In this episode of Dispatches From Warcraft we have not one but TWO artwork announcements.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
No, seriously, have you? And when? And for how long? And did you return? I ask because I have played World of Warcraft [official site] but only for two months, years apart, and treated it more as any singleplayer RPG. I’m interested playing MMOs as non-ongoing things, but realise this is uncommon, so I’d like to ask folks who have played it for long stretches: once you’d seen it all, was it for hanging with cyberpals or a timesink or…?
This weekend, Prague was flooded with Blizzard fans for the Road to Blizzcon EU regionals. Players in the Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone and World of WarCraft tournaments competed for a slice of the $300,000 USD prize pool, as well as the chance to play in the World Championships at BlizzCon in November. Pip was at the tournament and will have more in-depth coverage later, but check out the winners below.
RPS Feature Homes away from home
Most RPGs ask you to save the world, but not all of them offer a world worth saving. Honestly, there’s been quite a few where given the choice I’d have joined the evil overlord just to beat up all the potion vendors who wouldn’t even give me a discount before the final battle, and for the mere chance of stabbing the guard in Act 1 who wouldn’t let me into The Town Where The Actual Bloody Game Starts.
This week though, I’m interested in the other side of that – the worlds that become more than just a place to grind for loot and XP. The places that feel real. Beloved worlds, which don’t necessarily correlate with beloved games. I really enjoyed Skyrim for instance, but Skyrim as a world largely leaves me cold for reasons that have nothing to do with the Frostfall mod. That’s not the same as saying it’s bad, or any real quality judgement at all, simply that for me it never became a second home, more than a playground. Fallout New Vegas meanwhile, despite its problems, ticked all of the boxes. It was a world I could believe in, get immersed by, and not want to leave, which given the current political climate around the world is quite probably for the best.
Here are some of the most special worlds for me. How about you? Note, we’re talking entire worlds, as in the settings for whole games, not specific places like, say, Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy VII or FFXIV. Those are cool too, but… another week!
RPS Feature Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!
Given a choice, I almost always play as a mage. Swords? Pah. Divine magic? Save it for Sunday School. Give me control over the elements, the power to reshape the very building blocks of the universe according to my every whim, and if at all possible, a cool hat. It’s an easy fantasy to indulge in almost any RPG out there.
I just wish it was a more satisfying one.
RPS Feature Ultima Drunderworld
Over in Everquest II, they’re trying an experiment at the moment – what’s that? Yes, Everquest II. People are still playing it. The original as well. I know, I’m surprised too, but never mind. Specifically, they’ve created a prison server called Drunder. The idea is that instead of banning trolls, griefers and cheaters (presumably up to a certain point), they can simply throw all the troublemakers in server jail and let them play together with no possibility of escape. Nothing can possibly go wrong! If you want to indulge in the anarchy then you can request to be sent there, but again, it’s a one way trip for your account. Has Daybreak finally discovered the ultimate fix for bad online behaviour, though? Let’s ask our special ethics correspondent, a snowball in Hell.
Well, while we wait, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at how a few other RPGs have decided to have a little fun with their dodgier elements, both online and off.
RPS Feature FOR DOOMHAMMER!
This week, Blizzard announced the latest World of Warcraft expansion – World Of Warcraft: Legion [official site]. It looks pretty good. Almost as good as my prediction. Almost. I’m not going to rehash the full details here, but I’m up for it. It’s a big step forward for Warcraft’s arc story, featuring the return of its Big Bad, the Burning Legion, and some long awaited story stuff like Blizzard’s promise to redeem themselves for turning Illidan into just a snarling villain. New character class. Ten new levels. New continent. New PvP system. It’s nothing too unexpected or world-shattering at this point in the game, but it is a solid looking expansion.
The part of the pitch I liked the most though was Blizzard’s plan for Artifact Weapons – not so much for the specifics of what Blizzard has planned, but because it addresses something that’s long annoyed me. Weapons, particularly in fantasy games, deserve more respect.