Bored of MMOs, despondent about the industry, or simply looking for something a little different? Turning to something similar to MMOs, yet offering a new experience, is what's attracted many people to online action RPGs.
MMOARPGs, or ARPGs for short, are a booming segment of the online games industry for their fast gameplay, bite-sized sessions, and ease of play. They're distinguished by features not generally found in MMOs, such as click-to-move, an isometric viewpoint, time-to-kill that is often lightning fast, simple controls, heavily instanced worlds, and loot exploding out of corpses like squishy piñatas. Still, they offer many of the same qualities that are found in traditional MMOs, most notably persistent characters and multiplayer connections.
If you've ever been curious about trying out an online ARPG but don't know where to start, here's our quick-and-dirty guide through four titles that are bridging the gap between MMOs and single-player ARPGs (such as the excellent Torchlight II and Titan Quest).
Descent: Underground has passed the 50% mark on its Kickstarter campaign and promised to add singleplayer to the title but has only four days left to secure over $200,000 US. Path of Exile pulled a hilarious April Fools' Day prank on players and revealed details of its upcoming Act 4 update, including the highly requested loot filter feature. League of Legends ran the 2015 URFitational tournament as part of its April Fools' Day celebrations and unbanned reformed professional player Nicolaj Jensen.
Blizzard revealed details of Diablo III's upcoming third game season, including season-exclusive legendary items and achievements. Nosgoth got a huge update with a new map called The Crucible and a system for punishing people who quit games early. SMITE released its Written in Stone patch along with iconic new hero Medusa, the Gorgon. Star Citizen passed $78 million in crowdfunding this week and released its monthly progress report for March. And Heroes of the Storm's $450,000 college scholarship tournament got off to a shaky start as some teams didn't bother showing up for their matches and others were unable to report their match results.
Read on for a detailed breakdown of all the above stories and more news from the wider world of online games.
March is but a memory. April is here. And while a new month certainly brings new things to Choose My Adventure, we've got just a bit of cleaning up to do before we head full-bore into the next big game. March's sampler platter edition of CMA challenged us with four different titles -- Diablo III, Path of Exile, Marvel Heroes, and Torchlight II -- and to date we've discussed only three.
Thus, we'll begin April with thoughts on Torchlight II, the final game in our sampler platter series. Developed by Runic Games, Torchlight II is an OARPG with some interesting twists, a beautiful color palette, and one of my favorite video game worlds.
Our March sampler-platter edition of Choose My Adventure is quickly coming to a close. There's only one more vote to take, one more game to play, and one more character to create. Our task this week, as with previous weeks, is two-fold. First, we must talk about Marvel Heroes, (spoiler alert: awesome). Second, we must choose a path for our Torchlight II hero. It's a big responsibility, but I think we're up for it.
So join me, CMA-ers, on this last round of OARPG voting. Dungeon time is almost over.
For some people, it's spiders. For others, it's bats or snakes. (For Justin, it's elves.) And for me, it's roaches.
I've been incredibly lucky, honestly, that MMORPG developers are stuck on bears and spiders and orcs and haven't figured out the whole roach thing, but there it is. Roaches and beetle types freak me out, even in video games. I'm not even going to go google for the formal term for "beetle types" for this post because I know there will be pictures. There were entire levels of Torchlight II (shown above -- sans roaches) that I simply couldn't play until some lovely modder came up with a plugin to get rid of them after many players begged him to. (What's less cool about that thread is how many people showed up to laugh at people with critter phobias or lectured us on exposure therapies that fail more than work. On second thought, don't read that thread. Just cheer the modder.)
I certainly won't make fun of you, and I want to know what freaks you out. Is there an MMO mob type that bothers you so much you just run the other way? [PS: Please don't embed pics of stuff you know is going to freak people out. Just link!]
Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today's Daily Grind!
In last week's Choose My Adventure, we learned a few magic spells and set off to conquer a tiny portion of Diablo III's hellish landscape. It was dark and depressing. In this week's Choose My Adventure, we learned a few magic spells and set off to conquer a tiny portion of Path of Exile's hellish landscape. It was darker and depressing-er.
OARPGs on the whole aren't known for their sunshine-and-roses atmospheres. Most involve dank dungeons, gloomy graveyards, and other alliterative environmental tropes. With Path of Exile, the team at Grinding Gear Games has set a new bar when it comes to grim. Until this weekend, I'm quite confident I'd never looted a crucified corpse.
But hey, that's the trip we signed up for when we made this month's CMA all about the dungeon crawls. So let's get to it.
This month's Choose My Adventure is like no Choose My Adventure that has come before. Instead of deep-diving one game for four weeks, we're deep-diving a genre. OARPGs (online action role-playing games) are the topic for March, with Diablo III, Path of Exile, Marvel Heroes, and Torchlight II all receiving a few days of play and a reader vote. It's going to be dark, dungeon-y, and… dark.
Our first poll sent us on the path of the Witch Doctor in Diablo III. It turned out to be not so pleasant a path. Unless you like spiders.
It's been a huge week for online gaming, with GDC drawing to a close and PAX East being packed full of reveals. We heard from Diablo III game designer Josh Mosqueria on why the game's launch was a failure and what's been done in the intervening years to fix it. League of Legends revealed its new Party Rewards system to encourage people to bring their own friends into games rather than relying on a matchmaking algorithm to put their team together. DC Comics based MOBA Infinite Crisis announced its official free-to-play launch date of March 26th, and Hearthstone announced that its upcoming Blackrock Mountain expansion will start rolling out in April.
Popular Destiny streamer The HM05 was filmed this week soloing the Crota's End group raid instance without firing a single bullet. Futuristic ninja FPS Warframe revealed a trailer for its upcoming Tombs of the Sentient expansion, and Heroes of the Storm coincidentally revealed its Tomb of the Spider Queen battleground. Star Citizen opened the floodgates with an invitation for everyone to try out its Arena Commander and Hangar Deck modules. Overwatch got a tentative closed beta release window of Q3 2015 and revealed its two powerful new heroes McCree and Zarya. And the Minecraft players who have been building a scale replica of the entire Game of Thrones continent of Westeros for the past three years are on their way to RTX 2015.
Read on for detailed news on all the above stories and more from the wider world of online games that aren't MMOs.
It's been a crazy month. Since writing my farewell Choose My Adventure on Massively-X-Joy-Gadget--vs-Capcom-Turbo, I've sent a few hundred emails, helped raise a huge pile of money, and participated in launching an entirely new website. I've been tweeting, streaming, and commenting like crazy. And I've been hanging in MassivelyOP's chat channel making jokes, sharing ideas, and collaborating with some of the coolest and most passionate people on the planet.
I've done lots of things over the last 30 days or so, but diving into a new CMA wasn't one of them. I opted to put the column on hold for the month so I could recharge my batteries, play with my dogs, and focus efforts wherever a team need might arise.
But CMA waits for no man/woman/catperson. So let's get this party re-started.