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Heroes of Might and Browsers I Vanguard Free for Account Holders
CoX Winter Events I Sony's Holiday Treats

MMORPGAMER
Issue #97 Winter Wonderlands
December 20, 2007

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Welcome to MMORPGamer.

The Christmas season is now upon us all in full force. This week, many MMOs are releasing their holiday treats while some of us wait for WoW to release presents for its users.

There's also a bit of extra news, as well as a letter on PvE versus PvP in this week's column. Thank goodness I've found a respite from family events this morning.

Here's your news:


  Heroes of Might and Browsers

The Heroes of Might and Magic series is set to be remade as a browser-based MMORTS by Ubisoft. The game will boast no download or installation requirements, with play times lasting anywhere from minutes to hours.

The MMORTS is due out in Spring 2008. I wish that I could believe that a browser-based game could work well. I know we all like to play Bejeweled in our browsers, but I don't think the same will be said for this game. An MMORTS that runs completely in your browser? I'll believe it when I see it.


  Vanguard Free for Past Account Holders

Vanguard

In hopes of salvaging the game that flopped so well earlier this year, Sony is activating closed accounts for Vanguard on December 19. Sony will pay for players who have previously held accounts to play until January 17, at which point players will have to foot the bill again.

This comes after the publisher did the same thing with EverQuest 2. It worked great in terms of pulling players back to experience the new content there, but the new content in Vanguard hasn't yet yielded anything promising. If you haven't played for a while, drop in and see what you think. It's free, so you might as well.


  CoX Winter Events

City of Heroes

The City of Heroes/Villains winter event is live, and this year looks pretty exciting for the holiday season. On login, players will receive the Gifted badge, a Fuzzy Earmuffs costume piece, and the temporary powers of Holiday Spirit and Holiday Cheer.

Holiday Spirit gives players 48 hours of 25% debt protection, and Holiday Cheer enables heroes or villains to give random gifts to anyone in sight. NCSoft has also included the ski slopes from last year, this time with time trials included.

With all of this and Gamester's present challenge, I don't see any reason to pass up the holiday events in City of Heroes/Villains. Who wouldn't want to ski down a slope as their favorite superhero and get a gold medal?


  Sony's Holiday Treats

Everquest

Beginning with EverQuest, Frostfell has hit Norrath in full force. Festive decorations and special events new and old will be rampant throughout the game. The season will also feature the rescue of the kidnapped Snowdwarves, Santug's helpers. To begin the quest series, visit Zoog in Great Divide.

Everquest 2

In EverQuest II, Frostfell has already started. Gigglegibber is giving gifts out to players in Freeport, Qeynos, Kelthin, Neriak and Gorowyn. Every resident will be able to find new holiday events, recipes, decorations, and quests as well as some old favorites.

Star Wars Galaxies

Star Wars Galaxies citizens will be celebrating Wookiee Life Day this month. Major cities will feature the Wroshyr tree, which will be lit and have presents beneath it for players, as well as fun music from Figrin D'an.

Vanguard

Vanguard players should be able to get their new Reindeer mount by this time of the month. Customer Service Reps will be giving out holiday items with buffs and bonuses for players wandering the countryside.

The holiday season at Sony is already underway, but I think it's pretty underwhelming. After seeing City's fun events, things like holiday-themed quests just don't match up. Although any holiday event is a break from the grind, I don't think these are nearly as fun as the mentioned ones in City of Heroes/Villains


  PvP vs. PvE

PvP + PvE = Love?

Hello Jake,

My opinion on what is good PVP vs. what is good PVE are completely opposite. When it comes to PVE, I like the classic "Fellowship" type of gameplay. I like to have a small group of people trying to complete a long and complex task. A good example would be Stratholme in WoW. I think with a small amount of people, you have to start experimenting in ways to overcome the hindrances of not having every tool at your disposal. Also, with a small amount of people there is much less preparation time and much less trying to organize what everyone should do. Large scale PVE in most games is basically just making a creature strong enough that you have to have multiple people doing the same job. In the end, if you scaled back damage mitigation and hitpoints, a large scale PVE "raid" could be handled by a single group. If a enemy requires multiple groups to defeat, i'd much rather it have a challenge that requires the groups each doing something different, rather than just upping the math equations.

