Now that the next World of Warcraft expansion is almost upon us, it’s time to say farewell to Legion and all that that entails. MMO blog Leo’s Life took some time for a retrospective that examines the highs, lows, and patch rollout over the past two years.
“Aside from the penalties to alts, I think Legion delivered an amazing package,” he said. “The timing of content release was good, the content was relatively bug-free, the lore was solid, the flows inside each zone worked… it was all rather seamless.”
We’ve got plenty of additional MMO essays for you after the break, covering topics such as player housing, grouping, events, ageless MMO thrills, and more!
It’s a catch-all, catch-up episode for the Battle Bards as they dig through new soundtrack releases from MMORPGs that they’ve covered in the past! You may be prepared for an eclectic and enjoyable mix of music — but there is no way that you can steel yourself for the raw and heartfelt confessions that take place on this show.
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:
We only get a small peek at the character of Hanu, one of the major NPCs in the upcoming Wolfhunter DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online
. But what we see is immediately the essence of a power move with a young woman who asks how to visit Hircine’s Hunting Grounds while remaining alive
, rather than spending a live devoted to the deity and being sent there as an eternal reward.
Of course, her reasons are less a matter of “it seemed neat to see if I could do this” and more “I intend to rescue the soul of my dead father,” so there’s a good reason for why she wants to do something that by all rights ought to be impossible. But it remains a power move and should give you an idea of the sort of woman you’re dealing with. Not that she’s likely to survive the experience on her own, of course; slipping into the Hunting Grounds via the next Great Hunt is not precisely a safe plan.
Continuing from my previous column, I’m going to be running through the second decade of graphical MMORPG launches and picking the best title to debut in any given year. From doing the first decade, I know that this thought exercise isn’t always fair; some years have several great contenders, while others see one mediocre one rise due to a lack of competition.
Still, it’s kind of fun to look back at MMO history and to see which game was really the best of that year. And if you ever felt sore that a particular title got overlooked, well, consider this a retroactive awards ceremony of some sort.
Let’s dive right in where we left off with 2007!
We’re barreling down a pretty short road toward Elder Scrolls Online’s
next DLC. As announced just a month ago at E3
, Wolfhunter is indeed a werewolf-themed pack that features two dungeons alongside the goodies of update 19, including a semi-symmetrical battleground map called Istirus Outpost, keep recall stones in alliance PvP, an improved respec system, and better werewolf skills.
As of this week, the Wolfhunter DLC and the concomitant update 19 have landed on the public test server, meaning you can get in there and check everything out. Worth noting is that the champion point cap is lifting, there are indeed some class tweaks as promised, and there are two new houses coming:
Hunter’s Glade: An underground entrance way leads through a portal to an expansive forested glade in Hircine’s Oblivion realm of The Hunting Grounds. Those “blessed” with lycanthropy can maintain werewolf form indefinitely in this otherworldly wilderness.
Grand Psijic Villa: When Artaeum was “removed” from Tamriel, a few neighboring isles went with it, including the site of the Grand Psijic Villa, a monumental estate with magnificent views of the south coast of the main island.
Do you want to play The Elder Scrolls Online
for free this weekend? Too bad. You can’t. But you can play next week! Yes, ZeniMax has announced that it’s running one of its infamous ESO Plus Bonus Events
starting on Tuesday, July 10, and running through the following Monday. Existing subbers, there’s something in it for you too: If you log in during the hoopla, you’ll pick up six free lockboxes.
“To take part in the ESO Plus Bonus Event, log into the game with an active paid ESO Plus membership (the free trial does not count, sorry) each day from July 10 until July 15. Note that in order to qualify, each unique login must occur within a 24-hour time period that starts at 10:00AM EDT and ends at 10:00AM EDT the next day. If you remain logged in over a two-day period, it will only count as a single entry. You must log completely out of the game and back in – only logging out to the character select screen will not work. The free Crown Crates will be delivered to your account by Friday, July 20. Check your Crown Crates menu!”
If you take advantage of the free-play period, know that you’ll be able to check out basically all of the DLC and Morrowind (but not Summerset). You’re getting all of the perks associated with subbing with the exception of the monthly stipend, so that means the experience bonus, costume dyeing, double bank, and so on.
Are you all in on games as a service? Are single player-games over, replaced by much more profitable eternally online (and lockbox-ridden) titles? Bethsoft’s Todd Howard doesn’t think so. Speaking to GIbiz, Howard says that in spite of Fallout 76’s controversial online nature, the always-on games-as-a-service motif “doesn’t mark the future.”
“Corporately we’ve done a mix; people forget sometimes,” he says. “Elder Scrolls Online is one of the biggest online games in the world, we have Fallout Shelter which we keep updating, and Elder Scrolls: Legends. Anyone who has ever said ‘this is the future and this part of gaming is dead’ has been proven wrong every single time. We like to try it all. For a long time we wanted to try a multiplayer game and we had this idea. We shouldn’t be afraid. We should try it.”
Ubisoft, on the other hand, has taken a different tack. The company’s EVP of Creative, Lionel Raynaud, spends some time in a corporate blog post to come at the problem from a narrative angle, saying his studio is trying to keep games going by doing its best not to “give finite experiences.”
