Sunday, March 18, 2018

Was cautiously optimistic about Ashes of Creation, but after new pre-order packs/teddy bear mount I've lost interest/faith

Despite how tempted I was to back Ashes of Creation, I had that collection of past experiences persistently reminding me that I needed to wait just in case the game turned out to be something that I didn't like. Turns out, my ability to resist backing this project was the right choice.

A few days ago, AoC released new pre-order packs/cosmetics in their store, and I was incredibly disappointed in what I saw, e.g. this new mount skin: 

These pre-order packs raise some major red flags for me.

The devs stated that they wanted to make the game that MMO players have desired for so long, and my impression of the world they were trying to build was one with serious undertones in a Western setting to appeal to those of us who can't stand the Eastern MMO structure/art style. This teddy bear skin, however, is something that isn't congruent with the game they've stated they want to make, or with the footage we've seen so far. It is, plainly, something I'd expect to find in a shitty Eastern MMO's cash shop.

Is this indicative of what we can expect from the dev team and direction of this game? A cash shop filled with shiny, fluffy bullshit that ruins the immersion of the game and its ability to keep us captivated?

Sad to say, I've lost interest and faith in this project and will have to keep waiting hopefully for the game AoC pretended to be at first.

Note: I can reconcile my interest in a game with the existence of a cash shop in that game for cosmetics only, but even a cosmetic only cash shop needs to be extremely careful to only offer items that are congruent and immersive for the game's art style and setting. Unfortunately, it seems to be near impossible for devs to restrain themselves, even those who claim they're fellow MMO players who are also deeply frustrated by the current state of the industry.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I'm quite enjoying Star Trek Online, and you might too

Let me start with this, I only played 5 hours of it (wanted to play bit more before writing this but the servers are just about to go down for a maintenance as of writing this)

I liked Star Wars when I was little and I like Mecha animes but never got around watching Star Trek until recently (finished Discovery, Enterprise and nearing the end of The Next Generation) and I quite enjoy it. But I never really found a space game that I really enjoyed the closest one was Fractured Space but I always found myself playing a regular moba instead of a space one.

I haven't heard much about Star Trek Online, and I always thought it's just a low effort cash grab game that relies on a popular IP. It's definitely not the case. Also, I was expecting a slow paced, boring space combat, I couldn't have been further from the truth, it's actually pretty action packed. And the screenshots/videos doesn't really do justice to its graphics.

The main missions (at least at the beginning) are fully voice acted, the ground combat has some interesting features like flanking, crouching (while you crouch you deal more damage in ranged combat but enemies hit you harder in melee) and an expose and exploit system (you can expose weak point with X weapons and other people can use exploit skills on Y weapons to deal high amount of damage to them). You can also bring your crew with you on mission similar to how Guild Wars 1 hero system worked.

In space, you can switch between different modes (stances) speed/damage/shield/all-rounder, depending on what mode you are in you have increased stats in that regard and lower in others, you'll be able to make some tactical decisions with this, for example if you have allies and the enemy focused on them go full damage, but if they attack you switch to defensive mode. You also have different kind of skills and different weapons good for different things (some good ad destroying shield, some good at destroying the hull)

I think the last time I enjoyed an early game of an MMORPG as much as Star Trek Onlines was when I stumbled upon the investigation mission in The Secret World. It really felt like that I actually want on an important mission and saved lives not just went on a quest to hunt some boars.

I'm quite sad that I never got myself to play this game before and if you are like me who never though much about it I would really suggest you to try it out and see it for yourself.

I can't speak for the end game, or how pay to win the game is (it doesn't matter for me I wouldn't want to be the best player ever anyway) but the 5 hours I've spent on it I thoroughly enjoyed.

Extra note: If you watched Star Trek you will really appreciate how accurately they replicated things for the game (the academy, ships, the ship layout)

Hope you'll have as much fun as I'm having with it right now
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Friday, February 9, 2018

The future of MMOs is VR. I've seen it.

