WildStar Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com WildStar RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network The State of MMOs in 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/ccwcq/the-state-of-mmos-in-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/ccwcq/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

ArcheAge

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.

WildStar

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.

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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:

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Why I Rarely Play Free-to-Play Games https://www.gameskinny.com/dqt6u/why-i-rarely-play-free-to-play-games https://www.gameskinny.com/dqt6u/why-i-rarely-play-free-to-play-games Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 ReverendShmitty

I do not dislike all games of any genre, especially of Free-To-Play MMOs. I’ve enjoyed games such as Runescape, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Planetside 2, Elder Scrolls Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. There is simply a common trend in these games that do not appeal to me.

That said, I would never write an article with complaints if I didn't think it could prove to be helpful to game creators as constructive criticism. So let’s get into it.

Being Free

Most of these are MMORPG’s that take the same ideas as every other MMO ever, and only run with them. Health bars, mana bars, cool down bars, and little icons you click on to do stuff. Got it. But being free-to-play, which often times have a tighter budget, means they often aren’t allowed to try something new.

I’m glad they’re free so people can easily get their hands on them, but as such, they become obligated to go the safe route, which all too often means unremarkable in virtually every way.

Suggested Fix

Don't be afraid to charge for your game.

The MMO market is flooded with free-to-play titles. Over-saturation has led to stagnation in the field, with games like Wildstar and Elder Scrolls Online switching between the two.

World of Warcraft, Legion

World of Warcraft is still the biggest MMO in the world, with an estimated 4-6 million active players. And how do they keep players entertained after 12 years? Dropping enormous updates and expansions that rejuvenate the game across the board.

How do they do this? By charging a monthly subscription and putting a price on their expansions.

This not only gives them a bigger budget, which is absolutely critical for any business, but also expresses to the audience that they stand behind this product and believe it is worth your money. Free-to-play games are on the rise, but much like mobile gaming apps, majority of the money is made by a very small minority due to the lack of quality pervading the genre.

By no means should everyone abandon the model for a subscription service, but any developer who believes their game is worthy playing, should also believe their game is worth paying.

Marketing

I get it, it’s a product they spent a lot of money and time on and here I am playing it for free. As suggested above, they should at least heavily consider charging for it.

But do they really have to put an ad to sign up and become a member into every little menu? Go to a shop to buy something and boom, sign up now and immediately x amount of in-game money. Go to my character menu to see what my new armor looks like, bam, sign up for monthly drawings to win free gear.

It just gets a little tedious to look after a while of the guilt racking up, sort of like being asked to donate money during your checkout when oftentimes you can’t afford to pay, hence the reason you were playing a free game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Suggested Fix

Less intrusive advertising.

Keep the main menu and character menu ads, but remove them from in-game menus. Show them during loading screens and the launcher, but not right below my equipment. Have a dedicated screen for it in the options so players can go sign up at any time, but don't show it and that really-cool-weapon-I-wish-I-had right above my claimable rewards.

Let us know we can sign up without shoving it down our throats or rubbing the things we're missing out on in our faces.

Perks

The biggest and by far worst aspect of free-to-play games is directly related to the Marketing point above.

The fact that members who pay a monthly fee get benefits is only reasonable, of course they should. They work for their money and should be rewarded for supporting the game.

But to constantly show this to every non-member is a bit ham-fisted. Sprint ability is a low-level ability for members but you have to wait till you’re 15 so why not sign up? Can’t customize your ally’s appearance unless you sign up. Picking out your end-of-quest reward? Can’t get these two, but members do.

By showing players what they can gain, they are also showing them what they lack. And by slapping that all over inventory menus and quest reward menus, it only succeeds in belittling everything you've done.

How do you feel accomplished after completing a punishingly difficult mission when the game immediately shows you the bonuses you're not going to get. You did the same amount of work and put in just as much effort, but because you haven't signed up (which you genuinely may not be able to afford as kid or student) you're excluded from getting the full package.

It just seems to me that selling convenience to members means creating inconvenience for non-members.

Overwatch,characters

Suggested Fix

Have perks be non-critical items and abilities.

Rather than withhold a low-level ability from non-subs, give those who do pay a sub-only cape, dance animation, or armor piece. Reward your subs not with abilities and items that everyone will get eventually-albeit much slower-but with clothing and color palettes exclusive to those who support the game.

Items like these are visible, so everyone can see who is a subscriber, while also being cosmetic items that don't allow them innate advantages. Overwatch's Loot Boxes are often looked at more favorably that Supply Drops for Call of Duty specifically because they are cosmetic items only.

Reward your subscribers without punishing everyone else.

Now, these are all relatively small matters so by no means am I trying to say free-to-play games are bad, some are quite good.

Play them all, try them out and see which ones really fit your tastes and play style. It’s all a matter of opinion and to be taken with a grain of salt. Hopefully with enough input from us players the companies will listen and make their great games even better.

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Journeying Outside the Lines: When Will MMOs Start Thinking Outside the Box? https://www.gameskinny.com/c3rqm/journeying-outside-the-lines-when-will-mmos-start-thinking-outside-the-box https://www.gameskinny.com/c3rqm/journeying-outside-the-lines-when-will-mmos-start-thinking-outside-the-box Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:23:06 -0500 Emily Parker

It's a pretty common sentiment that the MMO community is sick of its own games. Questing, tab targeting, objectively boring combat and content drop at end game all take a heavy piece of the responsibility.

Perhaps it's the current state of gaming technology that's holding the genre back,  or maybe it's the complication of vast economies and social networks. Could it be that our World of Warcraft overlords have made innovation difficult to market, or that free to play set ups and cash grabs have ruined the genre altogether?

Whatever the case may be, MMO players are currently suffering a long-coming IP drought and as an adoring and optimistic fan, I want to take a closer look at why. 

While I still manage to stay on the edge of my seat every time a new MMO is announced, the vast majority of my friends have long since given up. Chasing the next big thing can have heartbreaking consequences, especially when an MMO promises to be different, but barely is (which happens far [far] too often). 

 

For the purposes of this article, we must move past the founding fathers, past WoW and those companies that attempted something innovative within the 10 years after, and on to MMOs that have been developed more recently. We'll be mostly concerned with 2014 to present, as the releases from the last couple years knew they needed to be different, promised something different and then struggled to deliver. I'm talking Wildstar to present day and what it felt like to watch the genre tumble into oblivion.

In the 10 years following World of Warcraft our releases without hot bars or tab targeting is dismal. The combat has gotten slightly more creative, but a true action MMO has yet to gain traction. If you'd like to argue TERA with me, that's fine, but it is pretty heavily handicapped in a western market even with its progressive combat and doesn't showcase any other serious innovations.It's also worth mentioning Planetside 2, and I would love to see more FPS attempts, but it lacks quite a few MMO elements.

So we brush right up to 2014 and both Wildstar and ESO are claiming action combat.

We all remember thinking: "GW2 and SWTOR gave it a shot, but hey, that was several years ago. ESO is going to be exactly like Skyrim and it's going to be like I'm a crew member of the Firefly when I boot up Wildstar."

Wait, no. While both of these games had their merits, and their combat was a nice advance for the genre, neither can compare to action combat experiences in other genres.  

 

Unfortunately, the answer for why these games still don't feel like action games is a combination of can't and won't. Physical hit detection, or the core mechanic for realistic action in video games would be a huge tax on servers and a commitment from development. On top of that, many MMOers love the complexity a hotbar system allows. There's nothing quite like managing 20 hotkeys and three mob packs as an integral cog in your raid machine. So, to make the leap to a new combat system would require a serious investment for something half of the community may not actually want. 

To pile on top of our stale combat, questing is still an integral part of the MMO experience. There has to be a reason why there isn't a single big MMO since our 2014 benchmark that doesn't blatantly rely on questing and grinding. At least Guild Wars 2 and Rift gave it a shot. This solution to player progression is as old and stale as the Triscuit you found under the old refrigerator when you finally bought a new one last year.  So why does it still exist?

