On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cleans up after Guild Wars 2’s PR disaster, chew over the survivability of Shroud of the Avatar, and commiserate about Camelot Unchained’s delay. It’s not all downer news — there’s some really great stuff happening in the MMO industry, and that makes an appearance on this extra-long episode!
Special note: If you want to skip the ArenaNet discussion for the rest of the news, go to the 50-minute mark (yeah, we talk about it a lot!). Also, please note that this was recorded before the Polygon article that came out Monday night, so it’s missing some the additional commentary on Mike O’Brien’s second formal statement.
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Heaven-on-High is not quite the same as the Palace of the Dead. That is not surprising; they’re different places with different lore and slightly different goals for their place in Final Fantasy XIV’s
overall breadth of content. But they’re both part of the same food group, so there’s also the basic expectation that Heaven-on-High will be, functionally, Palace of the Dead 2. Which is… not inaccurate.
This is, in summary, an iterative take on the idea already established rather than a whole new frontier of content. It has both good sides and bad ones, and by and large I think it’s an improvement over the first version of the Deep Dungeon content. That doesn’t, however, mean that this take is flawless. It doesn’t even mean that every addition even enhances the overall experience. So let’s start prying into the dungeon from my first several runs, picking out the good parts from the negative and seeing what works for the future.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news that we missed? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from Warface, Red Dead Redemption 2, SWTOR, WildStar, and more, all waiting for you after the break!
Let’s talk about Final Fantasy XIV for a minute. This game really frustrates me because, on paper, it has so much of what I’m looking for in an MMORPG. It’s a polished and popular title with tons of story, player housing, swappable classes, incredible music, gorgeous visuals, and plenty of solo and grouping content. Yet every time I’ve made an honest effort to get into the game, I can only last about a month before I give up and head elsewhere.
I think it’s one of those cases of a game where the parts come together to make an objectively great product that doesn’t click with me personally. I’m routinely bored by the story and the slow pace, not to mention put off by the clunky controls and UI. I wish I could love it more, but I just don’t.
I’ve heard many of you say something similar about various games. There are titles that should be great for you, but so far, every time you try them, they don’t click. There’s something about these MMOs that keep them from being as fun for you as they might otherwise be. Which games are like this for you and why do you think this is the case?
You could argue that the new Deep Dungeon in Final Fantasy XIV
doesn’t really deserve the name; you’re going up
, not down
. That means it’s not really a deep
dungeon, is it? But that’s being needlessly pedantic when you know that the important thing is journeying into a randomized dungeon to earn bits of the Accursed Hoard, new weapons, and new vanity items. You can start climbing right now, although you might have to confine yourself to the patch notes
if you’re at work at the moment.
Players who aren’t too enticed by this or by the promise of further Hildibrand adventures might be more interested in the latest details about the Feast championship, which is going to be getting a big push at this year’s fan festival. It kicks off today, too, so you can see which players are best at FFXIV PvP in tournament format. Nothing on market board PvP, but we have to admit that’s not quite as cinematic.
We’re continuing our tour through the beast tribes of Final Fantasy XIV
, and as I move through these rankings I can’t help but notice certain themes. There are some sorts of tribe that I just find more interesting than others, obviously; this whole exercise wouldn’t work if that weren’t the case. Last week’s tribes had various reasons for earning my non-affection, but there was a fairly consistent thread of the tribes not having super distinctive hooks and also not having much done with them.
Most of the tribes this week, by contrast, have one or the other but not both. Either there’s not much compelling about a tribe but plenty of stuff done with that foundation, or there’s really interesting material there that just isn’t explored. So let’s start unpacking this middle of the pack, which are generally tribes that I feel are just shy of being really compelling and interesting for one reason or another.
The recent announcement of WoW Classic’s starting point — Patch 1.12 — started to make the prospect of this legacy server a lot more real to players, including many MMORPG bloggers.
“Fans of Captain Placeholder are no doubt disappointed, but it seems like a reasonable place to call Vanilla to me,” said The Ancient Gaming Noob.
“I do wonder whether Blizzard will ever take this idea to the logical next step, as other studios have already (both EverQuests and now RIFT), and make it into a progression server so that players can relive the highs of each new content release, patches, and expansions in turn,” mused GamingSF.