I've spent a decent amount of time playing VRChat and I keep getting surprised every time I get on. Visiting theme parks, virtual cinemas, concerts, and raves are all really fun activities. But what makes it so special is being in those spaces with other people inside VR. You get a sense of closeness that you can't get normally that totally elevates any social interaction you're going to have; you can even communicate reasonably well with nothing but gestures.

Social is a big part of MMOs. It's the main reason I keep going back to the MMOs that I've played, and it's the foundation for guilds, trading, raids, and group content.

Imagine once we have that AAA VRMMO that allows you to play cards with people within inns, or just mess around by drinking and stacking bottles.

Imagine player housing taken to the next level where you can map your real chair and furniture to your virtual space and have virtual TVs that you can play and watch movies on with visitors.

Imagine how much more responsive fishing or other side-activities will be. What we come to expect in most MMOs is simply clicking on a fishing node after some time has elapsed; it gets old very fast. And add in the ability to manage your own market stool or shop, physically putting together items and hammering weapons as a blacksmith. I was always in awe at how involving the crafting was in FF14; when I first started playing, I spent a while just watching people craft and seeing a physical workstation actually materialize. Seeing that for real with 1:1 input would be really surreal.

Imagine other activities like clubbing / raves (Dancing is incredibly fun in VRChat and surprisingly popular), fireworks which just feel so much nicer in VR, and theme parks like Gold Saucer but more expansive.

I haven't touched on combat, but just take a look at Vanishing Realms for melee combat, The Unspoken for magic combat, and QuiVr for ranged combat. I personally haven't had a chance to play OrbusVR (indie VRMMO - The very first) yet, but it has an interesting take on the mage class and I very much look forward to playing it.

VR is advancing much faster than people realize. Within 5 years, we're going to have eye-tracking, facial-tracking, and full body-tracking built into your average VR headset. That's when socializing in VR becomes uncannily real. We'll start to see some of those mentioned technologies as soon as next year with 2nd gen headsets. Quite literally every expression of your body will be shown.

The possibilities for VRMMOs are basically endless.
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Friday, February 2, 2018

The ten types of Guild Administrator.

1. The Micromanager Also known as the Control Freak, this administrator usually holds the rank of Guildmaster, and must be present for every single situation the guild finds itself in. Be-it raids, events, or drama mediation, you’ll find this Guildmaster there. You may be wondering where their officers are, and there are two answers to this; They may have never appointed any officers, buying into the mantra of "My guild, All mine, mine mine mine mine mine", or they might have a team of officers growing steadily more and more frustrated as they realize their rank means nothing and their promotions were little more than a pat on the back for being a cheery guildmember. This Guildmaster tends to be a rookie who’s starting up their first guild without gathering any experience officer-ing for another one beforehand, and so have little to no knowledge of how to function as part of an admin team, but can also be the result of a Number 3 having to deal with far more drama than any admin team should have to handle.

2. The Power behind the Throne This is the officer you take all your worries, grievances and questions to. It was evident from the moment you joined the guild that this person was someone the entire guild looked up to and respected, perhaps more-so than the Guildmaster themselves. They’re a good listener, they’re approachable, friendly, knowledgeable, mature, and, most importantly, they have the undivided attention of the Guildmaster whenever they ask for it. They may not have the official rank, and for some reason, they don’t even want it, but it’s clear who the real leader in this guild is.

3. The Parent You’re not exactly sure how they do it; Under their leadership, the guild runs as smoothly as a baby’s behind. They’ve perfected the art of working in a team with their admins; There’s a strict schedule, but it never feels like a chore. Everything…. Functions. What little drama arises is dealt with quickly and efficiently, and squabbling guildmembers are put in their place before they can do any real damage. You really don’t know how lucky you are to have this person around.

4. The Undercover Looter It’s the horror story told around virtual campfires at the darkest point of the day/night cycle; the tale of the smiling snake who cried crocodile tears. You thought they were a model guildmember; friendly, welcoming… They helped with officer tasks without being asked, they were loyal, respectful… Of course, you promoted them. Who wouldn’t?

Oh, but woe be you. For you’ve fallen for a lie.

