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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.

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Community Spotlight: Will Blizzard's "Titan" Crush All?

Posted by MikeB Thursday May 26 2011 at 4:04PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "Blizzard Titan domination?" by Astoran. In the thread, Astoran wonders if "Titan", Blizzard's sophomore effort on the MMO scene, will essentially nullify any success made by some of the big hitter MMOs on the horizon such as Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic:

So I know Blizzards next mmo is likely pretty far off but what effect do you think it will have on the soon to come releases such as GW2 and SWTOR?  Assuming one of these new titles does really well and builds a substantial subscriber base, will Blizzard just snatch them right back with their new release?

I guess what I am asking is do you think a game like GW2 (if it becomes successful) will have enough pull to keep players from leaving? I personally think that Blizzard's influence is simply too strong for these newer games to compete with even if they do end up being very good games, but what does everyone else think?

MMO.Maverick isn't sure Blizzard still has the right stuff to have lightning strike twice:

I'm starting to doubt whether Blizzard has still the ingenious talent left to equal their former successes, especially with the growing Activision/Kotick influence that permeates more and more of Blizzard's game design decisions.

But one thing that Blizzard has that trumps anything else, and that is money: if things aren't right with a game of theirs, they make enough money to create 2 big budget AAA MMO titles with the cash they make with 1 month of WoW subs.

So they can go all out in game design or improvements of existing MMO's if the situation requires them to. No other company or dev team can do that.

uohaloran feels Blizzard would basically have to shoot themselves in the foot to not crush the opposition:

They'll have to make some pretty big mistakes for it to not absolutely crush.

They've had almost 7 years now pretty much to do whatever they want?  If they were smart, and I'm sure they are, they've been refining their next big hit and are probably just sitting on it until they need it.

I think their hardest thing for them will be to have both games coexist.  If they make the same type of game they'll probably just be relocating users, so I don't think they'll do that.  I figure they're looking to draw in a new crowd.  We'll see though.

Loke666 throws some cold water on the idea that Blizzard will just mop things up the way they did with WoW in 2004:

Blizzard are rather competent and do know what their fans want from them.

But the MMO market is very different now compared to how it was in 2004. Wow was at the time the only MMO with top class programming and it had 8 times the budget of Everquest and 6 of Everquest 2, the game people thought would be the competition.

Titan will go up against games like TOR (Bioware), GW2 (ANET), WoDO (CCP/White wolf) and a few others.  There are also a few other AAA studios working on MMOs, like Zenimax (Bethesda) and Zombie labs.

So I think the competition will be harder in 2014 than 2004.

Wow were up against EQ 1 & 2, SWG, Eve, GW and DaoC. Several of those games were pretty fine but not a single of them were close to to Wow in budget, Wow cost 60M$ launch and I don't think even one of the opponents cost more than 10M$ when they launched. And only ANET had a really experienced crew at the time of the opposition.

I am sure Titan will do fine, but I don't think it will be the next Wow. There is just too many talented and experienced devs with good funding out there now. I think Wow was an exceptionand that we never get another game that dominate the genre in the same way again.

Of course, anything can happen. Maybe Blizz pull it off again or maybe it fails completely. Most likely is however that several games will share the top in the future.

With the genre changing so rapidly in recent years it's honestly hard to say how things will be by the time Titan comes out, but the fact remains that Blizzard is a top developer in this industry and they are basically backed by one of the industry's biggest publishers, who also happen to have a large stake in seeing Blizzard succeed given the significant portion of revenue made up simply by World of Warcraft.

Anything Blizzard does garners a significant amount of attention and the marketing machine behind Blizzard will just about guarantee that whatever Titan is it will make a huge splash. Will it enjoy the total dominace that World of Warcraft has had? That, I can't say for sure.

What do you think? Will Blizzard strike lightning twice? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: Favorite Upcoming MMO?

