New Magic: The Gathering MMORPG Announced at The Game Awards

In case you missed it a new Magic: The Gathering MMORPG was announced during The Game Awards last night. The cinematic trailer for Magic: Legends was shown during the award show and if you missed it you can watch it below. Magic: Legends is being made by Cryptic Studios, the team behind the Neverwinter MMORPG, Star Trek Online, and Champions Online.

There have been rumors about this MMO swirling around the internet since May 2017, then in June 2017 Perfect World and Cryptic announced that the game was, in fact, being made. But that was all they said at the time. Since then there has been no other announcements about the game until The Game Awards when the cinematic trailer was dropped.

You can register to take part in the beta on the official site which is a bit barren right now. Cryptic has said that more information about the game will be revealed in January 2020. You can be sure we’ll be keeping an eye out for that.

The team creating Magic: Legends is being led by former Star Trek Online Executive Producer Stephen Ricossa, who had this to say about the game. “Cryptic Studios is known for making games based on franchises we love and this is no exception. We’ve assembled a team of talented developers who are incredibly passionate about Magic: The Gathering and share a collective deep knowledge of the franchise. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the multiverse to life in a way that fans have never experienced before.”

Other quotes about the game:

“It’s an incredible time to be a Magic: The Gathering fan,” said Yoon Im, CEO of Perfect World Entertainment. “As huge fans ourselves, we are excited to once again collaborate with Wizards of the Coast. With its rich, immersive worlds and satisfying spellcasting system, Magic creates the perfect setting for an MMO action RPG spun into an epic fantasy adventure that players will want to continue exploring for years to come.”

“We continue to expand the Magic: The Gathering multiverse, bringing our passionate fans unique, immersive Magic experiences across their favorite entertainment platforms,” said Eugene Evans, Wizards of the Coast Vice President of Business Development. “Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios’ Magic: Legends immerses fans into the Magic multiverse as a Planeswalker – a multiverse that continues to develop through Magic: The Gathering, Arena, novels and upcoming Netflix animated series.”

Source: Press Release, The Game Awards

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Canceled MMOs of 2019

The end of the year is here and that means it is time to look at the games we lost this year. It wasn’t as bad this year as it was last year but there are still quite a few games to get through. Here are the canceled MMOs of 2019.

 

February

Blacklight Retribution

At the end of 2017 Perfect World gave Blacklight Retribution back to its developer Hardsuit Labs and for a brief moment it looked like the game would have another chance at life. Sadly it wasn’t to be and after a couple of years on Steam the game finally shut down.

 

ROSE Online

Though ROSE Online had been in Maintenance Mode since 2016 it still came as a bit of a surprise when ROSE Online shut down. The game had been live since 2005 and 14 years is a great run for an MMORPG. There was news of a mobile spin-off late last year but sadly there hasn’t been any news about it coming West.

 

April

Orcs Must Die! Unchained

After the success of Orcs Must Die! 2 it only made sense that Robot Entertainment would start working on a new game in the series. It was initially released in beta in 2014 and stayed there until April 2017 when it officially launched. In April 2019 the game was sadly shut down and, for those doing the math, it spent more time in beta than it did live. At the time of its shutdown the game had been running at a financial loss for several months.

 

Survived By

Survived By town

A permadeath bullet hell survival game kind of sounds like you just vomited some words but this is exactly what Survived By was. Sadly the development team decided to stop working on the game after it became clear that they wouldn’t be able to meet their original vision. This was the second Digital Extremes game that has been shutdown after Amazing Eternals in 2017.

 

Kritika Online

En Masse shut down the Western version of Kritika Online earlier this year and then just a few months later announced they were bringing it back! Yes, you can actually play Kritika Online right now on Steam where it is called Kritika: REBOOT.

 

Breach

QC Games closed its doors, putting an end to their 4v1 game Breach. The game had been inspired by Shadow Realms, a game that had been in development at Bioware and was canned before the public ever saw it. Though we did get a chance to play it. No reason for Breach’s shutdown was given but considering the studio disbanded entirely it isn’t a stretch at all to assume money was an issue.

 

May

The Culling

The Culling

Times have been rough for The Culling ever since they decided to immediately start working on a sequel to the game. That sequel was a Battle Royale game, a completely different genre to the first game. To say it was an unpopular move would be an understatement. Just a couple of weeks after the sequel launched they closed it and went back to work on The Culling. They even went so far as to make the game free to play. But by then the damage had been done and their players had left.

 

Dragon Nest Europe

Dragon Nest Europe

Action MMORPG Dragon Nest shut down in May this year, but the game isn’t gone entirely. It can still be played in most regions of the world, including North America. Unfortunately IPS from outside of North America are blocked so that is little consolation for European players. This isn’t the first time a region of Dragon Nest has shut down though so there may be hope in the future.

 

June

ELOA aka Warlords Awakening

eloa

ELOA has the rare misfortune of being one of the few games that has been shutdown three times. The first time it was an illegal beta version of the game that was stolen from Webzen who had released it in the east. Webzen contested the game and it was shut down. Then Webzen launched their own version of the game which ran for just a year and was sunsetted due to low population. Then it was brought back again, this time not by Webzen under the name Warlords Awakening. Sadly it only lasted a year too.

 

Atlas Reactor

Atlas Reactor was Trion’s answer to X-COM and sadly it flew under the radar of most gamers. After Gamigo bought Trion they promised to release content for all their games, including Atlas Reactor but it seems that after consideration they decided to shut the game down instead.

 

July

Worlds Adrift

Worlds Adrift

Bossa took a break from their usual games like Pigeon Simulator and I Am Bread to make an MMORPG that had a lot of promise. Sadly, the game didn’t gain enough traction to be commercially viable so the studio decided to shut the game down.

 

Mavericks

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

Mavericks was one of those games that never actually got released but it had so much hype and potential that people were talking about it like it was going to be one of the great games in the genre. Sadly, the company behind it suffered from financial woes and the project came to an end as the company closed down.

 

August

Lazarus

Lazarus the mmo alpha and beta list

Indie MMO Lazarus never made it out of Early Access but it had an amazingly unique premise and those who played it loved it. After 3 years in Early Access the studio decided to sunset the game as they were facing the financial strain of keeping it going.