 

Psychology is the answer, my friends. MMOs must maintain a huge player base, and until the social aspect kicks in, they have to have a way to keep new players logging massive amounts of hours. In addition to the constant stream of rewards, the real power behind the quest log is our drive as humans to finish tasks. This is called the Zeigarnik effect and is a sure fire way to keep your player base engaged. The downside is that when mismanaged, bogged down by boring gameplay or broken mechanics, a full quest log is a popularly cited reason for feeling overwhelmed and ditching the game altogether. 

The more recent end of our time period focus has been represented by two Korean ports, Archeage and Black Desert. While both are incredible games with vast open worlds, the western market just wasn't ready for the RNG. Luck heavily influences the player's end game experience, and when you combine that with economy breaking cash shop monsters, two beautiful games are a misery to play once at level cap. 

 

So ... money is clearly the driving force behind these two mechanics, and out of my stale list I hope the cash shop is the first to go. If anything, though, games in all genres are seeing steady increases in micro transactions and P2W. We must speak with our money and stomp out this pandemic once and for all, if that means snatching your mom's credit card from your little brother the next time he wants to buy a season pass, so be it. 

So I've hammered in what needs to change or go completely (still looking at you cash shop), but it wouldn't be fair not to include what should be added.

Forced Social Interaction - Make us make friends developers. The trend to cut down on how often an MMO player needs to interact with other players is disheartening.

Up the Difficulty - Sure, PVP will always be a great way to challenge players, but why is grouped content so much easier? Difficulty builds community and creates game attachment. I would never suggest not having lower difficulty options, nobody needs to be excluded, just give us a bit of unique range here. Repackaging old dungeons in harder formats fails to inspire.  

Focus on Expression - Mounts, pets, housing and gear are meant to express the player and show off to other people. Transmog, dies and over stocked cash shops are all cheap ways to mimic this experience. These systems should be challenging and creative, with lore and theme appropriate rewards. Make it easier to share and show off. #socialmedia 

Understand the player-pixel connection - Out of the list, this seems to be the most difficult to achieve. You guys will hate me for it, but convenience is the problem. How will a player learn anything about the village they just stumbled across in the jungle if they skip all of the dialogue? How will they make a connection with the pet they just tamed if it goes straight to some arbitrary storage system? How will they feel like adventurers if their map is already littered with shortcuts? 

Add more hidden areas and secrets in dialogue. Make taming pets and mounts unique and difficult, limit storage. Hide crafting and building ingredients. A player's attachment to an MMO is a plethora of interactions and memories. Stop taking them away for convenience without providing substitute experiences.

Ok, that's enough for the wishlist.

So we've made it to present day and we're looking at the horizon ... 

2017 appears to be a big year for MMOs, but will they break these old tropes? As an optimistic and die hard MMO fan, I'm always going to say yes. As a community, we are aware of the issues, and the developers have taken notice. Well, they took notice previously, but this time they've changed, I'm sure of it.

 

Some games currently in development that appear to be making an effort to think outside of the box:

  • Camelot Unchained boasts PvP only progression and action combat. This would be quite a break from the high fantasy MMORPG mold. 
  • Star Citizen will have a massive economy and world and FPS style combat. It is set to release sometime in the next 20 years. 
  • Project Gorgon is truly trying to remake the genre and takes the cake for the most original upcoming MMO.
  • Peria Chronicles is meant to take house building to the next level, and with the cancellation of EQ Next, MMO players appreciate something on the building horizon. 
  • Worlds Adrift is a massive promise of a genre change, with a procedurally generated universe to mine and explore by airship.
  • Crowfall is possibly the most anticipated of this list. The player joins long, strategic campaigns on procedurally generated worlds that have life cycles of their own. 
  • Dark and Light may no longer be an MMO and I am salty. 

Our list of upcoming MMOs is so diverse it's borderline freakish. This should give us hope heading into 2017 that developers are interested in clawing their way outside of the pre-determined lines and on to something that will revitalize the genre.

I hope they will keep in mind that driving force that sets an MMO apart from other genres, and that's the ability to meet and interact with new people in every adventure. All of the innovations in the world won't matter if they continue to make grouping too easy, allow guilds to remain vestigial and implement mostly single player tasks. But, that is a conversation for another day.

Do you think our upcoming MMOs will break the mold? Are there any older ones that stand out as going against the grain? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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The State of MMOs in 2016: The Good, the Bad, and the Future https://www.gameskinny.com/74ozy/the-state-of-mmos-in-2016-the-good-the-bad-and-the-future https://www.gameskinny.com/74ozy/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.

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WildStar is Live on Steam Today https://www.gameskinny.com/95lve/wildstar-is-live-on-steam-today https://www.gameskinny.com/95lve/wildstar-is-live-on-steam-today Thu, 09 Jun 2016 13:29:31 -0400 Lisa Filmer

WildStar launched on Steam today, and is available to download now via steam. The game is a free-to-play fantasy sci-fi MMO, which originally launched in 2014.

On the Steam store page, WildStar is offering several discounted bundles for those who would like to level up their game play. The bundles available for purchase include; the Adventure Pack, Hero Pack, and Legend Pack.

Within the bundles are extra items like additional character slots, bank slots, coins, bag slots, pets, dyes, and even mounts in the higher priced bundles. Also the Hero and Legend pack include Signature game time, which is the optional subscription to the game. WildStar is allowing you to purchase these bundles on the store page, or within the game for those that are not using Steam.

The WildStar team states that they are going to be active with the Steam community. They are looking forward to feedback and reviews, and planning to provide news and updates to the game regularly.

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WildStar's new Arcterra zone launches today https://www.gameskinny.com/53ym6/wildstars-new-arcterra-zone-launches-today https://www.gameskinny.com/53ym6/wildstars-new-arcterra-zone-launches-today Wed, 30 Mar 2016 04:25:10 -0400 Shade Stalker

Today, NCSOFT is releasing a brand new zone called Arcterra, which is a previously unexplored area of the Nexus in WildStar. In an ongoing effort to find the Vault of the Archon, the Caretaker has uncovered this new area that will have players climbing cliffs, searching below the frozen tundra and its caves, and exploring frozen ruins filled with new mysterious foes and untold treasures.

In a note on WindStar’s website, they stated:

“The base of operations for both Dominion and Exiles while in Arcterra is the Osun-built edifice dubbed Shiverskull Tower. Faction leaders, scientists, and adventurers gather here to discover the previously undiscovered and help to further the Caretaker’s quest to find the Vault of the Archon.”

The new zone sports new and truly nasty creatures that will require players to group and to take them down. A series of catacombs carved from the blackest ice in Arcterra called the Bor Milug, is guarded by the Covenguard. You need to defeat these guards in order to gather parts to the Blade Key, an artifact that allows players to secure the dark passages.

There are, along with this new zone, a lot of new mounts, pets, housing décor and other rewards. By completing quests and defeating bosses, you can earn a new snow bike, ice-themed Trasks, and war pigs.

Madame Fay also has a horde of new baubles, toys and shinies for your visits to her. Head to the forward expedition teams and work with them to gain access to Arcterra.

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Did going free to play "save" WildStar? Will the game survive 2016? https://www.gameskinny.com/6yfbm/did-going-free-to-play-save-wildstar-will-the-game-survive-2016 https://www.gameskinny.com/6yfbm/did-going-free-to-play-save-wildstar-will-the-game-survive-2016 Thu, 07 Jan 2016 07:00:21 -0500 Emily Speight

Near the end of September last year (2016 is barely a week old, so this feels very odd to say!), WildStar transitioned from its subscription model to a free-to-play one. This pragmatic shift in payment models also marks a pretty big change in tune from developer Carbine's previous statements on the matter.

But has going free-to-play actually done WildStar any good? And even if it has, will it ultimately matter?

It might still be too early to answer the first question, but as for the second... things are not looking good for this sci-fi MMORPG. Let's examine the reasons behind that. But first...

Why is it still too early to judge the success of WildStar's F2P launch?

