This past week has been a flurry of activity among World of Warcraft fans as they raced to pre-order the Battle for Azeroth expansion and unlock all of those new allied races. But one pressing question has been left dangling by Blizzard in this whole pre-order frenzy: How will the studio handle any player who wants to upgrade a digital pre-order to a physical collector’s edition?
So far, Blizzard isn’t saying other than that information on this will come out. You know. Eventually. This has worried some players who are getting flashbacks to the mess that was Legion’s pre-order. Back then, there were some who had to buy the pre-order for the bonuses, then make a separate purchase for the physical CE, and then petition Blizzard for a refund. Blizzard wouldn’t grant straight-up refunds but instead allowed these players to gift their second copy to a friend.
Last week, we got a well-intentioned email from a reader named Rick, who proposed a column in which readers tell us what they are looking for in an MMO and we offer up suggestions for just the right MMO. It’d be like Guild Chat, we imagine, only instead of dispensing guild advice, we’d be telling you folks what to play.
The email prompted some discussion among the MOP staff about whether that would be an effective column to write (or to read). We do answer some questions like that for the podcast from time to time, for example, but I seldom get the impression we’ve actually helped. Most times, the listener has already tried everything and is hoping for a game that simply doesn’t exist yet, so we’re destined to fail. And even then, it’s really difficult to recommend MMOs to people without really knowing their full history with every studio and game. Some of us can’t even find an MMO we want to play!
So we thought we’d open that discussion up for everyone. How do you go about recommending MMOs to other people? What are your criteria? When your sister says she’s done with WoW, your co-worker requests input around the watercooler one day, or Some Dude On Reddit asks for pointers – where do you start?
Well, folks, I hope you’ve made your pre-purchases of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth and started playing your allied races. I found out about the opening of pre-purchases when I was busy being out of the house and unable to buy anything, so I admittedly managed to get a bit of schadenfreude out of the fact that everyone else was equally unable to buy the expansion in the interim. When I actually got home I decided to give it a shot mostly for a lark, at which point it went through without a hitch.
The lesson here is that very mild patience is rewarded, and if that patience is a result of not having any alternatives that’s close enough, I guess.
The opening of pre-purchase brings along with it plenty of fun stuff to discuss, ranging from the actual unlock quests and scenarios to how the release date compares with predictions and existing data. So let’s all put down our moose-cows for a little bit to think about thing in a larger context, and then we can collectively get back to tearing up low-level zones with our allied race alts.
Warcraft III or World of Warcraft players should know well the name of Maiev Shadowsong. This Warden — best known as Illidan’s jailor — has built up a following across the two games she’s fought, and now Maiev brings her war to a new front in Heroes of the Storm.
The MOBA version of the character attempts to stay true to her roots as a fast-moving fighter who strikes out all around her. With her blink ability, she can dart into the fray and lash out with a fan of knives before anyone can react. Blizzard is obviously positioning her as a multi-target fighter who can get in and get out before taking too much damage herself.
Perhaps her most interesting ability is Vault of the Wardens, which allows Maiev to do a little flip in the air that dodges attacks and can cause an enemy to waste a move. If you like frustrating your opponents, this could be the class for you!
Sometimes, you write a column more or less as a mental exercise, and then World of Warcraft drops an expansion pre-purchase that makes it all feel highly relevant.
The world of Azeroth is a world of astonishing variety. On Earth, we have exactly one form of intelligent bipedal life, but when it comes to species native to Azeroth that are gifted with speech and cognition, the plethora of playable races available barely even scratches the surface. And that’s without even getting into the various races available on Draenor and Argus, although at least the latter seems to be mostly limited to various flavors of demons and more subraces of Draenei.
The point is that even with a grand total of 19 different playable races, it’s easy to come up with other playable races that would be a fun time. And now that we’ve got allied races on the docket, that’s pretty viable as an option. So let’s look at a sampling (based on personal preference) of the races we can’t yet play but would still be pretty fun. Blizzard, take notice.
Now that pre-orders are live for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, players have a whole new activity to keep them occupied: attempting to outwait the purchasing queue. But after that, there’s yet another activity in store, which is to unlock, level, and enjoy the four allied races that serve as prologue content for this summer’s expansion pack.
The folks at Wowhead sat down with a couple of Blizzard devs to go into greater detail about these allied races and get some clarification about attaining and playing them. The devs revealed that the moose horns on the new Tauren were controversial but ultimately made it into the game. Blizzard also said that more Silithus epilogue quests are incoming and that the new Dwarf and Troll races won’t become available until after the expansion launches.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice that Blizzard has for players is to not overlook the fact that whether or not they’re interested in playing an allied race, they can still unlock that race’s mount for their accounts by going through the recruitment scenarios.
It’s a mistake to assume that the term “griefing” in an MMO context only refers to a nasty act in PvP combat, such as corpse camping or fragging lowbies. There are many ways that the creative jerk can detract from the fun and enjoyment of fellow players.
Take, for example, that Tauren in the picture above. I had been waiting at this mailbox in World of Warcraft for hours to see when a small letter would spawn on the ground to start a new postal quest chain that was just added. Well, this Horde player saw me doing it, so he deliberately sat down on the spawn spot so I wouldn’t be able to click it. He remained there for an hour. Class act, right there.
