WoW Factor: Examining the composition of the Alliance

Watching as speculation and mining swirls around the Mag’har as a future allied race, I can’t help but start thinking about the bigger picture in World of Warcraft. Because soon we’ll be able to make another couple of allied races, and we’ll have more on top of that, and it brings up a pretty good question: what, exactly is the Alliance at this point?

You might think that’s a silly question, but both the Alliance and the Horde are kind of nebulous political groupings, and their extant members are a pretty big deal when you’re speculating about who’s going to be next to sign on board. Plus, I think it helps a bit to consider what could be coming in the future, both for future customization options and further development.

So, then, let’s start with the Alliance, because it’s first alphabetically and a bit simpler to put together. What actually comprises the Alliance?

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Neverwinter offers a tour of the Fane of the Night Serpent

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes? Well, because Neverwinter is currently lousy with snakes, that’s why. Specifically, the Yuan-ti have a center of power by the old Royal Palace of Omu, and they guard the entrance zealously to keep out the sort of people who would stab the lot of them and take their stuff. You, being a player character, will have to stab lots of them to get in there, then commence the snake-stabbing.

Also you might be able to dismantle their power base in the area by doing so, but let’s be honest, the loot alone would serve as a motivator.

Of course, the snakes aren’t going to make it easy on you; you’ll have to fight your way to the entrance and the path to the main temple, then contend with the high priests of the snake god Dendar. It’s not going to be easy, but player will have ample reason to head in there, assuming you can get over any lingering apprehension about the sheer number of snakes.


Another rumored New World trailer surfaces with hints about the game’s premise

Amazon’s New World is a game that’s captured quite a bit of rumor and speculation lately, and here’s a fresh video to throw more wood on the rumor pile! It’s difficult to impossible to tell how legit it is, but it certainly does seem to match up with the first promo we saw for the game, so if it’s a hoax, it’s at least a consistent one. And if it’s legit, it’s still not clear whether it’s a leak or a deliberate tease.

The video on Reddit hints at what amounts to an alternate version of colonial America, as filled with superstitions and magic as it is with actual settlers trying to not starve to death and all of that. Hopefully this particular rumor doesn’t end with the game’s page getting yanked and prompting another string of furious concern and anxiety, but there’s no way to be certain of it right now. If you’d like to see what may or may not be a reveal, check out the leak.

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Check out the dubbed cinematic for Ascent: Infinite Realm

If you’re looking forward to Ascent: Infinite Realm when it arrives on these shores, you’re probably also looking forward to learning about the world beyond “there are airships and steampunk robots.” You don’t need to know more, because who wouldn’t be sold from those concepts alone? But just so that you can actually know more all the same, you can check out the English-dubbed trailer for the game just below.

The trailer serves as a top-level overview of the concepts going on in the game. Short version? The surface of the planet got destroyed, two of the three kingdoms were blown to heck, and the king of the third kingdom had the bright idea of taking the souls of the two destroyed kingdoms, wiping their memories, and using them as a cheap force to help rebuild that third kingdom on a floating island. Presumably, that’s where the player characters come from; you can get slightly more details in the cinematic itself.

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Elite: Dangerous players are already rebuilding following the Thargoid attack

For a long time, Elite: Dangerous players felt… well, not exactly safe around the Thargoids, but at least safe enough to poke or ignore the aliens as individual whims dictated. Now that the aliens are actually attacking, that safety is gone. That’s the bad news. The good news is that players are already working to rebuild the locations under attack by the aliens; civilians were evacuated and the operations are being restored now.

Players are also able to take part in new community goals to start some pre-emptive evacuations ahead of what is the expected trajectory of the Thargoid attacks, providing supplies to craft a large evacuation ship. Of course, none of that necessarily means that the Thargoid attacks are going to work the way players expect; thus far, they’ve been anything but predictable. So it’s good to see players rebuilding, but we would still advise against taunting them.

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WoW Factor: The fate of the class orders post-Legion, part 2

Back before the winter break, I took a look at how the various class orders are going to handle the increased conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. The short version is “in a variety of ways.” Some of them are going to care a lot and it’s going to make a big difference; some of them are just going to continue on or split up. Or, at least, they would if the developers felt like giving them a proper send-off.

They definitely deserve one, mind. The question remains whether or not they will get one.
But regarldess of that, there are still a half-dozen class orders that I didn’t cover before, and they’re just as important as the first batch. So let’s finish up the second part of this particular series looking at the other half of the class order halls, starting with one that really seems like it ought to be renting office space in Dalaran most of the time anyhow.

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WoW Factor: The fate of WoW’s class orders post-Legion, part 1

In the lull between expansions, I’ve been hard at work bringing my alts up to the level cap, unlocking all of the class mounts, picking up the occasional appearance that I really want from the Mage Tower challenge… you know, the usual stuff. And the result is that I find myself asking a question that surprises me a wee bit in the context of World of Warcraft: What is going to happen to all of the class orders?

I neither had an answer nor cared about one when it came to garrisons. Presumably, they’d continue to sit there, a testament to what happens when designers try to make housing that isn’t housing and don’t understand why people like housing in the first place. But the order halls are different. They’re cross-factional, they’re important, and perhaps most importantly, they represent something that makes different use of the resources of the world.

