I have long been of the opinion that there are few more terrifying animals on this planet than bears. Sure, there are sharks, the mighty kraken, and that little fish that may or may not swim up your urethra and summer home there, but as I live primarily on the land, I think that the odds are greater that a rampaging bear might ruin my day.
True story: When I lived in Colorado Springs, one morning I left home to drive to work and there was a black bear sitting in the middle of the road. I looked at it, nonplussed, and then sloooooowly backed up into my driveway and called in a sick day. Bear days should totally be a thing, however.
I have also been of the opinion that bears are consistently underestimated in MMORPGs. They're low level trash mobs or pets that finger players as complete noobs for not picking something more exotic. More exotic? Son, if you have a bear on your side, you have won the game. Period. One swipe of its paw and any raid boss' head should pop right off.
There is a plague of bears in MMOs. Today, let us delve into the ursine horror that curses our genre.
It's an objectively known fact that Warhammer Online's squigs were the peak of MMORPG pet design and functionality. Giant balls of attitude and appetite with a mouth to match, squigs made me proud to be a gamer. Before and since, there have been no better combat pets in existence, which is why it is a tragedy that they went down with that particular sinking ship.
Yet as an MMO pet expert and the best-selling author of "For the fiftieth time, turn off your pet's taunt, Kevin!" I am here to share my wisdom about the rest of the companions that may trot, fly, or slither alongside your character in games. Which are best? Which are worst? Why are you picking on Kevin? These are the questions that I will answer today as I rank common MMO combat pets from best to worst.
The small but scrappy Chronicles of Elyria continues to pick up experienced MMO devs for its ambitious sandbox project. Earlier this month we reported that Soulbound Studios had hired on a previous City of Heroes animator, and now the studio announced that it has snapped up Steve Hoelle, a programmer with experience on SWTOR, Vanguard, and Warhammer Online.
Soulbound said that work is progressing on the offline prologue with an eye for the future of the online game: "The team is focused on the playable demo for PAX East, which is ultimately a subset of things that will be available in the Prologue [...] Something else that is in progress, but without an obvious way to show it, is our integration with SpatialOS. We are crafting an online game, and we are building our foundations now."
A nice surprise for fans is that even though the stretch goal was not reached for a map feature that will allow players to dig and bury, the team is going ahead and including it anyway.
Ralph the Wonder Llama kicks off today's community screenshot gallery with a salute to the late, great Tabula Rasa.
"Yes, Tabula Rasa ended up being rushed to market, and many of its features were pretty rough around the edges when the game first released, but this was 2008! Can you imagine what Tabula Rasa would have been like if it had survived and gotten a couple of expansions under its belt? The mind boggles. Here's a shot of my Grenadier at Foreas Base, taken just a few days before shutdown. You can't really tell with the helmet on, but I'm pretty sure my character is crying."
On that happy note, let's see what else you all have cooked up for us today!
It might be hard to remember at this point, but back in 2008 there was a fever-pitch excitement for Mythic's Warhammer Online. The RvR MMO was poised to be not only a successor of sorts to Dark Age of Camelot but a rival to World of Warcraft. It drew from the dark Warhammer fantasy universe and had a lot of neat little ideas, including trinkets, wild classes, and public quests.
Unfortunately, WAR never managed to live up to these lofty expectations and eventually closed three years ago in December 2013. In a new video, a fan examines the history of the game and why and how it failed to live up to its potential.
Settle in for this 39-minute video below and let us know your favorite Warhammer Online memories in the comments!
One of the fun things we implemented on the site this year is a database of quotes from developers (among other entries) that are relevant to the MMORPG industry. In the spirit of the end-of-the-year posts that we've begun rolling out, today's Massively Overthinking is a simple but fun one: I asked our writers to submit a favorite or memorable MMO developer quote from 2016 and explain why it matters. When we're done, we invite you to do the same in the comments! (And yes, the best ones will be chucked into that widget for posterity!)
I suspect that much of the willingness of players to pour money into MMO Kickstarters is out of a strong desire to see games emerge that recapture the spirit of the games that originally caused us to fall in love. But can that be done?
Former EverQuest II designer Ryan Shwayder said that while the desire may be simple, the execution is hellishly complex: "So, there’s quite a bit you can do to reproduce elements of the magic of old school MMOs. But, the truth is, there is that nostalgia element there still that is impossible to reproduce for people who have played other massively multiplayer games. After they’ve played one, they are no longer an MMO virgin, and you’ll never make an MMO the same as their first love. What you can do is make your MMO their great love; the one they will marry."