No sooner have they achieved the rank of officer, or, god forbid, if your naiveté got the better of you, Guildmaster, before they ransack the guild bank, kick the entire roster and disappear into the aether.

You’ll never see them, or any sign of your precious guild, ever again.

5. The Grizzled Veteran They’ve seen it all, and it haunts them; They’ve watched guilds fall, friendships die, and communities vanish. They wander from game to game, doing officer work here and there, searching for something which will compare to their memories of the golden age of their favourite guild, but they’ll never find it. The saddest part is that they have the experience to build something great, but never again will they touch the cursed rank of Guildmaster. That ship has sailed. They’ll do their job, but there’s an element of hopelessness to their actions, like they’re mourning the loss of a loved one. Eventually, they’ll fade away, finally done with the guild life, and you’ll never see them again.

6. The Real-Life friend Pretty self-explanatory. They got their rank by being a good friend in real life to the Guildmaster, and there’s two ways this can go; you’ll either never see hide nor hair of them, and this won’t be an issue, because everyone’s happy. They’re not getting in the way, and the Guildmaster feels good for rewarding their friend. The second scenario, however, is guild-crushing; Having earned their promotion in real-life, rather than in-game, they have next to no experience, and, while only trying to help, their feeble attempts at mediating arguments will only stoke the fires of conflict until drama consumes the guild.

7. The Nice Guy This person’s seen the way the Power behind the Throne operates, and they’re doing their best to follow the exceptional example being set, but they’re missing that mysterious gravitas which makes their idol so respectable. They do their best to be everyone’s friend, but they don’t have the stern manner which is often needed to pacify riled-up guildmates. They try, bless their soul, but they’ll quickly be overwhelmed.

8. The Ghost Where the fuck did the Guildmaster go?

9. The Rookie They don’t know the first thing about being a guild leader or admin, and because of that they’ve spam-invited three-hundred odd randomers to boost the ranks of their guild. It’s only a matter of time before this balloon-of-a-guild pops under all the pressure.

10. The imminent Mental Breakdown This is what happens when the micromanager finally realizes they’ve stretched themselves too thin. They’ll ultimately devolve into a screaming, crying mess, and the guildmembers will never respect them again. Luckily, however, this is a learning curve. Like the caterpillar becoming a butterfly, they’ll emerge from this experience as the Power behind the Throne of a new guild as their new Guildmaster dispenses untold wisdom, grooming them for the day when the leader will finally become “The Ghost”, and the Power behind the Throne will become “The Parent”.
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Friday, January 12, 2018

I think pay to play MMO should make a return.

I've been playing MMOs since around 2004 when I first played City of Heroes. I stayed sn active subscription for that all the way until it died.

I've played Guild Wars 1 and 2, SWTOR, Blade and Soul, BDO along with many free to play games.

While going through countless free to play MMOs I realized something. MMO are not a traditional game. They are a world and they are an investment.

Free to play MMO typically focus on the gameplay but have no world building or exploration. They also create limitations on players such as locked content and many feature a fatigue system.

When I look at the most successful MMO, they are pay to play. WoW, Final Fantasy, Guild Wars previously, BDO.

Not only so these games offer more because they have a regular source of income, but you as am individual may be more prone to continue playing them simply because it's where you put your money.

I played Marvel Heroes from launch until death. By the time it died, I pretty much had nothing to do because no new content was released. But I loved the game so much the first year it came out that I put $100s into it. That money investment kept me playing, especially because I wanted the game to succeed.

I feel humans by nature are more likely to stick with a specific game if they have invested more than just am hour into it.

I would rather play a handful of pay to play MMO with good player base and continuing content than play 30 free mmos off and on that are popular for 2 months before they become a cash grab.

Tldr; monetary investments =more likely to stay with a game and allows game money to improve
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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

MMORPGs: 2018 and beyond.

To help reduce the typical end of the year, "What's coming in 2018" posts, here is a little guide to help highlight some of the larger, more anticipated titles on the horizon. By no means is the list perfect, nor does it contain every title, but hopefully someone here will find it useful.

