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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Do you have a fall back MMO?

Posted by MikeB Saturday March 31 2012 at 7:03PM
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This week's Community Spotlight is going to be short and sweet. We're focusing on the thread, "Do you have a fall back MMO?" by theblurch. In the thread, theblurch basically wants to know if the MMORPG.cvom community has an MMO they go back to when bored of everything else:

Do any of you have an MMO that you fall back to when you get bored of all the other games you play?  I'm finding that the MMO I always come back to is LOTRO.

Seems to me this is one of the best things about F2P games, you can always come back to them without a commitment.

Read on to find out what the MMORPG.com community is saying!

Sythion likes to go back and play the original Guild Wars:

I think I've played seven or eight different characters through one of the storylines of GW. Considering doing it again.

It's nice to know you can have an experience that feels fresh with a new character without having to play forever or feel like your character's story is "incomplete."

Boge spends more time looking ahead than looking back:

I don't really have a fall back MMO.  We played World of Warcraft for about 6 years.  Haven't played it in about a year.  I guess that could be a fall back, but there are other MMORPGs that are stacking up that we'd like to try.  Lord of the Rings, Rift, Everquest, and now Guild Wars 2 is coming out.  I don't think we'll ever need to fall back on an MMORPG.

Azrile often returns to DDO:

Mine is DDO.   It is absurdly fun and is mostly solo questing, so you don´t feel like you ditch friends when you quit again.   When wow is near the end of a content cycle, I will play DDO.  When WOW has fresh content, I just shelf DDO for awhile.

Surprisingly, I joined DDO mainly because it was free and I figured that it would be a good place to waste a few hours a week.  I have ended up spending a bunch of money on adventure packs though just because I enjoy the game so much.

I used to try new games when WOW was between content.. but man,  there was nothing like spending $50 on AOC to teach me that most MMOs are garbage these days.  Better off trying a free one and maybe spending money if you like it rather than buying a box of a crappy game.

My fall back MMO for many years was City of Heroes. I played that one on and off for about 4.5-5 years. I haven't really had a "fall back" MMO as of late, however. I'll usually just play non-MMO games in between releases I'm interested in checking out.

What about you? Do you have a fall back MMO? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: When did RMT become okay?

Posted by MikeB Saturday March 24 2012 at 7:20PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread "So when did Real Money Trading become okay?" by fundayz. In the thread, fundayz breaks down why RMT was cracked down in the first place and wonders why several MMO developers are allowing a controlled version of it in their games:

EVE Online, World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2 are AAA games that are now implementing legitimate forms of Real Money Trading. All four of these games now allow players to purchase gameplay-affecting items and boosts using real world currencies.

When did this become okay? 

The above companies rationalize the introduction of RMT trading by touting that it prevents illegal RMT, hacking, scams, etc. However, these are NOT the reasons why RMT was banned in the first place.

RMT was banned because it provided in-game advantages for out-of-game resources. That is, RMT was considered cheating.

What happened to make these companies believe that main evil of RMT is hacking and scaming instead of the loss of the game's integrity? How did the paradigm shift so much that people actually stand for it now when you would have had internet riots if this happened only 6 years ago?

What does our community have to say on this issue? Read below to find out!

DShepley60 offers some insight on the trend:

The main reason they did it is because they cant stop it. They been trying for so long with WoW which took them 6 months of fighting after Relase of Vanilla WoW before they could stop people from selling Gold and Accounts on Ebay, which now all takes places on many 3rd party sites.

Same with Diablo 2, which from nearly day one and still to this day, there is Real Money Transactions happening all the time via 3rd party sites. Since they cant stop them, they are going to impliment it so that they can benieft from it as well as giving those who do do it, a secure means of doing so.

Torvaldr is entirely on the other side of the issue:

Doesn't LoL and other MOBAs sell boosters?  Where do we draw the line on what's fair and what advantages can be sold?

The only reason RMT is legal in these games is because it's easier to capitalize on it and rake in cash that it is to design around it.

None of those game need and "in game" economy, except possibly EVE, in that they aren't sanbox games with a player driven environment.

So our argument that it is inevitible that people will circumvent game rules means we should just accept it and it makes it okay for companies to sell this advantage.

Why not accept people using third party programs to enhance their game play?  Why not have developers sell us third part programs and automation tools to help us.

The "paradigm shift" doesn't make sense to me.  It seems like a cash grab from the developers and a justification from players who don't want to feel like cheats for buying their way through the game.  In an online game everythinig we do affects other people, from the things we say in chat, to how we interact in content.

Yet, through all this we bitch at the development community for following the money (read WoW clones).  We rant how we're getting offered substandard game systems, dumbed down experiences, no true virtual worlds to play in, no "challenge", and all those other things we froth about here on a daily basis.  But when it comes right down to it we hypocritically rationalize being able to buy our way through game play and purchase convenience-advantage.

garretth attempts to be the voice of reason in a thread that is understandably contentious:

The players have all the power...all the control.