Posted by MikeB Thursday May 19 2011 at 4:17PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "Best upcoming MMOs?" by Ozean77. Ozean77 just got the MMO itch again and polls the community on their opinions on the most interesting MMOs on the horizon:

been awhile since i played an mmo and im itching again, i guess my last one was Aion. Was wondering whats upcoming and worth looking at, i took a long look at rift and decided to wait for the next MMO, i like tera/gw2 but dont know much about those 2 or any other information.

SO! what are you looking forward to and if you had to sell it what would you say!

Dengar breaks down a few upcoming games:

ArcheAge- No one game in recent years has gotten me quite as excited, even when looking at the game with a fairly harsh "worst case scenario" POV (i.e. everyone plays it like WoW, middle conenant having no one outside my personal circle there, meaning at least my friends and I can slowly build the area in a meaningful way and kill each other).

Star Wars: The Old Republic- Mainly looking at this as a single player RPG with MMO features. If you're looking to get your feet wet again, this one's looking pretty softcore. It seems to offer to good solo experience and have some grouping, but unless there's something massive hidden up Bioware's sleeve, I can't see myself playing it too long.

Tera- I like what I've seen of the combat system. Sorta reminds me of Monster Hunter Tri, a console game that could allow up to 4 people to play together to kill monsters for their parts in order to make armor/weapons/housing items. It claims to have some sort of sandbox features, but I haven't heard any specifics yet. Combined with fixed classes that can't be switched (Unlike in Monster Hunter, where changing your weapon or bringing certain items allows you to change your playerstyle and group dynamics), it's probably best for folks tired of the "2-2-3-4-5-2-2-1-2-2-3..." type of combat MMOs are sort of known for.

Guild Wars 2- Think WAR mixed with GW1. The world's less instanced, but you can still transfer servers (called worlds now), but the rate's unknown. NPC and player towns can actually rise and fall based on your actions. Similar to AA, the game is trying to do away with the tank requirment for groups, but while AA retains the class as an option as just one of many potential strategies used in pve situations, GW2 will have no damage absorption class at all, instead relying on crowd control being given to all classes. While some can form CC via walls can be used for some creativity, I personally worry about your average WoW heads who, after 5+ years, still focus on damage meters rather than group progress.

Fozzik is looking forward to Guild Wars 2, The Secret World and Copernicus:

I'm not in to the open PvP... so I'll leave ArcheAge off my list.

I'd say Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, and Copernicus are the three I am watching. Guild Wars 2 just looks fantastic in many ways and right now seems like the best possibility of being a game I could play for a long time. The setting, story, and lore of The Secret World is really intriguing, and I'll be interested to see how the no-classes / no-levels approach to character advancement ends up working out for them. Just the idea of running around modern-day cities with swords, guns, and magic and fighting mythical creatures...yeah, I'll try that. Copernicus I'm mostly watching because of the people involved...You kind of have to pay attention when you hear who's working on the game.

chaod1984 has his eyes on The Secret World:

My eyes are glued on The Secret World.  The story and all of the conspiracies are right up my alley and I can't wait to see how they are implemented into the game.  I know the combat system will take getting used to (as does any combat system Funcom puts out) but I also know I've always like Funcom's combat systems.  If you like PVP there will be 3 factions so Im imagining there will be a form of open world pvp where 3 factions can fight for control of certain areas....that would only make sense.

Guild Wars 2 would be my second but Im still skeptical.  I played Guild Wars 1 and I still dont understand how people considered it one of the best games available.  It was pretty standard fair other than the PVP (I dont PVP).  But, i did not play the expansions so I could have missed out on quite a bit of content.   I just never found the game to be great or anything....just standard.

Star Wars I have very low hopes for.  I understand its Bioware, but when is the last time Bioware made an MMO?  When is the last time Bioware made a game that felt like an MMO (think Bethesda games with gigantic open worlds).  Bioware was never really known for having huge open worlds or anything.  I just can't see them successfully making the crossover.  I really think that Knights of the Old Republic Online will resemble DCUO's progression but with a Star Wars background....good luck to all you die hard fans.

