vanilla

A player modder is building the No Man’s Sky you always wanted

Way back in 2016, No Man’s Sky was all anyone talked about thanks to misleading hype positioning the game in the stratosphere. In fact, the multiplayer features that were teased (and apparently planned in spite of claims to the contrary) didn’t actually launch with the game, contributing to a regulatory investigation (which went nowhere). It was particularly disappointing to the MMO community, which didn’t believe NMS was itself an MMO but had been looking forward to online and social features, to the point that we were all deeply disappointed when it didn’t happen.

Some of that disappointment vanished last summer, when Hello Games emerged from its self-imposed PR silence with a new patch introducing “joint exploration,” which wasn’t exactly co-op multiplayer; instead, the devs called it “an important first step into the world of synchronous co-op in No Man’s Sky” – and we called it the first step into turning the game into what was originally advertised.

Players are now taking even more next steps. As Kotaku first reported, a player modder – RaYRoD – undertook a huge overhaul mod to basically reintroduce a lot of the planned features that people noted weren’t actually in the launched game.

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Crowfall explains its fun-first class balancing philosophy

Earlier this week, ArtCraft posted up its monthly ACE Q&A for Crowfall, and there are some juicy nuggets to behold within! Design Lead Thomas Blair and Senior Game Designer Mark Halash begin by dishing on class design, basically explaining that the studio’s philosophy is to make the classes as cool as possible and then smack them with balance based on what players min-max, all to avoid a “vanilla” experience.

“Obviously we’re going to use best practices and not make anything that’s going to be too terribly broken,” Halash says. “But we’re also not going to be like, ‘Well we’re not going to let you do A and B’ – we’re going to see if A and B are broken first before we take any sort of [action].”

The duo also talk about nerfs for overpowered teleports, combat iteration, race-and-class restrictions, and connected accounts (spoilers: That’s not multiple accounts; it’s just social media account linking). The whole shebang is below.

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WoW Factor: Guessing at Battle for Azeroth’s release date using math

The “when will Battle for Azeroth” speculation train is rolling once again because it looks like patch 7.3.5 is just around the corner. We haven’t actually been told when that’s landing yet, of course, but the World of Warcraft community continues to push forward with the sort of boundless optimism that it’s so well known for. “This time is going to be different!”

Here’s a spoiler for the future: It’s not. This time is going to be exactly the same, just like how previous times have been exactly the same, just like each time we’ve talked about this have been exactly the same. Betting on anything before October is optimistic, betting before September is wildly unrealistic. Similarly, betting on 2019 is pessimistic, and later than January is wildly unrealistic just as surely.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Three things SWTOR could add in 2018 to turn itself around

Star Wars: The Old Republic did not have a banner year in 2017. It was the first year since the launch year that did not include an expansion. And the expansion that it released in late 2016 didn’t actually live up to its expectations.

Despite this, we did see some good things come out of 2017, like a couple of new PvP maps and some great changes to group finder. But what kinds of things can we see added to or improved upon in 2018 that would make up for this underperformance? Well, I have three of them. And I have done my absolute best make them realistic and doable with the existing team of developers. Let’s talk about that.

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MMO Year in Review: WoW Classic and the doom of Marvel Heroes (November 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

Blizzard took the month of November with huge announcements for World of Warcraft, specifically the Battle for Azeroth expansion and vanilla-flavored WoW Classic servers.

Meanwhile, we saw the sunset of Motiga, the sunset announcement for Master X Master, and the abysmally handled and abrupt end of Gazillion and Marvel Heroes.

In happier news, Kakao took the wraps off its next mega-MMORPG, Ascent: Infinite Realm, specifically targeting western players.

And lockboxes continued to drive conversations around the law, the cost of games development, the press, and gambling, and not just because of EA: Guild Wars 2’s mount lockboxes and Star Citizen’s land claims sales reminded MMO players that monetization problems aren’t just for mainstream gamers. Still, we doubt anyone will be forgetting the ol’ claim that lockboxes create a “sense of pride and accomplishment” any time soon.

Read on for the whole list!

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The Game Archaeologist: Revisiting the first three months of World of Warcraft

Were you there?

Many of us were. Many weren’t. Either way, November 23rd, 2004 was a watershed date for the MMORPG industry and one watched and experienced by millions of gamers. It was on this day 13 years ago that Blizzard finally transitioned World of Warcraft from beta testing to live operation, ushering in an age of Azeroth, DKP minus, murlocs, and Leeroy Jenkins.

I was there, both at the end of beta and the start of launch. As time had made a mockery of my memories, I can only remember brief bits: The server downtime, the rise of the phenomenon, making footprints in Coldridge Valley with my Dwarf Hunter, and pretty much shoving every other game to the background for the next year or so.

I thought it might be worth the effort of dusting off the cobwebs of my — and your — memories by revisiting the first three months of World of Warcraft’s live operation, taking us from November 2004 through January 2005. What happened during this time? How did Blizzard respond to the floodgates of players pouring into this game? How different was it from what we play now? Let’s reminisce together!