If you don't like the CS then don't play the game.   If you like GW2 and have decided to play, then play by the ruleset that has been developed by ANET.

If after playing a month you feel that the CS impacts your fun of GW2 then give honest, unemotional feedback to ANET.

MMO's are ever-evolving games.  Players do impact the original games but it takes time and metrics to fine tune a game.

GW2 has the potential to be a great game...ANET and players have the potential to make it better or worse.

Unemotional feedback based on ingame experience will help...wailing and weeping before we even get our hands on the game is absolutely worthless.

The players have all the power.  Let's use it wisely.

RMT and the prevalence of cash shops has been a passionately discussed (to say the least) topic here at MMORPG.com for many years now, but given the recent announcement of ArenaNet's stance on microtransactions in Guild Wars 2, one of our most popular games to discuss here at the site, it's no surprise that this issue has come back into the forefront as of late.

MMO developers have tried (in vain) to crack down on gold farming in their games for probably as long as the genre has existed. However, going hand-in-hand with the new wave of free-toplay/hybrid free-to-play MMOs catching on in Western markets is an opportunity for MMO developers to address the RMT issues that have been plaguing their games for years while also enabling an additional revenue stream for themselves. The fact of the matter is that MMO devs have been combating RMT forever and as long as there are people willing to pay for these services, they will continue to exist, so why not regulate and control RMT so that it's safe and inteacts with the game economy in a predictable way?

Sure, you can argue that there are probably a subset of players who were too afraid of the potential risk involved with purchasing services from gold farmers that are now likely to take part in legitimized RMT where they haven't before, but so what? There will always be people with more time than money and those with more money than time and blurring these lines so that it all factors into the in-game economy in a sensible rather than destructive way really isn't so bad.

I'm personally not bothered by this, but I know I'm not going to convince anyone that is. Some will just need to try it out for themselves before they are convinced, and some will simply be ideoloigcally opposed to this notion and there isn't much that can be done about that. With that said, garretth is correct, if this isn't something you approve of -- give the developers this feedback (constructively!). Write them, post about it, and most of all, vote with your wallet!

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: Evils of a Fair Fight

Posted by MikeB Saturday March 17 2012 at 5:28PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "The evils of a fair fight" by Creslin321. In the thread, Creslin321 argues that MMO developers shouldn't structure the world so that monsters are always of the appropriate level range for where you are at in your progression:

One thing that I think is way different (in a bad way) when you compare the MMORPGS and RPGs of today to their counterparts of 90's is this concept that everything should be "fair."  In themepark MMORPGs, you are guided from quest to quest in a way that ensures the mobs you fight will always be around your level, so you always have a "fair" (typically easy) fight.  The same is true of modern SPRPGs, though they sometimes use devices like level-scaling to enforce this fairness as opposed to simply guiding the player.

This can be nice because you know you'll never be put in a fight you can't win, but it kind of kills any feeling of exploration, danger, and most importantly, PROGRESSION in the game.  For example, in WoW, I'm always fighting MOBs that are yellow or green..that's it.  The quest nodes and zone levels on the map are very careful to guide me along a carefully determined path so that this is the case.  I never really feel like I'm progressing, because my foes are almost always the exact same level as me...they increase in strength precisely proportionately to my advanacement.

So I think this philosophy is misguided.  You see, I believe that RPGs are about progression FAR more than they are about action-packed or highly tactical combat.  And guiding the player so that they are always fighting "equal" opponents kills that sense of progression.

In old school RPGs like early Final Fantasy games, the Ultima Series (including UO), or Everquest, if you wandered off the beaten path slightly, you may wind up meeting mobs that will hand you your behind on a silver platter.  This may seem unfair, but it really puts the danger of the world into perspective.  You KNOW that a sand giant can absolutely destroy you, because you encounter them often...they are as much a part of the world of a level 18 as they are a level 40.

And when you finally get high enough level to kill a sand giant...man that's a good feeling.  You feel like you actually accomplished something...the deadly predator of yesterday is now your prey!

So in conclusion, I really think (MMO)RPGs should get back to showing the player the terrifying monsters of the world at a lower level, and not being afraid to let them stumble on a dragon's lair just to put everything in perspective.  I'm not advocating the use of "grief NPCs" like Everquest had, but I think it would be good to even have a few "non-aggro" NPCs of higher levels wandering around lower level places so that players could have something to strive for.

Does the MMORPG.com community agree? Read on to find out!

Loktofeit challenges the entire premise of Creslin321's argument:

Actually, it's done because it enhances the feeling of progression for most players. The majority of players are playing to progress their character. The majority of players aren't playing to challenge themselves - the game is an entertaining diversion. Imagine the con of just a fraction of the mobs in any mainstream MMO shifted down a color or two. What's really a red now shows as yellow. What's really white now shows as green.

