After more than a decade of operation, a curious thing has happened to World of Warcraft: It’s circled back around on an awful lot of its design principles, not in the sense that Warlords of Draenor is only a hop and a skip away from the game’s original incarnation, which is demonstrably untrue, but in the sense that a lot of what has changed over that original incarnation has slowly wound up coming back to the same place.
This is something that I think has been cycling around for a while, due in no small part to the simple fact that designers are people too, and the people designing WoW are big fans of the game’s original design without understanding the iterative improvements that happened over the years. Whether or not these changes are good or bad depends on individual taste, but it’s educational insofar as understanding why the game is what it is now.
Even though it’s not out yet, you can go ahead and pay for Hearthstone’s
Blackrock Mountain adventure pack to have it waiting for you when it goes live.
The second solo adventure to go into the trading card game, Blackrock Mountain is themed after classic World of Warcraft dungeons. The complete adventure pack is $25, and as an incentive for pre-purchase, Blizzard is dangling an exclusive Molten Core card back for those who take the bait now. You can pre-purchase the adventure only with real money.
With PvP-encrusted MMORPGs like Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, and even Revival on the genre’s horizon, I have a glimmer of hope that the future of MMO PvP might not be a dreadful dichotomy of sterile MOBAs and psychopathic gankboxes after all. PvP might just have a chance at restoration to a place of honor in MMORPGs rather than be jammed into themeparks as an afterthought or unleashed into empty open worlds as the lazy dev’s idea of “hardcore content.” MMO PvP has been great before — wouldn’t it be fun if it were great again?
This is how I’d like to see it go down: Here are six things I expect from serious MMO PvP.
I’m delighted to resurrect the column that brought me to Massively-that-was, MMO Mechanics, for the ravenous readers of MOP. The column focused on the various mechanics that underlie the MMOs we spend so much time in, exploring the under-the-bonnet workings that keep players playing and tackling the issues some of these mechanics present. You might remember the original column from its brief tenure around a year ago, but if you don’t, you can still find it on the interwebs. To get the ball rolling again, I’m going to discuss the logic behind fast-travel, the merits and perils of its various mechanics, and their use in MMOs.
With such vast, interesting worlds lying tauntingly at our characters’ feet, navigating such an impressive amount of virtual space can be both a challenge and treat simultaneously. Just as in the real world, the secret of a true adventure is chasing the action wherever that may take you by whatever method you can, all to keep your quest alive. Depending on where we must go and the method by which we find ourselves there, however, what was once an exciting adventure can become mundane rather quickly. Say, for instance, you must travel to work each morning and travel home: This journey is repeated with enough regularity that you end up so familiar with the route that it becomes tedious, no matter how pretty and exciting it was the first time around. If you had a switch that could magically apparate you there and back again, effectively abstracting away that tedium, you might feel tempted to use it.
Sometimes simple can be beautiful. I don’t know what it is, exactly, that attracts me to this week’s title pic, but I think its simplicity is a huge draw. If you’ll pardon the expression, it is what it is, and even though I don’t much care for dragons, I like the setup of this shot.
This comes to us courtesy of Evan, who took it while airborn in World of Warcraft. “During the end of an expansion lull, I usually wind up flying through old zones reminiscing with about three pairs of rose-colored glasses layered on top of one another,” he said. “Caught this at one such moment.”
Well it’s clear flying through our weekly screenshot commute, although someone may have spilled a truckload of reptiles on the expressway. Be warned!
Any uncertainty over whether Blizzard was going to throw a convention this year is now over, as the studio announced that BlizzCon 2015 will be arriving on November 6th and 7th.
The convention will be held once again at the Anaheim Convention Center and will cost $199 to attend. Additionally, the studio will be selling virtual tickets and invitations to a charity benefit dinner on November 5th. This will be the ninth BlizzCon since it began back in 2005.
The first wave of tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, April 15th, at 10:00 p.m. EDT. As Blizzard expects the tickets to sell out quickly, it has prepared a ticket purchase guide to smooth the process and make sure that fans know exactly what to do to grab one of these passes.