 

September

Bless Online

bless online dragon

Bless Online was once hyped to be the next big thing in MMORPGs but after waiting years and having more than a few issues the game’s release wasn’t quite what anyone expected. Bless Online has shut down but it isn’t the end quite yet. Neowiz is hard at work on a re-imagining of the game called Bless Unleashed.

 

October

Fallen Earth

Just a short time after celebrating the 10th anniversary of Fallen Earth the game was shut down. This may not be the end. There’s hope for a reboot in the future and the studio is hard at work on that already. There is no date for this reboot though so for now we have to do without.

 

December

Durango Wild Lands

Durango Wild Lands Review Zebraceratops

Nexon’s survival mobile game Durango Wild Lands shut down after just 6 months. Though it should be said that it was in beta testing for 2 years. The fact that the developers released one final patch for the game before it closed made it all the more depressing. It’s likely that Nexon’s ongoing financial issues had a role to play.

 

DEATHGARDEN

Behaviour Interactive announced that DEATHGARDEN, their survival shooter/battle royale game had a decreasing player base and for that reason the game would be shutting down. This is another title that technically never made it out of Early Access, but these days Early Access is more of a soft launch than a beta.

 

Dragon’s Dogma Online

Dragon’s Dogma Online was one of those games that never actually made it to the West, but that didn’t stop a lot of Westerners from playing it anyway. It was actually a follow-up to the 2012 action RPG Dragon’s Dogma and it was Capcom’s first MMORPG. Dragon’s Dogma ran for 4 years before it was shut down, a pretty good run for a game that was a studio’s first MMORPG and never got a global release.

 

Maintenance Mode

These games haven’t been shut down yet but for most games once they go into Maintenance Mode their days are numbered. These are the games that were put into Maintenance Mode in 2019.

 

Ragnarok Online 2

Ragnarok Online 2

Gravity moved the development team that was working on Ragnarok Online 2 onto other projects and ended development on the game, but it is still playable for the time being.

 

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Oddone Games developer Young-chae Kim said that Tree of Life had been a project he had dreamed of making his entire life. Ultimately he couldn’t make Tree of Life a better game due to inexperience. So they ended development of the game and started working on other projects.

 

Battleborn

Battleborn gameplay

Battleborn had the misfortune of being released at the same time as Overwatch while competing for the same audience. Since then the game just hasn’t had the population necessary to keep going. 2K announced that Battleborn is now in Maintenance Mode and they’ve been kind enough to let players know that it will only be around until 2021.

 

Elder Scrolls: Legends

The Elder Scrolls: Legends

Players of the Elder Scrolls card game Elder Scrolls: Legends had been patiently waiting to hear about new content for their game when it was announced on Reddit that none would be coming. Elder Scrolls: Legends hasn’t shut down just yet, though who knows how much time it has left?

 

Honorable Mention

Foundry System in Neverwinter and Star Trek Online

Foundry STO

The Foundry System, which allowed gamers in Neverwinter and Star Trek Online to create their own missions, was sadly shut down earlier this year. While this is just one feature in a larger game, it was a beloved feature that meant a lot to players of those games. For that reason we wanted to give the Foundry System an honorable mention.

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Rumor: Daybreak Games Was Developing a Marvel MMORPG

According to a post on Reddit several former Daybreak Games employees have confirmed that Daybreak was developing a Marvel MMORPG. According to the post the game was worked on for most of 2018 before it got canceled. This does line up with some layoffs that took place last year.

Click to make me bigger

On the evidence of the MMORPG the Reddit post says this:

“Evidence about the game comes from posts by developers who are working or have worked at Daybreak’s Austin studio. There’s multiple references on sites like Linkedin to working on a comic book game that’s different from DC Universe Online, and one comment even directly references the Infinity Gauntlet. An artist who worked at Daybreak until the layoffs posted art showing off Marvel characters like Red Skull, Iron Man, and Captain America.”

The images in this article are from the supposed artist who was laid off by Daybreak.

Finally, the rumor ends that the game doesn’t seem to still be in development and that one developer wrote the game had top-down issues.

It should also be noted that the Daybreak Austin studio is currently hiring for a new MMO project and the job listings state that they’re working on a world class, iconic IP. But, they don’t mention anything about comic books or anything else that might hint at what they’ve got in the works.

At the moment this is all we have to go on with this rumor. Is it true? We may never know. For now at least we can enjoy some sweet Marvel art.

Source: Reddit

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WoW Wednesday: Pilgrim’s Bounty 2019!

The fall turns again in the World of Warcraft, and Pilgrim’s Bounty has arrived for the adventurers and claimers of the continents of Azeroth. Breaking bread with friends of all kinds, holiday goers can enjoy the wonderful food in every major city and brush up their own skills to provide the greatest feast for revelers throughout the land. From November 25th through December 2nd players can partake in Pilgrim’s Bounty and garner the rewards found therein. This week I’ll be your guiding hand to getting the most out of the holiday and how to fill out your achievements for the Pilgrim title and Plump Turkey Pet.

Most of the holiday festivities take place at the Bountiful Tables across Azeroth. These are located in each of the faction’s major cities and every minor town with an innkeeper, as well as Light’s Hope Chapel and the Ruins of Thaurissan. At any of these locations you’ll find that the tables have been stacked high with food which you can sit and eat at, even the enemy factions! Major city tables also have vendors selling seasonal goods such as toys, transmog, and recipes for the season. Eating five helpings of each available food will give players The Spirit of Sharing buff, which increases reputation gains by 10% for an hour, a vital addition for anyone grinding reputations through Timewalking or world content! This year, with the event overlapping with the 15th Anniversary now is a GREAT time to stack both reputation buffs from the holiday (along with Darkmoon Faire on Sunday) to DESTROY any remaining reputations you might be grinding!

