The first year that any MMORPG that I’m playing launches a new festival or holiday, I’m usually all over it. Sometimes I get too much into it, spending so much time farming rewards or digging through the activities that it sours me for future years.
But there are always those celebrations that I make a point to check in and see. The allure of a free Tier 6 starship in Star Trek Online usually brings me out for its summer holiday event, and I am a huge fan of the haunted burrow in Lord of the Rings Online’s fall festival. And it wouldn’t be Christmas if I wasn’t logging into World of Warcraft to see what awaited me under the tree!
What MMO celebrations or holidays do you never miss? Which ones pull you back to the game, if only for a day or two, even if you’ve been away for months?
Massively OP reader ichi_san has a burning question about the state of the industry.
“Lots of people seem to be looking for an MMO they can get into – consider the rush into Bless as an example. Lots of games are being released, but most (or even all) have some glaring issues, like pay-to-win, lockboxes, ganking, poor optimization, heavy cash shop, horrible gameplay, and so on. There’s the WoW model and other semi-successful formulas, and a lot of unexplored territory. The market seems hungry, and there is a bunch of history to build on and new territory to explore, but either gaming companies don’t understand their customers or greed/laziness/expediency get in the way, such that we see release after release that fails to scratch the itch. Am I missing something – are there fun MMOs with good graphics and fair monetization that I’m missing? Or is there a gaping hole in the MMO scene, and if so, why isn’t someone filling it?”
I’ve posed his question to the writers for their consideration in Overthinking this week. We’re long past bubble-bursting here when all of the still-major MMORPGs are four years older. What exactly are we looking at? Why is the obvious demand for MMOs not being met?
Time to stoke the fires of your World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth excitement! Testers have uncovered another Kul Tiran Druid shapeshift form, this one being a wickedly creepy bird-thing. With the choice between dinos and wicker, Druid fans have a lot to look forward to in the expansion.
And if you haven’t gotten on board with the whole “island expedition” feature yet, you may change your mind once you see a list of all of the potential rewards that you can earn from them. YouTuber HazelNutty helpfully compiled all of the mounts, pets, and toys to make us salivate as we wait for the August release. Check them out below!
Who’s excited to romp around in some swampland! Woo! Battle for Azeroth really knows how to bring the fun that will get all the kids talking about on the TwittChats!
Actually, it’s the primordial swampland of Nazmir, one of the upcoming new zones for World of Warcraft’s summer expansion. According to a tour of the zone posted on the site, Nazmir used to be the center of troll civilization but has fallen upon hard times as of late. It’s a “bleak swamp” that has a ansty tendency to disappear visitors who try to wade through it.
Players exploring Nazmir will find blood trolls, plenty of ruins, overgrown vegitation, tributaries, rivers, and the incredibly cute Tortollans. There’s also a five-player dungeon, Underrot, to conquer in this zone.
“Keep a keen eye out for edible plants and other items throughout the region which can provide a small boost to your powers as you travel,” the devs said. “You may need all the help you can get as you make your way deeper into the swamp.”
Sometimes it’s debatable whether or not World of Warcraft needs more of its lore in-game. Obviously, the newest Battle for Azeroth lead-up comic focused on the reunion between the Windrunner sisters is relevant lore; the return of Alleria and dealing with that particular tangle is important. But it’d be hard to really have it in quest format. “A journey and reunion between three sisters… oh, and this Tauren Sylvanas really likes. That’s not awkward at all.”
Of course the comic is already filled with plenty of awkwardness, seeing as how Sylvanas is the Warchief of the Horde, Alleria is filled with the Void, and Vereesa is as sad about the death of Rhonin as most players aren’t. So you can imagine that the comic doesn’t end with a feel-good message of togetherness. Still, if you’d like to see how the reunion goes down, you can read the full thing on the official site.
When Radical Heights launched, I was inspired to put together a whole Perfect Ten about why trend-chasing doesn’t work for online games. Obviously, my chief focus was on games that wind up being developed at a rushed pace to cash in on trends and then run face-first into problems with chasing momentary trends, which… you know, you can just read the article; it’s linked right there. But it also prompted a follow-up question by longtime reader Sally Bowls asking why, with all of these issues, why the same rules don’t apply to MMOs.
The answer? Well, there isn’t one answer. There are three answers, all of which are part of the same set of considerations. For one thing, there’s the difference of development time and depth. For another, there’s the time before grinding. And last but not least, well… they do apply, really. But let’s take this piece by piece to talk about why trend-chasing for MMOs doesn’t quite provoke the same immediate reactions as it does for, say, MOBAs.
Get all the “haha people game on Macs?” out of your system right off the bat because this one isn’t funny. MOP tipster Apparition pointed us to a GamingOnLinux thread yesterday in which Linux and Mac gamers worry over Apple’s recent decision to deprecate OpenGL as of the next macOS release. OpenGL is basically a programming interface for graphics rendering, and it’s used heavily in gaming, particularly for supporting games on Macs.
