While you weren’t looking — or maybe you were — Skyforge
tucked two years of live operation under its belt. The sci-fi action MMORPG is celebrating its second anniversary
this month, starting with daily login rewards that dole out, among other things, actual halo and angel wings. Don’t let it go to your head (literally).
The team’s also hosting a Trivia of the Gods contest to anyone who wants to take a stab at answering all things Skyforge. This takes place online, and while there are special prizes for the winners, everyone who completes it will get a participation prize. Aww.
When you’re done getting drunk on golden mead or whatever it is that unpredictable gods do, you can leap back into the Pantheon Wars in the game. The team recently elaborated on the win conditions of this epic struggle, so make sure you read that if you’re participating.
isn’t the only game at Trion Worlds
that’s shuffling around its community team these days. RIFT
announced last Friday that it brought on board Jennifer “Yaviey” Bridges
to be the new community manager for the fantasy MMO.
Bridges said she has worked on several MMO community teams to date including EverQuest II, WildStar, and Lineage II and was a RIFT player back in the early days of the title.
“If you couldn’t already guess, MMORPGs are my jam,” Bridges wrote. “They’re my absolute favorite type of game for a variety of reasons. I love the communities in them, I love that you can constantly strive to be better at something, and questing in general always feels so epic.”
This move doesn’t mean that Linda “Brasse” Carlson is out as a RIFT community manager. Bridges confirmed that Carlson will continue to manage the team while doing “cool creative stuff” in the meantime.
Veteran Massively OP reader Miol says he’s exhausted by a recent string of stories in which MMO companies screw gamers over, one after another: ARK Survival Evolved, Albion Online, Skyforge, and now Black Desert all figure into his list, just from the last week.
“I want to ask what more can gamers do to protect themselves and everyone else as consumers than speak up? It feels exhausting to always stay vigilant and feel upset all the time, since games, as an everchanging medium, give devs so many opportunities to screw us over with every single patch or update. And the worst immediate consequence seems many times a meek apology for what they’ve done, only for them to try out something different that maybe could go over unnoticed.
“You guys have reported about this UK watchdog group ASA, who investigated No Man’s Sky, but even they dismissed the tons of complaints about false advertising. Steam did declare some changes to advertising on their platform, but I still don’t see them taken place. If even those big negative stories don’t have that much of an impact, what hope is there for all the smaller communities, spread thin globally? There was a recent wave of gamers imploring each other to not pre-order, but that ebbed away fast enough, when the next shiny pre-order advantages over other players were presented. But even so, this still can’t protect you from what may happen after the launch!
“As said by Bree many times: Merely quitting won’t help either, as the studio will never know why most of the times. But also sending feedback for nine whole days didn’t help Skyforge players to make its devs to scramble! So what else could we do? Or should we just take rotating shifts to call them out?”
We’ll take the first shift right here in Overthinking.
Calling it an “unbelievable story,” the team at Pretty Good Gaming
pulled back the curtain on a massive SNAFU regarding a particular Skyforge
A recent Skyforge PS4 event had, among its rewards, an augment seal that would boost a player’s damage by a factor of 42. This unbelievable increase made the item a must-get, and for nine days the community scrambled to obtain it before the event ended, some even spending money on boosts to finish on time. However, after nine days of the event the studio got around to nerfing the item into the ground, claiming that the actual bonus should have been much lower (a 1.25 multiplier instead of 42).
With effort applied and in some cases money spent to obtain the seal, players reacted strongly to the decision, saying that it was a bait-and-switch to wait that long to fix the item. Skyforge’s team came back with an apology letter, strengthened the item somewhat, and offered compensation that included the option to refund the item for “pure energy.” Money spent during the event would not be returned.
Recently we had an interesting question come in from reader and Patron Rasmus Praestholm, who asked me to do a little investigating: “What (if anything of substance) exists in the MMO field that’s not only free, but open source? The topic of open source came up briefly in a recent column, where Ryzom was noted to have gone open source at some point. But have any serious efforts actually gotten anywhere starting out as open source?”
As some graphical MMORPGs pass the two-decade mark in video game history and are being either cancelled or retired to maintenance mode, it’s an increasingly important topic when it comes to keeping these games alive. Not only that, the question of open source MMOs involves the community in continued development, with the studio handing over the keys to an aging car to see what can be done by resourceful fans.
But has anything much been done with open source projects in the realm of MMORPGs? Is this something that we should be demanding more of as online gaming starts using more accessible platforms such as SpatialOS? Let’s dig a bit into this topic and see what we turn up.
Ragequitting. Most of us have probably done it once or twice from groups or single-player games or even MMO sessions in our time. My husband ragequit (disgustquit?) an Overwatch match the other night where his own teammates were spewing toxic slurs in voice chat, leading to a rating hit for him rather than the people poisoning the game (another problem for another column).
