Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.
“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.
There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.
I was recently reading Larry’s column on Elder Scrolls Online’s latest expansion and how he noted that there didn’t seem to be a lot — if any — in the way of filler quests. Side quests aren’t a thing in Morrowind, unless you give yourself a quest to just poke around and get into trouble. And I consider that a very good thing indeed.
I’m done with side quests. With the exception of, say, The Secret World (which puts some effort into these), side quests have long become the dumping ground for “busy work” with minimal story. They’re the MMO equivalent of increasing the margins on your high school research paper so the end product looks more impressive, yet no one is actually fooled.
Are MMO side quests on their way out? Do you see evidence of this in other games? And do you prefer to stick to main storylines — either personal or regional — when you play?
Did you enjoy the music of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind? Then there’s good news, because you can now fill your ears with it wherever you go. The soundtrack is available via Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Music, so no matter what your preferred platform may be, you can make it the day-to-day soundtrack of your life. Be warned that you may get some funny looks if you spend an entire business meeting playing it, assuming you’re someone who has high-powered business meetings.
The official site also has an interview with composer Brad Derrick, who talks about the challenges involved in making sure the soundtrack was new and distinct while still reminding players of the history behind the game’s title and lore. Derrick marks the title theme as the hardest part to compose (since it’s the iconic song for the whole expansion), while also seeing the transition of one theme into another depending on player activities to be vital to making a good soundtrack. Check out the full interview if you’re curious about how the tracks got made.
The Oculus/ZeniMax Media lawsuit still isn’t over, all these years after the start: ZeniMax is this week arguing before a Texas district court that Oculus should be forced to remove its VR products from sale or pony up royalties.
Earlier this year, courts awarded ZeniMax half a billion dollars in damages from Facebook-owned Oculus, having found that the VR company was guilty of copyright infringement, false designation, and failing to comply with a non-disclosure agreement. At the time, Oculus declared that a victory because the jury didn’t find it guilty of stealing trade secrets.
The new injunction filed by ZeniMax seeks to double that sum to compensate it for “ongoing harm.” Facebook and Oculus are contesting everything, of course, including the original verdict.
Even the judge seems tired of it all, reportedly having told listeners that he aimed to “resolve the heck out of [this] big, hairy fight.”
On this week’s show, Justin and Bree talk about FFXIV: Stormblood’s early access launch, Destiny 2’s PC delay, Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC drops, breaking up the trinity in MMOs, 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.
Listen to the show right now:
When Massively OP’s MJ started her Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind adventures, she couldn’t help but explore the new land. There are many interesting sights to see! But there is much MJ’s new baby Warden needs to learn (both about the land and about her skills), so now it’s time to take her first steps along the expansion’s quest line. Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. to see if she can stay on her feet.
What: The Elder Scrolls Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
If you’re fond of The Elder Scrolls Online and have managed to tear yourself away from Morrowind for a few minutes, you probably already caught up on the game’s big announcements at this year’s E3. But there was more stuff going on this year than just that, and the game’s team has helpfully recapped the big events for players unable to attend, including the community meetup and the game’s presence at the Bethesda booth.
Of course, it’s easy to step away from the game if you’re unexpectedly banned, isn’t it? Players who preordered the game through Amazon seem to be having some issues, getting banned despite being players in good standing. Players who ordered physical copies of the game are still waiting on delivery of same, which seems to be the cause behind the unintentional bans. The community service team has been working with affected players as best they are able, but it’s still a bit of a kick for players who have done nothing meriting the banning. So… here’s hoping that if you are looking forward to the game’s next updates, you didn’t order through Amazon.
The Elder Scrolls Online released its first expansion, Morrowind, shortly before E3 2017. MMOs rarely come up with mainstream media, but with Morrowind’s nostalgia power, I heard the name mentioned a few times off the showroom floor. While I’d heard of Morrowind, of course, I didn’t personally get on the Elder Scrolls train until Skyrim — it’s been one of those games making “best of” lists for as long as I could remember. However, some of the things I’d read about the upcoming expansion gave me pause, so I brought them up with ZeniMax Game Director Matt Firor during our conversation at E3.
I ask for “camp” from all of you — and camp is what I got, although not necessarily what I envisioned. Sometimes it’s better than that! So what did Rees Racer immediately go to when I requested pictures of summer camp?
“There’s no pretending TERA is an open-world sandbox,” he said. “It is straight-up themepark. This means there are plenty of towns (large and small) along with various and sundry other quest hubs cleverly disguised as camps. I’m having good fun leveling the newest Valkyrie class, and here she is during a brief respite at the Desert Research Station in Val Aureum.”
May I float the suggestion that saddling a lion and pulling on its mane while shouting “GIDDYUP!” only has one logical and unfortunate conclusion?
E3 is drawing to a close, with its reveals over and done with — all that’s left is processing our interviews and hands-on pieces. But in the meantime, we decided to take this week’s Overthinking to consider the field. MMORPGs haven’t shined brightly at E3 in a long time, so our expectations are usually low — the con is interesting to us more for what’s happening on the multiplayer front.
So that’s what we asked our staff: What’s the most interesting or grabby-hands MMO or MMO-ish thing from E3 this year? Which game would get your best in show and why? There’s also an extra bonus section on the con itself courtesy of our writer on the floor.
During his interview with Gamasutra last week, Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor told the publication, “I really think MMO is a technology. It’s not a game type anymore.”
Specifically, he means the megaserver structure of MMORPGs that allow thousands of players to more or less game together. “We have an interesting server structure in ESO that is unique in this generation of online game. What we do is we have what we call megaservers, where we instance all of our zones,” he explains. “Once you’re on the North American server, you never pick another server. The game kinda figures out how many instances of each zone to spin up, and which one to put you in….those are the kind of cool things that are happening behind the scenes, in game development, where it takes all of the decision-making out of the player’s hands.”
Someone could probably contest the “unique” part, given how many MMORPGs have employed versions of layered instancing and megaservers over the years, including modern ones, but I wouldn’t argue at all with “cool” — it still seems bizarre to me that any MMORPGs in 2017 are still stranding gamers on smaller servers, to the detriment of the game itself. So: What MMORPG needs megaserver tech the most but still doesn’t have it?
When I spoke to ZeniMax Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler a few months back, I was intrigued by the PvP that Morrowind was offering The Elder Scrolls Online. When it hit the test servers, I found it to be exactly what I thought it would be. But because of my playtimes or just the general activity on the PTS, the queues didn’t pop much, so I didn’t get enough of an impression of the Battlegrounds during the test.
However, since the chapter hit the live servers, I’ve been able to spend a good bit of time in the no-Champion Points version of the instanced PvP zones. (As many of you know, I have a heavy aversion to Champion Points, so I apologize that my impressions of the Battlegrounds are only reflective of that.)
Now, I enjoy PvP sporadically. I would not consider myself a hardcore PvPer. But there was a time when I spent all of my game time in both instanced and open-world PvP, so I am not ignorant of the interests PvPers: balanced classes, interesting and unexploitable maps, and strategic and engaging objectives. Of course, there will always be balancing issue when you’re dealing with the number of class combinations ESO carries, but they are relatively balanced. And the other interests fall in line with most other MMO PvP. There is one major flaw that appears effective on paper, but when you factor in human nature, it fails almost every time: 4v4v4.
has just announced this morning that both its MOBA SMITE
and its MOBA Paladins
will launch for the Xbox One X on November 7th, the same day the platform itself arrives. Both games are already playable on the Xbox One proper.
The studio’s released a video for each game showing off gameplay and visuals captured with the Xbox One dev kit — and yep, it’s native 4K with 60 FPS. Enjoy!