Take a moment to feast your eyes on these trolls. These troll models will be introduced to World of Warcraft this November as part of the Warlords of Draenor expansion, and don't they look nice? Won't it be pleasant to encounter trolls such as these in your adventures around Draenor.
A World of Warcraft petition requesting a new in-game character based on Robin Williams has been successful. That may seem strange at first, but Williams was reportedly an avid World of Warcraft player. According to the petition page, the late Williams used to play on the Mannoroth server, and "was something of a troll in trade on good days or when anonymity [was] allowed."
It's been ten years since World of Warcraft opened the gates of Azeroth to all. A lot has changed: You can buy a level 90 character if you want (though we don't recommend it if you're just coming back), the talent system has been simplified, and the world has been expanded and remade multiple times. This year, Blizzard wants you back. If you remember the good old days of 40-man raids, the developer has some nostalgia-packed events coming your way—including a corgi vanity pet.
World of Warcraft launched ten years ago this November. That’s a long time in video game years, and even longer for an MMORPG. The world of Azeroth was already big when the game launched in November 2004, but ten years and four expansions have made WoW utterly massive—and intimidating for new or returning players. That’s one of the reasons why Blizzard has introduced a new in-game service to boost characters to the game’s current max level, 90. For $60, you can take a brand new character, or one you played but didn’t max out, and shortcut them straight to the top-end content for Mists of Pandaria, the game’s most current expansion.
It’s a handy service for both current and returning players, but it’s not perfect. Getting a boost from level 1 to 90 is like learning how to swim by jumping off a diving board, straight into the deep end. And even though Blizzard gives you all of the skills and gear you need to be level 90, it may not be enough to keep your group happy. No one wants to be at the bottom of the damage-per-second charts in an endgame raid.
Firefall is a free-to-play MMO shooter with an emphasis on dynamic events, skill-based combat and desperate defences against sometimes overwhelming enemy forces. All of which sounds promising, but Firefall also features a lack of variety, constant busywork and a set of interconnected systems that sit awkwardly against the moment-to-moment drudgery of the game. It has potential. The problem is that, in almost every instance, it fails to meet the ideal it's trying to sell.
World of Warcraft has experienced a pretty hefty population drop since 2010, with Activision Blizzard announcing during an investors call today that the MMO currently hosts 6.8 million subscribers. That's nearly half what the MMO boasted in 2010, with 12 million active subscribers recorded during that year. Nearly a million of those have departed since July last year, if you compare the figures.
Those damn dragons, always up to their dragon tricks. If they're not hoarding gold or flying in circles near an ice-topped mountain, they're threatening to awaken and envelop the world in their evil shadow. You don't get unicorns pulling this shit. Continuing on from last week's chapter, Guild Wars 2's next update escalates the threat posed by Elder Dragon Mordremoth.
The world may not be wanting for a new procedurally generated, Voxel-based open world game, but Oort Online looks very promising. In development at Guildford studio Wonderstruck Games, the crowdfunded title is the work of former Lionhead, EA and Hello Games talent. The MMORPG will be set across a variety of worlds, all of which exist in the same universe where players can "explore, fight, survive, build and craft".
I sometimes forget how much time, effort and heart people will dedicate to a single game. Where I'll skim the ocean of my Steam library—fully aware that I'll one day drown—others live happily on the island of their chosen hobby. That dedication and belonging spills out of these games, too. There's fan art, fan videos, and yes, likely some questionable fan-fic. There's something joyous about that, especially when—as is the case of this amazing Guild Wars 2 fan-made video—it's backed by a catchy pop song.
Here's something for every MMO player who likes to vacuum up quests without reading the mission text: a 40 minute video summarising the bulk of Warcraft's story. It covers the series' main timeline, from events depicted in the old RTS games, to the evolving lore of World of Warcraft. It's the perfect guide if you want to catch up ahead of Warlords of Draenor, or if you just want to know why you beat up a demon guy that one time.
You there! Are your next seven days not filled with an expansive and enjoyable MMO? Don't worry, we can fix that. We have 5,000 Wildstar trial keys, and we're literally giving them away. The keys—which are redeemable from Tuesday, 29 July—will give you a full week of Wildstar access, up to a Level 20 cap. Don't worry, that still means a trial period packed full of questing, Adventures, Dungeons and more.