But what about ragequitting an MMORPG altogether? A game where you have time and money and friends and loot and achievements, sometimes years’ worth? Have you ever up and just walked out on an MMORPG? If so, what prompted it, and did you ever regret it or change your mind? I posed these questions to the Massively OP team for this week’s Overthinking roundtable!
The one thing that I thought we could all count on forever was that the MMO life cycle was pretty easy to understand. A game is launched, then it runs for a certain amount of time, then it shuts down. That last part kind of sucks, but the point is that you know when it’s time to move on. The life cycle is clearly one of creation, then life, then death, like a potted ficus or a cheap desk chair you get at Target.
But then sometimes you have a cheap desk chair that breaks in a crucial way, but you manage to screw the right sort of braces together so you can keep using it for another year after it should have been thrown out. And sometimes an MMO is born, and then it lives, and then it… doesn’t live, but it’s not actually shut down or in maintenance. Or it isn’t clear what’s going on with it, due to what seems to be total abandonment. Or it updates more than games which are supposedly live.
That’s what this column is all about. MMOs in a weird sort of limbo, where some facts are clear, but the results or the overall trajectory make no sense. Sometimes it’s not even clear if the game has actually launched or not. It’s weird.
Yesterday’s post on Richard Bartle’s new unplayer matrix got me thinking once again about my quibbles with the original Bartle quotient, which won’t surprise anyone here, least of all Bartle himself, who’s expressed similar sentiments about his early work (and specifically the test it subsequently spawned).
One thing that always bugged me is how your score masked why you picked what you picked — why you do what you do in the game as presented to you. That wouldn’t matter if people treated Bartle’s theories as descriptive, but developers apply them prescriptively (for example, in WildStar) and tailor games to attract achievers, indeed turning most game content into achiever content. As I wrote a few years ago, a player who explores every last inch of a game map would be an explorer in a game without achievements, but in a game like Guild Wars 2, she’s far more likely to be an achiever on a quest for achievement points. An old-school World of Warcraft PvPer was just as likely to PvP for twink gear and titles as for an actual drive to slay other players as a “killer.” And so on.
All of this is to suggest that in a world where most games reward achievers with the best stuff, most of us are achievers. Are you? And if so, what kind of MMO achiever are you — were you born to competition and leaderboards and prestige-acquisition, or do you “achieve” to meet your goals in other parts of the game, like a roleplayer who raids for the best cosmetics?
When the deities in Skyforge
aren’t fighting one of the millions of invasions taking place on the planet on a regular basis, who do they fight? One another, obviously. Pantheon Wars are returning to the game for a third season on July 1st
, and that comes with a number of changes to the format, starting with the removal of PvE components. If you want to take part in the competition, you’ll need to be directly competing at this point; no working around the task of fighting your enemies.
Scoring rules have also changed to make a successful attack more rewarding than a successful defense, to encourage players to fight over locations rather than simply defending what’s already been controlled. Argent donations to your pantheon will also award you double credits until July 5th, to encourage players to prepare their pantheons for war. It’s time for a big all-out slugfest for all of the marbles if you’re in the game, so get into the mix and look forward to more buffs in the future.
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!
Do you want to be the face representing Skyforge
to others? Then you might want to look into joining the game’s Elder Guardian ranks
. Membership there is entirely voluntary, with the only real benefits being that players get to meet with the developers, discuss issues, moderate forums, and help guide both players and developers toward a better understanding of one another. Which may be a reward in and of itself, depending on your personality.
As this is a voluntary position you apply for, it should be obvious that My.com doesn’t take everyone, just players who have shown themselves to be good figures in the community (through forums, Discord chat, social media, and so forth) and have a desire to help foster communications and relationships. If you check out the responsibilities and think you can fulfill them, by all means, apply to take on the role. Hey, who hasn’t wanted to lead a community now and then?
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.
Prestige is an important indicator of power in Skyforge
, and it just keeps growing over time. The problem is that as it grows ever higher, it becomes harder and harder to look at it at a glance and say “yes, that character is getting higher in Prestige.” Plus, there’s the simple reality that a ranking of nine billion Prestige doesn’t look
nice. So the latest patch for the game
adds in a ranking system wherein one’s Prestige Rank is a simpler and much smaller number. It’s almost like just leveling, but it’s certainly easier to read at a glance.
The patch also adds a new distortion to the game and a variety of quality-of-life improvements like the option to inspect equipment, market board improvements, and more face options for character creation. Check out the full patch notes for a glance at how the game has changed, and log right in if that’s all the motivation you need to start enjoying an easier-to-read ranking system.