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Guild Wars

Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars Eye of the North's soundtrack

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Opinion, Jukebox Heroes, Music, Buy-to-Play

The final Guild Wars soundtrack not only took the first game out in style but instantly became one of the best of the series to date. I'm not willing to put it above Prophecies, but it's not too far behind, either. As a whole, it's a wonderful symphonic journey through new lands and new themes, and just about every track is quite listenable.

You can't deny that this is Guild Wars to its very core, as composer Jeremy Soule only adds on to the franchise's legacy rather than supplants it with a different direction. Even so, it represents a mastery that wasn't quite there in past albums. If I listened to this soundtrack without knowing its source, I would have pegged it as a major motion picture release rather than a video game with angry bears.

It was definitely a difficult score to pick a mere six examples from; I'd recommend that soundtrack enthusiasts listen through its entirety. For a Guild Wars 2 player, it's really interesting to go back and hear the early versions of tracks that Soule would later reprise for the sequel.

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Perfect Ten: The MMOs that influenced me greatly

World of Warcraft, Anarchy Online, City of Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Fallen Earth, Guild Wars, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

DDO
Every one of us has an "MMO resume": a list of titles that we've played, whether briefly or extensively. Some of those are just games, casual flings that meant nothing. But others can take a more meaningful role in our lives, influencing how we experience and view MMOs.

I would scarcely say that my resume is one of the most robust you'll ever see; I'm sure plenty of you have played more than I. However, I like to think that I've had a journey over the course of a decade or so that's shaped who I am as a gamer. Since it's my birthday today, I'm going to share 10 of those influential MMOs with you and what they've done for me. You're going to get me cake.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Why we don't have Cantha in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Culture, Lore, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

These lanterns are so nostalgic.
How about those predictions, huh? Last week I guessed that Guild Wars 2 would get a visit from the Zephyr Sanctum soon, and boom: Festival of the Four Winds exploding all over the place. Having used up my allotment of precognitive accuracy for the year, I plan to gorge myself on delicious sky candy and spend the next week or so literally bouncing off the walls. Before the festivities start, though, we've got just enough time to visit a topic near to my heart: Cantha.

ArenaNet receives very frequent requests to revive the setting of Guild Wars: Factions in GW2, and between GW2's Chinese release, the level of mystery surrounding season two of the living world, and the return of the Zephyrites, it's natural that people would start talking about Cantha again. It might seem baffling that ArenaNet hasn't rushed to steer the living world story in such an obviously popular direction, but unfortunately it's not as simple as loading us on the next airship and flying away to Seitung Harbor -- at least not yet.

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Perfect Ten: Great MMO time travel adventures

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, The Secret World, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

BTTF
Writers and geeks alike can't seem to get enough of time travel, although the ratio of horribly crafted time travel tales to fun and smart ones is pretty lopsided. I've come to realize that MMOs are positively littered with ways that players are invited to jump around the internal timeline of the game, and I wanted to share a few of them in this week's countdown.

When you think about it, the proliferation of time travel quests makes a lot of sense from a developer viewpoint. There is a ton of lore that goes into each one of these virtual worlds, but for the most part the players are affixed to a very specific (and unmoving) point in time. Hopping about in time is a great way to experience other eras and actually see history instead of just reading it in a quest box. Plus, if done right, these quests can be quite memorable.

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Classic Guild Wars' ninth anniversary celebration is underway

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, News Items, Anniversaries, Buy-to-Play

GW1
If you're not too busy checking out the new feature pack in Guild Wars 2's version of Tyria, you might be interested to know that the more classic edition of the game world is celebrating its ninth birthday this month. Also, it has Cantha. Just saying.

Yes, Guild Wars 1 is having a party, and you're invited. Though the anniversary update was originally scheduled to begin on April 22nd, a note from Joe Kimmes on the official wiki mentions that a fortuitous typo led to the event's partial stealth-implementation on April 2nd instead, so while you'll have to wait until next week for the complete event, players are reporting that bonus items have been dropping all month and that some of the minigames are underway as of today.