NCSoft, WildStar's publisher, have always played their cards very close to their chest when it comes to the fortunes of their games. Most of what fans know is drip-fed from quarterly reports issued by the company. The last one showed a general downturn in profits across all of NCSoft's games, but did not incorporate the launch period. The next quarterly report, covering Q4 of 2015, should give us a much clearer idea of where WildStar stands.

Judging by the schedule of quarterly report released thus far, we can expect to see the Q4 report somewhere between the end of January and halfway through February.

If it's still too early to call it, then why the doom and gloom?

Because, as Anne Shirley once said, my life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.

Melodrama aside, the problem lies in history: NCSoft's history. Perhaps most famously -- and that's saying something, given the company's dealings with Richard Garriot -- in the closure of Paragon Studios and its game, City of Heroes.

You might remember City of Heroes. If you never played it, it was the MMO that people who don't normally play MMOs played, and where they fit in right alongside veterans of the genre. It featured an incredibly robust character creation system, a buggy mission creator, a huge dance club where heroes and villains met on common ground, and -- my personal favourite -- a one-press battlecry, long before the phrase "spamming binds" had entered the gaming vernacular. 

How does this connect to WildStar? Shared published aside, City of Heroes transitioned to a free-to-play model in 2011, citing declining profits despite an extraordinarily high subscription retention rate (MMORPG.com's anonymous source alleges this was over 95%).

In 2012, however, Paragon Studios suddenly announced their closure and the accompanying shutdown of City of Heroes. NCSoft issued a rather bland statement on the subject, with the implication that resources were being refocused on then-upcoming Guild Wars 2. The publisher was then later quoted as saying that Paragon Studios was 'unprofitable', which was the root of the studio's closure. Whether this is true or not is still a matter of debate, thanks to NCSoft's aforementioned reticence. I'm inclined, weighing up what we do know, to believe that Paragon and City of Heroes were profitable -- but perhaps just not profitable enough for NCSoft.

With the above in mind, let's return to WildStar and review what we know:

  • WildStar has, of course, transitioned from subscription-based to free-to-play.
  • NCSoft has a major title close to launch, Blade & Souldue for release on January 19th.
  • We haven't seen a quarterly report with the F2P launch included yet, but I think a safe estimate would be that WildStar showed a slight -- but not major -- upswing in revenue.

It all sounds a bit familiar, if you ask me.

Conclusion

It's hard to say just yet whether going free-to-play has saved WildStar or not. Unfortunately, as with City of Heroes, the profitability of the move might not be enough to satisfy a publisher with a number of closed games under its belt.

Given what we've seen happen to that more established MMORPG, in fact, I'd say that WildStar will be hard-pressed to see 2017, to say nothing of its chances of making it to 2018. 

But I hope I'm wrong.

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Transparency: Understanding crafting in a single-player game like Fallout 4 https://www.gameskinny.com/dvw12/transparency-understanding-crafting-in-a-single-player-game-like-fallout-4 https://www.gameskinny.com/dvw12/transparency-understanding-crafting-in-a-single-player-game-like-fallout-4 Sat, 14 Nov 2015 06:52:47 -0500 Larry Everett

For those of you living under a rock, Fallout 4 dropped in stores this week, and I can only name two of my friends who aren't playing the game.

Remember that the vast majority of my friends are MMO players. These are players who have experienced many a game where they can build any number of things from a Sith temple on Yavin 4 in Star Wars: The Old Republic to their own PvP arena in a game like Landmark. Of course, the creation tools in Fallout 4 greatly surpass those found in SWTOR, but few can touch Landmark. On top of that, the only person actually experiencing this amazing Fallout 4 town that you’re creating is you, whereas your amazing creation in WildStar can be shared with thousands of people. So I am having difficult time wrapping my head around why people are quickly becoming addicted to the town creation, especially those who are avid MMO players.

Before you begin thinking that I'm setting out to bash your game or tell you that should be playing something else, read what I have to say. Fallout 4 looks great, and it might be the best game that Bethesda has ever made. It's also not the only game that falls in the category of me questioning why a person would spend so much time creating something that only he or she will see.

Another highly successful Bethesda game falls in this category for me as well: Skyrim. But Skyrim’s building has more to do with the mods than the game itself. There is a whole community built around that, just as there are modding communities built around the Fallout games.

So the question that I’m asking everyone today stems from this idea of building a town in Fallout 4 that no one else will ever see. How is it that players, especially MMO players, can spend so much time in games that offer them so little compared to the MMO world? I’d seriously like an answer in the comments after you’ve read my perspective.

The four types of players

My MMO world has four different kinds of players, generally. Richard Bartle created a taxonomy years and years ago that has been used to guide game creators for creating a good and balanced MMORPG. MMO players can be divided into Socializers, Explorers, Achievers, and Killers according to Bartle.

Many designers have utilized his taxonomy to help develop single-player games as well, especially RPGs. If it wasn’t used as a foundational tool for the game it was used to make sure that the game hit certain beats. Things like the Xbox achievement system plays right into the Achievers and Killers category. Open-world games, like your Grand Theft Autos and Elder Scrolls games, feed the Explorer’s appetite. And game forums and message boards feed the Socializer. It’s not a perfect fit for single-player games, but many things are applicable.

My working hypothesis

It should also be noted that when I took the Bartle test, which no longer exists, I fell heavily in the Socializer category, and although I understand the general motivation of the other kinds of players, I cannot always wrap my head around some of the specifics. One thing I’ve noticed about other Socializers is that the story and the motivation of a character is important to those players. So many times storylines in a single-player game will pull Socializers from the MMO world. This happens for me with just about everything that BioWare makes, as well as Skyrim, The Witcher 3, and Batman: Arkham Knight.

After a short discussion with a friend who is also a heavy Socializer, I’ve come up with one hypothesis. But it really only applies to one type of MMO player, and it can only loosely be applied to other games that have a heavy settlement-building.

I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that your settlement in Fallout 4 is intended to be a reflection of the town that you lived in before being placed into the vault. And your first motivation to clean it up because the things that you find can be useful in the game later. Then you also need to build yourself shelter to survive in the game. But why step beyond that? Story.

Although no one will see what you’re building, you have a personal investment to rebuild the neighborhood you were a part of before the nukes destroyed everything. And because people come to live with you in the settlement it becomes more of a Sims game, where each thing you build on becomes additional growth for not only your character’s story but also the stories being built through the people of the town itself. Discovering people and the motivation of others becomes a strong motivation for a Socializer, whether the avatar is a real person or scripted characters.

Of course, my hypothesis doesn’t account for players who are not Socializers. It also assumes that all Socializers enjoy story as much as I do, which might not be true outside my circle of friends. Admittedly my personal circles aren’t that big and we all seem to have a similar motivation when it comes to games in general.

It’s time for your input. What do you think? Do you have any hypotheses? I’d really like to know what your thoughts on the matter. Perhaps one of you can help me wrap my head around that drive for some MMO players to build a world that no one else will see except via screenshots. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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The best in-game events for Halloween 2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/r0de0/the-best-in-game-events-for-halloween-2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/r0de0/the-best-in-game-events-for-halloween-2015 Fri, 23 Oct 2015 21:08:53 -0400 Brandon Morgan

If you're anything like me, then Halloween is your favorite holiday of the entire year. The time when spooky spirits come out to play, random strangers give you candy, and horror movies play on television for hours and hours on end. It's easily the best day of the year, hands down.

However, as gamers, we get to enjoy another facet of the holiday: the in-game holiday events that happen in our favorite games. These generally include some spoopy atmosphere, characters in their own costumes, candy that offers some stat boosts, and a quest or two involving a headless horsemen or other legendary creature.

So, without further ado, here are the best in-game events to explore for Halloween 2015.

1. EverQuest II

Oct. 8 - Nov. 11

Players of of the old-school massively multiplayer online role-playing game can enjoy Nights of the Dead once more this year, where freaks abound and scary happenings occur in the world of Norrath. Festivities, obviously, are plentiful, and previous year's items and events have returned, including Halloween-themed Player Studio items, costumes, and weapons.

