ArcheAge Articles RSS Feed | ArcheAge RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network The State of MMOs in 2017 Wed, 06 Dec 2017 15:33:49 -0500 Craig Snyder

Since the days of EverQuest, Ultima Online, and The Realm Online, MMOs have been the backbone of online gaming. These are the games 20-somethings like myself went to as a kid when they got home from school to escape reality. These are the games where you could be something online that years before you could have never imagined creating and experiencing. An immersive gameplay experience combined with social and competitive interaction with other players is something magical.

I see a lot of people saying that MMOs are a dying breed, though. Are MOBAs and battle royale shooters taking over? There's no questioning the success of games like League of Legends and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds as of recent, but let's not count MMOs out just yet. Let's talk about what happened with MMOs in the past year.

The Biggest Standouts

There were two games this year that really stood out to me. That's not to say that they were necessarily the two best MMOs of 2017, but they far exceeded my expectations. Both happen to be some of the most hardcore games of the year, too.

Black Desert Online

It'd be a cliché to say Black Desert Online came out of nowhere. It came straight out of Korea, and when it hit North America and Europe, it sent hardcore MMO enthusiasts into a frenzy.

Black Desert Online closed out its first year in March of 2017 with 1.5 million NA players and 1.7 million EU players. Bear in mind, these are statistics from before it came to Steam. When it did drop on Steam, popular variety streamer summit1g helped Black Desert Online hit a new peak when he was addicted to it on stream for several weeks.

Black Desert Online came to the West at a time when MMOs had already gone soft, and this game is anything but that. Everything is uncapped. When you grind in Black Desert Online, you grind hard. Players hit the soft level cap and will work for months and months just to get to that next level. It gets to the point where that next percent becomes the goal. It's grueling. The item upgrading in this game is just as unforgiving, and you're going to eventually lose pieces of the best items in the game just by sacrificing them to a completely RNG-based enchantment system.

The hurt brings the joy for hardcore players, though, and this game is incredibly addicting. It's non-linear in the way that you don't have to grind mobs or quest if you don't want to. You can do nothing but fish or cook all day, and you'll eventually be able to power level your character and make good money.

The year rounded out in a not-so-great way for the people behind Black Desert Online. Users were able to mine and leak extremely sensitive game data that helps players better understand stat efficiency on their gear. One of the biggest puzzles in this game lies within the way that gear statistics offer very little insight. Stats like AP, DP, and Accuracy have limited math behind them, and for a long time it's been up to the community to test and understand what they mean and how they perform on each item. In the last quarter of this year, that information was made public, and Pearl Abyss did everything in their power to cover it up.

Path of Exile

I know that there's a lot of debate around whether Path of Exile is a "true MMO" or not, being that you aren't interacting in an open world, but 2017 pushed the envelope on that a little further. While I'd still question the degree to which it's "massively" multiplayer, there are nevertheless features like guilds and trading. There are even ways to PvP in certain game modes. Not only that, but Path of Exile's community is a big part of the game. You're going to have to rely on them for a lot of things, especially trading, and this alone is going to make the game feel like more of a multiplayer experience, be it head-to-head or cooperative.

With that out of the way, Path of Exile is everything that Diablo III should have been (and more). I don't think it's even up for debate that Path of Exile is the best multiplayer online ARPG out right now, and easily one of the best of all time.

The Fall of Oriath, the sixth expansion for Path of Exile, was released in August of this year. As the largest content update in the history of the game, it's often called "Path of Exile 3.0." I don't think anyone expected a small, independent video game developer from New Zealand to come out as one of the most successful and celebrated companies among its customers. Nonetheless, Grinding Gear Games is just that.

Before The Fall of Oriath, Path of Exile was four acts. Afterward, it was ten. That's six acts in a single expansion, effectively doubling the content of the game. This information floored the Path of Exile community, including myself, when it was released. With these acts came 24 new bosses and a whole slew of balance changes that were mostly welcomed with open arms.

Path of Exile's depth and complexity make it a game that has near-infinite replayability. With every new character you make, every new node tick in the passive skill tree, every new Skill gem in every socket of every new weapon, it's a new experience. The looting system in Path of Exile is disgustingly diverse. The way you can socket gems to your gear reminds me of Materia in Final Fantasy VII. Every part of this game feels like you're writing the code of your player as you develop it, and that feels so good.

The "Holy Trinity"

World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and Elder Scrolls Online are at the top of the MMO food chain. Let's talk about what happened with these games in 2017.

World of Warcraft

2017 was the year of Legion, and with month after month of patches, Blizzard did a fine job in delivering a story and gameplay experience that's richer and more captivating than that of any other MMO that comes to mind.

World of Warcraft's year started with the release of a ten-boss raid featuring Gul'dan. Blizzard later introduced a micro-holiday system that gave players old and new a serious thirst to log in and see what special events awaited them for the day. PvP saw a new system of brawling, where 6-on-6 battles took over and really changed the landscape of a stale and boring PvP meta to make it fun and experimental again.

The year then closed out with two massive WoW-related announcements at BlizzCon that we'll get into later on in this piece.

Final Fantasy XIV

If you told me in 2010, when Final Fantasy XIV was released, that people would still be playing it in 2017, then I'd think you were crazy. We'd definitely be up to something like Final Fantasy XIX by 2017, right? Well, right now may actually be the best time ever to get into the game.

Final Fantasy XIV was originally received as a broken game that required far too much grinding. Square Enix even issued an apology for the quality of Final Fantasy XIV, and many fans were sure that its failures were leading to a major scar on the brand. In 2013, A Realm Reborn was released, and it corrected so many issues that originally plagued the game. In 2015, we were given Heavensward. With each expansion, Final Fantasy XIV was getting better and better. That seems natural and obvious, but games like World of Warcraft have playercount charts that peaked about five years after release and then declined from there. We're entering the eighth year with Final Fantasy XIV. Instead of falling off, it recently entered the list of top 10 subscriber-based MMOs in history.

We haven't even talked about the 2017 expansion, though. Stormblood started off rocky, but things have really panned out. Stormblood is another success that continues to push this MMO higher and higher on the charts. The newest expansion introduced swift swordsmen and red mages, underwater exploration, and a plethora of beautiful new zones.

Final Fantasy XIV is now at 10 million subscribers. To put it into perspective, the best MMO of all-time, World of Warcraft, is sitting at 12 million. There's no denying the massive success and continuation of this MMO powerhouse.

Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online started similarly to how Final Fantasy XIV did. Things didn't go as planned, promises were broken, and the community was fractured by a game that was less than they expected. You couldn't quest freely, you couldn't explore the world cooperatively, and friends couldn't even play together. It practically wasn't even an MMO.

That all changed years ago, and in 2017, Elder Scrolls Online is one of the most attractive and popular MMOs out. The game kicked off 2017 with fireworks upon the announcement of Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind. If you know anything about the Elder Scrolls franchise, you know the fanatical following behind this zone. Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind ended up being a massive success.

The Morrowind DLC also introduced the Warden class, the first new class in four years. It ended up being one of the most unique and diverse classes in the game. This year was also the year of player houses in Elder Scrolls Online. Homesteads allows you to purchase homes in Tamriel, and the decorating and customization options are fantastic. Player houses are fully functional, allowing you to craft, read, and participate in other activities. When you're not questing and developing your character, perfecting your house is something that you're going to spend an obsessive amount of hours on. It's a really great touch to the game.

The Newbie

Albion Online

Creativity and quirkiness is something to be appreciated in a game genre that is so old and on a very narrow path, and Albion Online does bring that. This is another one of those "super hardcore" MMOs, in a class with Black Desert Online, that I recommend for people who feel like they missed out on getting into games like RuneScape or Ultima Online.

Albion Online is an MMORPG with sandbox elements that are going to make you want to play for the long haul. That's what you're going to have to do too, because collecting resources is going to be a massive grind. Albion Online offers a medieval, cross-platform world where every battle is different and PvP is a looting extravaganza. Give this one a shot if you're a nostalgic gamer who wants something that looks and feels like the old days but really plays like new.

The Duds


It's sad to see what has happened to ArcheAge. When it first released, my friends and I were extremely excited about the sandbox experience and claiming a small piece of the world's land as our own. What we instead got was an MMORPG riddled with hackers that used bots and other automated tools to claim those land plots the second they became available.

Unlike Final Fantasy XIV and Elder Scrolls Online, XL Games wasn't quick enough in correcting these issues, and 2017 was a year where we saw a lot of red in the playercount charts. There's just no reason to play ArcheAge when games like Black Desert Online were at their high point in 2017.


Yes, still. WildStar was released as one of the most hyped fantasy/sci-fi MMOs under NCSOFT in 2014. Three years later, it's sitting at an average of about 190 concurrent on Steam.

The sad part isn't that WildStar failed but that Carbine Studios doesn't seem to have any plans on how to fix it or what to do with it. WildStar just kind of ... exists. When's the last time you heard about this MMO? Probably not for years, and that's because nothing major and exciting has come out lately. Homecoming and Power of the Primal Matrix were both flops and not nearly as large as promised. It's sad to see such wasted potential in a game that looked incredibly unique and promising.

All the Rest

Guild Wars 2 actually had a pretty solid year despite it being one of the more "quiet" MMOs. You don't hear a lot about this game, but what if I told you it was reported to have 11 million active players back in September?

Path of Fire was a massively popular content expansion. ArenaNet dubbed Heart of Thorns a "feature expansion," so players really looked forward to this. This Guild Wars 2 expansion took players to the Crystal Desert to experience crazy new mounts, new masteries, and new elite specializations.

I was happy to see RuneScape continue to live on for yet another year, both OSRS and RS3. One of the oldest MMOs still kicking saw changes to weather, pets, the bank, mining and smithing, and the Elder Gods in 2017. It's not just nostalgia that's keeping RuneScape's heart beating, but it's surely a big part.

Although the Steam Charts don't seem to reflect 2017 being a great year for EVE Online, this space-based, persistent world is far from dead.

