Tag Archives: World of Warcraft

The Last Days of the MMORPG

Only now, at what feels like the conclusion of more than a decade of Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Gaming am I starting to get a sense of how strange and grand these games really are. Watching their inexorable decline makes me think of the elves of Middle Earth preparing for their journey west. In some ways, I feel like we never really understood their mysteries.

Wow. So geeky.Shipples

I’m not saying we don’t understand how these games work. Quite the contrary. Creating “the one chosen hero” and then grinding levels while making friends with all the other chosen heroes is old hat.

I mean to say that where these games fit in our lives is still an evolving question. A question that gaming companies have lost quite of bit a money attempting to answer.

One of the most interesting modern examples is where The Elder Scrolls Online comes in. With a rumored budget of $200,000,000 (sometimes you need to write out all the zeroes) the game is quite possibly the last attempt a game studio will make at a AAA MMORPG. During TESO beta testing before the April launch, I gave  the game a whirl. After my excursions in the newest iteration of Tamriel, I was left with one question. Will this be the biggest gaming disaster of 2014?

More importantly, is this the last roar of the genre?

Yes, there will still be other MMOs in one form or another, but I don’t think they’ll be massive the way we’ve understood it. At its height, World of Warcraft had somewhere between 10 and 12 million subscribers paying them $15 a month. That’s a truly insane amount of money. So much regular cash, in fact, that WoW spawned satellite industries. At one point, thanks to resource farming, WoW gold was worth more in US dollars than the Mexican peso. Even today it has a better exchange rate than some world currencies.

And since that wild, and completely unforeseen success, challenger after challenger after challenger has attempted to be the “WoW killer.” But in the 10 years that WoW has dominated the market not a single game has come close to topping it’s player base.

The cards are stacked against TESO.

I had the opportunity to give the game a try, and I think I walked away with some valuable lessons. In theory this game could operate a lot like Skyrim, but with other players. The graphics are almost on par with Skyrim and, to the game’s credit, it is quite beautiful. And at the end of the day, Skyrim is a whole lot like a single-player MMO. You get quests from individual NPCs  and then you go out and complete them. So you should get all the stuff you loved with Skyrim while enjoying the company of many other players.

And I think Zenimax is playing it that way. The voice cast for the game is positively ridiculous for any game, much less an MMO.

I mean, come on! John Cleese? Kate Beckinsale? Those are some serious guns for MMO dialogue, which we can expect only a portion of the players to get if they are faction specific.

But TESO still feels like an MMO. And all the MMOs since WoW have had one key problem: they are all basically WoW. Having button bars on the bottom of the screen and grinding quests through different zones is something we’ve seen before. It feels like the same game I’ve played before, with a different skin. As a matter of fact, most MMOs I’ve played, with the exception of EVE, have felt like variations on the same game.

And that’s really what I’m getting at. I’m not looking to snipe TESO. Honestly, I haven’t even kept track of the game’s success since its launch. But I do wonder if this massive investment in cash signifies a change in the dynamic.

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The Week in Geek: Oct. 5, 2012

You may not know what you’re going to do this weekend, but after reading this you know you you’ll be doing it full of fantastical Internet knowledge!

Also, whatever you’re doing this weekend, bring a jacket. It looks like a cold snap could be coming. Don’t give me that look! Just leave it in your car. You’ll be glad you have it when it gets dark.

Princess Sally by matthewhoworth

Maybe Sally’s never been considered a Disney Princess because she doesn’t dress like one. This lovely portrait takes care of that! Image courtesy of DeviantArtist matthewhoworth.

You know the silhouettes of you and your siblings that Ma and Pa have over the sofa? Yeah, photographer David Reeves’ action and occasionally zombie-packed vignettes are nothing like those. (via Geeks are Sexy via Geekologie)

TJ is a little excited that Halo: Forward Until Dawn is here.

Etsy seller Tannim is selling Game of Thrones-themed Converse All Stars (aka: “Chucks”) that he or she designed themselves. Insert overplayed play on,”Winter is coming,” here. (via Geekologie)

These kicks might be perfect for John since he just can’t stop discussing Game of Thrones!

