The “when will Battle for Azeroth” speculation train is rolling once again because it looks like patch 7.3.5 is just around the corner. We haven’t actually been told when that’s landing yet, of course, but the World of Warcraft community continues to push forward with the sort of boundless optimism that it’s so well known for. “This time is going to be different!”
Here’s a spoiler for the future: It’s not. This time is going to be exactly the same, just like how previous times have been exactly the same, just like each time we’ve talked about this have been exactly the same. Betting on anything before October is optimistic, betting before September is wildly unrealistic. Similarly, betting on 2019 is pessimistic, and later than January is wildly unrealistic just as surely.
We still do not know exactly when World of Warcraft will make allied races playable. What we do know is that it sure as heck looks like it’s going to happen before the next expansion is out; that’s not announced, no, but there is an awful lot of material about them already on the test server. Everything points to them being a pre-launch thing, most likely along the lines of Demon Hunters with Legion. All well and good. And we also know the preliminary requirements for these various races, which is… more contentious.
There’s a lot of stuff we don’t know yet, of course; while achievement tracking is account-wide, it’s not yet clear if you need to have the reputation and achievements on multiple characters or just on one. (It’s plausible, for example, that you might need to have the reputation on the character but can get the achievements on another.) But there’s already some debate about whether or not these requirements are too steep, and I think it’s an interesting thing to discuss and analyze, even while I’m of the mind that it seems pretty reasonable thus far.
Antorus is out now, and if you want to see the cinematic that ends the very long-running story about the Burning Legion and Sargeras, well, that’s easy to do. It’s kind of spoiler-filled, though, so I’m not going to be talking about it here in any detail beyond mentioning that Azeroth does not exactly end things without a major impact. And needless to say, people have already started asking “why is it that World of Warcraft’s next expansion is going back to factional squabbles when this just happened?”
It’s a question with lots of good answers. So I want to dive into exactly those. In fact, you can neatly divide the answers up into three categories: The anthropic principle, real-life parallels, and the change of flavors. And it’s not that one or the other is the “real” answer or the “right” one; it’s that all three of them combine perfectly to make factional squabbles a perfectly reasonable next destination after the cosmic invasion of the last expansion.
The launch of Guild Wars 2
‘s Living World Season 4 will be upon us today, so it’s all the more pressing that I wrap up my Path of Fire
story analysis so we can jump into some new impressions as we delve into new story content. I haven’t had hands-on time with the new season prior to launch this time, so we’ll be going straight into a deep dive of the new content next time, but until then I can’t wait to share my closing thoughts on PoF
‘s story with you.
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll wrap up my PoF story impressions and will conclude with some hopes for today’s season launch. This will be a lengthy one, fair reader, so get comfortable for a bumper read! As ever, there will be significant spoilers throughout for anyone who has
been living under a rock not finished the PoF story and has missed the new season hype.
This week’s Massively Overthinking topic is a submission from reader and commenter camelotcrusade, who takes the industry’s current fight over monetization in a different direction from lockboxes. “Are modern games too cheap?” he asks, probably slowly reaching into a can of worms with a wicked gleam in his eye.
“When you think about it, many other things we buy have increased in price over the last decade but AAA games are still expected to be a maximum of $60, with many of us waiting for sales (or for free-to-play). Meanwhile, games everywhere are adding shops, post-release content, and DLC galore with increasingly aggressive pricing models. How much of this is to make-up margins they can’t capture up-front? How much should an AA game cost in 2017? $75? $90? Is there a price point where lockboxes, gambling, and in-game stores could focus on value-add instead of survival? And how did we get here? Whose fault is it? And how do we get out of this, or is ‘would you like a game with your store’ the future as we know it?”
Let’s talk money!
The last time I saw this many people asking “why?” about a new World of Warcraft expansion was at the announcement of Mists of Pandaria. I agreed then, too; the idea of bringing in the Pandaren to the game seemed to be slipping into territory that just didn’t feel appealing to me. I’m still not entirely sold on the idea, a fact which is not helped at all by the fact that the very next expansion was so creatively bankrupt the team seems to have thrown every good idea at once into Legion.
Really, we don’t know what happened behind the scenes of Warlords of Draenor development, but that seems like a plausible theory.
So, yes, Battle for Azeroth. That is the actual title of the next expansion, one which feels almost as if it was cobbled together by drawing a few random words that usually get used with the game and hoping they assembled a coherent sentence. It seems, at face value, like a really dumb idea, especially since the very basic premise is one that you know is absolutely not going to be resolved by the end of the expansion.
Tomorrowday, BlizzCon will be upon us, and this year we’re expecting a full reveal of the new expansion for World of Warcraft, still the most lucrative MMORPG in the world. It’s always a fun angle for our team to cover WoW, since to us, it’s just another MMO among hundreds, albeit an outsized one. Indeed, we have writers who strongly dislike everything about it and consider it directly or indirectly responsible many of the genre’s woes. Even so, there’s no denying that whatever WoW does next is a big deal for the MMO genre, even if you’re not a fan.
For this edition of Massively Overthinking – a bit of a special one for the site, as today marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Massively-that-was – I’ve asked the staff to outline their hopes and fears for BlizzCon, for WoW and the studio’s other games, and especially what they want to see in the expansion itself!