In October of 2016, it was announced that EVE Online would follow a new free-to-play model. In October of this year, we learned that this free-to-play program was about to get majorly upgraded. Free players now have access to a massive amount of new skills and ships that are surely going to bring a surge in activity to this economy-driven classic. Lifeblood brought mining and pirates, with more to come in 2018.

Conclusion and Looking Ahead

For MMOs, 2017 saw a lot of familiar faces, and there's nothing wrong with that. Those same familiar faces will very well be the ones steering us into a successful 2018.

Not only did BlizzCon 2017 tease us with one of the most amazing-looking expansions coming in 2018, Battle for Azeroth, but they also seem to be bringing vanilla back. World of Warcraft private servers that emulate the game's early days were massively successful, and Blizzard has been criticized for their actions against these servers. Will World of Warcraft Classic be the solution? It's got to be one of the most exciting things heading into 2018!

Other titles like Bless Online, Sea of ThievesChronicles of Elyria, and Crowfall keep us hopeful for the new blood of 2018.

I definitely can't close out this piece without talking about Camelot Unchained. As someone who absolutely loves nostalgic titles and personally believes that we're long past the glory days of MMOs, revisiting Dark Age of Camelot is at the top of my MMO bucket list for next year.

Games like Black Desert Online, Final Fantasy XIV, and Elder Scrolls Online show that 2017 isn't the year where MMOs surrender as ready to die, and I expect that this continues into next year.


What were your favorite MMOs of this year, and what MMOs are you looking forward to going into 2018? There are a lot of MMOs out there to talk about, and surely they haven't all been discussed in this article. Drop me a comment below, and we'll talk about your favorite (or least favorite) of the past year.

Check out more of our articles reviewing 2017 and looking forward into 2018:

Erenor Eternal: Trion Worlds Reveals What Players Can Expect From ArcheAge 3.5 Wed, 07 Jun 2017 12:00:02 -0400 Paige McGovern

If you haven't been keeping track of what's going on with ArcheAge, you should. The MMORPG's newest expansion, Erenor Eternal, will be going live today in just a couple of hours.

The 3.5 update not only brings a whole host of new content, but also a lot of improvements to existing systems. These changes are expected to satisfy every player -- whether you're a PvP veteran, a returning PvE player, or someone who's just starting out in ArcheAge

Although some players have expressed concern over Erenor Eternal's short PTS testing time, developer Trion Worlds is not concerned. This version of the game has been live in Korea for over six months, allowing for all major bugs to be identified and fixed. This release is the best it can be, so players can jump right into the new content. 

Last week, we got a chance to talk to executive producer Merv Lee Kwai in an exclusive demo presentation of the new expansion. Let's go over what you'll be seeing today when you log in.

Erenor Eternal Expansion: The Highlights

All screenshots provided by Trion Worlds.

  • New Zone Battlegrounds: These max level PvP-enabled zones cycle through stages of intense war and peace, depending on the level of player activity in a particular zone. 
  • Ancestral System: Upon reaching level 55, players can gain Ancestral skills, which add more customization and versatility to each player's ArcheAge experience. 
  • Housing Improvements: 16x16 starter houses can now be upgraded to 2 stories.
  • Streamlined Trading System: Trading packs will no longer have one-way routes, and PvE players won't be forced to go overseas if they don't have to.
  • Revamped Crafting System: A lesser amount of tiers make weapons, armor, and accessories much more obtainable than before. 
  • Welcome Promotion: Both new and old players will earn some pretty sweet items when they log in after Erenor Eternal goes live. 

New Zone Battlegrounds & The Conflict System

Aegis Island and Whalesong Harbor are two new northern zones in Auroria that will be introduced in the 3.5 update. They are designed for high level players. 

How Conflict Zones Will Work: An Overview
  • Zones will cycle through many stages of war and peace depending on what players do (or don't). But all zones start out in a stage of conflict. With enough player activity, this stage will escalate to war. 
    • These activities consist of completing quests, fighting creatures, killing NPCs, and killing other players.
    • The type of battle is up to the players. In 3.5, the new zones each offer a unique war experience. 
  • The war stage is an open-world battleground. Player will gain honor for their kills.
What Aegis Island Offers

Many creatures will spawn here. They will fight players and each other. Players are responsible for pushing waves of creatures back. Players are also responsible for preventing Anthalon from destroying the seals. 

What Whalesong Harbor Offers

Players will be responsible for defending containment towers in their area. Enemy creatures will seek to destroy them. Utilizing the turrets and mines located around the zone can help a group emerge victorious. 


Aegis Island: Based on how many creatures killed. 

Whalesong Harbor: Based on how long towers are preserved.

A player's reward will depend on their participation in each of their battles. Of course, how well they do also depends on their ability to work as a team with other ArcheAge players. If successful, players will receive: 

  • Large amounts of experience that can be put towards Ancestral skill progress
  • Crafting materials for Erenor gear

Ancestral System

ArcheAge hasn't seen an increase to its level cap in two years. That's about to change, but perhaps not in the way you expect. 

At level 55, players will unlock Ancestral leveling and skills. These are base skills that can be upgraded into a special ability once players have reached the corresponding Ancestral level (1 through 7). Each of ArcheAge's 10 classes have three skills with the potential to become Ancestral. 

Trion explained the augmented Ancestral forms of the Sorcery skill, Meteor Strike. The example showcased two possible forms of the skill:

  • Lightning: Deals more magic damage with a damage-over-time effect. 
  • Icy: Freezes opponents in place for a long duration.

The Ancestral system's appeal is in its customization. Players can choose the type of skill that suits their play style. Fortunately, we were reassured that Ancestral skills will not make anyone too overpowered.

New Crafting System & Gear

Previously, players had to craft five tiers of lower-level gear to reach the sealed tier. Now they only have to craft two. This is a huge win for newer players hoping to be competitive. 

In addition, unsealing an item used to produce a random -- and often useless -- result. Regrading had several unknowns. In ArcheAge 3.5, that's all changed. 

Here's the breakdown of the crafting improvements that you need to know:

  • Two Tiers: The lower tiers of Craftsman, Artisan, and Conqueror are no more.
  • A Choice After Uncloaking: You are now guaranteed to get the stat variation that you want when you uncloak an item. The Random Number Generator (RNG) that picked stats is no more. The unsealing process is gone.
    • Every single piece is now upgradable as well. 
  • Revealed Regrading Percentages: You're no longer in the dark. Now you can know the success rate of the item you're upgrading to. 
  • New Grade: Eternal is now the highest enchantment. 
  • New Gear: Erenor gear has been added. This is the first time Trion has added a new tier of crafting gear in two years. Ambitious players, you've been warned: crafting this set is no easy task. It will take a lot of time and resources. Fortunately, both are at your disposal. 

With all this being said, potential players -- and those who are returning -- shouldn't be discouraged when they see all this new, high-level content. Veteran players won't be able to progress their gear as fast as newer players, giving them a chance to catch up. The changes to tiers and regrading will help newer players out as well.

According to Trion:

"ArcheAge has in the past been criticized for having a unlevel playing field, meaning new players can basically not catch up fast enough, and so that will probably explain some of the reasons why we made these changes in the 3.5 update."

Changes to Housing

When players first get introduced to housing in ArcheAge, they are likely to get a 16 by 16 starter house. These houses may seem simple, but after the 3.5 update, they will be anything but. 

Starter houses can now be upgraded to two stories. This allows for greater storage and functionality. They will also be able to have the raised structure that's featured in more advanced buildings. According to Trion:

"This is the first time a 16 by 16 house type will be able to do that."

These small but important additions are expected to change the landscape of some housing zones. 

For anyone who loves the candy house and other food-themed furniture, you're in luck! While you won't see anything new in this update, Trion assured us that there will be more coming our way. 

New Trading System

ArcheAge's economy depends on trade packs. It only makes sense that this process should be as enjoyable and accessible for every type of player. 

Previously, the trading system forced devoted PvE players to cross the ocean for maximum trading profit. With this redesign, they don't have to.

The new trading system is divided into three important phases:

  • Crafting Packs: In this first phase, the player is responsible for bringing their specialty packs to one of a few different trade outlets, where a waiting NPC will then award them in gold. The gold a player earns is based on the pack's value and the outlet's current supply and demand for it. 
    • Players will be PvP immune in a 50 to 100 meter radius around these outlets. 
  • Transferring Cargo: It is now cargo, and not specialty packs, that goes overseas. Cargo will be produced as more and more packs are stored at the trade outlet. Players can spend about 30 gold to pick up a cargo pack. Then they must bring it across the PvP-enabled ocean to another continent. Here, they can turn it in for about 60 gold, with an 8-hour window to do so. The sooner they make it there, the more money they will make. 
    • Players can buy PvP protection to ride an NPC ship across the ocean. They will be PvP immune during this time.
  • Delivering Certified Cargo: Players can buy cargo that's already been brought across the ocean. This cargo now has a new name: certified cargo. When brought to starting zones, it can be exchanged for Charcoal Stabilizers. 

Note: Trion confirmed that existing packs in the game will directly convert to the new update, depending on where the pack is. They can be brought to any trade outlet.

The Welcome Promotion

Both existing and returning players will receive a free Immortal Guardian robe when they log in after Erenor Eternal goes live. Players who log in within 30 days after the update will also receive a competitive set of gear, free of charge. Characters must be at least level 50 to wear it. 

In addition, starting at 21:00 UTC today, players will receive triple the amount of experience, honor points, vocation badges, and loot drop bonuses as they play. This event will end on June 13th at 21:00 UTC. 


So with all these exciting new changes and content to ArcheAge, we had to ask: what's the one aspect of Erenor Eternal that the Trion team is most excited about? The answer: removing RNG in the crafting system. We know they've been strongly against RNG, and now the painstaking process is behind us all. Phew!

Erenor Eternal goes live later today, June 7, at around 5 PM PDT. Comment below and let us know what you're looking forward to!

We'll see you in game!

4 Best MMO Bars to Get Wasted in for Mardis Gras Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:23:11 -0500 Emily Parker


Mardi Gras is, of course, famous for its masks and costumes. Celebrating in game is truly paying homage to the original spirit of the holiday. Whether you're celebrating out in the real world or planning a night in your favorite game world, hopefully Mardi Gras 2017 will be the best one yet.


