Classic servers and progression servers are on my mind lately. EverQuest just got yet another progression server; it had launch issues, but it’s up now. Lineage II is getting a classic server. RuneScape has one already. Darkfall’s considering it. Ultima Online… well, UO has Siege Perilous, which is old school only harder-core. We’ve even argued that Lord of the Rings Online would benefit from one.
But the elephant in the room is always World of Warcraft. Most of the people who have ever played WoW no longer do, and if the former WoW players in our comments are any guide, many of them long for the days of a previous setting. For some, it’s Burning Crusade. I preferred Wrath of the Lich King myself. And some peeps would just like to live in Vanilla forever. In fact, some do just that on illegal servers.
And all of those people would be paying Blizzard a monthly sub if Blizzard would just do what itty-bitty classic MMOs like EQ have done and opened some classic or progression servers. Would you join them? Would you play on a World of Warcraft progression server?
If you had been under the impression that World of Warcraft‘s personal loot was already equivalent in reward amounts to group loot, well… maybe not, as the most recent development post specifically states that the former is being changed to match the latter. But the good news is it will change to that in the game’s next patch, along with item rewards offering a wider variety of stats for a wider variety of playstyles. There are a fair number of changes, all of which should be relevant to players ready to charge into Hellfire Citadel on release.
More interested in the upcoming movie? There’s a solid compilation of information about what we know so far. We also know that at least in an early draft of the script, WoW‘s most famous memetic hero had a role to play that revolved around doing what he does best.
I’m not the biggest World of Warcraft fan. That said, I’m pretty interested to see what Duncan Jones does with the Warcraft movie. This is more due to the fact that Moon is one of my favorite pictures ever and less due to the fact that the Warcraft film is based on MMOs, but whatever, right?
What about you, MOP readers? Would you watch a movie based on your favorite MMO (or favorite genre)?
When Guild Wars 2
‘s expansion was announced, most of the questions on our lips were permutations of “What’s the new level cap?” and “What new gear will we get?” This expectation of vertical progression is so deeply ingrained in the genre’s audience that some players just assumed that ArenaNet would follow in the footsteps of other MMO giants such as World of Warcraft
, but those people were surprised to find that Heart of Thorns
will have no extra levels or gear tiers. In a way, they shouldn’t be so surprised: Guild Wars
capped at 20 across all of its expansions, adding only new content, skills and professions. I expected that HoT
would follow this precedent since GW2
has generally remained so true to its predecessor despite its significant modernisation.
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’m going to explore ArenaNet’s radical choice more thoroughly as I look at the rationale behind a level-neutral expansion and the general perception-shaking outlook behind the decision. Heart of Thorns is most definitely a playground, readers, and ArenaNet is well-accustomed to surviving in the heat of the MMO jungle in the least expected ways.
There’s no reason to ask about whether or not you’re looking forward to World of Warcraft‘s next major patch; if you’re playing the game, you are, and if you’re not playing the game, you’re kind of not part of the discussion. But are you looking forward to getting yourself some new pets? That’s a different question, and it’s the sort of thing that could be significantly influenced by a preview showing off just what the patch’s new pets are.
As you might imagine, there are several new pets in the impending update, ranging from those tamed via battle pet challenges to ones unlocked from quests. There are new legendary pets to duel as well, which can in turn drop new pets for your enjoyment. And that’s just in the Tanaan Jungle. Check out the full preview for more details on what intrepid pet-seekers can expect.
Late last month, the classic Guild Wars transcended its 10th birthday and prompted a flood of nostalgic posts and shared stories. A few MMO bloggers tore their attention away from the current crop of games to talk about what they loved about their initial foray into Tyria.
“Not only did GW1 revitalize MMOs in general for me, but it gave me a mission and story-based online game that I could play with [my friend],” said Aywren. “I remembered the music, I remembered the world, the Jade Sea. The colours! Oh, how I had loved the look of the world,” Paeroka gushed.
Tasha had perhaps one of the best testimonials: “Getting involved in something like Guild Wars to the extent I did seeps into every part of your life. Over the years I’ve treated the game as an excuse to learn new skills and open doors into new experiences I might not have had.”
Buckle up for an exciting Global Chat, as we hear a rant on double-jumping, a return to Champions Online, a player vouching for World of Warcraft’s virtues, and more!