Best known for its aid in leveling the profession, Pilgrim’s Bounty has a host of recipes that can quickly level players’ cooking skills. Gathering these is the easiest and fastest method of leveling the Classic tier of the profession, as the vendors selling the recipes also sell most of the ingredients as well. Mixed into these are also static seasonal quests and the ongoing daily quests, rewarding the Pilgrim’s Bounty satchel which contains the Turkey Shooter as well as potentially the Silver-Plated Turkey Shooter, Fine Pilgrim’s Hat or the Frightened Bush Chicken.

Two of the Pilgrim’s Bounty vendors, still celebrating amidst the war effort.

Of course, Pilgrim’s Bounty’s main draw is the nine unique achievements that can be earned towards the Pilgrim meta-achievement. It is worth noting that Pilgrim is not required for What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been, the World Event meta-achievement that requires a solid year of meeting every other holiday achievement (aside from the Day of the Dead, Pirate’s Day and other micro-holidays). All in all, you’ll need the following achievements to complete Pilgrim and claim your Plump Turkey:

“FOOD FIGHT!”
For this achievement, you’ll need to find a free seat at one of the Bountiful Tables in the world, and share food with a fellow reveler until you, “miss,” and bounce the food off of a player’s head! This will happen when the player the food is getting passed to already has the maximum amount of food, so just simply sit at a chair and pass the dishes until you’ve earned this achievement.

Sharing is Caring
In line with the premise of “FOOD FIGHT!” this achievement simply requires you to sit in each of the chairs at a Bountiful Table and pass the food to another seated player. Sit at each of the five chairs and pass a dish to earn the achievement, something you’ll more than likely do on your way to claiming the previous (and for more mischievous) entry.

One of the many Bountiful Tables located outside the major cities of the world.


Now We’re Cookin’

For this achievement, you must cook one of your faction’s specific Pilgrim’s Bounty Dishes. These recipes can be learned from Miles Standish for the Horde, or Gregory Tabor for the Alliance. Nearby holiday vendors will sell all the reagents you’ll need to cook these recipes and you’ll need at least 280 in your Classic Cooking to learn all of them.

Pilgrim’s Paunch
For this achievement, you must have a complete meal and earn The Spirit of Sharing at each Bountiful Table in your faction’s major cities. Simply travel to each major city and get five healthy helpings of each of the foods to complete this achievement!

Pilgrim’s Peril
This particular achievement requires you to put a little bit of risk and reward in. First, you’ll need to obtain an article of Pilgrim’s clothing, either the Pilgrim’s Dress, Pilgrim’s Robe or Pilgrim’s Attire which are awarded from one of the daily cooking quests. After you’re garbed in the universal attire of peace, you must then seat yourself at the Bountiful Tables in the enemy factions’ major cities. With the introduction of War Mode with the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch, this achievement has become far easier to complete by simply toggling it off.

Pilgrim’s Progress
This achievement is one of the easier on the list, merely requiring you to complete each of the Pilgrim’s Bounty daily quests. You can get each quest from the quest givers outside of your faction’s classic major cities, and all five are available every day. Keep in mind that you don’t need to cook for these dailies, all you have to do is turn in the food!

One of the Wild Turkeys currently plaguing both Elwynn Forest and the Tirisifal Glades.

Terokkar Turkey Time
For this achievement, you will need to first collect a Pilgrim’s Hat and one of the seasonal chest pieces from the Pilgrim’s Bounty dailies. Afterwards, you must then travel to Terokkar Forest and the Sethekk Halls wing of Auchindoun. While there, simply defeat Talon King Ikiss while wearing your seasonal attire on either Normal or Heroic! This is an easy one to incorporate into your daily mount-runs, but can only be completed by players who are of level to zone into Sethekk Halls (level 63).

The Turkinator
This achievement can be one of the trickier ones on the list, simply for the level of players often trying to complete it. The Turkinator requires you to be back, and kill 40 Wild Turkey critters, with no more than 30 seconds apart per kill until you have obtained the Turkey Triumph! buff. Wild Turkey can be found in both Tirisfal Glades and Elwynn Forest, and you can choose to kill them in either zone. Using items such as Tracker Snacks or class abilities like Track Beasts can help track the turkeys and chain your combo killing spree together.

Turkey Lurkey
This achievement is no doubt the hardest on this list, requiring you to use your trusty Turkey Shooter on a Rogue player of each race (aside from Pandaren and the Allied Races), transforming the poor stealthies into a turkey! A Turkey Shooter can be obtained from the Daily Quests, but it’s consumed after a single use, meaning you’ll need to do at least 2 days worth of dailies to earn enough and complete the achievement. Be careful, if you shoot a player who has the buff and is in a vehicle (such as the Bountiful Tables) you will get an error message and be unable to earn credit towards the achievement.

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Man Sells MMORPG Character Worth $1.4 Million for Just $500 And Gets Sued

There’s some painful news out of China that will make anyone wince as a man sells an MMORPG character worth $1.4 million for just $500. This man was then taken to court by his friend who was apparently the owner of the character and had just let his friend play the character. The character is from the popular MMORPG Justice Online. After finishing playing with the character the friend was trying to sell the character back to his friend but in his exhaustion (from playing too much) accidentally made a typo that put it on the market for far less than it was worth. It was then quickly snatched up by another player.

The owner of the character took both his friend and NetEase to court. The case was settled with the mediation of a judge online. In the end, NetEase revoked the transaction and the plaintiff paid the buyer $12,789 in damages. After the settlement, the local court in Sichuan posted on social media about the case saying that it was a great example of the protection of digital assets and warning gamers not to spend too much on video games. Clearly they should have also reminded people to sleep before you make any big purchases or sales.

I really wish there was more information available about the character because I would love to see what a character worth $1.4 million looks like. Let this be an important lesson to anyone selling anything in a game, check that price three times before you put it up for sale.

 

Source: South Morning China Post

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WoW Wednesday: Reviewing the World of Warcraft

After 15 long years, the World of Warcraft still marches ever onward. Despite no less than four “WoW Killers” launching and failing, the original Massively Multiplayer Online Titan doesn’t just dominate pop culture. It dominates its own section of the fantasy genre, inspiring legions of fan works, devotees, and enough loyal subscribers to make up its own pseudo-nation. After eight entire expansions, a major motion picture, over 20 novels and a legion of popular propaganda, its time to give this game the review it deserves. After 15 years its time once more to criticize the wide world of Warcraft.