Make Your Own Mardi Gras Bar!

  • Location: Home Sweet Home
  • \n

Depending on the size of your house, it's pretty easy to turn it into a fun place for your guild to get together on Mardi Gras. This is the most customizable option, from the decorations to the music to the guest list.


Just remember how difficult it can be to get guests to leave when the festivities are over...


Withered Tree Tavern

The Elder Scrolls Online
  • Location: Riften City Plaza
  • \n

This tavern is already an RP favorite, and the most likely place to find other celebrators in ESO. It has two floors, with a fireplace downstairs, and a lodging area upstairs -- which means you don't have to risk drunk riding home. It's also only one of two bars in Riften, so if you're not having your best Mardi Gras at Withered Tree, you can just bar hop to Shadehome.


The Drowning Wench

Final Fantasy XIV
  • Location: Limsa Lominsa Upper Decks
  • \n

There's really nothing better than an old pirate bar, especially for Mardi Gras. And this watering hole from FFXIV is no different. The best thing about the Drunken Wench is all the fresh adventurers you'll get to harass while you celebrate.


Hey, it wasn't your idea to put the Adventurer's Guild in a tavern.


Dalaran Lounge

World of Warcraft: Legion
  • Location: Dalaran (Broken Isles)
  • \n

Just like SWTOR, there are tons of bars to choose from in World of Warcraft. I'm picking the Dalaran Lounge, not only because it's current, but also because both factions can come to party. Booze and opposite factions sometimes don't mix, but you're always free to head to The Underbelly to settle any Fat Tuesday disagreements.


Slippery Slope

Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • Location:  Nar Shadaa - Promenade
  • \n

One of the very few neutral Cantinas, the Slippery Slope would be a great place to throw your Mardi Gras festivities in Star Wars: The Old Republic. This Cantina is the best on the list for both a solo celebrator or a group. There will likely be plenty of others to interact with, and there's a ton of space and seating.


Mardi Gras is coming up quickly -- and if you haven't already started celebrating, it's about time to make some plans.


Since we're gamers, we're probably not going to be parading around Bourbon Street and collecting colorful beads by any means necessary. We prefer to celebrate our holidays online, in the worlds we know and love.


Unfortunately, there aren't many Mardi Gras events happening in our favorite MMO games -- but that's not gonna stop us from having a good time!


Instead of chancing the drunken streets on Fat Tuesday, why not go out hit your in-game taverns solo, or crash the scene with a group of friends? Here are some of the best MMO bars around to spend your time and hard-earned gold in for this most inebriated of holidays. 

5 Best Valentine's Day Themed MMO Events Wed, 08 Feb 2017 15:11:23 -0500 Emily Parker


No matter which MMO you're playing this Valentine's Day, there are always ways to get into the spirit. Don't forget about your friends when you're busy chasing crushes, and definitely don't forget about your partners while you're busy hanging with friends.


Happy Valentine's Day!


Which events will you be participating in? Or will you avoid it altogether? Let us know in the comment section below. 


Final Fantasy XIV

Valentione’s Day

From the 2nd to the 15th, you'll need to go speak with Lisette de Valentione to start your Valentione's Day festivities in Final Fantasy XIV



Old rewards will be included, but there will be a new emote and minion coming this year as well. This game also includes one of the best marriage mechanics in an MMO, if you'd like to make the day extra special!


Everquest 2

Erollisi Day

Erollisi Day has always provided a ton of content to complete in Darklight Wood, the Stonebrunt Highlands, Butcherblock Mountains, Lavastorm, Great Divide, and the Thundering Steppes. 


There will be a new quest, plus more recipes and achievements this year, with several more rewards added. The famous pink unicorn mount is (of course) on the returning rewards list. 



Blade and Soul

Blade and Soulmate 

Not only will Blade and Soul be updating their Hongmoon Store with both old and new costumes and weapon skins, but it will also have some in-game content to go with them. 


Head to Jadestone Village to begin your quest. Assist Chai concoct a love potion and she'll give you some chocolates in return!




Valentine's Day Cash Shop Update

Archeage will likely be celebrating the big day as they always do, by adding more items to the cash shop. But so far, there's no update on what will be available in 2017. We will likely see similarities to 2016's additions, which are possibly the most beautifully stylized options in an MMO.



World of Warcraft

Love is in the Air

Traditionally players spend their Valentine's Day in WoW collecting charms to craft into a charm bracelet that they can present to their Valentines -- even NPCs. 


The Crown Chemical Company is set up to sell perfumes across Azeroth, and it's up to the players to unlock their secrets. For 2017 players will be able to queue and farm for rewards (like the Big Love Rocket mount pictured above) at level 16 in Shadowfang Keep. Even traditionally max level gear will scale to you lower level. 


As it only takes about 3 minutes to reach level 16 these days, this has essentially made Love is in the Air content available to everyone.


Lady Sylvanas will always be my Valentine! I wonder if she'll have time for me now that she's Warchief...



Valentine's Day is right around the corner, in case anyone has let you forget. And of course, MMOs are ramping up to celebrate their in-game versions of the holiday. 


In addition to decorating in-game locations, these events provide ways to earn everything from jewelry to mounts. (And feeling less lonely on the day of lovers is a pretty nice bonus.) So let's take a look at the best Valentine's Day themed MMO celebrations happening in your favorite games! 

The Combat Pet Conclave: A Guide to the Fresh Start Pet Packs in Archeage Wed, 01 Feb 2017 12:41:11 -0500 Emily Parker

Archeage has brought back a big collection of pets for their Lazy Weekend cash shop update. Here is a compilation of their abilities, so that you can make the best decision on how to spend your credits.

Seal-point Sabrefang – 1050 Credits

Level 10 or higher can summon.

The Seal-Point Sabrefang pet has the following skills:

  • Lv20: Smack
  • Lv25: Health Regen
  • Lv30: Reflexes
  • Lv35: Strong Claws
  • Lv40: Scratch
Wisdom Tree pet – 1050 Credits

Level 10 or higher can summon.

The Wisdom Tree pet has the following skills:

  • Lv10: Bash
  • Lv15: Hard Wood Grain
  • Lv25: Welling Health
  • Lv30: Guard Dog
  • Lv35: Slam
Greenman battle pet – 1050 Credits

Level 10 or higher can summon.

The Greenman Pet has the following skills:

  • Lv10: Gushing Wind
  • Lv15: Wind Blessing
  • Lv25: Health Regen
  • Lv30: Shoot Stinger
  • Lv??: Toadstool
Sea Turtle pet – 1050 Credits

Level 25 or higher can summon.

The Sea Turtle Pet has the following skills:

  • Lv20: Strong Blow
  • Lv25: Welling Health
  • Lv30: Guard Dog
  • Lv35: Body Slam
  • Lv40: Water Cannon
Arctic Kitsu Whistle – 1550 Credits

This Artic Kitsu pet has the following skills:

  • Lv20: Strong Blow
  • Lv25: Welling Health
  • Lv35: Strong Claws
  • Lv40: Scratch
Midnight Kitsu Whistle – 1550 Credits

This Midnight Kitsu pet has the following skills:

  • Lv20: Strong Blow
  • Lv25: Welling Health
  • Lv35: Strong Claws
  • Lv40: Scratch
Leafpile Greenman – 1050 Credits

This pet has the following skills:

  • Lv10: Gushing Wind
  • Lv15: Wind Blessing
  • Lv30: Shoot Stonger
  • Pet Pack #1 – 1850 Credits -- Contains a Sea Turtle pet, Leafpile Greenman, and 10 Companion Crusts
  • Pet Pack #2 – 1850 Credits -- Contains a Wisdom Tree pet, Arctic Kitsu Whistle, and 10 Companion Crusts
  • Pet Pack #3 – 1850 Credits -- Contains a Seal-Point Sabrefang, Greenman pet, and 10 Companion Crust

It appears Pet Pack #2 will give you the most bang for your buck, but it will depend on your play style and preference.

Long ArcheAge Queue Times are Killing Fans, But Has Reddit Found a Fix? Tue, 13 Dec 2016 12:30:13 -0500 Clayton Reisbeck

Players of the MMORPG ArcheAge have been reporting long queue times for the game's new fresh start servers. Some players have reported queue times as bad as 36 hours.

These new fresh start servers were part of the game's new 3.0 update, which brought many new features to the game. These servers were created to allow for players who wanted a completely fresh start to the game to do so. They require a brand new game account to play on, and no items from previous accounts can be transferred to these servers.

Over the weekend, all of the game's servers were updated to support this new content. But the ridiculous queue times and countless other issues mean that fans are still really unhappy. However....we may have found some temporary solutions.

How To (Possibly) Fix Queue Time Issues

Along with the queue time issues, people were also reporting crashes before players were actually able to select their servers. One redditor supposedly found a fix to the issue where if you pressed alt+enter the issue would be resolved. This fix also supposedly was fixing issues with the long queue times and issues with a greyed out connect bar. As of right now, that fix has been removed from the ArcheAge subreddit for undisclosed reasons. 

Another redditor has said that the way to fix these queue issues is to just hope for the servers to go down and if they do, immediately spam your way into the queue as soon as they go back up.

The official Twitter for the game has been posting frequent updates to the status of the servers. The developers have also posted a state of the game post to their official forums

Have you been running into these long queue times? Have you found a way around them? Let us know in the comments!

The State of MMOs in 2016: The Good, the Bad, and the Future Wed, 30 Nov 2016 03:00:02 -0500 Eliot Lefebvre

The MMO industry can be pretty cyclical. One year, you're up and firing away at full strength; the next year, you're struggling to hold on to your players and still carve out a notable space in the genre. It's a real problem, and one that some of the games in the industry have worked hard to overcome as the days, weeks, and months have gone by.

Of course, the good news for this year is that there are plenty of games that either kept turning out solid material or at least didn't make a huge misstep along the way. The bad news is that more than a few games never really capitalized on momentum... or never generated much to begin with. But enough abstraction, let's talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Er, the future.

