Subscription MMOs are generally those that restrict play to gamers who pay an ongoing fee, usually monthly, though shorter and longer subscriptions, as well as lifetime subs, do exist. Some free-to-play and buy-to-play games also include optional subscriptions.
Remember last June when Camelot Unchained startled everyone by announcing it was opening a second studio in Seattle? The team out west has been working on the game for many months now, but finally, it’s getting a home.
“The crew out in Washington now have an office space they will be moving into at the start of next week,” the game’s latest newsletter reveals. “After quite a journey, the lease is signed, the moving can begin, and maybe we’ll even convince them to appear on our streams a little more often.”
Also, may we say that this particular developer has impeccable taste in vintage 2015 t-shirts featuring a mascot rather near and dear to us:
The current flow of clearing World Quests in World of Warcraft is pretty straightforward. You see that there’s a world quest out there offering a reward you want, you head for it, you’ve got an hour left. You reach the location, then you find other people killing everything around you and not letting you get a hit in. Well, unless you were using World Quest Group Finder, which allowed you to auto-form and auto-join ongoing groups, ensuring that you were always in the right group to take on group or solo quests as you arrived.
You know where this is going. The addon’s functionality has been prevented with the latest update by Blizzard.
Lest you think this was a purely malicious act, the official rationale is that the addon was causing serious performance issues affecting everyone in the game, and by forcing manual prompts rather than automatically forming groups players will enjoy a smoother play experience. At the same time, it was a popular addon which shored up a major weakness in the world quest structure, so players are quite unhappy that it’s not working. The most recent update to the addon alters its functionality to still provide utility despite the changes, but it’s still going to require more work than just showing up and teaming up from here on out.
The anticipation for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
is pretty high among the game’s players at this point. It’s just under two months away, and there’s still so much left to learn about what it’ll be like. The latest live letter
from producer and director Naoki Yoshida
certainly does answer some questions, though, like how much players can expect in terms of inventory expansion: Basic inventory will add 40 more spaces, and 10 more slots will be added to each Armoury Chest category.
Moving your housing (which will not be available at expansion launch) will be a matter of buying the new land and then indicating you wish to move; if you buy a larger plot of land than your existing spot, you’ll have your furniture stored for convenience. Players can also look forward to receiving the full set of artifact armor in a box for the level 70 job quests, and there should be a benchmark available in the near future… like, say, right now. There’s a lot to digest from the live letter, so feel free to take a look at GamerEscape’s point-by-point summary while you wait for the benchmark and figure out what to do with 130 new Armoury Chest spots.
In a livestream Q&A session, World of Warcraft’s Ion Hazzikostas admitted that the studio probably shouldn’t have slapped the label of “biggest patch ever” on Patch 7.2. The game director said that this was an objective measurement of all of the content that was included, but not every player would experience all of it due to the variety.
Hazzikostas fielded several questions about the gradual unlocking of Patch 7.2’s content, including the still-to-come raid. He said that the unlock schedule for Tomb of Sargeras will come in May, with the raid opening up sometime in mid-to-late June. Another raid is reportedly in the works for Patch 7.3 on Argus.
Other topics discussed were the cross-realm zone lag, why Blizzard isn’t scaling players for the artifact challenge, paragon emissary chest rewards, the Legion assault schedule, and why the studio isn’t awarding Legionfall rep for the assaults (spoiler: It’s a dumb reason). You can watch the full Q&A below!
Deep in the comments of the MMOs-vs.-survival-sandboxes thread from last week, reader miol_ produced a beautiful comment about how MMO players have become a minority in their own genre, which he then expounded upon for us in this provocative email.
“I’ve reached the opinion, that since the launch of WoW and its clones, the ‘original’ MMO-playerbase became a minority in their own genre. Before, we were but hundreds of thousands of MMO players, but then came Blizzard with WoW and its legions of fans in the dozen of millions at its peak, starting to dictate what the new success of MMOs should look like. Even if we others tried to vote with our wallet and feet, we became a minority, having only a fraction of our initial influence, while many devs tried desperately time and again to find ways to get at least a portion of the new Blizzard playerbase.
“Am I wrong with that perception of history? Am I totally missing something? Or are ‘we’ are slowly becoming a majority again, now that WoW and its clones are seeing steadily declining numbers (instead of us winning more players to ‘our side’)? How do we lobby better for ‘our cause’? Or can we only wait and see, until the genre is small enough again? Or is it too late? Have we ourselves grown too far apart into our even more niche corners of personal taste since SWG, while production costs and our demands for production value have skyrocketed at the same time? How could we come closer again?”
Let’s tackle miol_’s questions in this week’s Massively Overthinking.
World of Warcraft garrisons these days are a sad, lonely place. They’re still there, of course, languishing on Draenor as a monument to yet another Blizzard feature introduced and abandoned in the span of a single expansion. Yet there might be a way to bring a small bit of garrisons over to Legion — if you have sharp enough eyes for it.