2. PlanetSide 2

Sept. 23 - Nov. 12

Most people wouldn't even consider a first-person shooter as a game that would have a Halloween event, but PlanetSide 2 certainly does. Sony will bring about the Nanite of the Living Dead, where players may collect pumpkin seeds by shooting said pumpkins to obtain Halloween Helmets. Season-themed weapons are included in your arsenal, too!

3. DC Universe Online

Oct. 1 - Nov. 2

The city of Gotham is about to become a little more twisted than usual, as the Witcher Hour has returned for this Halloween season. Players will earn themselves Spooky Bites every single day they play the game during the event, which can be used to visit Skeet's Boo-tique to buy creepy tricks, treats, and items for their bases or guild halls.

4. H1Z1

Oct. 27 - Nov. 12

Sony, obviously, loves Halloween. Just look at all of their in-game Halloween events for proof of that. In H1Z1, the studio is delivering zombies with pumpkin heads to celebrate, which can be killed for special tricks and treats. A rare scarecrow mask has also been included in Battle Royale airdrops.

5. Landmark

Oct. 8 - Oct. 29

While this one may end soon, the Halloween Livestream Party is well worth checking out. The Landmark developers are going to visit "Halloween Island," where Halloween builds and other spooky stuff has been constructed for the event. Players can visit the island and check everything out themselves, too.

6. ARK: Survival Evolved

Late October

Dinosaurs may not be what most people think about during Halloween, but the developers of ARK certainly are! ARK: Fear Evolved will take place over one week near the end of October. We will see bats, creepy-themed creatures, carvable pumpkins, and "bloodthirsty zombie Dodos."

7. Guild Wars 2

Oct. 23 - ?

Beginning today, Guild Wars 2 will introduce their annual Halloween event, entitled The Shadow of the Mad King. Nearly two weeks of holiday fun, including undead armies, decorations, Candy Corn, and visits from King Thorn, complete with his pumpkin head and all.

8. WildStar

Oct. 19 - Nov. 2

WildStar recently went free-to-play, which means now is the perfect time to get into the Halloween spirit in-game this year. Shade's Eve, the in-game event, is a celebration after a dreadful plague nearly wiped out life centuries ago. Daily quests, public events, and housing challenges will be available.

9. World of Warships

Oct. 20 - Nov. 2

This year, the Rise of the Phantom Fortress event will allow players to battle against ghostly enemy ships in random PvP to earn boxes of new items and goodies. A spirit Japanese destroyer, the Fujin, has been added to the Premium Shop for purchase.

10. World of Warcraft

Oct. 18 - Nov. 1

Every single year around this time, Hallow's End comes to the world of Azeroth to celebrate the Forsaken stepping away from the Scourge. Players can receive event-exclusive collectibles, go trick-or-treating for costumes and candy, bob for apples, and plenty more this season.

Will you be participating in any of these events? What else is going on for Halloween in your favorite games? Let me know in the comments!

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WildStar F2P: Best and most useful addons you need to download https://www.gameskinny.com/jj12f/wildstar-f2p-best-and-most-useful-addons-you-need-to-download https://www.gameskinny.com/jj12f/wildstar-f2p-best-and-most-useful-addons-you-need-to-download Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:12:21 -0400 Synzer

WildStar supports addons and with many people returning, or playing for the first time, there are some addons you will want to get. They help in a variety of ways, from making questing easier to improving your DPS.

Since there are so many possible addons, I'm going to highlight some of the most helpful ones that every player should have. If you are a new or returning player, be sure to also check out my What's different between F2P and P2P guide.

This guide will go over helpful addons in WildStar including:

  • Installing Addons - How to get addons for WildStar.
  • Helpful Addons List - A list of some of the most helpful addons.

How to Install Addons in WildStar

If you don't already have the Curse client from playing other games, download it at curse.com. This allows you to add any supported game, search, and manage addons directly from the client. It automatically adds the addons to the right folder, so all you need to do is select which addons you want.

Wildstar addons list

  • When you open curse client, click Tools at the top for a drop down menu, then click Add a Game.
  • Select the folder where WildStar is installed.
  • Make sure the box that says, "Yes, manage addons for this game" is checked, then click done.
  • Click the game on the side, then click the tab in the middle that says,"Get more addons".
  • You will see a list of the most popular addons and you can search for them on your own.
  • When you find one, just click install.

Helpful Addons List

Before getting these addons, know that some of them may not be up to date depending on the most recent patch. Many addons that aren't up to date will still work, but if your game starts having problems, try disabling some old addons until you find the problem. Many addons will be updated as the addon creators respond to changes in the game.

You can open the option menu in WildStar, click addons, then check the box that says, "Allow all out-of-date Addons to load". You can also individually select each addon and choose if you want to load it or not.

WildStar addon selection

  • Ayth_Quest - This addon is for people that want more efficient questing. It draws lines to nearby quests and quest givers and automatically activates the built-in quest arrows for nearby quests.
  • BetterQuestLog - This replaces the default quest log with a minimalist one. This makes keeping track of your quests much easier than the default log.
  • GalaxyMeter - This is a meter that tracks things like player damage done, taken, healing, and deaths. This is similar to Recount if you've played WoW. It is a good meter to compare DPS so people can see where they can improve.
  • Interruptor - This shows a different enemy cast bar for easy interrupts. Green bars are interruptible casts and red bars are uninterruptible casts.
  • TapThat - This addon automatically does all the events that require you to tap, press, or hold a button down. For cc breaks you still have the press the key, but you won't need to hold it down. It also automatically does the Simon memory events. This does not work in PvP.
  • ThreatMeter - Good for both tanks and dps. This shows how high you are on the enemy threat list so you can either slow down damage if you DPS or get more threat if you are a tank.
  • TrackMaster - Allows you to track and clearly see nearby targets such as mailboxes or certain NPCs.
  • ZenRadar - This addon shows a box that lists all nearby unread journals, Datacubes, and even resource nodes if you configure it that way. Click on an item to show an arrow pointing to its direction.

That wraps up my guide on helpful addons for WildStar. Let me know if you have any questions!

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WildStar still packing long queue times, F2P launch a success? https://www.gameskinny.com/09js0/wildstar-still-packing-long-queue-times-f2p-launch-a-success https://www.gameskinny.com/09js0/wildstar-still-packing-long-queue-times-f2p-launch-a-success Sun, 04 Oct 2015 16:40:16 -0400 Ashley Shankle

WildStar's free to play launch last week was heavily hyped among its then-current community, as well as players who had long since given it up or never played at all. Hearing a bunch of buzz over WildStar across forums for the first time since launch was interesting, but there's not much being said now. What's up with that?

The answer is simple enough: the game's current queue times are pretty massive.

Akin to an MMORPG at launch, WildStar's servers are being bombarded by users trying to log in or those just staying that way, and it's clear Carbine and NCSoft weren't prepared for the numbers they're getting trying to log into the game.

I've been able to log in a few times since last week's free to play launch, but in general I've been met with login queues longer than any I've seen since ArcheAge's launch last year. I haven't been able to play much, and I know a lot of other players are in the same boat.

Carbine is currently working on increasing WildStar's server capacity to lessen queue times. New hardware was added two days ago, though login queues are still fairly long.

It's an easy assumption that WildStar is going to do better now that it's gone free to play -- it's something that happens with any MMORPG that changes to a free to play monetization model -- and the difficulties over the past week are just a sign of quick, painful growth. How Carbine handles the challenges ahead will be what really dictates the game's future.

Have you enjoyed WildStar after its free to play shift, and do you think it's going to be able to keep up the momentum? If you've gotten more lucky than I have and been able to log in, let us know in the comments below!

