We hope you weren’t planning on playing any of the World of Warcraft: Legion alpha during your own holiday break (assuming you have one). Blizzard has announced today that the alpha test will be going on break on December 21st, to return sometime early next year. There’s no discussion of whether or not the testing pool will be expanding as well.
World of Warcraft: Legion was announced at Gamescom this year, with a promise of beta later this year; it was later stated that beta would begin in the weeks following BlizzCon. It is worth noting at this point that Blizzard has been very careful to call this build an alpha through its testing.
World of Warcraft is no stranger to hobnobbing with real-world celebrities, from hiring them for commercials to putting them into the game as not-so-secret digital cameos. Players in Legion’s alpha have spotted two such celeb alter-egos so far: UFC’s Ronda Rousey and actress Mila Kunis.
The Monk class hall is home to both Rousey (as a human Monk) and Kunis. Kunis’ character is currently a garrison follower, so this move keeps her amid the current content. Both celebrities are gamers and vocal enthusiasts of World of Warcraft. So if you’ve had a desire to be immortalized as a WoW character, it seems that the formula is: become famous and talk about WoW a lot in interviews. Easy peasy!
You can see the two in a video after the break.
Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the best MMO trend of 2015.
Last year, we chose sandbox and social gameplay as the awardee in this category. This year, all trends were back on the table. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Trend of 2015 is…
Spelunking isn’t just a fun word to say but an exciting activity in its own right. Players who take the time to explore under the surface of the world can often uncover wonders such as this one from reader Erin.
“I was exploring among the coasts in Elder Scrolls Online and grinding mobs for XP when I noticed a quest marker I hadn’t done yet,” she submitted. “I followed along with the story and the NPC into a truly beautiful cavern alight with the glow of these crystals.”
What glorious sights will you behold when you go spelunking into today’s community screenshots column?
Look, I know what you’re thinking, and I’m sorry to say there’s not much to be done. As great a gift as it would be, we cannot give you a key to the current expansion testing, nor can we help your favorite World of Warcraft player with a long content drought. There’s simply no technology available to prevent these unpleasant realities.
“Well, great,” you say with no small amount of irritation. “So what am I supposed to get my friends who are super into this game?”
Oh, frustrated reader, don’t lose hope so easily. There are always options. And as we’ve done before, we’ll help point you to some of those options. They might not be the non-content drought that players really want, but they’re something you can give that’s more thoughtful than a simple game time card and more effort-intensive than just printing out the game’s logo on a laser printer and wrapping it. (Don’t ever do that, incidentally.)
You know one of the reasons I like writing this column? Because one of these days I’m going to be able to make a list of the best characters from Transformers and Bree isn’t going to stop me. But I also like the fact that we all know the column is completely subjective, so that when people read this they do not think that this is a carefully researched piece wherein I can prove that a given game is the best free-to-play title on the market using, like, numbers.
I hope that’s true, anyhow.
But moving along, it’s the holiday season, so you probably want a new game to play, but you both need to avoid buying games (someone might have bought one for you) and you don’t have much money (because you bought everyone some random thing already, let’s just say Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus). So here are the 10 MMOs that I think make for the best free-to-play options on the market right now based on completely subjective reasoning.
Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the biggest MMO disappointment of 2015.
Last year, we gave this “award” to WildStar and ArcheAge in a split vote. Disappointments can be games, launches, patches, trends, stories, sunsets, all manner of topics. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.
The Massively OP staff pick for the biggest MMO disappointment of 2015 is…
is adopting big brother World of Warcraft’s
holiday event, as the card game has officially ushered in the start of Winter Veil
earlier this week.
Of course, this being a card game and all, there isn’t terribly much to the event. While Winter Veil is running, the board will change to reflect the season and players will have access to a cheery emote. Blizzard is teasing something else to come but isn’t saying what it is quite yet.
Winter Veil will conclude on January 6th.
It’s been a really long time since I logged into Lord of the Rings Online to do anything other than pay up my hobbit hole, which I’d like to think wasn’t a waste of my precious gold pieces. But when I log in, I’m a little bit stymied by how much the game has changed. Classes have been completely overhauled and dozens of levels have been stacked onto the game since I stalled out way back in Lothlorien. And that’s without the most important considerations, like where’s the best place to farm produce now?!
Being overwhelmed by changes sometimes drives me off, sometimes drives me to the forums, and sometimes drives me to just reroll, to generate a brand-new character and play through the tutorial and noob zone just to get reoriented. My husband, however, is the kind of guy who logs into World of Warcraft after a year AFK and immediately queues for a dungeon. He’s pretty sure muscle memory will get him through, and damn if he’s not usually right!
What about you? Do you roll new characters when you return to an MMO after a long time away, or do you jump right in with your highbie and let the chips falls where they may?
Hat tip to Redditor dejoblue, who’s reminded everyone about the fateful day back in 2005 when SOE, struggling in the wake of World of Warcraft’s 2004 launch, gutted Star Wars Galaxies with “new game enhancements” and pissed off a couple hundred thousand Star Wars fans. Wrote no less than The New York Times, 10 years ago today,
[SOE and Lucasarts] radically revamped the game in an attempt to appeal to a younger, more trigger-happy audience.
Previously, the game was unabashedly complicated, appealing to mature, reflex-challenged gamers with its strategic combat style and deep skill system, which allowed players to carve out profitable, powerful niches as entertainers, architects and politicians. Now the game has become self-consciously simple, with a basic point-and-click combat system that is meant to evoke the frenetic firefights of the “Star Wars” films.
Raptr recently released its most played games list for October 2015. MMOish titles featured heavily in the list, with Star Wars: The Old Republic posting big gains and World of Warcraft maintaining a comfortable position in the top five. Guild Wars 2 climbed by 10.87% over the previous month, securing the 12th spot in the rankings, while Final Fantasy XIV dropped five spots and 24.31% of monthly game time.
MMO-likes ARK: Survival Evolved and Warframe are also present and accounted for, while MOBAs Dota 2 and League of Legends continued their world domination.
The universe of Star Citizen is getting a bit bigger with the addition of 50,000 testers to its persistent universe. It also has a brand-new trailer if you want to see people getting out of spaceships and faffing about in space suits, which seems like the prelude to the most ridiculous installment of Grand Theft Auto ever. No one ever said you had to be a good citizen of the stars, right? (Dibs on that idea, incidentally.)
Other beta news? Ah, sure, why not?
Do we still have a list of games down below? Oh, yes indeed we do. Let us know if something has hopped test phases without us noticing in the comments!
One of my favorite bits from The Office is when Michael is having his budget explained to him. You don’t need to know the context; the funniest bit is right on YouTube, as it’s explained to him that there are elements of his budget that are devoted not to bills or to luxuries but to things that no one would ever need under any circumstances. It’s absurd. It’s ridiculous.
That’s how I feel about the World of Warcraft process on Legion testing so far. It’s not that the decisions being made are bad, although they are, it’s that they are absurd. They do not make any sense. It’s like trying to read about the Time Cube, where every time it starts to sort of make sense you realize that no, that actually makes less sense.
I can’t even really say they’re altogether bad decisions, just… weird ones. Ones that don’t make a heck of a lot of sense. Let’s just sort of… walk though them, analyze them, and try to make sense out of it. Even though I know it’s ultimately a fruitless exercise.