Subscription MMOs are generally those that restrict play to gamers who pay an ongoing fee, usually monthly, though shorter and longer subscriptions, as well as lifetime subs, do exist. Some free-to-play and buy-to-play games also include optional subscriptions.
When you look for famous characters in your MMO, you may be looking for someone complete different than the rest of the crowd.
Lt. Commander Hikari gives us an example of that with this Star Trek Online pic: “In Star Trek, I’ve always been a fan of Janice Rand. An often underestimated member of the crew (and cast) she’s one of the things that really stood out for me through the series and movies. There are lots of reasons to be a fan of the actress and character that I would encourage people to find on their own. When Agents of Yesterday was released, Grace Lee Whitney had only just passed a year prior. It was lovely to see her with the rest of the crew, where she always belonged.”
I always cheered her appearance in Star Trek VI, myself!
Let me tell you a bit about me and how I play MMORPGs. Between two jobs and a family, my gaming time is relegated to the deep evening hours where peace descends upon our household. If it’s a good night, I can get in two full hours of adventuring through virtual worlds before I grow too tired to continue. Some nights it’s less.
It has been a long time since I was able to sprint alongside the pack when a new expansion or game launches, so you have to picture me as the slowpoke waaaay in the back who keeps getting distracted by small details, stops to read the quest text, and takes screenshots like I’m putting together an art book.
That’s me, the fluffy casual, and while plenty of folks have devoured vast swaths of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth this week (including our own excellent Eliot), I’ve been rotating through my roster of characters and experiencing this engaging expansion at my own tempered pace. Does that mean that I lack a perspective or any observational details? Absolutely not! In fact, here are some things that I’ve been thinking about and looking at this week from the position at the far back of the pack.
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth has elicited a lot of praise from the community for its superb voice acting. Blizzard Watch put together a roundup of some of the key characters and their human counterparts, just in case you were wondering who was doing that voice.
And as players explore this new expansion, they’ve been uncovering all sorts of Easter eggs and sly references. Catch that Calvin and Hobbes or Winnie the Pooh nod, did you? Well how about the in-game tribute to the late R. Lee Ermey, who appears as a sergeant in the Alliance’s 7th Legion.
Blizzard recently sat down for an interview that covered the identity crisis that is hitting Horde players really hard right now. “Battle for Azeroth is absolutely an opportunity to look at both sides [honorable and evil] that have made up the Horde storylines throughout the years and pull them together,” said Narrative Producers Steve Danuser. “And maybe give a chance for the Horde to look inward and maybe become something new, something stronger than it ever was before.”
The other day when we reported how World of Warcraft had removed the auto-accept functionality from its group finder, Reader Kalech noted, “If people don’t want to be social, they’re not going to be social no matter how much Blizzard tries to strong-arm them.”
That made me pause and reflect, because over the long history of MMOs, studios are forever trying to influence, direct, and sometimes “strong-arm” players into engaging in certain activities or playstyles. It’s not always that overt or constrained, but once in a while you do see a studio try its mightiest to shove players into PvP or to make them socialize more.
So when have MMO studios tried to force you into changing your playstyle — and were they successful?
All right. Strap yourselves in, folks, because this is when we have to start talking about narratives and story and intended emotional reactions. In short, this is where World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth becomes a seriously messy piece of work, because this is an expansion in which the game posits that maybe colonialism is super great and native peoples are evil villains in league with dark powers.
Yes, that’s a thing that happens. No, we’re not going to leave it there, but I’m trying to minimize spoilers before the cut.
I’ve said on Twitter before today that the game feels like a $500 million movie with $50 spent on the script, and that still rings true. A ton of effort has been put into the presentation of this expansion, and there’s nothing to do but praise all of that; there’s honestly very little to fault in any part of the presentation of the story. The faults all arrive once you start examining the actual text of that story. And boy-howdy, that’s a mess.