Which do you think is the most likely scenario?

A) Players see those mobs as a rewarding challenge

B) Players complain the mobs are OP for their level and should be nerfed

C) Players avoid those mobs altogether and fight the easier stuff

I'd say B and C are good bets.

Now, before Mr Extreme OutofLeftField RedHerringStrawMan jumps in... I never said that no game should be more challenging or that no one wants a more challenging PvE experience. I'm addressing the specific point the OP made that MMORPGs should get back to adding that level of challenge or difficulty. In an MMO where the playerbase is there for challenging battle and not to simply progreess their character, that would work. Very few MMOs are actually like that and very few players are actually looking for that (raid/boss/elite content the exception) so getting back to showing players this form of gameplay isn't anything that most MMOs should really focus on as it conflicts with what their players are trying to achieve/accomplish.

LowFlyingHam can see both sides of the argument (awesome user name by the way!):

Agree but disagree at the same time.  I remember playing RF Online for like a half hour.  I got to the first town after doing the tutorial, and either I missed the quests or simply picked the wrong exit from town.  Got rofl-stomped by baddies way higher than me right next to the starting town... I kinda sat there for a few seconds, and immediately uninstalled.  That's just bad game design, I don't care how you justify it.

I do have 'fond' memories of being genuinely scared of some mobs in Dark Souls.  While you're making your way to the Taurus Demon for example(the one you fight on top of a castle wall with a tower you can get up on... this is way early in the game), there's this big knight looking guy next to some narrow passageway going down some steps.  It's completely out of the way, you're not required to go down there at all.  I think he was guarding a chest or something, and he'd kill me every single time.  He may have actually been impossible to kill, I don't remember very well... but that's the kind of feeling that's missing from MMORPGs, that sense of danger. 

WoW had a little bit of this here and there like the Fel Reaver in Hellfire Peninsula.  It patrolled all over the zone, and the ground would shake if it was walking near you.  If you didn't see it outright coming towards you, the ground would shake and you're like "oh crap" and start swinging your camera around looking for him.

For PvP I advocate nothing but a fair fight.  This is why I've always been disinterested with PvP in MMOs... if it's not an issue of gear balance, it's rock-paper-scissors class design.

 

DannyGlover is definitely feeling what the OP is talking about:

hehe yeah those times were pretty fun. I remember wandering around Trisfal Glades as a level 7 Undead Mage in WoW.

I saw a camp out in the distance...

"huh, The Bulwark. Thats cool. Wonder whats through this entryway.."

Next thing I knew a diseased bear is running right at me from 50 yards away. Before I could say 'oh shiii', I was dead.

I came back about a month later. Seasoned, geared, level 53. Found that diseased bear and dropped him like a bag of dirt. Remember me, smokey? Whos laffin nao!!!

First a little context: I tend to play just about every game on the maximum difficulty the game will allow. Needless to say, I'm one of those players looking for a challenge. However, most of the people I know don't tend to do this, they are playing games for that entertainment value and I honestly have to try and convince them that the experience is more satisfying if they endeavor to challenge themselves. While this is purely anecdotal, I can definitely see why game developers design things today the way they do.  While I think those of us looking for these sorts of experiences may be vocal, I don't think the larger mainstream gaming population is necessarily into that and it can be off-putting for many to wander into dangerous creatures or territory unknowingly.

At the same time, I also have fond memories of the sorts of things Creslin321 brings up in his OP. Heck, even going all the way back to MUDding. Sure, most MUDs feature zones that are designed for specific level ranges, but you would often still have to 'consider' a mob before you fought it. Just because it was in your range didn't necessarily mean it was a sure thing. Of course, some mobs were entirely aggressive on top of this and would give you a rude awakening if you wandered into the wrong room.

I'd like to see this sort of thing come back to MMOs. How about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Community Spotlight: PvE Players and Large Scale PvP

Posted by MikeB Saturday March 10 2012 at 5:30PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we're highlighting the thread, "PvE players: large scale PvP more tolerable?" by Mardukk. In the thread, Mardukk wonders if PvE players find large scale PvP more tolerable than instanced or e-Sport PvP:

As a PvE player almost exclusively I was wondering what other PvE players find to be the more tolerable form of PvP.  I definitely feel that PvP with a larger purpose would appeal more to the PvE player rather than arenas and e sport PvP.

If what I suspect is true, why do developers continue to focus so much on E Sport/Arena style PvP when they could possible grab a more significant piece of the pie with more focus on large scale PvP?

  I could even so myself subing to a Shadowbane type game if there was a large common goal to work towards rather than killing each other over and over for nothing.  Do you think GW2 would fill this Shawdowbane type void?

