What do you get when you take a few of the most experienced developers in the MMO industry and give them the freedom to buck the safe trend of copycatting World of Warcraft? And what would you get if you further challenged them to combine the progression from MMOs with the always-fresh strategy genre? You might just end up with something like Crowfall.
As you read this, Crowfall has launched its Kickstarter funding campaign after weeks of speculation, reveals, and an always-ticking countdown timer. ArtCraft has done all it can to prime the pump for community investment, and now we’ll have to see whether it will pay off spectacularly… or be deemed too niche for primetime.
Last week, I chatted with ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton for a no-holds-barred discussion about Crowfall. Enough with the teases and partial revelation; I wanted the full picture. What is Crowfall, really? And how will it set itself apart from the MMO pack?
I really didn’t want Massively Overpowered’s inaugural column about World of Warcraft to focus on the negatives. But I can’t in good conscience ignore the fact that patch 6.1 for Warlords of Draenor is not getting the Iron Docks that many players were expecting. It’s not that I think it’s a grand betrayal of player trust; it’s not. Things get shifted around in development. Stuff gets held back for the next patch. It happens. This feature was never promised for Tuesday, and it isn’t coming out then. Seems fair.
No, the problem here comes down to one of perception, presentation, and the simple fact that there’s plenty to do at level cap in Warlords of Draenor… but also absolutely nothing to do.
It seems ironic that an expansion that led to an enormous subscriber surge is also seemingly tone-deaf on a number of points, but it also seemed ironic when Cataclysm followed Wrath of the Lich King by undoing a good portion of what made the prior expansion so popular. So why is there so much negativity, even from people who do like the game? How can a game be replete in things to do while at the same time have nothing to do?
This will probably not come as a shock to you, but a lot of press was talking about World of Warcraft and Destiny last year.
ICO Media tallied up all of the article mentions of video games in 2014 and sorted them out according to categories. Destiny was near the top of the overall heap at 36,915 mentions. In the straight-up MMO category, World of Warcraft topped at 21,449 mentions, followed by Elder Scrolls Online, Final Fantasy XIV, WildStar and Guild Wars 2.
MOBA mentions were included as well, and League of Legends led the pack with 21,222 mentions. To illustrate just how much LoL dominates that part of the industry, the next game mentioned — Dota 2 — only had 11,069 mentions.
Back in December, film editor and author Jason Bailey wrote a piece on Flavorwire called How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA. He spins a tale of the booming movie industry of the ’80s and ’90s, when mid-budget films were commercially feasible and commonplace. By the turn of the century, however, the movie industry had bisected itself; studios stopped committing resources to mid-budget films, “betting big on would-be blockbusters” instead and generating a hard-scrabble indie scene in their wake. As Bailey’s title suggests, that dramatic shift uprooted a generation of brilliant filmmakers and cheapened the art of films and filmmaking for everyone.
It’s no stretch to say we’re witnessing the same phenomenon in the world of MMORPGs.
Are you looking forward to the Iron Docks quests in World of Warcraft‘s patch 6.1? Even though they haven’t been mentioned in any patch notes or by developers or shown any signs of materializing? Because despite what was expected by players, they’re not in there. Community manager Bashiok confirmed that the Iron Docks, which were expected to be a new quest hub centering around Blackrock Foundry, have been moved to patch 6.2. He also took the time to stress that this is simply a quest chain, not a hub or any “substantial content.”
Player reaction has been intensely negative, with patch 6.1 and the current expansion already meeting with significant critique on the lack of meaningful content at the level cap. The changes coming to Apexis Crystals may serve to ameliorate some of the frustration, but it’s still easy to feel a bit slighted by the absence of new content in this patch. But on the bright side, you will be able to post to Twitter with your updated Blood Elf models whilst you explore the same content that has been in place since the expansion launch.
, Gearing up with Apexis Crystals
, via: Blizzard Watch
A Massively Overpowered reader by the name of DaBruuzer posed a great question to the team, one I thought we’d have a better time answering as a group since many of us play with spouses, significant others, or dear friends in duos.
“I would love to see some coverage about MMOs that are couple-friendly. My wife and I have been playing MMOs as a couple for many years now, always trying out new games that make duoing fun. Since the sunset of City of Heroes/Villains, we just haven’t found a new home. I have seen lots of stuff about soloing and grouping, hence my ‘couples’ angle. I don’t necessarily mean about a game’s marriage features — more like MMOs that complement a two-person group set-up.”
