Those who have read a fair amount of my work will know that nostalgia is something I tend to rail against pretty hard. I’m a big advocate for constantly spot-checking your nostalgia in the cold light of reality and asking yourself if your memories are accurate.
This is not because I don’t feel any nostalgia. It’s exactly the opposite. It’s because I am wildly aware of how powerful a force it can be as someone who often will spend extended amounts of time working in elaborate mythology gags for character traits based on old roleplaying, to the extent that one of my characters has a particular class as a reference to an old game no one else I know actually played.
All of this is a long-winded way of pointing out that Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen already had a bit of an in with me when I sat down to play. Because while I wasn’t personally familiar with the game that it was referencing, I am personally familiar with that game’s close cousin, and I have a fair amount of familiarity with the playstyle. And it’s a playstyle MMOs have, in large part, moved beyond.
Blizzard fans, this year’s BlizzCon has a date, and that day is November 2nd and 3rd, almost three months after the launch of World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth, meaning you won’t even be missing much grinding time to attend, and you can count on lots of post-mortemy-type panels rather than endless teasers. On the other hand? E-sports, e-sports, e-sports.
“This year’s event will again commence with the esports action of BlizzCon Opening Week, taking place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles from October 25 to 29, where the initial rounds of the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Finals, and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship Finals will unfold. The competitions will culminate in Anaheim on November 2 and 3, where the champions of these tournaments along with those of the Overwatch World Cup and Hearthstone Global Games will be crowned.”
Last year’s event was sold out, so if you’re aiming to go, jot down these even more important dates: May 9th and 12th, when tickets will go on sale.
This year’s PAX East featured a lot of games early in their testing phase, but Ashes of Creation was one that had splurged for a very large booth toward the center of the show floor. And let’s be fair here; the game sure looked like it was ready for prime time. Between the animations on display and the general look of playing the game for onlookers, this is the sort of game that, at a glance, certainly did not look like something in pre-alpha. All of its graphical polish was being shown off to great effect.
Of course, looking good is one thing. The real question was how it played. But that was why the game also had demo stations set up, so that players could see what the game looked like in its current state of development and get a feel for the game from the PvE side and the PvP side.
I took a tour of a brief PvE dungeon with a GM assisting our party and three other people, which served as my chance to get a handle on what the game was offering. Of course, this was also a very early test build, so there’s no doubt a lot that’s going to be changing over time. But it did, at least, feel like a good fundamental base for combat.
So if we’ll no longer have tier sets in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, what motivation will you have for continuing to raid on the high end? For that matter, what motive will you have to continue running island adventures? Two more interviews from the show floor at PAX East 2018 with lead encounter designer Morgan Day cover exactly that. To answer both questions, Mythic raiding still has the best item level rewards in the game, and that’s not changing; meanwhile, long-term island rewards are still being discussed, but are very important to the team.
Players invested in the story can take heart that there’s going to be plenty to digest in Uldir, which is all about Titan research into removing Old Gods without killing the host (Azeroth, in our case). The War Campaign will also be akin to the Class Order Campaign, bringing players into enemy territory. There’s also plans to allow respeccing of Azerite armor, although frequency has yet to be determined. All good stuff to learn about as the release swiftly approaches in August.
I’m a huge fan of Guild Wars 2’s Super Adventure Box, even if I am not the best jumper in the world. My kid loves it, I love the graphics, the rewards are fun – really, it’s something we look forward to every year since it became a permanent event fixture. On the other hand, when the update doesn’t change much from year to year aside from QOL fixes, some of the shine does wear off. I definitely felt that way in World of Warcraft in the years when Blizzard just put the annual events on repeat (it’s gotten better about giving those events refreshes in recent years, I’ve noticed!).
Still, I hate to look a gift sparklepony in the mouth. It could be worse: I could be one of those Secret World players who are practically begging for the return of some of the events they miss from the old game in the new game because they’ve been cut off while Funcom slowly rolls them back out.
Do you get grumpy over MMO events on repeat? Would you prefer them to see a refresh every year, or are you just glad to see any annual events at all in your MMO of choice?
Massively OP commenter DK went on a Twitter tear last week that caught my eye. He was criticizing the way some MMORPG players use the word “meaningful” as a sort of a dog whistle for hardcore or elite.