We here at MMOGames.com have reviewed the entirety of Azeroth previously. In this coverage, shortly after the massive graphical revamp and it’s 10th anniversary, we gave World of Warcraft a solid 8/10; “It is grand and splendid enough to be worth a player’s time and money.” This is a sentiment echoed throughout the industry, with similar reviews passing along the desks of MMORPG.com and PC Gamer. Last year we reviewed it’s 8th expansion, Battle For Azeroth slightly less favorably with a 7/10. Still passable and a fun experience, but with serious critical flaws incumbent to its systems.

In this review we’ll be peeling apart all of Warcraft’s systems from cradle to grave. From level one to 120, I dove into the wide world of Azeroth as a very much familiar Veteran. I’ve played the game for over twelve years, raided until shortly before Warlords of Draenor, kept up in the Rated PvP scene and written more about it than I would probably like to admit. While it is no small feat, I will be endeavoring to give you the most in-depth and pinpoint review. In an attempt to keep information relevant while we will be covering things from our Battle for Azeroth review, we will be more focusing on the systems present in Patch 8.2, “The Rise of Azshara.” While promises to fix many issues are incumbent with its 9th expansion, Shadowlands, we will be focusing on the game as is in its present state.

It’s time to see if after 15 years, World of Warcraft is worth more than your money. Is this MMORPG still worth your time?

Enter Azeroth

World of Warcraft is, at its core, a world at war. The land of Azeroth is host to dozens of races both native and alien. Originally set off its axis due to the invasion of the demonic Orcish Horde, the world has trembled under its two new national superpowers. Compromised of Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Night Elves and all noble creatures of Azeroth, the Alliance seeks to strive to do good like the knights of old. Banding together in the face of adversity, they seek the righteous way of the land and to do right by its denizens. Whether they follow the Holy Light, Elune, or the legacy of their original creators, they hope for a prosperous future for the entire land. Led by High King Anduin Wrynn, the young ruler endeavors to forge a world of true peace for his people.

Built on the bones of a dark legacy, the Horde has expanded to find its place at redemption. Composed of the once noble Orcs, the mysterious Darkspear trolls, the proud Tauren tribes and the cunning Forsaken Undead, this new Horde seeks to eke out an existence in a world that never wanted them. Drawing all kinds to its banner, the Horde promises unity and Honor no matter the cost. Recently in a political upheaval by the betrayal of its Warchief, Sylvanas Windrunner, the Horde now stands at a dangerous crossroads. While rumors of a council, a Coalition of Leadership, have begun to rattle through the ranks the future is uncertain for the Horde.

This will be your first major decision in World of Warcraft. Unlike other MMORPGs with cross faction play, tensions in Azeroth still run high. Its very unlikely that a Draenei from the Alliance would ever want to see a Blood Elf from the Horde, let alone work with them again. Races are restricted to certain factions, and who you will interact with will be. Certain cosmetic effects such as titles, mounts and more. Certain locations, major questlines and the world itself may change depending on which faction you select.


Once you’ve made your selection on the character creation screen, you’ll have 7 races to choose through (up to 11 for veteran players). Each race has its own unique storyline, racial abilities, customizations and can pick particular classes. Some, like the Trolls, are jacks of all trades but cannot pick certain heavy plate classes. Others, like the Gnomes, are limited by their diminutive size but can access every intellect-based class. Largely, based on what you want to do, your class will largely decide your race but your race will decide your faction overall. All have a slew of customization options throughout, though the interface is notably dated.

World of Warcraft is a fifteen year old game, built on an engine that is nearly 20 years old. As such, its rather amazing what can be done on it when it comes to newer content. When it comes to character customizations, however, you may find yourself completely screwed. On the large, older races like the Orcs have a wide plethora of options and selections, however these are worked through at most 15 or so static changes. While there are, realistically, hundreds of possible permutations for your character’s appearance some are better than others and are far more popular. That is, if you’re fortunate enough to have more than one favorable option; some newer races like the Nightborne or the Lightforged Draenei introduced in Legion are impossibly sparse on customizations; the Nightborne functionally only have one gender due to how ugly the male models and their faces are.

Once you’ve built up your avatar you can decide on your class. Warcraft being an older game, still works on the static Holy Trinity model of class design. Most classes are built to do one of three things: either soak punishment and deal area damage as a Tank, unleash powerful destructive fury as a Damage Dealer (or DPS), or keep their allies alive as a Healer. While most classes are tooled to perform only one role very well, such as the Mage or Hunter, just about every class can do one or the other. Some classes, like the Paladin, Monk or Druid, are Hybrid classes and can perform all three roles seamlessly.

Each class does play remarkably different, even between its three specializations. Some, like the Warrior, are exactly as its archetypical theme describes. They wade into the heat of melee combat and deliver punishment with one, sometimes two, massive weapons. Others, like the Warlock, use dark curses and stay at range while their minions deal with the enemy. Its hard to recommend a new class to newer players, simply due to the depth and volume of playstyles. This choice widens when players unlock Death Knights and Demon Hunters, Warcraft’s hero classes. These veteran-player classes are only unlocked after you’ve achieved a certain level on your first character, and as such start at a higher level in their respective expansion.

The best advice I can give you? Take your time and experiment with different player classes. Since its inception, my main has changed dramatically over time, from a Shaman to a Warrior to a Death Knight, Shaman, Warlock, Priest, Hunter and now a Warrior again. Even between them, each has up to three specializations that further customize your gameplay and feel like individual classes on their own. This is an expansive game, with plenty to do and explore.

We’re Going On an Adventure!

Once you’ve sorted out your character, and decided your class, you’re ready to get onto exploring the wide world of Azeroth. With recent graphical overhauls and a massive leveling change in it’s 4th expansion, Cataclysm, the world has never been more beautiful. From sunny high mesas in Mulgore to the steamy jungles of Stranglethorn, the world is utterly and absolutely breath-taking to explore. Even in the game’s older content through Northrend and Outland, there is not one zone I could complain about in its design, theming, or music.

