When you look for famous characters in your MMO, you may be looking for someone complete different than the rest of the crowd.
Lt. Commander Hikari gives us an example of that with this Star Trek Online pic: “In Star Trek, I’ve always been a fan of Janice Rand. An often underestimated member of the crew (and cast) she’s one of the things that really stood out for me through the series and movies. There are lots of reasons to be a fan of the actress and character that I would encourage people to find on their own. When Agents of Yesterday was released, Grace Lee Whitney had only just passed a year prior. It was lovely to see her with the rest of the crew, where she always belonged.”
I always cheered her appearance in Star Trek VI, myself!
The 12 million dudes and dudettes playing H1Z1 on PlayStation 4 this summer need to know two things this week. For one, the latest patch doesn’t add much – primarily performance optimizations to textures, animations, and UI drawing, as well as bug fixes (like the one where you parachute wouldn’t open during your drop – ouch). PS4 players can take advantage of the hoopla by logging in this month and playing a match to unlock a free skin that looks like something weird my little kid made in art class. But hey, it’s free.
As for the PC community, things are either super awesome or grumpy, depending on your view. As we’ve previously noted, Monolith’s Jace Hall is taking over at Daybreak as the game’s new PC lead. His Twitter feed is currently pumping up the transition with “nothing iz impozzible” videos.
“UPDATE – THE GOOD: @DaybreakGames meeting was amazing in all the right ways,” he tweeted Wednesday. “The magic IS happening. THE BAD: May not be completely free 2 disclose any epic info during this week as planned…Still doable, but it may be a few days beyond that B4 my chains come off.”
GameDaily has an interview with Rend’s Jeremy Wood this week that covers a bunch of meta topics of interest to MMO players and watchers of this oddball hybrid title. While Rend has no plans to suddenly become a battle royale title, Frostkeep is very much watching what the MMO subgenres and companies are up to in order to “fill the same psychological needs that are being filled by those games in [Rend].” Specifically, Wood says his team learned a lot from Blizzard and the MMO genre.
“Our biggest takeaway from our Blizzard experience is you can make a fantastically unique product without really inventing anything new,” Wood explained. “Blizzard got where they are by taking inspiration from all sorts of different great pieces of games in different genres.”
The residents of two of EverQuest II’s
servers are about to get really chummy with each other.
Daybreak announced this week that on September 4th, it is going to merge the population of Stormhold with Antonia Bayle. This means that Antonia Bayle is going to see an influx of refugees while Stormhold will be shut down for good. This will be slightly tricky due to the fact that Stormhold was a time-locked expansion server, but that will come to an end as Antonia Bayle is a normal server ruleset.
There’s a lot of details that Daybreak covers concerning potential name conflicts and the transfer of mail and housing, so read up on the FAQ if this server merge affects you.
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.”
It would be easy to dismiss Saga of Lucimia’s pervasive “group-based or go home” ideas as mere rhetoric, but the reality is, there exists a small segment of the veteran MMORPG population that genuinely believes an MMO is not an MMO if it doesn’t focus exclusively or near-exclusively on grouping, and there are going to be games that cater to those folks.
I wanted to bring up that recent tweet because it seems like an extremist, maybe even revisionist position to take for a game in our market, and I don’t just mean in 2018 when plenty of non-MMOs have called themselves MMOs and even more MMOs have shunned the term. I mean in terms of the historical games being used as a touchstone for these ideas. Yes, some early MMORPGs like EverQuest emphasized group content; while you could level up on some classes and in some cases alone, for the most part, you needed to group up to get things done, whether you were taking down a dragon or just trying to squeeze out a few more bubbles of level in the midgame.
I certainly did not have to twist readers’ arms to get them to bring out a mountain of MMORPG character selfies set against interesting backdrops. Of course, everyone had their own definition of what that should mean…
“When it comes to character selfies the backdrop becomes less important if there is an important lore character in your picture,” said Ryuen. “Case in point: My humble Monk managed to snare Firiona Vie herself in EverQuest II for a quick pic before she had to attend to more pressing matters.”
She had more box art modeling to do. It’s exhausting, being one of the last of the Midriff Elves in the game.
Drama seems to plague Shroud of the Avatar, but if you can look past it, there’s some fun innovation going on inside Portalarium in regard to MMO mechanics. Portalarium Technical Director Chris Spears, for example, has been slowly revealing a massive new player-generated dungeon system for the game, hidden away in the bowels of the forums until this week’s newsletter.
