epic mmo battles

Epic MMO Battles is a humorous game face-off feature column by Eliot Lefebvre. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Epic MMO Battles of History: Star Trek Online vs. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Asking whether Star Trek or Star Wars is the better science fiction series is like asking whether Game of Thrones or The Tudors is a better fantasy series. That hasn’t stopped it from being hotly (and pointlessly) debated in fandom circles more or less since the dawn of time, with the only unity to be found in both sides telling the guy who brings up Doctor Who to be quiet. I’m willing to bet pretty much everyone reading this knows where I stand on that, since it’s not exactly a secret, but I will say that in spite of my inclination toward Trek, I’m still very excited about Star Wars: Can’t Take The Sky From Me and really didn’t like Star Trek: James T Kirk Completely Ruins The Enterprise Yet Again.

This article isn’t going to answer that debate, obviously. But it can deal with the fact that we have two active “free-to-play” MMOs based on these IPs. Star Wars: The Old Republic is set a good three millennia before the movies, sure, but Star Trek Online is also set during a time period that neither movies nor TV shows has touched for 15 years now. So how do these games do head-to-head? Which one is the better game, and which one more closely resembles the IP it’s meant to be an adaptation of?

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Epic MMO Battles of History: World of Warcraft vs. Final Fantasy XIV

You know what I usually hate? Superhero fight discussions. Any fight discussion, really. Asking “who would win in a fight between Superman and the Hulk” always has the same two answers: whoever the writers want to win, and neither of them because people have more fun discussing it than actually reading about it. At the best of times, you’re looking for proof that your personal favorite is going to be marked as the winner.

Not that this stops us. The fact of the matter is that we like having competitions. We like seeing two competitors enter into a match where only one leaves. And thus, this feature, a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun examining two different MMOs and asking which one has the edge on the whole.

This first time out, we’re taking on two big titles: World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV. The former has been the top dog in the MMO sphere for over a decade, ruthlessly crushing all competition, while the latter has quietly risen from a terrible original release to being a pretty big name in the MMO sphere. I’ve seen former WoW players call it the better game, and I myself have even named it as a worthy heir to WoW’s best-loved expansion. But is it the better game? As the sixth expansion for WoW is out in full force, which game has the edge all down the line?

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EVE Evolved: Fixing EVE’s New Player Experience (again)

It’s become almost a running joke in the comments of articles that EVE Online is a great game to read about but not nearly as fun to actually play. While those of us who have been playing for years can attest to EVE‘s depth and long-term gripping power, it has always been a difficult game for new players to get into. EVE sees an unmistakable spike in new players every time a story about a massive battle or political event hits the gaming media, but most don’t stay in the long term and activity levels always return to normal within a few months. CCP has tried to revamp the new player experience more times than probably any other part of the game to combat this, but EVE‘s infamous impenetrability remains stubbornly intact.

At EVE Fanfest 2016, we learned that a whopping 1.5 million people signed up to EVE last year, but that 51% of them quit within the first two hours. They’re obviously drawn in by something but are then turned off by things like the minute-to-minute gameplay or the complicated user interface. A new developer named CCP Ghost is now tasked with solving this most intractable of problems, armed with a fresh perspective and an investigator’s eye. Now it looks as if CCP may be fundamentally changing its approach to new players and is considering some options that few people expected a hardcore sandbox game like EVE would ever embrace.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look into the problems with EVE‘s new player experience, some interesting ideas discussed at Fanfest’s New Player Experience roundtable, and my thoughts on what the new game introduction could look like.

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EVE Evolved: What to expect from EVE Fanfest 2016

Ask the average gamer what he knows about EVE Online and after the word “boring” and a spreadsheet joke or two, he’ll probably talk about stories of massive scams, colossal space wars and savage politics. Though EVE is well known for its cut-throat in-game universe, the shared struggles of players have created some very close-knit communities and enduring friendships over the years. Those online communities and friendships bleed into the real world for a few special days each year when the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik plays host to the annual EVE Fanfest. In-game rivalries are set aside, mortal enemies buy each other beers, and everyone celebrates their shared love of internet spaceships.

Fanfest is an opportunity for CCP Games to interact directly with the game’s most dedicated fans, and is usually packed full of reveals, roundtable discussions, and player-run talks. EVE Fanfest 2016 kicks off in just a few days on Thursday 21st April and runs until Saturday 23rd, and Massively OP will be on the ground again this year to get the latest information on EVE Online, Valkyrie, and even some brand-new projects. The event schedule has been released, and it looks like there are also some fantastic player talks, panels on recent and future changes, and feedback-gathering roundtables. As usual, there will also be plenty of opportunity for interviews and posing questions to CCP and players.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into the EVE Fanfest 2016 schedule and see what there is to look forward to this year. If you have any questions you’d like to be posed to CCP or even other players, let me know in the comments!

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