[Source: BlizzCon announcement
, ticket purchase guide
We’ll begin today’s tour of community articles by touching on a rather somber (yet uplifting) note. Pixelkin wrote a great piece on how her mother used World of Warcraft as a way to cope with the death of her husband.
“When she talked about gaming, my uncle condescendingly said, ‘You know that’s not real, right?’ She knew that all too well. But she also knew what was real. Connecting with her daughter was real. Reality hadn’t done my mother any favors, but fantasy did — it helped her celebrate small accomplishments, connect with sympathetic friends, and spend time with me. It helped her put aside the grief until its edges had dulled to something a little less traumatic.”
We’ve got guides, impressions, progression servers, and more after the jump!
Remember when World of Warcraft launched? I sure do. I remember when the game’s developers strapped into a helicopter and broke into the building of every game’s development team and forced them to change their code to more closely align with what World of Warcraft was doing, instantly transforming Warhammer Online into a close clone of their own game. And then there was that time that stores stopped handing out copies of Star Wars Galaxies to potential players, with a cleverly disguised installer that made people think they were going to be playing a Star Wars game right up until the character creator. “Hey, that’s not a twi’lek! Oh, well, as long as I’m here…”
Wait, that didn’t happen? Of course it didn’t. That would be absolutely ridiculous. But you wouldn’t know that from listening to the narrative told by some portions of the MMO fanbase.
World of Warcraft Shaman Doubleagent made headlines a year ago for leveling his Pandaren up to 80 and then 90 without ever choosing a faction. Now he’s pulled it off again post-Warlords of Draenor, this time barrelling up to 100, still factionless. Kotaku reports that he has been grinding away at the project by harvesting herbs and collecting exp through his other characters’ pet battles.
In other WoW news, Blizzard has posted up last week’s raid-and-dungeon Q&A video with Lead Game Designer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas and Community Manager Josh “Lore” Allen Friday; we’ve embedded it below. Among the highlights? “NO troll dungeon next patch. No trolls in Draenor.” They also address the content gap: “Our focus is on reducing the gap in content between final tier and next expack. We know that Siege was too long — unacceptably long. We are committed to reducing that. […] Six to seven months is good for a large raid tier; 13 months is too long.”
This week on the cast we welcome Eliot, who has returned from a trip to ArenaNet where he found all sorts of secrets and reveals for Guild Wars 2. We have a lot of ground to cover, with thoughts on Leonard Nimoy, crowdfunding updates, and a new expansion to a very old MMO.
Blizzard has just announced that it’s introducing a gold-and-gametime transfer token to World of Warcraft. Dubbing the currency the “WoW Token,” Blizz writes,
Players will be able to purchase a WoW Token through the in-game Shop for real money, and then sell it on the Auction House for gold at the current market price. When a player buys a WoW Token from the Auction House for gold, the Token becomes Soulbound, and the player can then redeem it for 30 days of game time.
The WoW Token was created to give players with lots of extra gold the option to use it to help cover their subscription cost, and give those who want to purchase gold a way to do so from fellow players through a secure, easy-to-use system. The Token will be making its debut in an upcoming patch—in the meantime, check out the FAQ below for details on how it works.
What’s next for the ever-hot Hearthstone
? Hearthhead reported
that a data mining expedition has uncovered references to Blackrock Mountain dungeon cards, meaning that card players could be heading to adventures in Molten Core before too long.
In other Hearthstone news, Nvidia is planning a Pro/Am international tournament with a $25,000 prize pool. It’s free to register and will begin on May 16th. The game also had a minor patch yesterday that included improvements to the spectator mode and a lunar card back for those doing well in ranked play this month.
, Droid Gamers
, patch notes
; via Blizzard Watch
It may be one of World of Warcraft’s smaller content updates, but Patch 6.1 still squeaks into that category with several quality-of-life improvements to the fantasy MMO.
Players logging in today will enjoy new Blood Elf models, an heirloom tab, certain graphical improvements, support for colorblind players, a racing minigame, and various tweaks to the garrison system. This update may also go down as one of the vainest that WoW has ever done, as a new feature will allow players to take character selfies and then tweet them to the world.
You can watch the video “survival guide” to Patch 6.1 after the break, and don’t forget to read Eliot’s column on what this update is missing.