So what’s happening to these orders? How are they changing? How does this play into the war between the Horde and the Alliance becoming properly hot? And might we get some extra lore about these things?

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Check out World of Warcraft’s allied races jokes and flirts, plus guilds topple Antorus bosses

Back in the day, the only way we’d learn about the many jokes and flirt lines for races in World of Warcraft was by actually playing those races… and then spamming /silly and /flirt until we were pretty sure we’d heard all of them. Luckily, the first four allied races have already had their lines mined out by the intrepid crew over at Wowhead, so you can enjoy all eight sets of jokes and flirtations right now.

Some of the flirts, to the surprise of absolutely no one, are a bit on the racy side. Of course, depending on your personal fascinations, the female void elf promise to turn into an eyeball or sprout tentacles might also be on the racy side. And yes, the Nightborne reference illusions and what you are or are not hiding.

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The Daily Grind: Should MMOs have enforced naming standards?

For some players, “enter a name for your character” might as well read “insert the best joke you can within the character limit.” As a younger soul, this bothered me, because I’m pretty sure no one in Tyria would name their children “Valkilmer Sucks” or “Chowder Head,” but I would still have to see that in Guild Wars. I wanted strict naming enforcement, darn it!

Now that I’m older, I think younger me is a well-intentioned nincompoop. I have characters with names who do not adhere to strict naming conventions, and while those characters each have elaborate lore explanations for why they’ve got odd names, it doesn’t change the fact I would need to rename at least a couple of my Final Fantasy XIV characters. And that’s ignoring that some of my favorite names on that game include characters like “Carfullof Whiteboys,” “Viewing Catscene,” and my personal favorite, “Combyo Beard.”

Of course, some companies don’t care too much about providing name standards in the first place, so while “Samlikesham” doesn’t look like a traditional Night Elf name I can’t really say it isn’t. What do you think, readers? Should MMOs have enforced naming standards?

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WoW Factor: Why are we going back to factional squabbles after the end of Antorus?

Antorus is out now, and if you want to see the cinematic that ends the very long-running story about the Burning Legion and Sargeras, well, that’s easy to do. It’s kind of spoiler-filled, though, so I’m not going to be talking about it here in any detail beyond mentioning that Azeroth does not exactly end things without a major impact. And needless to say, people have already started asking “why is it that World of Warcraft’s next expansion is going back to factional squabbles when this just happened?”

It’s a question with lots of good answers. So I want to dive into exactly those. In fact, you can neatly divide the answers up into three categories: The anthropic principle, real-life parallels, and the change of flavors. And it’s not that one or the other is the “real” answer or the “right” one; it’s that all three of them combine perfectly to make factional squabbles a perfectly reasonable next destination after the cosmic invasion of the last expansion.

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Crowfall takes a skittering look at spiders

If you’re the sort of person who runs screaming from a room and vows to burn the whole house down over the barest glimpse of an arachnid, you are not going to like the newest Crowfall bestiary entry. For one thing, it’s all about spiders. For another thing, it’s all relayed through a creepy bit of in-universe lore explaining just how nasty and subversive spiders are in this world.

Those of you less susceptible to swatting at bare skin at the mere suggestion of a spider on you will still likely be a bit freaked out by the hidden, skittering children of Arachne, Mother of Spiders. It doesn’t help that the in-world lore is written by an actual disciple of Arachne, at that. Just… go read about it, and remember that these are not the sort of spiders you smash idly unless you want to bruise your hand.

Oh, hey, is that one in your hair?


Star Wars: The Old Republic delays the release of the Yavin warzone from patch 5.6

Players of Star Wars: The Old Republic will be able to start taking part in the latest bit of the traitor storyline with the release of patch 5.6 on November 28th. Here’s the bad news, though: The patch will not include the new Yavin warfront. There are still some issues with the new map, so it’s getting delayed very slightly until patch 5.6.1 scheduled for December 12th.

Everything else that’s planned for November 28th is still in place; that includes Legacy-wide credits, a character boost item to bring a character to 70, a new flashpoint, a new boss in Gods From The Machine, and many more things for players to do. (Also improvements to group finder queues, so it’ll be easier to find other players to do things with.) You can even read some new lore exploring the events leading up to the next set of quests centered around the traitor story. You’ll just need to wait a little bit longer for a new warzone, that’s all.


Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.1 in review

Let me make an agreement with you, dear readers: this column about Final Fantasy XIV will not talk about the housing situation in Shirogane at all. If you’re wondering “why wouldn’t you cover that,” the answer is that I already did and you can read the whole feature on that. (You can also read the follow-up.) So for the remainder of this column, we’re going to talk about all of the other features of this particular patch, which seems like a better use of our time anyway.

Heck, the whole stupid housing mess was only released with this patch, it’s not like the mechanics or anything are new.

And hey, there’s some good stuff going on with this patch, along with parts that are well worth discussing for where they don’t work as well. So let’s dive right in, starting with the obvious centerpiece of every patch, the continued expansion of the game’s storyline… as perfunctory as it may feel sometimes. Some mild spoilers are possible, so be fairly warned.

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