Join us as we take a tour of some of the most interesting MMO blog posts from the past two weeks, including an analysis of BlizzCon, trying Star Citizen for the first time, how to utilize life skills in Black Desert, and more!
When you bring up the name "Mythic Entertainment," chances are that most gamers are going to immediately think of the studio's two major MMOs, Warhammer Online and Dark Age of Camelot. Perhaps Imperator Online might come into the conversation, perhaps not. But what is fascinating to me is that Mythic had a lot more than a pair of MMOs under its belt.
Since the formation of the studio in the mid-1990s, Mythic's team developed well over a dozen titles, many of which featured online multiplayer and other elements that would eventually lead into the company releasing DAoC to widespread acclaim in 2001. I've been curious what these older titles were like and how they contributed to the formation of Mythic's MMOs, and so rather than get all of my information from second-hand sources, I went straight to City State Entertainment's Mark Jacobs to ask him about games like Aliens Online, Spellbinder, and Darkness Falls. Considering that the man is still working on spiritual successors to the games he was involved with decades ago, I thought it would be great to get his perspective.
There are two things to know about Halloween and MMOs. The first is that just about every online game in the known universe puts on a festival or seasonal promotion of some sort, because devs can't resist the urge to indulge in a return to their childhoods. The second is that pretty much every said event involves some sort of pumpkin-headed scarecrow, because that is apparently the mascot of the holiday now.
Oh, and one more thing to know? Not every MMO Halloween returns from years past due to the sinister and often premature demise of the game. When an MMO goes down, it takes all of its holidays with it, leaving players with only memories of seasonal activities in those games.
In the interest of preserving the efforts that the developers poured into these events and the fondness that some players had for them, today we're going to take a tour through six holidays from, ahem, buried MMOs.
They may be ugly. They may be smelly. And they may have no table manners whatsoever. What, we're not talking about the Battle Bards! No, it's actually a reference to the subject matter of today's episode: Goblins, Orcs, and Ogres. The most unglamorous of MMO races get their day in the spotlight, as the co-hosts scrounge through soundtracks to find music that best represents their various cultures. Oh, and apparently Ogres are the odd man out, because they get nothin' other than a sad place in the show marquee.
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.
We’ve got Episode 81: Goblins, Orcs, and Ogres! and the show notes for you after the break!
When it comes time for whatever reason to put an MMORPG to pasture, how should a studio do it? For Brian "Psychochild" Green, this question is not merely academic. Green has been through an MMO sunset twice with Meridian 59, and in an interesting essay he talks about the difficult choices involved in the process.
"Let’s say you’ve decided to shut down a game. When do you announce the shutdown? Again, cold, hard reality means that you probably want to give as little time between announcement and closure as possible. First, some players may buy into the game a little more before the announcement, although some of these players will probably seek refunds. [...] The other big issue is the amount of time you have to officially deal with the fuss from the remaining players about closing down the game."
It's not all depressing sunset talk in today's tour of the MMO blogosphere! We've got unconventional takes on classes, comparisons of PvP styles, cries for gaming assistance, and more waiting for you in today's blog roundup.
Today, we take a trip to England, but not the England of our timeline. No, this is the England-That-Could-Have-Been, the England of King Arthur, Excalibur and pointy-hatted Vikings. This is the England of fairy tales and legends and blocky 2001-era polygon models. It is the England of three realms constantly jockeying for supremacy and power. It is the England of Dark Age of Camelot.
This country is a pretty awesome place to live, even though the property values are way, way down after the last 18 marauding hordes trampled through the neighborhood. It doesn't matter if it's only a model -- it still inspires us to break out into song anyway.
Maybe the hype and anticipation of an upcoming MMORPG leaves you feeling burned out and turned off these days. Considering that some titles can be in development for up to a half a decade, it's crazy to think that a high level of personal excitement can be sustained. I've always loved the build-up to MMOs, although I go through cycles of paying attention and getting really jazzed, followed by taking some time off while the title cooks more in the oven.
There's just something special to me about the pre-launch hype. Communities are forming, devs are talking constantly, and fans are contemplating their future adventures. For me, the only thing similar is the advent season and counting down to Christmas morning.
Yes, many times the hype wasn't justified by the gameplay delivered, but I usually enjoy both all the same. I was casting my mind back lately over memories from pre-launch hype eras of MMOs, thinking about those certain moments that got me incredibly eager to dive in and play the game in the making. It's happened many times over the years, so here are 10 of those highlights to share with you!