So, what's the verdict? Read on to find out!

Master10K agrees with Mardukk's assertion:

Yeah I do think for PvE players, a lot of them, can only find good large-scale PvP to be tolerable or even actually fun. It reminds me of my guild in Rift. We were pretty much a progression raiding guild and a lot of them never really touched the PvP in that game (even though we were on a PvP server). Then one night our raid was called off and about a dozen of us were just there with nothing to do. So we started doing Raid Rifts, until the enemy faction crashed the party and it escalated into some large-scale, really fun, open world PvP.

Give PvE'ers a way to experience large-scale PvP that requires tactical play, rather than individual player skills and make it accessible. Chances are they will enjoy it, especially if there's something to gain. That is what I see with Guild Wars 2's World v World. Just today I watched TotalBiscuit's Mailbox, which had some WvW in the background, which really shows  how easy it is to get together with some people and the potential of having fun. Also players are "fighting for their server", so I do see some PvE'ers getting stuck in some of that PvP, even if it's just to see what it's like.

acidblood (also a PvE player) prefers large scale PvP due to the 'freedom' of it:

I'm mostly a PvE player, but yes, large scale PvP is definitely more of a draw than Battlegrounds and especially Arenas, mainly because there is a lot more freedom too it... Arenas (in WoWs case at least) are just killing the other team, and in most cases the outcome it decided by gear / classes before the match even begins, and Battlegrounds while fun for a while get increadable repedative, and in most cases the fastest way to win is to avoid PvP... both of these types of PvP are also generally about Points Per Hour, which to me is not fun.

My next MMO is definitely going to be GW2, and one of things I'm most looking forward to is World v World; I doubt I'll even set foot in the Arenas / Battlegrounds.

Arachneus1 asserts that if the OP's suspicions are true, Guild Wars 2 will be able to cater to both types of players:

In reply to a post earlier, Guild Wars 2 will have the best of both worlds.  Competitive e-sport arenas that makes everyone wear the same gear and WvWvW open-world PVP (which is a large scale arena with limited players that can enter) In fact the open-world pvp in guild wars is competitive as well as each server is ranked on a ladder just like teams in the e-sport arena mode.  So even casual players get that competitive edge and wants to help bump their server up the ladder by going for certain objectives.

Also balance is in the open-world to as every level 80 item is the same regardless what difficulty dungeon you get it from or open-world boss that drops.  Gear is cosmetic only at an equal level so skill is the only factor and balancing out skills in a game like this.  Of course it will take some time before everyone is max level to balance the gear out in the server arenas.

I think Guild Wars 2 will make PvP in this genre bearable to everyone and I think more should take note of this especially that they should remove the whole gear factor...this makes it easier to balance the game's class skills if everyone is the same.

I've always enjoyed PvP, so I can't really speak to the OP other than to say I am fine with the idea of both. I do prefer large-scale PvP, simply because I enjoy the idea of being part of some larger effort with potentially meaningful repercussions for our conquests. eSport PvP is about winning to say you're the best -- it has no potential affect on the game world. The same, generally, goes for instanced PvP. They're fun diversions, but MMOs are best suited to large scale PvP. It simply plays to the genre's strengths.

Cross-Network Promotion and You!

Posted by BillMurphy Thursday March 8 2012 at 11:47AM
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Hey guys.  I know it’s a little odd, but I’m sure you’ve been seeing the news links on the front page and the forums that lead to UnboundGamer, RTSGuru, and FPSGuru.  You might be wondering: why are they doing this?
 
It’s kind of obvious though, isn’t it? Our network is growing and MMORPG.com is still the largest kid in a four-person family.  We will try to maintain that most of our cross-network promotion links have at least some interest to MMO fans as we know them.  Namely, RPG aspects, online game aspects, and the like will be what we “news” on the site. 
 
In the next 9 months, we will be doing a site design overhaul, with a beta URL for you all to check out and offer feedback on.  Part of this will be better news visibility and better organization of said news.  This will hopefully mean you can sort what kinds of news you see with dropdown boxes.  At least, that’s our goal.  When this happens, you’ll be able to customize your feeds, and it will be clearer than ever what game, genre, and so forth you’re seeing news for. 
 
I know these are all scary changes, but trust me… this is all for the better of the site and the network that’s trying its damnedest to bring you the most interesting and specialized in MMO coverage (as well as RTS, FPS, and Mobile now too).  As always, please feel free to send suggestions directly to me at editor at mmorpg dot com or use our suggestions forum from the main forum root.  Believe it or not, MikeB is always reading those and we’re always aware of what you guys want.  It’s just a matter of feasibility and time, and I think we’ll all be very happy with the plans we have in store for 2012. 
 
Not to mention… holy cow are there some awesome games coming that we can’t tell you about yet.  Just, well, trust me.  That’s what matters most: THE GAMES. And you won’t be disappointed in that regard.
Cheers!

