Most studios would be overjoyed to have pioneered one significant advancement in video game history, but then again, most studios aren’t Kesmai. While it’s not a household name today, it’s reasonable to say that without the heavy lifting and backbreaking coding that this company shouldered in the ’80s and ’90s, the MMO genre would’ve turned out very different indeed.
Previously in this space, we met two enterprising designers named Kelton Flinn and John Taylor who recognized that multiplayer was the name of the future and put their careers on the line to see an idea through to completion. That idea was Island of Kesmai, an ancestor of the modern MMO that used crude ASCII graphics and CompuServe’s network to provide an interactive, cooperative online roleplaying experience. It wasn’t the first MMO, but it was the first one published commercially, and sometimes that makes all the difference.
Flinn and Taylor’s Kesmai didn’t stop with being the first to bring MMOs to the big time, however. Flush with cash and success, Kesmai turned its attention to the next big multiplayer challenge: 3-D graphics and real-time combat. Unlike the fantasy land of Island of Kesmai, this title would take to the skies in aerial dogfighting and prove even more popular than the team’s previous project.
I want to flip the tables on the whole toxicity/Reddit thing a bit. Earlier this week, we talked about some of the problems Reddit has. But not every gaming subreddit – or every subreddit, for that matter – is a cesspit of drama. I can never write off the whole platform because I’ve had really enjoyable experiences on the subs for some of my other hobbies, for single-player games, and even for niche groups for MMOs.
For example, have you ever checked out /r/GuildWarsDyeJob/? You guys, it’s basically a fashion show in there. It reminds me of the old Guru forums where people would post up their awesome outfit/dye combos for classic Guild Wars, only this one’s got much more Guild Wars 2. People are super creative, and the commentary is constructive too.
What’s your favorite non-awful gaming subreddit? Which one truly deserves an epic shout-out?
It’s always a great feeling when you get a good bang for your buck. While Blade and Soul
isn’t changing the cost of its subscription, it is making the premium membership more lucrative — and attractive — by adding several new benefits
to the service.
Based on feedback from the community, NCsoft is adding a monthly supply of 20 outfit delivery stamps, periodic character alteration vouchers, a 20% discount on chromatic thread, and far better daily login rewards.
All of these subscription benefits will go live on July 25th with the False Idols update. You can peruse the full list of membership benefits on the site and decide for yourself if a monthly fee is worth it.
Most MMO dungeons are normal songs. You start out and you have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t really change up much. But the endless dungeon is like improvisational jazz. Sure, there’s a beginning and often a fairly reliable end, but the space in the middle can be filled with all sorts of things. You don’t even know what’s going to be there until you’re already in the thick of it. It could be filled with creme! (Probably not, but hey, life is weird sometimes.)
Our reader Arsin asked us a while back about MMOs with endless dungeon modes of some sort, and well, we do our best to find these things out. The goal here is to have an online-only game with randomly generated content between the start and end. Arguably some of these might not fit your personal criteria, but that’s all right; there’s plenty of variety here!
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over how necessary it is to actually provide MMOs with those icky, wonderful girlie-types. They deliberately deliver a light-hearted episode after last week, full of funky fresh frivolity. Will gaming ever be fun again? It has to be!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
You know what Guild Wars 2
could use right about now? How about a festival? Yeah! How about the return of a festival that’s been dormant for years? Yassss! How about the Festival of the Four Winds
“On July 24, a big summer celebration is blowing in—the Festival of the Four Winds! A collaborative effort by Her Royal Majesty Queen Jennah of Kryta, the Zephyrites, the Lionguard, and even the Black Lion Trading Company, this annual festival brings back popular summertime activities in both Divinity’s Reach and the Labyrinthine Cliffs.”
As it did way back in 2014, the Festival offers numerous minigames; the wiki lists dolyak flying, the Sanctum Spring race, and the Aspect Arena battle, and it’s a good bet we’ll see some of those brought up to date with the game’s current mechanics (like mounts). ArenaNet’s official blurb this year also mentions hot air balloons (wheee) and the Boss Blitz, whose “vicious villains and their contemptable compatriots are represented by the new, improved, and entirely secure Watchknight Mk II system.” Definitely updated for 2018!
And the best part is that everything looks like Cantha. Which is in my estimation exactly as it should be. The launch is on July 24th.
Are ya ready for Blade & Soul’s
next big thing? It’s called False Idols, and it’s bringing sweeping change to multiple game systems. Expect new buyable loot in hard mode dungeons, a soulstone rebalance to make them valuable again, updates to PvP battlegrounds to reduce the impact of disconnections, and multiple itemization tweaks. Dailies are also due for an update.