And then there have been times when I’ve seen the other faction blitz into auction houses to kill the NPC auctioneers just so that it would mess up anyone doing business right then.
I’m sure you have a few examples, so share! How have you been griefed in MMOs outside of combat?
It’s official: World of Warcraft‘s Battle for Azeroth preorders are live on the official store. You’re looking at $49.99 for the base package and $69.99 for the digital deluxe. The expansion has a release date stamp of “on or before September 21, 2018,” elsewhere in the PR referred to as “summer.” As usual, preorders come with multiple goodies accessible now, including the level 110 character booster and some (but not all) of the allied races.
“Players who pre-purchase Battle for Azeroth today can begin their journey to recruit four of the expansion’s new Allied Races, each representing comrades they’ve fought alongside on the Broken Isles and Argus in the game’s most recent expansion, Legion™. Upon winning the respect of an Allied Race by completing quests and earning reputation, players will unlock the ability to create characters of that race and set out on a new adventure across Azeroth.† Alliance players can add the shadow-touched Void elves and valiant Lightforged draenei to their ranks, while members of the Horde will be able to bring the ancient Nightborne and noble Highmountain tauren into their faction’s fold—with additional Allied Races to come in the future.”
The Q&A with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas is ongoing; so far the big news, besides the expansion, is that expanded solo queues aren’t likely. You can catch the rest below.
Reddit and Twitter are buzzing today with another round of World of Warcraft datamining – this one from WoWhead, which has dug up new interface elements patched in during today’s maintenance. The important bit is a store UI element called BoostPopupBFA – presumably, the requisite Battle for Azeroth character level booster. And if that’s live today, it can mean only one thing: Expansion preorders will also go live today.
Orrrrrr maybe they’re just being overly prepared for when it does happen.
Reddit is speculating that the preorders may go live today during the Q&A with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas, which is set for 3 p.m. EST today on Twitch. Guess we’ll see!
Still wondering when the game will launch? Join in our own speculation, which still puts good money on late autumn.
Although the Asheron’s Call series has now been dead for exactly one year today, it’s far from forgotten by fans. It was admittedly a cult classic, and as the youngest of the “Big Three” graphical MMOs, it was the easiest to ignore, especially as it used an original sci-fi/fantasy setting rather than, well, something with elves.
MMO AC converts I’ve met regularly said the game was more solo-friendly and more story-driven than Ultima Online and EverQuest, receiving monthly updates that felt like downloadable content before DLC was a common industry term. These weren’t simply automated addons but events that were often curated in a fashion that is similar to Game Masters in tabletop RPGs, meaning that those who built the scenario sometimes participated as their own lore characters, placing themselves at the mercy of their own game and community. While several events in both AC1 and AC2 made use of this kind of interactive story-telling style, none is better recalled than the first event: The Shard of the Herald.
If you think about World of Warcraft’s Moon Guard server, you probably make some jokes about ERP in Goldshire and move on with your life. But there’s a lot more to the server than that, as demonstrated by the massive RP event hosted on the server recently. What was the theme? Celebrating the defeat of the Burning Legion by the forces of the Alliance.
That is, you might acquiesce, a pretty good reason for a celebration. And you can even check out a gallery of shots for precisely the event just below.
Players marched through Redridge Mountains as part of a parade for all those who fought against the demons, followed by speeches and celebration in Lakeshire. It’s a pretty cool large-scale event, and it’s well worth taking a look at both the gallery and the memories of players who took part in the event. If you’re jealous, you could always try to host one for your own server, to boot.
Nine years ago on Massively-that-was, we began covering the MMORPG known as Alganon – you’ll recall it as a bit of a World of Warcraft clone, long before that phrase was trite. You’ll also recall it as a game that weathered a major controversy back in 2010, when the game’s president, David Allen, was pushed out of the company. Why? According to none other than Derek Smart, who replaced him, Smart “fired” Allen “for insubordination and for acting against the best interests of the company,” investors, game, and team, arguing that he himself had a better plan for the game’s business model. Allen retaliated, accusing Smart of a “smear campaign” and suing him to boot (the lawsuit was settled in 2010 and Quest walked back some of Smart’s statements).
Since then, the game has muddled along without making headlines for much of anything besides an expansion in 2014. But that might be changing, as over the past few months, the game’s future has appeared less certain.
Back in October, Smart told Steam players that because of the game’s low population, the team hadn’t been investing much into the game for the prior year. “We were planning a visual update, and another DLC,” he wrote, “but those plans are on hold for now.”
Massively OP Readers, you are clear for take-off. Please cross-check the cabin, assume flight positions, and break out the best aerial screenshots you have. Fair flying and Godspeed!
Rafael zooms into view for our headlining picture today from a game that he has only recently discovered: Blade and Soul. Oh, I josh, I josh. Rafael’s the site’s premiere B&S evangelist, so beware if he corners you in a crowded tavern!
“It wouldn’t be Blade and Soul if it didn’t have interesting outfits and Wushu gliding,” he said. “Case in point? My Gunner, Haliee, gliding around in her jammies. Yup. She can fly around in her cute night shirt complete with little cat patterns. Here she is as she approaches her landing. ‘The runway is clear zero-niner.'”