All posts by Drew Brandon

Episode 18: Do these guys take a breath?


Battle of Kyhlo in Guild Wars 2
Battle of Kyhlo in Guild Wars 2

Back from a long break (thanks to Drew teaching a summer class), we talk changes and expansions coming to Star Trek Online, World of Warcraft, Archeage, Wildstar, and SWTOR! Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where we always promise to have a new episode, SOON(™), reserved, copyright, service mark.

MMO News

WoW Legion

Final Fantasy 14 reaches 5 million players

SWTOR Livestream – KotFE details!

WildStar F2P Closed Beta

Also, WildStar China is starting off well…^tfw

The reason the game needs FTP:

Funcom is for sale

Crowfall talks Crowd Control

Star Trek Online announces Season 11: New Dawn (aka “More Picard, Less Kirk”)

ArcheAge – Xfers coming with 2.0, free transfers through 9/4.

MMO Community

XamXam’s analysis of the KotFE trailer:

Wildstar’s surprisingly awesome RP

STO Foundry “Effect, then Cause”

Unholy alliance podcast

KatiaRacer Wildstar plot

Shout out to Doom Kitty (@doomkittyentity), Mayor Dasmoose (@mayordasmoose), and Kelzam (@clchaotix)

Special Topic: Time Travel

Let’s talk about the different ways Time Travel has been done in MMOs.

TSW – The Haunting, The Last Train To Cairo (Issue 6 story arc), The Darkness War

STO – The Night of the Comet, Iconian story arc, (Foundry mission: Effect, Then Cause)

Rift – Defiant tutorial

LOTRO flashbacks

GW2 chronomancer

WoW TimeWalking, Caverns of Time


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Twitter: Facebook: This week’s end music is Systematic Domination by Jeff Kurtenacker from Wildstar.

Episode 17: I love lamp…I mean Joe


Galaxy-class cruiser from Star Trek Online
Galaxy-class cruiser from Star Trek Online

This week we discuss a crap-ton of launches, Wildstar’s Livestream and AMA, Crowfall’s knight powers, ESO’s “holy-crap-did-you-release-a-new-game”-sized patch, and more! Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where our launches are more frequent, but crash less, than SpaceX’s…

MMO News


WildStar Livestream and AMA Recap


  1. Tera “Go Berzerk”
  2. Maple Story 2 Open Beta
  3. Skyforge open beta
  4. Cabal 2
  5. Civilization online, From XL Games, releases 2 videos (treading carefully here!)
  6. Action RPG Devilian announced, from Trion (also treading carefully),+a+new+ARPG-MMO/

Crowfall’s Knight Powers, and lamp detailed

ESO: 15GB PS4 patch


MMO Community


WildStar – Black Dagger Society’s Liestyles of Nexus –


Holosuite Media


If I Were a Dev


Let’s talk class stories… because SWTOR and GW2, as well as TSW took radically different approaches, and now SWTOR is on nearly the same track as GW2 and TSW.

  1. Class stories or central story? Or both?
  2. How pervasive would the story be (% in game tasks advancing the story vs other tasks)
  3. How many expansions would you pre-design, including cinematics, soundtrack, and voice acting, would you have ready-and-waiting by launch?


  1. Central story. SWTOR’s right to make the change
  2. 100% of non-repetitive tasks would advance the central story, though only 50% would feel like it does.
  3. At least enough for three years of main-story advancement – given an 18mo or so expansion cycle, the main game and two expansions. Very important for audio!


  1. Central + zones + class-based thing per zone
  2. The only “quest-ish” things would affect the story
  3. No idea. As much as possible before the studio made me launch too early.



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This week’s end music is The Siege of Alderaan from Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Episode 16: Blizzard is the New TSA

Beautiful Wildstar vista from
Beautiful Wildstar vista from @lady_annieloy


This week we discuss Wander’s issues, Guild Wars 2’s issues, World of Warcraft’s issues, and other issues. Issues. That word has lost all meaning to me now. Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where we talk about MMOs and where our lore in stuck in their canon…

MMO News


Guild Wars 2
Heart of Thorns Preorder controversy:
Reward tracks and Elite Specs:
Spec changes:

Azeroth Do Not Fly list becomes a premium-air-experience feature.

TSW – $42 for ALL of it… amazing deal for a b2p game.

Wanderlaunch and… Wandercrash


MMO Community


Flashpoint celebrates their 100th episode.

Ootinicast is over 200 (I was in Vegas that week I think)


Xam Xam’s Lore post on Vitiate and the Fallen Empire

I6: Ravenloft

Secretly Kephess:

I want to to Believe:


If I Were a Dev


How would you handle content release cycles – how often and what level of content?

JOE: Monthly mini-updates (adventure-sized instances, not a full dungeon). Quarterly new dungeons. Bi-annual new raids. Foundry.

