world of warcraft

Official Site: World of Warcraft
Studio: Blizzard Entertainment
Launch Date: November 23, 2014
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: Subscription (Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

World of Warcraft kicks off the Battle for Azeroth era

While the expansion won’t be here until August, World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth officially begins today. That is thanks to Blizzard’s tradition of releasing a features pre-expansion patch with many of the changes that will help to usher players into the new era.

Patch 8.0 is live today with a lot for players to explore and experience. The highlights include a wide array of class changes, PvP War Mode, Communities, upright Orc postures, and a Legacy loot mode (who’s going transmog hunting this week?). Also, next week will see the debut of the Teldrassil and Lordaeron playable scenarios, both of which lead right into the expansion.

And since your Battle for Azeroth fever is burning bright, why not add a couple of degrees by watching the new trailer to a trio of upcoming animated shorts that Blizzard is making? Check it out after the break.

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Global Chat: Looking back at World of Warcraft’s Legion

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!

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The Game Archaeologist: A history of EverQuest’s expansions

I don’t know if EverQuest holds the crown title for the MMO with the most expansions, but I’m sure it’s among the top three if not at the number one spot on that list. It’s astounding to count them up and realize that two dozen expansions have come out for that game between 2000 and 2017. That averages to a little more than one per year!

Today I want to pay tribute to the 24 expansions of EverQuest by going through them, one by one, and seeing how they grew and enriched the game over the past decade-and-a-half. I would also love to hear testimonies in the comments as to which EverQuest expansion you enjoyed the most!

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth pre-patch arrives on July 17

Say goodbye to your artifacts and hello to War Mode, because World of Warcraft’s expansion pre-patch is almost here. When July 17th rolls around, players will no longer be able to earn artifact power or have access to artifact traits; the plus side will be that your artifact will automatically power up for new characters leveling through Legion. Players can also access War Mode, benefit from PvP talents, and even start exploring some new content that’s meant to be time-limited until the launch of Battle for Azeroth. Onward!

Of course, one subgroup of players will be a little more negatively affected by the change, as it turns out War Mode will disable the /follow command and make multiboxing less viable in PvP. Those of you who don’t multibox will likely be unaffected, but it’s useful to note that this is a notable change when Blizzard has previously been fine as long as it’s not automated. New policy, or just a War Mode-specific quirk? We’ll see over time.

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Battle Bards Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music

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 iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:

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Choose My Adventure: Starting fresh in RIFT

When RIFT first came out, I had very low hopes for it. The game already was launching into a crowded field, and it was doing so while basically just taunting Blizzard to invite comparisons to World of Warcraft. Seriously, the game had that remarkably ill-advised “We’re not in Azeroth any more” ad campaign, that looked like a bad idea then and looks even worse now. I didn’t play it before launch, but at a glance I had thought, “this looks like a good free-to-play title but it can’t go up against WoW convincingly.”

To put this in street fight terms, this is the 98-pound weakling kicking the head of a motorcycle gang in the shins, then asking him what he’s going to do about it.

Fortunately for everyone, that story did not end the way you might expect. Sure, RIFT did not in fact take the entire world by storm, but it has been running successfully for several years now, pumping out expansions and big updates and generally managing to keep its head above water. And it no longer looks, at a glance, like WoW with a lick of paint despite that being its initial design.

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World of Warcraft’s communities will bring players closer together than ever before (unless they’re in different factions)

The common consensus in the World of Warcraft community is that Patch 8.0 — the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch — is due to arrive next Tuesday. And speaking of community, one of the features that will arrive with that update is Blizzard’s own take on Discord.

The Communities tool will allow players to “create, manage, and join multiple groups of friends and family.” This feature works across realms and even Blizzard games, although apparently we’re still not allowed to talk across factions because reasons.

Blizzard notes that while players are encouraged to use the Communities tool for voice and text chat, the feature can also be used to pull quick join groups together among friends and like-minded souls.