For this first installment of the reincarnation of our old Think Tank, I asked the MOP crew about the very best MMOs for duoing.
One of my favorite aspects of World of Warcraft’s soundtrack is its devotion to giving the in-game taverns catchy and cozy tunes. I always loved swinging into an inn between adventures just to soak up the ambience and take in the score that was more relaxing than any tankard of virtual ale.
You can imagine how glad I was to see Blizzard devoting a full soundtrack release to WoW’s tavern tunes in 2007. Along with the hard-to-find Mosaic album, Taverns of Azeroth is the only non-expansion (or core game) soundtrack the studio has released. I really appreciated how Composer David Arkenstone layered in atmospheric sounds and used them to transition between the tracks.
So let’s listen to selections from that album and see if we can’t dredge up memories of our favorite watering holes!
There are lots of reasons why you might be looking forward to patch 6.1 in World of Warcraft. If you play a Blood Elf, you want your upgraded character models. If you like racing around, you want the new racing feature put into the game. If you have a joke Twitter account for your main character, you want that Twitter integration. Good news for all of those groups: You don’t have to wait much longer, as the new patch goes live on February 24th.
Blizzard has released a new video to herald to launch, offering a quick rundown of the patch features, which also include improvements to garrisons and another step in the legendary ring quest chain. The heirloom interface is also en route; it will allow players to more effectively pass heirlooms between characters for leveling. That’s on top of the usual quality of life improvements. Check out the video just past the break for a quick overview, and get ready for the patch going live when next Tuesday rolls around.
We can’t blame World of Warcraft fans for being in an excitement tizzy (that’s a thing, right?) over the upcoming Patch 6.1, as it looks to add a slew of improvements to the game. While we can’t shorten the wait for you, we can point you to the following informative video interview with Blizzard Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas.
Hazzikostas fields questions on 6.1 for 25 minutes, including the Blood Elf visual upgrade, the heirloom UI, summonable raid bosses, Twitter integration, customizable music for strongholds, and efforts being made to encourage players to visit friends’ strongholds. He also hinted that the team is already hard at work on stories and other features for Patch 6.2.
If you’ve got a half-hour, give the interview a watch after the break!
When you jump into a World of Warcraft raid, you’re hoping to get some keen new armor, maybe a weapon or two, that sort of thing. You are not hoping to get a fresh case of unexpected motion sickness. Surprise! That might be exactly what you’re getting when you jump into the Hans’gar and Franzok fight in Blackrock Foundry, which already has a lengthy thread on the official forums in which people have complained of getting motion sickness during the fight.
The fight involves a large number of moving conveyer belts and moving elements, and even players with no history of motion sickness are reporting feelings of disorientation, nausea, and the like. Player solutions include aiming your camera at the wall rather than the floor, taking over-the-counter medications, and playing in a more brightly lit room to help alleviate the problem. No word yet from Blizzard on the matter, but it seems reasonable to bet that nausea and severe disorientation are not intended parts of the loot table.
In other WoW vision news — yes, really — Blizzard revealed the new colorblind-friendly UI options due in patch 6.1.
, Official Site
, dev blog
; via: Blizzard Watch
According to a Raptr press release posted today, MOBA League of Legends dominated the service’s January rankings with just under 20% of total playtime share. World of Warcraft held onto second place with not quite 11% of total playtime share, but it “lost 5.28% of play time in January compared to December.”
DOTA 2, SMITE, and Hearthstone scored well; Diablo III, in particular, saw its playtime rise 77.27% percent month-over-month, likely a result of the 2.12 patch.
I’ve been spending my gaming time lately PvPing in Guild Wars 2 in an attempt to reinkindle my old obsession with World of Warcraft battleground-style gameplay. It’s working: I really love the GW2 maps, and it thrills me that it’s one more fun facet of a game I already enjoy more than most titles still alive today.
(Of course, there’s no more disgruntled a group in GW2 than PvPers, and I’m sure I’ll get to that same point in a few months. But for now, while everything is still new to me, I’m actually *gasp* having a good time.)
You know, folks, I am all about getting my dungeon ride on in Final Fantasy XIV. I’m a roleplayer, to boot. I like being social in my games. And yet when I find myself playing World of Warcraft, I find myself actively preferring a bit of solitude far more often than I’d expect. This isn’t meant as a commentary on that game’s player culture or anything of the sort; I just like to have more stretches of not doing dungeons, just quietly doing my own thing and playing out the events in my character’s head.