Endgamers, Revelation Online’s
update today is all about you, as My.com’s
just dropped the Eternal Chasm raid, a “high-end raid for those that can handle its twisting layouts and waves of draconic evil.” In fact, while there are two different 10-man difficulty modes for the dungeon, there’s also a 5-man edition. Good news; it turns out that multiple difficulty modes for raiding is something My.com is willing to do to make its content appeal to lots of players. If only other big studios would step up
The studio’s promising secret bosses and a rare fire-dino mount in addition to the regular ones:
“Stygian Siren: Haunting a long-forgotten ghost ship, the Stygian Siren is longing to seduce everyone who dares to go aboard.
Lightning Kirin: This magic dragon uses lightning powers to electrocute its enemies within seconds.
The Three Gatekeepers: If you want to descend deeper into the chasm, you have to put an end to these towering elementals that are forged of Steel, Fire, and Earth!
Flameborn Tyrant: Are you ready to taste some flames? This fiery beast won’t go down easily. But once it does, it may serve you as a loyal mount.
Ravenous Wretch: This poisonous giant resides in the swamps of the Eternal Chasm and is swift to anger. Beware of nature’s wrath and be sure to bring a proper antidote!
Devouring Dragon: Watch your step – this creature does exactly as its name suggests: it swallows you up.
Ice Queen: Frozen Onslaught, Ice Shrapnel, and Sword of Ice are just some of her abilities. If you don’t want to end up as a frozen statue, you better end her reign!”
Check out the trailer and images down below! Anybody playing?
Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.
One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.
It may be the “no-win scenario,” but Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru has a lot to teach captains about enduring in the face of failure. Inspired by the famous test from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek Online is adding a new weekend event
that players cannot beat.
They can, however, strive to do their best before the game over screen appears. The longer that player captains protect the titular freighter, the greater the rewards gained. As a bonus, if players participate for three days during the event, they’ll be awarded a Universal Console Reiterative Structural Capacitor. It sounds very impressive.
Additionally, with today’s patch comes a slew of free gifts to mark the 30th anniversary of The Next Generation’s debut. Players can claim a Type-7 shuttle and a “skant” uniform from the C-store and visit Worf at Starfleet Academy to participate in the reprise of the 25th anniversary events.
Over the weekend, the studio behind crowdfunded RvR MMORPG Camelot Unchained released a hefty chunk of its ongoing beta one document, revealing extensive insight into the way the game’s social systems will be laid out. Parts of those social systems will look familiar to MMO players, such as groups (Warbands), guilds (Orders), and raids (Battlegroups). But there are more layers to contend with, including perma-groups or mini-guilds (Permanent Warbands), as well as project-oriented raids (Campaigns), all designed in the service of an ambitious RvR-centered MMO that makes space for soloers and small guilds by not over- or under-privileging the largest teams in the genre. That’s the goal, anyway!
CU boss and MMORPG veteran developer Mark Jacobs, whom many of you know personally thanks to his ubiquity in our comments section, gamely answered about a thousand of my questions over the weekend, which we’ve compiled into an absurdly long interview about how to properly smush together all these groups into a social system sandwich that makes everybody happy. There’s even a Star Trek quote and a bonus question about Warhammer Online’s development and CU’s budget at the end!
I strongly urge you to check out the original doc first, as the interview assumes knowledge of the basic terminology and structure of the game. Fair warning: While Camelot Unchained’s document is almost 6000 words, this interview itself is close to 4000. You put Jacobs in a virtual room with me and my questions go on forever, and damn if he doesn’t answer them exhaustively. It’s a whopper, but it’s worth reading for a glimpse into what could be the future of MMO community planning.
Even Mercy can’t save you from Blizzard’s wrath for being a cranky player.
The studio sat its playerbase down for a talk this week, saying that it was getting serious about bad behavior that is running rampant throughout Overwatch and stepping up the punishments for crossing the line.
“Effective immediately, we will be issuing increased penalties to players in response to verified reports of bad behavior,” the studio posted. “In Overwatch, that means anything from abusive chat, harassment, in-game spam, match inactivity (being intentionally AFK), and griefing.”
Blizzard encouraged players spotting such activities to make full use of the reporting tools. Those caught engaging in negative behavior will be silenced, suspended, or even banned. The studio said that a reporting system is on its way for the console editions as well.
Season 11 is now live in Diablo III, which means a brand-new opportunity to start a fresh grind for loot and expies. In its release blog last night, Blizzard touted new minipets, new portraits, new stash tab unlocks, and a new rotation of Conquests. The main prize, however, is the class sets players can earn for completing this season’s journey requirements, including a class set for the still relatively fresh Necromancer class.
“Now that the Priests of Rathma are active in Sanctuary, you can play through the Season Journey as the Necromancer and complete the free Class Set: the Bones of Rathma. Of course, this prize isn’t just for Necromancers. Every class will receive Haedrig’s Gift—a free Class Set—for completing the Season Journey Chapters 2, 3, and 4. Barbarians can earn the Wrath of the Wastes set, Crusaders can earn Roland’s Legacy, Demon Hunters can earn the Unhallowed Essence set, Monks can earn the Raiment of a Thousand Storms set, Witch Doctors can earn the Helltooth Harness set, and Wizards can earn Tal Rasha’s Elements.”
To get started, either create a seasonal hero or rebirth an older toon to start him or her from scratch (but don’t worry – you won’t lose loot permanently!).