Few issues in the MMO community stir up strong feelings the way lockboxes do. These virtual gambling devices stir up a level of hatred and vitriol unmatched by any other issue in the MMO world. And yet, they continue to propagate unchecked through our virtual worlds, despite the best efforts of the community.
If I may play Devil’s advocate here for a moment, I think the time may have come for us to take a step back and examine whether all the furor over lockboxes is really productive. It’s clear that lockboxes are here to stay, so perhaps it’s time for us to learn how to live with 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.
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
The MMORPG gaming culture differs slightly between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, and game design varies accordingly. While there are no hard and fast rules, Eastern games tend to put more emphasis on quality graphics and on grind-based gameplay.
Neither model is better or worse than the other; it’s all just down to personal preference. But since most of us do tend to prefer one style or the other, it can be helpful to look at how Western and Eastern games in common genres compare. Maybe you like the ideas behind Neverwinter but would prefer a game with a more Eastern flavour, or enjoy the deep mechanics of Black Desert but want something with a more Western style.
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.
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
Questing is perhaps the most fundamental form of structured content in MMORPGs. It forms a huge portion of the content for of genre, and virtually every MMO utilizes at least a few quests. Even sandboxes usually include some, if only to help players learn the mechanics.
Considering that, it’s a bit strange that MMO quests are so often lacking. Far too many games make them nothing but a chore to slog through on your road to endgame.
Yet this is not universally true. MMO questing is capable of providing content with compelling storylines and/or unique and interesting mechanics. We’ve ranked the best MMO quests paying attention to overall narrative, individual pieces of content, adherence to game world lore, and unique game mechanics.
Like the “holy trinity” of group roles and tab targeting versus action combat, the issue of button bloat in MMORPGs remains a hot topic in the community, with strong opinions on both sides.
Button bloat refers to the habit of certain MMOs — especially older and more traditional titles like World of Warcraft, Rift, and Star Wars: The Old Republic — to cover the action bars of every class and every character with dozens of different abilities, many of them niche utility skills that are rarely used, as opposed to the much smaller sets of abilities seen in games like Elder Scrolls Online, Neverwinter, or The Secret World.