At the end of August 2015, the fledgling Shroud of the Avatar community gathered together for a massive PvP fight. This wasn’t to be a normal battle, however, as Lord British (Richard Garriott’s in-game avatar) waded into the fray and was the focus of a fierce fight to see who could kill him. Down he went in the end, prompting cheers from the participants — not because they hated him but because it was a reprise of one of the most famous moments of MMO history.
A little over 18 years before that Shroud of the Avatar gathering, a similar group of beta players had congregated in the Ultima Online beta for a stress test. In the crowd lurked a would-be assassin who had a dastardly plan: to attack and kill the most revered figure in the Ultima franchise in front of a live audience.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, everyone. No, not December; it’s October and a month full of Halloween-related festivities. World of Warcraft is gearing up for Hallow’s End celebrations as it does every year, complete with pumpkin-themed vanity gear, costumes, candy, and presumably a visit from the Headless Horseman. Players can also decorate their garrisons in holiday finery as well, because who doesn’t want to bring a bit of Azeroth to Draenor?
Of course, that’s not the only event happening this month; players can also get into the tail end of Brewfest, take part in a returning Darkmoon Faire, or catch up on various tournament-related antics. But the question is how many of those activities have anything to do with pumpkins. None? That’s what we thought.
I’m not really on board with the trend of saying that big expansions are back. They never left. Sure, we have one coming out for Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2, but World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, and Final Fantasy XIV have all been keeping the faith for a long while now. Their format shifted for a while as game distribution formats shifted, but the idea of a big expansion has never gone away, just taken a drubbing from the popular adage of “let’s launch lots of little expansions over and over.”
Me, I’ve never been a fan of that approach. I wasn’t a fan of it with Guild Wars 2 when the game first made that a selling point, and I haven’t been fond of the games jumping on the bandwagon since then. And there are a lot of reasons why I’m in favor of slower patches and expansion with more content versus faster and smaller.
Blizzard has added a bunch of character services to World of Warcraft’s cash shop. Apparently being able to buy them all “from the comfort of the character selection screen” is a big deal, too. Or at least it’s a big enough deal to merit its own website update!
The post says that appearance changes including sex, face, skin color, hair color, hair style, and name are available, along with faction changes. Blizzard notes that you cannot purchase any of these changes with a character logged into the game.
We’re going to find out a lot about World of Warcraft: Legion in November. Not just because I expect that’ll be around the time we get our beta announcement and date, which may even be as soon as BlizzCon ends; we’ll just be told a lot while we’re there. We’re going to just be learning a lot of design goals and ideas from the panels and what-not whilst we’re there. And that, I think, is a good thing. It’s so something we already need, but you know, I already wrote that column.
So I have a little more than a month before I find out all of the things I want that I’m not getting. And while I’ve spent the past several weeks listing some of the things that I’m looking forward to seeing from the game’s next expansion as examinations of larger topics, let’s talk a little bit about the stuff that I’d really like to see from the expansion that I’m also not expecting to actually see happen.
I’ve been a sneaky columnist, my friends. Oh yes I have. In my last Jukebox Heroes I posted my top six favorite MMO soundtracks, partially because I wanted to share, but also partially because I wanted to see the responses. I judged — correctly — that music fans would come out of the woodwork to champion their own favorite scores.
Quietly, I began collecting your comments and even favorite tracks, extending this secretive poll to include a Daily Grind I proposed on this subject. Compiling all of the information between the two, I came up with a list of not my, but your favorite MMO soundtracks without opening it up to vote manipulation.
So do you want to know what the collective Massively Overpowered audience thinks are the best MMO soundtracks to date? Read on as I list the the top 20 (in order) that you nominated!
I logged into Ultima Online over the weekend absolutely determined to achieve a very specific thing: imbue some gear for my Tamer. But first I wanted to finish off my Arms Lore, which meant finishing the last few points of my Tailoring and Blacksmithing grind. But I ran out of ingots, so I needed to go mining first. But before I could do that, I needed to move my Mining skill back to my Blacksmith, which meant I first needed finish up some maps on my Treasure Hunter. That meant cleaning her inventory out of plants. And while I was doing that, I figured I’d plant a few more on my Paladin, so I needed to pull out my Bard to scrounge up some peculiar seeds…
Two hours later, I was somehow on my boat, salvaging shipwrecks on my Fisher, and I never did actually get to my imbuing.
Whether you call them server transitions, evolutions, consolidations, megaservers, or connected realms, server merges are a thing that affects most MMORPGs at some point in their lives — if they are lucky. The really unlucky ones sunset or fade away before a merge can save them.
So if you’ve been playing MMOs a while, you’ve probably gone through at least one merge. We’re guessing you have some war stories to tell. So that’s the question I posed to our staff for this week’s Massively Overthinking: What’s the worst server merge situation you’ve ever seen or lived through in an MMO?
When it launched, Star Wars: The Old Republic
was one of the biggest video game voice-over projects that BioWare
or any studio had ever done. It boasted over 200,000 lines of dialogue voiced by more than 200 actors, a number that’s only grown with new missions and expansions.
With so many voice actors lending their talents, it shouldn’t be too surprising to occasionally find yourself going, “Now where have I heard that person before? He or she sounds so familiar.” I’ve done that so often that I wanted to make a list of some of the bigger celebrities and actors who are behind the characters that the SWTOR community’s interacted with since 2012.
Here are just 10 of the many great talents that helped to create this game experience — and I didn’t even have room to include Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Armin Shimerman, which I feel is a darn shame.
Announced earlier this year, Chronicles of Elyria is a startup sandbox in a sea of such sandboxes, but some of its features are rare even within the MMORPG genre.
Massively OP will be hosting a series of exclusive dev diaries from the CoE team over the next few weeks to further explore the game and solicit feedback and questions. The first such blog written by the devs themselves is presented below and covers the more unusual mechanics that underpin the gameworld, including aging, death, offline leveling, and family genetics. Soulbound Studios, the company behind the game, even addresses its planned business model. Enjoy!
World of Warcraft’s newest expansion will undoubtedly be a major topic of conversation at November’s BlizzCon. While Blizzard has unveiled the larger brush strokes of what Legion will entail, there are plenty of details yet to be revealed — and perhaps a surprise or two waiting in the wings.
If you could get an all-access pass to Blizzard and find out anything you wanted to about Legion, what details would you want to uncover? Would it be the making of the expansion, the full list of skills and talents for the new Demon Hunter class, or what the developers were thinking when they denied Ravenholdt to the Rogues?
Pathfinder Online might not be completely dead, but hope for it has certainly gone down the drain following the announcement of the studio’s mass layoffs and the game’s financial straits.
Blogger Lord Tridus argues that the project never really stood a chance the way that it was made: “The core problem here? This is not Pathfinder. This is an open world PvP sandbox MMO that happens to have the Pathfinder name. It’s not going to attract many people interested in Pathfinder, because the game is so far afield of what Pathfinder is about. It also won’t attract many other people based on the name, because Pathfinder as a brand doesn’t have tons of appeal outside of its playerbase.”
We’re getting our downer discussion out of the way early for this week’s roundup of interesting blogosphere posts, so stay tuned as we look more at Asheron’s Call, favorite MMO memories, and another look at Dragon’s Nest!
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. See any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week, all news must go! It’s our biggest MOP Up yet, with over two dozen stories and videos from Guild Wars 2, WildStar, EverQuest II, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and more!