SWTOR Guild Summit Day 1

Posted by SBFord Monday March 5 2012 at 11:16AM
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And the rest...

The auction house is "about 80% less stupid already" but the team isn't ready to reveal exactly what that means yet. :)

PvE:

Currently:

  • Levelling is in good shape
  • Need more story
Update 1.2
  • Unify to chest option is back
  • New daily missions on Corellia: Any piece can be toggled on/off
  • Higher resolution textures
Future
  • Dual and multi-spec: Switch between skill tree builds and, later, switching changes gear loadout too
  • When do we get more story? This year. :)
  •  

User Interface

  • The UI will be totally editable.
  • Colors display in blue and green. Blue is not turned on, green is.
  • Everything can be moved around anywhere on the screen.
  • Every element is scalable.
  • Mission tracker depth can be adjusted
  • Move secondary windows wherever you want in whatever size you want
  • Some preset templates will be included
  • Custom UI configurations can be saved as XML files so you can swap configurations with other players

Guild Features

"Guilds are incredibly important to our organization as a whole."

Current state:

  • Bare bones: UI is functional but could use more features
  • Guilds want tools to make coordination easier
  • Guilds want to show off how awesome they are
In 1.2
  • Guild banks: Shared bank for members, 7 bank tabs in escallating price, detailed control for guild leaders (who can access tabs, some even requiring authenticators to access)
Future
  • Guild calendar: create events, share with non-guildmates
  • Guild emblems to show on armor in certian hot spots
  • Guild advertising: set up flags for finding guilds inside the game space
  • Guild progression
  • Guild capital ships design exists (a long way off!) "We will do it when we can do it right."

Roleplaying

Asking for what RP guilds need in terms of tools to facilitate RP.

Current State:

  • More ambience and life on worlds
  • Legacy features
Future:
  • Character recustomization
  • Chat bubbles
  • More orange gear with viability at end game: where what you want, whenever you want
  • Events team - not talking about it :)
  • Improving spawning tech will address feeling of static worlds, more ambient creatures, more moving parts everywhere, "sittable" chairs

Economy and Crew Skills

57% to 42% Empire to Republic across all servers

Leveling curve is amazingly smooth in upward progression

  • 80% of level 50s have <1M credits
  • Repair costs seen as too high
  • Exploits
    • Ilum chest looking -- implementing measures in 1.2
    • Track down bots quickly and remove
    • Credit spam in-game is fairly minor compared to other MMOs, almost instantaneous removal of spammers
Crew Skills
  • System overall is well received
In 1.2
  • Legacy upgrades
  • Endgame mods from Reverse Engineering (better reverse engineering returns, more can be reversed engineered, etcl), craft operations gear with critical augments slots
  • Every crew skill is being given an endgame purpose

Legacy System

20,000 checking out the Live Stream!

MULTI SPEC is coming that will probably be tied to the Legacy System.

Shortcomings

  • Essentially, a very pretty experience bar
  • The bar has a function

What's coming in 1.2

  • Family tree is automatically updated with characters and how they fit into your legacy
  • Reach level 50 with a species to unlock that species for all future Legacy characters
  • Reach level 50 with a human, gain presence increase for all existing and new Legacy chars
  • Legacy Global Unocks: Complete chapter 2, unlock unique class emote, unlock current class's buff for all other Legacy characters
  • Complete chapter 3: Unlock current class's "Heroic Ability" for all other Legacy characters. EX: Finish Chapt 3 with a Sith Warrior, unlock Heroic Ability: Force Choke. Can use Force Choke on all Legacy chars during heroic moments.
  • Complete all missions for a companion "type" unlocks shorter cooldown and longer duration for heroic moment for the first companion of each "type" (ranges, etc), unlock a small stat boost for first companion of each type and a Presence buff for each companion completed.
  • Global Unlocks: Alignment Abilities: Reach level 50 and gain Dark V, Lioght V or neutral alignment unlocks active abilities for all Legacy chars (jab, uppercut, etc.)
  • Social Rank unlocks: Dance with companion, new emotes (RP emotes)
  • Purchaseable Legacy Rewards: Most rewards can be unlocked OR purchased. They are expensive and retroactive.
  • Cooldown reductions: Emergency fleet pass, quick travel, JETPACKS (short duration sprint, not free flight)
  • Sprint moved to level 1
  • Items for ships including training dummies, operations/warzone dummies (ops dummy takes damage like a boss, wz dummies take damagej like a player)
  • Ship Repair droid: repair or buy items, sells upgrades for ship droids that improve specifiic crafting abilities
  • Ship board mailbox!
  • Ship board auction house (way up the legacy to keep fleets active)
  • Bound to Legacy: Full mailing options, can trade within Legacy if not other players
  • Legacy Appearances

Future

  • Character specific rewards, buffs to help speed early game progression, purchaseable items/abilities for new characters

Will be bringing in rewards, in the form of valor or something (their words not mine) for "running around the world killin gpeople".