Players have discovered that there’s a pebble on the streets of Dalaran that can be used to retrieve an old friend. By taking this pebble back to your garrison and showing it to fan-favorite Dog, Dog will relocate to the pet shop in the floating mage city. How? Because Dog is magic, apparently. So woofy. Very travel.
Don’t believe us? There’s a video showing off this Easter egg after the jump!
“Magic can be ANYthing!”
The forces of magic run deep within MMORPGs, casting shadows of wonder wherever we look — and listen. In today’s show, Syl sparks a musical revolution as her fellow Bards struggle to rise to the challenge of defining what, exactly, constitutes a “magical” track and evokes that particular feeling. Did we nail it? You’ll have to join us for the journey to find out!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 97: The sound of magic (or download it) now:
On the Morrowind subreddit a few days ago, a player was recounting a particular roleplay-slash-griefing episode on a hardcore-roleplay Ultima Online emulator. The player explains that he spent months roleplaying as a bartender serving drinks to the adventurers he befriended. But he was actually planning something far more nefarious:
“For over a year I roleplayed with these people as a simple barman, pretended to be their friend and confidant, and then during a harvest festival where every player on our server was in attendance and I was [paid] to provide the food and drink… I poisoned every last morsel of food, every drop of drink, and after the [regent] delivered his speech and all of these fools raised their goblets for the toast and took that deadly sip, I stepped onto the stage and revealed what had happened. They [were] all going to die, and die they did. Now this was a permanent death server (hardcore RPers, mind you), and some had been playing those characters for 8 years, and there they all were, collapsed and dying. Soon they were all unconscious, as you could only die if you went unconscious three times in one day or if a certain psychotic bartender came and cut off your head… which I did to every player in our group of 38. They were all there, and unfortunately so was I.”
On a sad note this week, a much-loved World of Warcraft YouTuber has passed away following a battle with a rare form of cancer.
In a video posted Monday, Hayven’s death was announced to the community. “Hayven passed away on the 18th of March, 2017, at 26 years old,” the video’s description says. “He was an inspiration to many and someone who cared immensely about his fans and community. Hayven had fought epithelioid sarcoma, a rare and severe form of cancer that usually affects teenagers and young adults.”
Hayven delivered an update about his cancer treatment back in January, saying that his health had taken a turn for the worse. His YouTube channel grew to over 55,000 subscribers and covered hundreds of videos dating all the way back to 2014, looking at the evolution of World of Warcraft over the years. Hugs go out to everyone in his family and community.
Hey, it turns out that designing long-term MMORPGs that aren’t pump-and-dump schemes is hard!
That’s the takeaway from a new PC Gamer interview with Blizzard’s Ion Hazzikostas, during which the World of Warcraft game director admits to what the developers of the dozens of MMOs that came before WoW could’ve told Blizz had it, y’know, ever considered asking.
“We are becoming increasingly aware of the cost of any change we make that has ongoing maintenance and the risk of design bloat,” Hazzikostas says. “If we keep adding and adding with every expansion, eventually what we end up with becomes very unwieldy. It’s an issue that we weren’t cognizant enough of early on because we were in uncharted territory, but we are now.” Yeah, he said uncharted territory.
Recently, Ravalation carried on an annual blogger tradition called Developer Appreciation Week. During this week, gamers would put aside their usual vitriol and criticism for devs to pen posts about the appreciated side of studios. It was certainly nice to see a bloom of positivity and praise, that’s for sure.
“If there’s something I’ve learned from my fellow participants during this year’s DAW it’s that 1) game developers work extremely hard purely because they love their games, 2) bugs frequently appear in complicated coding, and 3) devs are usually aware that bugs exist when content goes live and feel terrible about it,” she wrote.
Join us after the break for more MMO blog essays, including a tour of Star Citizen’s luxury ship, more thoughts on Secret World Legends, and the enduring love of a World of Warcraft fan.
Broadsword’s keeping fans of its MMORPGs Dark Age of Camelot and Ultima Online busy this week!
Dark Age of Camelot is running a Come Back to Camelot campaign this spring — former players may already have gotten invites in their inboxes. The caveat is that your account must have been off for 60 days for you to pick up an invite, and you get your free 30 days only if you reactivate.
Meanwhile, Ultima Online has announced in its most recent newsletter that publish 97, which we wrote about just a few days ago and includes the huge overhaul for the popular animal taming skill set, is now set to go live on April 27th. In fact, work has already begun on publish 98:
What does a week where the news douses us in a shower of smaller stories look like? Bree and Justin wring out of their clothes, shaking loose tales of metropolises in the planning, console features, anniversary parties, and dance studios. Maybe it won’t flood the world of MMOs, but it definitely waters the lawns of our interest!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now: