Massively OP reader ichi_san has a burning question about the state of the industry.
“Lots of people seem to be looking for an MMO they can get into – consider the rush into Bless as an example. Lots of games are being released, but most (or even all) have some glaring issues, like pay-to-win, lockboxes, ganking, poor optimization, heavy cash shop, horrible gameplay, and so on. There’s the WoW model and other semi-successful formulas, and a lot of unexplored territory. The market seems hungry, and there is a bunch of history to build on and new territory to explore, but either gaming companies don’t understand their customers or greed/laziness/expediency get in the way, such that we see release after release that fails to scratch the itch. Am I missing something – are there fun MMOs with good graphics and fair monetization that I’m missing? Or is there a gaping hole in the MMO scene, and if so, why isn’t someone filling it?”
I’ve posed his question to the writers for their consideration in Overthinking this week. We’re long past bubble-bursting here when all of the still-major MMORPGs are four years older. What exactly are we looking at? Why is the obvious demand for MMOs not being met?
Who needs a colorful party for your fourth birthday when you are already the most colorful? WildStar celebrated its fourth birthday on Sunday, and Massively OP’s MJ is ready to keep the party rolling into the week. Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. to join the fun.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 4th, 2018
I love crane machines. Yes, I know they’re a total scam, but I won something in one once, and I can’t help but throwing money at them in the vain home of repeating that epic moment. Of course, I might forswear crane machines altogether if I got one of FFXIV’s creepier races as a prize.
Vincent has no such compunctions: “Only a Lalafell would look this happy being carried around by a Death Claw!”
It’s how all of us at Massively OP get to work every day, actually.
The beginning of informal summer is a favorite time for MMO launches, which also means it’s prime time for birthdays and anniversaries. WildStar, for example, has a birthday I’ll always remember, as it rather inconsiderately released while I was in the hospital having a baby. She and it are both four this year, although she isn’t getting a month of presents and events as WildStar players are. There’s a special anniversary pack in the cash shop right now too.
“Throughout the whole month we’re running a series of WildStar’s most lucrative bonus events on a weekly rotation, offering you out-of-this-world benefits from four different events back-to-back. But that’s not all! With Starfall there will also be a unique reward pack delivered to your Account Inventory just for logging in each week! Make sure you transmat to Nexus every week in June to claim your rewards and take full advantage of the bonus events.”
WildStar’s residential renovation event, first introduced back in summer 2017, is making a return for another short-lived run. Considering how many players feel that the housing system is WildStar’s greatest strength, there are sure to be quite a few people interested in participating.
The gist of the event is that players are given certain tasks to complete in their housing instances. Successful tasks earn tokens, which can then be turned in for limited-time rewards.
This time around, there are new rewards to chase: “Do your part to aid in the production of Sara’s broadcast by completing a series of home improvement tasks and she’ll reward you with Home Renovation Guides which you can turn in for the Exo-Lab and Shrine décor sets — two bundles of fantastic collectibles previously offered as part of the Sim Chase collection.”
The event is scheduled from May 18th through the 25th.
WildStar’s North American server, Entity, recently went through the ringer as a procedure during downtime to optimize its backend caused a host of issues that required even more downtime to revert.
Because of this, players experienced severe connection issues from March 21st through the 26th, a circumstance that was compounded by the fact that they ended up missing out on WildStar’s Blessing of Essence event.
To make it up to Entity players, WildStar is going to run the event again from April 6th through the 9th for all players and throw three extra days of subscription time to subbed members on Entity.
Around the time I started working at Massively-that-was, there was an article that I quite liked talking about how four high-profile MMO failures were not necessary. It was a product of its time, but the point was made that these games didn’t have to wind up in the state they were in. The mistakes that were made were not unexpected problems, but entirely predictable ones that anyone could have seen. Heck, some people did see them and pointed them out, but nothing was changed.
I think about that a lot when I think about other MMOs and online games because there are a lot of titles that, even if not entirely failed, are in states they never needed to be in. These stories are, at the very least, stories of some failures where the failure was not an inevitable end state, nor are they messes that had to be made. The writing was on the wall, the warnings were given, and someone just kept on keeping on and ignored all of the signs. And here we are.