18,000 people watching the Live Stream of the Guild Summit. That's just awesome! :)

Player vs Player

Warzone

Issues

  • Lots playing
  • Medal system not balanced across classes
  • No ability to queue for specific warzones
  • Players AFKing
Warzones in Patch 1.2:
  • New Warzone: Novare Coast
  • Same Faction vs Same Faction game play
  • Majority control type objective
  • Ranked PvP pre-season will debut with 1.2
    • Character ratings for both solo and group play
    • ELO rating system
  • New dailies
  • Removing incentives to quit early
  • 18 new medals including objective based
  • Warzone rewards based on earning medals
    • Discouraging farming: More medals for completing a warzone faster
    • Medal rewards capped.
  • VOTE TO KICK with measures to prevent abuse
  • Efforts to combat AFK: Minimal participation to earn the medal. Don't do anything, don't get anything.
  • New tier of PvP gear: War Hero, greater stat differences from PvE gear, new lightsaber colors, new PvP crafting,
  • Existing warzones will allow same faction vs same faction matches. No timeline announced.
  • Cross server Warzone queuing: Incentives for and devs will try matching same-server opponents.
  • 8-person queuing, formalize it later with "teams". Persistent groups across warzones will be forthcoming.
OPEN WORLD PVP
 
Not terribly popular, Ilum has some problems (LOL!)
 
In 1.2
 
  • Going back to drawing board on Ilum (BIG applause)
  • Redesigning Ilum to be more fun and engaging
  • Removing Ilum PvP quests
  • Rewards being moved to Warzones
  • Less random rewards for PvP progression
FUTURE Open World PvP
  • Ilum redesign
  • Minor changes to Outlaw's Den
  • Mirror class imbalances, ongoing effort to address all issues
  • Team working on hacking/exploiting issues

The response from the assembled guild leaders is very positive about the answers they've been given to the questions they''ve asked.

Flashpoints and Operations that don't currently have them will have a hard mode added to them at some point.

The team is definitely working on splitting operations teams with some taking on ground combat, some in space combat, etc. James Ohlen confirmed that this is something the team is very interested in and will be working on in the future.

James Ohlen: We have a secret project with regard to space but that's all I can say for now.

Operations & Flashpoints

James Ohlen, Daniel Erickson (now Lead Game Designer), Gabe Amatangelo, Georg Zoeller, Damion Schubert, Emmanel Lusinchi are the panelists

Operations (Gabe):

  • 38% level 50 players have played an Operation
  • Bugs in Eternity Vault
  • More frustrating than other areas
  • High priority on fixing operations
  • Looting system in Normal needs improvements, switching to regular loot mode in the near future
  • Existing operations are relatively easy
  • Hard & nightmare modes give same loot
In 1.2
  • New operation, Explosive Conflict, considered Tier 2
    • Harder than current operations
    • Nightmare mode to be a more serious challenge
    • Needs serious testing and balancing, will not launch in 1.2
  • New "Story" difficulty mode for all Operations
  • Overarching story arcs should be exerienced by everyone
  • Story mode can be played without having to "gear up"
  • To compensate, hard mode being made more challenging
  • Wear what you want in Operations with extraction of mods and set bonuses
  • Nightmoare mode will be only way to get top tier gear
The team is focused on bug fixing and working with extensive guild testing of new features. They are hoping to make character copies to PTS.
 
Two operations in development that are more challenging and rewarding. Fight the boss, not the game. More info on screens with "visceral" cues.
 
Flashpoints
  • Flashpoints are enjoyable
  • Need better endgame progression via FP
  • Difficulty in finding groups
Update 1.2
 
New Flashpoint, Lost Island
 
Future:
 
More FP coming, Group Finder (coming in 1.3) that will be all purpose for missions, Flashpoints etc. SINGLE SERVER ONLY!

GUILD SUMMIT: 2:00 pm CST

POKKET'S HERE! Whoot! :)

The Summit is now ready to kick into high gear now that studio tours and lunch are over with. Everybody's pumped and ready to go.

The afternoon sessions are going to be Bioware's version of speed dating with six panel discussions coming in the next four hours. It should be fascinating as guild reps will get to ask their questions and provide feedback directly to the dev team.

On an unrelated side note: I have never been around a more committed group of players before. Most will freely admit that there are things they want to see changed and are hopeful that this week's summit will bring about changes to the game. We'll keep in touch with some of them over the coming weeks and months and let you know how they perceive their voices were heard.

Next upcoming: Bioware studio tour but no pictures inside dang it. :(

Everyone is running around in groovy guild summit tshirts. The crowd is overwhelmingly male, 30+. No one so far is in costume though there are some wicked tshirts from various guilds. There are guilds representatives from around the world and they're an enthusiastic group they are.