TERA = Asian game...just not my style...dont like the look of Asian games all that much...everything is too glamorous.

The other games I havent paid enough attention to.

There are three IPs I love more than anything else (in no particular order): Star Wars, Marvel Comics, World of Darkness (VTM specifically).

After Gazillion revealed we'd be playing as Marvel characters (with duplicates possible) I kind of lost my interest in the Marvel MMO.

I'm, of course, looking forward to Star Wars: The Old Republic, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise to you.

But what has really got me going is the World of Darkness MMO by CCP Games. The tech being used in EVE Online for the new character creator being basically a testbed for WoD is incredibly encouraging given how awesome it is right now, and the fact CCP is so good at emergent/sandbox gameplay really bodes well for proper use of the IP in MMO form. I don't know if they'll end up going that direction but it really fits like a glove both for the IP and for CCP's particular expertise.

Yes, I'm also interested in Guild Wars 2, but the above two games take priority in terms of interest level. With that said, SWTOR is looking like it'll be the first out of the gate so I'm most excited for that one as I'll actually be able to play it in some reasonable amount of time (hopefully!).

How Important is PvP to You?

Posted by MikeB Thursday May 12 2011 at 4:50PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "How big of an issue is PVP?" by Dewm. Let's get things started with Dewm himself:

On one of these other threads (won't mention it because you already know what i'm talking about) people have turned the discussion to PVP, whether its FFA, or what-not. And I guess my question is: In a MMO world, how big of a deal is PVP?

Would you play a pure PVE game? or would you prefere somthing that is laced with PVP like WoW?

I know for me PVP is a none issue, I hate it...don't do it. and try to stay away from it.

For Loktofeit, it varies:

It depends on what I'm looking for in an MMO. 

Aion -  the PVP is nothing more than an nuisance to me and I would definitely resub if it was a PvE game.

EVE - I play for the PvP, whether I'm actively looking for it or just knowing that when I'm hauling those 50 Rifters to lucrative locations there both the overall risk that drove the price up to begin with and the immediate risk of possibly losing it all as I deliver them. I wouldn't paly the game without PVP.

AoC - can take it or leave it, but the fact that it's zero-risk and almost gauranteed gain makes it a nice diversion now and then.

Puzzle Pirates - I would never have lasted a week without PvP in that game, let alone 6 years.

ste2000 doesn't find PvP in an MMO important whatsoever:

It's a non issue.

PvP is not important in a MMO, at all.

MMOs are naturally made to be PvE friendly since they are an extension of single players RPGs

In fact PvP and PVE should be always separate in MMOs, that's what causes the most aggravation within their communities

PvE players do not get on with PvP players and vice versa.

The reason is simple if you balance the game more on the PvE aspect the PvPers will whine, if you do the opposite, the PvErs will complaint.

Ever wondered while recently all MMO forums are just full of complaints, and generally the communities stink?

That's the simple answer.

Personally I am praying that someone will make another full PvE game like EQ

I already play an exellent OPvP game, Darkfall, I just need a full PvE game now.

Yes I like hardcore PvP as much as hardcore PvE, but I hate PvE and PvP together in the same game.

That's a broken formula which works only for WoW.

Inzra on the other hand, is entirely the opposite:

That's funny, cause if I see an mmorpg without PvP I will probably not play it.

To me there's no point playing an online game with others and not allow the full range of actions and reactions from other players.

I.e. in WoW the most interaction I have is with people I cannot PvP with - the friendly faction which I teamed with - , but I'm pretty sure I would be in alot more PvP with them than the enemy faction, simply because of player/character behaviour, if WoW was free-for-all PvP.

If I wanted pure PvE I'd probably play some single player instead, to me it's not an accomplishment to kill some NPC boss that is controlled by a computer, in comparison to beating a player in PvP. Even though some players are bad at PvP they will still have the potential to be alot less predictable than an NPC.

