Your Next: Subversive Elements

The world is such an unfathomable place, and people populate the heart of its endless mystery. In my country, a political party that represents the interests of less than ten percent of the people got about a third of us to vote for them and now they’re running the show. Never underestimate the importance of selling an idea

In the brutal political landscape of MMO forum PvP we are known for flapping our gums about the need for new approaches and ideas in the medium, and we also know anything that deviates from established models is met with major resistance. It’s a fascinating quirk of the human brain that we seem to be able to hold these two positions simultaneously.

Yes, 1984 is one of my favorite books, why do you ask?

While innovation is important to keep things fresh, keeping design and presentation within a cultural context that players can understand is equally important. If you go too far off the script, the product can be too unconventional to appeal to the established market. I’m not advocating that everything stay the same, but while it’s certainly not impossible to break through with something unique there’s an upper limit of ‘uniqueness’, after which it loses attractiveness.

With a new game, it seems that shooting for different but still recognizable is the best bet. If you’re setting out to create something that feels very different, such as EverQuest Next, how can this be reconciled?

EQN is positioned as a reaction to the entrenched norms of MMORPGs; the desire for the game to be different has been put front and centre from day one. So how does it balance this desire with the need to be approachable and culturally resonant?

If you wanted to make a subversive MMO, what would it look like? 

The Scrying Pool: The Reaper

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The Scrying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as I dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content could be implemented.

Normally that intro holds true, but while we are in the midst of the speculation reveals I will be flipping the tables. Instead of looking forward, the Scrying Pool will be looking back as we continue the Specialization series from a different viewpoint. Instead of speculation, I will focus on my impressions of each of the Elite Specializations after they get revealed while throwing in some of my previous articles and speculation for flavor.

HEX: Shards of Fate - Interview with Cory Jones

HEX: Shards of Fate is a unique take on the online trading card game genre, mixing MMO PvE aspects with the traditional card gameplay. Still in its beta phases, the game has been steadily progressing as more content and features are added in. Most recently HEX saw the launch of the Frost Ring Arena, the MMOTCG's first PvE environment that pits players against seven AI bosses in a four stage gauntlet.

We spoke to Cryptozonic Entertainment's Creative President and CCO, Cory Jones, recently about what HEX has accomplished since its highly successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign, the unique features of the TCG, and what players can expect in the near future.

The Scrying Pool: The Dragonhunter

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The Scrying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as I dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content could be implemented.

Normally that intro holds true, but while we are in the midst of the speculation reveals I will be flipping the tables. Instead of looking forward, the Scrying Pool will be looking back as we continue the Specialization series from a different viewpoint. Instead of speculation, I will focus on my impressions of each of the Elite Specializations after they get revealed while throwing in some of my previous articles and speculation for flavor.

Formerly Hardcore #6: Weekend Events in 6.2

Hello and welcome to the 6th edition of Formerly Hardcore, ZAMs column on Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft. For this column, we’re going to take a look at some of the features from the patch 6.2 Public Test Realm. Last time we talked about the new 5-man options coming in 6.2: Mythic and Timewalker. When I was describing Timewalker dungeons, I mentioned that they would be limited to specific extended weekends (Friday through Monday) on a rotation schedule of bonus events where Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King Timewalker dungeons would make up two of the possible seven events.

In addition to all of the discussion about whether or not locking Timewalker behind weekend events was the best way to go about things, there was the question of what those other five weekend events would be. That question was answered last week with the Bonus Events and Adventure Guide on the official site. So what other events will patch 6.2 bring us to entice us into running different content?

Your Next: Creative Mode

As I write this, my country is finishing sorting out who gets to form a government, the Landmark servers are still down, it’s the 70th anniversary of VE Day and I’m less than an hour away from playing Black Desert for the first time. It’s been a real rollercoaster of emotions already and I haven’t finished my first cup of tea.

Maybe it’s the raw emotion of the situation, the fact I’m still getting over a stomach bug or some manner of delirium caused by lack of tea, but as I sit here in my dressing gown a feeling is creeping over me, a thought I never believed I would entertain.

The Scrying Pool: The Chronomancer

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The Scrying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as I dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content could be implemented.

Normally that intro holds true, but while we are in the midst of the speculation reveals I will be flipping the tables. Instead of looking forward, the Scrying Pool will be looking back as we continue the Specialization series from a different viewpoint. Instead of speculation, I will focus on my impressions of each of the Elite Specializations after they get revealed while throwing in some of my previous articles and speculation for flavor.

Yesterday, ArenaNet revealed the Dragonhunter, the Elite Specialization for the Guardian. As I mentioned in last week’s article however, the Scrying Pool will remain a week behind to give time for the dust to settle and the spec to soak in. It is also a week behind because the Scrying Pool is written before the weekly livestream that shows off more of the what that Elite Specialization is bringing to the profession. As such, this week we will talk about the Chronomancer, the Elite Specialization for Mesmer which was revealed last week.

The Scrying Pool: "Special"izations

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The Scrying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as I dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content could be implemented.

Normally that intro holds true, but for the next few weeks I will be flipping the tables. Instead of looking forward, the Scrying Pool will be looking back as we continue the Specialization series from a different viewpoint. Instead of speculation, I will focus on my impressions of each of the Elite Specializations after they get revealed while throwing in some of my previous articles and speculation for flavor.

Formerly Hardcore: 5-Man Dungeons in 6.2

Hello and welcome to the 5th edition of Formerly Hardcore, ZAMs column on Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft. For this column, we’re going to take a look at some of the features from the patch 6.2 Public Test Realm. Right after I posted my previous column on the remaining bosses of Blackrock Foundry, Blizzard announced the PTR was coming up for the next patch – and here I thought I’d be doing something on Garrisons or pet battles for this week’s column.

Along with the PTR announcement came the first set of patch notes, which were massive. Since then we’ve seen a few iterations on those patch notes, datamined information from Wowhead and other sites, boss videos from guilds trying out the new raid encounters and so much more. I won’t try to cover everything that’s shown up in patch notes and build update posts in a single post, despite what the length of some of my columns might imply. Instead we’ll focus on a couple of new features from the PTR notes that immediately caught my eye: Mythic and Timewalker Dungeons.

Revival: Let Me Tell You a Story

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything longer than 140 characters. Then again, it’s been a while since I’ve really been inspired to. That all changed recently with my discovery of Revival. For the first time in a long time, there’s a glimmer of hope for the future of virtual worlds.