We’re not even going to try to sort out the patches from the updates from the iterations from the campaigns and expansions and expanshalones. If it’s something going into an MMO that’s already out, it lands in this category! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
The first part of this first impressions series yesterday was all about the mechanical changes made for this expansion. This time, I don’t want to talk about the mechanics of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth; I want to talk about the actual content. Not the narrative text, but just the actual moment-to-moment stuff you’re doing in the game. Which, I think, is what this expansion is going to be judged on at this stage by a lot of people.
Put simply, the game could have the best combat it has ever had with the best gear enhancement system conceivable, but if the actual things you had to fight were a boring slog, no one would like it anyway. Solid content covers a multitude of sins.
There are several people who would likely argue that Legion had some of the best content we’ve ever seen in WoW, and while there’s room to debate that, I think it’s definitely worth considering. So BfA started off on something of the back foot, and that was exacerbated by the fact that it has not one but two continents to fill out almost entirely separate.
At GenCon earlier this month, Lord of the Rings Online
studio Standing Stone dished on some of the goodies coming to the game in Update 23
, dubbed the Grey Mountains update
. As we discussed on the podcast, that means good stuff for fans of the dwarves – maybe even lady dorfs too, though that’s apparently still up in the air.
What’s definite, though, is the regions appearing (and reappearing) in the update, as LOTRO Players lays out in a trio of videos today. First up is a trip through the Grey Mountains – aka Ered Mithrin – themselves, encrusted with dwarven ruins, mines, and dragon bones but also a glacier biome and a unique forest too. The second video covers the Iron Hills, with more Easterling towns and functioning dwarven mines and fortresses, but YouTuber Andang notes that the zone is mostly empty right now. Finally, the Lonely Mountain of Erebor is getting some love!
We’re still running our regular LOTRO Legendarium column here at Massively OP; most recently, columnist Justin Olivetti pondered just how well the game is aging.
So this is happening. Skyforge
is getting a battle royale mode of its very own, following in the footsteps of other MMOs
that have adopted the mode into their virtual worlds. The catch is that it looks like you’ll be playing one of a dozen premade toons, not your actual Skyforge
character. In fact, you can jump in even if you don’t really play the MMO at all, and it’s boasting a “skill-based action game feel” that’s still “familiar for MMO players” but with less focus on auto-aim.
“Skyforge will soon launch an all-new free ‘Battle Royale’ mode providing its own massive multiplayer twist on the popular format. Skyforge takes its unique mix of sci-fi and fantasy setting to a vicious virtual reality arena, parting with the game’s normal concept of players being immortal. Out of all the participants that start the match, only one can stand victorious in this divine test and win the ultimate favor of the gods. Skyforge: Battle Royale can be launched from the start screen and requires no progress on any character in the MMO; players can dive into a brutal free-for-all right from the start!”
Launch is anticipated for August 28th on PC, with consoles trickling out later that same week. To tide you over until then, My.com is running a series of summer events too.
MMOs are big. Really big. You wouldn’t believe just how mind-bogglingly big they really are. Although you probably would, since you’re here reading about them. And the sheer facet of scale means that it can be really difficult to establish a point when you’ve seen enough to have a good sense of the game.
Obviously, five minutes logged into an official World of Warcraft server won’t give you any idea about the game as a whole; pretty much anyone could agree on that. And at the other extreme, it’s unlikely anyone would expect you to play every piece of content in Star Wars: The Old Republic before you can decide on whether or not the game delivers on what you’re looking for.
Realistically, every game offers you a different amount of things in different combinations and in such arrangements that every game will require different amounts of time to evaluate. You could argue that a few matches in World of Tanks tell the whole story about the game’s mechanics, after all. But then, just playing and leaving means you miss out on the meta and the overall sense of what the game is like over the longer term, which can often be a pretty important element. So what do you think, readers? How much of an MMO do you have to play before you feel you’ve got a handle on it?
Conan Exiles’ parity patch has finally hit the Xbox One servers after a week’s delay. Funcom says it ought to mop up crash problems, although there’s apparently some fresh lag issues to deal with now. PS4 players, however, are still waiting, as apparently Sony rejected the PS4 patch for being too big, so the studio’s “working on reducing” it. There’s a crude joke in there somewhere. This is Conan we’re talking about.
That’s all in this week’s community newsletter, in addition to news about the first phase inbound pet system, which is due to launch on the test server this week. Here’s where the poop comes in.
“When we roll out the pet system we’ll also be rolling out new functionality for your thralls,” Funcom says. Yep, you’re going to have to feed them.
A little change can make a big difference in terms of balance. It’s what Albion Online did with its latest patch; all that’s really been changed is that trade mission packages have had their weight increased by around 400 kg. The thing is that a heavier package means using different pack animals to transport it, which in turn means not being able to rely upon using mounts with more survivability… and, in turn, it means that these trade missions become a lot riskier. See? Balance from a little change!
The patch also contains some other balance tweaks for faction leaders, as well as updating the marketplace UI with several quality-of-life features and fixing several bugs along the way. But the biggest change for the patch is, well, a little change that should make things harder for a lot of players who will rely on more vulnerable mounts now, which encourages more back-and-forth warfare, which is exactly the point.