2016's big winners

1. World of Warcraft

In last year's evaluation, the hideously long wait for WoW's sixth expansion and the lackluster nature of Warlords of Draenor was doing the game absolutely no favors. Now, however... well, it'd be a lie to say that Legion doesn't have issues, but pretty much everyone with even casual interest in the game has been breathing sighs of relief. Legion even reassured the most jaded portions of the audience that yes, Legion is actually good. It took half of forever and has some questionable design baked in, but the core game is still good.

More importantly, the expansion seems to have come with an associated fire and forward motion for the title, so players are enjoying faster updates and more energized content. This is all a good thing. Sure, the game is no longer the dominant force in the industry that it once was, but it's still the biggest game on the market, and seeing resources and energy in the game once more keeps interest high.

2. Black Desert Online

Last year's ArcheAge was supposed to be the great white hope of imported Korean MMOs, but it failed to materialize. This year, however, Black Desert Online showed up and kind of surprised everyone by not just doing all right but actually growing its player base with some regularity. It helps that the game has been out in Korea for some time and has a backlog of updates to work through, but it's also just a buy-to-play game that's been doing quite well for itself ever since it launched.

Whether or not that will persist as we move into the next year remains to be seen; there are certainly some troubling signs on the horizon, and as always accusations fly fast and furious that the game lets you just pay to win. But it still has people's attention, and that's not nothing.

3. The Elder Scrolls Online

The past year has been pretty kind to Bethesda all around, but fans of the Elder Scrolls series might have felt a bit burned at the lack of a new title. The Elder Scrolls Online stepped up to the plate, though, and its One Tamriel update has done journeyman a service and at least made the game play more like its offline inspiration. Add in rumbles of player housing, and there's reason for players to look forward with a nod and anticipation.

2016's big losers

1. Daybreak Games (and EverQuest fans)

It feels like more than a year ago that EverQuest Next was actually canceled, but it was in fact this year; the reason it feels like it was longer is because everyone spent 2015 waiting for that news. When the bad news finally came, Daybreak revealed that it was replacing that big title with... nothing. No other major titles that have yet been announced, not much more beyond a rather lackluster launch for Landmark (which was originally supposed to be a content creation tool for EverQuest Next). In short, it's a bad scene.

That's not to say that the company's existing titles haven't gotten anything worth excitement, but the big loss has been followed by very little to reassure nervous players and not much in the way of subsequent big announcements. That's bad news for fans and the company itself; it's coasting along for now, but it remains to be seen if it can recapture some momentum.

2. WildStar

A transition to free-to-play seemed like exactly the sort of thing that could help pull WildStar out of the hole it found itself in... but it didn't. As it turns out, the game has continued to struggle at attracting a committed long-term audience while also struggling to get out new content at anything resembling a decent pace. That, of course, leads to fewer players jumping in, which makes it still harder to justify more updates, and so on.

The hidden downside here, of course, is that the free-to-play trigger was pretty much the last one the game had to pull. If the game is going to pull out of its nosedive and recover some popularity, it's running out of ways to do so while also attracting attention.

3. Guild Wars 2

Last year was a pretty good one for Guild Wars 2, but this one was not. It was a year marked by a whole lot of stretches without anything for the game in fact, and several of its updates seemed aimed at a playerbase the game simply didn't have (most of the people really interested in progression raiding had either long since left the game or never played it in the first place). Combine that with long content gaps, and the return of actual story updates, it was all seen less as a return to form and more of something, anything to latch on to.

If anything, this is a lesson in how to not capitalize properly on the momentum of a game. Instead of playing off of the existing success, GW2 spent most of the year languishing when it didn't need to. That's not a good thing and not something that needed to happen.

The big stuff for 2017

1. Big games with momentum

While Guild Wars 2 let its momentum flag and falter, several other games have really hit their stride. World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic have been continuing to glide along nicely on a very thoroughly outlined update plan. Final Fantasy XIV continues to put out large and reliable patches, with its second expansion due for mid-year 2017. EVE Online has opened itself up to free players, The Elder Scrolls Online is enjoying positive reception to its last few updates, and even games like The Division are delighting and engaging.

MMOs are marathons, not sprints. If the existing big titles can keep players engaged and interested, that will do a lot for the health of the genre as a whole... and help inspire the entries of the future.

2. That Kickstarter movement

We still haven't seen most of these titles actually enter any sort of launch states; Star Citizen was supposed to be further along than it is now, but that's true almost every single year. Still, games like Shroud of the Avatar and Crowfall are both gearing up to hit big persistence and launch-like milestones in 2017, and that's going to have a big impact on how MMOs and funding them by Kickstarter is seen in the years ahead.

3. Destiny 2 and the next big project

Who knows what's going on with Destiny 2? Bungie, probably, but not much of anyone else. But it's going to be a big deal when it's announced. We've had a couple of years since the announcement of the first game, but that just means that we're that much more likely to see another big online project move into that space in the next year or so. Something other than the existing big titles capitalizing off of their momentum.

Will it be Destiny 2? Will it be something else entirely? I don't know. But I'm sure watching.

New ArcheAge Update "Ascension" Released Tue, 14 Jun 2016 18:06:51 -0400 Noor Sami

Fantasy MMORPG ArcheAge has a new update! Update 2.9: Ascension is live with a promotional package that involves free packs for both current and returning players, as well as a number of rewards such as Homecoming Coins, a full set of Celestial Gear, and Legacy marketplace mounts. With the update, player guilds can now form nations to engage in battle with enemies and craft the new tier 7 of Obsidian gear. The trailer showcases a plethora of massive new bosses to face in battle, plus plenty of castle building and upgraded décor.

ArcheAge is also hosting the Path to Ascension competition; the first three player nations each formed in the North American and European regions will receive special rewards. First place wins an Enoan Galleon Design and 500 Lord Coins, second place receives only the Enoan Galleon Design, and third place gets only the 500 Lord Coins.

Check out the Ascension trailer below.


New ArcheAge players: Learn to manage your Labor and time to make gold Mon, 28 Sep 2015 06:44:48 -0400 Ashley Shankle

I like rolling in money in MMOs. It's fun, especially in ArcheAge. But getting gold is way more complicated in ArcheAge than most other MMORPGs, and it's easy to make less than you could from farming.

There's a balance you have to pay attention to when playing ArcheAge. You need to make the most of your land and Labor, without spending all day tending your land. It can be all too easy getting stuck tending a lot of land for far longer than you would like.

First things first:

Always price check what you're producing and their refinements

If you're aiming to make money using the Auction House, price checking is a must. You need to see not only what the base product is selling for, but also what it's most easily crafted into sells for.

Here's a good example of this in action, based off just my playing today:

Cotton has been at fairly high prices for the growth time on Morpheus since launch and was fairly steady until a couple days ago. It's gone from over 2 silver to the low end of just over 1 silver. My primary source of income's been grossly devalued, right?

Well, not quite devalued. Fabric is selling for over 20 silver each and it only takes 10 cotton and 5 Labor to make a single piece of fabric.

A reasonable price for fabric would be more around 12 silver each with the current price of cotton on Morpheus, but it's currently selling for around double the current logical value. I'm making far more off fabric right now than I should be, and I'm not going to complain.

Now this is not a typical scenario -- generally the prices reflect the Labor usage to refine something. Right now they're not for cotton into fabric and I can take advantage of that (and you can too if you're on Morpheus).

This is an extreme example of this in action, but it should give you an idea. Always look at prices for refined products, maybe even actually processed items like equipment if you've got the Labor and other mats. Always pay attention to your Labor usage.

Growth times are a big deal

Growth times don't just affect how fast you get your produce. They also affect how often you're going to have to play the game, how much Labor you're using, and the security of your investments into those plants or animals.

I'm growing cotton on Morpheus because the turnover is quick. The plants themselves are cheap, yield 8 ~ 10 each, and sold for an all right amount before today. Since I know the cotton market is falling fast, I'm switching to fabric until the fabric prices bottom out. I'd give it a day or two.

Since I'm growing this fast crop, I know what I'm getting into in two hours. If I were growing something like beans, which take a day to grow, I wouldn't be able to guarantee I'd get a worthwhile price when selling them tomorrow. This shouldn't stop you from growing produce that takes a long time to mature, but it's something to keep in mind.

Growth times and Labor

Beyond price security, growth times have a heavy effect on your Labor usage. If you're repeatedly growing crops that mature in just a couple hours, you're going to burn far more Labor than you would when going with something that takes longer. That's something you need to bear in mind when planting, especially if you also craft.

Plant in accordance with your schedule

Lastly, a key point to remember is that if you know you're not going to be able to play for most of the day or a few hours, plant your crops and plop down your animals accordingly.

Chili peppers have a long maturation time.

If you know you're not going to be able to log in for about 12 hours, put down some aspen trees, pigs, chili peppers, or any longer maturation crops.

If you're currently playing and know you will be for a while, maybe plant something with shorter times. Plant to coincide with your schedule.

Labor is serious business

Since we're talking about farming, I'll assume you're a Patron. Patrons get 10 Labor every 5 minutes, whether on or offline. No more, no less.

As a Patron, you make 120 Labor an hour. This sounds fine until you get deep into crafting, when Labor is your worst enemy. This isn't as much the case when farming because the Labor usage rates are fairly even. This is not the case when crafting.

If you do both crafting and farming (or if you're on a mining frenzy), your Labor is going to be super tight. This is why I'm not full-on crafting just yet, while Morpheus is still new. I'll refine my cotton and pelts if I have to, but otherwise I'm avoiding crafting because of the Labor usage until I feel sated with my gold stockpile.

From 5000 to 2940 in 10 minutes flat!

You get 2,880 Labor per day, which sounds like much more than it really is. If you know you're going to need a bunch of Labor to craft, it might not be a great idea to plop down a bunch of crops that don't take long to mature. You may find yourself with a bunch of crops you can't harvest and a powerful thirst for a Worker's Compensation Potion.

I ran into the Labor wall a lot around launch last year, and it's something you need to learn to cope with as a new player. Labor is the big progress wall outside of gearing up at endgame, and the amount it costs to craft is why Worker's Compensation Potions are always in demand and sell well.

