wander

Official Site: Wander
Studio: Wander MMO
Launch Date: N/A
Genre: Non-Combat Exploration Sandbox
Business Model: N/A
Platform: PC, Linux, PS4

The Daily Grind: Which MMO gave you the longest honeymoon period?

We all know how delightful that "new MMO smell" is, particularly when it's a particularly exciting title that you were anticipating for a long time. Finally getting into the live game, creating your first character, and celebrating with everyone else rushing into release is a heady experience.

After that comes the honeymoon period, in which you continually discover great features about the game and easily devote most of your gaming time to exploring. It's fresh, it's new, and it could be "The One" you were waiting for your whole life. But sooner or later, the honeymoon must end and either an ongoing relationship is formed or you find yourself disillusioned and wander away.

Looking back at all of the MMORPGs you've played, which one provided you with the longest honeymoon period? From release until whenever you stopped being enamored with that game, how much time did you have?

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Shroud of the Avatar's Starr Long on the pros and cons of early access

Construction continues apace at Shroud of the Avatar, where the team reports that two new areas are being crafted for future releases. There's the Sepent's Spine Mines, a Kobold-infested underground space that will be one of the game's "most vertically oriented mines to date." Then there's The Fall, an open PvP area named after what you'll probably be doing when you are foolish enough to wander around in its dark spaces.

In this past week's newsletter, the team also showed off the technological arsenal of City Kobolds (and players will be able to loot and use some of these weapons!) as well as the wearable outfits of the Obsidian Cabalists.

On Friday, March 17th, SOTA's Starr Long will be talking at SXSW Gaming on the subject of "Is video game early access too early?" According to the description, "This talk weighs the pros and cons of early access using Shroud of the Avatar as a case study." Looking past that, Release 40 for the game is scheduled to arrive on March 30th, followed by Release 41 on April 27th.

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PAX East 2017: Hands-on with the surprisingly fun Kritika Online

It's pretty much a rule of nature that at least one game is going to be far better and more fun to play than I expected on the PAX East show floor. This has been true every year, and while the past couple of years have involved my spending a bit less time on the show floor overall, I've still walked away with some surprises. This year, it was Kritika Online.

What I expected from Kritika Online was... well, nothing particularly impressive. I didn't expect it to be bad, but that was because I didn't expect much from it at all. It was a game that En Masse was bringing over that sounded, at a glance, like the sort of game which fades from memory shortly after you play it. What I actually got was a game that has a clean purpose and remarkably fun mechanics, like the pure product of an MMO marrying a Dynasty Warriors clone.

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One Shots: No more worlds to conquer

There's that special joy that every screenshotter knows when you're able to get that perfect angle, that photogenic pose, and then capture it for all time. I kind of feel that Rob was able to get that with this first picture from Star Trek Online.

What is his captain thinking? Is he bummed that the Federation has put a kibosh on his plans to warmonger his way across the galaxy? Does he want that planet to be named "Glory to Rob the Magnificent" and populate it with adoring subjects? Or is he merely contemplating the deep mysteries of what was in that replicator ration he ate for lunch?

No matter which it is, he's looking profound and deep doing it!

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Elder Scrolls Online: Setting up the Morrowind story

Last week, I trekked out to Baltimore to visit ZeniMax Online Studios and get a first glimpse at Elder Scrolls Online's upcoming chapter/expansion, Morrowind. After all, it's been fifteen years since anyone explored the island of Vvardenfell; it would have been extraordinarily dumb of me to turn down the offer. The press event also afforded me the opportunity to speak personally to the ESO developers, including Game Director Matt Firor and Creative Director Richard Lambert, so believe me, I took advantage of every opportunity that I had to get our readers questions and concerns addressed.

During my visit, Lambert and Firor gave a presentation about Morrowind story, the new Warden class, and battlegrounds. Later this morning, I'll have articles about the Warden and battlegrounds, but in this piece, we're tackling the Morrowind story and what's happening on Vvardenfell some 700 years before The Elder Scrolls III.

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Project Gorgon previews its Orc community dungeon

The largest and toughest dungeon in Project Gorgon to date is getting ready for its online debut. The team gave a sneak peek at Gazluk Keep, an Orc-themed dungeon intended for a group of a half-dozen players who are level 65 or higher.

So what makes this type of dungeon special? The devs said that Gazluk Keep is loosely based on EverQuest II's community (public) dungeons. "This dungeon will be REALLY large, with a lot of branches and offshoots, so that two or three groups can wander through it. Groups will occasionally run into each other at crossroads, but they shouldn't get in each others' way too much," the team said.

This dungeon is being designed for repeat visits and has an eye for the daily life and habits of Orcs. While it won't be puzzle-heavy, the devs do promise a secret or two for the clever player to discover.

