORPG hasn’t interested you before, it might interest you now.
I know that I have complained quite a bit about what Star Wars: The Old Republic
doesn’t have, but I still play the game. However, a large chunk of my time is spent roleplaying and creating roleplay-centered events with my guildies. In fact, we held an RP-PvP event last night, and many guilds on the roleplay servers are using this bit of a content lull to increase the number of events they put on. So if you were ever looking to get into roleplaying in SWTOR
, now might be the time to do it.
On the topic of our RP-PvP event, I also saw some of the worst roleplay imaginable during this event as well. During a previous post, I talked about a friend who just could not seem to wrap his head around roleplay. I respect that. But there is not understanding roleplay, then there are the things that I saw last night. In fact, many of the things that I saw were so awful that they inspired me to write this article.
If you haven’t guessed it, these are the top five worst things players do during roleplay inspired by last night’s RP-PvP event. I am not going to name shame anyone in this article, regardless of how tempting it is, but it should be noted that none of my examples is from my guildies. If they are reading this, they should know that they are in the clear… for now…
The World of Warcraft site has gone through a number of changes and overhauls over the years, so don’t act too surprised to see Blizzard doing it once again. The studio will be rolling out the newest version of the website on July 26th, although you can get a preview of what it will look like right now.
“Consider it your future home for all things WoW, with an all-new home page, game section, new player and returning player guides, and much more,” the studio said. “As with any new undertaking, this site is a work in progress and we’ll be updating it regularly with a variety of features, including updated player profiles, PvP Ladder information, and more.”
Blizzard also responded to recent game changes that have negatively impacted roleplaying in large cities. The good news is that fixes are going into place to disable excessive instancing in capitals, starting with Stormwind and Orgrimmar.
All is not well following World of Warcraft’s recent pre-expansion patch earlier this week. Two controversies are rocking the game resulting from the update changes.
The first is the studio’s decision to create multiple instances of city hubs on roleplay servers, effectively dividing up the community that congregates in those areas for socialization.
“As a player on Wyrmrest Accord, we’ve always appreciated being exempt from major city cross-realm phasing for the sake of roleplaying,” wrote one player. “Today’s patch reverted that exemption and this is hopefully a bug. If it is not, this change will destroy our server’s thriving RP community, and prevent us from finding partners, both new and on our friend’s list, without joining a group.”