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WildStar: Reloaded has crash landed https://www.gameskinny.com/h1p7h/wildstar-reloaded-has-crash-landed https://www.gameskinny.com/h1p7h/wildstar-reloaded-has-crash-landed Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:22:47 -0400 Jessi_Cat

WildStar has relaunched as WildStar: Reloaded, a free-to-play MMORPG. But it's already crashing and burning before our very eyes. Granted, it is their first day rolling out their free-to-play model, and there are bound to be some bumps in the road.

However, this game has always had issues, right from their very first launch back in June 2014. Between loads of bugs and constant server crashes, it started to lose player interest very fast, and even had some asking for their money back. So it was no surprise when WildStar was pulled from the shelves in Australia, and rumors began to spread about it going free-to-play.

Now that it has been “reloaded” the same old issues have arisen, along with some new ones. The launcher has been crashing and not allowing players to log in through their NCSoft accounts -  it’s giving an “Unhandled NC Platform Error 15” message. Some players are stuck on the character creation screen, and even once they get past that, the servers are full of players, so there's a lot of lag.

Returning players shouldn't expect to get on to the servers any time soon, since there is a long waiting queue. This may be due to a lack of servers and the added traffic of the F2P launch. Some players are even complaining about missing characters that were supposed to transfer over from closing servers.

As for newcomers, beware that you may get stuck in character creation for a long time, and the tutorial has even crashed some players out of the game completely. Even though this game is “Reloaded”, it's clear that the developers weren’t ready for people to come storming onto their servers. It is also a shame that the same issues have been happening for over a year, with little to no relief for the veteran players.

Hopefully the new traffic WildStar is getting will allow the developers to provide more servers, and receive helpful feedback from the players.

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WildStar Class Overview Guide - What you need to know jumping into F2P https://www.gameskinny.com/28mol/wildstar-class-overview-guide-what-you-need-to-know-jumping-into-f2p https://www.gameskinny.com/28mol/wildstar-class-overview-guide-what-you-need-to-know-jumping-into-f2p Wed, 30 Sep 2015 08:16:24 -0400 Synzer

The classes you can play as in WildStar are pretty unique, but they still have similarities to classes you've seen in other games. The revamped character creation does a better job than before at letting you see how each class plays, but it is still hard to pick one without experience.

I've played each class enough to give you a decent idea of how they play. I'll help you decide by giving details on each class, how difficult I find each, and how similar they are to classes in other games you are more familiar with.

Please visit my What's different between P2P and F2P guide if you are just starting or getting back into WildStar.

This guide will go over all WildStar's classes including:

  • Basic Class and Path Info - What you need to know while in character creation.
  • Warrior - How this class plays, what they use, and similar classes.
  • Engineer - How this class plays, what they use, and similar classes.
  • Stalker - How this class plays, what they use, and similar classes.
  • Medic - How this class plays, what they use, and similar classes.
  • Spellslinger - How this class plays, what they use, and similar classes.
  • Esper - How this class plays, what they use, and similar classes.

Basic Class and Path Info

One thing to keep in mind is that some classes are only available to certain races. Humans and Cassians can be any class, but the other races have restrictions. Below is the list of classes each race can choose from.

Exile
  • Granok - Warrior, Engineer, Medic
  • Mordesh - Warrior, Engineer, Medic, Stalker, Spellslinger
  • Aurin - Esper, Spellslinger, Stalker
Dominion
  • Mechari - Engineer, Medic, Stalker, Warrior
  • Draken - Spellslinger, Stalker, Warrior
  • Chua - Engineer, Esper, Medic, Spellslinger

WildStar character creation

You can also get a glimpse of what mid and endgame gear looks like for each class.

Paths

A path is a separate thing you pick when creating a character. Any class and race can pick any path. Think of this like a side class you can level up as well, similar to professions.

  • Explorer - This path involves exploring Nexus by finding secret areas, placing beacons, and more.
  • Scientist - This path scans various objects and collects data to find out more about the planet Nexus.
  • Settler - This path involves collecting materials to build helpful expansions such as stat and experience boosts for a short time for yourself and other players.
  • Soldier - This path involves a lot of fighting. Assassinations, waves of enemies, and testing weapons are some of this missions to expect.

Warrior

You'll see a class like this in nearly every RPG or MMO. This is a melee class that wears heavy armor and can either DPS or Tank.

It has something that makes it stand out from most games, an arm cannon. Some skills use the arm cannon to blast with ranged attacks or grapple enemies to pull them in. Warriors use Kinetic Energy to power their attacks. Certain attacks build it, while others use it.

This is a standard class that is great for beginner's, but still a top class for end-game content. The damage and heavy armor makes it easier to survive. The innate ability is a cooldown that increases damage and gives you unlimited Kinetic for a short time.

Engineer

This class also wears heavy armor and uses a heavy gun. It can Tank or DPS and has some ranged attacks. They also use robots to help damage, tank, heal, and crowd control.

This class is similar to pet classes in other games, like Hunters in WoW, but with tanking durability and options to not use pets at all in favor of other abilities.

This is an all-around good class for leveling and end-game content. When using bots, the class becomes more difficult and requires more attention.

Stalker

This is your typical rogue/thief class. They use stealth, medium armor, and claw weapons. They can Tank or DPS, so that's what makes them a bit different from most rogue classes in other games. Tanking usually takes the form of building dodge abilities.

Stalkers have different stances and their innate ability makes them stealth. Their skills use Suit Power, which works just like energy in most games. You start at full, then it goes down as you use skills, and regenerates over time.

When playing DPS, their survivability is lower than most, so you have to kill quickly while playing solo. You'll want to be good at dodging and moving quickly if you play a Stalker.

Medic

wildstar medic class

Don't let the name fool you, this is not just a healing class, it can also spec to full DPS. The use medium armor, use paddles as weapons, and have medium range. The theme of this class is Tron and dubstep.

This class uses a lot of technological skills and buffs for the party. It doesn't quite match up with any standard classes in other games. The closest class would be a Shaman in WoW.

Since this class can heal and DPS, it is pretty easy to level compared to other classes. They use Actuators to power their attacks. Their innate ability fully charges their Actuators and gives an assault and support power increase when above 30% health, or restores shield and increases shield mitigation when below 30% health.

Spellslinger

This class is a western gunslinger mixed with a spell caster, their guns shoot spells. They are a ranged DPS or healing class that uses light armor and dual pistols.

Their innate ability, Spell Surge, is very special and acts as an extra skill. It does not have a cooldown, instead it has 4 charges that regenerate over time and you can toggle it on and off. Some skills have extra effects when you have spell surge on.

This is a fast-paced class with a lot of movement like Stalker, but Spell Surge ramps up the difficulty. To master this class, you'll have to master using spell surge on the correct skills and turning it on and off so you optimize the buff on the fly.

The class revolves around this mechanic, so it takes a while to get used to when doing endgame content. This is one of the hardest classes to play in my opinion, but if you can get Spell Surge down, it is not too hard to play.

Esper

This is the other light armor, ranged class that can DPS or heal in WildStar. They use spells and illusions, as well as a Psiblade, to attack. This most similar to a mage or illusionist class.

Espers build up Psi points with some attacks, then spend them on spells called Finishers, similar to the combo system in WoW. Their light armor makes them vulnerable, but they can heal to overcome some of that.

It is a semi-difficult class to level and master. Mastering the class is harder than most because if you don't manage your Psi points correctly, you'll lose a lot of DPS, or miss huge opportunities.

Any class can do well in all content, you just need to understand exactly how each class works. As always, playing the class or classes you find the most fun will usually be the best way to go.

You will be more motivated to master a class you love playing, even if it is hard to play, than an easy to play class that you don't like playing. Look up gameplay videos as well to give you a better idea of how each class turns out.

That's it for my class overview of WildStar. Hopefully, this gives you a good starting point for each class. Playing each class yourself is still the best way to find out if you like the class or not.