Azeroth, however, is a dangerous place and even the heartiest diplomats will need to engage in combat. Being an older MMORPG, Warcraft’s systems are largely static in combat. Unlike entries such as the defunct Wildstar, heroes will often have a host of abilities to attack enemies in a somewhat standard, non-movement oriented combat style. While some classes subvert this by being based on movement, such as the Demon Hunter, others like the Mage and Warrior remain largely stagnant in order to deal damage. Instead, the complexity comes from intrinsic combat systems in order to maximize damage; buffs and debuffs to manage detrimental effects on your enemies.

You will be exploring them all as you adventure and progress your character. Starting at level 1, you’ll be working through several older RPG tropes and tools to level up. Starting with Quests, you’ll gain experience to level up and advance your character. After gaining so much experience your avatar will “ding” (gratz!) and you’ll get a little bit more powerful through new spells or advanced ranks of older ones. At major milestones your characters will unlock massive features such as mounts, class specializations, battlegrounds or new expansions worth of content.


In saying such, however, there’s a lot both good and bad in this progression system. You have 120 levels to advance through in Azeroth, and sadly there just aren’t enough rewards to make it feel worthwhile. While the journey is fun in this MMO, the RPG elements are incredibly lacking and are noticeable after your first five hours with the character. After reaching level sixty you’ll have most of your major class abilities unlocked and will be progressing onto your first expansion of content. Its unlikely, however, that you’ll see a new ability or intrinsic reward for your character’s power until another 7 to 15 levels away.

A lot of this power instead will come from your gear that you will obtain as you progress. Gear comes in a wide variety of colors, starting with White (Common) and Grey (Trash), you’ll gain Uncommon (Green) and Rare (Blue) items from questing or doing 5-man dungeons when you unlock them. Epic (Purple) quality items will drop from incredibly difficult challenges in your journey, or are otherwise incredibly rare. Legendary (Orange) are utterly unique items. Only a handful of them exist in the world and each will significantly change how you play your character. Most are incredibly difficult, if not impossible to get, but everyone knows their names. As you unlock them, you’ll save your gear appearances in your collectibles tab, alongside mounts, toys and cosmetic pets, and can transmogrify them over your gear to adjust your appearance.

Additionally you’ll unlock Talents. This interchangeable selection system unlocks tiers of abilities every 15 levels, usually themed around one type. While limited compared to previous iterations, this system allows you to change your playstyle for your class and specialization in between adventures, and offers a wide variety of utility. While most players will stick with the optimal or their favorite choice, staying flexible with your talents is rewarded in high tiers of gameplay and can massively alter what role you fill.

World of Warcraft
On paper this all sounds like a marvelous system, despite a few drawbacks, but the new player experience is painful, to say the least. There is a very good reason why Blizzard-Activision have been pushing their Character Level Boosting Service; leveling is painful, long and dull. Due to the rapid scaling of your character’s power in the early game in order to meet the end-game’s stats, enemies are never any major challenge. Instead they sit as more of a nuisance in between you and your objective, whether that involves collecting 4 zherva hooves or just trying to open a book.

In working on this review, I logged roughly additional an additional 30 hours between a Highmountain Tauren Shaman, a Night Elf Druid and a Nightborne Warrior. I can tell you, wholeheartedly, that the leveling experience is incredibly brutal. The only character I managed to max out was my Warrior, and that was simply because they’re my new main. Leveling is a tedious, repetitive venture to work through and a lot of its meaning is lost as you progress to the endgame; what many people rightfully cite as the ‘true’ game in Warcraft.

While we have covered it extensively in past entries of our WoW Wednesday Column, I’ll reiterate it once more here. There are not enough rewards to encourage players to naturally level and progress their character. The bloating of levels up to 120 is simply too vast a distance with the game’s current playstyle philosophy to reward players with spells or abilities every level. There aren’t enough talents or unlockables to go around, and this results in one of the most painful moments of any leveling experience.

World of Warcraft
The only moment that particularly stands out in a bad way, among hundreds if not thousands of quest texts, is Outland and Northrend. At level 60, you’ll begin to unlock additional expansions of content to play through, each with its own choice. From 60-70 you’ll be allowed to choose with either The Burning Crusade or The Wrath of the Lich King and their respective continents. Its also about this time that new abilities just stop coming all together while you adventure through some of the oldest, most difficult and outright obtuse questing content in the entire game.

While it is only for this small band, these two continents can kill nearly all of your momentum. Add in the issue of sharp increase in experience point requirements and it suddenly feels like a monumental mountain in your progression. There’s a reason that, at this point, nearly halfway to level 120 people either stop outright or start looking for ways to increase their experience gains monumentally. For veteran players, this is an easy hurdle to pass with a slew of experience boosting buffs that increase gains by over 200%. Other subversive options become the norm, such as grinding dungeons in an attempt to escape monotonous and awful questing. For newer, unguided players these options are more than likely not available or unknown.

Defender of Azeroth!

But you’ve finally done it, you’ve made it to level 120 despite all the hurdles and challenges. What awaits you is a wide plethora of content to explore and adventure through. Massive raids open up to challenge with up to 20 players. Rated Player versus Player combat and the cosmetic Honor system are ladders for you to climb in slaughtering your enemies. Pet Battles, cosmetic collections and more are at your fingertips. There is, quite literally, an infinite amount of things to do in Azeroth and with every expansion’s content unlocked at max level, you can do whatever you’d like.

The gateway to your personal progression, however, is now tied to Artifacts. Introduced in Legion and revamped for Battle for Azeroth, Artifacts now tool how your character plays more than your own end-game gear. The newest form of this, the Heart of Azeroth, unlocks class changing traits on your armor called “Azerite Traits.” While initially unique and could redefine your class in totality, most have now been reworked so that there are only one or two viable traits depending on your field of gameplay. While new, socketable essences have been introduced which act as additional spells or abilities, these are locked behind a leveling wall.