Me? PvP was not initially important to me when I got into MMOs. I looked at MMOs as hopefully an evolution of MUDs where I could find virtual worlds to RP in with the added benefit of things being well, visual, as opposed to text. This didn't really pan out too well and as I continued to play MMOs I found that PvP was another avenue of gameplay I really enjoyed and had a knack for. Nowadays I love a great PVE experience but if there isn't a solid PvP offering along with it it's hard to get me interested. I like to play MMOs long term and I've never been a huge fan of raiding. Sure, I'd love to get through the content once to experience it but I don't like doing it over and over. PvP on the other hand is extremely dynamic and each match is different. MMOs also offer the persistence and progression that goes along with that so it is all the more enticing.

Community Spotlight: Appearance Preferences

Posted by MikeB Thursday May 5 2011 at 4:13PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "Do you want to control how your character appears, or rely on gear for that?" by Amathe. So what are your preferences? Let's start with Amathe himself:

Games seem to fall into three basic camps now on this issue.

In one you look however the gear you use makes you look.  E.g., EQ 1 (though they later introduced dyes and such).

In another you get to design your look, and gear does not really influence it.  E.g., City of Heroes (at least when I played it).

In a third gear influences your look, but you can wear "appearance armor" that let's you look cool, even if your stat gear is not so cool. E.g., EQ II.

Personally I have come to enjoy designing how my character looks, or at least being able to choose from some decent looking appearance armor (if my regular armor is ugly or silly looking).

What do you think?  Is appearance important to you?  Do you want a say in how you look?

csthao prefers the traditional way of doing things, as he's not focused on his character's appearance:

The first choice would be the one I would prefer. I'm not really the type of player that focuses on how I look, I wear whatever is best. As long if it can help me on my daily grind I can care less about how I look. I dont play a game to have brag rights or to make people jealous of what I have.

Although for PvP purposes in many MMOs, changing the appearance of your armor can play a major role in winning or losing. For example in Aion, people usually target players that are weak and poorly geared. But I had a level 30 templar running around in Eltnen wearing what should be level 10-15 gear. People that usually attack me gets surprised at how well I fight against them, and I'm sure its a surprise for them when they lose. So sometimes it can affect your gameplay in PvP situations.

Also, getting these so called armor / weapon appearance change items will make game companies rich. These are one of many items you can acquire through RMT purchases. I for one will never pay extra for any game other than the monthly payments. Whatever is offered through that payment is all the stuff I need.

lizardbones prefers to have a bit more control of his character's appearance, but also feels it depends on the game:

My first choice would be to be able to design the appearance of my character, with gear that influences stats, but not the appearance. Having appearance slots where the armor looks like what I want, but has stats for whatever I've collected would be acceptable as well.

I think whatever system is used should make some sense in the context of the game. i.e. if it makes sense for you to just pick out an outfit, then just pick out an outfit. If you should have to "buff" your outfit with stats, then do so. If you have to craft armor with the appearance and stats you want, fine. As long as it fits with the rest of the game.

Boge, on the other hand, feels very strongly about having full control of his character's appearance:

I'd rather control 100% of my appearance.  What Blizzard is doing with WoW is wrong.  They want everyone to look like clones.

I at least want a wider variety of equal power gear with different appearances so I can pick and choose.  Dyes should be a no brainer these days.  They were in UO, they should be in every game.

Players create a character, an identity, and that is one of the most important parts of an MMORPG.  Forcing people to look a certain way just so you can glance at them in PvP and know how strong they are just just wrong.  Any developer that doesn't offer more appearance options should be ashamed of themselves.

I'm pretty vain when it comes to these games and so I definitely prefer full control over my character but I don't mind having to earn the appearance options. DC Universe Online let you choose how you look but you had to collect and unlock the particular item appearance first. This felt like a really good balance and it gave people a reason to chase cool looking items while also freeing them from having to look like idiots in order to be competitive.

Share your thoughts on this subject in comments below!