MMO Metaverse News Round Up | Friday 9 September 2016

A weekly round up of all the news in the MMO metaverse. This week we have:

  • World of Warcraft
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • Hearthstone
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • Elder Scrolls Online
  • Star Citizen

World of Warcraft

Probably the biggest players this week are Blizzard with Legion being in its second week since launch. After a smooth launch, Blizzard got right back on the bandwagon and launched the Legion companion app.

Now you can review available World Quests, complete Order Hall Missions and Order Hall Upgrades and recruit minions from anywhere with an internet connection. I think Alternative Chat said it best (with a gif):

There is also a preview video for the first patch of Legion, 7.1: Return to Karazhan:

The real news? No one appears to be declaring WoW is dead. We don't know what the subscriber numbers are at the moment. We do know that WoW sold as many copies on the first day (3.3 million) as it did on the first day of Draenor. We do know that concurrency rates (the number of users logged on at the same time) were higher than they've seen since Cataclysm. The numbers are, therefore, very similar to the reviews. Cautiously optimistic. Legion will not live or die by its launch. It will live or die by how much content they continue to generate. The doomsayers are still standing in the wings, waiting to pounce.

There was also a developer Q&A today (Friday 9th September) where Ion Hazzikostas could comment on all the things he wasn't allowed to say in the pre-release Q&As. Highlights include:

  • There will be a minor balance patch before raids open
  • Order Hall story won't advance in 7.1
  • Order Hall stories were meant to be time gated, but a bug meant only the Warrior one was.
  • They are looking at the quest log limit of 25, but don't just want to flat increase it as they are worried it will get confusing. [This is actually kind of silly as its very well organised by zone. A better fix would be to increase the number of quests and make tracking pop up by zone.]
  • You aren't meant to be grinding Nightfallen Rep as its a way of tracking an epic storyline. [Also silly as they've gated key pre-raid gear behind it.]
  • Knowledge Work orders get shorter if you don't play/log in for a while.
  • You should care about Artifact power for the entire expansion. They've not yet decided how the system will be expanded.
  • You will not be able to transfer Artifact Power between weapons. But Artifact Knowledge will cause much larger drops of Artifact Power, meaning catching up will be fairly easy.
  • The Guild Finder and Auction House are in need of revamps.
  • Dalaran Underbelly was a bit overpopulated. You can opt out of PvP via the Guard Captain, or buy a bodyguard.
  • Tomb of Sargeras will be a raid [probably the final raid].
  • Future holiday events might scale.
  • They really think they can get content pacing right this time. Really.

Guild Wars 2

Elsewhere in the MMO metaverse, ArenaNet announced (via MMORPG) the second episode of Living World Season 3: Ring of Fire. With the first episode arriving in July, it seems their planned pace of every two months is happening. Like the last episode, this one will bring a new zone called Ember Bay and a new Mastery, Thermal Propulsion.

Important: You will want Ley Line Gliding for this one. As if you didn't want it for the last episode.

There will be a number of features in Ember Bay:

  • We'll be visiting the Mursaat Fortress
  • Heart dailies
  • Skritt, everywhere
  • Weapons and armor from achievements and gameplay (rather than the gem store)
  • A new jumping puzzle
  • New world bosses, one of whom, if defeated, opens up other map areas
  • A new PvP map - Eternal Colliseum (5v5 conquest) where you can collect items that help you Finish or Revive downed players

On September 20 you'll be able to continue your campaign to kill yet another dragon. I'm starting to think dragons get a raw deal in MMOs. Additionally, today, you'll see changes to the scoring system in WvW designed to help keep match scores low so there is more chance of come backs. The Skirmish system divides WvW into 2 hour blocks with scores added to the overall total following each block. Its not going to solve all the problems in WvW, but its the first step on their planned overhaul.


Heroes of the Storm

Heroes has released two new voice packs for Twitch streamers. These are particularly awesome as they are Alarak and the Terran Adjutant.

Alarak is voice by John de Lancie, who you may remember as Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is brilliant as Alarak, someone you ally with only reluctantly in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, and will definitely sound good on your stream. If evil psychopath isn't your thing, the robotic voice of the Terran Adjutant is a (slightly dull) alternative. If you want something different to these two, I also recommend looking at the Darkest Dungeon game website which has a similar voice pack.