DREW: Quarterly. Don’t lie to the customer. No one has been able to make monthly updates work. Your customers make most of the content for a PvP game anyway. There will be monthly balancing patches, because you cannot let things get out of hand.



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This week’s end music is Deep Space Nine from Star Trek Online.

Episode 15: Betting on SWTOR and Wildstar

Green Ranger Thief in Guild Wars 2
Green Ranger Thief in Guild Wars 2


This week we discuss Wildstar’s F2P announcement, SWTOR’s expansion announcement, and some new Crowfall info. Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where we talk about MMOs and where we don’t spacebar through cutscenes…

MMO News


E3 announcement.
Everyone is “The Outlander”
All of the current content will be playable at the new level.
A free level 60.
New companions, with deeper story (and requirements) to get them
Massively Single Player Online RPG?
No new mention of new WZs or ops or class stories.
No new mention of updates beyond 3.3
Also, BadFeeling podcast PvP interview
Joe is Preferred until this launches. Unless they charge $75, it’s a win considering the dearth of content before then.


So yes, the rumors were true. WildStar, free-to-play. Rewards. Loyalty. Currency…




MMO Community


NCSoft Meet and Greet

Dio Doo-Wop–PK4YOlk

Best Dressed of Nexus

Templars vs Confessors

Drew’s Green Ranger Thief (see top of page)


If I Were a Dev


How would you do cutscenes/story content? Fully-voiced, etc.? What voice actors would you really like to get?

DREW: In a PvP game, only source of story will probably be major cutscenes, but wouldn’t mind fully voiced personal story as well.

Because of pure versatility, would really like to get Bertie Carvel (Male Agent, SWTOR), Jo Wyatt (Female agent, SWTOR), Tara Strong (pretty much everything, but Risha in SWTOR), and Brandon Keener (Garrus in ME).

JOE: SWTOR’s new method: small side quests have Wildstar-sized, Twitter-sized quest descriptions. No spacebar required for “kill 10 rats” quests. Zone, overarching plots, and so forth would be fully voiced.

Tara Strong, Courtenay Taylor (Jack in ME), John de Lancie, Andrea Libman, Keith David (Joe mispoke and called him David Keith).


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This week’s end music is Kick Butt and Chew Bubble Gum by Jeff Kurtenacker from Wildstar.

Episode 14: High on Math

Cutscene from Guild Wars 2


This week we discuss Lego, Wildstar (and how it has to be going F2P soon), and the best and worst of SWTOR. Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where we talk about MMOs and where our crit chance is 100% but our hit chance is 0%…

MMO News

Wildstar Goes Wild
That whole reddit thing EXPLODED. Apparently the Carbine staffer in question proved their employment status with a redacted W2. Of course, they could be ANYWHERE on the totem pole. Interesting to watch unfold, though keep the tinfoil hats on. Also, could be easily forged… so who the hell knows.

New Wildstar Twitter Community
Joe is starting up a version of #SWTORfamily for WildStar, #WSFamily. Tweet or DM @joseph_foran if you’d like to be added to the lists.

So, why am I back in WildStar?
Easier to just post a link:

3.2.1 Patch released to the wild! Amazingly, servers don’t implode.

Lego Minifigures Online (semi-MMO) changing its business model

Zam lays off Staff
Can’t find link, just lots of tweets from staffers

Echo of Soul Gameplay video

Neverwinter Upcoming Changes to ToEE

TERA most played MMORPG on Steam

TERA releasing inactive character names


MMO Community

Launch of MMO-Central

H1Z1 Cheaters unbanned…if they are really sorry

Conan Witcher 3 bit

Bad Feeling Podcast

Metalsucks Podcast

It’s a Trap Podcast



Best and Worst of…


Best: Pre-60 PvP and Starfighter

Worst: Not-Pre-60 PvP (lack of content updates, world PvP)

Best: Story

Smuggler’s One-liners

Worst: Raid /Ops content release rate

Best: Legacy system, and banks

Worst: Slow response time on MAJOR bugs

Best: Travel

Worst: Fire and forget feature release (how’s that new Starfighter map coming, BioWare?)

Best: Companion system

Overall rating for the game: 4/5


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This week’s end music is Play This Way (a parody of Walk This Way by Aerosmith). Lyrics, guitars, and vocals by Drew Brandon, bass and drums from

PvP lover, always hiding undercover
In your guild till they try to say
They say “You wanna come raidin’
Best game you have played in
And you’re sure to be a-changin your ways”
I met the guild leader, was a real progression feeder
All the mats went straight to world firsts
But the best game playin’
Is when you are a-layin’
Waste to the other jerks, like this

Buff up, gear up, instill a good fear of us
They run away as soon as we load
Saying we are zerging, but we’re really iceberging
Cause we’re sinking all of their boats
So I don’t really care if you’re a carebear
If you mouse turn or use your keys
If you are backtracking
Then I’ll be attacking
And I’ll teach you your ABCs
You got to

Learn to Play

Episode 13: Right on the Money

Who the heck is playing – and paying – Lineage?!?


