It seems like the entire MMO blogosphere wanted to chip in thoughts on the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
announcement, whether or not each writer was playing the game. So what did they all think?
“Finally, something other than dragons to fight!” enthused Occasional Hero. “I love mounts. And I love leaping and jumping mounts,” wrote Aywren Sojourner. “BUT. We all know what else a mount system introduces — cash shop opportunities!”
GamingSF ran down the features, saying that he’s on the fence as to whether or not to come back: “The best way to know that, I suspect, is to play some of the game in the time between now and the 22nd of September.”
Not everyone is on board with the expansion. “The announcement did not in any way overcome my healthy skepticism of the ‘horizontal progression’ philosophy of the game,” chimed in Endgame Variable. And In An Age seems like he’d wants to play, but admits that the business model puts him in a “mental bind” regarding both expansions.
Have you heard of the planet Umbara before? The Star Wars fan who has seen only the movies will likely say no, and even if you are a BioWare
or Old Republic Star Wars fan you will probably say no too. The only people who would likely know what Umbara is are those fans who watched the Clone Wars television series. However, any Star Wars fan who has seen the prequel trilogy has seen a character from
Umbara. You probably don’t know the name, but you’ll know the face of Sly Moore, the bald, pale woman who stood next to Chancellor Palpatine in Attack of the Clones
. She was his senior administrative aide, and more importantly, she was the bearer of his secrets.
Star Wars: The Old Republic takes a journey to the shadowy world in the next update, dubbed Crisis on Umbara. Of course, since this is the Old Republic timeline, we are thousands of years before the Clone Wars, and really anything can happen. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have clues for what to expect, however. Let’s discuss the things we know about Umbara and what we know the update is going to bring us.
There are a billion planets out there in the Star Wars galaxy, and we have visited only a small fraction of them so far in SWTOR
. Soon, players will make planetfall on Umbara, a “shadow world,” and take part in what appears to be a train heist.
The studio released a short trailer teasing the content to come: “Prepare to lead the ultimate covert assault: battle your way across a moving train, brave the wilds of a dark new world, and more in a high-stakes new flashpoint! When a deadly traitor is tracked to the shadow-world of Umbara, you’ll need to lead a strike team to confront the betrayer before the galaxy is thrown back into war.”
Check out the teaser trailer after the jump!
Gamasutra has an unusual piece from an Ubisoft developer this week arguing that co-op gameplay is the industry’s rising midcore trend, one that he believes will ultimately outstrip team competitive games. “It’s all about all the big data and stats that are finally available and can be mined,” author Andrii Goncharuk says, “and no surprise that it’s showing that players who played co-op mode have much more play hours, and players who played co-op with friends have even more play hours.”
He may be right, though first you’d have to believe co-op ever went anywhere to begin with (and console players would probably tell you nope!). But as I read the article, I couldn’t help but see MMOs in most of the arguments he’s making about what makes co-op games sticky, and yet MMOs are being edged out all the same. And while I don’t like to think of the MMO genre’s space in the industry as a zero-sum situation, the reality is that when people tire of MMORPG baggage but still want social play, co-op is exactly the sort of game they retreat to.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to reflect on the rise of co-op PvE games outside the MMO label. Do we play them? Do we prefer them, and when? How can we learn from them? Is the popularity of smaller-scale co-op hurting MMORPGs?
An official LEGO set for The Elder Scrolls Online
will probably never happen — although never say never, because SWTOR totally got its line of products
— but at least one fan is doing his best to envision what they would look like.
In a community spotlight piece, ZeniMax gives kudos to Thorsten, a player who took his love of the game and shaped it into LEGO sets. Boasting a large brick collection, an eye for detail, and a dedication to get each scene just right, Thorsten looks for inspiration in the game and then constructs a set around it.
“Over the years (I started playing shortly after the beta) ESO grew very close to me,” Thorsten said. “It was my first real MMO, and I instantly fell in love with the landscapes, clothing styles, and architecture in combination with the lore. It was this combination that made ESO so unique and interesting to me.”
You can check out his constructions — which also include many impressive Harry Potter set pieces — over at Flickr.
After her tiff with Valkorion, Massively OP’s MJ awoke in an unfamiliar place free of that uppity ghost’s influence. Thanks goodness! But where is she? Larry sure isn’t going to tell. There’s only one way to find out: Her Chiss Agent is ready to explore the rest of KOTFE’s
Chapter XII. Luckily, MJ lives to explore! She loves discovering new things, including discovering what choices you — the audience — will make in the story. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to decide the next steps of the story in this latest installment of Choose My Alignment.
What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
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.