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Wildstar: What's different between P2P and F2P? https://www.gameskinny.com/ye9a1/wildstar-whats-different-between-p2p-and-f2p https://www.gameskinny.com/ye9a1/wildstar-whats-different-between-p2p-and-f2p Tue, 29 Sep 2015 08:58:51 -0400 Synzer

WildStar has finally gone F2P (Free to Play) and has brought many changes along. Many people will be starting for the first time or coming back after a long break. So much has changed and there are some key differences between playing for free and subscribing to the new signature status.

I'll make things easier by going over the big changes since F2P, explaining the basics of the game, and helping you get started with the new version of WildStar. If you're looking for information on each class, go to my Class Overview guide.

This guide will go over basic info and the differences between P2P and F2P including:

  • WildStar Basics - Getting started in WildStar.
  • F2P Changes - What was added in the F2P updated and how the game is different from when it was P2P.
  • F2P and Signature Player Differences - What F2P players get and the benefits of subscribing to have Signature status.

WildStar Basics

WildStar is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) and has similar systems that other games in the genre have.

The combat system is what stands out about WildStar. It has very fast-paced action and requires you to be quick on the keyboard.

Nearly every ability, for players and A.I. alike, have telegraphs to show where they will land. This means that you must free target your attacks and even heals. It also uses what is called a "Limited Action Set," which allows you to only choose up to 8 skills to use at a time. You can switch these any time you are out of combat, but it makes you think about what skills you need and every skill in the set should be used.

Strong enemies and bosses have interrupt armor. This means you have to use interrupts to destroy the armor, then interrupt it again to actually stun or interrupt the boss. Every player needs to have an interrupt because of this and requires team coordination.

There is a lot to be said about WildStar's gameplay, but you get the general idea.

F2P Changes

The game got a complete overhaul so I'm only going to highlight the huge changes.

Character Creation

When you create a character you can now choose 1 of 3 options.

  • New to MMOs - This option gives a basic tutorial about playing MMOs, then goes into the basic WildStar tutorial.
  • New to WildStar - This is for people that are new to WildStar, but not MMOs. It starts on the Arkship tutorial.
  • Veteran - This is for people that have experience with WildStar. It starts them on Nexus and bypasses the tutorial.

There is a new UI that shows each race, gender, and class. You get more details info on what each class does, what each path does, and a preview of what your armor will look like for each class.

Stats

We no longer have stats like Moxie and Brutality. All DPS main stats are Assault Rating and all healer or tank main stats are Support Rating Regardless of class.

wildstar stat changes

There are still secondary stats that matter more for certain classes and there are new stats.

  • Multi-Hit - This is a chance that your attack or heal will activate an additional time. This does not mean your attack or heal will hit an additional target.
  • Vigor - You deal more damaged based on how much health you have. As your health goes down, so does the bonus.
  • Intensity - Increases outgoing heals as well as Focus cost.
  • Glance Change and Mitigation - Glance chance is the chance the tank will reduce an incoming attack. Mitigation is how much the attack gets reduced.
  • Reflect Chance and Damage - This is for all roles. Each time a player takes damage, they have a chance to reflect a percentage of that attack back to the attacker. The damage stat affects how much reflects back.
Abilities and AMPs

You no longer need to buy abilities when you unlock them. You also don't need to get items to unlock AMPs. You unlock them as you fill up the board.

Ability slots now unlock at levels 1-10.

Misc. Changes

The raid attunement process was shortened and anyone that has fulfilled the requirements and has the Genesis Key will automatically be ready to raid. 

There are many class, dungeon, adventure, and raid changes, so look at the official patch notes for full details.

F2P and Signature Player Differences

Even though the game is F2P, there is still a subscription option. This is called Signature now and they get bonuses for subscribing.

Anyone that bought WildStar before F2P launched get some benefits for free.

  • Character Slots - 12 instead of 2.
  • Costume Slots - 6 instead of 4
  • Personal Bank - 5 instead of 2.
  • Decor - Can place 2,000 items instead of 1,000.

Players also get Cosmic Points based off of the type of retail version they bought.

Cosmic Points are a currency based off of the new in-game shop. You can get more by spending NCoin, the new currency that cost real money.

Below are the differences between Free players and Signature players.

Wildstar f2p and signature differences

Free players have full access to the game and all the content, Signature players just get extra benefits.

Some of the benefits can be earned through Cosmic Rewards. There are 6 tiers and you can check all the rewards in-game by opening up the shop.

That's it for my WildStar P2P and F2P changes guide. Feel free to ask me any questions on anything in here or WildStar in general.

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WildStar's F2P landing this Tuesday with new bells and whistles https://www.gameskinny.com/5aivx/wildstars-f2p-landing-this-tuesday-with-new-bells-and-whistles https://www.gameskinny.com/5aivx/wildstars-f2p-landing-this-tuesday-with-new-bells-and-whistles Mon, 28 Sep 2015 06:01:09 -0400 Ashley Shankle

WildStar's free to play launch is almost upon us, which means it's almost time for Carbine and NCSoft to bring the game back to relevance.

Based off the news posts and the official WildStar Twitter, Carbine Studios are hyped to bring the game to a wider audience -- especially with the new content and tweaks coming with the conversion to free to play. Prettier graphics and a more streamlined endgame? Yes, please.

Those of you that subscribed to WildStar previously have some extra benefits over new F2P players, and anyone who bought the game gets some goodies of their own to enjoy as well.

The game will also have a premium membership, as is the standard these days, called Signature. Signature will give a fair amount of benefits, even more than actually owning the game. Make sure you read up on the Signature system in the free to play FAQ to know what to expect come Tuesday.

WildStar's been a bit under the radar since a couple months after its full launch last year, but the free to play announcement and upcoming launch have some good buzz among the MMO community. Is it finally time for the game to take its place among some of the most populated MMORPGs today? Shifting to free to play gave massive population boosts RIFT, TERA, TES:O, and a whole slew of other games. Will it do the same for WildStar?

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Why WildStar is worth your time https://www.gameskinny.com/q3vlo/why-wildstar-is-worth-your-time https://www.gameskinny.com/q3vlo/why-wildstar-is-worth-your-time Sat, 26 Sep 2015 15:26:52 -0400 Durinn McFurren

As most people probably know by now, WildStar will be going free to play on September 29th. Whether you've played the game before or not, it's worth checking out. Here's a few reasons why everyone should take advantage of this to give it a try.

Combat

For me, the greatest draw in WildStar is the combat. Unlike traditional tab-target MMOs, almost every ability (including heals and interrupts) in WildStar has an area of effect, which is determined by your character's facing. Some abilities will hit all targets in the AoE, some will hit a certain maximum number, and some will only hit the closest target.

This adds an element to positioning that takes it beyond the usual 'don't stand in the bad' and 'vaguely face the boss' tactics seen in tab-target MMOs. An ability whose AoE is a thin, straight line can be used as a devastating multitarget attack, if you can position yourself on one end of a line of enemies. (Think of the triple headshot in the Deadpool trailer.) Have a DoT that needs to be cleansed? Healers can't just mouse over your name on their raid frames and cast a cleanse on you; they need to aim the cleanse, and you need to avoid moving out of it. This necessitates tactical thinking that is simply not present in tab-target games. It also adds a need for careful group coordination.

Another excellent aspect to the combat in WildStar is the need to perform various acrobatics. With the ability to sprint for limited periods of time (although sprinting prevents your character from performing any attacks) as well as the ability to perform a limited number of dodge rolls, there's many more ways to move around the battlefield than what's available in other MMOs. Using these abilities intelligently is crucial both to surviving and to maximizing your output.

All in all, the combat system is what really grabbed my attention when I first started playing WildStar, and I would not want to go back to a tab-target kind of system.

2. Endgame content stays interesting

Another one of my favorite things in WildStar is that even the pre-raiding endgame content is fairly challenging and continues to have a high replay value. Max level dungeons are not pushovers, even once you outgear them. Sure, the gear lets you kill things faster, but in general you will not usually be able to totally ignore a mechanic without wiping.

In other words, you won't usually be able to beat a fight by simply overgearing it. Skilled players with minimal gear will perform better than unskilled players with lots of gear - this is true to an extent in every game, but it is more prominently true, to me at least, in WildStar than in lots of other games.