By design, this list excludes expansions to preexisting MMORPG series, console titles, failed Korean releases coming to Western audiences in the future, upcoming aRPG titles, and other titles that cannot be qualified as "Massively" (ex: 4/6/32/64 player lobby servers).

2018-2019 release titles:
Crowfall - PVP
Dark and Light - PVP
Darkfall: New Dawn - PVP
Dual Universe - PVP
Legends of Aria - PVP
Life is Feudal MMO - PVP
Gloria Victis - PVP
Wild West Online - PVP

Ascent: Infinite Realm (Project W) - PVE+PVP

Project : Gorgon - PVE
Shroud of Avatar - PVE

Ashes of Creation - PVP
Camelot Unchained - PVP
Chronicles of Elyria - PVP
New World - PVP
Star Citizen - PVP
Worlds Adrift - PVP

Forsaken Legends - PVE
Lost Ark - PVE
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen - PVE
Saga of Lucimia - PVE
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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Trion backs down over $100 lootboxes

After the pay to win boxes for Rift last week and the decision to remove them after a huge backlash, yesterday they decided to sell $100 lootboxes for RNG mounts (a total of $4200 to get them all), as that was obviously going to go down really well.

After Jim Sterling got hold of the news, and made a video tearing them to shreds, they were quick to remove them with the usual "sorry, we made a mistake (sorry, we got caught)" excuses.

The video is here and is well worth a watch:

This might come across as negative, but this changes nothing. These shit practices are all across the genre and every multiplayer game.

Forget about the price, that's a terrible argument to make. "Oh it's 100! That's too much. If it was 10$ on the other hand..."

These shitty RNG business practices have to be condemned and exposed as much as possible. Lootboxes of any sort are just detrimental to gameplay. Put the fucking mount on sale for XX$ instead, at least then whoever wants it can get exactly what they value at XX$.

I've mentioned this for ESO as well (before you decide to mention my flair), so Zenimax and their shitty gambling boxes don't get a cut.
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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Speak with our wallets - Boycott buying Mystic Archer

As most of you know, 4.3 will be one of the most content light major patches ever released on Rift. We're getting two things - a new T2 10 man raid, and a new mage soul - Mystic Archer, which will sell for 900 credits. This new soul is neither needed or wanted. Mages already have strong solo and leveling specs, and the real selling points will be as a tanking offsoul (which its deliberately unbalanced as) and PvP (because apparently no one learned any lessons about ethereal damage or extreme mobility from the past two expansions). We're also getting new upgrades to the crafted helmet and ranged weapon, which will cost 18 amenders and 80k captured intel.

Instead of heeding our feedback and focusing development on key sources of frustration in this expansion, such as the abomination that is the suffix gear system, planar fragment cost and RNG, massive cross-calling disparities and pigeonholed roles, we're receiving a patch that's half free despite having paid for the expansion (and we got so little of the advertised content on time with not even a semblance of an apology).

We're getting more suffix gear, which simply doesn't work with weekly lockouts and 10 week long active upgrade paths, a raid where 2 out of 3 bosses can't be melee'd (when 2 callings don't even have truly competitive ranged specs) and eternal weapon changes that will propel yet another calling into the 100k+ HPS tanking club.

Instead of the streamlined upgrade system we were promised that wouldn't cost three arms and five legs, our next upgrade paths for crafted items cost over half a month's worth of crafting cooldowns for 2 stages, several months of open world currency grinding, and a small fortune in celestial matrices. Furthermore, there isn't even a T2 helm in the Rift Store. You have no alternative to spending so much.

I, for one, am extremely tired of this extreme disconnect between the direction of development and the actual state of the game. I'm tired of Trion ignoring the overwhelmingly negative mood on the forums and that even the slightest hint of criticism in feedback gets it dismissed as toxicity. I'm tired of Trion rewarding self-righteous drama queen vandals that sabotaged the community.

Above all, I'm tired of development time wasted on an unwanted soul for immediate profit instead of issues that are actually in the interest of long term retention or acquisition of players. 4.3 makes it feel like Trion's mostly given up on boosting the playerbase and making it easy for returning players to get back into the game.

