Enjoy your friendly skies now, flyboys and flygirls, because World of Warcraft is prepared to ground you once again in its next expansion. And while everyone knew that we’d have to hoof it for a while like savages, at least now we know some of what we’ll have to do to regain flight privileges.
The list to gain flight access in Battle for Azeroth looks daunting, but it’s also very similar to the path that players had to undergo in Legion. Basically, you’ll need to go through all of the main storylines, fully explore all of the zones, and max out your reputation with several new factions. It’s important to note that this list is just part one of the requirements and not the whole deal. Again, much like with Legion.
With the ever-developing, ever-growing nature of MMORPGs, the expansion truly has a life of its own. By now we are well acquainted with the cycle that runs from gestation to obsolescence and can usually point to where any particular expansion is on this chart.
The Lazy Goldmaker outlined the typical progression of MMO expansion packs with a six-step cycle that focuses heavily on the economy and raiding: “After the final raid of the expansion we will enter the last content drought. This is typically the longest period with nothing exciting added to the game. We are in the middle of this phase of Legion currently. Most of the markets from the live expansion will still be viable, but profit margins will be decreasing, as will prices on all goods.”
Read on for more MMO blog essays, including ones that cover EVE Online, Wizard101, SWTOR, and LOTRO!
Blizzard is not messing around with DDOS attacks. The BBC has a piece out on a World of Warcraft player from Romania, Calin Mateias, who was apparently extradited to California, charged with conducting a denial of service attack on WoW’s servers back in 2010. He pleaded guilty to “causing damage to a protected computer,” will sit for a year in prison, and was fined around $30,000 to boot. The saddest part is that he was DDOSing servers to get back at guildies over raid loot and participation.
In other WoW news, production director John Hight spoke to PCGamesN about the march toward Battle for Azeroth; he not only teases the story arc but philosophizes about the on-again, off-again war between the factions.
“We thought it would be appropriate and very interesting to say that the biggest threat now in Azeroth is each other. Can we, without that uniting threat of the Burning Legion, come together – or are we going to battle each other? And as you can see in Battle for Azeroth, we’re going to fight it out.”
Reporting on Activision-Blizzard’s endless piles of money is about as much fun as reporting on how fifty-bajillion-zillion people are playing fork knife. No, I said that wrong; it’s about as much fun as taking a fork and a knife to my own eyeballs. But hey, it’s tradition, so here goes: Bobby Kotick and the gang have announced new records, measured in said piles of money; the company acknowledges it was a quarter “without large content releases” that nevertheless produced enough piles of money to surpass its own guidance, leading it to raise its outlook for more piles of money for the year.
“For the quarter ended March 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were a Q1 record $1.97 billion, as compared with $1.73 billion for the first quarter of 2017. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were an all-time quarterly record $1.46 billion. GAAP operating margin was 30%. GAAP earnings per share were an all-time quarterly record $0.65, as compared with $0.56 for the first quarter of 2017. […] Activision Blizzard’s operating margin was 39% and earnings per diluted share were an all-time quarterly record $0.78, as compared with $0.72 for the first quarter of 2017. […] Operating cash flow was a Q1 record $529 million, up 29% year-over-year.”
If the mere mention of the words “Artifact Power” now send you into apoplectic rage in relation to World of Warcraft, we have bad news for you: Azerite Power has been redubbed Artifact Power, and yes, it’s what is going into your Heart of Azeroth necklace. That doesn’t change the mechanics of it, but the latest Q&A confirmed the name change. It also confirmed that a given power shouldn’t feel like a full-on Legendary from Legion, but the total cumulative power should be somewhere in that ballpark.
The Q&A also covered the removal of tier sets and the replacement of the powers in general with Azerite armor (each tier of power should apparently feel like a two-piece bonus), along with the more unified looks for armor in various locations. The team also confirmed that High Elves aren’t planned for a future Allied Race; as far as the development and lore teams are confirmed, High Elves are basically already playable, those are Blood Elves. Check out the full Q&A writeup on Wowhead.
Best and worst, top and bottom: It’s fun to discuss video game in absolute extremes (at times). And I’ll bet that a lot of us only really remember the most excellent MMORPG expansions and the most disappointing ones.
So let’s grouse today and dredge up past heartaches. What was, to you, the most disappointing MMO expansion of all time? A few come to mind for me. Star Trek Online: Delta Rising was a narrative and structural mess that bogged down and made me desert it. I know that I was really let down with how RIFT: Storm Legion developed, faltering hard after a strong start. But probably for me, Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor took the cake. The publicity for it was atrocious, the actual expansion about as far from “fun” as I’ve ever experienced in an MMO, and the difficulty of moving and progressing was aggravating.
But that’s me. How about you? Which MMO expansion do you want to rag on today?
