For my first assignment at Massively Overpowered, I wanted to make a statement. No fluff piece or softball interview is good enough for our readers! As my deadline approached, I flipped through my Rolodex. One name caught my eye. He’s a battle mage. He’s an adviser to emperors. He’s the man who’s trying to put an end to the Three Banners War. Dear readers, I bring you a conversation with Abnur Tharn. MassivelyOP: Mr. Tharn, I’m so glad to have you with us today. I understand you were involved in an uprising in Cyrodiil. Could you walk us through that? Abnur Tharn: Certainly. Unfortunately, the Empire was poorly ruled by an unworthy family for several centuries. Being the adviser to the emperor, I continued to do my job despite my misgivings about the family’s leadership. When the opportunity arose to replace Emperor Leovic with a passionate visionary, I helped to facilitate that transition. How did you do that, exactly? I provided the resistance with … [Read more...] about Tamriel Infinium: A conversation with The Elder Scrolls Online’s Abnur Tharn
Clinical online evaluation
One of those phrases we like to use a fair amount here is the fact that running an MMO is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t need to look far to find examples of games that started small but managed to claw up in esteem over time. The Elder Scrolls Online, Final Fantasy XIV, EVE Online, and even Warframe didn’t launch to immediate overwhelming success, but all of those games developed followings, improved gameplay, and steadily acquired more critical clout. And then you have LawBreakers, which was described as a marathon instead of a sprint and stopped running the marathon pretty early. This isn’t about dunking on the many games that didn’t make it through that marathon, of course; a lot of games are designed with the intent of long-term updates and wind up falling far short of expectations. (Looking in your direction, WildStar.) Rather, it’s about the very nature of the analogy and unpacking it a bit more because even a … [Read more...] about Vague Patch Notes: Online games are a marathon, but they still need to start running
Looking back at the the MMO industry has become a bit of a yearly ritual now. Twelve years ago this would have been a monumental undertaking and bordering impossible to achieve in just one post. These days, however, this exercise is more about looking at how little actually happened for MMOs. First, let's define terms. For this post, MMORPGs released in 2018 means actual MMORPGs (we'll accept MMOs too, but not faux-mmo) commercially released this calendar year. I don't count expansions, though the honorable mentions are Battle for Azeroth and Summerset. What am I using to determine what came out? I like the MMORPG.com list, but I'll be critiquing their generous use of the label. Yikes! First, I scratched off the ones that weren't even MMO in any way. Let's ignore those and wonder why they're on the site at all. Next let's eliminate a few that are labeled MMO but clearly are not: Fallout 76 The Crew 2 Sea of Thieves I hope we can all agree there. Then let's shave off the … [Read more...] about Evaluating the MMORPGs Released in 2018
Play LOTRO for freeBy now, to me, Lord of the Rings Online is a comfortable, well-worn friend that always offers a very predictable and enjoyable experience whenever I return to the game. It’s absolutely bizarre to me to consider that we’re now in the Post-Ring era of the MMO’s storyline, yet it is all still going strong in its own way. One thing I cannot deny is that LOTRO is what most people would consider to be an “older MMO.” It’s been in live operation ever since April 2007, and once the game tipped over the decade mark, it joined other long-running titles that had long since shed their youth for maturity and stability. As I was exploring Northern Mirkwood and going through the new Christmas quest recently, I found my thoughts had turned to evaluating the game’s status as an aging MMORPG. I mean, all MMOs age (if they’re fortunate enough to launch), and not every title can remain young, hot, and popular forever. But that … [Read more...] about LOTRO Legendarium: Is Lord of the Rings Online aging well?
The interesting thing about this installment of Choose My Adventure is that it’s probably the only time I could ever do this particular title. Not because it’s going away anytime soon, by all indications, but because there’s little to no way that you can actually talk about Ultima Online in the present. If you don’t know anything about Ultima Online, it behooves you to do some research. This is really the origin point of MMOs as a whole, the game upon which all other graphical MMOs were based in no small part. You can quibble as much as you want about whether or not something else might have been a little bit further along or deserves a bigger nod, but at the end of the day it’s not an argument that actually matters. This is the starting point. Which means discussing it at all can, at times, feel rather silly. I don’t mean that as an insult, to be clear. It’s simply that UO cannot be critiqued like any more normal game because it’s where … [Read more...] about Choose My Adventure: Getting started in Ultima Online