3. So why isn't it more popular?

So why has WildStar not been more popular? Perhaps the somewhat rocky start led to a bit of a spiraling effect. New players found themselves having to level primarily through questing. While questing in WildStar to level is no more tedious than in other MMOs I have played, players coming from games like World of Warcraft, where it is possible to get into a leveling dungeon every 5 minutes or so, might have found the lack of leveling dungeon queues quite frustrating.

A related problem was the learning curve. Players who were inexperienced in other MMOs, and even players who had stuck to more casual content in other MMOs, often found some of the leveling instances fairly difficult and end up feeling quite frustrated, because they jumped up quickly in difficulty. This made leveling seem like more of a grind than it actually should have been.

Plus, reaching max level was not the end of the grinding process. After hitting max level, a character still needed to acquire more ability and AMP points in order to be maximally effective. Originally, this process was gated, so it would take many weeks to acquire these points.

Finally, in order to raid, there was a very long 12-step attunement process. It probably would not have felt so long if there were a constant influx of new players with whom to attune, but for most steps, there was no real motivation for someone who had completed that step to go back and do it again. (For example, there was no reason for someone to go kill world bosses ever again if they'd already completed that attunement step.) So a lack of new players could slow the attunement process while newbies searching for people who were willing to help.

Not to mention that some of the attunement steps involved lengthy RNG-filled instances (I'm looking at you, Malgrave Trail...) which could be failed at the last moment through RNG, necessitating starting all over again.

Fortunately, the devs at Carbine are very responsive to player input, and the attunement process, already streamlined in previous patches, will be cut down to just four or five steps in the free to play launch. The leveling process is also being reworked to make the learning curve smoother and to help introduce people to the meat of the game more quickly. New incentives to do things like kill world bosses are being added. There's some other great changes, like changing up stat priorities so that customizing gear with runes will be a little more interesting than before (for those unfamiliar with previous stat priorities, they would quickly degenerate into 'AP to class cap, then more crit!'), but these kinds of detailed changes are likely to be more meaningful to those who already play the game.

4. Choose chuas!

If you needed more reasons to play, consider this: you can play as a chua, a race of intelligent space chinchillas with rat tails and an obsession for doing science through violence. Or you can play as a matriarchal space hippie obsessed with environmentalism...again through violence. What more could you ask for in a game, cupcake?

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The 6 best subscription-free MMORPGs you have to play https://www.gameskinny.com/m5poq/the-6-best-subscription-free-mmorpgs-you-have-to-play https://www.gameskinny.com/m5poq/the-6-best-subscription-free-mmorpgs-you-have-to-play Sat, 12 Sep 2015 13:42:02 -0400 Rob Thubron

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1. Guild Wars 2

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Sometimes, developers can try to take all the best elements from various games within a genre, mix them together, add some new stuff, and end up with total crap. Other times the mix works perfectly and you get a game like Guild Wars 2 

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GW2 really does take everything that people enjoy about MMORPGs, remove the worst parts and adds it own spin on it. Take the whole social aspect of MMORPGs - playing online games with loads of other people can be great fun, but let’s face it, some people can be a-holes. By putting an emphasis on casual co-operation, ArenaNet managed to get rid of some of the unfriendly, toxic competitiveness you’ll often find in MMO games. 

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Guild Wars 2 is set in a persistent world that responds to players’ actions. The dynamic events it features may be a bit more scripted that the developers like to claim, but it still makes players feel like they are part of an ever-changing, living, breathing world. 

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The game can be incredibly complex yet is completely accessible, even to someone who’s never played an MMORPG before. It looks beautiful, has some of the best PvP in the genre, rewards exploration instead of punishing it, has multiple methods of tackling objectives, and does everything an MMO should do - only better. 

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In my opinion, Guild Wars 2 is still the best MMO game in the world today, subscription-free or otherwise.

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What MMOs do you think deserve a spot on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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2. Star Wars: The OId Republic

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Few MMORPGs garnered as much excitement in anticipation of its release as Star Wars: The Old Republic. Star Wars, you say? Bioware, you say? How can this possibly not be the greatest game ever made in the history of video games? The first reviews of the game seemed to suggest it really did live up to its hype; 93% in PC Gamer, 9/10 on IGN, 4/5 on Gamespy. But then something started happening, subscription numbers dropped rapidly and people started abandoning the game in droves.

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Thing is, SW:ToR really is a great game, but like a really awesome rollercoaster, once you’ve experience the initial thrill a few times it starts to lose its appeal – especially when you’re paying a monthly fee for the pleasure. The game also suffered from its own ambitions; trying to stuff the equivalent of four MMORPG’s worth of story into one fully voiced MMO game was a titanic task.

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But then Bioware did something sensible and SW:ToR began offering a free-to-play option, a model they probably should have adopted from the beginning. It does come with some pretty annoying caveats, though, such as reduced speed, slower leveling, and no mounts. Despite all this, it’s still an excellent MMORPG. 

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3. WildStar

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In case anyone didn’t know: WildStar is going to start offering a true free-to-play model this fall. The game previously had a C.R.E.D.D system, which allowed non-subscribers to buy game time using game-world gold. Like most MMORPGs using free-to-play, anyone who continues subscribing to Wildstar after the change will receive in-game benefits.

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WildStar has been called the first ‘modern’ MMORPG. The game cherry-picks the best bits from other massively multiplayer online titles, but cites World of Warcraft as its biggest influence, especially in its structure, questing and visual style. One area that is unique to the game is its very cool combat system; this places more emphasis on arcade-like skills that require manual aiming. And it has one of the best housing systems of any MMORPG. 

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Full of fun quests, adventures and packed with character; WildStar’s a massive, fun experience that’s worth returning to for any lapsed subscribers - once the free-to-play mode kicks in - and a great starting point for newbies. 

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4. Rift

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Despite Rift being very popular, absolutely massive, and incredibly beautiful, many detractors point to the game’s lack of originality as its downfall. It’s worth reminding these people that while innovation in games should be encouraged, a lack of originality never stopped a title from being fun or popular (the Lego games, Call of Duty, FIFA, etc, etc, etc).

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Despite the perception that Rift contains nothing we haven’t seen before, it still has a massive and dedicated userbase. The game won numerous awards upon its release in 2011, including ‘Best PC Persistent World/MMO Game of the Year’ from IGN. At the time, it was also hailed as being the first MMORPG that could challenge World of Warcraft’s dominance of the genre.

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Rift went free-to-play in 2013, offering an optional ‘Patron Status’ subscription service that gives players bonus buffs, improved abilities, store discounts and even expedited customer support! Moving to this free model improved desirability for the game no end. For some awesome PvP, beautiful looks, super gameplay and one of the most welcoming communities of any MMORPG, check out Rift.

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5. The Secret World

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The Secret World is one of those games that could be listed under the word ‘polarizing’ in the dictionary. While a great number of players praise its originality and open-ended skill system, others complain that it’s just an archaic, unambitious MMO that would have made more of an impact if it had been released in 2008 instead of 2012.

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Whichever camp you fall into to, it’s impossible to deny that The Secret World’s puzzles, setting and especially its atmosphere are some of the best ever seen in MMORPGs. Any fans of horror maestro HP Lovecraft will love the many homages the game pays to the author. 

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TSW is quite different from the majority of other MMOs, which could be what makes it such a ‘love it or hate it’ type of game for so many people. In many ways it can sometimes feel like a single-player title, but that’s not always a bad thing, especially when you’re looking for a different kind of MMORPG experience. It’s incredibly innovative; some missions even include puzzles which require you to search the internet for a solution using an in-game browser! 

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The Secret World eventually moved from a pay-to-play to a buy-to-play model, meaning that you now just have to pay for the base game. Anyone wanting additional benefits such as experience buffs, monthly gifts, and store discounts still have the option of forking out for a monthly subscription. 

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If you value elements such as story, skill systems and uniqueness over MMO staples like PvP and crafting, then you’re likely to love The Secret World.

