Global Chat: Too many shipwrecks in MMOs

    
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Bad plans.

In the vast annals of MMO tropes, there’s one that has been in front of you all along and you’ve probably never noticed: shipwrecking new players. Roger over at Contains Moderate Peril complains that lazy developers lean on this cliché too hard for the beginner experience (and he heavily hints that Amazon’s New World does the exact same thing).

“Many MMOs need a simple plot device at the start of a game that can justify or accommodate the need to explain everything,” he observes. “And one of the most common of these is the ‘shipwreck’ trope. It covers all bases from a narrative perspective and is convenient. The new player finds themselves washed up on the beach, which is often a starter area and then has to go through some basic tasks that orientate them.”

Tales of the Aggronaut: Torchlight III early access thoughts

“At the point in which I last played the game very much felt like Frontiers with a name change, but it seems while I have been gone the game has been rapidly changing into what is a really fun and enjoyable experience today. The core game is solid now and pending they can ever solve the infrastructure issues that are plaguing the early access release, it is going to be a really fun experience to hang out and play with your friends.”

Altar of Gaming: All Black Desert lifeskills explained

“Lifeskills are a very important feature in Black Desert Online, and go far beyond the basic nature of professions in most MMOs. Even if you are new to BDO – it’s apparent that there’s just too much going on with lifeskills! This comprehensive guide aims to clear out any confusion, and help you decide if investing in lifeskills makes sense for your playstyle and your goals.”

GamingSF: Warcraft’s dark side in small details

“On a recent Lower Blackrock Spire run a friend noticed the unusual nature of the skin rug stretched out on the floor – it was a centaur! A sentient creatured had been flayed and its skin was laid out as a floor covering. We must have seen these back in our early days in the game but in all these years, I’ve never noticed just what we were running over or near. That’s a whole new level of disturbing.”

Great plan, boy.

GamingSF: Overlapping daily gameplay in EverQuest II

“My current gaming-relaxation routine involves logging into Everquest 2 to do a few interrelated activities. I sort my two main characters Overseer mission completions and then set off a new batch between them. I’ve also finally started doing the daily Familiars Wild quest on these two characters to build up their collection of familiars, since familiars are used in the Overseer system to reduce the chance of a critical failure of a mission.”

24 Hours In: Into darkness

“I love day/night cycles in MMOs. It always makes the world feel more real, and if done well the changes in the lighting can have a dramatic effect on the visuals of an area. A lot of the visual appeal of Fallen Earth came from the lighting, especially at sunrise and sunset.”

Kaylriene: My experience with Advanced Combat Tracker in FFXIV

“Now, in the FFXIV community, there is a lot of debate all over about if ACT is a net positive or not. Primarily, because under a lot of interpretations of the terms of use of the game, using third-party software with it can be considered a breach and something you could, in theory, be suspended or banned for. In practice, it is well-established that there is sort of a soft-exception for ACT use – provided you don’t meter-maid other players and harass them over poor performance using in-game channels, it escapes scrutiny.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.

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Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Is anyone still thinking about the shipwreck after their first level or two? Nope. They’re a means to an end. Nothing to flip out about.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

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Zero_1_Zerum

But, if Adventurers stopped getting ship wrecked at the start of their quests, the Guild of Ship Wreckers would go out of business! Hundreds of people would be out of jobs, and wouldn’t be able to feed their families. Didn’t think about that, did you?

Sixuality
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Sixuality

The best thing about the Neverwinter shipwreck opening was that Dungeons & Dragons Online, the other D&D MMO, also starts with a shipwreck.

Whatever happened to “You all meet in a tavern…”? Now that’s the way to open a D&D campaign.

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Hikari Kenzaki

Guild Wars 2 is another game where they don’t start you out with the shipwreck, but nearly every time you step on the deck of an airship, expect it to crash.

However, they do dip into the other big trope when you make a human.

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Bereman
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Bereman

Amusingly, XIV saves the “shipwreck” trope for it’s 3rd expansion – sorta.

While you do start in a place where they explain everything, it’s the “You’re new to this adventuring business” approach instead…

But to set the stage and explain how everything is in the Shadowbringers expansion, which takes place on another world? You’re dragged across a figurative sea to a strange new “beach” which is a place you know basically nothing about. Granted, it’s more a crash course in the lore and the setting than mechanics, but it’s still the “ending up in a place (beach/world) you’ve never been after being dragged from where you were (ship deck/your own world).”

In another amusing twist, WoW will soon switch from new players having a unique to their race starting zone (only one of which is technically the shipwreck trope, the Draenei start) to every new player literally going through this trope in all its glory for their first character.

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Sleepy

Ah, it’s not a proper MMO unless the shipwreck also results in memory loss.

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Tee Parsley

Unless it brings you back from the dead. Oh, and some do both!

Snax
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Snax

Making an MMO is not as easy as taking a dump. I think most wannabee MMO developers need to learn that, sadly they end up learning it the hard way.

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Tobasco da Gama

Speaking of shipwrecks, I started playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 a little while ago. Guess how that starts?

velimirius
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velimirius

try Path of Exile, familiar start as well :D