I read Chestnut’s recent post about starting fresh in The Secret World with interest and a good measure of respect. Starting over in that game in particular is a major task as the game’s mechanics allow for so much ‘horizontal’ progression: your character can learn all of the skills eventually.
It’s not a situation I’ve faced often; I’m an altaholic but usually stick to one server in a given MMO (where such islands of player activity exist). I did once try to start again in LOTRO in order to play a new character with a nephew. It was truly painful, however, to not have access to all the crafting professions and other resources on my main and other alts.
Years ago I actually had some alt characters on two different WoW servers because, on occasion, Moonglade would crash or go down for urgent maintenance and we’d be forced to play on another server or not at all. These characters were never developed that much until the whole cross-realm and ‘coalesced servers’ thing was introduced. Nowadays I can have characters on three different servers and they’re effectively on the same server; also you can use Battle.Net grouping to play with friends even more broadly. So characters that were for years isolated and rather neglected have become welcomed into the larger character family and all the benefits that brings (heirlooms, gold-loans, crafted items etc).
Another related situation would be if I were to dip into playing on an emulator for a MMORPG that has shut down, like say Vanguard. I had a gaggle of low level characters in that game – I never got any character past level 20 because it was too much fun to see all the starter zones and to try all the many, varied, character classes. Playing that long-since shuttered MMO on an emulator would mean starting from scratch again – it makes me slightly sad to think about logging into the game and not being welcomed by my long list of characters.
I guess the start over I’ve contemplated most often would be if I were to return to Eden Eternal. The devs, or the accounting system most likely, decided years ago to send me an email suddenly saying, more or less, “you haven’t played or spent enough so your account is suspended”. The only option to reactivate the account at that time was to make an international call to their support line, so I abandoned any thought of rescuing my Ursan cleric. Creating a new account to play EE would require starting from zero, but the concern that history would repeat itself is likely to keep me from ever doing that.
Have you faced situations or reasons for starting over in a MMO? How extreme a start over a deal was it?
Playing a few different games had me thinking of recovery time as a concept: I mean here time in-between fights where your character needs to rest or do something to recover health, mana or similar resources. The point being that in some games you do not leave a fight necessarily ready to start the next one straight away. A couple of examples will illustrate different approaches to this aspect of gameplay:
World of Warcraft: reduced downtime
These days in WoW your character generally has 100% ‘up-time’ unless you take on something bigger and badder than you, or a group of somethings. There are still differences between classes here, but the days of eating and drinking after every fight are long gone. There used to be quite a balance to downtime and uptime for some classes, even warriors without mana had to sit and eat food since they had no ability to heal themselves (and health came back slowly). Spellcasters usually had to regen mana out of combat and mana mattered for the most part much more than it does nowadays (outside of difficult raids). Other games have automatic and fast recovery out of the box: Elder Scrolls Online and Guild Wars 2 are two examples.
Food is mostly for buffs in modern WoW
My early experiences of Archeage have felt a lot like old-school WoW with regards to recovery time. My Ranger character has some self-healing but he often needs to drink and/or play his flute to regen mana after fights. I can usually keep going for two or three before either my health is below 50% or my mana is even lower but recovery time is a thing in Archeage. Other games can be like this, Rift is to some extent although that might be a combination of my build and the expansion I’m playing through (Nightmare Tide).
Playing music regens either health or mana in Archeage
Star Wars the Old Republic: class featureA variant on the first type, SWTOR takes the view that recovery is easy and available to all classes (via a flavoured but functionally identical ability) but that it isn’t automatic – rather it’s a deliberate channeled ability. This doesn’t make recovery time that big an issue but if you push your character in fighting tough or numerous opponents then some recovery time is likely to be needed. I suppose this has become less of a necessity over time as any companion can be swapped to be a pocket healer nowadays, earlier in the game’s history this wasn’t the case.
Class recovery abilities have some flavour in SWTOR
I haven’t made up my mind on which approach to recovery I prefer, although I’m quite the fan of cooking in MMORPGs so having to make or obtain food for recovery does add an extra layer to the game. Should recovery time and mechanisms matter? Should they be part of our active gameplay or rather an automatic thing in the background?
So I haven’t talked about Path of Exile for a while, but I read over on MassivelyOP that there’s an expansion due “later this year”. Let’s hope this doesn’t come out at the same time as Morrowind!
We had fun playing Path of Exile in a trio last spring, but without new content after we’d finished the four chapters, we lost interest. The coming of six new acts is a prompt for a return to the game at some point. Apparently act 5 has a brand new area, and acts 6-10 revisit the original game areas to show how they change while you are gone (in act 5).
Not much detail at the moment but I imagine we’ll be playing some PoE again later in 2017!
