Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.
One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.
Well, what did you think was going to happen?
As they have no legal legs on which to stand, MMORPG emulator projects operate on the hope that they’re under the radar enough that the actual owner of the intellectual property won’t notice or care that such activities are transpiring. Unfortunately for operator Gummy and his team over at Burning Crusade, Blizzard wasn’t about to let this fly on its watch.
The studio issued a cease-and-desist letter to the World of Warcraft emulator just weeks after the game started to become more public with open beta testing. This shutdown echoes the great drama that we saw last year with the closure and fallout of the Nostalrius vanilla WoW emulator.
I’ve mentioned a lot of times, in passing, how my wife and I connected in part through World of Warcraft. But I’ve never actually gone into any depth on the subject, and it didn’t actually happen because I wanted to be involved with her.
It happened because I needed a healer.
At the time, I had a collection of friends in the game who were all happy to play with me, but we also were all DPS. In the days before the dungeon finder, this meant that forming a party was more or less just something that was not going to happen. So I recruited my best friend at the time with the explicit statement that I wanted her to be our healer.
We’re now many years on from that, and pretty much 90% of the time she plays a tank. So from one perspective, that plan was an enormous failure.
Players have datamined a bit out of World of Warcraft’s most recent test realm patch that hints at the destination of the next expansion, with what appear to be pieces of leveling gear and even some voice lines. These could, of course, be red herrings, but there’s also the possibility that we’ll be heading off to the long-rumored south seas and confronting the Old Gods at long last; considering the thrust of Legion, it would make a certain amount of sense.
In other WoW news, if you weren’t around during the time of the Black Temple raid – and probably even if you were – you missed out on a set of encounters that many raiders cite as some of the most memorable in the game’s long history. The dungeon is coming back as part of the next Timewalking event, and a new article on the official site walks through the process of initially making the Black Temple as well as how it got updated for players to explore once again.
The muddy waters of emulators and the contentious conversation around World of Warcraft legacy servers is getting a whole lot more crazy this summer, thanks to a new emulator project on the scene.
As the name implies, Burning Crusade doesn’t seek to just replicate the vanilla WoW experience but everything up through the MMO’s first expansion. The emulator promises to take players on a journey to level 70 and the Outlands, complete with raid attunement and factional warfare. The free PvP server that has been in development at least since 2012 and recently went into open beta testing.
“Development for Burning Crusade has spanned years behind closed doors and is designed to emulate a World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade private server up to retail standards,” the dev team posted. “Using publicly available data, we have tackled the fundamental issues that remind players that they aren’t playing on official servers. Our software is the product of closed source development around clean professional programming standards. The goal of the project is to produce a complete and satisfying experience.”
See what this server looks like after the break!
Last week, a guildie of mine mentioned that he’d been interested in Crowfall until he realized he couldn’t be a gerbil (Guineacean) of the class of his choosing. It was a total coincidence that the Crowfall devs had literally that same week announced they were nuking their race/class-locked archetype system and disentangling races and classes, so I got to tell him his wish had been granted.
I think this pushes the game more solidly into MMORPG territory, so I’m happy to see it: More customization and choice and variety is what I’m all about. But I was going to play it before, too. For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’m presenting the idea of locked vs. unlocked archetypes to our staff to mull over. How important is it to you to be able to play any race/class combo in a game? Is it something you see as critical to MMORPGs? Is archetype-locking more the domain of MOBAs and ARPGs? When do you let it slide to play a fun game?
What are the best and most popular MMO theme songs of all time? A couple of weeks ago I posed this question to the Massively OP community and encouraged fans to submit their own list of music themes in response. We saw a healthy amount of email votes and comment nominations since then, and I was able to compile a nice list of the top 24 MMORPG themes from it.
There were several surprises, at least to me, in the final results. I thought some games would’ve gotten more nods, while others seemed to come out of nowhere to demand a spot on the list. Each of the themes on this list was put out there by at least two fans, which is why we’re going to start with number 24. I’m thinking we might have an honorable mentions column as a post-script, but we’ll see how it goes.
Today we will begin our countdown to number one, looking at your favorite MMO themes with my own take on each. Let’s get started!
