Hope you had a good summer, ’cause it’s pretty much over. Yes ma’am, we’re staring right into the pumpkin spice corridor known as “fall,” which means that things are about to get downright crazy in MMO town.
So what are your plans for this fall? Will you be picking up Heart of Thorns? Is WildStar’s free-to-play conversion got you anxious to head back? Do you anticipate BlizzCon sparking back up your World of Warcraft interest? What about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s new episodic content? Or maybe you have grand plans for a project in a game you’re already playing!
Whatever it is, spill. We’re all ears.
In ranking MMO soundtracks, there are a lot of ways to do it. You can pull out individual tracks or praise a game for its sheer quantity of musical material. You could even give props to well-known composers such as Jeremy Soule and Inon Zur. You might point to certain game soundtracks as triggers for powerful nostalgia.
Today I want to share my top six favorite MMO soundtracks, but I want to make it clear that the biggest criteron here isn’t whether I’ve played the game or like the composer or have a fondness for a specific track. No, each of these six (and it was agony to choose) is on the list because the overall quality and breadth of each soundtrack has impressed me. Track for track, these OSTs offer a higher ratio of hits to duds and have acquitted themselves well over time.
So what are they? In no particular order, my favorite six are…
It’s been a good while since World of Warcraft players have been able to fly in high-level zones, but as of today the skies are the limit for Warlords of Draenor pilots.
Patch 6.2.2 turns on flight for players who have achieved the account-wide Draenor Pathfinder achievement. Flying wasn’t always assured for Draenor, as Blizzard flirted with the idea of keeping it turned off entirely, only to backtrack after significant player backlash. Flight is also scheduled to be included in the upcoming Legion expansion.
Today’s patch also includes the new PvP mercenary mode, a longer period of time for bonus events, and new badges and rewards for Timewalking dungeons. Blizzard Watch has a handy guide of what to do in the update.
World of Warcraft fans continue to eagerly await the release of the Warcraft movie trailer in a couple of months. If they — or you — can’t hold out that long, there’s the option to check out 40 seconds of shaky, grainy footage that was leaked by a Russian site.
“The epic phenomenon will become a worldwide event,” the teaser trailer promises amid shots of griffins, Orcs, war, magic, gigantic cities and people reaching out to grab hands. If you want to be spoiled, you can watch the footage here.
I know I’m not alone in feeling beta-fatigue. I hear the same things I feel from you folks in our comments and from our writers too. We’re tired of being asked to pay to perform QA duties for game studios. We’re tired of games rushing to “open beta” soft launches so they can make a quick buck. And maybe above all else, we’re tired of having so much of the game experience spoiled before the “real game” begins.
I didn’t always feel that way, though. When MMORPGs were few and far between, I gobbled up testing experiences, which meant that while I alpha’d classic Anarchy Online (yes, it was that bad) and love to tell the “monsters-that-way sign” story from Horizons, I also got in on the ground-floor with insanely fun betas like Asheron’s Call’s and Star Wars Galaxies’. I even got to test a very early version of World of Warcraft thanks to a dear friend, and I pretty much had to be dragged back out of it because I had such a great time.
If you’re still playing World of Warcraft, you may or may not be aware that the game’s 6.2.2 patch debuts on September 1st. It includes mercenary mode, which allows you to PvP for the opposite faction if your battleground queue times are especially unwieldy. Also new in 6.2.2 is flight in the skies above Draenor. You’ll need to unlock the Draenor Pathfinder achievement in order to fly, and fortunately Wowhead has a video guide to doing just that. You can click past the cut to view it.
So what’s the deal with World of Warcraft’s Demon Hunter? We just don’t know yet. But the space to speculate is pretty awesome.
I mentioned in my last column that in some ways, Legion feels like an expansion that should have been launched back in the post-Wrath of the Lich King space. Certainly the design elements seem a little odd, bringing in a lot of bits and pieces that had all but vanished from the game since that much-loved expansion was done with. There’s speculation to be done there, but the more immediate speculation is about the game’s second Hero Class and what it means for the game as a whole.
