RvR stands for “realm vs. realm,” usually a reference to faction-based player-vs.-player warfare, and frequently (though not always) in the context of more than two realms.
GameDaily has an interview with Rend’s Jeremy Wood this week that covers a bunch of meta topics of interest to MMO players and watchers of this oddball hybrid title. While Rend has no plans to suddenly become a battle royale title, Frostkeep is very much watching what the MMO subgenres and companies are up to in order to “fill the same psychological needs that are being filled by those games in [Rend].” Specifically, Wood says his team learned a lot from Blizzard and the MMO genre.
“Our biggest takeaway from our Blizzard experience is you can make a fantastically unique product without really inventing anything new,” Wood explained. “Blizzard got where they are by taking inspiration from all sorts of different great pieces of games in different genres.”
The first part of this first impressions series yesterday was all about the mechanical changes made for this expansion. This time, I don’t want to talk about the mechanics of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth; I want to talk about the actual content. Not the narrative text, but just the actual moment-to-moment stuff you’re doing in the game. Which, I think, is what this expansion is going to be judged on at this stage by a lot of people.
Put simply, the game could have the best combat it has ever had with the best gear enhancement system conceivable, but if the actual things you had to fight were a boring slog, no one would like it anyway. Solid content covers a multitude of sins.
There are several people who would likely argue that Legion had some of the best content we’ve ever seen in WoW, and while there’s room to debate that, I think it’s definitely worth considering. So BfA started off on something of the back foot, and that was exacerbated by the fact that it has not one but two continents to fill out almost entirely separate.
Hey, there’s a new World of Warcraft expansion, right? When did that happen?
There’s a bit of snark there, but perhaps less than you might think. The weird thing is that Battle for Azeroth kind of does feel as if it just dropped without warning; it was outside of the usual release schedule for expansions, with a long lead-in, as if the final product just showed up on our collective doorsteps one day. Assuming you were already logged on and had your pre-orders set, you could just jump right in and start the expansion, which hearkened back to the days of midnight releases after a fashion.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to talk about with the expansion so far. Now that it’s actually live we can see the mechanics and the story with all the polish that’s intended, with nothing left behind a curtain (other than Warfronts, anyhow). Coming off the well-received Legion, this expansion has some pretty big foot gear to fill, and it’s fair to wonder if any expansion wouldn’t feel like a bit of a downturn… but let’s not start there. Let’s just start in on one aspect of the game and go from there.
Yes, just about every MMO blogger was sharing heated opinions about last week’s World of WarCraft WarCrime. “It’s such a sad event and I’m particularly mad at Blizzard at the way they chose to write this,” wrote Aeternus.
Moonshine Manor was equally appalled, saying that she was “not sad at the story, but at having to mourn my fandom.”
“The storyline strips players of agency, it’s not a good feeling,” wrote Mmosey.
And Leo’s Life couldn’t make sense of it: “The lore nut in me sees no logic in this.”
In An Age sympathized with the outrage but noted, “This cinematic short is amazing in isolation.” And Atheren doesn’t want this to be the beginning of the end of Sylvanas: “I hope she gets a redemption arc.”
And Wolfy felt that the community reaction was too much for an outsider: “The level of the freak-out was above and beyond what I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing as someone barely remotely associated with the WoW playerbase.”
It would be easy to dismiss Saga of Lucimia’s pervasive “group-based or go home” ideas as mere rhetoric, but the reality is, there exists a small segment of the veteran MMORPG population that genuinely believes an MMO is not an MMO if it doesn’t focus exclusively or near-exclusively on grouping, and there are going to be games that cater to those folks.
I wanted to bring up that recent tweet because it seems like an extremist, maybe even revisionist position to take for a game in our market, and I don’t just mean in 2018 when plenty of non-MMOs have called themselves MMOs and even more MMOs have shunned the term. I mean in terms of the historical games being used as a touchstone for these ideas. Yes, some early MMORPGs like EverQuest emphasized group content; while you could level up on some classes and in some cases alone, for the most part, you needed to group up to get things done, whether you were taking down a dragon or just trying to squeeze out a few more bubbles of level in the midgame.
If you were hoping to hop into EVE Online
with its August release tomorrow, then I’m sorry to tell you that the patch has been delayed a solid week, and you’ll have to go on participating in the ongoing player war instead.
“Due to the need for additional testing, the deployment of the August release has been pushed back by one week from August 14th, to August 21st,” CCP says. “This means that both the August release and the “Secrets of the Abyss” event will now launch on the same day, next Tuesday.”
The studio promises more info on Friday alongside revamped patch notes (the old updates notes have been temporarily deleted). This particular update was slated to redesign half a dozen iconic shop models and revamp the newbie experience with the new Agency UI.