This week we discuss getting older, public executions, how NCSOFT properties are doing, and yet more conjecture on Wildstar’s subscription-to-f2p transition. Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where we talk about MMOs and we’re not sure how we’ll find time to do more than seven daily zones each week.

MMO News

Money Money Money (and WTF is up with that hair… it’s full-on JRPG-level height.)

It’s not newsy, but it’s interesting – Diablo III is often described as kind of almost-an-MMO.  Turns out, it WAS almost an MMO.

Near and Dear to my heart… MMOs and Working Adults.
Catering to the casual? Yeah. The casual who used to be hardcore, aka the casual who now has WAY MORE MONEY to spend.

Ok ok, we know about WoW and it’s 3 million sub drop. Enough already. Let’s talk about 6.2 and the new Bonus Activities feature.

ESO on the Console. The company that loves console RPGs is finally putting it’s MMORPG on consoles, and it’s releasing June 9th.

Guild Wars 2 Cheater’s toon is publicly shamed and executed. Then all of his toons are deleted.

SWTOR – Irony in the extreme. The second part of the Sixth Line story starts with ledge crawling. Funny, that’s how the now defunct exploit worked.

To end on the money note: NCSoft Earning Report – Lineage 1 still kicking ass. WildStar, not so much. All the rest – doing ok.

WildStar, Guild Wars 1 and 2, AION, and all NCSOFT properties subject to a now-complete extended maintenance.

WS Coming to Steam


MMO Community

Money – Pink Floyd

For the Love of Money – Bulletboys

Price Tag (because why not?)


If I Were A Dev

How would you handle advancement mechanics?


For basic experience – Levels with, as we’ve mentioned, have no real cap. Just max-ed skills. Maybe levels that don’t end, maybe no levels listed. A bit TSW-like or WildStar-like. Tough to say. Also, the ability to start a character at above the starting zone area like Age of Camelot and WildStar once you’ve already maxed a character.

Crafting – traditional leveling with recipes and rewards, but with the possibility of gaining crits by using more materials or special materials. End-game crafting gear would be JUST AS GOOD as end-game instance gear, and all gear can be modded by crafters, as we’ve already mentioned..

Factions – a classic reputation system. To make crafting valuable but not cookie-cutter, there would be materials and even recipes  gated by both level and reputation.



No levels, just minor quality of gear differences, and slots for skills. Skills unlock through achievements.

Skills from crafting achievements that consume crafting materials

PvP renown, infamy, and honor. Renown is from raid-v-raid kills, Infamy is from piracy and ganking (large power disparities or raid-v-solo), and Honor is from killing high-Infamy players.

Pick a faction and move up in it, doing missions for them (or killing players from enemy factions), seals for your player-run faction that allows the leader of the faction to pick which crafting materials to make the seal, thus draining the economy of too-prevalent crafting material


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This week’s end music is Qeynos from Everquest 2

Episode 12: Zoist Towelettes

Rowsdower Power!
Rowsdower Power!

This week we discuss bans for zombie goats, demonic Rowsdowers, how to pronounce “Ziost,” and how Archeage gets even grindier! Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where we talk about MMOs and we’re not trying to double-jump long gaps in MMOs that don’t have double jump, we just like to fall into canyons. A lot.

MMO News

GOAT-Z… I’ll say it again… GOAT-Z

So, uh, this Hearthstone thing isn’t really an MMO either, but THIRTY million players?

Which means that Blizzard’s not sad that the WoW-ercoaster Ride continues

SWTOR Beginning of the End of the Beginning of the Story, and still no freaking PvP.

And BioWare beats down the Credit-Farmers in SWTOR:

Archeage’s new patch sails in to make positive waves!

WildStar Drop 5!

The Pets. OMG the freaking pets…

The Secret World – Reaping the Whirlwind


MMO Community

Farewell, Torocast. (01:38:00)

Related: Galactic Gamer’s Coalition puts out new podcast.

Jeff Kurtenacker’s Our Perception of Beauty


If I Were a Dev

What kind of payment model would you have?

Joe: F2P with Sub option, purely cosmetic in the cash shop, Boxed copy if it gets big enough that will include 1.25x the value in cash shop currency (retail for $40, get $50 worth of cash shop items).
Drew: Buy-to-play, with optional sub. Cash shop with cosmetic stuff.



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This week’s end music is Kick Butt and Chew Bubble Gum by Jeff Kurtenacker from Wildstar.

Episode 11: Medium Rare Content and Arbitrary Walls

The brilliant map voting process in Guild Wars 2.
The brilliant map voting process in Guild Wars 2.