A week away is a long time in the blogosphere / MMO news cycle. I missed quite a few things going down, most notably for me:
- Elder Scrolls Online’s expansion announcement – Morrowind
This has drawn my eye back to ESO, a game I’ve dabbled in a few times since launch but never stuck with. Unlike the recent introduction of a housing system, I have plenty of houses in other MMOs already, the pending addition of the Morrowind lands to the game will be of significantly more interest to me as that’s the Elder Scrolls game I played the most of the entire series. The dark elven (a k a Dunmer) lands are fascinatingly alien compared to other starter lands, so seeing more of them in this game may draw me back in for a longer stint…
- Lord of the Rings Online account renewal changes
One consequence of the spinning off of LOTRO and DDO from Turbine is the recently announced requirement to login to the game to approve the terms of service for ongoing payments such as subscriptions. So anyone with an ongoing sub for either game should login before March 13th to ensure no issues occur. I saw no indication of said agreement but then I’m a lifetime subscriber so I don’t pay anything technically. Regardless logging in to get a free account-wide mount “the Steed of the Eldar” is a rather nice reward just for logging into a game I play anyway.
- WoW token inflation
While we were away Blizzard expanded the WoW token to be convertible into account balance that can be used to pay for other account services such as server transfers or character renames. The current impact of that is a wildly inflated token price – over 160,000 gold on Moonglade (EU) as of last night. That’s way beyond my reach, and a price I’d not be happy to pay anyway – I have 14 days left on the current token so we’ll see if the price recovers to more sane levels in the meantime. I have only stayed with WoW this long in Legion because of the token system, otherwise I’d be subbing and unsubbing in between content patches as I do for some other MMOs that I play.
- Star Wars the Old Republic boost events
I read this morning via the SWTOR Commando blog that there are some boost events ongoing in SWTOR including a 250% boost to command experience and a similar boost to character XP when leveling. The former is a nice bonus although I’ve not played my Shadow main enough to really get many command ranks as yet. Since the event lasts until April that gives me some time to do some more non-story content on him to benefit from the event. The second boost to XP is always a bit of a mixed blessing, I suppose it’ll mean my Imperial Agent can focus solely on his class story through to the end of chapter three now – that will at least allow me to finish another class’ base story in a shorter timeframe.
That’s the four news items that stood out the most to me this morning, although I have over 40 unread blog posts to read through and a lot of catching up to do on news sites!
I’m off travelling this week, so there’ll be no new blog post until I return.
Happy gaming in the meantime, dear readers!
We make a lot of use of multiplayer mounts in World of Warcraft, I feel they are a really nice feature of that game. There are two player and three player mounts in the game, giving passengers an easy ride around while the driver does the navigating. It’s been especially helpful in Suramar, where travelling on separate mounts just multiplies up the chance of our illusionary disguises being broken.
The mount pictured above is doubly useful as, when summoned, it has two vendor NPCs in the side saddles (pictured in the foreground) – you eject them to allow party members to ride as passengers. There’s also the wonderful sandstone drake ‘mount’, where the player becomes a flying dragon that another player can ride as passenger.
Water-walking for the win!
Sadly we’ve not had much experience of similar mounts in other games. I think it’s a lovely social feature to allow couples or small groups of friends to travel around like this. I’d particularly like one in SWTOR as I know the leveling zones better than the friends I sometimes play this with, but I couldn’t find any reference to a multiplayer mount in that game.
Towards the end of playing Final Fantasy XIV, I did receive the refer-a-friend mount reward of the draught chocobo; rather ironically we took a break from the game soon after this (summer of 2015) and haven’t been back since. It is a lovely mount though!
I’ve not personally owned or witnessed such mounts in other MMORPGs, but perhaps there are more examples out there?
I’ve been extra glad of some pure virtual escapism as real world news gets worse and worse. I’ve greatly appreciated several recent moments in MMO games that featured imaginative storytelling, plain surreal situations and unexpected humour.
Bond film opening credits remake?
I can’t say much about this image without story spoilers for the Imperial Agent. There is an in-game reason why my character appears to be spewing miniature people from his mouth, needless to say at the time I was impressed and confused by the surrealism of this montage. It did remind me stylistically of an early Bond film opening credits.
Fear the watery sky
I’ve just progressed from Goboro Reef onwards to the Draumheim zone, which surprisingly is way below the former and separated from it by a layer of ocean. So my character looks upwards and sees giant Akvan tentacled monstrosities swimming in the sky above his head. That’s not something you see every day…
Sometimes absurdity takes over in MMORPGs, and not always by design. While running World Quests on my shaman with my Husband’s druid – it’s quickest if I ride around on his upgraded travel form. That plus the reusable kite allowed us to ride off a high peak in Azsuna and glide a third of the way across the zone. Now, that’s a way to travel!