“Meaningful progression” – from these gamers – “means being able to play more hours and day and make everyone who pays less have no chance against you in PvP or PvE or economically,” he wrote. “Meaningful PvP is being able to loot the corpses of the people you facerolled due to meaningful progression leaving them with nothing at all – no gear/weapons/anything. Meaningful PvE means WoW-style raiding.”
I thought it was a good observation. It’s not what I mean by meaningful, but in retrospect, I realize that it’s what many of the people I’ve argued with over the years sure meant, and the disconnect between visions for the genre suddenly became clear to me. It’s also made me a lot less eager to use the word.
Do you agree with DK? What do you consider “meaningful” MMO content?
Call me a softy, but I always cringe when I am sent in to slaughter the small, the fluffy, and the cute in MMOs. Sure, I’ll do it, because the quest log rules my life and removes all free will from my system, but I don’t have to feel good about it.
In RIFT, there’s a special pet you can get if you kill a wide variety of helpless, defenseless critters and loot their corpses for certain artifacts. I have gotten this pet before, but I didn’t feel particularly good about doing it. And don’t even get me started on World of Warcraft’s critter cannon…
Anyway, our discussion topic today is concerned with mobs that you feel bad about killing. Are there any? Has an MMO’s artists and animators done a particularly good job in pinging your conscience and making you regret unleashing your skills on something you’d rather be your best friend on a cross-country road trip?
Datamining has uncovered the class selection for two of the four allied races slated for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, and it will likely not come as a substantial surprise. It looks like both Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs will have access to the same classes as their “parent” races, barring hero options; Dark Iron Dwarves can be everything aside from Demon Hunters, Death Knights, and Druids, while Mag’har Orcs also pass on Paladins and Warlocks. If you were hoping for any particularly odd options, you will be slightly disappointed.
The build also contains the usual assortment of new zones and new class changes, as well as a few new mounts hinting at factions or at what players can unlock via PvP. As with anything obtained via datamining, it’s subject to change in the future, but you can take this first look as a fairly reasonable indicator of what the future will hold.
Kotaku put out a piece this week on how to game without wrecking your body, something that’s probably bound to come up in the average MMORPG player’s life. It’s filled with basic tips like “drink water, ya moron” and “sit up straight” and “don’t eat garbage” and “look at stuff other than the screen” but there are also some useful tips in there like “stretch before you binge” – including your hips and wrists, which you might otherwise overlook.
For this week’s Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to expound on two things: first, the most unhealthy video gaming moment or habit they’ve ever had, and second, one specific thing they do to keep themselves from completely destroying their bodies when their hobby has become their career.
The information dam seems to have broken with World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, and we are all about to be swept away in the flood. At a press event at the studio this week, Blizzard disclosed many more details about the upcoming expansion including its plans leading up to it.
The expansion beta should be starting soon. Blizzard said that the expansion “pre-patch” will hit the game a few weeks before Battle for Azeroth’s August 14th release. It’ll contain quests and scenarios leading up to the main expansion, including the Burning of Teldrassil and the Battle for Lordaeron.
As for allied races, each side will have six emissaries planned, although some of those races will be shared. Mag’har Orcs and Dark Iron Dwarves will be unlocked after going through the war campaign, with Kul Tiran Humans and Zandalari Trolls to be unlocked later in the expansion cycle. Blizzard said that it liked the pacing of Legion’s content rollout and will be using that as a template for Battle for Azeroth.
Who had August in the poll? Anybody have August 14th specifically? Because that, my friends, is precisely when World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion is launching. So sayeth Blizzard’s official Twitterbot this morning. Trailer too! Now that’s one way to kick off PAX East.
If you’ve gotten used to perusing and trading on World of Warcraft’s auction house from the mobile app, brace yourself for some slightly shocking news. Blizzard announced that it will be taking the WoW Remote Auction House app offline on April 18th.
Don’t panic just yet, however. First of all, this only affects remote auctions; the WoW Armory app will handle other remote functions as usual. Second, this move will not disable API and any auction house-related community sites.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin have a hearty laugh over April Fools Day in MMOs, celebrate the launch of a couple of titles, talk about MMO body shape options, and more!
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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