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR, it’s time to destroy the Eternal Empire

Those players who were looking for consequence in their Star Wars: The Old Republic storyline can, I’m glad to say, look to Knights of the Eternal Throne to get it. Although the Vaylin side of the story will remain virtually unchanged regardless of the player’s choices, it’s possible to lose multiple companions, and there is even one choice where you have to choose one companion over the other. However, the quality of the story really hinges on how much you like or dislike Valkorion’s family. They are a bunch of rich brats doing bratty things, so on a personal level, I couldn’t care less about them.

You know what I do care about, though? The Empire and the Republic. You know what most fans of Star Wars care about? The Empire and the Republic, or possibly the Jedi and the Sith. Whether it’s a story buried in the conflict of those two armies colliding or it’s a gangster taking advantage of being in the middle of those two opposing parties, the Empire and the Republic have been central to all the engaging Star Wars stories.

For this specific reason, it’s time for BioWare to tear down the Eternal Empire.

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Perfect Ten: The biggest MMO stories of 2017

One thing you can say for the MMO industry: It never ceases to surprise all of us. No matter what predictions we may make at the beginning of a year, by December we will all be proven fools who lack vision and foresight.

Although 2017 isn’t quite over yet, we here at Massively Overpowered wanted to count down the biggest news stories that crossed over into our neck of the woods so far this year. We witnessed controversies and delights, shockers and sadness. We saw launches and shutdowns, expansions and bugs.

So before we move into 2018, let’s take a look at the year that was and remember the biggest stories that dominated headlines.

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Raph Koster takes Rolling Stone to task over vanilla World of Warcraft

Don’t ever test Raph Koster on MMORPG history, because you’ll probably lose.

The Star Wars Galaxies and Crowfall designer challenged a recent Rolling Stone article and a resulting Reddit thread on its portrayal of World of Warcraft back in its earliest days as the community prepares for WoW Classic. In particular, Koster takes umbrage with the “minimal storytelling” that the piece attributes to the vanilla game.

“[World of Warcraft] launched with probably literally 100x the story of any preceding MMO ever,” Koster said on Twitter. “Helped, no doubt, by spending a minimum of 4x the budget of any other MMO except Sims Online. Anyway, it’s just funny to read an argument that the great STRENGTHS of WoW at launch were its weaknesses.”

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MassivelyOP’s 2017 gift guide for the Blizzard fanatic

With the new expansion, official vanilla servers, and all of the other news from BlizzCon this year, it’s a great time to be a World of Warcraft fan. But Blizzard has other games too!

This year, our sales team has once again put together a couple of gift guides pertinent to our MMO readers. Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links and may grant a small commission to us, which is very much appreciated. Read to see some of the fun stuff you can get for the Blizzard-lover in your life!

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World of Warcraft lead doesn’t want to talk about Classic, but confirms ‘vanilla means vanilla’

Right out of the gate in the recent World of Warcraft Q&A, Game Director Ion Hazzikostas said that WoW Classic wasn’t going to be the focal point of discussion, as the team is only “at the beginnings of this process.” However, he did confirm that Blizzard isn’t looking to monkey around with too many changes.

“We know Vanilla means Vanilla,” Hazzikostas said. “We know that it’s about community and that means some inconveniences, that means some of the rough edges. That’s not something we’re looking to move away from. It’s more which version of that experience… is it the 2005 version? The 2006 version?”

The rest of the Q&A session primarily focused on the upcoming Patch 7.3.5 and next year’s Battle for Azeroth expansion. If you’re curious what’s going to be in the next patch, the highlights include a preview of the Seething Shore battleground, zone level scaling, Legion epilogue quest content, and Ulduar Timewalking.

Icy Veins has a great roundup of the main points form the hour-long talk, although you could settle in to watch the whole thing yourself after the break.

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Perfect Ten: What to expect when you play World of Warcraft Classic

Are you ready to play the most anticipated MMORPG from 2004? It turns out that, yes, many of you are. The frenzy over World of Warcraft Classic is probably nowhere near its zenith yet, as the announcement of the server has sparked enormous amounts of conversation among the community.

While we most likely have a while to go before Blizzard’s time travel machine is complete, it is not too soon to start thinking about the logistics and reality that a legacy server will entail. The existing emulator community and a look at the past development and operation of vanilla World of Warcraft can give us an idea of what WoW Classic will be like, although Blizzard’s vision may differ in format, business model, and features.

What will it be like to jump back to the first year or two of World of Warcraft and play that version of the game? It’s going to be a drastic shock to veteran and new players alike, especially those who might have forgotten how MMOs used to operate back in the day. Here are 10 things to expect when you log in to Classic for the first time.

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World of Warcraft Classic CMs talk class balance while the forums melt down

It’s a really weird and interesting time to be a World of Warcraft fan. While the announcement of WoW Classic has revitalized discussion about the launch version of the MMO, it seems just about nobody can agree on what Blizzard should do when it implements the legacy servers.

For their part, WoW’s devs are still sifting through ideas. Two of the game’s community managers spent some time discussing class balance while the dev team continues to be formed. “Should class balance be left as it was, or should it be tweaked within a certain margin, or should it be constantly tuned and worked on?” one CM posted. “I’m not so certain that any specific one is the default, correct choice.”

It sounds as though Blizzard is trying to elicit feedback before it makes any decisions: “If folks want a true 1:1 Vanilla experience, then we want to see the discussion of that. If people think there should be changes here or there, then we’ll want to see that too.”

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