TL;DR: Don't encourage more of this and buy whatever is put in front of us.

Let's speak with our wallets and not buy Mystic Archer or spend money on Autumn Harvest.
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Legacy Ultima Online - A totally free classic UO shard. No loot boxes, no gambling, no BS.

Come and try out a free version of Ultima Online known as Legacy UO. Experience Ultima Online the way it was meant to be! We launch in less than 2 weeks!! There are no loot boxes, there are no micro transactions, there's nobody trying to suck the life out of you through a video game! There's just high quality game play carefully created by people who have enjoyed Ultima Online for many years!

  1. What is Ultima Online (UO)?
  2. What is Legacy UO (LUO)?
  3. Why Should I play LUO?
  4. Legacy UO Features
  5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  6. Launch Day Celebration!!
  7. Follow us
1. What is Ultima Online (UO)?

Ultima Online is a third-person perspective/isometric Retro MMORPG set in Richard Garriottï's Ultima universe. It is a persistent world, which means that hundreds, if not thousands of people can play and interact simultaneously. When you log off the world keeps going and your actions such as gaining skills or items are saved to the server.

Although UO cannot compete with the graphics of modern games, it more than makes up for this with complex and diverse gameplay. UO doesn't just offer a world to play in; it offers a persistent world to live in. Your character is highly customisable, from their statistics and skills to their clothing and appearance. You can build your own house and place it at any available land spot in the world, decorate it as you see fit and even partake in a complex city building system, called Townships, where as a group you can create your own cities to control as you wish. Legacy even has a Pet Breeding system under development where you can breed specific traits to have the dragon companion you have always wanted!

Ultima Online, in a nutshell, is the game that all other MMORPGs have been trying to copy for the last last 20 years, but just can't get it right.

Decorate your own home!

With a diverse range of skills, you can literally play whichever character you wish to; whether it be an axe-wielding maniac who chops wood for a little Zen meditation, a scholarly mage who weaves the ether to do thine bidding, a humble crafter who can make anything and everything to sell at your private shop, an Animal Tamer who can command great beasts such as dragons and basilisks to protect you at all costs, a swift-fingered thief who helps lighten the purses of those around you or an assassin who slips into the shadows unseen and attacks when your mark is at his weakest! UO allows you to choose whichever skills you wish so your character can be unique, and you can change and retrain your skills at any time.


2 What is Legacy UO?

Legacy is a free Ultima Online shard (server) that will be launching on November 25th of this year! It has been built by a crack team of professional software developers with years of coding experience. The shard uses UO server emulation software known as RunUO and has had the code heavily modified so that it is vastly different from the pay-to-play version of the game. In fact, the source code for Legacy has 13 YEARS worth of development behind it, carefully perfecting every aspect of it.

In Legacy you can be attacked, robbed, looted, etc. by your fellow players, just like in the early days of Ultima Online. Meaning that you have to be wary outside of town guard zones as danger can often lurk just around the corner; whether it be from a roleplaying orc wanting "tribuut", a pirate seeking plunder or a run-of-the-mill "peekay" wanting to "pwn" you! This sense of danger is sorely lacking in other MMORPGs on today's market where everything is instanced or scripted to protect a player from excitement and danger. Such protection unfortunately removes the fun aspect of interacting with other players where you never know what will happen next. One of the only things that can beat the rush of managing to escape being killed by another player for the first time, is finding them at a later date and returning the favour by besting them in combat! But also keep in mind, that it's not QUITE as dangerous as the very original UO was. We've worked hard to find create a nice "goldilocks" amount of risk.

Killing your fellow citizens is not without consequences however, and the adage "if you commit the crime you do the time" certainly rings true on LUO, where murders have the option to be sent to prison rather than stat loss if they are killed with 5 or more short term murder counts. Prisoners can then team up and attempt to break out of the prison rather than wait out their sentence, but be warned it is no easy feat!