Update: The keys have all been taken. Those that successfully claimed one should be getting their email soon.
There are few things more disturbing than a cow wearing a bra, and Blizzard just made me look at a whole bunch of them in order to write this news post. Upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor is giving the MMO a bit of a graphical overhaul - I mean, just look at how slightly different the Draenei will look in a few months' time. Now it's time for the Tauren to go under the
knife 3D modelling programs, and it seems Blizzard have made them a bit more human. WoW's resident cow-people will boast a bigger range of facial expressions, more detailed hair and hooves - as it turns out, this makes it extra creepy to see them strolling around in a bra and pants.
We found a lot to love in Carbine's bright, characterful MMO, Wildstar, when we reviewed it a short while ago, and there's a chance you might too if you take part in our upcoming key giveaway, which will go live on Monday July 28.
EVE Online's new boss on the future of the game, accessibility, and the 'spreadsheets in space' label
CCP’s massively multiplayer space sim has a new boss. Her name is Andie Nordgren, and she’ll be taking charge of not only the development of the game, but its long-term vision too. She was behind the game’s new update model, which sees ten smaller updates being released a year instead of two large expansions, and previously served as EVE’s senior producer. I talked to Nordgren about the future of the game and how she’s making the notoriously deep, intimidating MMO friendlier.
"Look up, here it comes," the guy behind me whispers. There's something akin to reverence in his voice. I look up at the screen on QuakeCon's main stage to see footage of some thug pilfering the crates and boxes surrounding a shopkeeper's stand, taking care to avoid her gaze. The text accompanying each of the items is red; he's stealing. A guard catches him, and he's asked to hand over the value of the items, which amounts to a measly five gold. He obliges. The guy behind me is snickering now, and I hear a slap that must be a high-five he shared with his friend.
The perspective shifts; we're now behind the twin blades of some Nightblade slinking about the Daggerfall Covenant town of Wayrest. He sneaks up behind poor Phillic Menant, who's just strolling over to chat with the local stablemaster. The blades flash, Phillic falls with a bloody splash, and the crowd around me collectively leans forward. This is something new; something unexpected. "We'd like to encourage everybody to start killing NPCs in the game," says Paul Sage, ESO's creative director, just as we see an archer fire an arrow through an NPC enjoying the morning air. And the entire crowd goes wild.
Back at E3, Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida announced that the upcoming 2.4 update would allow any two players to marry in-game, regardless of race, nation or gender. To celebrate, one in-game guild organised a "Pixel Parade", taking to the virtual streets for a rainbow-themed party. Finally, a good reason for the MMO genre's obsession with dyes.
What's next for Wildstar? After the bio-terror of the Strain update, Ultradrop 2: Sabotage is based more on the act of hitting fellow players with sharp weapons, or shooting fellow players with laser pistols... Or, as shown by the new DevSpeak video, exploding fellow players with sabotage-enabling bombs.
This was a long time coming. Guild Wars 2 is—like all fantasy games are—about dragons. One of the major complaints about the game's first season of story updates was the lack of anything to do with dragons. This might seem petty, but if you've got giant dragons tearing up the place, you might think they're more important than a local election. In the end, it was all a ruse: the story ended with the awakening of a new dragon. Now the effects of that awakening are being felt. Dragon stuff is happening, and will continue to happen in the upcoming update, The Dragon's Reach: Part 1.
Lapsed Final Fantasy XIV players will soon be able to jump back into the action, at least temporarily, on Square Enix's dime thanks to a "Free Login Weekend" that begins this Friday.
An ancient evil has awakened. That's pretty much par for the course in MMOs. Almost everything is an ancient evil. That tree? Probably an ancient evil. That NPC? Yup, ancient evil. The crafting economy? Definitely an ancient evil. It's time to add another to the list: at the heart of Season 2 of Guild Wars 2's Living World is an ancient evil that's now terrorising the Maguuma Wastes, and the new zone of Dry Top. That story continues with the Entanglement update, due out later today.