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MMOs to Watch in 2019

As we wind down the year and turn our attention toward the next, I want to review some of the MMOs I think we should be watching in 2019. Please note that I am not saying that this is a list of what comes out, or a list of what I think will be the best games. These are simply games worth watching, and my reasons for putting them on this this are below.

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Should Quests Exist in Modern MMOs?

Should quests exist in today's MMORPG landscape? If so, then how many are too many? This is the question I saw on the Pantheon Twitter today. These questions always strike up a good discussion, so let's jump in.

The question itself simply cannot be answered with a number. We're looking more toward what type of role quests play in the overall design of the game -- what are they a vehicle for, and do they dominate or support gameplay?

Here's my take on the subject.

Quests are often the vehicle for story. In today's modern MMOs we rarely, if ever, see dialogue or story outside of them. If you google "what is a quest" you'll see a very simple definition from Google: "a long or arduous search for something." Quests used to be long adventures where the player would have to truly seek out and, unless they used a guide, figure out riddles, locations, or go on an adventure and see the world to accomplish them.

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Crafted Loot and Dropped Loot Co-Existing

Finding a place for crafted gear in a mmorpg where loot can drop from monsters has always been a really rough spot in mmo design. Over on the Pantheon Crafters community they asked a question about whether or not they can co-exist without one eclipsing the other. Let’s check it out.

For this week’s Crafter’s Roundtable, we want to hear from everyone about how you think loot and crafted items can coexist in the game and both be viable without one eclipsing the other. Let us know what you think works to achieve a good balance, and what doesn’t, and why!

I’ve always preferred a system where players taking on the role of full-time crafters create the gear for the adventurers. The most successful design I’ve seen on this is where the adventurers bring back specific items to augment and enhance what the crafters make.

Since we’re talking about the two systems co-existing without one eclipsing the other, obviously both must come together make the best items. Perhaps a crafter can make an item and an adventurer can find an item, but when the two combine together they make something better. This relied on both sides. Still not a perfect scenario.

My favorite is expendable loot. Nothing that drops or is made should last forever. Master crafters could prolong the life of an item, but ultimately that item will break. I also like the idea of augmenting gear with either dropped augments or crafted augments, but those augments would cause the item to degrade even faster. I think I like this system so much because it affords players multiple opportunities and avenues for finding, improving, and retaining gear.


MMORPG Group Etiquette

Playing WoW a lot lately has given me significant exposure to a range of player behaviors. From lazy to go-getter, epeen to carefree, jerk to kind soul. They’re all present and obvious to me in WoW.

This question bounced around social media, and I needed more room to respond. So here goes.

MMORPG Etiquette – What are some of your make or break etiquette rules for grouping up in a social game – Bonus – What are some etiquette rules you feel OK breaking within a group or social situation in an MMORPG?

I want to focus my response on a rather narrow scope. I think general good behavior is generally a given. Assuming people generally behave in the same way they would in a professional environment, let’s move on to social norms and other etiquette.

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The Classes of Pantheon

Pantheon's August newsletter revealed the last of the classes the upcoming MMORPG will have available at launch. Do they remind you of anything?

  • Summoner
  • Wizard
  • Enchanter
  • Druid
  • Cleric
  • Shaman
  • Ranger
  • Rogue
  • Monk
  • Warrior
  • Dire Lord
  • Paladin
  • If you answered, "those are the classes in EverQuest," then you'd be exactly right! I find parallels interesting, especially since most of them appear to have the same names. There are a couple of differences, though.

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    Who Should Pull Mobs?

    Here's a great question for you guys.

    Who should pull mobs for the group if there is no dedicated pulling class - Crowd Control, DPS with aggro drop ability (Smoke bomb, FD etc.), the main tank or another option?

    First, I have to stop and appreciate for just a minute how awesome a game is when there are actually pulling classes.

    For a pulling class to exist, that means there must first be a mechanic which requires a group to sit back and brings mobs to it rather than faceroll through everything or 'play through' content.

    Then you have to actually have a class with uniquely designed abilities that aren't homogenized across all of the other classes and "core" archetypes like healer, tank, and dps. When there's a puller class, there's also typically a CC class and a support class that isn't a healer, and chances are class variety and role filling is quite varied too.

    Now to the question.

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    Max Setting Graphics or Performance Gameplay?

    I think this is a really important topic for MMORPGs. Do graphics matter more than performance? Do you have to have maxed out graphics to enjoy the game? Do graphics themselves even matter -- if so, how much? 

    Pantheon's Twitter strikes again with a great question on this subject.

    Do you crank the graphics up to max in the games you play for the best visual experience or are you more of a performance type of player with low to medium settings?
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    MMORPGs and Realism

    Today's question from the Pantheom MMO team is all about realism.

    How real to life do you like your MMORPGs to be, is there a limit between how much game worlds should include real-world elements and if so, what are they in your opinion? - Pantheon Twitter

    I strongly prefer fantasy games over sci-fi, or modern games. Within fantasy I highly prefer "high fantasy" with lots of magic. So naturally, my answer to this question is going to lean way towards the side of very little if any 'reaslism'.

    The problem with adding realism into a game, particularly a MMORPG, is that the realism added ends up being the tedium of life we're all trying to escape. There's also the inability to translate pleasure.

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    Challenge in MMOs Today

    The Pantheon Twitter account has become a fountain of content for me to blog about. On days where I'm wondering if there's anything worth talking about in the MMOsphere, I can always open up Twitter now and have something to say.

    Here's the newest topic for discussion.

    "Have today's MMORPGs watered down the genre too far, has the challenge been removed beyond repair, and how do you think this will effect MMORPGs in the future?"

    I'll break this into three questions:

    1. Have today's MMORPGs watered down the genre too far?
    2. Has the challenge been removed beyond repair?
    3. How do you think this will effect MMORPGs in the future?
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