If you’re a fan of City of Heroes’ old Mission Architect, Star Trek Online’s Foundry, or even Star Wars Galaxies’ ancient Chronicles system, you’ll see remnants of all of those in this system. Basically, you buy blueprints for individual pieces from NPCs, then combine them with mats to build your dungeon space chunk by chunk, on a housing lot, out in the real world. Eventually, you’ll populate “encounter rooms” with mobs and make it a real delve for other players.
You notice how other studios, rather than scrambling away from next Tuesday’s World of Warcraft
expansion release, seem to be trying to compete with it in some way? EVE Online
is certainly not the only MMO that’s pushing out alternative entertainment for the larger community. The August release
should improve the game overall with some spiffy ship redesigns, an update to the tutorial, and client performance.
Six iconic ships — the Navitas, Thalia, Tayra, Bustard, Badger, and Crane — are all slated for visual reworks when the patch lands on August 14th. These are all getting better models, textures, visual effects, and animations, so the ship you end up with next Tuesday may seem like a completely new experience.
And speaking of new player experiences: “This update focuses on delivering a new basic starter site for rookie pilots, as well as combat challenges displayed via The Agency and a new Agency UI for training tasks. These challenges are repeatable, but new pilots will only be rewarded with skills upon first completion as part of the rookie orientation process.”
I haven’t been making any secret of how much fun I’m having in the Star Wars Galaxies Legends emulator (and thanks so much to the readers who urged me to try it!). What I haven’t tried just yet is TCGEmu, which is trying to revive the Star Wars Trading Card Game that existed chiefly inside SWG itself.
Late-game SWG players will recall that the TCG was ahead of its time on so many fronts: It was actually one of the first fully online card games out there, but back then it had no chance of reaching the heights of mainstream adoption that we’re used to seeing now with games like Hearthstone, especially since few people outside of SWG knew it existed. It was gorgeous as heck, too, with stunning artwork that exists nowhere else.
Of course, the TCG also has the dubious honor of being one of the first openly and egregiously lockbox-esque pay-to-win systems in a major MMORPG, as players spent gobs of money angling for loot cards, which they could then use (or sell) inside Star Wars Galaxies itself. While I personally bought and traded my (free monthly) loot cards and loved some of the clothing and homes added to the game, I was also among those who argued that all of those items should have been added to the sandbox through crafters rather than through gamblers and junkies spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on what were basically lockboxes in the form of card packs.
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?”
It’s been a weird 2018 for Guardians of Ember. Back in February, Valve booted its publisher, Insel Games, off Steam, citing review manipulation in regard to another of its games, Wild Buster. Wild Buster was heavily affected, such that Insel transferred its publishing rights and rebooted it with a new name to get it back on the platform this past spring.
So what happened to the MMOARPG Guardians of Ember, the Runewaker game that was actually pretty decent at what it did? It kept on running through the studio’s own website and the Humble Store, but now, it’s upping its profile with a move to European mega-publisher Gameforge.
“Gameforge — the leading western publisher of popular Asian free-to-play multiplayer online games like SoulWorker, Elsword and NosTale — today announced that it has acquired the publishing rights to Guardians of Ember, the popular Hack’n’Slash MMORPG from Taiwanese developer Runewaker — creators of Runes of Magic and Dragon’s Prophet. […] Guardians of Ember will officially re-launch later this year in North America and throughout Europe through Gameforge. Currently, the game is being operated by Insel Games in the west; Information regarding how existing Guardians of Ember players will migrate their accounts and game data will be shared soon.”
The rumors and hints are true: Monolith’s Jace Hall has made the jump over to Daybreak to take on the position as PC lead for H1Z1. Hall said that some of the details of this transition and future plans are still under NDA but that everyone should expect to hear a lot of details about the game’s development soon.
“Generally speaking, things that the community WANTS are the things that the community WILL GET,” Hall said. “It is not a question of ‘IF’ we are going to deliver desired changes to the player base, it is only a question of ‘WHEN.’ Count on it. The game is a service. A good service delivers what its customer’s want. It’s that simple.”
Hall certainly has high aspirations: “I believe that H1Z1 PC total ecosystem can slowly but surely and uniquely become something like the Counter-Strike of the battle royale genre. It’s an exciting thought.”
Oh, and the Daybreak H1Z1 forums appear to be back, so that’s pretty cool for those who don’t like to spend their lives lurking on Reddit!