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The staff of 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: Best Weather Effects

Posted by MikeB Sunday July 28 2013 at 9:54PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "What MMO has done weather the best? " by Lokero:

I'm wondering if any MMOs out there have had any ultra-dynamic weather systems that really stand out?

Things along the lines of:  Seeing black clouds rolling across the horizon and knowing there is a storm coming your way.  Wind blowing in your face and slowing your movement.  Tornadoes appearing, sandstorms, etc.

Have there been any genuine climates and lively weather systems around?  And if so, what games are they hiding in?

I feel this is one of the most neglected aspects of building virtual worlds.  I can't think of any AAA MMOs that have had weather worth remembering, but I'm sure there's some more obscure titles that have at least tried.

Bonus question:  Are there any MMOs currently in development that are planning to have?  I seem to recall reading about one that was planning a living world with weather and the works(Citadel of Sorcery maybe?).

Read on for some highlights from the thread!

Maquiame makes a convincing case for FFXIV:

FFXIV:ARR has a dynamic weather system, you see clouds roll in, there are rainstorms even inside the cities, there are mini sandstorms. When you run in the rain your feet make splashes, when you run in sandy areas your feet kick up dirt. When you stand still in a rainstorm your hair if you have long hair will simulate getting hit by raindrops and moving to the wind. Fountains will overflow in rainstorms.

Don't sleep on this game, trust me, it has a lot of little touches

deathgar offers up Vanguard and Dark and Light:

As much as people rag on it I personally think Vanguard had a pretty fantastic weather system. Prime example here . 

On a ''lesser" known note, maybe the mmo Dark and light it failed pretty hard but i still remember being impressed when it turned winter and the lakes froze over.

Jean-Luc_Picard puts together a round-up of MMOs with great weather effects:

An oldie, AC1, had a great weather system (for its time of course, old graphics), and even had seasons!

Vanguard had a pretty good system too.

LOTRO has a pretty good weather system, with weather adapted to the different areas too. And cold weather could affect your character in some areas (Forochel), Blizzard in the Misty Mountains could also seriously affect the visibility.

The night/day cycle is decent too in LOTRO, even if too bright for me. I'd love to see a game with really dark nights, where you have to use torches or lanterns. Hell, even Moria in LOTRO doesn't have any really dark parts.

I'd even daresay GW2 did Moria better than LOTRO, with the totally dark parts in Jumping Puzzles where you need a torch to see where you're going.

 I realize I sound like a broken record at this point, but Star Wars Galaxies probably impressed me most with its weather effects. I remember starting out on Tatooine and trying to find my way through a massive sandstorm. The howling winds and reduced visibility created a pretty convincing sandstorm effect. As another user mentioned, the rain in SWG was also quite well done, especially on the planet of Dathomir where the dark sky was often illuminated by crackling bolts of lightning. When it began pouring in SWG you could really 'feel' it.

I'd love to see newer games incorporate convincing weather effects, but alas, this feature has seemingly fallen by the wayside in recent years.

Which MMOs had the best weather effects? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Grungun writes: tip of the hat to Ryzom where the weather affected harvesting (some excellent/supreme nodes were available/unavailable depending on the weather, which changes quite frequently). Mon Jul 29 2013 8:01AM Report
Terranah writes:

Ryzom had pretty good weather effects.  Sadly I only scratched the surface with this game, but weather was one of the standout things I remember about it. 



Mon Jul 29 2013 9:57AM Report
Jaedor writes: Props to LOTRO for weather and day/night effects as well. There are places you don't want to go at night unless you have company... Mon Jul 29 2013 1:11PM Report
Dreamo84 writes: SWTOR had the best weather and day/night cycles...wait. Tue Jul 30 2013 1:34AM Report
TimothyEisenzimmer writes: Sand storms in SWG were beautifully done Fri Aug 02 2013 11:33AM Report
aspekx writes: the weather and seasons in Ryzom were the best ever implementation in an mmo i have seen. the elements and their corresponding seasons had an actual impact on gameplay such as harvesting and the like. Mon Oct 21 2013 5:16AM Report
DbaiG writes:

Weather can make a huge difference to the outlook and design. For example, consider effect of rain. When user is playing a game, if it starts pouring all of a sudden with bright yellow sky, user will feel that game is very unreal. However, if it sky changes from yellow to grey first, and then it there is light shower which soon becomes, user will appreciate the weather effects.



Mon Dec 02 2013 6:43AM Report writes:
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