Your experience for the Heart of Azeroth? Azerite Power. This resource is rewarded from almost every single activity in World of Warcraft and can be infinitely grinded through certain gameplay elements like Island Expeditions or other instanced content. Due to this, however, there is a form of soft “scaling cap” each week. While you’ll unlock all of the passive and active slots on your Heart by level 67, it will also increase in power up to level 70 with certain Essences being locked behind that level cap. Essences themselves come from a wide variety of gameplay elements and hitting certain milestones will reward them.

World of Warcraft
There are a host of incumbent problems in this system, but the largest one is its effect on gear. While leveling, your gear will be rotated out roughly every zone or so. It goes through an upgrading process, but due to the limited number of customizations you’ll often be prone to keep it as is or hunt for smaller, rarer items to complete your look. As you reach maximum level, and are able to customize and change the appearance of ANY gear item, instead it falls to the name and what it’s worth to set it apart as an enviable object.

As Azerite and Gear can come from ANY source in Battle for Azeroth, most of it being Epic, it all really begins to blend together. Instead you’ll be hunting for gear with specific stats and Azerite traits in a constant form of upgrading to maximize what you can do in your class. In reality once you hit 120 you’ll be hitting a massive statistics crunch and will begin measuring your gear based on numbers instead of looks and rewards.

That’s not to say the content to get it isn’t fun. Raiding and Rated PvP are at their pinnacle in Azeroth. PvE encounters have only gotten more complex and varied throughout the years, and conquering a major villain with 19 of your friends can be incredibly rewarding. Even moreso, conquering other players and reaping Elite rewards isn’t just a challenge but a massive learning experience into the complexities of Warcraft. Playing through the fantasy of living in Azeroth is fun to do, even if you’re adventuring to cap off a few achievements or just to roleplay in a darkened tavern.

Gameplay: 5/10

World of Warcraft is an OLD game. Older than, frankly, quite a few people playing it. However, despite its stumbling and falling in leveling and rewarding characters, it is still IMMENSELY fun to play especially in the endgame. These flaws, like the infinite treadmill of endgame content and the crippling painful nature of leveling tar the whole process. There’s a lot here, and quite a bit of it is VERY good, but the struggle to get into that content and mean something as a whole dampen the entire project.

World of Warcraft

Innovation: 5/10

Once upon a time, Warcraft defined the genre in what it could do. These days the game and its team are struggling to keep up in similar showings from competitors. Desperately trying to keep a 15 year old engine alive, Warcraft’s developers seem to constantly struggle in adding things in such as ‘color tints’ for equipment. Addressing the inherit systemic issues caused throughout the game is a struggle for them, including admitting to their own mistakes for the worse. While they occasionally make a breakthrough concept for the game, it struggles to keep pace with others in the industry.

Multiplayer: 7/10

World of Warcraft is the Notorious B.I.G., the progenitor of the modern MMO. Community is everything to any worthwhile progression in Azeroth. While wolves and the rabble of the world won’t trouble your character, you will NEED friends in order to adventure into dark dungeons, heart-pounding raids, or merely to keep your sanity during leveling. While most basic endgame content is queue-able as a single player, generating you into a larger group, truly challenging content requires friends. If you’re invested in finding such and taking on the hardest challenges the community, on the whole, is largely receptive to new players and still thrives strongly to this day.

Graphics / Sound: 8/10

Despite being built on an older engine, Azeroth is beautiful to adventure through. Thanks to large-scale graphical improvements in Cataclysm, the world has never looked better for the adventuring player though more modern innovations such as Light Rays make it seem somewhat flat in color. Together, with a wonderfully orchestrated OST, Warcraft oozes environmental theme and beautiful artistic design. Whether it’s the pounding of the drums of war in battlegrounds or the eerie strings plaguing you in Azshara’s Eternal Palace, the hills of Pandaria and the dark dungeons have never looked and felt more beautiful.

World of Warcraft

Value for Money: 8/10

I cannot understate this: Warcraft has no end to its content. If you have the want to explore its vast breadth and depth from faction reputations to achievements to PvP to raiding to battling PETS there is legitimately no end. Even with a subscription model still attached to the game, my $15 USD per month is STILL well spent in Azeroth. There is enough to do legitimately every day of the week between its eight expansions and the base game, and still not get everything done that you’d like. While there are concerns on the depth of the content, there is enough breadth to make up for it.

Overall: 6.5/10

There are a lot of problems with Warcraft. I don’t think there’s a 15 year old on the planet that doesn’t have its slew of problems, but beneath all of them is a gemstone. While there are problems in a host of Warcraft’s systems, it feels exciting to go on that next adventure through Azeroth whether as the lone Champion or among a host of friends. Whether you fight for the Horde or the Alliance, this is a game that still lives and breathes fun and entertainment. While it can be a slog, sometimes more than even the developers would like to admit, charting the world of Azeroth is an adventure in and of itself in every sense.

With promises on the horizon to fix so many of its problems, I can only hope that we’ll still be adventuring throughout the worlds of Warcraft for many more years to come.

Pros

– Easy, simple pick up and play MMORPG
– Varied Systems of Progression
– Tons of Gameplay systems and Endgame Content
– Potentially Endless Content to Play

Cons

– Painful Leveling and Level Bloat
– Little Reward for New Players
– Meaningless Gear/Character Progression Outside of Artifact Systems
– Limited Avatar Customization and Cosmetic Personalization Outside of Armor

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MMORPG Legend Brad McQuaid Has Died

Legendary MMORPG developer Brad McQuaid has died at age 51. His death was first reported on the Patheon: Rise of the Fallen forums, this was the MMO he was working on at the time of his death. According to the forum post by Benjamin Dean from Visionary Realms McQuaid died at home.

“Brad was a visionary, a mentor, an artist, a trailblazer, a friend, a husband, a father. He touched thousands of lives with his dreams and concepts. He changed the landscape of video games forever. He will be deeply missed and forever remembered in life and in Pantheon.

Thank you, Brad, for bringing us together through your worlds. Rest in peace, Aradune.”

McQuaid is perhaps best known for his work on Everquest. He joined SOE in 1996 as the lead programmer for the historic MMO and later went on to a producer role and then Chief Creative Officer. Upon hearing of his death his former boss, John Smedley took to Twitter to say “Brad was an amazingly talented creator and Everquest wouldn’t exist without his genius. He will be missed.”

