Long ago on Massively-that-was, a reader named Avaera sent in a long list of fabulous questions worth addressing. I’m tackling another in today’s edition of Ask Mo:
Would you welcome a large scale roleplaying-enforced MMORPG? One where you simply have to interact with other players in-character? One of the things that I miss most from the transition from playing MUDs to playing MMOs is the lack of memorable characters who chose to take on unique roles in our virtual societies. Most big-budget MMORPGs have great tools for player communication and cooperation, but the “role” part of RPG usually equates to the job or skills that you as the player will bring to a combat encounter. I’d love to see what a game is like in which you have to play as your character in all aspects. Just to be clear, I don’t mean using “thees” and “thous” or sitting in a pub and emoting but rather gradually crafting a virtual persona through your gameplay decisions and interactions with other characters (both enemy and ally alike). Is there a big-budget MMORPG out there already that has been designed from the ground up for mandatory in-character play, and I’ve just never heard of it?
I can think of only one, and that’s a damn shame. And it’s not even out yet.
What would you do if your game lost three million players in three months? Get depressed? Come up with excuses? Offset the bad news with some good? This week on the Massively OP podcast, we’re betting that Blizzard probably did all of the above and then some. We’ve also got a new elite class to discuss, the finale to a certain conspiracy MMO, and the promise of a bright future for one upcoming title.
Join us on the podcast as we talk about what we’ve been playing in MMOs, the top news stories from the past week, and topics that listeners have submitted!
The MMO industry is a vibrant market that’s always shifting as developers move between projects. So who has gone where lately?
For starters, former EverQuest Next Lead Content Designer Steve “Moorgard” Danuser has migrated over to World of Warcraft, where he’s taken up the position of a senior designer. Danuser was one of the many developers let go during the Daybreak layoffs this past February.
Some Elder Scrolls Online players have been wondering where the heck Lead Gameplay Designer Nicholas Konkle has been. “Not with ZeniMax” is the answer; Konkle has taken up with the folks at Riot Games as a senior game designer for League of Legends. Another departure from ESO is Gameplay Designer Maria Aliprando, who according to her Linkedin is no longer with ZeniMax as of this month.
It’s indisputable that World of Warcraft took a lot of nods from online Diablo II when it first launched. Sometimes, it almost seems as if the game was mechanically meant to be an online Diablo title. But guess what? In a recent interview on the Pointless Podcast, David Brevik — formerly of Diablo and now of Marvel Heroes — revealed some tidbits about development, including the fact that the original design for Diablo III was to have the game be a straight-up MMO. It was only after he and the other original developers left that it started to become what it is now.
What would that MMO have looked like? A lot like Marvel Heroes, only minus all of the copyrighted Marvel characters. Fascinating stuff. You can check out the whole interview below, or you can just skip directly to the specific portion we’re referencing here.
So, what’s the best group composition for endgame raiding in World of Warcraft? It looks like it’s Death Knights. Just a bunch of Blood-spec Death Knights. Sure, you have no healing or DPS, but a group consisting of 10 such Death Knights was able to down Blackhand in Heroic Blackrock Foundry without needing any of those other roles. Have you managed to do that with nine other people mirroring your spec?
According to the players behind the victory, the fight became a great deal more hectic due to the lack of specific tanks, but the group pulled out the win despite the madness of the mechanics. Next plan: taking on Mythic Highmaul with twice as many Death Knights. Form your own conclusion.
Incidentally, it’s also the decade anniversary of that intensely stupid Leeroy Jenkins video, so feel free to pepper your words today with references to it.
Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!
World of Warcraft raised eyebrows this week as Blizzard revealed a three million sub drop in the last quarter, the sharpest three-month drop in the game’s history. The heavy losses don’t appear to worry MMO players, however, and they don’t appear to worry Blizzard, either, as the studio preps WoW’s 6.2 patch and enjoys absurd success with Hearthstone and Diablo III.
Meanwhile, Massively Overpowered — that’s us! — launched our Patreon campaign. We appreciate your support! Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.
Virtually every MMO contains dangerous places that are filled with other players or NPCs that will attack characters on site, and many also feature destructible terrain or objects that must be destroyed. With all that smashing, crashing, and bashing, it’s clear that the mechanics employed by our favourite genre must be as diverse as the array of titles that comprise the big bad world of MMOs.
I started my MMO journey in much the same way many players did, testing out the traditional combat offered in the classic MMORPG. Tank, DPS, and healer systems were the first I was exposed to, and standing still to cast was totally normal if more than a little bit frustrating. I really enjoy newer action combat mechanics that reiterate on the traditional MMO combat experience to make it that much more involved and intuitive. In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I’ll talk about some of my favourite action combat MMOs, providing a little bit of insight into why each one made my mechanical roundup.