Apparition’s, and our, first thought was for MMORPGs that might be affected. There are plenty of large MMOs that utilize this tech for Mac support, including Elder Scrolls Online, but it’s probably the smaller ones who might not be able to afford to switch to updated codebases. According to GOL, plenty of smaller devs, though not for MMOs, have already announced their intention to simply stop supporting OSX altogether rather than migrate to new tech.
As for MMOs, Guild Wars 2 may be affected, Lord of the Rings Online is reportedly already working on the problem, and of course, World of Warcraft has already migrated. We’ll be digging around for more clues from Mac MMOs. If you play on a Mac and your MMO of choice has made a statement about its security or its plans for the client, sound off in the comments and we’ll try to keep this post updated.
In this past weekend’s Make My MMO, we noted we were keeping a close eye on Temtem, a clearly Pokemon-inspired “massively multiplayer creature-collection adventure.” It hit Kickstarter last week and at the time was really close to its $70,000 goal. I’m happy to report today that it has now zipped past that goal and will assuredly fund; as I type this, it’s closing in on $100,000 with almost a month still to go.
“The days of traveling solo are over; in Temtem the world is a massively multiplayer one. Tamers from around the world can join and you will be able to see them around you, living the adventure with you and fighting to become the best Temtem tamer. Chill with strangers, make new friends and battle them or trade your goodies; the dynamic online world is full of possibilities.”
Stretch goals are naturally in order as the game keeps attracting funding. At $90K, contributors unlocked what is basically a hardmode roguelike ruleset; at $120K, devs are eyeing arcade-style minigames.
Debuting in 1996, The Realm Online (or, as it is sometimes shortened, The Realm) became one of the first online RPGs to overlay graphics on top of its MUD core. The game’s flat 2-D graphics were simplistic, even for the time, but the novelty of the massively multiplayer environment sparked enough curiosity among players to keep it populated and running for 22 years now.
It’s no secret that The Realm has fallen into near-obscurity, particularly with the current owners performing little in the way of development or promotion. Emerging from the emulator scene, Jordan Neville and a group of fellow IT geeks took it upon themselves to help The Realm experience the rebirth that it sorely needed.
This is coming to a head with June’s re-launch of The Realm Online, a new and improved version of the classic MMORPG that will run in parallel with the older and largely abandoned edition. We sat down with Neville to talk about the challenges and delights of giving The Realm another shot at life — and why you may want to check it out for yourself.
Players who feel like tanking is too straightforward in World of Warcraft will definitely have to do more stuff in Battle for Azeroth. Whether or not that’s more fun is a different story, but tanks are having their threat generation cut to 40% of their baseline value in Legion and as low as 20% of the threat generated by a fully geared endgame tank. So expect to tab around a lot more and frantically taunt things to keep everything on you. Doesn’t that sound fun?
No? Well, it’s happening anyhow, apparently.
Speaking of thankless chores you didn’t want, the latest comic leading up to the next expansion centers around Magni, former king of Ironforge and current speaker for the planet of Azeroth. It’s a thankless job with long hours, low pay, and also the fate of an entire planet resting on your diamond shoulders. Learn all about it in comic form!
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin tear open a fresh pack of Launch-Os, dine on the sour grapes of server closures, and imagine just what they would do if an MMORPG studio was ever foolish enough to hire them.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
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News is flying fast and furious as World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth’s beta test continues. Let’s catch up on a few details, shall we?
We now know the achievements required for unlocking the Dark Iron Dwarves and the Mag’hard Orcs, which takes an exalted reputation and a multi-stage war campaign each to attain. Don’t expect to unlock these on Day One of the expansion — or even Week One, for that matter.
Testers also poked around with the new and much more official Azerite traits interface, which replaced the temporary one that had been used up to this point. It looks really slick, the way you’d expect from a Blizzard UI. Another way that players will differentiate themselves from the pack is with reinstated utility buffs and debuffs.
Last week, Guild Wars 2’s Crystin Cox gave a monetization interview to Gamasutra during which she made one specific argument I wanted to pull out and re-examine. She was trying to explain why lockboxes can provide a “value” to players that they can’t get any other way.
“When we talk about cosmetics, there’s a demand for every individual cosmetic. Like maybe I love cowboy hats, I just want to buy cowboy hats. But there’s also a demand, and a lot of players feel this way, for just cosmetic options. I like cowboy hats sure, but I also like bandanas, and I like clown hair, I like everything. I don’t really have a super strong preference. I just want more things to put in my dress-up box. That demand can be satisfied a lot better sometimes with just giving you a random thing because that can be done a lot cheaper. If you don’t care about which one you get and you just want one, you can get it for a lot cheaper. When you’re talking about games that have rarity, and rarity’s a big part of that game, then lootboxes can be done to distribute something on a small scale, so that not everybody has access to it but some do, as sort of a jackpot item. And then that gets into a little more complexity around the economy and your game, and whether not this is an enjoyable part of your game for people to play, play with the economy of some such. But if it is, then you can use lootboxes to be a pretty good distribution for something that’s very rare.”