Flying and skydiving in the exploration-heavy sandbox Wander is better than ever before, as yesterday’s patch packaged in several improvements to these systems. “It feels better when using a controller, when the triggers are mapped to wing tucking, which makes you turn more sharply,” the devs said.
The patch also added a clearer tutorial, better underwater visuals, renovations to floating islands, several bug fixes, and a full weather system that draws from real-world data (which now includes rain storms).
Is it just me, or is Daybreak actively trying to make me dislike it? To force me abandon all hope when I enter? Because I like the games (what’s left of them, anyway) and many of the people (well, ditto), so it takes some dedicated effort to make me wince and begin to question my support. But that is exactly what these latest expansion announcements for EverQuest and EverQuest II do.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I don’t like expansions. I love them. And I am excited to get one! I am still pretty heavily invested in the EQ franchise; as with SWG, I’d always felt I would never fully leave EQII until that Norrath shuts down for good. The number of times Daybreak has announced one thing and then done the polar opposite is what’s causing the issue here. That is just not a good practice to be known for — and I am coming to expect it. Therein lies the problem.
Oculus Connect 2, a VR conference hosted by the folks behind Oculus, is set for just a few weeks from now. You probably didn’t know that, and that’s because we don’t cover the VR scene heavily, and that’s because VR appears to go over like a ton of bricks with MMO die-hards unless we’re talking about the Zenimax/Oculus lawsuit (save some popcorn for me, guys).
But a few of you can’t stop dreaming about what a future of VR-enhanced MMOs might look like. Massively OP Kickstarter donor Revek is one such dreamer; for today’s Daily Grind, he asks, “How do you think virtual reality like Oculus is going to change MMOs?”
Wondering about Wander? The non-combat game recently had a decent-sized patch, and MassivelyOP’s MJ wants to see what it is all about — especially since there are no patch notes to give any clues! How has the game fared since its not-so-stellar launch? Tune in live at 1:00 p.m. to step back in and explore this world.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 1:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
What is it like to be the community manager of an MMO that was infamously called the worst PlayStation 4 game ever? That’s the question of the day for Emma S., the community manager of Wander.
Emma shares how she got involved with the Wander project as a volunteer and worked her way up to CM and social media guru. She describes jumping into the role at launch “beyond stressful” and “insane,” feelings complicated by a massively buggy and unstable release.
“Never underestimate the tremendous wrath of an immeasurable horde of irate gamers,” she recalls. “Within half an hour of launch, Facebook and Twitter had exploded with incredibly nasty comments. Though they were horrible, they were also honest. I hit the ground running. I read and answered every single post and comment as it came though. My stomach sank further with each passing notification. I felt was like I was being punched from the inside with every new comment.”
In this edition of Massively Overthinking, Kickstarter backer Yinta wants to talk about virtual reality.
“When will we see the first VR MMO?”
So let’s tackle those upcoming VR MMOs (and borderline MMOs), whether VR MMOs are something you want to see, and whether VR is going to flop in MMO vs. the broader market. I posed Yinta’s topic to our writers; read on to see what they said.
The exploration-centric Wander is not all about meandering through the trees (as a tree, no less) on the ground; it’s also about soaring through the skies. And boy, does MassivelyOP’s MJ love to fly! The twist here is that can be done either on a griffon or as a griffon, and she’s going to show off both! Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as she takes flight and practices her skydiving skills.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 26th, 2015
I dug this intriguing question out of our brimming-over letters-to-the-editor bin, and it’s particularly timely given the recent launch of Wander, notable for its curious glyph-based chat and language system. Massively-that-was reader NerdWithABigStick wrote in to ask about MMO chat, calling back the decision made by the devs of Divinity: Original Sin to shut down global chat within a few minutes of launch.
