What BioWare Should Keep from Mass Effect: Andromeda

Mass Effect: Andromeda’s much awaited launch saw the game release to an assault of criticism on topics ranging from the notable lack of polish to questionable design decisions all around. Even as an enormous fan of the series – I consider the original trilogy to be my favorite games of all time – I have to agree with the criticism. The most accurate description of my time with the game would be that of an enjoyable, but profoundly disappointing experience.

Interview: Ashes of Creation on Building Their Virtual World

Intrepid Studios’ upcoming sandbox MMORPG Ashes of Creation is rapidly ascending my personal list of most anticipated titles. With a fairly unique design scheme promising persistent consequence at the very core of the game’s world design, Ashes of Creation is poised to scratch exactly the itch that got me into the genre in the first place.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to talk about the game with studio founder and Creative Directive Steven Sharif back in January when I first encountered the game. Now, with a few more months of development behind us, Steven is back with a lot more details on how exactly Ashes of Creation is building a world of consequence.

The Shift from Leveling Skills to Leveling Characters in MMOs

One of the biggest and most impactful changes to MMORPG design over the last decade is one that’s gotten remarkably little attention: the shift from skill based character progression to character level based progression. This was a shift that brought with it not just significant changes to the way characters are progressed and designed, but a mandate on the types of content that an MMO’s virtual world would offer going forward. As its grip on MMO design coalesced over time, I would argue that this mandate has largely resulted in consequences that did more harm than good.

Building Survival Gameplay as an MMO Social System

One of the more surprising developments in my recent check-in with Crowfall was just how much the game’s starting experience feels like a survival title these days. Now that’s not to say that it doesn’t also feel like an MMO, but from the very beginning, when you start with nothing and have to forage to craft your first items, to the very end, when neglecting your hunger meter can severely impact your gameplay, the influence of the burgeoning survival genre can be felt. Even knowing it would be there, just how prominently it features still managed to take me by surprise.