Camelot Unchained’s beta one is rolling on, and we’re assuming City State’s Mark Jacobs is napping on a beach somewhere enjoying his long-delayed vacay because CSE co-founder and technical director Andrew Meggs is helming the latest studio update and Q&A. Oh, and he’s accompanied by Ian the Intern, whom Meggs tries (unsuccessfully?) to embarrass at every turn.
This weekend, the RvR game’s build was put through its paces on the Wyrmling server, with UI bug fixes, shadow darkness tweaks, placeholders removed, and CPU bugsquashing – and that’s all apart from the madness going on on the Hatchery server where the real messes dwell. In short, the current test build is even better than what launched two weeks ago. My favorite bit is the fix to superpowered stones and their concomitant exploits. This is a real thing.
“Stones, like from Stonehealers, would affect other stones,” Meggs says, almost incredulously. “So you could put two invulnerability stones right down next to each other and they would make each other invulnerable. Or stones that were healing each other… it allowed creation of super-exploitable combinations by players working together to defeat the other realm. Which is good! But we want you to do it without exploits.”
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 Old School RuneScape, Worlds Adrift, Destiny 2, Starfall Online, Survived By, Hyper Universe, Elsword, Pirate101, War of Rights, Ragnarok Online, Perfect World Mobile, OrbusVR, SMITE, and Prosperous Universe, all waiting for you after the break!
Neowiz is decompressing from the rollout of this past week’s Assassin update in Bless, which went… more or less OK. The studio said that it will be creating more instances of the Siege of Castra to accommodate the high demand for the battle. The studio also apologized for the extended downtime this past week and compensated players with 500 Lumena for the inconvenience.
“We also heard your feedback that you didn’t like runes/spirits breaking,” Neowiz added. “As such, we plan to include an update in the near future so that runes/spirits no longer break in Peninsular War or Siege of Castra.”
The title is currently a whopping 67% off on Steam early access, allowing players to pick it up for just $9.89 through August 13th.
Here’s something a little different: Usually, before I write a World of Warcraft column (or any column), my assumptions and data are pretty firm before I put them down on paper, else I wouldn’t be writing it in the first place. This is one of the reasons that, for example, I spent so much time showing my work when trying to predict the launch date for Battle for Azeroth; that was all about hard numbers, so it was easy to check math and assumptions in an obvious fashion.
But in this particular case I’m exploring a concept that I’m still playing with and researching, something that may turn out to be somewhat erroneous. To wit: I suspect World of Warcraft expansions have switched from selling to existing customers and into reclaiming old customers as a primary design focus.
It might seem like an odd assertion, but I think it’s an interesting thing to consider and may help shed light on a number of design decisions, several of which I think are pretty bad ones. But for this particular column I’m not interested in analyzing the merits of design choices; I’m interested in presenting the evidence and showing how it lines up in a more neutral fashion. Because I think it can shape some interesting thinking.
As the final few days count down before Battle for Azeroth drops, World of Warcraft’s developers are making some significant last-minute class adjustments to make sure that players will be in a good place at level 120.
This class change hotfix is mostly made up of buffs — mostly. Many builds, such as Frost Death Knights, Beast Master Hunters, Marksman Hunters, Holy Priests, Elemental Shamans, Feral Druids, and Demonology Warlocks are getting across-the-board increases to their damage output. There are a few nerfs as well, most notably to Assassination Rogues, but they are not nearly as extensive. Many PvP tweaks are being made as well.
And if you’re still hot and bothered over the recent storyline, you may want to listen to this recent interview with former Blizzard lead Chris Metzen, who discusses the negative reaction to the War of Thorns storyline and the harrassment of the writing staff.
I’m think I’m over factions in MMOs. I get why RvR games need them, and I’ll grudgingly concede that the average player is far better off joining an arbitrary NPC faction for PvP than wading through the morass of player gangs and protection rackets that pass for guilds in some sandboxes. But for MMO themeparks where the PvP is minimal or walled off or without any impact on the world, I’m kind of sick of them.
That feeling’s come to a head the last few weeks thanks to World of Warcraft’s cheesy attempts to rile up the playerbase and make us shout down the “other side” like sports hooligans. One reader pointed out how these kinds of factions still functionally divide friends from playing together for no reason. Another called faction jabber “forced propaganda.” I wouldn’t be sorry to see factions go away in most MMOs. The whole thing feels so fake and exhausting.
Is it time to move on from PvP “factions” in MMORPGs? Am I missing some vital and necessary function for this type of design?
A brand-new feature has been datamined
test server, with players trying to figure out what this system entails.
It’s called Planar Disciples, perhaps some sort of companion system that is included on your character UI panel. Presumably players will be able to collect and level up a follower. Might be kind of cool to have a combat pal around for those tricky fights? Also coming to the game is a brawl mode for the Black Garden warfront, the return of the Tempest Rising world event, and a Pandora’s Box dimension.
One thing we do know for sure is that Trion Worlds is bringing back the Spoils of War event on the Prime progression server on August 16th.