Yep, it’s that time again!
There have been spectacularly few changes to most classes in WoW’s Patch 5.3, but here are all our Quick-Start Guides – including summaries of what’s changed – updated to Patch 5.3:
If you know someone who might find these useful, please do let ‘em know about these guides!
I’m a bit crunched at the moment working very hard on my latest film (starring People You’ve Probably Heard Of – more details soon), so here’s a catch-up of some of the very cool posts I haven’t managed to feature in full over the last week or so:
- The Grumpy Elf offers an amusing look at all the fat-finger moments common in MMORPGs – ” I was mowing down mobs and tabbing from one to the next when I tabbed to one that was not in melee. Reaction was, shadowstep, problem was, it was not one of the mobs I was attacking, it was a bird flying by. Worse yet, it was a bird flying by that happened to be flying over the edge of a cliff. I went behind it, hit it, plummeted to my death.”
- Stubborn writes a very interesting post indeed looking at the crutches games us to pursuade us to keep doing things that just aren’t fun – “Warframe is a prime example. Each day you log in, you get a reward. The more days you log in in a row, the better the reward. The game is trying to form the habit of logging in with those extrinsic rewards.”
- Doone considers how MMO communities form and develop their social contracts – “I guess I’m wondering how games achieve just the right amount of dynamism while not allowing abusive players free reign. I agree that spontaneity is fun and exciting, but being abused certainly isn’t”
- And Rades, erm, broke Wrathion – and documents the entire thing in pictures – “I laughed even harder when it got EVEN WORSE, and a THIRD Wrathion showed up and joined in.”
Longer-term readers will remember last year’s New Blogger Initiative, an effort from Justin Olivetti, aka Syp, to encourage new bloggers to join the MMO community.
Well, it’s been a year – so how has the NBI turned out? Are many bloggers from it still going?
It turns out, as a number of bloggers marking the anniversary report, that the NBI was a sensational, spectacular success:
Congratulations to everyone who started blogging in the NBI 2012, and I look forward to reading your blogs for years to come.
You know that guy? Or that girl? In your guild?
Well, the chances are that if you spend enough time in the world of MMORPGs and pass through enough guilds, you’ll see their like again. And again, and again.
It’s ground that bloggers have covered before, but this week Shintar’s put together an entertaining summary of the Usual Suspects in so, so many MMORPG guilds, from her not inconsiderable MMO experience. From the Quiet Leader (which has been me at least once) to the Class Clown, I suspect most of these will be familiar to most of us…
“The Quiet Wingman (or -woman)
Okay, so the laid-back leader may or may not be doing any actual work, but if they are not it’s because they can rely on their quiet wingman or -woman to do so. This person is probably an officer – but doesn’t have to be – and usually quiet during social gatherings, but they are always listening and taking note of what’s going on. They are the person the guild leader can go to if he needs help, and will often also serve as the guild website administrator. In short, they do all the boring jobs that nobody else can be bothered with, and for some strange reason they seem to enjoy it. The rest of the guild usually has some fondness for this person, but nothing close to actually appreciating all the work they do.
The Passionate Guy (or Girl)
The passionate guy (or girl) only ever wants what’s best for the guild – but unfortunately they frequently find themselves disagreeing with the leadership about what exactly that is. It’s not that they like to argue, but they are just so damn passionate about their opinions! Their frequent headbutting can get tiresome to the officers (though the rest of the guild secretly enjoys reading the long rants on the forum), but at least it keeps them on their toes and prevents them from becoming too apathetic. Properly directed, this guy or girl’s passion can be funnelled into making some very useful contributions to the guild, but if handled badly it will likely lead to drama and/or a ragequit.”
Read the rest of Guild Stereotypes…
Lots of new titles bubbling up or about to explode onto the MMO scene right now!
Here’s a quick round up of the reports bloggers have posted in the last week from new MMOs:
- West Karana has posted continuing first impressions of Neverwinter after a few weeks – “I’ve played Neverwinter for a couple of weeks, now, casually — and I still don’t feel I understand the game.”
- Avatars Of Steel posts a first look at the steampunk MMO City Of Steam, finding it technically buggy but entertaining – “The Unity Web Browser chugs, no doubt about it. I’m not sure it’s great on complexity. My fps was between 2-5, but the game was still playable by some miracle.“
- And Kaozz looks at both Neverwinter and City of Steam, finding both of them definitely worth continued interest- “Very easy and painless, just make an account and go. If you’re looking for something fun and lighthearted, this seems a fantastic choice.”
It’s the big – nay, huge – news of the month in the MMO blogosphere: according to publishers Activision, World of Warcraft has dropped 14% of its subscribers, 1,300,000 people, since the fourth quarter of 2012.
Does it mean WoW is dying?
Is there likely to be another WoW expansion in light of this news?
As always, the blogosphere rallies round with some really fascinating insights:
- Saxsy posts some really brilliant analysis of not just the announcement but the accounting figures behind it, saying amongst other things that she doesn’t believe there will be another WoW expansion – and part 2 here – “Whatever one thinks of Mists of Pandaria artistically, the financials show the grim truth that it failed to spark significant revenue increases.”
