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.
World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion will feature a major graphics overhaul for the almost-10 year old MMO. Blizzard have been slowly teasing the new character models of Warlords of Draenor; most recently with a new look at the male Draenei. As you can see from the new screenshots, the model has had a pretty subtle redesign – most noticeably gaining HD head ridges.
In any MMO, a sense of commonality can develop among its players. It's a genre that encourages you to expend significant time and, occasionally, money, and so which MMO you choose can say a lot about the type of experiences you prefer. Of course, that kinship doesn't stop you from then further splitting into smaller groups for the purpose of more micro-conflict. Hence guilds, the focus of The Elder Scrolls Online's third major post-launch update.
The second season of Guild Wars 2's Living World story is well underway, with last week's Gates of Maguuma taking players to the arid Maguuma Wastes, which I hear are lovely this time of year. Now, ArenaNet have begun to tease the next episode, Entanglement, which will arrive on July 15th—exactly one week from today. The trailer suggests we're in for a viney, gianty old time, which would mean that my horoscope was right.
A week after E3, I logged into Elder Scrolls Online expecting the worst. It was a pivotal moment for the future of ESO in the notoriously fickle MMORPG genre—the colorful rival WildStar had gone live but days before, the new "Craglorn" patch was settling into maturity, and most importantly, the first month of subscriptions had run dry for most early adopters. After the barrage of criticisms from critics and bitter players alike, I'd all but convinced myself that mine would be the only name shining on my favorite guild's roster upon entering Tamriel.
I couldn't have been more wrong. I logged in to find almost every player at Veteran Rank 12 rushing to complete one of the new "Trials," and they bugged me about why I hadn't been logging in as though all the factors above weren't into play. I needed that; it gave me hope that the roughly 400 hours I’ve spent with the game to date weren’t for naught, and that other players shared the same begrudging affection for it as I do. The pieces, it seems, are in place to get back on track after a rocky start. ZeniMax has shown some competence so far in delivering an end game that its loyal players want to play, but now the question is whether it can overcome lingering issues with balance, fresh content, and a tedious leveling experience beyond the level cap.
Wildstar's upcoming Strain Ultra Drop will take the already infectious MMO and a new zone filled with pox and pestilence. Carbine previously gave a brief overview of this first major update, and revealed the customisation options it will add. Now, in the new DevSpeak video, game design producer Stephen Frost explains how different players might enjoy this new land of contagious content.
Over the last few months, Blizzard have been previewing the revamped character models of World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion. We've already seen Orcs, Taurens, Draenei and Night Elves, but now it's time for the most fantastical species of all: Humans. As improbable as they are, with their weird faces and stubbly hairs, the Humans have proven a popular choice among MMO players. And for the nearly 10-year-old WoW, they're also one of the models most in need of an upgrade.
Last week, Carbine introduced us to Strain Ultradrop, the first major content update since the game's release. Only a month after the game's launch—and all the excitement, demands, complaints and requests that such an event naturally brings—the developers are unleashing a deadly plague upon us all. Hopefully there's nothing to be read into that.
Since the update's announcement, Carbine have been filling in the details of what to expect. In addition to a new area and Adventure, they've today revealed the housing and customisation options that plague-battling players can expect to earn.
The Guild Wars 2 update machine is slowly creaking back to life. After a short break, ArenaNet have begun teasing Season Two of their Living World—a long-running story chain that aims to provide far-reaching consequences for the game's inhabitants. The season will begin next week with Gates of Maguuma, which is briefly previewed in a new trailer.
If I'd just released an MMO I think I'd dissolve into a pool of exhausted mansludge and refuse to do any work for a month. Not so for the Carbine team, who are already teasing their first major update to Wildstar. The incoming Strain Ultradrop will add new zones, enemies, bosses, gear and emotes later this month.