ZeniMax is back to work today and hyping up Elder Scrolls Online’s
next DLC. Announced at E3, the Wolfhunter pack
will roll out two new dungeons, both with the werewolf theme. The first, March of Sacrifices, sounds like a “Hounds of Zaroff
” type of encounter as players will be trying to take down Indrik to please Hircine himself. The second will send players into Moon Hunter Keep to topple the ancient werewolf Vykosa “before she threatens all of Tamriel.”
But of course, as ZeniMax notes, Wolfhunter isn’t the only thing players have to look forward to. In fact, even if werewolves and dungeon romps aren’t your thing, there’s a bunch of stuff coming in the simultaneous release of update 19 that is all free. There’s a brand-new semi-symmetrical battleground map called Istirus Outpost, the addition of keep recall stones to alliance PvP, an improved respec system, better werewolf skills, and unspecified class changes too.
Lycanthropy has been a part of the Elder Scrolls lore since Daggerfall
, even if it did kind of skip Oblivion
. Elder Scrolls Online
introduces lycanthropy as its own skill line with both passive and active skills. It was this fun skill line that helped me want to jump back into the game a couple of years ago. It’s not the most useful skill tree in the game, and it certainly isn’t as good as Vampirism when it comes to PvP, but I found it to be a lot of fun and would recommend it to players looking to explore some of the lore and interesting mechanics of ESO
In the next DLC for ESO, players take to opposite stance and actually hunt werewolves with the Order of the Silver Dawn. Although we don’t have many details about this next DLC, we know that one of the dungeons take place in the Order’s headquarters as its infested with werewolves, and the other takes place in Hircine’s Hunting Grounds.
This Friday at 6 p.m. EDT, Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan and Writer-Designer Tori Dougherty will give us a more in-depth look at these two dungeons, but before that, we should probably learn all we can about werewolves in ESO. That’s why I’ve broken down how to become a werewolf in ESO and where they come from according to the Elder Scrolls.
Last week, we reported on an emerging lawsuit lodged over the new Westworld mobile game. Bethsoft is suing Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. over what it characterizes as copyright theft from Fallout Shelter. Behaviour (you know it from MMO Eternal Crusade) developed Fallout Shelter for Bethsoft and stands accused of reusing its design, actual code (complete with identical bugs), and “substantially similar gameplay” for Westworld for Warner Bros., entirely without permission. Bethsoft claims Behaviour and WB breached their contract, misappropriated trade secrets, infringed on copyrights, and unfairly competed with it in relation to the two games; it demands that the court put a halt to distribution of the Westworld game and award Bethesda appropriate damages.
Warner Bros. isn’t rolling over for this. The media conglom told GamesIndustry.biz that Bethsoft’s claims are unsubstantiated and untrue – that WB never asked Behaviour to re-use Fallout Shelter’s code, and that Behaviour didn’t do it anyway.
The reason you won’t be able to play Fallout 76 with your friends on consoles is because of Sony, according to Bethesda studio director Todd Howard. A recent interview with a German site had Howard claiming that while Bethesda would like to do cross-platform play, “Sony is not as helpful as everyone would like.” Bethesda declined to elaborate on the statement when asked for further clarification by Polygon.
Cross-platforming issues have been in the news quite a bit recently, with Fortnite’s launch on Nintendo Switch being coupled with the surprising lack of cross-platform play for PlayStation 4 players. The last statement from the company was that it was “looking into possibilities,” so it remains to be seen both whether or not those possibilities will bear fruit and whether or not they’ll be resolved in time for everyone to enjoy Fallout 76 together.
Fun fact: Elder Scrolls Online’s
gryphon is only found one place in the game, and that’s on its brand-new island of Summerset. Players who encounter one of these rare creatures should probably observe them at a safe distance, because Buckbeaks these are not.
ZeniMax said that it wanted to give its version of the gryphon a place of honor, as its artists weren’t happy with how the creatures are usually portrayed in fantasy.
“Instead of approaching gryphons as a literal combination of two creatures, I started from scratch, envisioning a winged, four-legged predator, evolved for flight, and with traits you’d also happen to find in big cats and birds of prey,” said Concept Artist Lucas Slominski. This even meant using inspiration from featured dinosaurs — how cool is that?
The devs said that because the gryphon also has flight, it needed twice as many animations than most air- or land-bound creatures.
Lately I’ve been overdosing on some serious Sims 4 time (blame the Seasons expansion announcement for this!) and indulging in my long-standing passion for player housing. I don’t always get that fix in every MMO I play — looking sideways at you, Blizzard — but I do enjoy expressing myself and seeing what other players have come up in their own living spaces.
Let’s take a tour of some excellent virtual abodes today! We’ll start with Rees Racer: “I’ve been a Elder Scrolls Online plus player for… a long time. I don’t buy much, so I had some crowns to spend. I eventually purchased the Alinor Crest Townhouse in Summerset. I’m a Bosmer, and it’s technically Altmer architecture, but I really like the colours and the courtyard fountain, and I’m fairly certain I saved the rule of Queen Ayrenn a few years ago. It’s more extravagant (like all High Elf accoutrements) than I need (or like), but I earned it.”