When a game has been running as long as Dark Age of Camelot has, it stands to reason that the players remaining are going to be deeply invested in the game and quite familiar with its mechanics. So if you approach DAOC’s most recent grab bag, understand that you will be entering a zone in which deep and granular questions are asked and answered.
Among the community queries this past week include the issue of whether or not Kertom still drops black weapon enamel (he does, whew), the stacking proc effect of a Howling Predator Vest (why would you want your vest to howl?), and the order in which defensive actions resolve in the game.
By far, the longest answer revolved around players’ Base AF and how that affects damage reduction. “Armor quality affects both the chance that your armor will absorb the blow at all and if that roll is successful, how much damage will be mitigated,” the devs said. “Armor condition also affects how much damage is mitigated.”
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!
By now, many of you probably know that I’m the curator of the MMO Timeline on my personal blog. On this page, I’ve attempted to catalog the launches, expansions, business model shifts, reboots, platform transitions, and sunsets of MMOs by year. It certainly helps me to get a high-level overview of certain eras of online gaming history as well as to trace the development of certain titles.
For fun, because that’s a lot of what Perfect Ten is about, I wanted to start with the year that MMORPGs really took off and select one title per year over the next two decades that I felt had the best debut and was the most exciting title to launch that year. Some years it’s going to be really easy to pick, while others… man, I am setting myself up for some hate mail, aren’t I?
Let’s turn our time machine back to 1997 and get this show on the road!
While we reported in December 2017 that Broadsword was aiming for a free-to-play option for Dark Age of Camelot, we haven’t seen a lot of movement on that front — until now. A recent producer’s letter informed the community that the Endless Crusade update with its business model shift has been delayed to the first part of 2019.
“Once patch 1.125 has released, we’ll be shifting our development resources towards the Endless Conquest update,” the team said. “As mentioned in some previous grab bags this option will now be made available to returning and new accounts rather than just newly created ones. This change does increase the scope of the Endless Conquest update considerably but we strongly believe it’s the right way forward for Dark Age of Camelot!”
In addition to working on the F2P version, Broadsword is busy focusing on this summer’s Patch 1.125 (which includes RvR currency, RvR reward streamlining, and two new class/race combos per realm), a new fall harvest event, and a new website.
When Radical Heights launched, I was inspired to put together a whole Perfect Ten about why trend-chasing doesn’t work for online games. Obviously, my chief focus was on games that wind up being developed at a rushed pace to cash in on trends and then run face-first into problems with chasing momentary trends, which… you know, you can just read the article; it’s linked right there. But it also prompted a follow-up question by longtime reader Sally Bowls asking why, with all of these issues, why the same rules don’t apply to MMOs.
The answer? Well, there isn’t one answer. There are three answers, all of which are part of the same set of considerations. For one thing, there’s the difference of development time and depth. For another, there’s the time before grinding. And last but not least, well… they do apply, really. But let’s take this piece by piece to talk about why trend-chasing for MMOs doesn’t quite provoke the same immediate reactions as it does for, say, MOBAs.
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? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Rend, Armored Warfare, Wakfu, Elsword, H1Z1, Conan Exiles, Dauntless, Sea of Thieves, Fractured Lands, Magic: The Gathering Arena, EVE Online, Orbus VR, RuneScape, Foxhole, Shot Online, Dark Age of Camelot, PixARK, TERA, and Final Fantasy XI, all waiting for you after the break!
Making a list of the “biggest” MMOs currently running is always an exercise in frustration. It’s easy to put a few things on the list – no one’s going to argue with placing World of Warcraft on such a list, for example – but then everything else always gets mired in opinions and controversy, and endless cycles of “why isn’t this game I love on there while another game I don’t like is there?!” I speak from experience.
Still, on our list of the healthiest MMOs at the moment, we’ve got only three licensed games: Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Those are by no means the only entries on the licensed game list, of course, but there does seem to be something of a dearth of those. And perhaps that’s more understandable than it seems. For all that we talk about how one setting or another would be perfect for an MMO, there are some unique troubles you inevitably run into when you get into the licensed MMO shuffle.