Jake

I see what you mean here, but I'd urge you to try out some of the higher raids in WoW. Some of the raid encounters may have ridiculous life, but many of the encounters have varied strategies that can get complicated.

I'm right there with you, though. Fellowships are where it's at. When too many people get in the action, players tend to get swallowed up by the crowd. That's just not fun.

Now, in PVP I am totally opposite. I love mass PVP battles. I did not care for the capture the flag game that was in WoW, and i certainly do not care for one on one battles. The game's characters are not balanced for 1 vs 1 gameplay, so I don't see a reason to participate in it. The PVP games I have enjoyed include early Shadowbane and RF Online. Both of these include battles with 40+ people in them all trying to achieve a single goal. The goal is not to kill everyone on screen, but to achieve a siege, achieve a wearing down of the opponent and eventually a conquering of the objective. I also enjoyed WoW's version of it back when I played, though I can't remember the name of the area.

Jake

I think you mean Alterac Valley. I like massive events like that too. I agree with you completely regarding one on one fighting in MMOs. There are always overpowered classes and underpowered classes in single combat. Huge events like that can make everyone equal in terms of class.

It is so difficult to balance PVE vs. PVP in a game. Why? Because generally the two types just do not mix as well. For you, you like PVE with just a little PVP. There is a good chance that if a game made PVP as meaningful as PVE in a game, you would be forced to play a part of the game that you really do not care for. The same goes for the players I know that are very PVP oriented, they find PVE so boring they try not to participate in it beyond leveling. The challenge comes with making both mean something in game without making either so meaningful that it is forced. Until that happens, games will be classified as PVP or PVE, as currently none of them do both successfully. WoW comes close, but you can completely ignore PVP if you wish.

Jake

It's sad that such a small difference can decide what part of the MMO audience will like it. I know, for example, that I'm not likely to love Warhammer. It's PvP-heavy, and the PvE will just be tacked on to embellish the PvP. I don't see where this merge is possible. None of the games I know of can balance them, save maybe in EVE, where the world is so free ranged that there's not much importance put on anything.

I'd like to see more land control. Land control just might be the key that can bring everyone together. PVP'ers could fight for control of a city that would spawn their faction's vendors and quests. This would benefit the PVE players, in return the PVE players could quest and strengthen the town making it beneficial to the PVP players when it comes time to defend again. Instead of seperating the two, and treating them almost like a separate game like some current games do, bring them together. Make it so the PVE players and the PVP players not only coexist, but do so beneficially with each other. It could also encourage them to play together. PVP'ers could help with the PVE questing, the PVE'ers could help in the defense of the city. Before you know it, they will intermingle, and the line between what is a PVE'er and a PVP'er could be blurred and in the end, you just might end up a "Player" instead of a sub-classification.

Jake

Oh, I like that idea! This type of thing might be seen somewhere in the near future, with events like land control already happening. With more PvE influence, I think this might be possible. However, it is possible for this type of system to become overpowered easily and unbalanced just as well. But isn't that what these games deal with 24/7?



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Well, it's time for me to get back to my family and enjoy the holiday break from school. If you're not yet on vacation, Godspeed. If you are, remember to take it slowly and relax. Our country is a country of workaholics and apathetics. Make sure you keep things slow and important this holiday season.

Whoa, that got serious way too quickly. Eh, I'm off to build up my Blood Elf. I suggest you do the same. For next time: when you have tons of vacation time like this, what do you spend your time doing in-game? I find that I spend much more time doing endgame events than I'd ever done before. Is this the case with you? Let me know.

Until then,
Jake Miller (mail me)


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