This week we discuss bans for exploration, Black Desert’s media push, Left Shark, and more! Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where we talk about MMOs and and we don’t click our skills, but only because we keep dragging them off our bars…

MMO News

Moar WildStar

Boxes and boxes of mounts and outfits – retail box codes giving mounts and an outfit.

Speaking of in-game items, Left Shark is going to be a BATTLE PET in WoW

Steam gets community Steamed.

And then Valve opens up… “We’ve done this because it’s clear we didn’t understand exactly what we were doing,”

New Daybreak Games (formerly Sony Online Entertainment) site

Also, Daybreak aren’t dummies – they get community management.

The natural next question? Will a SWGemu agreement be in the works? No. Definitely not. Not their IP, for starters.  Lucasarts / Disney own the rights. Only one AAA MMO with the Star Wars IP allowed… that’s why SWG shut down rights as SWTOR launched. Zero overlap.

Loads of Black Desert News ahead of Japanese Open Beta

World of Tanks – Possible new MOBA style gameplay?

Aion – Expansion due soon!

The meaty meaty center of tonight’s episodes:
SWTOR 3.2 is live. Kind of.
Class changes
Outfit Designer
Rise of the Emperor Content and the SWTORGATE
BANS!!!!! MOAR BANS!!!! 204 Main hand? You killed a WHAT?


MMO Community

Elio cars

Empress of the Pagodas (performed by Christopher Parkening)


If I Were a Dev

Engine Update!

.Net Core released for Linux and Mac. Not enough to build a game engine on, but it won’t be long… a truly cross-platform system. Woot.


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This week’s end music is Justice Doesn’t Always Wear a Badge by Jeff Kurtenacker from Wildstar.

Episode 10: Where are dese clowns from?

A mother of a motherboard... Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3P ATX AM3+ Motherboard
A mother of a motherboard…
Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3P ATX AM3+ Motherboard

This week we discuss rumors, tokens, how hookups aren’t like dates, and more! Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where we talk about MMOs and we don’t dupe items, we control markets.

MMO News

Since I’m playing WildStar again, I thought I’d lead off with this sad news about WildStar… because that game just can’t get a break.

I call BS – Article says Interplay blocking Fallout MMO. This was settled in 2012… unless there’s been an appeal.

More BS in the Press – Kind of like how a hookup isn’t a date. It’s just vaguely date-like. Sort of like calling sometime in 2016 a release date for Black Desert Online.

For those who enjoy Asian MMOs, Age of Wulin is getting it’s fifth chapter (the fourth expansion), Heaven’s Ascent.

WoW’s version of CREDD and PLEX is live.

And of course, there’s a chart already…

Neverwinter for XBOne is live.

And their twitter feed shows us they’ve had a slew of issues:

Second Life players try to find relevance for the game through development… of an MMO inside of SL.

Do we really need a Tom Clancy shooter MMO?


MMO Community

We Hate People – a podcast by filthy casuals, for filthy casual. Or is that the tagline to Flashpoint? Same guys, two podcasts – one about MMOs, one about general pop culture.

Joe’s new build: – bear in mind I already had an SSD drive, so the build includes two, while my rig has three, and I was wrong – it’s just a 500w power supply. It only draws 328w, so no biggie. I’m also STILL waiting on shipping of my GTX and second DIMM. Argh.

Jason Evangelho’s $750 build:


If I Were a Dev

How would you handle death and penalties?

JOE: No item penalties: Repair costs are a cheap cash sink. Allow for one free rez-in-place, then offer a timer-driven system (with a currency cost to buy-down the timer) or a rez-and-run.
DREW: Full item drop and lootable body. Leave only equipped items. If you find your body before other players, you can pick it back up. Due to limited inventory space, most people won’t be able to take all of your stuff though. Backpack rigged to blow.


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This week’s end music is Main theme from Guild Wars 2.

Episode 9: Something’s Fishy…

Fishing in LOTRO from
Fishing in LOTRO, from


This week we discuss some scandals that have rocked the MMO world, fishing, and how we would design our economies! Welcome to Casual Core Radio, where we talk about MMOs and and we are very concerned with fishing and scandals in the MMO space.

MMO News


New Quarry threatens aquatic life


If I Were a Dev

How would you design your economy?

JOE: Around a fishing-based skillset, with heavy emphasis on fines for overfishing and destruction of protected waterways.

DREW: I would go for more of a Hayek-based economy, because I think the Austrian school really knows their stuff. The laissez-faire approach to a fishing economy can work well, despite the overfishing, because the consumer should be more ethical.


Don’t forget about the bloopers! And a very happy April Fools to everyone…

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This week’s end music is Open Sea Music by Jeff Kurtenacker from Pirates of the Burning Sea. The bloopers music is Cute and Crafty (Wigwalli Villiage Theme) from Wildstar.