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Perfect Ten: Best MMO debuts by year, 2007-2017

Continuing from my previous column, I’m going to be running through the second decade of graphical MMORPG launches and picking the best title to debut in any given year. From doing the first decade, I know that this thought exercise isn’t always fair; some years have several great contenders, while others see one mediocre one rise due to a lack of competition.

Still, it’s kind of fun to look back at MMO history and to see which game was really the best of that year. And if you ever felt sore that a particular title got overlooked, well, consider this a retroactive awards ceremony of some sort.

Let’s dive right in where we left off with 2007!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 177: ArenaNet A-bomb

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cleans up after Guild Wars 2’s PR disaster, chew over the survivability of Shroud of the Avatar, and commiserate about Camelot Unchained’s delay. It’s not all downer news — there’s some really great stuff happening in the MMO industry, and that makes an appearance on this extra-long episode!

Special note: If you want to skip the ArenaNet discussion for the rest of the news, go to the 50-minute mark (yeah, we talk about it a lot!). Also, please note that this was recorded before the Polygon article that came out Monday night, so it’s missing some the additional commentary on Mike O’Brien’s second formal statement.

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:

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Jukebox Heroes: Six more groovy tunes from MMOs you’ve never played

As an MMO music collector, I’ve gathered some really obscure soundtracks over the years, including ones from games that people don’t even remember existing, nevermind having actually played. I won’t lie: Some of these soundtracks are downright forgettable. They might have one or two halfway decent tunes tucked among them, but they certainly do not have enough good tracks to justify a whole column on them. Once in a while there might even be a gem that can be sifted from the pile, but these end up being anomalies.

Back in 2016 I posted a quick list of six great tunes from MMOs that most people had never played, and today, I’m going to do another. Sure, maybe there are a few of you out there who did log into these games back in the day, but chances are that a majority of readers on the site did not. In some cases, the music is all that remains of a long-lost experience.

So let’s see what gems we might uncover today!

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One Shots: My name is Captain Vanity

As I’m off on vacation this week, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to cull through the previous One Shots comment section for great pics like I usually do. So I’m going to have to beg your forgiveness for a little indulgence here, because in this edition, I’ll be sharing nothing but my own screenshots. Feels like a cheat, because I do that all the time in normal news articles and columns, but why not?

First up is my tribute to the late, great Marvel Heroes. However sad it went out, I had some great times in that MMO and loved the crazy superhero encounters. Such as, in this instance, Captain Marvel giving Carnage a little something to think about before he swings that hand-axe around.

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Pokemon Go’s second anniversary report card sees high marks for content and innovation

Today is Pokemon Go’s second-year anniversary. Last year’s report card had to grapple with things like the game’s rapid rise and fall as a fad, its severe lack of promised content even with its first major update, crimes associated with the game, and being somewhat anti-social – and that was before the disaster known as Pokemon Go fest 2017. It was probably the worst way to start off a new year for your game, and it’s probably no surprise that our coverage of the game waned after the fallout.

But something happened. Whether it was because series Director/Producer Junichi Masuda was there to witness the horror or because some internal change in Niantic’s process changed, we’ll probably never know. But change came. Generation 3 became Pokemon Go’s One Tamriel. Suggestions I’d made previously happened and are still happening. The numbers are showing that the improvements are paying off, as the game’s playerbase is at the highest it’s been since its 2016 peak, after having gone through a brutal 80% dropoff. I thought I was being overly optimistic with my 2018 predictions for the game, but so far, so very good!
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Choose My Adventure: Final Fantasy XI in review and choosing our next MMO

Here’s the weird part about this week’s column: I’m going to tell you, in short, that Final Fantasy XI is still a good game once you get past the initial hurdles involved. I am also going to tell you that it is a game which has not aged well, in part because of those facts. Which no doubt is going to sound kind of weird, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in.

There are really two things you have to look at with this particular game. The first is whether or not the game is approachable by someone who hasn’t played the game in years or ever, whether or not you can make reasonable progress when you start playing. The other is whether or not the game gives you slightest idea about how to do so, or indeed about how to do anything in the game. Because all of the systems in the world don’t help if you don’t know what they are.

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