How to Play Foreign MMORPGs

Having spent most of my gaming career playing games available in the U.S. I always felt like I was missing out on the games that never made it here. Not just that though, even if I knew a game was going to release in the West, I never got a chance to try it before it’s Western release. I mainly play MMOs, so I’ll use some MMO examples. A lot of people got a chance to play Blade and Soul well before NCSoft released it in the U.S. / EU in 2016. Same thing goes for Black Desert Online (but with Kakao Games obviously, not NCSoft). Given that a lot of people don’t know how to play these games from the U.S. I decided to compile a short little guide here: Continue reading

Awful Free to Play Games Launching on Steam

What on Earth compels game developers to release obviously awful games? At a certain point in the development cycle, you’d think someone would step in and be like, “Wait a minute. THIS is our game? This blows – let’s cut our losses”. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should, as the free to play section of Steam was recently blessed with a turd of an MMORPG this last week called Destiny of Ancient Kingdoms. I’m normally pretty easy on free to play games, after all – they’re free and it didn’t cost me a dime to play, but Destiny of Ancient Kingdoms is a unique game in that I find it offensive. First of all, it launched in 2016, but looks like it came out in 2006 or 2007. Hell. It looks a lot like Last Chaos, Shaiya, or any other old Korean MMORPG. The odd thing though is that it isn’t even Korean. It’s developed by an indie South African company and boasts that it’s the first South African MMO and even includes the South African flag on its trailer. If I lived in South Africa, I’d be embarrassed to see my symbol of national pride displayed on such an awful looking game. Continue reading

More MMOs Embracing Free to Play

More and more games are starting to embrace the free to play model. The biggest free to play relaunches of the last few months were Guild Wars 2 from Arena Net and Wildstar Reloaded from NCSoft. Prior to its free to play relaunch, Guild Wars 2 was a buy to play game, meaning you bought it once and never had to subscription fees. Wildstar on the other hand was a more traditional subscription title, sort of like World of Warcraft. Both games are now free to play and that’s a great thing for broke college students like myself. I honestly never had any intention of playing either of these games, as I didn’t want to buy them, but now that they’re free to play I’m actually hooked on Guild Wars 2. I haven’t played Wildstar yet, but I did download it! It’s not just MMORPGs that are going free to play.

Guild Wars 2 MMORPG
Guild Wars 2 MMORPG

Block n Load from Jagex went free to play in early October, 2015. If you haven’t heard of Block n Load, it’s basically Team Fortress 2 / Dirty Bomb meets Minecraft / Sky Saga. You have the hero based FPS gameplay of Team Fortress 2 with the sandbox building of titles like Sky Saga. It’s a bit hard to visualize, but essentially 2 teams of 5 face off against each other and whoever destroys the enemy base first wins. Each hero in the game has a role to play. Some heroes specialize in attacking, while others are best at laying traps and defending. The game is developed by Jagex, the company behind RuneScape. Prior to going free to play, Block n Load was a buy to play title that averaged 300 users online at any given time. Since going F2P, the game has averaged 3K users online with over 8K players during peak hours. That’ an incredible jump, and I suspect Block n Load will maintain momentum, mostly because the game is genuinely fun and unique. It’s a strategic game that actually requires team work. In a way, it reminds me of MOBAs like Heroes of the Storm, because players NEED to communicate to win…

Team Fortress 2

I honestly think free to play is the future of PC gaming. So many games have embraced free to play including classic games like Lineage 2, Aion, Rift and more. There’s no reason for developers to launch subscription or buy to play game games anymore, especially since free to play games tend to make more money than their pay to play counterparts.  Free to play games make up a majority of MMO revenues. The average free to play user is worth anywhere from $1 – $4 per year, with paying users worth quite a bit more.

What’s interesting is that mobile MMORPGs tend to be free to play too. Dofus from Ankama Games is launching a mobile version, but unlike the desktop version, the game won’t have a subscription option. Other mobile MMORPGs like Order and Chaos 2 and Blade: Sword of Elysion are free to play as well. I don’t think there are any subscription based titles on mobile, and I don’t think there ever will be. Considering that mobile gaming will make up a bigger and bigger chunk of online gaming, the percent of free to play vs pay to play will shift even further in favor of free to play.

I wonder what the next big MMORPG to embrace free to play will be. Perhaps World of Warcraft? Probably not. I think it could be Final Fantasy XIV. I know that they’ve already said that they have no intention of going free to play, but I think they will in the coming years. Anyone else care to speculate?

Skyforge MMORPG Review

While Skyforge is pegged as an “AAA Sci-Fi MMORPG” focused on combat an action, it often comes off as an only somewhat different MMO that is too limited to stand out from the pack. Now this isn’t to say that there aren’t unique and interesting elements to this game, but where these elements exist so do player caps and overly-complex systems or quirks. Continue reading

League of Legends Special Event: Bilgewater

League of Legends is currently hosting the ongoing Bilgewater event, featuring lots of ways for players to engage in the pirate themed storyline. Bilgewater features several acts with each new act revealing background on champions Twisted Fate, Graves, Gangplank and Miss Fortune. Free and exclusive event-only icons are up for grabs if players complete tasks dependent on which champion they side with in each part of the story.

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Chinese Browser MMORPGs are All the Same

If you’ve ever played a Chinese browser MMORPG, you’ve likely played them all. Whether it’s the heavily advertised, and oddly popular, League of Angels or the more obscure Shadowbound, the simple fact is that all of these browser based MMOs developed in China are basically the same exact game. They’re built off the same engine and feature almost the same exact game mechanics. The easiest way to spot one of these games is to simply look up at the top left corner of the screen. If you see a “battle ranking” or “battle rating”, you’re most certainly playing a Chinese developed web game. Continue reading

Dungeons and Dragons Online Review – In Depth

Dungeons & Dragons Online, or DDO, is a 3D fantasy-themed action MMORPG developed by Turbine and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The game was originally released as subscription-based on February 28, 2006 and was later re-launched with a free-to-play model on September 9, 2009. The game still offers subscriptions while also offering micro-transactions via a premium shop. DDO is a fine example of a western developer embracing free to play.

At the time of the game’s release, Dungeons & Dragons Online was the first and only Dungeons & Dragons inspired game until Neverwinter came out in 2013. DDO follows the D&D 3.5 Edition Rule Set modified to fit the slightly different gaming experience offered by video games. The game is set in and around the fictional city of Stormreach, in the mostly unexplored continent of Xen’drik, in the world of Eberron, a world D&D players are probably familiar with. Players are thrust into the role of a shipwrecked traveler tasked with helping save the city, and the world, from a myriad of threats. Continue reading