Hearthstone

Hearthstone have been talking about Arena, and are going to make some changes. Those changes are designed around balance. Balance when you have limited control of card choice is especially challenging. With that in mind, they are going to remove cards that require particular synergies (such as C'thun and Purify) and weak cards which bring your deck down. What they don't want to do is remove the powerful (read also fun) cards. Disappearing cards are:

Mage:

  • Forgotten Torch
  • Snowchugger
  • Faceless Summoner

Rogue:

  • Goblin Auto-Barber
  • Undercity Valiant

Shaman:

  • Vitality Totem
  • Dust Devil
  • Totemic Might
  • Ancestral Healing
  • Dunemaul Shaman
  • Windspeaker

Warlock:

  • Anima Golem
  • Sacrificial Pact
  • Curse of Rafaam
  • Sense Demons
  • Void Crusher
  • Reliquary Seeker
  • Succubus

Druid:

  • Savagery
  • Poison Seeds
  • Soul of the Forest
  • Mark of Nature
  • Tree of Life
  • Astra Communion

Warrior:

  • Warsong Commander
  • Bolster
  • Charge
  • Bouncing Blade
  • Axe Flinger
  • Rampage
  • Ogre Warmaul

Hunter:

  • Starving Buzzard
  • Call Pet
  • Timber Wolf
  • Cobra Shot
  • Lock and Load
  • Dart Trap
  • Snipe

Priest:

  • Mind Blast
  • Shadowbomber
  • Lightwell
  • Power Word: Glory
  • Confuse
  • Convert
  • Inner Fire

Alas, Lightwell. Will you ever be wanted? Oh, and Paladins are missing because they are getting 0 changes. Thats right, Blizzard are NOT nerfing paladins.


Final Fantasy XIV

Yo-kai Watch will be drawing to a close soon. This is absolutely not Pokemon Go without the battles. Absolutely not. If you get all 13 Yo-kai during this event you also get a mount. There are Yo-kai themed weapons and all sorts of odd things.

The Rising event is also going on right now. This is a theatrical themed event with some quests and items you can gain, including Minions and an Orchestrion Roll.

Its a busy month in FFXIV. Theres a new patch arriving on 27 September (3.4: Soul Surrender). It includes new Dungeons Xelphatol and The Great Gubal Library (Hard Mode). Expect to see more about this over the coming weeks.

After a thousand years of bloodshed and sorrow, the shade of Nidhogg, rage incarnate, fell at last to the Warrior of Light. So it was that the Dragonsong War drew to a close, and the survivors, bloodied but unbowed, could begin to pick up the pieces. A new day dawns in Ishgard, and her champions may rest easy─if only for a moment. For every ending marks a new beginning.
— Soul Surrender description
Xelphatol

Xelphatol

The Great Gubal Library

The Great Gubal Library


Elder Scrolls Online

If you've not brought ESO before and fancy trying it, theres a new Gold Edition out with the first four DLC packs included alongside the base game. Thats a hell of a lot of content. Plus you get a horse and some Crowns to spend.

And if you want ESO to look very, very pretty, its also going to support the PlayStation 4 Pro with 4K. This won't cost you anything extra (other than a PlayStation 4 Pro of course).

Now they've stopped trying to sell you things, theres some new things to do coming soon. Update 12 will include level scaling across the game (the latest MMO fad, and one that seems to enhance every game its been put in so far), dueling, holiday events and Crown Crates (random store boxes). This week they did an overview of dueling.

For some reason, dueling is a much beloved MMO feature. However, be aware that balance is never good in duels. If you balance around 1v1, you end up screwing up large group PvP. That being said, it can be fun against friends and, as long as you accept the limits, its a nice little feature to the game.


Star Citizen

In Star Citizen news, subscribers are getting their September flair item. Its called Conner's Beard Moss and its ... unique. Totally worth the subscription?

You can also vote for the Combat Ship of the Year (as hosted by Jax 'Not Jeremy Clarkson' McCleary) right now, if you are so inclined. Your choices are the Aegis Vanguard Warden or Anvil Super Hornet F7C-M.

Like something out of the pages of ancient mythology, the Vanguard Warden is best described as a winged beast. Often seen leading the charge, don’t be too shocked if the Warden has single-handedly finished the fight before the rest of the squad shows up. This long-range fighter can cover more ground and mess more stuff up in a single day than the Imperial Senate. An impressive feat for sure.
— Aegis Vanguard Warden
Delivering a taste of the military direct to your private hangar, including the experience of being able to give orders to someone else, the two-seater Super Hornet lives up to its name and then some. Massive guns, big thrusters, thick armor – the specs on this top-of-class fighter are nearly X-rated, but the ass-kicking it routinely delivers is fun the whole family can enjoy.
— Anvil Super Hornet F7C-M

This follows the victory of the Origin Jumpworks M50 over the Origin Jumpworks 350R in Racer of the Year. 

If you want to know more about what's going on behind the scenes of Star Citizen you can check out their shows. What is unique about Star Citizen right now (with us not really knowing what the final game will end up being like) is the opportunity to see behind the scenes of a games studio. Bugsmashers should be required viewing before you are allowed to whine about how easy bugs are to fix on the forums.


Thats it for this week.