How would you rate the year 2017 for WildStar? As far as director Chad Moore is concerned, it went pretty well as a whole. And he certainly does make his case, as the year saw the rollout of Communities, the Prime Matrix, a number of new bits of content at Prime difficulty, and a new Expedition and Dungeon alike. So there was a lot on deck for players, all things considered, even if much of it did involve content players are likely familiar with by now.
As for the next year, the letter is thin on specifics for 2018 plans, but it does assure players that the game is still being supported and that there’s no reason whatsoever to worry about its future. Whether or not that makes you less worried or more worried is left to the individual player to decide, but at least you know that there’s been some life in the game from last year, and there’s the hope of more for the year ahead.
This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.
But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.
Two of my favorite MMORPG zones are World of Warcraft’s Mulgore and WildStar’s Algoroc. Both managed to catch some of the spirit and flavor of the American west that I absolutely loved when I lived there, including the vast views, the towering mesas, and the feeling of isolation and expanse. Whenever I find myself in an MMO region like this, I feel inflated with the spirit of adventure.
I think we all feel that. Some zones make us feel less enthusiastic about playing in them while others make us drag our feet because we never want to leave. Western zones, wintry biomes, and coniferous forests are among my favorites in games.
What about you? What type of MMO zone or biome puts you in an adventuring mood?
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?
With releases on Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, Skyforge
has had a tremendously busy 2017. The team took a short breather this past week to list its accomplishments
over the year, including the addition of the Revenant class, equipment system, and a trip to the moon.
But what’s coming in 2018? According to the producer’s letter, players should expect a bigger focus on PvP improvements, a reworked interface, and cross-platform patches.
“For 2018 we want to find ways to provide the big updates we have planned (so updates that introduce actual content and features, next to the usual bug fixing and monetisation updates) can be released on all platforms at the same time,” the team said. “This will mean that our development team can better focus on the content they are developing right now, rather than having to support three different content states. More focus will mean better content, fewer bugs and faster delivery.”
When we moved over here to Massively Overpowered, some of us transplanted our long-running columns to the new space. I perhaps felt most devastated that I was going to lose all of the Game Archaeologist articles that I had painstakingly researched over the years. So my mission with this space became two-fold: to rescue and update my older columns while continuing to add more articles to this series on classic MMOs and proto-MMOs.
I’ve been pleased with the results so far because TGA is a series that I really don’t want to see vanish. As MMORPG fans, we should consider it important to remember and learn about these older titles and to expand our knowledge past the more popular and well-known games of yesteryear.
Now that we have quite a catalogue of Game Archaeologist columns, I thought it would be helpful to end the year by gifting this handy guide to you that organizes and compiles our continuing look at the history of the genre. Enjoy!
With 2017 drawing to a close and 2018 rushing up to meet us, the Massively OP team has regrouped for another round of bold and goofy predictions for the year ahead. We’re feeling pretty good after our fairly successful predictions from last year! What’s in store for the MMO genre next year? Here’s what we think.
So I’ve been writing this column for a year now. A little more than a year, as it happens, but last year there was no point in doing a whole-column recap because… well, it would be one game long and it had just happened. So I’m doing that now, with a trip back through the last year of Choose My Adventure (plus one month because I would rather not leave out The Elder Scrolls Online). We all make compromises.
There’s a lot to be said about this particular set of games, but to be fair, a lot of it was already said in a series of weekly columns about the games because that’s… well, how the column works. Still, the benefit of hindsight does mean that some things I have seen since have produced a different picture for some of these titles. So as we move into the holidays and the new year, let’s hit some high marks, remember the past, and consider the future.
, the player characters are deities, and they have to save everyone from everything. That is their lot in life. You’ve no doubt saved people from aliens, saved places from invasion, and saved coupons from being wasted unnecessarily at shopping centers. Now you can also be sure to save Christmas, or the nearest approximation thereof, with the winter events running in the game right now
. Attire, boosters, and all the rest await you. (Also snowballs, most likely.)
The game is also running its annual advent calendar, offering daily rewards for players and a larger meta-reward for those who continually check back in. Plus, the game is kicking off sales starting on December 20th, starting with the Knowledge of Enemies sale before moving on to the Hall of Trophies sale and ending with a Celestial Blockbuster sale. (And if you think several of those sound like good band names, well, go start a band.) So there are lots of reasons to feel festive in the game, even if your character Ronald has had less luck with “Ronaldmas” as this year’s holiday.
Earlier this year, when we had yet to actually get much information about Secret World Legends
, I posted a piece in which I discussed at length how Funcom didn’t seem to quite know what it was doing with the whole reboot thing
. On the one hand, the development team didn’t seem to know if SWL
was actually a reboot of The Secret World
or just a new structure for it; on the other hand, it was certainly positioned as a hard reboot, considering how it jettisoned more or less everything players had previously accomplished.
So the question, for me, was always whether or not the game could justify its reboot and still be fun in and of itself.
The answer to the former question, I’m sorry to say, is an unambiguous “no.” There’s a lot of reasons thrown around for why the game absolutely needed a reboot, but none of them actually succeeds at justifying a whole drop-and-rebuild. Partly because, well, the game didn’t rebuild anything. It patched in a few new systems and called it a day, and it did absolutely nothing to address the core problems that kept people from being turned off from the game in the first place.
Let’s not mince words: You’re going to see lots of updates this month that are all about red suits with white fur linings, snow, green pine trees festooned with ornaments, that sort of stuff. But not in Skyforge
on the PlayStation 4, no. There it’s demon time
. The game just launched its Demonic Dawn update, and that means fighting demons infected by the sickness out of space, which is also infecting space itself, led by the evil Nihaz.
As is so often the case in Skyforge, you’ll be fighting to push back the demonic invaders on multiple fronts, eventually running through a 10-player instance to take on Nihaz directly and send him and his demonic space-virus from space forces back to where they came from. (Which, again, is space.) Check out a video for the update just below. You might think that all of this space virus stuff is a bit silly, but hey, at least it’s not another update full of reindeer.
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.
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?