Thanks to the latest patch for the medieval survival sandbox The Black Death, all players will start their lives in the game in their underwear. It’s best to tap into those deep-rooted nightmares early, in our opinion.
The recent patch wasn’t just about roleplaying Captain Underpants and the Plague Doctors. The team said that the priority for the patch was to fix some LAN server issues and put an end to land claim exploits that were running rampant on PvE servers.
What else do we have here? Well, girls are starting to get their own clothes, although right now this is limited to a primitive vest. YOU’RE WELCOME, FEMALES. There are also new dagger animations, a “new potato procedural resource” whatever that is, and a sleeping bag for players’ tents. Truly, this is a patch to rival all others.
Did our reporting on Zeal get you interested about the possibilities for this upcoming action RPG? Then you might want to be tracking the game’s ongoing development as it patches up through the pre-alpha test cycle.
So far this month, the game has seen multiple updates that have added features and systems such currency for cosmetic items, lightning and fire halos, several horse mounts (including armored and hell variants), team chat, truly casual 3v3 matchmaking, additional prime skills, fast ground casting, and plenty of adjustments for the PvP arena.
There are also many, many tweaks for the various game classes. Zeal’s roster includes the Judicator, Cleric, Ranger, Wizard, Warrior, and Outlaw. Which one will you play?
There are some bugs in Monster Hunter World on PC, if you haven’t noticed. A lot of them have been addressed, but one of the more egregious ones remains and tends to crash the game when you alt-tab out of the title… which is a problem, since everyone in the world does that. Fortunately fan-made mods are here to save the day, fixing the issue with alt-tabbing by correcting an error in the engine that handles fullscreen mode incorrectly.
The mod also adds in higher-resolution graphic support, the ability to hide the interface for screenshot purposes, and a few more technical additions like tricking the game into ignoring certain CPU cores for performance issues. Of course, given that the game is meant to be played online there’s a limit to how much can actually be modded, but it’s nice to see that the issue is being fixed… by an unpaid modder rather than the company releasing the game, but still.
One of my most beloved possessions in Ultima Online
is my music box: I spent months, probably years, collecting each “track” to insert into the box, and then I can run it and play my favorite Ultima
songs while I’m puttering around my house sorting loot.
That makes me all the most excited to hear that The Elder Scrolls Online is getting exactly such a feature in the Murkmire DLC later this year.
“For housing, we’re putting music boxes in,” creative director Rich Lambert told VG247 at QuakeCon last week. “It’s this cool thing and we’ve got a ton of music that we’ve written in the game and so we’re putting it all in music boxes.”
Meanwhile, ESO has delivered a breakdown of the Midyear Mayhem PvP event it held this summer. You guys dropped almost a quarter of a million chaosballs, stole over 2.5K elder scrolls, capped over 700K keeps, and murdered 7.5M fellow soldiers. Peace and prosperity for all!
Hey, there’s a new World of Warcraft expansion, right? When did that happen?
There’s a bit of snark there, but perhaps less than you might think. The weird thing is that Battle for Azeroth kind of does feel as if it just dropped without warning; it was outside of the usual release schedule for expansions, with a long lead-in, as if the final product just showed up on our collective doorsteps one day. Assuming you were already logged on and had your pre-orders set, you could just jump right in and start the expansion, which hearkened back to the days of midnight releases after a fashion.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to talk about with the expansion so far. Now that it’s actually live we can see the mechanics and the story with all the polish that’s intended, with nothing left behind a curtain (other than Warfronts, anyhow). Coming off the well-received Legion, this expansion has some pretty big foot gear to fill, and it’s fair to wonder if any expansion wouldn’t feel like a bit of a downturn… but let’s not start there. Let’s just start in on one aspect of the game and go from there.
players are being treated to a big update this week featuring the revamp of Savage Rift that basically makes the PvE co-op content more accessible and interesting – though it also nerfs the rewards for playing through it.
“The most noteworthy change to the Savage Rift content is that the number of monster spawns has been reduced by around 40% which as a result makes each runthrough last about 20 minutes,” Kakao explains. “Cooldown times for siege weapons such as the Hwacha amd Lynch Cannon have been reduced by 50% so that adventurers can shoot these powerful weapons more often. As a result, the reward structure has been reworked as well. Although the rewards per playthrough have been reduced, the rewards vs playing time have actually increased, making it more interesting for adventurers to engage enemies in the Savage Rift.”
Don’t care about co-op play? How about offline leveling? Today’s update also allows players to nab a Book of Training and beat up a scarecrow to accrue combat and skill experience while AFK.
Being on the ground is boring when you could instead be in the air, so it’s a good thing that TERA’s
latest update lets you do exactly that. The Guardians of the Sky update
adds in new airborne Guardian Legion missions, so if you want to soar through the air whilst taking on challenges, you’ll have the option! There are also new cash shop mounts on the way if you feel the need to ride more dragons, to boot; each one offers some form of regeneration as you ride about.
The Demon’s Wheel is also arriving on August 16th and sticking around each week for Thursday through Tuesday subsequently. It’s a challenge dungeon with a chance to gamble with the demonic Demoros for astonishing loot, but losing the gamble means certain death. Of course, since any decent player knows that death is just a minor setback, why not gamble away? You could get masks with stats on them.