Is it too easy to forget that MMOs, like all video games, are made by people just like you and I? Belghast over at Tales of the Aggronaut thinks so; he says that our inability to see devs as real folks breeds hostility and makes it “hip to be mean.”
“I have a hard time viewing these companies as the evil empires they are made out to be,” Belghast writes. “No one sets out wanting to make a horrible product, and no one deserves to feel like they are hated by the people that are supposed to be their fans.”
The blogging community has plenty of kind, helpful, and critical words to say this week, including a return to Star Wars: The Old Republic, a guide to Guild Wars 2 achievements, and why data mining messes up the fun for all of us.
This guest Soapbox
was commissioned through Massively Overpowered’s Kickstarter campaign and is authored by Tyler F.M. Edwards
, who blogs at www.superior-realities.com
. The opinions here represent the views of our guest author and not necessarily Massively OP itself. Enjoy!
The concept of “stickiness” is always a hot topic in the MMO community — stickiness being the sum of those game qualities that ensure player retention and keep people coming back. Fans and journalists talk about it often, and I don’t doubt that MMO developers devote an enormous amount of time and money to making their games sufficiently sticky.
But this obsession with stickiness can do more harm than good, and when developers focus on retention, they risk losing sight of what really matters: making games that are fun to play.
Today’s Kickstarter-begotten Massively Overthinking question arrives from donor Ravenwynd, who writes,
I love control type characters in mmos. City of Heroes’ Mind Controller could lock down entire groups; EverQuest Enchanters mezzed and controlled entire groups and trains. But as devs have added PvP and tried to balance classes in their games across the genre, it seems this playstyle has gone away. You can’t have long control powers as the PvP has to be quicker, so the control powers are super short. Given the hassles of trying to balance classes for both PvP and PvE (and the nerfs to one side when balancing the other), do you think more games/studios should strive for trying to do one or the other to their best ability versus engaging in that constant balance fight?
I polled the MOP staffers for their opinions on Ravenwynd’s topic.
Here’s some good news for all you Star Wars: The Old Republic
fashionistas. The game’s upcoming outfit designer will not feature armor weight restrictions, which means that light armor wearing classes can don heavy stuff and vice versa.
BioWare community production coordinator Tait Watson posted the update on the official forums earlier this week.
; Source: Forums
Doors locked? Family distracted elsewhere? Called in sick to work? Check! It’s go time for some serious Star Wars: The Old Republic
From today through Monday, SWTOR is hosting a double XP weekend. This XP bonus applies to any activity in the game that generates experience, so get out there and use this time to level up! The event will conclude on March 30th at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
[Source: Double XP Weekend
. Thanks to Jake and Tommy for the tip!]
Update 3.2 for Star Wars: The Old Republic
is, in a lot of ways, my
update. From the beginning of the game, I wanted to visit the planet Ziost. My favorite Star Wars comic book of all time is the Tales of the Jedi series. The part of the series appears to revolve around Gav and Jori Daragon, but the truth is that Tales of the Jedi is about the old Sith Empire. The wintery world of Ziost was the capital planet of the old Sith Empire. I’ve always wanted to know what happened to that world during the time of The Old Republic
, but the writers have been rather silent about it.
As many of you are aware, I’m a big roleplayer in all the MMOs that I play. I like to immerse myself into the world, the lore, and the community of each MMO. That’s probably one of the reasons that I can play only one or two MMOs at the same time. Unfortunately, SWTOR has never been particularly roleplay friendly. It’s always seemed that we roleplayers RP in spite of the mechanics of the game. And now, for the first time in the history of the game, we have been given a tool that is completely designed for roleplayers: the Outfit Designer.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
teased at the Community Cantina and in the producer’s letter that 3.2 would be one of the biggest patches to date. And if the information given on the latest livestream is any indication, it will be.
Community Manager Eric Musco hosted Producer Bruce Maclean and Lead Designer Michael Backus in a livestream yesterday to tell the SWTOR fans about the upcoming update 3.2: Rise of the Emperor.