“We’re continuing to tweak the Daily and Weekly Challenge rewards following the changes introduced in the Blade & Soul: Eternal Night update,” says NCsoft. “Shifting the tradable materials from Weekly Challenge to Daily Challenge should make them more accessible to a wider range of players. The Daily Challenge Reward Chest now always contains 5 Gold, with a chance at additional Gold. The amount of tradable upgrade materials in the Daily Challenge Treasure Chest will be increased and the amount of tradable upgrade materials in the Weekly Challenge Treasure Chest will be decreased.”
NCsoft has previously deep-dived the two raids coming in False Idols; you can read about that in our post from last week, and you probably should, as MOP reader Rafael pointed out these particular “raids” are actually intended for non-raiders, with great drops but no grind or punishing mechanics. False Idols lands on July 25th.
In dealing with the ArenaNet fallout over the last couple of weeks, I started giving serious thought to the Reddit problem in gaming, and I’m not just talking about the overt hate groups allowed to fester there. You know how one of the rules of thumb for MMORPG communities for the longest time was never go to the official forums because you’d come away feeling depressed and dejected, believing the game community was a hot mess and your class was most assuredly the most broken? Reddit is like that, only nobody there cares enough about fixing it to see it through, and so we’ve got a tragedy of the commons problem playing out in cyberspace.
When game companies owned their own discussion spaces, most of them at least made some modicum of effort to keep them respectable. Oh, sure, some took that way too far and deleted criticism, but most, barring the very biggest, tamped down on toxicity because that space reflected on them. They cared. This is how I feel about our own comment section, incidentally, because our team owns this site and cares about the conversations we have here, unlike many other sites owned by corporate groups that don’t even care if comments exist at all.
I’ve still got hype on the brain. We’ve talked about the length of hype cycles and under-hyped MMOs. Now I want to talk about games that have actually suffered from their own hype specifically.
No Man’s Sky and WildStar pop to mind immediately for me as games we cover that were grievously wounded by hype. Both games effectively promised and teased far more features and more interesting features that they actually delivered, causing hype for the game to turn into venom post-launch. And in both cases, the game studios have made considerable effort to turn it around, but the grudges linger.
PUBG strikes me as another game that was heavily hyped last year but quickly succumbed to a prettier, cheaper, more accessible, and more polished game.
And howsabout Destiny 2? A contender, right?
Which online game has suffered the most from its own hype?
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:
Among the highlights of Blade & Soul’s
upcoming False Idols update are two raid dungeons for endgamers to explore. NCsoft’s lightly previewed both in its most recent dev blog on the game
“Everyone in the Earthen Realm knows of the vengeful Grand Celestial Emperor’s formidable clockwork guardians that lurk within Nightfall Sanctuary. As his last, dying command, the Grand Celestial Emperor ordered two of his living idols to exact his demands for fear and respect from his people, even after his body turned to ash. Years have passed and no one has paid tribute in some time. Activated by the Kuranos Cube, the Barrier Keeper and Templar will now be seeking restitution—in blood. Focus your chi and prepare to meet the challenge!”
Both raids are for 12-man level 55/Hongmoon 12 teams on a weekly Wednesday refresh timer, gated by the players’ having completed Emperor’s Tomb chapter 5. “Like the automatons that have come before them, The Barrier Keeper and The Templar resemble the Nightfall Sanctuary bosses, The Peacekeeper and The Shield Bearer, with each guardian residing in their own dungeon—the Hall of the Keeper and the Hall of the Templar,” says the studio. “Though these two raid bosses are not as formidable as their Nightfall Sanctuary counterparts, they are not to be taken lightly.” The updated launches on July 25th!
Former ArenaNet developer Jessica Price has just made a string of new statements on Twitter discussing some of the issues surrounding the ongoing Guild Wars 2 PR nightmare, in which she and fellow developer Peter Fries were booted from ArenaNet following a Twitter altercation that mobilized a Reddit mob. Her primary complaint seems to be her allegation that ArenaNet – especially Mike O’Brien – “escalated” her (and Peter Fries’) firing, knowing what the mob’s response would be.
“The announcement was an escalation. The company could have chosen to say ‘their remarks don’t represent the company, we don’t agree with what they said, and they’re no longer with the company,'” she writes. “That’s not what they did. They framed an interaction on my personal social media in which I told a few individuals who (I thought) were being assholes that I wasn’t on the clock and wasn’t going to feign affection for people who are being assholes as ‘attacks on the community.'”
Consequently, she argues, O’Brien effectively provoked the mob, knowing what harassment would follow after she and Fries had been painted as “enemies of the community”; she calls it “active solicitation of harassment,” using the mob as punishment and then maintaining “silence in condemning the harassment,” which she says is “profoundly telling.”