Fair warning, people, there will be spoilers below.
Poor WildStar. These days all the attention and excitement that Carbine’s MMO generates is by recycling old events. One of these, the home renovation event, is coming back tomorrow and will run through August 24th.
The game seems to be on life support even as players wonder why this game wasn’t more successful. The last major content update, Destination Arcterra, came out in March 2016 (WildStar has seen lesser content updates since, to be fair). There have been no content updates in 2018.
This past January’s state of the game address promised that Carbine and NCsoft were going to “continue to support the game for the foreseeable future.” However, no specific plans for that future would entail were stated and the dev team has been remarkably quiet over the course of this year.
How much is your house worth in The Sims 4? Obviously, the game attaches a value to it, but that’s just game terms and doesn’t really match what we think of as the value of these things. This is why the UK-based mortgage company L&C Mortgages looked at the housing market in eight separate games to compare the costs and availability of a house in all of them, including the exceedingly market-limited houses in Final Fantasy XIV.
The comparisons are not perfect, since games like Fallout 4 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are single-player titles without players competing for a house. Still, if you’d like to see how the cost of virtual real estate stacks up, it should be at least mildly amusing. And hey, it also means you can mention your home is worth millions of dollars before muttering that it only applies in Eorzea. (Or Othard, if you want to be really pedantic. At this point you might as well be.)
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some tantalizing rumors and teases that both Riot Games and Blizzard are building something new: Riot’s dangled some questions about maybe making an MMORPG – might it be a League of Legends MMO? – and Blizzard’s outright said it’s returning to the Diablo franchise for multiple projects (one of which is the Switch port announced this morning). Can we hope for an MMO from one of the big studios again – and should we?
That’s what we’re pondering in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Do you think either of these companies is actually working on a new MMORPG using an old IP, what might it look like if so, what are they working on if not, and what do you actually want to see happen? Read more
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.
Housing in Final Fantasy XIV
has some issues with limited space
, so almost no one who has a home in the game wants to lose it. So if you want to spread chaos in the game’s homeowner community, claiming that people are losing their houses without warning is a good way to do it
. There are more reports than usual of players logging in to find their houses gone, while they claim they had been in there and active in time to reset the timer.
Time to panic? Maybe not. That shiny “rumor” tag is there for a reason, chiefly the fact that at this point there’s no real confirmed reports of this happening to people. Reddit users have taken the opportunity to keep tabs on the house watchers on Balmung, and as of yet nothing has surfaced as abnormal there. (Balmung is one of the game’s largest servers and the unofficial RP server, which means housing is closely watched.) If there is a bug, it appears to be highly limited, but it’s still disconcerting to think about.
It’s time to boldly go where no podcast has gone before — by exploring MMO space themes! It’s perhaps the flat-out goofiest and silliest Battle Bards episode to date, so you’re going to have to excuse a whole lot of diversions, arguments, and giggles. Because that’s what space does to people? We do not know. This episode is also notable for Syl’s all-time greatest quote, “Planets are usually in space.” Usually.
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 126: Out of this world (or download it) now:
One of my most beloved possessions in Ultima Online
is my music box: I spent months, probably years, collecting each “track” to insert into the box, and then I can run it and play my favorite Ultima
songs while I’m puttering around my house sorting loot.
That makes me all the most excited to hear that The Elder Scrolls Online is getting exactly such a feature in the Murkmire DLC later this year.
“For housing, we’re putting music boxes in,” creative director Rich Lambert told VG247 at QuakeCon last week. “It’s this cool thing and we’ve got a ton of music that we’ve written in the game and so we’re putting it all in music boxes.”
Meanwhile, ESO has delivered a breakdown of the Midyear Mayhem PvP event it held this summer. You guys dropped almost a quarter of a million chaosballs, stole over 2.5K elder scrolls, capped over 700K keeps, and murdered 7.5M fellow soldiers. Peace and prosperity for all!