We don’t know yet how the class will play in any detail; we know a handful of abilities, we have some idea of the class resource (but not its real mechanics), and we know that in all likelihood they’re going to just be carting around a specialized weapon for the whole expansion because of the Artifact system. But we can still make some guesses based on that.
Like the idea of survival games, but not PvP? Wish your class involved video games? Maybe you want to doom humanity to choking itself on its own filth?
Well, good news for all of you: Eco made its initial Kickstarter goal!
The game is basically a PvE survival game launching with player made governments where players use server-provided data on the environment (such as number of deer, population over the past month, and cause of death) to make laws. These laws aren’t just ideals but server enforced rules created and voted on by players, so if people choose to allow players to kill only three deer a day, the game prevents you from killing a fourth. Over harvesting leads to extinction, not just of that species but others related to it, which can eventually lead to the death of a world (read: server-wide permadeath via PvE). The emphasis on social tools, data use, and environmental balance isn’t a coincidence, however; Eco is built to be used as an educational game.
Good news, everyone: I’m back with an unexpected edition of Guild Chat for you! Observant Massively Overpowered readers might have noticed that I rotate this column with MMO Mechanics and it should, in fact, be the latter’s turn this time. However, I had a great reader submission fly its way into my inbox very shortly after publishing the last Guild Chat and just couldn’t leave it waiting around gathering e-dust for a month. Get comfortable and pop your reading glasses on, dearies: This time around, we’re discussing the loss of great guildmates to IRL commitments and how to recapture the spark of the guild that once was great.
To summarise, reader Rekoor has written in about how he misses the spark of enjoying an MMO with a group of people he truly “clicks” with. Real life and the usual drop-off and break taking we see in MMO communities has left Rekoor short on the quality in-game friends front, but his gaming time has become even more precious as his time is at a premium due to full time work and a young growing family. He now needs a way to capitalise on his gaming time without hurting his friends when they do get to pop on, which also means perhaps putting the final nail in his old guild’s coffin.
Keep on reading for Rekoor’s full submission and my advice to him below, and be sure to pop your two cents into the comments!
If it wasn’t clear before now, Blizzard’s debut on a stock index further goes to show that the game studio is one of the big boys.
Today, the World of Warcraft developer joined the S&P 500 stock market index, replacing Pall Corp in the process. CEO Robert Kotick praised the move, saying, “We believe we are well-positioned for long-term growth, and we look forward to continuing to deliver value to our audiences and investors.”
Despite WoW’s subscription losses, Blizzard posted a healthy $1.04 billion net revenue in the second quarter of 2015.
I have nothing but deep respect for cosplayers because on two levels they are performing activities that I cannot. First of all, they put together incredible outfits that must take hours and hours of painstaking research and skill (not to mention money!) to assemble. And second, they go out in public and subject themselves to a nonstop barrage of stares and pictures.
As with any other geeky field, MMOs have attracted their fair share of cosplayers over the years. Today we’re going to look at 10 amazing outfits and the people who both put them together and wore them proudly.
Healers are the often unsung heroes of any MMO raid, spending hours staring at health bars while the rest of the group gets to enjoy the fireworks with the boss. Now there’s a mobile game that seeks to replicate the experience of juggling an entire raid’s health bars: Little Healer.
“For the last few months I’ve been working on a game that can fix my itch to play [World of Warcraft],” game developer Voley explained. “We went for a healer gameplay as the most rewarding and interesting.”
Little Healer is a free mobile game for iOS and Android that gives players a small array of spells and tasks them with keeping a raid on its feet during a succession of boss battles. While the actual battle isn’t shown, it is quite interesting how different fight patterns emerge through damage and debuffs. Give it a try, but be warned: This is one extremely tough game.
Just as MMO healers have been telling you for years.
There’s now nothing standing between you and PUG raid success in World of Warcraft’s Hellfire Citadel, except perhaps gear, skill, and ill-timed AFKs.
Blizzard announced yesterday that the final wing of Hellfire Citadel, the Black Gate, is now open for business on the raid finder. Hellfire Citadel opened for business on June 23rd and has been gradually unlocking difficulties and raid finder options over the course of the summer.
The Black Gate features the big showdown with the raid’s penultimate champion, Archimonde. Call him “Archie” and you will get your butt handed to you.