When you think of MMORPGs, I wouldn’t blame you if your mind stayed rooted firmly in the past decade or so, perhaps taking a brief vacation to 1997 before returning to today’s 3-D polygonal glory. But it’s not like people just woke up in the late 90’s, looked at each other, and said, “Hmm. Online multiplayer RPGs. Let’s make it happen!”
On the contrary, history had been building up to that moment for quite some time. Tabletop RPGs and computer MUDs (multi-user dungeons) were both important ancestors of modern MMOs, just as was a mostly forgotten piece of software lore: the bulletin board system, also known as the BBS.
In layman’s terms, BBSes were like pocket internets — host computers that allowed anyone to dial up and use special programs remotely. While BBSes weren’t (initially) tied together like the world wide web, they featured a lot of the elements that would make the world wide web so popular, such as email, forums, and, yes, online games.
Today’s special Game Archaeologist will take a brief look at the history of the BBS, as well as a couple of its games that could be considered “MORPGs” (the “massively” part would be a while in coming). Dial up, gentle readers, and make your hissing modem noises!
World vs. world content has long been a sore spot for Guild Wars 2
, at least as far as world PvPers are concerned, which is why the upcoming world restructure for that game mode will probably be a welcome one.
As explained on the forums yesterday, ArenaNet is apparently aiming to fix WvW by rejiggering the arbitary server boundaries that lock WvW players onto one server or another. That’s not worked properly in years, given that each server operates with different population loads in different time zones, and allowing players to choose hasn’t helped. The solution is to go through a “world creation” generation round at the beginning of every season, meaning the game will pick your side for you in a way that actually balances the teams based on your history, language, affiliations, and skill.
Amazon’s New World
is a game that’s captured quite a bit of rumor and speculation lately, and here’s a fresh video to throw more wood on the rumor pile
! It’s difficult to impossible to tell how legit it is, but it certainly does seem to match up with the first promo we saw for the game, so if it’s a hoax, it’s at least a consistent one. And if it’s legit, it’s still not clear whether it’s a leak or a deliberate tease.
The video on Reddit hints at what amounts to an alternate version of colonial America, as filled with superstitions and magic as it is with actual settlers trying to not starve to death and all of that. Hopefully this particular rumor doesn’t end with the game’s page getting yanked and prompting another string of furious concern and anxiety, but there’s no way to be certain of it right now. If you’d like to see what may or may not be a reveal, check out the leak.
Despite reportedly struggling with issues caused by Worlds Adrift’s 0.1.5 patch, the team is forging ahead with the next update. It’s still a week or two away, but a preview of the patch notes are up, and they include some new weaponry for players to slap on the side of their airships.
Yes, we’re talking about swivel guns. Swivel guns are deck-mounted shotguns that might not have the range to be effective against other ships, but they are incredibly deadly against fleshy creatures that might attempt to board your vessel.
Other changes coming with 0.1.6 are the ability to have up to three characters on an account, newbie tooltips, and lots of additional visual and special effects.
The team also said that testers should expect a wipe in the near future: “The anticipated wipe is still coming and will be one of a few to follow, however the reason behind the delay has mainly been due to the new world and island implementation taking incredibly long to export, making the devs step back and re-access the previously planned implementation approach.”
This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.
But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin sift through early 2018 news, including a possible leak of Amazon’s New World, a touching player memorial in RIFT, warnings of alien attacks in Elite: Dangerous, and more!
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:
On Monday of last week, we reported that a video of the anticipated and rather mysterious New World from Amazon had been leaked… and the game’s Amazon landing page vanished at the same time, sending out missives to everyone who’d registered to follow it. In what is probably good news, it turns out the page is back again and none the worse for wear. So now you get to pick your own explanation for what happened to it.
- It was never supposed to go down at all and was entirely an accident, and the timing of that and the video is pure coincidence.
- The removal and replacement represents a big shift of some sort behind the scenes and the leaked video was before the change, thus meaning that the leak may not bear much resemblance to the final product.
- It was already cancelled but somehow the page got turned back on by mistake.
- Someone thought it was Breakaway.
Which one is correct? We don’t know yet! Perhaps keeping our eyes on the page will produce some answers.
Avast, feast your eyes here, ye swabbies: Sea of Thieves be settin’ sail for the waters of closed beta on the 24th of January for both PC and the Box of X. Hoist the mainsails and prepare to have your senses bedazzled, as no shroud separates ye from the testing, nor any NDA. Ye can even read up on the intelligence what governs those fancy skeletons that be dancin’ about, or ye could pick up a fine new hand-held controller for a heft spot of dubloons.
Other news for betas? Aye, ’tis a fine time to discuss the other ships what sit full in the water.
Now, I’ve told my tale and told it true, so ye ought let me be. But first, cast your eyes to the horizon, and ye can see our full list of games what be in beta testin’ right now! Aye, a beautiful sight; take a fine boat below, and keep your eyes peeled if one of those salty dogs what slipped into a new test phase without us recognizin’ it ahead of time.
A short, anonymous video posted to the New World subreddit has the community buzzing that this might be an authentic leak from the secretive massively multiplayer game that Amazon has been developing for the last few years now.
It appears to be part of a marketing trailer that lays out how players will interact with each other in small- and large-scale activities. We also get glimpses of some of the graphics, including players running around with muskets and armor, a town fort, and interactive maps.
The full narration of the video is as follows: “Group up in parties large or small for coordination. Share chat, maps, status awareness, buffs, and experience. Working together has never been so easy. Guilds and alliances enable the organization of hundreds of players, with their own tasks and roles in large-scale efforts toward a massive martial and economic power.”
One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.
But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2018 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.
Believe it or not, but 2018 marks the fifth anniversary of the debut of Old School RuneScape, the 2007-era version of the MMO that has proved to be just as popular (maybe even moreso) than the regular edition. And kicking off the celebrations this year is a brand-new world-spanning quest that just so happens to be a sequel to one of the game’s most popular missions.
Dragon Slayer II is a story of “intrigue, unforgettable battles, and high-end rewards,” according to Jagex. The quest is designed to be challenging and for experienced player, utilizing both combat and puzzles in its design. Players who beat it will gain access to the highly useful Myths’ Guild.
“More than 16 years after the original Dragon Slayer quest launched and gave players their toughest challenge, we’re giving them an even grander challenge to overcome with Dragon Slayer II, one of our most memorable adventures yet!” writes Senior Product Manager Mathew Kemp. “2018 is a real milestone year for Old School RuneScape; in addition to celebrating our fifth anniversary next month, we’re of course looking forward to the launch of Old School on mobile platforms soon!”
Polls are a quantitative sort of magic that we don’t often get from our other articles – at least when they aren’t being brigaded – which is why I love our Leaderboard column.
Let’s take a look back at our best MMO polls of the year! And if you want a few more, you can look back at our polls from 2016 and 2015 too.
It’s not quite 2018 yet, but it will be next week. That means we have a whole year of Final Fantasy XIV
to enjoy, and that also means that we have to wonder what’s in store. Although we also don’t
have to wonder, because the game has a very reliable update schedule, and it doesn’t exactly take rocket science to extrapolate from 4.2 in late January. “Does that mean the next patch will be in late April to late May?” Yes. Yes it does.
In short, it seems transparently obvious to me that we’ll have another trio of large patches this year, along with more story development and lots of other relevant bits of content. So rather than guess at how many patches we’re going to get or whether or not we’ll hear about the next expansion (which is inevitable), it’s far more productive to speculate about the content of those patches and the expansion. Let’s head down that road.