One of the two biggest items on that list is the cold, rocky planet of Ziost. We know from Star Wars lore that this is the original capital planet of the Sith Empire, but strange things have been happening here. And there is every sign that the dreaded Sith Emperor has awakened from his slumber here.
However, the biggest thing to be introduced in the presentation beyond Ziost was the Outfit Designer, which will allow players to equip armor specifically for aesthetics while maintaining the stats of the other armor underneath it.
The full video for the livestream is past the cut along with a truckload of images. However, if you’d like to see it for yourself, it’s live on the PTS right now.
The latest salvo in the ongoing free-to-play culture war comes courtesy of former Star Wars: The Old Republic lead systems designer Damion Schubert. In a GDC talk titled “Embracing the Paradigm Shift: Converting a Premium Team to an (Enthusiastic!) Freemium Team,” Schubert advocates for a terminology shift from the word “whale” to the word “patron.”
“These people are very important, and we can start by treating them with some fucking respect,” Schubert told his audience.
GameIndustry.biz summarizes the presentation, which saw Schubert advance the narrative that F2P is the future. “Imagine if you will that EA and DICE manage to figure out how to make a true Battlefield 5 experience that is actually a good free-to-play experience,” he said. “They’ll have an increase in profits, they’ll claim the free-to-play first-person shooter experience, Call of Duty will have to flip, and then the whole genre will flip.”
Just when you think that Star Wars: The Old Republic
will change things around and actually do something that will appeal to the Killer-type of MMO player
, it shoots itself in the foot time and time again.
I was caught completely off guard last week when I read that SWTOR had partnered with the Electronic Sports League. Competitive gaming was one of the last things that I thought SWTOR would get into. I thought that perhaps this was finally BioWare‘s appeal to that kind of player. But then, in typical BioWare fashion, it fumbled at the one-yard line.
In the past, I have been hypercritical of the way BioWare treats the competitive player. It has always seemed that the developer hasn’t paid anying attention to what’s worked and not worked in the past. It appeared that it copied what games like World of Warcraft would do not because it was highly successful but because WoW had done it.
This time, however, things seemed to be different. Although the proposed jump into competitive gaming isn’t completely original, it was a step outside the box.
Those of you looking forward to that Star Wars: The Old Republic
speed-run e-sports thing
are out of luck, at least for now. BioWare
community manager Eric Musco
says that the firm is “canceling its ESL Operation Victory
competition,” and he cites problems with the Coratanni encounter as the primary issue.
“We spent a lot of time this week testing bug fixes to see how viable the fixed version would be in a speed running environment,” Musco explained. “We have applied improvements to the Coratanni encounter as of tomorrow’s patch but there are still situations that could impact players focused on a timed run.”
Want one of those butt-ugly lightsabers with a black core? You can get one as part of the new Choose Your Path
promotion for Star Wars: The Old Republic
. A set of +41 black-purple fashion faux pas color crystals are all yours if you’re a subscriber on March 29th.
In case you’ve never been a subscriber, BioWare is dangling 40 percent savings on the new Story Pack, which gives you the Shadow of Revan expansion, the Rise of the Hutt Cartel expansion, 60 days of subscription time, and 2400 cash shop coins.
[Source: SWTOR website
; thanks Direpath!]
has partnered with e-sports company ESL Gaming
to host a competition dubbed Operation Victory
. It involves speed-running eight-player story mode operations from Star Wars: The Old Republic’s
recent Shadow of Revan
expansion, and qualifying heats start next Tuesday, March 3rd.
Prizes include cash, in-game items, and a trip to the Star Wars: Celebration convention. BioWare says that further contest info is forthcoming.
[Source: SWTOR forums
Dulfy reports that Star Wars: The Old Republic’s
Relics of the Gree event returns today and continues through March 3rd
. The event is intended for level 60 players, but there is a bolstering stat boost that “appears to work if you are level 50 or above.”
Relics of the Gree involves questing for reputation gain, killing world bosses, and obtaining various achievements and event-exclusive pets, weapons, armor, and more.