- Azuriel believes that the fascinating point in all this is just how cautious and conservative Activison are – “Activision-Blizzard might join the ranks of EA as a big-budget publisher who only produces one title that I am remotely interested in, with all the “risky” indie ventures soaking up the money I leave on the table.”
- Mhogrim contrasts WoW’s remarkable longevity with the lifecycle of other games – ” 90 days to 6 months; Players have gotten pretty comfortable but the new shinies aren’t as shiny anymore. Progression raids have been fullfilled, pvp brackets have been maxed and…what is there to do again?”
- The Grumpy Elf writes an epic post outlining his vision of how Blizzard could stem the tide – “Lets face it, the game is not casual friendly for the 80%. The people that do not seek out information on their own. Would they know that the AC quartermaster is under the main city? Or even where to do the AC dailies if they never stumbled across the person offering the lead in quest? “
- Goetia muses on what keeps her playing WoW these days and whether it will continue to be enough – ” I just hope that someone smarter than me (and smarter than the current dev team) figures out how to put a new shine on the endgame.”
- Typhoon Andrew injects a note of “is this really big news?” – “What can we as current WoW players do? Not much. Keep having fun and playing. Just because something is less exciting for most people has never been a reason I’ll like it.”
- And Zellviren offers a well-thought-out and balanced theory as to what might have gone wrong: lack of progression options for casual players, hardcore-only Normal raids and the death of alt-focused playstyles – “Here’s a tip: casual players want to develop their characters, too. At this point in 5.2, you have a single way of doing that. LFR.”
Yep, it’s time for a Friday Evening Roundup! Everything from prettiness in LoTRO to an intriguing on-the-ground review of Age Of Wushu in our “stuff we couldn’t fit in the rest of the week” linkpost:
- Julian at Kill Ten Rats has been playing Age Of Wushu, and finds it somewhat quirky, but very appealing – “It’s not the best game there is, and it’s got many bad spots, but the good points outweigh the bad. Most definitely.”
- It’s been a while since we featured any fantastic in-game screenshot “photography”, so here’s a particularly impressive shot from LoTRO
- And Contains Moderate Peril offers some initial thoughts on the announcement of LoTRO’s new player council – “It would appear that a lot of players have a different interpretation of exactly what the Council’s job is. A fact that has been exacerbated by the publication not only of the members forum names but their primary alt names and the server on which they reside. “
Last week was the annual EVE Fanfest, and as usual, there’s been no shortage of interesting news – including some rumours about the World of Darkness MMO that sadly I’ve not been able to verify.
But perhaps the most interesting news comes from Jester, who has been reporting on the apparent imbalance at the Fanfest between EVE content and that of DUST, EVE’s new FPS sister title…
“I’m already hearing from lots of players that CCP Presents was nothing more than a second DUST 514 keynote. No. Not true.
But you could be forgiven for thinking it was.
Now part of this is EVE players becoming more and more wary of DUST in its tail that wags the dog role. In talking about the PCU count, David Reid made it pretty clear that CCP expects the combined count of EVE and DUST concurrent players to pass 100k sometime this year. That means that it’s taken DUST eight months to find an audience equal to the size of EVE. And they seem to be holding on to that audience in a shooter for coming up on a year (a life-age of the earth in shooter ages). Let me clear my throat and say that again so that you hear it:
In less than a year, DUST has gained an audience equal that to the size of EVE Online.”
Read the rest of Fanfest Day Five: Sales Pitch
I imagine most of us would say “No”. But are we right?
As the Kickstarter campaign for Camelot Unchained – which at time of writing isn’t looking like it’ll succeed – enters its last few hours, Darren Henderson of OnRPG writes an impassioned editorial claiming nothing less than CU’s place as the MMO industry’s last, best hope:
“So tell me, does it make me a hero to put my money behind a project I truly believe in for my personal enjoyment? Not in any way. But if someone who doesn’t even want to play Camelot Unchained sees the bigger picture and throws a small donation behind it anyway… then something bigger than ourselves begins to occur. This game has the power to make a statement. To change everything. To bring back gaming communities the way they were known in the late 90s and early 2000s. A return to indie studios like the original Mythic Entertainment forged by 80s style game devs uniting to accomplish their vision of fun. The original Cryptic Studios formed by two guys that just “wanted to do an online role-playing game… with superheroes.” Risk takers like Origin Systems that will put their company name on the line for an untested experiment like Ultima just because a handful of developers knew they could make it work. CCP games that weren’t daunted when everyone said copying World of Warcraft was the only way to make it in the online world, and stuck to their SciFi guns until it paid off.
Or do you want to stare at shiny graphics and games offering a single innovation about as often as consoles release new generations. To continue staring at your forum signature stating you’re ‘waiting for: nothing.’ To endure the toxicity of MOBA communities rather than the camaraderie each of us older gamers have at one point felt in our online gaming history?”
Read the rest of Camelot Unchained: The Final Countdown For A Kickstarter And An Industry