If studio job postings get your blood pumping with the thoughts of what could be, here are a couple of tantalizing tidbits that perhaps hint at future development.
Legends of Aria developer Citadel Studios posted a job listing for both a digital marketing specialist and a game programmer. By the way, if you happen to be testing Aria right now, you should know that the NDA was lifted earlier this week.
Nexon — which you may have heard of — put out a notice with the hopes of recruiting a game director for its Nexon OC Studio. The specific game in question was not mentioned, although the description does ask for candidates that have worked on previous AAA titles.
If that last post sounds a little familiar, perhaps it is because you are remembering that former WildStar and World of Warcraft developer Stephen Frost went to work as a game director at Nexon OC last year.
Is your Valentine’s day about love, friendship, or free candy from mom? In MMORPGs, it’s about questing, murder, and free loot! So, yeah, kinda the same. Enjoy Massively OP’s guide to this very pink not-a-holiday across the MMORPG genre – and some not-quite-MMOs too!
One of the advantages to computer RPGs, I’ve always thought, is that you don’t need a friend who you can alternately sucker or bribe into taking on 80% of the work that’s involved in making a tabletop RPG fun. You just turn on the game and it goes. The downside, of course, is that you also don’t have the advantages of having a GM in charge of the game, so you don’t get that personal connection and that sense of familiarity.
Except that’s not entirely accurate, is it? Yes, these games do not have a person eagerly perched behind a screen explaining how your characters have screwed everything up forever, but you still do get the same sense of a specific GM guiding the game over time. Because there are certain quirks, certain constants, and over time a feel to the game that informs what sort of GM you’ve got running the game. So let’s talk about the GMs running some games.
I warn you that if you’ve never played any sort of tabletop game, this column may not make a whole lot of sense. But if you’ve never played any tabletop RPGs I don’t understand how you live and thus cannot promise to target you reliably. Sorry.
Legacy, vanilla, classic, progression – call them what you like, but alternative server rulesets, particularly of the nostalgia-driven kind, are all the rage in 2018. Just since the dawn of the new year, we’ve gotten a new server type for Age of Conan, with RIFT’s on the way – not to mention World of Warcraft’s looming in our future. And those are just the new ones! Games like RuneScape, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online already run similar servers.
That said, does every MMORPG need one? Aren’t some MMORPGs already in pretty good shape without needing a spin-off for nostalgia’s sake? Is it in every MMO’s best interests to prioritize, on some level, the very older ideas it intentionally left behind? That’s the question I’ve posed to the writers this week: Are there any MMORPGs that should stay far, far away from legacy servers, and if so, why?
Maybe it will be short-lived, but it is exciting to see attention and excitement return to the sphere of RIFT
following the announcement of the upcoming Prime server ruleset
. I’ve gone from not thinking much of this title in my absence to somewhat missing it to absolutely craving it within the span of a week, and I’m sure that’s only going to get worse.
Seeing friends and commenters talk about RIFT has reminded me of just how many incredible features and qualities this MMO has. Sure, it’s made a lot of missteps and just about nobody really loves the business model, but there is a genuinely good game here that has a feature set that most MMOs could only dream about having on the back of the box.
So whether you’re thinking about returning to RIFT this spring or perhaps taking it up for the first time, here are 10 features from the game that I feel deserve public kudos.
Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I am always fascinated with the beasts, creatures, and enemy NPCs that developers create for MMORPGs. While there are always very standard critters (such as the feared Giant Spider and completely unique Dragon Boss), many artists and designers whip up original and fascinating fauna for us to ogle (and, you know, fight).
I think that creative beasts is a sign of a well-developed fantasy realm that isn’t trying to ape Earth but is truly attempting to develop a world with its own special feel and ecology. Asheron’s Call was renowned for bucking fantasy tropes with its creatures, and WildStar always pleased me with every alien encounter.
What do you think? Which MMO has the most creative array of beasts, insects, and monsters?