Going Beyond the Awards

Opinion: The champagne has been drunk; the party poppers have been brushed away. We've waved goodbye to yet another year of MMO gaming awards, hung up our tired tuxedoes and ball gowns and moved on to anticipating the year of gaming goodness to come.

It's during this period of limbo, where 2012 has barely finished and 2013 hasn’t really started, that we tend to reflect on the year. The awards themselves are a great starting point - handing out accolades to big success stories or critical darlings. But the badges and trophies are just the tip of a far greater MMO iceberg, with commercial winners and losers chosen by a fickle army of genre fans who are slowly changing direction.

We've given out our awards again this year, as have GameBreaker, Massively and MMORPG.com. Almost universally, critics and fans alike have chosen Guild Wars 2 for a slew of awards, from Game of Year, to being recognized for superb music and art direction. Likewise, Planetside 2 picked up awards for delivering a superb mass-combat shooter and very reasonable free-to-play implementation.

SWTOR: Unfair-to-Play?

Editorial: When I first heard about Star Wars: The Old Republic moving to Free-to-Play, I cheered BioWare on for making a smart move. As it became increasingly squashed under the weight of a number of summer releases, the switch to free would breathe new life into the game just as Christmas approached. At least, that was the theory.

What actually happened was an onslaught of concern and criticism over what would generously be described as “overly aggressive monetization”. When patch 1.5 went live on the public test server, and we were able to try out life as a free-to-play newcomer, I was stunned. Lower XP rates and no rested XP? No ability to hide an equipped helm? Only two hotkey bars?

World of Warcraft: What's All the Fuss - Part II

Yesterday, I published an opinion article about World of Warcraft, and received quite a bit of feedback from the community.  And, as promised, today we have a response from one of our own WoW Zam staff members, Brian "Wordaen" Kincaid.  Take a moment to read them both, and see what you think!

Well, Autumnkiss has some great points as a new WoW player. I remember my starting days in this game and I have to say, I do see some parallels in her mindset as compared to mine when I first started. The initial login is full of some oohs and ahh’s as you see the spectacular graphics and ease of movement in the game world.

Now, as is pretty common with all new players, she mentions the issue that we all run into at least once and usually more at the lower levels…your death in an MMO. Now, to be fair, running back to collect yourself after taking a beating is emasculating to any player but Blizzard has done something differently than other MMOs I have played, and that is the introduction of the Spirit Healer at strategic locations to ease that embarrassment somewhat. In addition to having one at all, the spirit healer does something in this game that no other game has so far. It offers you two choices – run to your corpse where you take a 10% durability hit and no exp loss or rez at the graveyard and take a 25% durability hit and lowered stats for 10 minutes. Either way, you are in ghost form while you make this decision and are protected from something that might think you are a tasty snack.