If Allied Races show us anything, it’s that World of Warcraft is really in no danger of running out of new races to throw at us. This particular system is adding nearly twice as many new races in one expansion as we’ve had added during the entirety of the game’s lifespan thus far, there’s another one that looks to be set up for this as well (hello there, Vulpera), and there’s a deep roster of other options that people have asked to have for ages. Yes, it would take some work to retrofit Vrykul and Ogres, but considering the work going into new male orc poses, Zandalari Trolls, and Kul Tiran Humans, it is definitely not insurmountable work.
Of course, as I alluded to a while back, we sort of have a disconnect right now where we’ve got far more race options than class options. And while we’re awash in races, we seem to be in danger of running out of classes that can’t be pretty cleanly modeled by what’s already in the game. That doesn’t mean we can’t get any new classes, of course, but it’s hard to justify the inclusion of a Pirate class when we already have a Rogue spec doing everything such a class would theoretically offer. The inclusion of mechanical Hunter pets alone basically short-circuited talk about “Engineer” as a class.
Not that this means we’re out of options, of course; in fact, there’s still plenty of things left in the bank of known or reasoned class options that we can’t play just yet. So let’s talk about some of those options, and along the way I’m sure we can fit in some fun discussions about the difference between classes and hero classes.
If we judged MMOs by their numbers alone — and I’m not suggesting we do so — then the original Lineage would be the crowing rooster strutting about the hen house. It’s also been one of those games that I’ve always intellectually acknowledged was a huge hit for some reason but never gave much attention. I think it’s because, contrary to many western MMOs, Lineage is primarily an Asian phenomenon. That doesn’t mean it should be shunned, of course, but just that it may be difficult to understand when you’re on the outside of it.
So let’s back up the memory truck to September 1998, when a then-fledgling NCsoft rolled out a Diablo-style isometric MMO and struck virtual gold in South Korea. At the time, gaming rooms were becoming a huge thing in the country. A recession had hit, giving people a lot of time with nothing to do, and the government was rapidly expanding the broadband network. In the face of this perfect storm, titles like StarCraft and Lineage became overnight household fixtures — and remained so for decades to come.
Even if you haven’t played Lineage and you don’t know anyone who does, trust me: Millions and millions of players have. As former Senior Producer Chris Mahnken once said, “Lineage keeps going because it’s just plain fun.”
Hooray, we have a release date for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth instead of just a release window! And contrary to what many skeptics (myself included) expected to get, it is actually quite a bit faster than other releases. But as you all have no doubt noticed by now, my love of math means that I’m hardly sore about this. It just means that there’s another data point to consider when we look to the future.
So let’s talk about this new piece of information while using the same information from the column in which I made a reasonable estimate, based on this new information. Again, I think it’s important to note how much faster this expansion is actually releasing compared to prior expansions; it’s significant, even if it means that the people predicting things like June were being wildly wrong about “optimistic” predictions. (After all, pessimistic predictions were equally wrong, just in the other direction; my own estimates were off by 2-3 months.)
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.
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.
There’s just a week and a half to go before EVE Fanfest 2018
, the biggest event in the EVE Online
social calendar. The event kicks off on April 12th and will celebrate EVE
‘s upcoming 15th anniversary, a major milestone for any online game. This year we’re anticipating juicy details on the next step in EVE Online
‘s ambitious long-term development roadmap, an update on the impending EVE
mobile game, and possibly a major announcement about CCP’s upcoming MMOFPS codenamed Project Nova
MassivelyOP will be on the ground once again this year to get the latest insight into the future of the sandbox. Stay tuned to our coverage of the event using the EVE Fanfest 2018 tag, where I’ll be posting major announcement news, detailed discussions on new gameplay revealed, interviews from the event, and in-depth opinion pieces. Fanfest will also be a great opportunity to assess the mood and impact of last year’s pull-out from VR game development, and to take the pulse of the community of a variety of topics. If you have any specific questions you’d like me to pose to developers or players while I’m there, please let me know in the comments.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down our expectations for EVE Fanfest 2018 and give some tips on getting the most out of the event for players attending or just watching from home.
For most of us, achievement systems in MMORPGs are either ignorable annoyances, occasional goals, or amusing distractions. For World of Warcraft player Xirev, they became an obsession.
The Swedish player, who mains a Blood Elf Fire Mage, announced this past week that he was able to complete all of World of Warcraft’s 3,314 active achievements. The herculean task took him six years to do, which began as a way to earn a mount and riding skill that he could not afford. This sparked an interest in achievement hunting, which ramped up to where he was putting in 10 or more hours a day into the game during the Legion expansion cycle. He has become the first player to get all of the achievements through Legion, which has also netted him 424 mounts and 29,210 achievement points.