You'll get used to making efficient usage of your Labor as you get into a farming and crafting routine and know what you want to do. It's hard to decide, and it's really easy to burn a couple thousand Labor in a short length of time.

Hopefully the advice above will help those of you trying to get into the swing of ArcheAge's farming and economy. The game has a lot to offer if you're persistent and pay attention to the nitty gritty bits like Labor. There's nothing else like it. Keep at it, and eventually you'll figure out your own personal way to success.

Is ArcheAge pay to win? That's up to you to decide Sun, 27 Sep 2015 11:34:37 -0400 Ashley Shankle

To say ArcheAge isn't unique in the MMO market would be a lie, considering the game's current place as the only low-fantasy sandbox MMO out in the West. But that uniqueness is both a blessing and a curse.

ArcheAge is all about the economy. Some people play it as a typical MMO, but most don't. You miss most of the game when avoiding the sandbox elements. ArcheAge without the farming, crafting, and pack hauling is just depressing, especially considering the game isn't exactly focused around what most MMORPGs are. It's all about making that money.

APEX and the economy

The game being all about the economy is why it has such a reputation for being pay to win (P2W). Despite how much effort you have to put into making money in the game, you can go ahead and swipe your credit card to buy yourself an APEX and make a few hundred gold in a matter of minutes. It's a bit of a slap in the face considering the nature of the game, but it's not as bad as it sounds.

Just to make this really easy for even the newest player to understand, here are some convenient bullet points:

  • APEX cashes out into 1250 Marketplace Credits.
  • You buy an APEX specifically to either sell or give to someone else.
  • If you want to buy Credits for yourself with real money, you buy them directly.
  • If you want to buy Credits with in-game money, you buy an APEX from another player.

Whether you like it or not, APEX is an integral part of the ArcheAge economy.  After all, how else would you buy the things on the Marketplace you almost definitely need? Buying them on the Auction House with jacked up prices, that's how!

APEX prices on MorpheusCurrent prices of APEX on Morpheus.

Now, the good part about all of this is that there are so many ways to make money in the game. You can farm, fish, craft, run packs, do events.. the list goes on. If you're motivated and have the time, you can make enough money to buy APEX, and either buy the things you need, or even Patron.

The system makes it so there's a constant transfer of gold into Credits and vice versa, which means what you have in-game has some sort of real money value. Real money that's basically just tied to Trion Worlds and is useless otherwise.

But enough about APEX. It's only one of the heads this beast has, and the next one is...

Patron makes the game pay to play

I know you can play ArcheAge without getting a Patron subscription, but is it worth it? Not really. You're cut off from a good portion of the game when you're off Big Daddy Patron.

Outside of the sandbox features, ArcheAge is a fairly generic MMORPG. Neither the story nor the quests are engaging, and combat is nothing special. There's not much of a point to playing without the full Labor gain and property ownership you get with Patron unless you literally just want to endgame PvP, and even then you need to be able to plus your gear.

Any time a friend considers playing, I always tell them they better be ready to cough up $15 up front to get the full experience. You miss out on so much without it that it's hard to imagine sticking to the game without Patron, as someone who has always had it.

Patron is a requirement to really play ArcheAge, but you don't necessarily have to pay for it with real money. This is where APEX comes in, and where the economy goes full circle.

Patron costs $14.99 a month, but you can also buy a month's worth of Patron for 2,400 Credits. If you make enough money in-game to buy two APEX in one month (1,250 Credits times two), you can afford to pay for one month of Patron in Credits.

Buy Patron with Credits on the AA website

The above really simplifies things, because APEX is not cheap. Unless you're either really lucky, seeded by guildies, or super on point with your farming; you're going to have a tough time even getting one APEX in your first couple months.

ArcheAge might be a bit pay to win, but it's surmountable

Even with all of the above and the game's absolutely atrocious RNG gear plusing at endgame, I still have a hard time saying it's 100% pay to win.

ArcheAge's pay to win reputation is mostly due to the fact that it takes so long to work up to things using the game's natural progression, and the fact you can make so much of it go faster with real money. But you can do it all with hard work in-game, as long as you have Patron.

Patron is the real stickler for many, because there's a very clear divide between paying and free players, and the game experience is completely different between the two. But this isn't pay to win -- this is simply the game not actually being free to play.

There are a lot of things on the Marketplace that you absolutely need, which for some constitutes the game being pay to win. You can buy almost all of those items from other players, but at the same time, those players who bought those items with real money to sell are making bank in-game. It's hard to say whether this is a good or bad thing. Ideally the items would simply be earned by adventuring.

ArcheAge's "P2W" state is ultimately a matter of opinion. It's certainly not free to play unless you've already gotten Patron and are good at making money, but people who buy items off the Marketplace to sell on the Auction House are definitely rolling in way more gold than people who just subscribe.

Gold makes things easier, but ultimately there's no point to the economic aspect of the game if you just bought all the gold you need with real money. Going that far would remove the point of playing. Things are full circle in ArcheAge, and that's part of its appeal.

ArcheAge guide - How to get your first 16x16 farm (Improved Scarecrow Farm) Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:25:36 -0400 Ashley Shankle

ArcheAge is complicated, let's just get that out of the way right now. New players have no idea what they're doing for at least a couple months, and even then there's still a lot to know and remember. But even a new player knows a 16x16 farm plot is useful.

Eventually you're going to get a trade pack request that tells you to deliver the pack at a port on the opposite continent to get a 16x16 plot, but it's possible to get a 16x16 farm before that point. The only downside is you'll have to give up your 8x8 Scarecrow Garden. But that's a fair tradeoff.

Essentially what you need to do is upgrade your Scarecrow Garden into an Improved Scarecrow Farm, which is not only larger but also functions as a Farmer's Workstation. You can craft an Improved Scarecrow Farm as soon as you get your Scarecrow Garden Design, should you so choose.

How to build an Improved Scarecrow Farm

Just like with half the other stuff you're going to poke around with in ArcheAge, crafting this seems really intimidating but is ultimately simple. You can craft your Improved Scarecrow Farm at a Carpentry Workbench, under Farms/Farmer's Workstation.

How to craft an Improved Scarecrow Farm.

The very first component is your Scarecrow Garden Design, which you get back if you demolish your 8x8 Scarecrow Garden. Do not demolish it until you have the other components for the recipe.

Along with the Scarecrow Garden Design, you need four other primary components, and you need two of two of them. Each of these need to be made separately and require some pretty basic (albeit expensive) parts. The four finalized components are:

  • Wooden Beam Bundle x2
  • Construction Tool Bundle x2
  • Finishing Touches Bundle
  • Construction Brick Bundle

The word "bundle" is not to be ignored, because these are essentially bundles of common materials you probably buy, sell, or craft everyday.

The Wooden Beam Bundle requires 50 Lumber, and you need two of them for a total of 100 Lumber.

The Construction Tool Bundle requires 50 Iron Ingots, and you need two of them for a total of 100 Iron Ingots.

The Finishing Touches Bundle requires 25 Fabric and 25 Leather.

The Construction Brick Bundle requires 50 Stone Bricks.

All of these can be constructed at a Carpentry Workbench under "Construction Materials".

Construction materials in the Carpentry Workbench.

The labor cost breakdown

Let's break down the cost in basic materials and labor in total so you know what you're getting into.

The cost of harvesting, mining, and chopping down trees is not included as you may end up turning to your guild mates or the Auction House to get them all.

Primary ComponentNeeded to MakeTo Process Raw Mats
Wooden Beam Bundle
25 Labor (x2=50)
50 Lumber (x2=100)
50 Lumber needs:
150 Log (x2=300)
250 Labor (x2=500)
Construction Tool Bundle
25 Labor (x2=50)
50 Iron Ingot (x2=100)
50 Iron Ingots need:
150 Iron Ore (x2=300)
250 Labor (x2=500)
Finishing Touches Bundle 25 Labor
25 Fabric
25 Leather
25 Fabric & 25 Leather
250 Cotton (125 Labor)
75 Pelt (125 Labor)
Construction Brick Bundle 25 Labor
50 Stone Brick
50 Stone Bricks need:
150 Raw Stone
250 Labor
Total Labor Costs: 150 Labor 1500 Labor


And to top all of the above off, the Improved Scarecrow Farm itself requires 100 Labor to craft. If you craft everything yourself, you're looking at a total of 1700 Labor to get everything done.

The hard work is worth it in the end. Once done, you've essentially upgraded your 8x8 Scarecrow Garden to a far more efficient 16x16 farm.

If you're worried about someone nabbing up where your Scarecrow Garden is before demolishing it, make sure you get all the other components done before you demolish it. After pulling it up, either have a friend or a guildmate stand where it was or put some plants so no one takes the spot.

Getting everything together takes time, but this is ArcheAge. Everything takes time, just the amount varies based on how much money or effort you're willing to put in. Good luck, and enjoy your Improved Scarecrow Farm.

ArcheAge 2.0 launch delayed, EU servers up now with NA later today Sun, 13 Sep 2015 06:21:07 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Did anyone really expect yesterday's ArcheAge 2.0 launch to go well? If you've played ArcheAge, you surely did not -- but I bet you desperately tried to repeatedly relaunch the game to get in during the brief time the servers were up. I know I did.

As totally expected but still disappointing, yesterday's launch was what anyone would call a disaster. 1PM PDT/4PM EST rolled around and only a small portion of the playerbase could log in, which promptly grabbed as much land as they could on the fresh and Evolution servers while everyone else sat there staring at a repeating, soundless cutscene. Good times.

The land rush is serious business if you're a Patron. You need land to farm and make money, and some areas' climates and proximity to the ocean and other provinces make then more ideal than others. Which is exactly why Trion Worlds pulled the plug on the servers and delayed launch an extra day despite ArcheAge already being down for two days for maintenance. They also applied a rollback to make land grabbing fair for all players.

Moving forward with today's launch

Today's launch is being handled much differently from yesterday's debacle. Instead of opening all the servers at once, Trion are launching the European servers in waves first to accommodate their timezone and to relieve some of the stress on the login servers. This has been completed at the time of writing and there is a sizable queue on the fresh European server, Rangora.

