Monthly Archives: July 2016

Das Tal’s Alpha is a Story of Sabotaging Greatness

Over the past few days I’ve been sinking my teeth into the Das Tal alpha test. And it’s been fantastic – not because the game is anywhere near launch ready but because the groundwork is laid for an incredible and innovative MMORPG. This is a game that turns combat, player interaction, and leveling on its head. It resembles multiplayer survival games like Rust and ARK: Survival Evolved combined with a two dimensional combat mashup of League of Leagues and Guild Wars. Unfortunately, while Das Tal evokes a refreshing blend of many successful multiplayer games, it falls short of delivering a great multiplayer experience. But it’s just an alpha test, and after playing it I’m excited to see where this game ends up next year. Believe me, that’s not something I… Continue reading

Most Played Free MMORPG of 2016

MMORPGs are constantly evolving due to the very nature of the genre. Developers release updates, players come and go, and some thrive while many struggle to survive. This leads to frequent dynamic population shifts. It begs the question which MMORPG is doing the best now? The answer is almost certainly still World of Warcraft, so I decided to shift the question to “what is the most played free MMORPG?” as of July 2016.

Calculating Most Played

Unfortunately, very few MMORPGs release public details to help us figure out which MMORPG has the biggest population. At best we get total account registrations, which is pretty meaningless compared to active players. To determine average player counts involves a lot of digging and a lot more estimating. In determining the most played free… Continue reading

Riders of Icarus: When Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

Nexon’s Riders of Icarus is the latest free to play Korean MMORPG to make it to Western shores, having launched into open beta (see: soft launch) this month. Similar to the older Dragon’s Prophet, Riders of Icarus allows players to tame many monsters from the game world to serve as pets or mounts.

Flying on a Pegasus during the tutorial for the free to play MMORPG Riders of Icarus

Dragon’s Prophet was a game with a lot of cool ideas that fell apart due to a severe lack of polish and quality control. My hope was that RoI might provide the strengths of Dragon’s Prophet without its stumbles.

It did turn out to be more polished, but… Continue reading

We Love Pokemon Go Despite Hating Everything About It

Pokemon Go has certainly taken the world by storm. Nintendo’s stock has risen a tremendous 44% since Pokemon Go’s release last week.

Nintendo stock up 45% from Pokemon Go

Nintendo stock up 45% since the July 6 NA/AU release date of Pokemon Go.

The augmented reality (AR) game is certainly making news, both good and bad. It’s encouraging people to walk, which fantastically combats increasing worldwide obesity rates. However, not all is well as criminals used the game to locate groups of players to rob late at night. It’s also steering focus away from the real reality, making a Pokemon Go related car wreck seem inevitable. Nonetheless, Pokemon Go is clearly the latest hit in… Continue reading

The Enemy Is Pay to Play, not Pay to Win

There was a time when lengthy ruminations on MMO business models were a staple of the community. You’ll still see people arguing the merits of free to play versus subscription from time to time, but it doesn’t have the vigor it used to. The industry has mostly stabilized, and while some games still maintain mandatory subscriptions, these days free to play and buy to play are the norm.

A warlock character in Neverwinter, a game with a very overbearing cash shop

That means cash shops are now the new normal, and there is always a great deal of anxiety around them. “Pay to win” is the frightful term whispered in the dark corners of the MMO world, a… Continue reading

Virtual Worlds Ironically Lacking in MMORPGs

When I played Ultima Online for the first time, figments of my imagination began bleeding into a reality. A game now existed in which I could truly live an alternate life. In many ways, it transcended the simple game tag and provided my first virtual world experience. I expected many immersive, virtual worlds to follow. After all, MMORPGs were only entering their infancy in the late 90s when Ultima Online launched.

ultima online housing good for virtual worlds

Wait? You mean I used to be able to see the OUTSIDE of player houses too?

For a time, I felt this virtual vision was coming to fruition. Several titles around the turn of the century created something more than… Continue reading