In 2002 McQuaid left SOE to found Sigil Games which created Vanguard: Saga of Heroes which was eventually bought by SOE. From 2012 to 2013 he briefly rejoined SOE before once again going independent. This time it was to create Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen which had its successful Kickstarter in 2014.

It isn’t too much of a stretch at all to say that the entire MMO genre wouldn’t be what it is today without the contributions Brad McQuaid made. It has been asked that the privacy of his family is respected during this difficult time. But, if you would like to share heartwarming stories that his wife and daughter will see Smedley has suggested sending those stories to @aradune on Twitter.

 

Source: Pantheon Forums, Smedley’s Twitter

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Guild Wars 2 Whisper in the Dark Press Preview

Whisper in the Dark leads us to Bjora Marches in the Far Shiverpeaks. As you might expect this is a very cold zone and visibility there is low to say the least. You might expect that because it is further north than the Bitterfrost Frontier that it is as bitterly cold and as dangerous as that zone. But it isn’t. So far we’ve not seen any signs of the Bitter Cold environmental hazard that plagued the Bitterfrost Frontier. But it is possible that this could change in the future as Bjora Marches will be with us in future episodes of the Icebrood Saga and ArenaNet has said that the zone will evolve and expand with each update. The zone as it stands now is quite significantly smaller than previous Living World zones. This is to be expected, though I was taken by surprise by just how small it is.

I was fortunate enough to play on a map that was nearly completely empty except for a few people here and there. This allowed the sinister atmosphere that you have seen in the trailer to shine through. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this atmosphere will last when you’ve got everyone and their Sylvan Hound running around. It was a problem that The Secret World faced many years ago, how do you keep the spooky atmosphere you’re trying to portray when there are 50 to 100 people running around spamming sword attacks? Funcom ended up solving that issue by reducing the zone cap to just 10 people and it worked amazingly well for their game, though some would argue that it has made the game feel abandoned and soulless. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that in Guild Wars 2 however. That sinister area also only accounts for a small portion of the zone.

 

New Masteries

One thing that you see throughout Bjora Marches is the new masteries in action. There are four of them in total, Raven Attunement, and the three new essence manipulations. Raven Attunement I don’t want to talk about too much because all of my experience using it was tied in with the story. You will unlock it quite quickly though and you have to unlock it to gain access to essence manipulation.

You will have seen the essence manipulations system in action in the trailer. Enemies who glow green, red, or blue. Many of the enemies in the zone have this glow, though not all of them. You also aren’t at a disadvantage if you don’t have the system unlocked while you’re out in the zone. The impression is that these will be vital for the Strike Missions. This may also mean that they become more important as the story continues. For now, though, they’re powerful attacks that only work on the appropriately colored enemies. This means that essence manipulation is completely useless outside of Bjora Marches and I actually think that’s a good thing. My husband and I can already duo many of the champions in Tyria on an Elementalist and Engineer who are specced for fun, not for being the best. I would hate to see content in the old world trivialized by this new system. Though yes, I do agree with many that spending a bunch of time unlocking masteries that don’t work anywhere but one zone is annoying. This isn’t the first time we’ve done that though and it is unlikely to be the last.

As it stands now I worry that the enemies in Bjora Marches will be trivialized by this new system. When everyone has unlocked the various essence mastery points will people end up having to wait around for a champion to spawn again if they want to fight it because if they aren’t there at the exact moment the fight starts then the enemy is dead? Sure, I can see it coming in handy later in 2020 when we’ve moved beyond Bjora Marches to a new zone and getting enough people to fight a champion is difficult at best. Right now though, I’m not so sure about the system. It feels a bit like the Incarnate system from City of Heroes, for anyone who is familiar with that.

 

No More Legendary Weapons

The second generation of legendary weapons ended with the release of Exordium, a gorgeous greatsword that is singlehandedly responsible for me coming back to the game in a personal capacity after taking a year-long hiatus. As I recall, though I can’t find when and where it was said, ArenaNet has said that there won’t be any more legendary weapons after gen 2. This was a statement made several years ago however and things do change. After all, there was one point in time when ArenaNet said they weren’t working on an expansion and that Guild Wars 2 would never have an expansion, now we’ve had 2. So it is possible that a new legendary weapon could be released in the future. But it isn’t going to be in Whisper in the Dark and there has been no mention of a new weapon coming by ArenaNet so I wouldn’t get your hopes up. Still, the team had a lot of really fun uses of technology in the gen 2 legendaries, even if some of the weapons themselves weren’t all that well received. I personally don’t have any use for a weapon that gives you a giant demon hand, but it would be interesting to see other ways that technology could be applied. I would also gleefully grind for the rest of my days to have a complete set of weapons that work and look like Exordium. Anyway, the whole point is that this is the first proper update after all of the legendary weapons have been released and I’m a bit sad that there isn’t one. A weapon, possibly made of the Boneskinner’s bones would be so, so epic. Who knows, we may get this in the Black Lion store. But there’s something really satisfying about creating the weapon yourself.

Whisper in the Dark is playable right now as you’re reading this. As always, make sure you have map chat turned off and you ignore your guildmates until you’ve finished the story. Social Media, including Youtube and Reddit will be abuzz with spoilers. Have fun and don’t let the Boneskinner get you.

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MMORPG-RTS Hybrid Kingdom Under Fire 2 Launched in North America and Europe

The MMORPG-RTS hybrid Kingdom Under Fire 2 launched in North and Europe on PC. Kingdom Under Fire 2 is the most ambitious entry in the popular Kingdom Under Fire series. The last release in the series was Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom which was released over a decade ago.

The game was developed by Korean studio Blueside and it is being published by Gameforge in North America and Europe.

kingdom under fire 2

“After many long years developing our most ambitious game ever created, the time has finally come for western players to experience Kingdom Under Fire 2,” said Sejung Kim, CEO of Blueside. “Thanks to their considerable publishing experience in the online games market, Gameforge has helped Blueside fully realize the vision of Kingdom Under Fire 2. We look forward to re-opening the gates to Bersia to our fans, as well as to newcomers, who have been eagerly awaiting this day.”