When it comes to notable years in the MMORPG genre’s history, 2008 stands out as one of the most significant. World of Warcraft’s debut onto the scene in 2004 caused an upheaval in ways far too numerous to go into detail here. Suffice to say that its overwhelming popularity drew the attention of game designers who looked at the staggering numbers of players and found themselves envious of the potential to grab a slice of that money pie.
Many projects went into high gear following WoW’s launch, with plenty of them trying to copy the formula and structure that Blizzard established in the hopes of making it at least partially as big as that game. So-called WoW clones began to pepper the market and there was a sense that gamers were ready to move on from World of Warcraft to the next generation of MMOs. In many players’ minds, this would be either 2008’s Age of Conan or Warhammer Online, two big-budget MMOs with strong IPs that carried a lot of the weight of expectation.
Little did anyone realize that 2008 represented a bubble that was about to burst on the industry and the WoW clones that followed — including Warhammer Online. Today, we’re going to take a look at “bears, bears, bears,” the high hopes of Mythic Entertainment, and how WAR became a casaulty on its own battlefield.
Look down — and it’ll be the last thing you’ll ever see! That’s because fury and death arrive in the form of short character races in MMORPGs. Even if they hit below the belt, their music is sweet to the ears! In this episode of Battle Bards, the crew take on themes from Gnomes, Halflings, Dwarves, and other short races in MMOs.
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 120: Short stuff (or download it) now:
I have vague memories of ArenaNet talking about Guild Wars 2 taverns prior to its launch and how these spaces would be more than window dressing. Maybe that was a dream or something, but I’ve always respected the effort to make one of the most iconic of RPG locations — the tavern meeting place — more useful and engaging. Warhammer Online, too, was touting tavern brawls that would take place as public events.
We’re so conditioned to run in and out of such places that unless we are roleplaying for some reason, chances are we never stay for more than a few seconds. And that’s kind of a shame, because I like the idea of players spending some time in bars unwinding. I heard a myth of a dead MMO that used to put such an emphasis on this, but it was probably all bunk.
What could MMO taverns do to get you to stick around? Would you hang out for minigames, gambling, special events, or special buffs?
Video games have always been a remarkably insular field; that’s the nature of development. Someone produces Super Mario Bros, and a few years later Sonic the Hedgehog sounds like a really good idea for some reason. But then you have games like The Great Giana Sisters, games that don’t try to just copy parts of what made the inspiration good but just copy the whole thing with one or two changes.
For normal video games, this can work out decently; a game that just doesn’t get much traction still sells some copies, hopefully. Just because Croc wasn’t Spyro didn’t mean that no one bought the former. But for online games, these trend-chasing games are almost always dramatic failures that litter the landscape. Why is that? Well, there are pretty good reasons, and today seems like a good time to talk about that.
Oh crap. You weren’t good this year, were you. Instead of getting the Cadbury Bunny, with all of its chocolate-sugar bomb goodness, your indescretions have summoned the killer bunny to Dark Age of Camelot. Woe is you! Woe is us!
Returning for the game’s spring event, the killer bunny can be fought by a group of knock-kneed knights (holy hand grenade sold separately). If you can manage to kill him by April 16th, you’ll get your choice of special items.
For the faint of heart, DAoC is offering egg-collecting quests, event vendors, and an array of XP, RP, BP, and crafting bonuses in various areas.
The Ultima Online team is hard at work “crushing bugs” and preparing for the launch of Endless Journey. The free-to-play Publish 99 is being tentatively planned for early April and will be followed by a strong push to eliminate as many bugs as possible with Publish 100.
Adjustments are still in the works for Ultima Online’s free trial: “We know there has been a lot of discussion related to the amount of storage that Endless Journey accounts will have access to. We are still actively developing means of allowing Endless Journey accounts access to some level of secure storage.”
Also worth pointing out is that all existing accounts have been upgraded through the Stygian Abyss expansion, even if you never paid for any of them. Awesome.