Remember the MMORPG, gerbils? Do you remember massive open worlds filled with hundreds or thousands of other players? Do you recall a time when "gank" and "aggro" were common components of your vernacular, when "voke" was intuitively understood to mean "provoke", and when acronyms like LFG, PST, KOS, and OOM (among myriad others) were ubiquitous?
Heck, who am I kidding? You're probably still playing one. After all, World of Warcraft Classic is in beta right now, City of Heroes is back, Warframe is still knocking out content updates left and right, and Final Fantasy XIV just got its latest expansion, Shadowbringers. As has become tradition, Square-Enix released a stand-alone benchmark application for the release of Shadowbringers. It's about 2GB; grab it and give it a shot to see what the state-of-the-art in Final Fantasy Online visuals looks like. Here's a spoiler: it's pretty, and definitely worth checking out if you have a beast of a gaming machine. Don't forget to post your specs and settings if you want to be proud of your performance.
Warframe is looking pretty good these days too, though. If you're not familiar, Warframe is a third-person shooter-brawler hybrid where players take on the role of magical space ninjas in a far-flung science-fiction future after the collapse of stellar civilization. Yeah. Warframe is one of my favorite games of all time, and it just got a major content update that came along with a new game mode, a new playable character, and a total revamp of one of the game's older tilesets. Its fifty million registered players are still getting monthly content updates in the game's sixth year—and oh, did I mention that it's completely free to play? The real question is simply whether Warframe is actually an MMORPG or not.
On the topic of City of Heroes, it's perhaps a bit incorrect to say that the game is "back" given that it's still not operating in any official fashion. If you didn't follow the drama a few weeks ago, let me summarize it for you. After the game was shut down in 2012, the server code found its way to a community who promptly set up their own private version of the game that they proceeded to run in secret for some seven years. Once the truth came out, the code found its way into the open, and now there's a whole pile of City of Heroes private servers to play with.
I've been playing it for about two weeks now, and it's almost exactly the same game I remember from nearly 15 years ago. It's been an illuminating experience, because City of Heroes is quite unlike more modern games—such as the other titles mentioned in this post. Given the "rogue" nature of the servers—the game is basically abandonware, but that's not actually a thing in the USA—I won't link directly to any downloads. Setting it up couldn't be easier, though. Just grab the "Creamsoda" launcher, and let it grab the game files. You'll need to make an account on the server of your choice, of course, but you can do that through the launcher, and most of them don't even require an e-mail address. Then, pick your server and click "Play." Personally, I'd recommend the Rebirth server for the purest experience. The Homecoming server has the largest population, but its owners have also made significant modifications to the game. The choice is yours.
Meanwhile, as you may have read in Colton's shortbread, WoW Classic beta testers are reporting authentic game features from WoW 1.12 as bugs. This brought up an interesting discussion around the virtual water cooler here at TR,one that echoed my own thoughts ever since I picked up City of Heroes again: do older MMORPG players who reminisce about the games of yore do so purely out of nostalgia, or is there really something missing from the MMORPGs of today? Alternatively, as posited by one little auxy, is there instead something missing from the MMORPG players of today? Perhaps all three can be true simultaneously. Whether you fool with any of this stuff or not, let us know what you think. Either way, we wish you a happy Memorial Day weekend.