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The Stream Team: Watch and win Revelation Online beta access

Does Massively OP's MJ like to give things away? Yes she does! And today she gets to give away a bunch more beta codes for Revelation Online. That means you have the chance to jump in and join her in CBT3. Or you can wander the world yourself, checking out the new dungeons and events. It doesn't matter what you do, but you only have until February 2nd to do it. So tune in live at 4:00 p.m. for a chance to win your own access.

What: Revelation Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, January 21st, 2016

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Choose My Adventure: The most depressing road trip in Lord of the Rings Online

You know, if my first exposure to Elves had been in Lord of the Rings Online, I would probably think that they were the most depressing species in existence because they're basically prepping for the most depressing road trip ever. Maybe for all of the right reasons, but still.

For those of you who are even less aware of Middle-Earth as a setting than I, the gist of things is that the time of the Elves is nearly done, and they are soon to journey to the West. This is kind of a natural side-effect of the whole to-do about the eponymous Rings, where the Elves can't stick around without them; I'm not entirely clear on the details, there, but the short version is that this is the close of a cycle for the entirety of the race.

So most of your early stuff is based around the fact that the Elves are not, in fact, going out to party and enjoy themselves while Sauron is on the march. Instead, it's all about preparing for the most depressing road trip of all time.

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Choose My Adventure: My first week in the Elder Scrolls Online

Despite the fact that for this round of Choose My Adventure, I am jumping into The Elder Scrolls Online in an era of doing whatever I want at any level I choose, it still makes sense to just go through the starting experience in a rather straightforward fashion. Obviously, the starter experience points you in a pretty obvious direction right away, but once you're past the starter experience it still makes a certain amount of sense to keep rolling along with the storyline. You're surrounded by quests and stuff to harvest right away; it's pretty straightforward.

A lot of things, however, haven't changed since I played the game in the beta forever ago. The story is, in many ways, in the same space it was back then. I wasn't terribly enamored of the experience then, and so I will admit right off of the bat that I didn't have high hopes this time. I mean, it was the same story, same overall experience -- so how different could it really be once I started moving beyond the earliest parts of the story and into adventuring within the frozen lands of the Pact?

The answer, it turns out, is pretty darn different -- for a variety of reasons.

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Choose My Adventure: Getting ready for The Elder Scrolls Online

The votes have been tallied and the verdict is in; the next month of the column will be all about The Elder Scrolls Online. Technically, yes, the votes were tallied a few days ago, but let's just roll with it. The important point is that our destination is Tamriel, more specifically One Tamriel, and even more specifically...

Er, well, that's kind of the point of the polls, isn't it? So I guess that's as specific as I can get.

Of course, where I start doesn't actually matter as much as it used to due to the aforementioned "One Tamriel" update. For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, let's go over what the game has to offer as well as my own history with it before we get to the voting and get on with the adventure.  If you're already intimately familiar with all of it... well, let's hope you're still entertained by sparkling prose, or as sparkling as prose can be when the writer still giggles at words like "fart."

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Exploring real-life PUGs, the Plus, and the antisocial nature of Pokemon Go

Although Pokemon Go isn't advertised as an MMO, both experts and players have noted it does present some interesting similarities: Both have tons of players on servers where player locations are tracked. Both games task players with interacting with AI and (in simple ways) other players. And the game worlds in both are directly impacted by player action (remember, Pokemon Go is based on the Ingress map that was sourced out to the players).

Being an MMORPG site, we've talked about socialization and how it relates in particular to our genre. However, much like other modern MMOs, PoGo can lead to the sort of "alone together" situation that seems to eternally threaten our genre's relevance -- indeed, its existence.

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The Stream Team: Leaving the safety of Shroud of the Avatar's cities

MassivelyOP's MJ spent so much time in the city last week that she didn't have the chance to wander out into the wilds, a situation she's going to remedy today! Before she gets back into the groove of helping the folks back in the first town (someone has to know of a person who wears red!), she will simply wander and explore as much of the world as she can. What will she discover when she leaves the safety of the city? What dangers will be lurking around every turn? Tune in live at 4:00 p.m. to see!

What: Shroud of the Avatar
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 7th, 2016

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Global Chat: Deaf gamers and MMO captioning

What is it like to play MMORPGs if you're deaf? Just ask Stars of the Spiral's Kelsey, who talks of her condition and why captioning is so important for the hard-of-hearing community.

"Twitch is the best example," she writes. "It is such a popular program that is used by hundreds, possibly thousands of streamers. I love the way it includes players and make gaming fun except it's not automatically captioned. Deaf people miss out on so much with this particular program. Same goes for Youtube Gaming. Anything that streams live cannot be captioned. The technology is not yet there for that."

In addition to this interesting perspective, join us for a tour through other captivating posts from the MMO blogosphere, including a tour through an EverQuest II guild hall, a guide to relaxing at endgame, problems with World of Warcraft's transmog, and more!

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