arenanet

Seattle-based studio responsible for Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2.

Global Chat: Everybody’s burning up about that Sylvanas thing

Yes, just about every MMO blogger was sharing heated opinions about last week’s World of WarCraft WarCrime. “It’s such a sad event and I’m particularly mad at Blizzard at the way they chose to write this,” wrote Aeternus.

Moonshine Manor was equally appalled, saying that she was “not sad at the story, but at having to mourn my fandom.”

“The storyline strips players of agency, it’s not a good feeling,” wrote Mmosey.

And Leo’s Life couldn’t make sense of it: “The lore nut in me sees no logic in this.”

In An Age sympathized with the outrage but noted, “This cinematic short is amazing in isolation.” And Atheren doesn’t want this to be the beginning of the end of Sylvanas: “I hope she gets a redemption arc.”

And Wolfy felt that the community reaction was too much for an outsider: “The level of the freak-out was above and beyond what I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing as someone barely remotely associated with the WoW playerbase.”

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Aion, Blade & Soul, Guild Wars 2 revenues dip, while NCsoft teases three new titles and Lineage resurges

NCsoft’s second quarter financials for the year hit this morning, and it’s not exactly bad news. Sales are down slightly, but everything looks wimpy next to Lineage M’s record-breaking debut last year. That’s now “stabilized” according to the company, and it also means core Lineage players are flooding back into the original Lineage, which saw its best quarter – by a lot – in over a year.

As for the other live games under NCsoft’s banner that our readers likely care about? They’re all down: Aion, Blade Soul, and Guild Wars 2 across the board, though Guild Wars 2 is still up year-over-year.

Perhaps the most interesting bits coming out of NCsoft this round are still on the horizon. As MMO Culture pointed out, the live conference call dished on The Lineage aka Project TL aka what’s left of Lineage Eternal (it’s hitting beta later this year), admitted PC sales have slowed down, and noted it’ll tailor new games based on the Aion and Blade & Soul IPs to the “global market.”

And yes, multiple new “major” games are in the works for next year, one apparently being Lineage 2 Mobile.

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Global Chat: Is it worth your time to alpha test MMOs?

Taugrim raises a very interesting question this week on his blog. Namely, is it really worth your time to alpha test MMOs these days? For him, at least, fickle players and unresponsive developers don’t make it a beneficial activity.

“A decade ago, I used to get super excited about upcoming MMORPGs,” he said. “And then I experienced those games losing their playerbase in droves while the developers/publishers failed to meaningfully address the concerns of the community.”

If you’ve been burned one too many times by alpha, beta, and early access testing, perhaps you can relate. Read on for more essays from the MMO blogosphere, and don’t forget to check out this month’s exciting Blaugust Reborn event that’s raging across blogs!

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Massively Overthinking: Should MMORPGs incentivize exploration – and how?

Our Daily Grind on exploration last week sparked an intriguing follow-up from MOP reader Miol.

“When asking about sightseeing and exploration in MMORPGs, you also mentioned the lack of rewarding incentives for exploring those worlds, or worse, a poor implementation of such features, as you pointed out by Guild Wars 2’s vistas. Many of Wander’s mechanics also come to mind for me. You and many commenters in that article stated that their exploration mostly happened by their own initiative!

“So what features would you all wish in an exploration-heavy MMO? Is Trove’s Geode with its non-combat spelunking on to something? Would exploring other players’ curation and display of art already be enough for you, a la Occupy White Walls? What would an MMO need to simulate a fun road trip? Would looking for that one place with those until-then-unmatched resource stats, be a definite must for you, as in Star Wars Galaxies? Or is open-world housing more of a priority, so you can find that perfect spot for your porch? Purely just survival features? Or maybe even, as Andrew once mentioned, a certain mechanic for dying, as in Project Gorgon?”

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Guild Wars 2 has all the activities going on right now

Perhaps to distract MMO players from next week’s Battle for Tyria (or whatever) expansion, Guild Wars 2 is really cranking out all sorts of activities, events, and promotions this weekend.

For starters, there’s a Weekend Boss Blitz Bonanza that’s going to run from August 10 through the 13th. This challenges players to collectively take down 5,000 bosses and will reward participants if this goal is reached.

If that’s not of interest, perhaps you’d like to chase after the three new Design-a-Weapon items that are now available in the game. Or perhaps you’d like to splurge on some pre-Sixth Anniversary sales, including heavy discounts on Season 2 and 3 content packs.

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The Daily Grind: When was the last time you went sightseeing in an MMORPG?

Are you into stopping and smelling the flowers, literally or figuratively?

I started thinking a bit about this thanks to a tweet ZeniMax sent out about Elder Scrolls Online last weekend; the studio was promoting the work of @JXRaiv, who put together a website that allows players to explore all the wayshrines in the game. You don’t even need to log in to enjoy the view. And in fact, I bet most people wouldn’t either. Games seldom reward us for exploration, and when they don’t, we often don’t bother. Even when they do – I’m thinking about Guild Wars 2’s mapping – gamers often just skip past the cutscene to get on to the next one.

Long ago, I decided to go on a tour, by foot, of all the shrines in a different MMORPG; it was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had in an MMORPG. And none of it counted for anything except for my own joy and my own recollection all these years later.

When was the last time you went sightseeing in an MMORPG?

