Monthly Archives: November 2016

What The Secret World’s Rider has to Teach Us About Social Design

A few weeks ago The Secret World held its traditional and much-lauded Halloween event. The new additions for this year broke with tradition a bit by offering an event that was more community driven, instead of the solo-focused stories we’ve gotten in most years.

A group of worshippers during the Rider event in The Secret World.

The new Rider event required cooperation from the entire community — or at least a large section of it — and it was really quite unlike anything I’ve experienced in an MMO before. It got me thinking about the nature of social play in MMOs, and organic versus forced socialization.

A rider approaches:

First, let’s explain a bit about the event… Continue reading


One Tamriel ESO Review

eso imperial city dungeon

The One Tamriel update for ESO (The Elder Scrolls Online) launched on October 18, 2016. If you frequent any MMORPG site, you’ve probably noticed Zenimax Online Studios advertising the hell out of their two and half year old MMO. This is the update that supposedly vaults ESO into one of the genre’s top MMOs. Is it really something to be proud of? The feedback I’ve seen has been generally positive, but I had to find out for myself.

I decided to reinstall the game a couple weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been playing pretty seriously for the first time since launch. For those unaware, the update’s two biggest changes essentially level scales all… Continue reading


Is Blizzard Moving Away from Narrative?

This year’s BlizzCon had a lot of good news, but there was also a lot about it that disappointed me. In particular I was saddened by the continued lack of an expansion for Diablo III. Yes, some updates are planned, but they’re mostly pretty small, and they do nothing to expand the story.

A cutscene from Diablo III's story mode

That combined with other recent developments has planted a disquieting thought in my mind: Could Blizzard be giving up on narrative in its games altogether?

The shift away from story:

Up until quite recently, story was a pillar of every Blizzard game for the past two decades. All of the older Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo games featured… Continue reading


BlizzCon’s WoW Announcements Are Very Encouraging

Back in September, I discussed how I was worried about WoW’s future direction, despite a relatively strong start to the Legion expansion. Now BlizzCon has given us a glimpse of what the future holds for WoW — at least over the next several months — and while my worries haven’t been entirely dispelled, the road ahead is looking quite promising.

The Tomb of Sargeras in World of Warcraft: Legion

BlizzCon offered all sorts of juicy details on Legion’s next major content patch, 7.2, but in addition to the wealth of new content you’d expect from a large WoW patch, there are a few particular changes and additions that stand out as indicative of a change for direction for… Continue reading


MMORPGs With Good Roleplaying

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. Considering what the acronym stands for, one would think more MMORPGs would entail at least some form of roleplay. However, RPG has become near synonymous with increasing stats through levels and equipment. This has carried into MMORPGs. The primary content in an MMORPG isn’t designed around immersion and living an alternate life. Despite a much greater opportunity for roleplaying, the gaming aspect perhaps gets overemphasized.

MMORPG Roleplaying - keep calm and roleplay

Of course there is nothing wrong with gamey features. Progression is a lot of fun. Many that play MMORPGs have a great need for achievement. Rewarding play with new abilities keeps a game fresh and compelling. Dungeons and Dragons, the… Continue reading