The North American server launch will begin at the same scheduled time as yesterday: 1PM PDT/4PM EDT. Servers will be rolled out similarly to the European servers. Legacy servers will be put up first, followed by Evolution, then the fresh servers.

Hopefully this will alleviate some of the strain on the login servers, which it seems to have with EU, but Morpheus is going to get swamped very quickly. If you want to play on the new NA server and have land in a respectable area, you're going to have to work fast.

To the new players drawn by 2.0 and fresh servers

While the ArcheAge playerbase at large is not particularly surprised that the 2.0 launch didn't go great, new players drawn by the fresh servers are not getting the best impression of the game after a full extra day of downtime after the scheduled launch.

To new players, I have to say this: Welcome to ArcheAge, where the bad often outweighs the good but you can't stop playing it because in a lot of ways the game is awesome but the servers and community at large are terrible and you wish you could stop but you need to keep tending your land, maybe just one more month will be okay.

Then it's four months later and you wonder what you're doing with your life as you're trying to fend members of your own faction off your guild's ship, which is covered in trade packs, when all you really wanted to do on that stupid trip was fish.

ArcheAge 2.0 goes live today with new servers and merges Sat, 12 Sep 2015 07:39:37 -0400 Ashley Shankle

After months upon months of waiting and the past two days' extended maintenance, today is finally the day ArcheAge will be receiving the long-awaited 2.0 update to breathe some new life into the game. It's about time, right?

The ArcheAge servers have been down the past two days as Trion Worlds prepares the patch to go live and puts up the two new servers, Morpheus (NA) and Rangora (EU), along with the finalized merges of older servers.

So what's in ArcheAge 2.0? A ton of stuff! Check out the patch notes to see for yourself.

Some of the more notable additions being added are the Hero System, Guild Dominions (for some guild versus guild excitement), house upgrades, five Greater Dungeons, and loads of changes to the more intricate parts of the game.

Players hopping on the new servers immediately after launch need to get ready -- the land rush is coming! Good luck in getting a plot in your desired area, because you (and I) are going to need it.

(Update: Due to complications, the 2.0 launch has been delayed. Keep your eyes on the ArcheAge Twitter for updates on the situation)

ArcheAge 2.0 launching September 12th brings new content, servers Sun, 30 Aug 2015 15:28:32 -0400 Ashley Shankle

ArcheAge is still alive and kicking, and the game's finally getting the big 2.0 content update that brings the political system, guild battles, and more bells and whistles for the game's dedicated crafters.

Fans have been in a state of unrest due to ArcheAge's slow updates on the international servers, mostly due to the lack of the 1.8 patch. Those of you not in the know (but still avid players) will be happy to find out that September 12's patch includes 1.8 up to 2.0; making this the heftiest update the game has seen to date.

Along with the new content comes server Evolutions, which are essentially low-population server merges; and two brand-new servers to give the adventurous the chance to get a "launch-like" experience. If you've had an inkling to give ArcheAge a try and are willing to spend the $15 for Patron, the new server launches will be the best time to get started since the game's actual launch.

ArcheAge is about to get even bigger than it already is, and that in itself is sort of mind-boggling. While I and many other players have more than a few qualms with the game, there has never been a problem with having too little to do. 2.0 is only going to make Labor and time management more of a pain, but hopefully it will be worth it.

Happy Anniversary ArcheAge Wed, 26 Aug 2015 05:14:03 -0400 TheDeadlyMouse

You can now celebrate ArcheAge's very first anniversary since Trion Worlds launched their version of it almost a year ago for the US and the UK. Play it now until September 15th and earn neat gifts such as weapons, hats and more. You can also go on special quests created just for this anniversary.

Your first logged in character daily will receive two offers letters in their mail box: a randomized daily quest opportunity and an Anniversary Love Tree sapling.

  • Anniversary Quests: Complete the day's quest and you'll receive Anniversary Tokens that can be exchanged for awesome prizes (like Anniversary hats and Hellkissed Weapons) at the Anniversary Token Exchange Machine on Mirage Isle.
  •  Anniversary Love Tree Sapling: When planted on public land or personal property, this tree grows into an Anniversary Tree in 30 minutes. Harvest it up to 3 times a day and get Anniversary Love Boxes that could contain anything from loyalty tokens to Superior Red Regrade charms! The tree will expire in 3 hours, so make sure to be attentive to it!

Make sure you log into the game daily to earn all your special rewards. Remember, you have until September 15th to celebrate the anniversary.

Now is a great time to check the game out if you are new or a good time to come back and check things out once again. It is free-to-play and to download, or you can be a Patron, ($14.99 a month), to earn extra bonuses.

Here's to another great year for ArcheAge, Trion Worlds and XLGAMES.

Do you play ArcheAge and are you enjoying the first anniversary? Let us know what you think in the comments.

ArcheAge getting server "Evolutions" and new servers next month Sat, 15 Aug 2015 14:56:04 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Love it or hate it, ArcheAge is definitely has a unique place in the current MMORPG market -- but anyone not on the up and up in regards to the game's housing and economic system may be really perplexed as to why Trion is simultaneously removing and adding new servers to the game next month.

Three things are taking place in the middle of next month that ArcheAge players should be aware about:

  • Multiple low-population servers are being merged into brand new single servers. This is what Trion is referring to as server Evolutions.
  • Servers transfers will be taking place for players who would rather join the ranks on the high population servers than go through with an Evolution.
  • New Fresh Start servers are being added (one for NA and the other for EU) with separate auction house clusters than the other servers, for a "launch-like" experience. These require brand new characters.

All three of these things are pretty big deals, since players currently on low population servers are going to lose their land in the merges and transfers -- if you're on one of the affected servers, you might want to take off work the day the Evolution to get some land.

Server Evolutions

The servers being merged during the Evolution are as follows:

North America
  • Inoch and Calleil are being merged to make Hanure.
  • Ezi and Lucius are being merged to make Nazar.
  • Naima and Enla are being merged to make Kraken.
  • Aier and Orchidna are being merged to make Anthalon.
  • Nui and Janudar are being merged to make Leviathan.
  • Melisara and Nebe are being merged to make Sirothe.

Servers not mentioned above will not be affected during the Evolution process, though players on the current servers mentioned above have the option to transfer to an already-present server. Players who are currently on a high population server are exempt from all of the above.

The new servers will be almost completely fresh, and as such there will be a land rush on the day they are released. But their economies will be tied with the high population servers because of the auction house clusters. Only the brand new servers, Morpheus (NA) and Rangora (EU) will have separate auction houses from the other servers.


If you're ready to jump ship from your current server and aren't too keen on being merged with another low population server, you better get ready to go through with the server transfer process lasting from August 25th to September 4th. This is the only window you will have to get a free server transfer during the Evolution process.

Those who apply to be moved to another server will be migrated on September 8th, before the 1.8/2.0 patch and Evolution.

There is a whole list of transfer restrictions found in the transfer and Evolution FAQ that you should read so you can get ready.

The big patch will be happening in the middle of September, after which ArcheAge will finally be sitting at the 2.0 version of the game and the new Fresh Start servers will be live.

Even if you aren't included in the Evolution process, you should read the transfer and Evolution FAQ to read about the (potential) guild cap and what is going to happen to property on Diamond Shores with the 2.0 update. Be sure to pop any questions you have in the megathread on the official ArcheAge forums asking for player questions to be answered on August 20th. Good or bad, the game is progressing next month and it's good to be in the know.

The plight of the MMORPG junkie chasing the nostalgia dragon Sat, 20 Jun 2015 11:56:17 -0400 Ashley Shankle

MMORPGs hold a special place in the PC gaming space. They're one of the few genres that provide a complete escape from real life, giving the player goals to achieve, exotic landscapes to explore, and social circles to maintain. Some may argue that the genre is unhealthy, but if not for it I would never have met some of the most important people and had some of the most fun of my life.

My very first MMORPG was Ragnarok Online, which a friend recommended to me because of the spritework. I admit I didn't play it for long the first time I started, but I was enamored with the concept of a game where you go on adventures with friends. To a homebody like me, it just seemed too good to be true.

Ragnarok Online was my catalyst; every MMO player has one. Your first game that gave you that taste of freedom and adventure that you just can't get in real life. Real life just isn't as fantastical, nor does it give long term goals that are easy to follow and complete.

That, perhaps, is the biggest draw for the MMORPG genre (and video games in general): They give easy-to-follow metrics to gauge how you're doing. Real life isn't like that. You don't know exactly how close you are to a promotion. You can't gauge how intelligent you are by looking at an easy to read stat sheet. You don't know which is the "right" and "wrong" way to grow up and live as an adult.

MMOs and addiction

I say all of the above with what might seem like a negative connotation, but I thoroughly believe there's something to be said about the type of comfort games provide, particularly MMORPGs. People who would otherwise not have the confidence, courage, or money to go traveling or meet new people can do so in these games. They're a whole new world in the safety of your own home.

The downside to the easy to gauge metrics is just how addictive they are, especially if you're confused about where to go in real life. This is where game addiction comes into play, with the worst cases of addiction lying squarely within the MMORPG genre.

I'll be the first to admit, I'm an MMO junkie. I will also be the first to admit I have some serious anxiety issues in real life and feel a bit helpless when I think about my future. While I can say that MMORPGs give me an outlet to escape from real life, they're not making anything any better. I know they're just giving me an excuse to keep hiding and not progressing on a personal level.

This is where things get muddled for a lot of people, because many play these games excessively for the very same reasons mentioned above. But stopping means admitting all that time spent playing was for naught. It means leaving your friends behind. It means transitioning to a focus on real life, and facing your problems. These are all things I can barely bring myself to do each time I quit an MMO in hopes of "growing up".

This article has been a big downer. What started as (what I wanted to be) a showcase of my MMORPG history and asking you, the readers, to tell me yours has turned into one big wall of preaching about the evils of the genre.
My bad.

Chasing the nostalgia dragon

Over the years I've bounced from one MMO to the next in hopes of capturing the feeling EverQuest and vanilla World of Warcraft gave me when I was younger. The worlds in those games felt massive and the content itself was confusing and difficult. In a word, it was amazing. I want that feeling again.