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Global Chat: The ‘We Don’t Play World of Warcraft’ Club

What do you do when you don’t play World of Warcraft but everyone else all around you does and won’t stop talking about it because there’s a new expansion coming out? You try to find like-minded souls and start up a club, that’s what!

“If you do not play WoW or at least have some sort of history with it, you can find yourself in some kind of quasi MMO community minority group. It’s an ‘odd’ phenomenon,” said Contains Moderate Peril.

“I really don’t even know what the story other than Alliance vs. Horde,” admitted I’m Not Squishy. “Sometimes it can feel like I’m there’s a big gap in my gaming vocabulary.”

Believe it or not, this whole column isn’t just about World of Warcraft today, so dive in to read some gamer essays on Wizard101, Dark Age of Camelot, Elder Scrolls Online, and more!

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Global Chat: Getting a handle on Legends of Aria

One of the great benefits of reading the wealth of MMO blogs out there is that you can touch base on a huge variety of games that you might not have time to play. Haven’t gotten around to checking in with the indie sandbox Legends of Aria? The blogosphere has you covered!

While Superior Realities thinks that there’s a “skeleton of a good game” in Aria, he wasn’t won over by the closed beta: “After about thirty minutes of dealing with bugs, spectacularly tedious and old school gameplay, and generally terrible design, I decided life was too short.”

Inventory Full felt that the game had featureless maps but probably deserved a longer look, and Levelcapped said that Aria is “so damn close to being an Ultima Online sequel that it’s both wonderful and blasphemous at the same time.”

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Massively Overthinking: Random acts of MMORPG kindness

Last week, down in the comments of an innocuous post about gamers being nice in Fortnite, a couple of MOP commenters requested a column where MMO gamers could essentially submit “stories about random good interactions [they’ve] had with other players.” Skeptical me is doubting the viability of a column like that; after all, we already do a lot of positive coverage of charities, events, good deeds, and even obituaries for devs, and that’s just not the stuff most people click on. (Patches are the big ones, although controversies are big too for obvious reasons. And One Shots and WRUP are still great!)

But I’d certainly like to be wrong. “Positive news” websites do indeed exist in the real world and can be truly inspiring, so maybe “Massively Overjoyed” would have some traction too. We thought we’d put it to the test here in Overthinking: I’ve asked the writers to share one story about a great random interaction they’ve had with another player. And then I’ll invite you all to do the same thing down in the comments. How much do you really want to hear about the positive stuff?

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The Stream Team: Frivolity in Guild Wars 2’s Festival of the Four Winds

Feel like racing as a dolyak? You can in Guild Wars 2’s latest festival! Although Festival of the Four Winds isn’t new (it has been on a four-year hiatus), it is new to Massively OP’s MJ. And she’s eager to experience it — especially the dolyak racing. Can she be quick on those stubby little feet? Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. to revel with her.

What: Guild Wars 2
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

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Perfect Ten: The best expansions for specific MMOs

Looking over the past two decades or so, MMORPGs have grown by leaps and bounds with regular releases, events, and (of course) expansion packs. Hundreds of expansions have now flooded the scene, with some of the longest-running titles seeing upwards of two dozen or more.

That got me thinking: Which expansion was the best? Not overall, I mean, but the best for each game that it serviced? Every MMO player harbors strong feelings about which was the best expansion for the titles they enjoy, and I have read many articles in which expansions were ranked, reviewed, and debated.

For this week’s Perfect Ten, we’ll be trying to put a finger on the best expansion for 10 specific MMOs. I’ve taken the additional step of polling the Massively OP staff to give me input on MMOs that they have played extensively over the years. So what’s the best? Let’s find out!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 179: MMO parenting fails

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin celebrate MMORPG communities with how fantastic and passionate they can be (when they’re not complaining, that is!) and how disturbing children can be (when they’re not cuddling with you, that is!). There’s a lot of praise in this episode for the redemption of No Man’s Sky, better subscription values, and plenty of MMO updates.

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:


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Guild Wars 2’s Festival of the Four Winds has launched after four years asleep

Guild Wars 2 is going old school today with the return of the Festival of the Four Winds, a festival players haven’t seen in over four years – heck, some players have probably never seen it at all.

“On behalf of Queen Jennah of Kryta and the Captain’s Council of Lion’s Arch, you are cordially invited to participate in the return of the Festival of the Four Winds! High atop the Labyrinthine Cliffs, our Zephyrite friends have been working in tandem with Lion’s Arch to host an incredible variety of fun vendors and events to entertain visitors from all across Tyria. This celebration of unity and peace between our cultures is more important than ever before, and we hope that you will join us in the festivities. In this spirit of cooperation, Queen Jennah has personally overseen the reopening of the Crown Pavilion, featuring a variety of challenges both new and old for Tyria’s finest to test their mettle!”

Just hop an air balloon from any capital city or Lion’s Arch to the fun; expect to see some returning events plus brand-new ones, including the updated Flying Dolyak race, the Skimmer Slalom race, Sanctum Sprint, “two new griffon adventures,” crystal collections, and several PvP events too. Token rewards abound: You’re looking at “new Zephyrite backpacks, the illustrious Sovereign weapon set, and items based on the latest wonder of the Crown Pavilion, the Watchknight Mk II.”

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