I will refrain from nerd convention jokes, however. They're simply such happy folks I can't do it to them. :)

Game Update 1.2 - Bioware showing off new features in a new video.

  • new flashpoint: lost Island
  • Expanded legacy system: wicked new interface
  • Advanced options in customization of the UI
  • Imrpoved character models and customization
  • new mini pets
  • guild banks
  • new gear
  • new light sabre colors
  • Lost Island Flashpoint
  • User Interface customization: BIG round of applause
  • Warzone rankings: Can play ranked matches
  • New ranked gear tiers
  • In game events to be introduced: Limited time events created by a dedicated team. Few details forthcoming to keep it surprising for players
  • Guild banks coming to the excitement of the crowd. Shared bank, can unlock up to 7 tabs, detailed controls for leaders
  • Will deploy to PTS "soon" and hit live servers "when testing is complete"
  • "We're aiming for early April"

Community Spotlight: Your Favorite MMO Memory

Posted by MikeB Saturday March 3 2012 at 5:36PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "What is your best memory of your favorite MMORPG?" by Alasti. In the thread, Alasti shares his favorite MMO memory and asks fellow community members to share their own:

My best memory of my favorite MMORPG....dang....tough question and I am the one asking the question...

There are several, so I will pick one....

In Everquest 1, one of the first times I was in a group in Guk (whoa was that scary), we were all hunkered down in a room not too deep into the dungeon (maybe 5 or 6 "rooms" in) and we had a higher level monk pull for us.  He would run down the hall and disappear and after 20-30 seconds or so would come running back with a Froglok chasing him not 10 yards behind him.  He would bring him to us lowbies (we actually were the appropriate level for upper Guk, but if things got dicey....we were all dead...and death in a dungeon in EQ1 was a precarious affair to say the least).  I remember one time the monk pulling a Froglok to us, except as we saw him reappear he shouted "RUN!" "RUN!".  Behind him was not 1, but a dozen or so hopping Frogloks chasing behind him, nipping at his heels, and we all panic....I tried to run across the planks but fell in and I watched as all dozen Frogloks chased after everyone above me who successfully made it across the planks.  I felt like I dodged a bullet....whew...was I glad they ignored me or I was hosed.

After I climbed out of the hole I had fallen in, I saw a few of my fellow comrades (group members) who had been slain by the Froggies.....SUCKERS I thought....they should have fallen into the pit like I had.....just as I was finishing that thought...I saw all 12 of the Frogloks rushing from the entrance towards me....they hadn't forgotten about me at all...they were coming back to get me....I died right next to my friends who had already died....

This may not seem like a "great" memory to some....but this was the kind of thing that made me LOVE EQ1....the fear of death....the excitement of fighting in a dungeon....the dependence of others to help you succeed....etc.  Anyway...I have others, but this one (or I should say "these" in Guk) were at least some of my favorite.

What are some of the MMORPG.com community's favorite MMO memories? Read on to find out!

BartDaCat recounts one of his war stories from Dark Age of Camelot:

I'd have to say mine was in Dark Age of Camelot.

I was an Albion Theurgist, the game was still in its infancy, and the Midgard realm outnumbered and outskilled both the Albion and Hibernia  populations on our server (Merlin server).

How we suffered at the hands of our enemy.

The Midgardians had taken ALL of our relics with practically no contest, and they held them for about two months, giving them both a realm advantage and a relic bonus advantage.  We just couldn't take them back as a single realm no matter how hard we tried.

Then a rumor started spreading--- someone from the Albion realm was collaborating with a leading figure in the Hibernian realm, and there was a raid in the planning that would unite both our realms against the forces of Midgard, and WE WERE GOING TO TAKE OUR RELICS BACK!!!

The relic raid was slated to start at an ungodly hour when most Midgardians would either be too tired to respond, or asleep, so it was planned for about 4 a.m. PST.

Through an amazing effort, a leader for one of the more active Albion guilds helped coordinate hundreds of Albion players to meet up with hundreds of players from the Hibernian realm.  We deployed forces to Midgardian keeps, and despite the imbalanced use of crowd control spells and area-of-effect spells used on us by Midgardian forces (which used to be highly overpowered compared to other realm's skills and classes), we persevered through sheer zerg force, pushing them back and reclaiming our relics.

It was amazing how quickly the Midgardians responded.  Friends must have called friends, because the Midgard defensive was vast.  We didn't take them by as much of a surprise as we had hoped, but we overcame them.  The committment by some of our more seasoned raiders shown clear as they came charging into the fray, laying waste to veteran Midgardians. Spell effects, explosions, and the sounds of dying were all around us.  Corpses lay everywhere!

