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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail forever gave us the perfect test for whether or not someone is the king: see if he’s got fecal matter all over him. Presumably, the kings behind the official kingdoms of Chronicles of Elyria will themselves be free of such refuse, allowing them to focus more upon tasks like keeping down the poor, executing those who do not kneel in deference, and arranging peasant houses in the shape of naughty words.
But why speculate? You can jump into the recruitment channels and threads for the various launch kingdoms to sign up as a loyal vassal well ahead of the game’s launch. It’s perfect for nobles who enjoy politicking, aspiring nobles who enjoy politicking (or backstabbing) until they’re no longer simply aspiring, and peasants who wish to protest that lobbing around very large Kickstarter donations is no basis for a system of governance. (Let us know how that last one works out for you.)
Wild Buster is quickly becoming the home of old action FPS mascots with nothing else to do, like a version of The Expendables that’s somehow more self-indulgent. The game already has Duke Nukem on its lineup, but now Serious Sam has joined the lineup, allowing players to… well, shoot things. A lot. This is a character known for shooting things, not for his rich and fulfilling inner life.
It’s entirely possible that he has one, obviously, but players weren’t ever exposed to it. Unless we missed Serious Sam: An Examination of Proust somewhere along the way.
Much like the Duke, Sam is being added to the game at a later date, so don’t expect to jump into the game and immediately see him waiting for you. But he’s going to be there, if you really have a deep attachment to the character and just want to shoot something with him, anything. It is a game all about shooting, after all.
Well, time to get my running shoes on, Final Fantasy XIV’s
next patch is coming out on October 10th and I’m aiming for a Large house. After I’m done with that, I can think about everything else in the patch. We already heard about some of it during the previous reveals, of course, but now we’ve got a bit more context for the additional… er, additions. And that’s not counting the stuff we still don’t know about, elements which I’m willing to be we’ll hear about when the patch actually goes live and for interval patches after 4.1 launches.
So let’s talk a little bit about what we’re getting with this patch, along with the things we’re not getting and the elements that raise an eyebrow slowly. We’ve already mostly heard about several parts coming with the patch, but let’s start with the updates coming to Adventurer Squadrons, a feature that was sadly kind of introduced without full expansion and is hopefully coming into its own with the next patch.
The Stoneborn of Crowfall are not dwarves. They sometimes get referred to as dwarves, but it’s a ridiculous name because they’re as large as normal people. They’re also not a normal race, either, as they’re less “living creatures” and more “elemental creatures created at the dawn of time.” Also, every time one of them dies, that’s one less member of the race; again, they’re not living creatures and can’t reproduce. Oh, and they’re also a playable race, so this should work out well.
In-game, the Stoneborn are all male (because that’s apparently the default the gods chose to create) and boast increased strength, durability, and resistance to knockdown. They can also slot a special racial skill to make themselves more durable for a short span of time, one of the benefits of being literally made from the ground. So while they’ve got elements of dwarves, you can rest assured that they are not dwarves. They’re not even small enough to be called dwarves.
The open question of “where are Alleria and Turalyon” was bouncing around in World of Warcraft pretty much as soon as players got to Outland and didn’t see them. Now they’re finally in the game, but the game also offers only hints and rumors about the transition between being in Outland at the end of Warcraft II and where they are now. We know they’re part of the Army of Light and that they’ve had some adventures, but what were those adventures?
Well, why not listen to about two hours of audio drama below? That’ll clear things right up.
Titled “A Thousand Years of War,” the audio drama gives a comprehensive look at what happened to the ranger and paladin when they first encountered the Army of Light, how they reached their current place, and what several of their offhand references to past events really mean. It’s a lengthy listen, but if you’re a lore fiend, you’ll probably enjoy all of it. Check it out just below, and don’t worry, as long as you keep listening, you don’t need to watch the actual video.
There are dangerous things in deep space when you play Elite: Dangerous. More dangerous than system failures, or pirates, or interstellar phenomena. The Thargoids are arriving on September 26th, the culmination of many teasing moments in which players have been forced to realize that they are not, in fact, alone in the galaxy. Now they’re coming, and players are going to have to deal with a danger that is far more mysterious than anything found up to now.
While patch 2.4 is coming out on the 26th, it marks the beginning of narrative content which will be rolled out in the weeks and months following the initial patch. If you’re eager to get a taste of what’s coming next, though, check out the cinematic trailer just below. It’s possible to override the shutdown pulse that these mysterious entities generate, yes… but there’s more to it than just the first pulse.