“Kingdom Under Fire 2 has been one of the most exciting projects Gameforge has published,” said Tomislav Perkovic, Chief Product Officer at Gameforge. “We worked closely with developer Blueside to take an already fantastic game to the finish line, transitioning gameplay balancing from a free-to-play business model to a traditional premium model where players simply buy to play and have a content-rich experience from the start. Today’s launch of Kingdom Under Fire 2 is just the start as we have future updates in the pipeline that series fans will no doubt love!”

Kingdom Under Fire II is available on the official Gameforge site and there are three different versions available for $29.99 (€29.99), $49.99 (€49.99), and $99.99 (€99.99).

 

Source: Press Release

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WoW Wednesday: The Eternal Grind

It is a very rare occasion to have one singular quest in World of Warcraft ever piss me off. Not agitate me, per se, but fill me with such an intense blinding rage and confusion as to make me question its very existence. That isn’t to say that such quests aren’t, at times, warranted. Infamous ones such as Wrathion’s Valor Gating for the Mists of Pandaria legendary cloak have been used in the past to regulate the acceleration for top-end players. Others, like infamous Vanilla ‘Alliance Tower Escort’ were terrible not due to their design but the implications of performing it in such a massive world with interfering elements and players. None of them, however, quite stack up like ‘The Eternal Traveler.’

The Eternal Traveler is an oddly unique quest which put a bad taste in my mouth before it began. For those of you not in the know, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands has, like its predecessors, a Digital Collector’s edition for pre-order. For the new expansion, however, Blizzard-Activision has their editions broken down into multiple fields. The base copy, as always, comes with the expansion and early-access to Death Knights for all races much like Battle for Azeroth unlocked Allied Races in Patch 7.3. Then there are TWO different Collector’s Editions.

The Heroic Edition includes some of the standard fair. While it includes a Level 120 Character Boost to use instantly, it also includes the Ensorcelled Everwyrm Mount (unique to the Collector’s Editions) as well as a brand-new Cosmetic Transmog Set. The Epic Edition, which is an additional $20 USD, includes a cosmetic Weapon Enchant, a Pet (which usually comes with the regular Collector’s Edition), and a new Hearthstone toy in line with other Holiday Toys.


Those who follow my previous work know I have little issues with pre-orders or Collector’s Editions, but I do have an issue with multiple versions. The practice, made famous by Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs series, has resulted in multiple companies creating multiple types of ‘Collector’s’ products with varying objects between them. While, thankfully, Shadowlands’ editions at their apex contain everything you might be looking for if you’re purchasing at previous expansion’s full price, it still sets a very worrying standard.

With that in mind, you collect your initial rewards from either edition. Unpacking the Enscorcelled Everwyrm for a test-ride you’ll be able to click on an interactable object just behind the saddle. This will summon the newest object of your frustrations, Xolaritos, which begins the promised questline for your transmog appearance. Belonging to the Eternal Travelers, they have moved between the veil of worlds for untold millennia. Calling Oribos their home in the Shadowlands, they’ve now come to Azeroth in sensing the rising presence of Death. You can strike a bargain with them, for the right price.

Xolaritos wants Echoes of Mortality. When the living die, they leave behind fragments of their life force behind. The strongest of Azeroth’s denizens leave behind resonant pieces; portions that tremble with the life they used to have. Collect 40 of these and not only will you become an ally of the Eternal Travelers, but you’ll receive their unique transmog appearance. All of the textures and animations are unique (so far) and haven’t been seen in-game. The set, overall, is REALLY cool and looks fantastic.


This, at the outset, is an excellent opportunity and idea. Even in just giving you those bare details, it sounds like an EXCELLENT start to an intriguing quest; perhaps a lead-in to the ideas about what the growing influence of death means. While there is the trepidation of perhaps locking ‘content’ behind an exclusive paywall, you can do quite a lot with just a little. Recent goers of the War Campaign’s finale can find such a concept littered with Lor’themar Theron. After witnessing Sylvanas Windrunner utterly destroy Saurfang in their Mak’gora, he among several characters remarked about her using magic they had never seen before. That is VERY interesting and opens up quite a bit of possibility for exploring that in Shadowlands.

The Eternal Traveler decides to forgo that by instead creating the most obfuscating and infuriating questline ever.

In reality, killing any creature in your level bracket will feasibly drop Echoes of Mortality. Within your first few kills per day you will earn anywhere between 4 to 6 Echoes. Initially starting the quest you’ll get the impression that you can quickly complete the quest for your transmog. This is not to be.

After your initial gain the drop chances reduce to a pitiful number. The highest numbers reported by WoWhead, that do not come from raid enemies or PvP-tagged targets, are a little over 1%. Most are far below that threshold, dwindling into a 0.5% range, making individual drops as difficult to obtain as Invincible’s Reins from Icecrown Citadel. This resets after the daily lockouts clock over for your server, meaning that at 8am server time, you’ll once more be able to gain 4-6 Echoes from one mob.


This is content gating at its finest. Those purchasing any collector’s edition are now essentially paying for one quest which requires hours upon hours of grinding for a cosmetic appearance with no additional lore or incumbent excitement.

This results in this very real scenario: in an effort to quickly grind through this incredibly arduous and needlessly time-gated quest, players are using the group finder. There, they are gathered together to kill as many densely packed mobs as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time to maximize their chances at getting even one Echo to drop. The two well known hotspots are the Blood Gate in Zuldazar, and the Dabrie Farmstead in Arathi Highlands. I once spent a little over 2 hours grinding through over 400 mobs for a measly 5 Echoes.

The reality is that this is all based off of luck. If you’re willing to put in the time, and you’re incredibly lucky, you’ll be able to soar through the needed Echoes with little difficulty. However, a grind that players are essentially buying into should not be faced with the same amount of time-sinking that Insane in the Membrane or Rated PvP requires. It is, by and large, no less than a slap in the face to adopters of the new Collector’s Editions. Forced arbitrary grinding for the impatient, and a needless time gating for those willing to wait. Add that to your collection tab.

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