3. Why Should I play Legacy?

Well, if you have never played UO before, then you should play Legacy because you've never experienced anything quite like it. It's a world where you are rewarded for the risks you take, and how you play. It's managed by a group of people who simply do this out of love for the game. We are not here to make a buck, we're here to make a quality game for thousands to enjoy. There are no loot boxes, there are no micro transactions, there's nobody trying to suck the life out of you through a video game! There's just high quality game play carefully created by people who have enjoyed Ultima Online for many years!

Legacy UO has a dedicated, professional team of developers who are constantly working on new content to provide the best gaming experience out there that caters to all playstyles; whether it be player vs player (PvP), player vs monster (PvM) or roleplaying (RP). The shard has a balanced PvP and PvM ruleset that continually strives to maintain that balance while still releasing new content.

Also, skill gain is faster on Legacy than it is on production servers and other games, so you can train up a character fairly quickly and get straight into the action, and not deal with yet another tedious grind.

Frankly, there's just too many reasons for you to come check us out for us to be able to fit them all in this announcement!

4. Legacy UO Features
Legacy UO has regularly scheduled events such as town invasions, player run events as well as a number of features that make it unique. The quickest way to read about these is to check out the LUO playguide. .

  • Some of these features include:
  • Townships!- Set boundaries, and even LAWS to control your guilds land! Truly create your own city!!
  • Yarrrrr! - Sail the sees and commandeer ships! Need I say more, matey?
  • Kin Alignment: Kin Alignment is a factions system where players have their guilds join a faction such as the Undead, Pirates or Orcs and do battle against each other. Each Kin has it's own stronghold where kin-aligned creatures will not attack them. For example, if you are aligned with Orcs, orcs within Kin Regions will not attack you, if you're a pirate, pirates will not attack you, etc. making it far easier to Role Play certain characters in battle.
  • The Mortal System: For those who wish to play UO with a refreshing new challenge. When someone becomes mortal, once they die they are dead for eternity.
  • Enhanced Crafting: high-end magic items have been replaced with scrolls that drop, known as sDrops. These scrolls are applied to their wares by skilled crafters in order to create the best items in the land. Items such as jewellery, clothing, gravestones and furniture can also be engraved or embroidered.
  • New Foes and Advanced AI: tactics and skill are required to best many of the tougher foes on Legacy. Try battling a Golem Controller or the Lord and Lady Guardian (based on Adam and Jade), or some of our new Champions, if you seek a challenge.
  • Slayer Template: The Slayer is a new melee oriented PvM option that allows a character to excel at using slayer type (magical) weapons. This was invented to create more options and diversity for PVM (player vs. monster)

6. Launch Day Celebration!!

Game launches are always an exciting time, so to celebrate we'll be passing out gifts to everyone who is logged in on launch day (November 25, 2017)!
All players who log in will have their choice between 3 rare items that will generate exclusively on launch day

1 lucky player will be chosen at random to receive a free House Deed and Guild Stone!
A Series of 1 of a kind "server birth" rares will spawn in secret locations throughout the world for everyone to try to find. These will be highly coveted, and worth the hunt!
And finally, 1 player will be chosen at random to receive a real life, brand spanking new, still in the bag, Ultima Online cloth map! These are valuable collector items!!!

Cloth Map!!!

And of course, you can expect some fun activities from the shard staff!
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It becomes clear how bad a shape the MMO genre is in when the announcement of Classic WoW is the most exciting news we have heard in years.

The most exciting development in the MMO world is the announcement of a re-release of a 13 year old game. There hasn't been this level of excitement in the MMO world since the pre-launch days of GW2.

The Classic WoW announcement has also shown the clear rift in MMO communities. One group wants to have "classic wow" with all the amenities of modern wow. The other group doesn't want a single thing changed. What is really interesting is there are very compelling arguments coming from both groups.

I think a lot here can be unpacked and talked about. We are clearly seeing the various interest groups within the MMO fandom and how they all want very different things. With classic wow, we are in a position where it is impossible for both groups to get what they want.

When you think about it, however, all new MMO's try to appease both groups. They try to please everyone. Maybe this trend is what has run the genre into the ground.

It should be said that I intend to play the hell out of Classic WoW. Assuming blizzard doesn't try to make it a cash grab.
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