What in the World (of Warcraft)?! Maine Democratic state senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz is under fire for her participation in the MMORPG. It has also led to an inadvertently hilarious press release. (via Kotaku)

What the hell is up with these non sequitur covers of classics put out by publisher Tutis? I’m 90 percent convinced this is a Dadaist art project that has gone too far. (via The Mary Sue)

Love the new Leatherface? A fan of the facelifted Freddy’s? Jonesing for some more Jason? Rob’s got a list of his favorite horror remakes.

You’re cold, but you’re too weak to carry a fresh taun taun carcass everywhere for warmth. Think Geek’s got you(r head) covered with these adorable Star Wars hats. Yoda you will look like. (via Laughing Squid)

a_tip_of_the_hat_by_matthewhoworth-d4c43b8

Deviant Artist matthewhoworth has a fantastic series of classic Disney villains done in this style! Image courtesy of DeviantArtist matthewhoworth.

May have guessed this because I’ve told you, but I’m a wee bit on the blue side of the Congressional fence. Because I very much disagree with Mitt Romney (And I’m the writer here), I’m sharing this link showing just what public television contributes to America. (Thanks to my friend Jess for the tip!)

Megan’s Movie Alphabet is not just an example of stunning graphic design; it also makes for some potentially twisted kids’ room art. (via Laughing Squid)

The Doctor Puppet is a blog that’s about pretty much what it says on the tin. I sit sad when you’re envious of a puppet’s globe-trotting lifestyle? (via I forget where! I’m sorry!)

Voters, listen up (You should all be listening since you should all be registered to vote!)! J. Fortune knows you’ve been guilty of fraudulent reasoning.

Are you a lady in possession of a larger than average bosom (counts me out)? Are you an experienced DM? Do you have a half hour to spare? Do you either have very high self-esteem or very low? Then you might want to answer this ad for a topless Dungeons + Dragons DM for a bachelor party. (via Nerd Approved)

Adele’s theme for the upcoming James Bond flick Skyfall was released yesterday. I haven’t listened it yet because I forgot my earbuds.

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The Week in Geek: Aug. 17, 2012

Comic artist, writer, creator, and educator Joe Kubert died Sunday. The creator of Sgt. Rock was 85. In his memory pull up a corner of sofa and try your hand at a sketch or two.

Einstein a la potatoes

A portrait of Albert Einstein made out of potatoes. This makes me hungry…for knowledge of physics! Image courtesy of Quorkey on DeviantArt.

PBS brings us the little known collaboration between Julie Child and T-Pain in honor of Child’s 100th birthday.

TJ and John are at GenCon, and their first day did not go too well.

Marvel announced that “Avengers 2″ will be released in 2015. In other news, I have reminders on my phone for the release dates of all Phase 2 Marvel movies. Is that awesome or a cry for help?

This spoon art isn’t geeky, I just wanted to let you guys know what I want for my birthday.

Laura saw “The Campaign” and used the only election-related pun I know in her title.

Alex Alva has given us the Iron Man/Boba Fett mashup you never knew you needed to see. Click this link or, one day, fifty years from now, you’ll be aware of a nagging emptiness. Emptiness could only have been filled by looking at this helmet all those years ago.

Nikola Tesla > Thomas Edison. All geeks know this, and now The Oatmeal is raising funds for a (legitimate) Tesla museum. Give and know that you’re striking a blow against Cult of the Direct Current.

Einstein Yoda

Insert something technical related to relativity said backwards. Image courtesy of Rabbittooth on DeviantArt

Helen Gurley Brown, author of “Sex and the Single Girl,” longtime editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine (aka: Cosmo), and confusing figure for feminists everywhere, died Monday at age 90.

Disney Imagineers in Pittsburgh have created a technology that makes real plants expressive and interactive. I predict this is going to cause a crisis for more than one vegetarian.

Baby, what’s your sign? Just because I’m a Year of the Robot doesn’t mean we can’t still snuggle as we tackle the original MegaMan. Find out your Geek Zodiac here.

Lego’s 80 and looks back on its life in the most adorable Pixar-ish way possible. Gosh, I look forward to the day when I have kids, and I can give them Legos. And then I can spend the next ten years watching to make sure I never step on one.

The full trailer for WoW’s expansion, Mists of Pandaria was released. I didn’t realize there was so much generalized anger in the WoW community against Kung Fu Panda.

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