Inventory Full concurs: “A server that simply locks at a specific snapshot of the game risks stagnation. There is a market for an unchanging experience as can be seen by the number of ‘maintenance mode’ MMOs that still hold some kind of population but it’s easy to see why a company as large and successful as Blizzard might not consider that audience sufficiently large or profitable to encourage.”
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.”
Age is catching up to Final Fantasy XI, but the development team remains as passionate as ever. For the game’s 16th Anniversary, English-speaking fans asked a number of questions, and 20 of those questions have been answered by the development team and posted on Reddit. And the one bit of bad news in the whole answer is a confirmation that some things which would be nice to have in the game (like specifically disabling mount music) aren’t high priority simply because the team is small at this point.
Why is the team small? Because that helped ensure that the game would have a team providing updates for as long as possible.
Of course, that still means adjusting what’s on offer; the team has plans to keep offering more side story quests for post-storyline content along with balance adjustments, having noted that a focus on gear adjustments meant that players felt like not much was happening for the title. The team also wants to capitalize on the fact that the game is still supporting subscribers, although it remains to be seen if there will be any sort of discount for subscribers to Final Fantasy XIV. (It has to be considered from a business perspective.) Check out all the answers for a peek behind the curtain for the most actively developed game ever to declare itself in maintenance mode.
The next deep dungeon in Final Fantasy XIV
is really the opposite of “deep.” You’re not going down
in Heaven-on-High; you’re going up
. But it’s still the latest installment of the content, and it provides a different set of requirements right from the start because it’s open to players at level 61 and above who have first cleared part of the Main Scenario and also through the fiftieth floor in Palace of the Dead. Once within, there are traps to disarm, enemies to face, and perhaps most importantly mounts to acquire, so you’ll have good reason for climbing the tower.
Speaking of mounts to acquire, of course, there’s a mount being offered for all Fan Festival attendees, so you probably will want to take part in that particular event as well. Tickets will be officially going on sale on July 10th, with sales open to anyone who was a subscriber this year through distribution of access codes as appropriate. Check out the full procedure on the official site if you’re looking forward to attending; you can still watch the festivities online if you don’t want to go, so you won’t miss out.
Do you like fighting games? I don’t. Let’s talk about fighting games. But bear with me because you’ll get where this is going.
While I might not personally care much about fighting games, I still wind up spending a lot of time reading about them because that’s just the sort of thing I read for fun. And balancing a fighting game is honestly pretty difficult, thus it’s something that gets talked about a lot. It’s difficult enough that there are, in fact, two different ways to do it.
This does have a lot of bearing on MMOs, though, where balance doesn’t get talked about nearly as much and tends to get talked about in rather dim tones when it is discussed. But in order to understand that you need to understand the difference in balance methods, why World of Warcraft players miss Mark of the Wild, and why balance matters in the first place.
When it comes to ranking friendly, warm, and welcoming MMO communities, Final Fantasy XIV is right up there near or at the top of the list. Yet that doesn’t mean it is free from some of the corrupt and evil influences of the world, as evidenced in a recent scandal that involves a fansite, blackmail, and sexual harassment.
The fansite in question is The Moogle Post, one of the largest FFXIV community sites on the internet and which was led by an editor-in-chief known as Oldbear Stormborn. Nine women — part of a group of 15 called “Anonymous Janes” — came forward to PC Gamer to accuse Oldbear of “blackmail, coercion, and extensive emotional manipulation” of those he grew attached to in game and through the site.
Some of these accusations include Oldbear’s alleged use of nude photos as leverage to blackmail the women. In all of the situations, his accusers say, he would form a bond with women and then attempt to manipulate them, make unwanted advances, and isolate them from others.
There’s a real dearth of vendor trash in Final Fantasy XIV
. Almost everything is useful for something, somewhere. This encourages players to hoard a whole lot of items, which is why the item search feature was originally implemented, but that feature itself still has issues with its implementation and accessibility. Thus, the game’s next patch is improving the search functionality in many ways
, starting by popping your item search results out to a separate window.
You’ll be able to see more of where things are kept and where they’re located, so that you should have an easy time seeing if a particular piece of armor is being worn by one of your retainers or the like. The improved system will also highlight if the search results are from a cached version of the game, useful if you play across multiple platforms and might have changed your inventory. So it should be even easier to be sure if you have that Blue Yarzon Leg somewhere (though no easier to figure out why it’s gone).