The amount of forces on hand amounted to hundreds of players from each realm, the server lag was almost unbearable, and most of us had to aim our in-game camera perspectives toward the ground to move, hoping we'd live through the onslaught--- but we crushed the Midgardian forces, taking their relics and peacably splitting them among the two conquering realms; Albion and Hibernia.  We had our power back, and we had Midgard's power as well!  We crippled them and gained strength through the Midgard relics we held!

The feeling of elation that everyone felt was amazing!  The chat windows were roaring with cheers, Albion players bowed or saluted Hibernians with respect, and assassination forces went to camp the graves of our enemies-- to demoralize the straggling Midgardian players that thought that they could scrape a retaliation force against us.

We had finally crushed our foe and left them disspirited and powerless.  VICTORY WAS OURS!!

To this day, that is my most fond MMORPG memory ever.

Dragonantis shares a personal story with us:

My strongest and special memory in an MMORPG would have to be shortly after I started WoW, I was playing with a good friend of mine from another game, we were trying wow together and both she and I loved it.

I remember we were standing on a path in Darkshore as little noobs, talking on msn and one conversation lead to another and I ended up declaring the feelings I already had for her.

2 years later we got married, for real not in game XD

We still go back to visit that same spot now and then, remember the good times :)

Goes to show you, you can meet your match anywhere :)

Kyleran couldn't just pick a single memory from a single game:

Had several memorable games, so hard to chose:

1) DAOC, was a member of Shadowclan, RPG on Mordred and we issued a "challenge" to the server.  We announced that we were going to walk from one end of Midguard to the other end, and dared anyone to stop us.  The guild that managed to do so would win 10M gold (back when that was still a lot).  We fought long and valiently, but eventually a guild did manage to stop our progress so they won the jackpot.

2) EVE - Had been playing for about 6 months, had just joined a null sec corp for the first time, and about a month after my arrival our alliance (Frege) came under assault from Smash-Roadkill.  We fought valiently, but in fairly short order we were booted from free space, lost all of our stations and we realigned ourselves with the Northern Coalation.  Then I was involved in 3 months of POS busting in the BOB war before a broken laptop took me out of the fight for a few months.

3)  WOW - Yes, I played, it, and I really enjoyed it back at launch.  One of my favorite things was the final quest to get Onyxia's key, where you march into the city as valiant heroes with all the npc's practically worshipping you and calling out your name.  From a guild achievement, the night we finally downed the final boss in BW Lair was probably a most memorable accomplishment.

4) Shadowbane - The morning I logged in to check on something on my character only to find our beautiful clan city walls breached and almost every building razed to the ground, with only the few bldg's protected by the tree still standing.  Was actually the end of my time in SB because I couldn't figure out how to combat these 3 am raids which sort of circumvented the intended desire of the designers.

Oh, so many memories, I could go on for days, I'll stop here while I'm ahead.

My favorite MMO memories come from Star Wars Galaxies: When I first started out in Star Wars Galaxies back in 2003, I got my first taste of the real potential for adventure and exploration in MMOs. Over 40 newbies (including myself!) decided to meet up on Endor and explore one of the game's most dangerous worlds. None of us had been to Endor before, but we had all simply endeavored to see what we could find on the Forest Moon.

As we had far too many people, we basically split up into at least two different groups of 20 players and set off with no real direction. Being complete newbies we didn't have the combat skills to handle any of the wildlife we were sure to encounter and it wasn't too long before this became quite obvious to us.

Let's just say I never knew Ewoks could be so vicious. We ended up fighting many of the various Ewok tribes on Endor as we trekked across the world, resulting in many deaths, but we ultimately came out victorious simple due to the fact we had strength in numbers. I can vividly recall some of these huge skirmishes and licking our wounds in a camp one of the Scouts set up afterwards while waiting for those who died to come back and claim their corpses. Man, there were skeletons everywhere!

Another of my favorite SWG memories is a bit more weird than exciting. I spent many of my early days adventuring on my home planet of Tatooine, and I ended up making friends with a local Mon Calamari weapons merchant (aptly named Merchant) and his armorcrafting partner, Wack (also a Mon Cal). These guys were an eccentric duo who for whatever reason enjoyed crafting their wares while standing around in their underwear in their player house. There's just something amusing about visiting your go-to smiths in the middle of the night only to find basically two Mon Calamari dudes sitting out on the porch of their house in chatting in nothing but their undies.

Despite their odd behavior, they were really helpful in my early adventuring, and I have fond memories of escorting the weaponsmith to rare resource deposits on Dathomir (I was a combat profession) so he could set up his harvesters in exchange for free armor/weapons or a discount. Being able to build these sorts of symbiotic relationships with crafters was really unique to Star Wars Galaxies and something I really enjoyed about the experience.

What are some of your favorite MMO memories? Share 'em in the comments below!