Category Archives: General MMOs

Comparing ESO and TSW’s Build Systems

Elder Scrolls Online and The Secret World are games with a lot in common. They’re both highly story-driven and solo-friendly. And they both have highly flexible build systems that give you great freedom in how to construct your character.

But which system is superior? Let’s break it down.

Combat in Elder Scrolls Online

How they work:

The Secret World has a pretty unusual take on character progression. There are no classes at all, and every character has access to all 500+ abilities in the game, organized in a complex menu called the ability wheel.

The ability wheel is divided into sections based on the game’s nine weapon types, as well as three small miscellaneous skill lines roughly… Continue reading


Your Guide to Taking Great MMO Screenshots

If you follow a lot of MMO blogs, you’ve probably seen a lot of good screenshots, and perhaps wished to replicate that level of quality yourself. Or maybe you just want a good visual record of your virtual adventures. Whatever your motivation, there’s an art to taking the perfect screenshot, and our guide can help you master it.

A first person shot of tanking the Sha of Pride in World of Warcraft

Figure out how:

An obvious tip if there ever was one, but still worth saying. For most MMORPGs, taking a screenshot is very easy. Most come with a simple hotkey to take screenshots, usually print screen or a function key. Just check the key binding section of… Continue reading


Why MMO Holidays Suck and How to Fix Them

Around this time of year, holiday events are springing up in MMORPGs like desperate last-minute shoppers at the local mall. Rare indeed is the game that doesn’t throw together an in-game event to coincide with the winter holidays.

A snowglobe in World of Warcraft's Winter Veil holiday event.

Of course, Christmas isn’t the only real world holiday MMOs like to jump on. Most will also throw something together for Halloween, and depending on the game, you might also see events for Valentine’s Day, Easter, or any number of noteworthy occasions.

Unfortunately, there’s one common thread that runs through nearly every holiday event in nearly every MMO: They’re pretty lame. What should be joyous times for the players to come… Continue reading


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


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