You laughed when they brought the selfie camera to World of Warcraft. You rolled your eyes at friends who spammed your Twitter feed with hundreds of headshots. But that this frivolity may actually net you real-world rewards, you’re taking it seriously, aren’t you?
The World of Warcraft selfie scavenger hunt has begun, with Blizzard hosting a multi-week challenge for players to find locations from the studio’s own selfies and submit their own in the same place. Every week the studio is giving away gear, balance codes, and an iPhone 6, and at the end of it all Blizzard will reward a player with a trip for two to BlizzCon.
The contest is very tongue-in-cheek, of course, and you might get a chuckle or two from the contest video after the break.
Wired has our first look at Orgrim from Duncan Jones’ forthcoming Warcraft film. Who’s Orgrim? Well, he’s an orc warchief and the creation of actor Robert Kazinsky, with a big assist from the visual effects gurus at Industrial Light & Magic.
The CGI beast based on a World of Warcraft race has at least one big fan already. “We’ve gone beyond the point where these are just creatures in movies,” says Jones, who also directed Source Code and Moon. “We now have the technology and the ability to make new characters entirely.”
It’s not always a foregone conclusion that Blizzard will emerge triumphant from its many court cases. Recently, it chalked one up in the “loss” column, as a judge ruled against the studio’s request for an injunction against Diablo gold-selling company Bossland GmbH. Blizzard brought the lawsuit to bear in Germany, claiming that the actions of the website were “anti-competitive.” A lower court had issued a temporary injunction, but a regional court overturned it and recommended Blizzard withdraw its application. After the decision, Blizzard was subsequently ordered to pay for the cost of both cases.
While some gamers have attributed the recent wave of bot-using account bans in World of Warcraft — reportedly around 100,000 — as a reaction to the case, the fact that Blizzard has been engaging in these bans for a good period of time now speaks against that conspiracy theory. Even though it bucked the lawsuit against it, WoW botting group Honorbuddy — owned by the aforementioned Bossland GmbH — said that it is packing up and calling it a day as a result of the bans.
In other legal news, Blizzard has reportedly teamed up with Valve in a suit against China’s Lilith Games and Longtu Game, makers of the totally-not-obviously-ripped-off-from-DOTA “DOT Arena” mobile game.
Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!
NCsoft did not have the best week. Amidst WildStar’s ongoing Reddit drama, NCsoft’s first quarter financials broke, and rumors about WildStar’s Steam launch as a supposedly F2P title began to brew. Korean mecha MMO Project HON was canceled, too, but it’s not all bad news; scuttlebutt has it that Blade & Soul might be bound for the west after all, and revenues for Guild Wars 2, still rolling out expansion reveals, are up quarter-over-quarter.
Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.
Losing three million subscribers? That might be a big thing to some people, but for World of Warcraft Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas, it was to be expected.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Hazzikostas attributed the drop to the cyclical pattern of MMOs and gamers. “Especially nowadays, players aren’t necessarily viewing World of Warcraft as a year-round lifestyle so much as a game that they love,” he said. “And to some extent, that’s OK. We don’t want to prevent people from enjoying the game that way. Part of the cyclical nature is that, yes, when we have a large upsurge, it’s not surprising that there’s a bit of a dip after that.”
It’s been a little while, hasn’t it, friends? In the time since I last penned WoW Factor (which missed an installment purely due to transit strangeness – the only time I’ve ever missed a column, I do apologize), some stuff has happened. Like what? Oh, nothing major, just World of Warcraft completely losing its sub jump from the beginning of the expansion. Three million players, gone. And while you can feel free to giggle under your breath at those who take this as a sign that the game is dying (7 million subscribers is not exactly a low number), it also does put the game at subscriber numbers below what it had back before The Burning Crusade.
The game isn’t dying. But a 30% loss of subscribers tells a story where it is more than a little sick. Amidst speculation that 6.2 is the game’s last major content patch, there’s reason to believe that something should be done, that things need to change, that the center cannot hold.
Community manager Bashiok pointed out on the forums, quite rightly, that there’s rarely a single silver bullet issue that causes these things. In this case, I think there’s a whole magazine of bullets.
World of Warcraft botters, beware: Blizzard is coming after you hard. The studio said yesterday that it has leveled the banhammer against several accounts — perhaps as many as 100,000 for up to six months — using botting software.