This resonated with me. The first thing I do when joining a game is seek out general chat and immediately turn it off. It’s only in the last six years or so that I’ve noticed an increase in the amount of “snark” in chat. There was definitely a time when chat was fun, helpful, and yes, even entertaining. People shared their positive excitement, and while the occasional asshole did show up, it was the exception, not the norm. That time is long gone, sadly. After working a full day at the office and signing in to a game that I am loving, the very last thing I want to do is to have that happiness and the joy of the experience ruined by reading negative remarks and armchair designer opinions full of Family Guy-style “humor” and poop-slinging. So I’ve gotten into the habit of turning those channels off, sometimes even hiding the chat window entirely.
So I keep wondering whether more game studios, particularly MMO studios, will ever embrace D:OS’s attitude? Will they ever say, “You know what, this really isn’t helping our game — or our community — at all. It’s not adding anything to the game experience or the social experience. In fact it’s detracting from both. Let’s shut it off.”
Heck, I hope not!
If you’re thinking of picking up Wander to enjoy an exploration-heavy, non-combat MMO, you may want to consider waiting until some of its rougher patches are smoothed out.
At least, this is the report from some players and outlets who are testifying to multiple crashes, severe clipping issues, and game-breaking bugs. “It’s perhaps the worst game to launch on the PS4,” The Sixth Axis lamented. “When the game wasn’t crashing, my character was running into invisible walls, or clipping through walls, or floating above the ground, or moonwalking, or any of a number of other wonky behaviors,” blog Dragonchasers said.
On the other hand, some of our Massively OP staff have played the game without encountering the worst of these problems, so your experience may vary. Caveat emptor!
The wheels in my head have been turning over non-combat mechanics in MMOs for a while now, perhaps because of the buzz surrounding Wander, the latest MMO to ditch combat entirely in favour of less violent interactive mechanics. I have to confess that I’m not a massive fan of thoughtless violence in my MMOs, so I tend to favour those with strong supportive mechanics that affect what I do outside of my usual mix of PvE combat. Characters in MMOs, for me at least, are an in-game reflection of the player, and I’d much rather rid the world of threats than kill other players in a frenzy without a plausible in-game reason.
I don’t believe than an MMO absolutely requires combat, and I certainly feel that other game genres have much stronger combat mechanics than ours if that’s what you’re looking for. Titles that allow players to choose another path if they wish are ultimately much more rewarding, filling my time with various pursuits and labours that use excellent mechanics. The virtual world I inhabit feels much richer when I have a hand in its economic or socio-political development through these mechanics, which is exactly what keeps me enthralled with the genre. In this issue of MMO Mechanics, I’m going to unpack three ways in which MMOs employ non-combat mechanics to enrich the game’s virtual world.
What exactly is Wander? Now is your chance to see! An explorer at heart, MassivelyOP’s MJ can’t wait to dive into the newly launched cooperative exploration game devoid of combat. That’s right — no combat. She’ll begin life as a tree-being and be shaped (literally) by whatever she discovers as she goes along. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to experience this beautiful world and for a chance to win a copy of the game for yourself.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 4th, 2015
Wander kind of surprised me. I’ve been aware of it for some time, but due to its lack of a launch date and my year-long MMO malaise, I haven’t paid it much mind.
Now, though, it has a launch date (June 4th), and as such I’ve been devouring all of the trailers, interviews, and gameplay footage that I can get my hands on. And gosh, what’s not to like? It’s a “non-combat, non-competitive” MMO for PlayStation 4 and PC that focuses on collaborative exploration and features beautiful CryEngine atmospherics.
What about you, MOP readers? Will you be giving Wander a go?
Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
Do you like to explore stuff? You know, wander off into the wild blue yonder in zones and just see what you can see? The Elder Scrolls Online will let you do that. Why, it has a new video out just today to shine more of a light on the exploration options available in the game. If you’re a near-future console player, it’s the sort of thing that might be quite illuminating.
If you’ve already played the game, of course, you’ve probably explored several of these locations already – but then, are you sure you’ve seen everything therein? With big zones and not a whole lot of markers telling you just where you should go, it’s not always certain. That’s kind of the video’s point.