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6. The Lord Of The Rings Online

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I personally spent many, many hours exploring the enormous world of The Lord of the Rings Online. The game’s been around since 2007, and even today offers the most immersive experience of Tolkien’s world you can find.

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This massive game is divided into 25 separate regions, including fan favorites such as The Shire, The Misty Mountains and The Ettenmoors - you can even explore the Mines of Moria and Isengard in the expansions. You’ll also meet characters such as Gandalf, Frodo and the rest of the fellowship in your travels. The whole thing is like a love letter to Middle Earth; if you’re a fan of the books or the movies (or both, of course) then this is definitely worth checking out.

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There are plenty of your usual MMO staples here: crafting, questing, PvP, PvE, banks, healers, etc. And the fact that you can buy and decorate your own home makes you feel like you’re an integral part of Middle Earth.

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The game switched to free-to-play a while ago, but anyone who wants to pay extra gets some fancy perks that’ll speed things up and allow access to more areas.

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It may be a bit long in the tooth and not have the subscriber numbers it once had, but The Lord of the Rings Online is still a classic MMORPG and a must-play for any Middle Earth diehards who have yet to experience it. 

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Massively multiplayer online role-playing games have been around a while. The first generally accepted ‘true’ title in the genre was Neverwinter Nights way back in 1991 which cost players an astounding $6.00 an hour to play. Since then, MMORPGs have developed into the behemoths we know today - such as the mighty World of Warcraft - and many still use a pay-to-play subscription model, though thankfully they don’t charge on an hourly basis anymore.  

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One thing that puts a lot of people off MMORPGs is that they don’t want to commit to a monthly subscription, which is why many of them now don’t require monthly fees. Several titles on this list started out with paid-for services, but eventually moved to a free-to-play model that offers benefits to those who wish to continue subscribing. The criteria for getting on this top six is that the game must be, essentially, free to play. A few of these titles do charge for the base game, but don’t require any monthly subscriptions in the way something like Warcraft does.  

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So if you want to dip your toe into multiplayer online RPGs, or maybe you’re a lapsed subscriber who wants to return to these amazing worlds, here are the 6 best subscription-free MMORPGs you can play today.

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WildStar F2P launch scheduled for September 29th https://www.gameskinny.com/l78tm/wildstar-f2p-launch-scheduled-for-september-29th https://www.gameskinny.com/l78tm/wildstar-f2p-launch-scheduled-for-september-29th Sun, 06 Sep 2015 14:43:31 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Have you been waiting for WildStar to go free-to-play to give it a shot? If you're in the same boat as me and decided to skip it after trying it in beta, probably. Luckily, the game has allegedly changed a lot since then, and it's about to change even further as it begins its transition to a free-to-play business model this month.

Did anyone expect WildStar to be going free-to-play this month? I didn't. I expected something more along the lines of October or November -- but with Blade & Soul also being published by NCSoft and going into beta then launch in the next four to six months, it makes sense to get WildStar shifted to free-to-play sooner rather than later.

As with the many other subscription to F2P-converted MMOs to come before, players who own the game will have it a little better than players who didn't jump on the bandwagon sooner (though you can certainly purchase the game right now).There will also be a premium subscription option, called Signature, to make more of the game.

Those who bought the box will get extra character, costume, and personal bank slots. They will also be able to place 2,000 decor items instead of the F2P 1,000. Players who subscribed at one point will receive Loyalty Points based on how long they subscribed and how much the game initially cost them.

You can read about all the specifics on box-owners vs. total F2Pers and the Signature program on the official WildStar Free-to-Play FAQ. There's a lot to take in, and not a lot of time before it officially changes business models.

If you want to give WildStar a shot now but don't have a subscription, you may be able to get into the closed beta for the new build. Head to the official site, sign up, and wait for your (hopefully) imminent beta key.

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WildStar Free-to-Play launch date is September 29th https://www.gameskinny.com/2nvnm/wildstar-free-to-play-launch-date-is-september-29th https://www.gameskinny.com/2nvnm/wildstar-free-to-play-launch-date-is-september-29th Thu, 03 Sep 2015 04:48:15 -0400 Destini Islands

WildStar is a sci-fi MMO developed by NCSOFT and Carbine Studios that takes place on a recently discovered planet named Nexus. It utilizes an open world environment and tells the story of intergalactic conflict with various alien races.

Second phase beta test and launch date

As of today, WildStar has entered the second phase of its closed beta test. Carbine Studios has announced in their press release that the free-to-play MMO will be publically available on September 29th. They have also announced a new in-game store and content update titled WildStar Reloaded. Those who are already subscribers or been invited with a closed beta key have access to this next beta phase. Carbine Studios claims that veteran players will be "handsomely rewarded for their loyalty" and all active subscribers will be given exclusive items.

In-game store and free item opportunities

In this upcoming beta phase, players will be moving from testing the player experience itself such as tutorials. Instead, the focus will be on ensuring the economy and transations are smooth. Invited players will be given a "risk-free" opportunity to test NCoin, a real money currency for the new in-game store. Players will be able to go through the entire purchase process and keep their items after the game goes live.

WildStar Reloaded

Carbine Studios claims the content update planned for launch will be the biggest game update yet thanks to "new content, enhanced game systems, and countless quality of life improvements." They thank the playerbase for their dedication and plans for a streamlined starting experience for new players.

Those who are interested and do not have a key can still sign up on their official website.

WildStar is a sci-fi MMO developed by NCSOFT and Carbine Studios that takes place on a recently discovered planet named Nexus. It utilizies an open world environment and tells the story of intergalactic conflict with various alien races.

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WildStar launches closed beta for free-to-play model, but how much value will it give you? https://www.gameskinny.com/emtop/wildstar-launches-closed-beta-for-free-to-play-model-but-how-much-value-will-it-give-you https://www.gameskinny.com/emtop/wildstar-launches-closed-beta-for-free-to-play-model-but-how-much-value-will-it-give-you Wed, 12 Aug 2015 09:11:10 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

Paying monthly subscriptions for MMOs has steadily become a tough sell for many consumers. People simply expect more for less and many games have had to adapt to the changing currents. WildStar will be yet another one of those games.

Now, NCSoft and Carbine Studios have officially launched the closed beta for the free-to-play transition, which is available to all players who currently hold an existing WildStar account and have signed up for a closed beta key, including those who do not have an active subscription.

Back in May, NCSoft and Carbine Studios announced the transition after only launching the game in June 2014. However, like many other free-to-play MMOs, WildStar will still have an optional subscription to upgrade player accounts to Signature Accounts which come with extra character slots among other added perks.

The developers have promised to maintain WildStar by staying "committed to ensuring that WildStar will remain AAA, offering polished regular updates and a high-quality experience." Among these updates will include:

  • A revamped character creation system that is more friendly to experienced MMO players, letting them start wherever they choose.
  • Two new areas, Alpha Sanctum, an instance that will bring players into the Nexus world story earlier in the game, and the PVP Arena Cryo-Plex, a winter-focused, multi-layered battlefield.
  • A completely randomized reward system called Madame Fay's Fortunes that lets players invest a little bit of in-game currency that can turn into a small fortune.
So the big question is - how free is this free-to-play model?

Free-to-play can be as tough a sell to a player as any subscription, especially depending on how high the developers set the pay wall. Some games let players earn experience quicker, others have unique mounts (or the use of mounts in general), but WildStar's developers are adamant that power is not for sale. Progression will continue to require both skill and effort.

The game will make use of NCoin, NCSoft's proprietary in-game store currency, but will offer only convenience and cosmetic items. The developers claim that "in almost every case, items that are available for purchase via NCoin will have equivalent items available for players that want to invest time rather than money." 

WildStar is widely considered to be a high-quality MMO, earning a score of 82 on Metacritic after it launched last year. If you've been hesitant to try a new game out, or are looking to play something without worrying about making a bad investment, WildStar looks to be among the better options out there to try out.

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