Several of my friends do the same thing. Always chasing that dragon, in hopes they'll feel the same way they did a decade ago.

I've become enamored with several MMORPGs over the years since my EverQuest and WoW days, but not for the same reasons. Let's do a short list of some of the MMOs I've devoured over the past four years and ultimately what killed them for me:

  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn - The world itself was beautiful and crafting was great but ultimately the game was linear and didn't fill me with a sense of wonder.
  • Aion - Its PvP was okay but the community was cancerous and the dungeons a bore.
  • Blade & Soul CN/TW - The PvP, story, and visuals were amazing but the tiny world bogged it down. No sense of wonder whatsoever.
  • TERA - Minimal sense of adventure when leveling the first time and the enchantment system is a real grindfest at endgame, but dungeons were pretty fun.
  • Guild Wars 2 - Interesting in concept, but ultimately not my cup of tea outside of crafting.
  • ArcheAge - Really great farming, housing, and economy workings; but too much work for no payout.

I could go on and on. I've given numerous MMORPGs a try since 2006 (the year I quit WoW for good and went back to Ragnarok Online), but none of them will ever scratch the itch the same way again.

There's something to be said about the hold game experiences have on you, when you spend nearly a decade just trying to reclaim those feelings they gave you the first time around. I'm never going to explore Norrath nor Azeroth for the first time ever again - I can accept that. I'm never going to be all bright and starry-eyed that same way ever again -- that's what I and many other older MMO players have difficulty accepting.

Over the years, I've found the easy gameplay in MMOs to be a real deterrent to my enjoyment. Most games have quest tracking that tells you where to pick up, do, and turn in quests. Mobs in most MMOs aren't very difficult anymore and die fast enough that you don't really learn to master your class over time. There is no sense of adventure for me, just like there is no sense of pride over my in-game feats.

I can understand that normal people don't have the time nor the motivation to put real effort toward killing every mob, nor do they have the patience to read their quest dialogue and figure out what to do themselves. But that doesn't mean I can't be disappointed when I try a new MMORPG when it doesn't scratch that itch. I'm entitled to be a little disappointed when I genre I once loved just isn't the same anymore.

Moving forward with the MMORPG genre

The MMOs coming up in the next year or two are looking to change the genre, but will they be able to? And if they do, will they be able to satisfy the cravings of the MMORPG old guard?

Let's look back at ArcheAge, which was released last year and brought with it a slew of features yet to be fully implemented in an MMO before. The housing and farm plots are one of the biggest features the game totes, backed by trade pack hauling and a huge emphasis on player killing for profit.

ArcheAge has a lot of technical issues, but the biggest problem isn't technical at all. It's how the PvP system works. That along with the heavy emphasis on subscribing is what ultimately struck down its player numbers after a couple of months. People just don't have the time nor willingness to put that much effort toward crafting, only to have to fight for their lives and loot on a trade pack haul.

Like ArcheAge, a lot of MMORPGs coming out over the next few years are going to be trying new things. There's nothing wrong with that since the genre woefully needs a kick in the butt to progress past the WoW clone phase. My hopes are riding on these upcoming new entries to the genre, because it's getting tiring going back to the same old games and hoping something will spark inside me and make me love them again.

In some ways, I feel the MMORPG genre needs to regress, and in others I feel it needs to progress. But I feel like I covered that subtly in all of the rambling paragraphs above. Where there is no challenge, there is no sense of danger. Where there is no innovation, there is no imagination and sense of wonder. Where there is no carrot on a stick, there is no motivation. So why even bother most of the time?

Not everyone

Before I wrap up this -- rant? It's become a rant, I suppose -- I do want to note that not everyone is like me when it comes to MMORPGs. Most people, as stated above, just don't have the time nor energy to deal with the type of difficulty found in the MMOs of yore. Not everyone is an addict, either.

Plenty of people can play an MMO and never have it affect their real lives. Millions of people play them every night when they get home from work or school without letting it deter them in their real life pursuits. Good on them, because I can't. And I crave something I just can't find.

I've hit my dancing Elin quota for this lifetime.

Perhaps it's because of the change in pace from older MMORPGs to newer ones, or maybe it's just the type of person they attract now in comparison to who they attracted a decade (plus) ago. Who knows, that's not something I'm about to spout a bunch of bull about.

Separation and realization of the differences between real life and games is hard. I guess that's the sum of all of the above. I don't know if I will ever be able to stop chasing the experiences I had so long ago. I don't know if I will ever be sated with the lack of readable metrics in real life. But I do know I love MMORPGs and I look forward to what's to come. Take that as you will, with all of the above on the table.

Developers Can End the DLC War Fri, 15 May 2015 02:30:01 -0400 GamingGuru

The Underlying and Ongoing Controversy of DLC

If you want to set the Internet on fire, simply pop into a gamer forum and state your opinion on DLC, or downloadable content. It really doesn't matter if you address it in a general context or focus on a single title that employs what you feel is "unfair"; someone will disagree with you. With strong stances on either side of the coin on what's fair and what's not, the question is, what can developers do to make people "feel better" about DLC? One word: transparency.

Since DLC's quality and value are subjective at best (when people aren't outright punching each other out over it), it can be taken as a warning sign that developers need to clearly state what value their DLC provides and how much it will cost. In the mobile gaming realm, transparency is severely lacking, with purchase options made available with little context as to why and sometimes outright stopping gameplay until the user makes a choice.

The tiniest X in existence.

When DLC Isn't So Good...

In regards to console/handheld gaming, DLC is not always clearly communicated when a game hits the eShop. One recent example I experienced is Mighty Gunvolt, released August 29, 2014. When I first came across this title, I noticed that it was on special for only $2.49. Reading the description, I bought the game on the premise that I was getting a "full" game. It wasn't until after I downloaded it that I discovered that it was first available as a free download for those who purchased Azure Striker Gunvolt from the eShop and that it only had 5 levels, with the rest available as DLC.

Mighty Gunvolt? I love you, man, but...

In the end, I walked away feeling somewhat cheated, even though I truly enjoyed the game. Yeah, I could have replayed the game as another character, but the differences are so mild that it's hardly noticed. The characters offer different attacks, but the enemies continue to show up in the same places and boss fights lose their luster after you learn their attack patterns. In short, I felt that the game was artificially short (one could argue that the price matched the content) and that the rest of the content was hidden behind paywalls that didn't necessarily belong there. Others on Metacritic tend to echo this sentiment, as well.

What made this even more jarring is that it was not stated on the eShop page that the game had DLC and didn't provide a clear enough description of what people would be buying if they hit "Download". Had I known that I was only going to receive 5 static levels to play, I may have reconsidered my choice to buy it. As a gamer, I felt cheated; as a buyer, I felt misinformed. Bottom line: I feel that Mighty Gunvolt is a great game that would benefit from providing all of its content on download (which I would gladly pay $9.99 for), or offering the content as unlockables gained through in-game achievements.

DLC Can Be Good

Granted, not all DLC can feel or appear "janky" or criminal. For example, New Super Luigi U was offered as downloadable content on New Super Mario Bros. U. For anyone who's played New Super Luigi U, they quickly realized that it was not a gimmick, but almost a whole game within itself...without Mario! The eShop price point is currently $19.99, and offers: 1) greater difficulty, 2) Luigi's unique jumping mechanics, and 3) 82 new courses. For $19.99, this would be considered a great bargain, but was not a requirement to enjoy the original New Super Mario Bros. U to its full extent and gave players the option to experience the core game in a new, exciting way.

If you haven't checked this out, it's totally worth it!

So what makes DLC "good"? I would personally say that anything that: 1) adds a comparable value for what's being charged, and/or 2) offers an extension of the full, core game. I, and others, feel that games like Mighty Gunvolt failed in this aspect because the game felt too short (even if the content matched the price), but that doesn't mean that we wouldn't buy the full game at a higher price point with the option of buying DLC post-release as it rolls out.

Prosperity and Success for All

Another gripe for disenfranchised gamers who may not be able to necessarily afford all of the DLC offered in-game is that they cannot grind fast enough for resources to compete with paying players. World of Tanks offers players the ability to purchase premium tanks that gives them a distinct advantage over "free" players. For example,  the TOGII are literal "tanks" in that they can take an insane amount of damage and in a 1v1 situation, a Tier 6 "heavy" would eventually be worn down by a Tier 6 TOGII in a battle of sheer attrition. The skill level of the "free" player almost doesn't matter when going against a TOGII.

So Strong!

Another advantage available to premium players is "gold rounds", which have 25% better armor-penetrating capabilities than those available to "free" players. This may leave a sour taste in the mouth of "free" players who have to virtually grind for hours to earn enough in-game currency, but for "premium" players who may not have the time to invest in obtaining in-game buffs naturally, it's a fast way to improve their capabilities with real-world money.

One game that has attempted to bridge this gap in a fairer manner is ArcheAge. Patron, or premium, players do obtain labor points at a faster rate of 10 labor points per 5 minutes, with a 5,000 point cap than free players, who obtain 5 labor points per 5 minutes with a 2,000 point cap. Labor points are required to do anything in-game that is considered "crafting", whether it's building a house, gathering a harvest or planting trees.

Sounds fair to me.

But what makes ArcheAge so awesome is that patron players can still receive certain advantages, such as owning a plot of land and earning more labor points faster than free players, but free players can still enjoy the game and not feel like their being punished for not paying. Treating free players fairly and still giving them value is an important aspect of creating brand loyalty, as well as encouraging free players to "ante up".

Developers Can Help Bring Cohesiveness

So how can developers help? Simply communicating the purpose and value behind their DLC is a good starting point. As a buyer in almost any other realm of life, gamers want to know what they're buying into if they choose to do so. By simply writing a detailed description of the DLC's content, setting a fair price (it's market value determined by comparable products), and adding it in a manner that extends the experience of the game post-release would do wonders for an industry divided.