The official site is silent about the anniversary so far, but the login screen announces the festivities:
The party is on for the anniversary of Guild Wars! Starting April 22nd at Noon Pacific (-7 GMT), we open Shing Jea Boardwalk, Dragon Arena, and the Rollerbeetle Races. In addition, Birthday Cupcakes and many other special items will drop all throughout this weeklong event.

Perfect Ten: My favorite MMO April Fools' pranks of all time

World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RuneScape, Guild Wars 2, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

WoW
There are two types of people on April 1st: those who are annoyed and indifferent to the tomfoolery going on all around them, and those who gleefully embrace the zany antics and baldfaced lies. For the record, I am of the latter crowd. I love April Fools' Day and the humor and creativity that it inspires. While this day is by no means contained to our neck of the woods, MMOs have a long-running streak of trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

I think a good goof has to have several qualities to make it truly memorable. It needs to be original. It needs to be actually amusing, whether or not you "fell for it." And it needs to tweak our expectations and understanding of how MMOs work. Sometimes there are even important ideas that emerge from these jokes that could, indeed, make these titles better.

So let's go through my favorite MMO April Fools pranks of all time, as catalogued by yours truly!

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One Shots: The kiddie pool

Screenshots, Guild Wars, Culture, One Shots, The Secret World, Miscellaneous, WildStar

WildStar
What does an insane kinetic interstellar critter do on his or her day off? Why, soak in an outdoor pool and try not to think about why the water suddenly got warmer, of course!

Reader Crazyrabbit63 (probably not his real name) sent in this WildStar picture to kickstart our fun this week: "This is my Chua, BuzzCracker, sitting in his kiddie pool and relaxing after a long day of hunting Exiles across Nexus. After a few minutes in the water, BuzzCracker realized he had too many Spicy Jabbits for lunch!"

If diminutive pools aren't your thing, we've got the excitement of both Hell and singing mushrooms after the break!

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Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #20-11

Age of Conan, Darkfall, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Allods Online, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Defiance, Jukebox Heroes, Dragon's Prophet, Music

SWG
We're growing ever closer to my top picks for MMO theme songs, but we're not quite at the end yet. This week we are on to the third part of our Top 40 MMO main themes countdown. To repeat my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game. I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed earlier parts of this series, check out themes #40-31 and #30-21. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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Composer Jeremy Soule reiterates EverQuest Next exclusivity [Updated]

Fantasy, Guild Wars, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, The Elder Scrolls Online, Music

EQN
Composer Jeremy Soule won't be going back to Tyria, as he reminded fans today that he has signed a contract to exclusively create MMO music for EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark.

On his Facebook page, Soule responded to a fan's query about his future projects: "No, I won't be returning to Guild Wars. EverQuest has an exclusive with me for the future projects that involve MMOs. [Guild Wars] was a good experience over many years. As with all good things, it had to come to an end."

Soule was the main composer for Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. He has also contributed to The Elder Scrolls Online main theme but will not be doing any other music for that title.

[Thanks to Bogotter for the tip!]

[Update 3/12/2014: Soule's agent has contacted us to clarify that his exclusivity to the EverQuest games is lime-limited and is unrelated to his abbreviated work on ESO. We may yet see him return to the Elder Scrolls franchise in the future!]

The Game Archaeologist: The care and feeding of older MMOs

Asheron's Call, Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest, Guild Wars, Meridian 59, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Vanguard, Free Realms, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

When an MMO has reached a certain age and dwindled to a certain player population, what do you do with it? Do you put it out to pasture, nurture it, or put it down?

With some of our older graphical MMOs approaching their 20th anniversaries, the question of what studios should do with aging titles is becoming very important. It's not just important for the games in question but as a precedent to the population of games that will one day become just as old.

Lately we've seen different studios act on this topic in a wide variety of ways, all of which I find fascinating. Some of these games have seen tragic ends, while others may be entering into the enjoyable golden years. If nothing else, it's shown me that there isn't just one set answer for this and that some devs are hoping to do the right thing by their companies and their players.