It’s been a little while, friends, but that happens. Last time I was making bets about what we’d see for World of Warcraft at BlizzCon, and as it happens I came up within a pretty solid margin of error. Since then, it’s been a pretty straightforward few weeks of plugging away at the test server whilst punching at various enemies on the live servers, running through world quests, looking for Legendaries that never appear except by pure, blighted luck.
Of course, seeing as how luck has been the watchword of every part of this expansion to date, it’s not exactly a surprise.
I could rant about that, obviously, but at this point it seems a little counterproductive and not particularly new; the fact that this expansion is a soup of random rewards with random stats at random intervals is a problem, but not one I haven’t already discussed, and not one I want to dwell on right now. Instead, I want to focus on the patch after 7.1.5, because we’ve heard enough about 7.2 that I’m already looking forward to it, even though it’s a way away. It’s something every WoW expansion has tried to have, but this time it might actually get pulled off.
Patches should, in all honesty, be the easiest thing in the world for online games to handle. You have a word that means patch, so you either just go with “patch” or a synonym, like “update.” Heck, you can even use seasons or issues if it’s appropriate for your game. Then, you put a number after that. You can even put multiple numbers. If I log into World of Warcraft and see that I’m playing patch 7.1.5, I know that I’m on the seventh expansion, first major patch, partway through the minor patches before the next big patch.
So why are so many games so bad at this?
Like I said, I don’t mind that, say, Star Trek Online has the patches labeled “Season 11.5,” because that’s just as easy to unpack. I’m talking about games where it’s completely unclear how patches are supposed to be ordered. Case in point… well, the entirety of this list, really. Just let me show you.
Back before BlizzCon, the admins of the now-sunsetted illegal World of Warcraft emulator Nostalrius issued a vague threat. “If Blizzard doesn’t make an announcement to honour their own core values, be sure that we will,” they wrote. Blizzard, however, made clear that no announcement about legacy servers was forthcoming, and those of you who watched BlizzCon alongside us know that Blizzard kept its promise.
As did Nostalrius. This afternoon, the emurunners announced that they are releasing all of their source code to the community and will allow rival emu group Elysium to resurrect Nostalrius, a move that will likely surprise private shard players who expected a new server announcement from Nostalrius itself.
The group claims that following its meeting with Blizzard earlier this year, it continued communicating with the studio, offering “mature proposals” for solving the very real legacy server issues, even offering to completely transfer all of its code and efforts to Blizzard.
Blizzard is wrapping up a gift for its World of Warcraft PvP community: a revamped arena map that’s ready to be sullied and defiled by blood and death.
“The next map we’re doing is Blade’s Edge Arena,” said Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka,”which is pretty visually rough compared to the rest of the game right now, but we’re taking that same approach. Exact same collision, exact same gameplay. The difference between the visuals is tremendous. Can’t wait for people to see it.”
Blade’s Edge Arena was one of the first arena maps added to the game and was added all the way back in The Burning Crusade. You can listen to the full announcement below.
Think back to 2007: Statistically, you were probably playing World of Warcraft’s The Burning Crusade, or maybe even Lord of the Rings, Vanguard, or Tabula Rasa, all brand-new that year. Me, I was deep in classic Guild Wars. And some of you maybe have been playing gPotato games like Flyff or Rappelz. I’m not judging you! But I do have some bad news for you all the same: Hacker watchdog Haveibeenpwned.com reports that gPotato suffered a major account data breach in 2007.
“In July 2007, the multiplayer game portal known as gPotato suffered a data breach and over 2 million user accounts were exposed. The site later merged into the Webzen portal where the original accounts still exist today. The exposed data included usernames, email and IP addresses, MD5 hashes and personal attributes such as gender, birth date, physical address and security questions and answers stored in plain text.”
Poll after poll has shown that World of Warcraft players generally consider Wrath of the Lich King to be the very best WoW expansion. But what about after that? OK, Burning Crusade usually comes in second. But what about after that?
I thought it would be fun to try to sort it out in the context of adding Legion to the mix. This is the kind of poll that’ll be a blast to revisit and repeat at the end of the year to see whether Legion has the same loved-it-at-launch-hated-it-after-that burnout that Warlords of Draenor experienced. I’m giving everyone three votes for this week’s Leaderboard in the interests of seeing how the ones beyond Wrath and TBC do, so choose wisely!