So World of Warcraft lost three million subs in the wake of Warlords of Draenor, bringing it back down to right about where it was before it began the Draenor ramp up — not quite to its published low point after Mists of Pandaria, but damn close. I suppose it’s not a surprise; Blizzard’s languorous content pace since the expansion hasn’t restored much faith that the studio learned anything from the drought that drove MoP so low just a year ago. But it’s not a pretty graph after the big spike up for Draenor. It’s the steepest, fastest decline for the game ever.
One of my amusing guildies summed it up like this:
Gather round, my disciples, for I have seen THE FUTURE! 2040: Hearthstone, Blizzard’s flagship MMO, has finally integrated the “World of Warcraft” as an amusing retro mini-game you can play between matches. And lo, the rivers shall run purple with the discarded gear of the unbelievers, and the wails of the hardcore raiders shall be swallowed by the sound of a billion decks being shuffled.
Hyperbole, I know, but who isn’t at least thinking this? WoW’s still the biggest subscription MMORPG in town, yes. It’s not hurting for money. But it bothers me that Blizzard doesn’t seem to care much about such a massive game or the genre anymore and that it’s driving off not just expansion tourists now but hardcore loyalists who don’t want to pay a sub to play Garrisons Online: With Selfies But Not Flight after all. The implications for the genre always worry me. How about you — does WoW’s dramatic sub dip worry you?
This week’s Massively Overthinking topic comes to us from Kickstarter donor Antonia “Toni” Phillips aka ToniLyran, who’s hit on a sore point with our writers, it seems:
In indie game development, we are seeing a resurgence of games with “real consequences.” With the coming of Crowfall, do you think that we will start to see a trend back to MMO’s with real consequences once again?
What exactly constitute real consequences? Are games like Crowfall actually creating real consequences? Are we trending that way in general? And if we are, should we be? I pitched these questions to the team and got an earful.
What would it be like to play an MMO where every day presented a new event to enjoy? This will be the reality for World of Warcraft when Patch 6.2 hits, as Blizzard is preparing a rotating schedule of bonus events to keep gamers hopping.
The bonus events will appear on the in-game calendar and will provide buffs and special rewards for participating in these activities. The new system will be a not-so-subtle way of encouraging players to partake in a wider variety of activities, including timewalking in older expansion dungeons. Other events include Draenor dungeon runs, PvP bouts, and everyone’s favorite, pet battles.
Patch 6.2 will also see a new addition to the user interface in the form of the adventure guide. The interactive guide is an index of the game’s other journals and will help suggest content to players based on levels and achievements.
[Source: Patch 6.2 preview
There’s no doubt that Blizzard took a mighty hit
this past quarter as it lost three million World of Warcraft
subscribers in the post-expansion, post-holiday period. And while that definitely impacted the company’s bank account, the good news is that success in other areas is softening the blow
Picking up the slack for the sub loss are Blizzard’s other titles, most notably Hearthstone and Diablo III. Hearthstone recently crossed the 30 million player threshold, while Diablo III recently began its Chinese beta and has already netted over a million in sales from that market.
By diversifying, Blizzard is pulling away from relying as strongly on World of Warcraft as its primary money-maker. Non-World of Warcraft titles accounted for 40% of the studio’s revenue in 2014, a number that is expected to rise to 50% for this year.
It struck me, very recently, that a decade is a long time for MMOs.
If we’re going to count Ultima Online as the first proper MMO as we think of them – and I am – we’re almost 18 years out. Most games have not seen all of those years, and I’m not just talking about the games that launched more recently. It’s rare to find a game that’s been going for a decade, and even rarer to find one that’s been going for a decade and is still getting updates rather than just being stuck in maintenance mode.
So here’s a Perfect Ten celebrating 10 titles that have made it past that mark, even if they’ve just squeaked over the border. Sure, they’re no longer the fresh-faced darlings of the industry, but when you look at all of the great titles that have either shut down or slipped into quiet maintenance over the years, “still going” is often a pretty huge boost by itself.
It’s time for another exciting roundup of Newegg’s best deals here on Massively Overpowered. These deals are available through the links provided below. Just remember they’re not all gamer-themed. It’s just stuff that we think our readers might like, and we were able to snag a deal for you. Act soon because these deals are totally limited time!
Mo’s Egg Hunt is a roundup of Newegg’s best sponsored deals for Massively OP readers. It is crafted by MOP sales manager Michael Gray, who operates independently from our editorial team. Affiliate purchases made through Massively OP help keep us online.