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Perfect Ten: MMO features that were hyped but never delivered

World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, City of Heroes, EVE Online, Guild Wars, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Ultima Online, Vanguard, Humor, Champions Online, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Octonauts
Developers like to talk a big game. It's expected, it's encouraged by all parties, and it's part of the fun. When a game or big expansion is coming up, the spokespeople for studios like to hop on stage, grab that mic, and start proselytizing for all they're worth. And while some promises come to fruition, others are various shades of white lies, and still others never come to be at all.

These are the features that studios would much rather you forget were mentioned in the first place, although this is the internet and the internet never forgets. Well, players who latch on to everything devs say as absolute truth never forget.

Sometimes things happen along the way in development. Studios run out of time to get in all of the features and have to prioritize which make the cut and which do not. Features end up not testing as well as hoped and the studio quietly drops them because the PR hit for the features not going in is much less than the disaster that they might cause. And some developers like to flap their gums and spout brainstorm ideas that send the actual programmers and designers back at the company into spasms of agony when they try to figure out how to make them work.

Today let's go through 10 features that were talked up but never delivered in MMOs!

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ArenaNet co-founder heads to Undead Labs

Horror, Guild Wars, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Post-Apocalyptic, MMORPG

State of Decay
Undead Labs announced today that it has hired Patrick Wyatt, co-founder of ArenaNet and co-creator of the original Guild Wars. Wyatt, who left ArenaNet in 2008, joins fellow Guild Wars co-creator Jeff Strain at the State of Decay studio, which has not been shy about its intention to build a zombie-themed MMO. State of Decay, codenamed Class3, launched in 2013 and was confirmed by the studio as a test run for an eventual MMO release, codenamed Class4.

Here's Strain on the announcement:
Today, I'm very happy to announce that Patrick has joined Undead Labs, and will be working shoulder-to-shoulder with Team Zed as we dive into the development of...well, what's next, and beyond.
Undead Labs recently struck a multi-game agreement with Microsoft, paving the way for the studio to continue work on the Class4 project.

Jukebox Heroes: Guild Wars Nightfall's soundtrack

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Opinion, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Guild Wars
We're slowly but steadily working our way through the Guild Wars library, having already covered Prophecies and Factions in this space. It's time to move on to the third and final full campaign of the original game: Nightfall.

Nightfall has a special significance for me in that it was my starting point for actually going through the entirety of the game prior to Guild Wars 2's release. While I've never been a fan of desert and Middle Eastern settings, I must admit that Jeremy Soule's return to the score isn't something to be ignored. Perhaps there aren't as many stand-out tracks as in the previous campaigns, but on the whole the score is well above-average compared to many MMO soundtracks.

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One Shots: Breaking news

Screenshots, Age of Conan, City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Culture, One Shots, Humor, Champions Online, Miscellaneous

This just in! We've received reports that caped crusaders are beating the ever-loving crap out of a villain literally 12 feet in front of us! Seriously, if we could just turn these news cameras a little to the right, you'd see the whole thing, but for now you'll just have to take our word for it. Sponsored by Doritos.

Reader Sean submitted this particular gem: "I used to play quite a bit of Champions Online from closed beta through about four months after launch. Before the dark times. Before the patches. Here I am laying the smackdown on Foxbat during his 15 minutes of fame -- surely not what he had in mind."

Ha ha! Surely not there, Sean! Now for a word from our sponsors, and by that we mean more excellent player-submitted screenshots.

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Choose My Adventure: The weather outside is frightful

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Aion, Guild Wars, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Casual, MMOFPS, Champions Online, DC Universe Online, Choose My Adventure, Allods Online, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Defiance, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Choose My Adventure
December is here, which means it's about time to throw some logs on the fire, grab every blanket in the house, and collapse under the mantle in a freezing, sobbing heap. This week's arctic blast has left the United States feeling a lot like Northrend, but for those of us in certain parts of the country it's just the beginning of what's sure to be a long, hellish winter.

However cold it may be outside, there's always a warm, toasty inn waiting in our favorite games. MMOs also provide sunny vistas, hot deserts, and steamy swamps, all of which make great places to escape nasty real-life weather. Even when it's cold in an MMO, it's still warm at our desks. In this edition of Choose My Adventure, I'm depending on you to help me hide from the snow that's piling up outside of my window.

You don't have to send me somewhere warm, but I'd appreciate it if you send me somewhere fun.

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