To help drive this point home and entertain at the same time, I've written a haiku that would serve well to be posted above every developer's workstation:

Devs, Listen, Take Heart 

Transparency is Crucial

Good Content Sharing

Whether their platform is Steam Greenlight, Twitter or Facebook, developers have an almost endless number of platforms where they can engage and inform their customers. Just like in the all other facets of consumer goods, people like to know what they're buying before they jump in and above all, not feel forced to do so. In short, developers would do well to be aware of their's and others' emotions so that they can interact effectively and clearly with their customers to help reduce confusion and boost their brand's image.

During this entire last week, I've learned just how divided the gamer base is in regards to DLC. I've had multiple discussions with other gamers in all walks of life, and the only conclusion I can draw at this time is that this derision can be effectively fixed at the source. Instead of fighting among each other, developers can do much to bring us all together by practicing transparency.

How To Make Money In ArcheAge With Hereafter Stones Tue, 06 Jan 2015 13:00:02 -0500 WizardHunter

A way that I've found to make money in ArcheAge is to craft Hereafter Stones, the reason this is viable is due to the fact that everyone uses them. You've most likely used them as well.

They are used as a form of transport in the way of teleportation which makes them both useful and profitable.

To Craft:

Hereafter Stone

To craft them you need 3 Stone Brick and a Blue Salt Wedge, which make 3 Hereafter Stones.

Stone Brick

You can make Stone Brick by crafting them from 3 Raw Stone which can be obtain through mining iron veins, for great place to do the mining you can check out my other guide.

Blue Salt Wedge

A Blue Salt Wedge can be bought for 5 Silver each from any general merchant.


You can begin when you have your Raw Stone and Blue Salt Wedges, go to any Stonemason workbench.

When the menu comes up go to Stone Brick drop down, and begin crafting your Stone Bricks.

After that just look down the list and select Hereafter Stones, then you can craft to your heart's content. Well, till you run out of labor or materials.

The basic maths go as such:

For every 3 Hereafter Stone you make (they come in 3s) you need 3 Stone Brick, and to make those you need 3 Raw Stone. So if you minded 300 Raw Stone that would make 100 Stone Bricks, which you would then craft into 99 Hereafter Stones. 

Depending on your server the price will vary, now on my server 25 Hereafter Stones will fetch me around 16 Gold so this can be highly profitable.


The negative side to this method is both the time and labor needed to do this.

To make 3 Hereafter Stone you need 50 labor including the crafting of the Stone Bricks this goes up to 65 labor. If we take that into account to make my previous example of making 99 Hereafter Stones that would be a total of 2150 labor! And that's not including the labor for mining.

MMOs in 2014: The Good, The Bad, and The Future Fri, 26 Dec 2014 09:36:16 -0500 GabrielKross

2014 saw tons of MMO releases and news. I'm here to share the best and worst of the 2014 releases as well as the best of what's to come in the next year or so. Each category will count down the top three with a few honorable mentions that didn't quite make the cut. Keep in mind this is still just an opinion piece, and you're free to disagree. I'd like to hear your opinions in the comments below as well.

The Bad:

Let's start the reflection with what went wrong in the MMO industry this year. Most of these issues are from over-hype just to find out the game just wasn't that great...

3. WildStar

WildStar had a vast amount of potential, the problem is it didn't live up to the hype-train on launch. On top of that, the leveling went by too fast for little reward upon hitting max level. You spent a good 2-3 weeks after just grinding to unlock the quest-line for "Eldergame" content. After that it was about a month worth of solo-que for Adventures and dungeons to meet a requirement for the quest progression for raiding. Basically, it boiled down to an unwelcoming end game experience.

Since launch, Carbine put in a lot of effort to improve the gameplay and experience. Unfortunately, many of the dissatisfied players decided it was better to just wait for the other big releases of the year instead of returning to a game that burned them once.

2. ArcheAge

Here's a familiar scene. Cheating the disconnect system by using the training dummies to remain logged in. This techniques was used to dodge login ques on launch, and is now used in the winter event to cheat the system.

Here's a game I was really looking forward to. I played quite a bit of the ArcheAge alpha and enjoyed the systems the game had in place. But, there were two factors that hurt this game: the cash shop and the lack of preparation by Trion at launch. Just before launch, a few items were snuck into the cash shop that completely ruined any sense of achievement players would have in the game.

The other issue was just poor management of servers. ArcheAge had one of the worst launches I have seen in my history of gaming. I'm talking worse than the 3102 issue of FFXIV, and even the over-population issues of WoW's Warlords of Draenor. From launch, I spent a good two to three weeks just trying to log into ArcheAge only to get disconnected halfway through 13 hour ques, because there weren't enough servers to handle the over population. Trion's lack of resolving this issue in a timely manner quickly destroyed player interest in the game.

1. Elder Scrolls Online

Anything that could have went wrong with this game, did. This game was not ready for launch when it came out. I could go on for days about how quests just didn't work, or how player phasing made group questing impossible, or even the slide-show style PvP where nobody could do anything due to non-stop lag in the battles. ESO was just a poor showing all around for Zenimax. I only know of four or five diehard fans that still play ESO out of a play group that was originally 40 to 50 players deep at launch. The only way I'd ever reinstall ESO is if the game went free-to-play and they truly fixed the things they claim to have fixed.

Not Quite Making The Worst of the Worst List: Tera Rising

The Ascension and Wounded World patches just left players wanting and likely should have just been released all at once instead of separately. The Fate of Arun expansion didn't do much to remedy this issue. Tera stole a page out of WoW's book with the recent level increase scroll, but implemented it poorly by taking you to 58 and leaving you with no gear and no way to acquire it for new players. They also adopted ArcheAge's middling crafting system. With all of this combined, they just barely missed being one of the top three worst for the year.

The Good:

Now that we've made it past the worst the year had to offer, let's take a look at the best.

3. Elite: Dangerous

This is the only game out this year that I didn't get my hands on personally. From what I've seen through streams like Londongaming4fun since its recent release, this game has serious potential. Elite: Dangerous has open world space exploration and combat that looks visually amazing. I'm impressed considering this is a game that kind of just sprang up out of nowhere.

There are only two downsides I noticed when checking this game out, that prevented it from getting placed higher on the list. The first was just a lack of population, or the feeling of population to be exact. With as vast as the game is, it requires a lot of searching to run into other players in some of the regions. The other issue is the fact that to get the true immersion this game can offer you need third-party programs; programs like Voice Attack that allow you to program in voice commands for the game. Elite: Dangerous seems completely playable without them, but they make it feel much more real.

2. Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Since it's release late last year, FFXIV has steadily released new content and patches every three months or so. These patches make Tera's Fate of Arun "expansion" look like no more than a bug fix with the sheer amount of content disparity between them. FFXIV introduces more story, at least three new dungeons, a new Primal, and endgame continuation in each patch. I can't really think of a bad thing to say about FFXIV for the year.

1. World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

I'm sure most people aren't surprised, and are liking thinking this is a biased opinion. However, if I was being biased: FFXIV would have ranked higher as I've always been a FF fan. Now before I get into what makes WoD the best release of 2014, let me start by saying I literally started playing WoW for this expansion. My official start in WoW happened around 2-3 weeks before the expansion launched. I got to experience a bit of Mists of Pandaria before journeying to Draenor. Up until WoD launch I wasn't really impressed with the game.

Now, let me explain why I speak so highly of Warlords of Draenor. A big thing for me getting into this expansion was the beginner friendly approach that first quest-line before you get your Garrison has. Blizzard took into account that there would be a lot of new players with the returning players and made it so that they could get a feel for the game as well. On top of, that the story actually has a genuinely epic scale to it and it makes the player feel like their character is really making a difference in the story's progression, even though the flow and events are linear and scripted.

I'm never left with a feeling of a lack of things to do in Warlords of Draenor. It actually comes down to me trying to scramble around and get things done at the last second more often than not. Keeping your Garrison productive and not stagnant requires constant attention. Whether it means going out and gathering materials for your craft buildings or tracking down Garrison Resources for that building upgrade, it's almost like having a second job (in a good way).

The last thing I want to mention is dungeons and raiding. As this article shows, I play quite a few MMOs. I've never experienced an MMO that has been as personally challenging as this expansion. You have to constantly be aware of at least five things at once, and during a three-hour raid session that can be very taxing. It's a refreshing change of pace to most MMOs which favor the casual idea, "Let's make content that anyone can clear." These raids are designed with the understanding that not everyone can clear the Mythic difficulty, giving those that do that huge sense of accomplishment.

Honorable Mention: Blade and Soul: Taiwan

I got my hands on the Taiwan version of Blade and Soul the moment it launched back in November. I must say that it's everything I'd hoped for in Blade and Soul.

Fast-paced combat that requires skill really brings excitement to the game. Blade and Soul doesn't have healers, meaning players will live or die based on their own merits. It's nice having a game in which there is no one to blame but yourself for failing.

The reason this placed as an honorable mention instead of the top three is due to the fact that it requires a third-party translation patch to understand for english speaking players. GameSkinny writer Ashley recently wrote about a site that provides these translations.

The Future:

It's time to take a look at, "What's Next" for the MMO world. The next year or so is going to be really exciting, from what I've seen so far. As a lot of what's involved in these future releases is shrouded in secrecy, I'll share videos for each one.

3. Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

The first expansion for FFXIV is slated to launch some time in early 2015, I'm willing to bet sometime between March and May. This expansion brings three new jobs, flying mounts, Ishgaard, and so much more.

2. Tree of Savior

Tree of Savior is the spiritual successor to Ragnarok Online. Everything I've seen on this game has made me sure I want to play it. It takes a step back from those fancy, realistic 3D MMOs without taking away from the beauty of the world.

1. Black Desert

Another game that I decided I had to play after only seeing one video. This game reminds me a lot of the combat style of Blade and Soul, but on a more epic scale.

Honorable Mention: Lineage Eternal

This is a game I stumbled upon more recently, and I know very little about. It looks very Diablo like, but I'm not really sure of anything outside of that. I do know this game isn't expected until late 2016 though, so it'll be a long wait if this is the game you're looking forward to.

That wraps up my year-end review of MMOs and what to look forward to in the future. I'm very open to your opinions on what you think are the top three in each category. Be sure to share this with your friends and leave your opinions in the comments section below.