While many Star Wars: The Old Republic
players might be looking forward to Game Update 5.4 later this month for its PvE offerings, the “other” crowd has a much different perspective on the release. When August 22nd hits, PvP Season 8 will conclude and a new one shall begin.
Before moving on, there are a bevy of rewards that can be secured from the current season. Players who place in bronze, silver, or gold tiers will be treated to a package of goods such as titles, a battle flag, a frame decoration, and a chunk of tokens. Speaking of tokens, there are some neat rewards to be purchased with them, like the Flaming Makrin mount (150K tokens), a PvP weapon set (100K tokens), and various stronghold decorations.
Check out the full list of rewards and see if it spurs you on to greater victory as you fight for the Republic or the Empire!
Anyone a little excited about Guild Wars 2 these days? Probably not, but on the off-chance that there’s a glimmer of hype and hope alive, here’s a reminder that there’s some stuff that was put out for the game and other stuff that’s coming for the game. Deserty-stuff.
“I don’t want to spoil much about the latest Guild Wars 2 episode, so here is just a shot from inside of Divinity’s Reach palace temple, where it begins!” Miol submitted.
I wish I could un-spoil myself from that screenshot, because now I know the game’s design plans for the next seven years, all from the subtle clues that are contained in those stained glass windows. How I wish I could erase that knowledge and experience it as a wide-eyed child would!
Motherboard has a fun-slash-depressing piece out this week on an unnamed hacker who claims he’s been cheating at MMORPGs to make a living for almost two decades.
Prior to his recent Def Con hacking conference talk, the hacker dubbed “Manfred” seemingly demoed via video a hack performed in WildStar, one he used to help him accrue nearly 400 trillion gold, which he then allegedly sold to players through various black markets. He argues he wasn’t hacking — he was providing a service by “finding unintended features in the protocol.”
At least some of his claims don’t even seem particularly outlandish, especially if you’ve been around in MMORPGs for a long time and have an understanding of how rampant duping and RMT markets have been over the last 20 years. Manfred claims he got his start in Ultima Online illegally deleting other players’ houses and selling his own on Ebay, funding his days in college. Since then, Motherboard says, he cheated and duped his way through the “wild west” of Lineage 2, Shadowbane, Final Fantasy XI, Dark Age of Camelot, Lord of The Rings Online, RIFT, Age of Conan, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2.
Quantic Foundry researcher and long-time MMO academic Nick Yee has an intriguing blog post out this week titled Dispelling Myths about Female Gamers in which he purports to do just that. Yee has been shuffling the data from over 300,000 submissions to the Gamer Motivation Model project to see what they reveal about female gamers. “Over and over again, we have noticed that cursory examinations of the data often support a gender-normative narrative,” he writes, “but diving deeper into the data reveals far more surprising (and interesting) relationships between gender and gameplay.”
For example, consider the lazy stereotype that women are innately averse to violence or competition in online games, a claim often used to dismiss female-dominated games as casual or not “real” games.
“At first glance, gaming motivations among men and women seem to align with gender stereotypes: Men are primarily motivated by competition and destruction, while women’s primary motivations are completion and fantasy. But this is only part of the story. For example, consider competition—the motivation that varies the most between male and female gamers – for which, it turns out, age accounts for twice the statistical variance than gender does. Or, to put it another way, the delta in the appeal of competition between younger men and older men is much bigger than the delta between men and women.”
The Hoojib is out of the bag: Star Wars: The Old Republic
is planning on making a huge change to its currency systems.
Responding to a question about one of the newer currencies in the game, Game Producer Keith Kanneg let it slip that the team is going to change how currency works so that you’ll be able to save some money between characters and pool resources.
“We are working to change currencies to be legacy-based,” Kanneg said. “This includes unassembled components, credits, the Umbara currency, and more. I’m not aware of any major obstacles preventing this from happening, and doing so will help with a number of changes we are planning for the future.”
More information about this shift in design will arrive in the upcoming roadmap update.
Earlier this week, MOP’s Justin expressed frustration over lockboxes, feeling especially provoked. “As both a player and a journalist, I find it insulting when an MMO studio wants me to get excited about its lockboxes,” he tweeted. “They are poison.”
MOP reader and gamer Iain (@ossianos) wants to hear more about poison! “I’d be interested to read an article on your thoughts, and those of the MassivelyOP staff, on how MMOs could otherwise make money,” he tweeted back.
Challenge accepted! And perfectly timed for this week’s Massively Overthinking topic. Imagine (or just remember) a world without lockboxes. How would MMOs and other online games survive without lockboxes here in 2017? What should they be doing instead, and what might they have to do when the inevitable gachapon regulation comes westward?