The Stream Team: Adventuring in ARK's redwoods

After many weeks of raiding and raid prepping, Massively OP's MJ is eager to just relax and explore the ARK once again -- relax being a relative term, of course. Since many new dinos have been introduced, she can't wait to find a few to tame. Today, she's going into the redwoods in search of those high-flying cats that like to pounce from the treetops. Will she find some, or will they find her first? Join us live at 12:00 p.m. for this walk in (the heavy wooded and dangerous) park.

What: ARK: Survival Evolved
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, March 25th, 2017

Enjoy the show!

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RIFT acknowledges expansion issues, talks about new zone and challenge servers

If you felt let down by the execution of RIFT: Starfall Prophecy, you're not alone. In this week's producer's letter, Trion Worlds admits that the expansion had "shortcomings" that need addressing. To wit, the studio said that it is "pouring heart and soul into improvements" to shore up the content as it moves forward.

Speaking of moving forward, there's certainly a lot of exciting things on deck for RIFT, starting with the imminent Patch 4.1. This update will add eternal weapons, a planar crafting revamp, a 10-player raid, and new weekly quests. Following that is the return of Carnival and the release of Patch 4.2 with its brand-new level 70 zone, Vostigar Peaks.

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WRUP: Say it once edition

Most of the time, if you have something to say, you should say it once. That's enough. Just once, then move on. Make your point, make your argument, then move on with your life. If you think that a television show is really bad, say it once. Then don't watch it. Stop talking about it. Move on with your life.

You convince few people by saying the same thing over and over. In fact, you're more likely to sound petulant than sounding convincing. If new evidence arises, that's a different story, but if you're talking about something that hasn't changed since you initially said it, you're not adding anything new to the discussion. You're just repeating yourself, and you're sounding as if that's all you have to say.

So just say it once. For example, this week, just tell us what you're doing in the What Are You Playing comments one time. Don't post three comments telling us what you're doing over the weekend. Just once.

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The Daily Grind: What long-term MMO tech issues still annoy you?

The other day in Massively OP office chat, Eliot and I were reminiscing about World of Warcraft's launch period and in particular a bug that would lock your character down into a looting pose for minutes on end, even as you scooted around the world. It was a particularly annoying issue that persisted for a long time before the game engineers finally squashed it.

In LOTRO right now, there is a mind-boggling amount of lag and rubberbanding going on in the high-level areas as a majority of the playerbase crowds into these areas. There have been nights that I logged out due to frustration overwhelming my desire to play, and I sincerely hope it gets sorted out soon.

That's one of the caveats of playing online games, which is that there are always tech issues that need fixing. Some of these prove to be more troublesome to fix or are ignored by the dev team in favor of working on other projects. When they significantly disrupt your play experience, it can sour your time in a game or even push you away for good.

So today's topic is a bit of a gripe session as I invite you to share long-term tech issues in MMORPGs that greatly annoyed you (or continue to annoy).

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The Stream Team: Exploring the city in Conan Exiles

While exploring last time, Massively OP's MJ came across a city in Conan Exiles, and she's eager to poke around inside and check it out. The locals didn't exactly look very friendly however, so the visit probably won't be a walk in the park. Unless it's a park filled with wild rabid animals, then maybe it will be just like that! Join us live at 9:00 p.m. as MJ takes a trip into the city. Maybe she'll even find the perfect souvenir to take home!

What: Conan Exiles
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 24th, 2017

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Betawatch: Pathfinder Online isn't dead yet (March 24, 2017)

You could be forgiven for kind of thinking that Pathfinder Online was dead in the water, but it turns out that there's still hope. A surprise announcement stated that the game is moving forward once more, that it's going to be finished, and that there's reason to be hopeful from here on out. So if you're a big fan of the game or what the designers originally promised, don't give up just yet!

Other beta news this week was... well, let's face it, it was weird. What do I mean? See for yourself.

See what I mean, though? It's been a weird week. Perhaps you can feel a bit better about the week by checking on the list just below, which has all sorts of games on it. Of course, some of them may have crept into a different test status without our notice, which is also weird, so please let us know in the comments if you spy that.

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Gigantic has plans for bot matches, accessibility, and Windows 7 support

Motiga Community Manager Evan Teicheira has a new state of the game post up for Gigantic today -- a most welcome one as the game laid off another 15 employees earlier this month to "reduce burn rate."

"One of the most important revelations we’ve had during the beta is that Gigantic is complicated – not necessarily in a bad way, but in a way that makes it difficult for new players to pick up the game and get over the steep learning curve of the game," he acknowledges. "There are a lot of intricate mechanics that differentiate Gigantic from other games, and only make sense when players understand how each mechanic plays into the much larger picture. For a brand new player, Gigantic can feel like a hectic, fast-paced, visually overwhelming, and ultimately confusing experience. Even for veteran players, it can also be difficult to test new heroes on the live battlefield."

Consequently, Motiga is working on bot matches, balancing accessibility with challenge, Tripp tweaks, chat and voice implementation, an achievements system, new heroes, new battlegrounds and -- drumroll -- the move to Arc, which should allow players on Windows 7 and beyond the chance to play the game.

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Dark and Light soldiers on past delays with new game previews

In the brief time since its Chinese branch announced another delay, Snail Games has put out a pair of previews for its upcoming reboot of Dark and Light.

"Many of Dark and Light's creatures exhibit the features of their environment, both in appearance and ability," says the studio on Facebook in showing off what look to be some nasty spiked sabercats. "You'll need to prepare proper elemental defenses against them if you go exploring in any extreme climate zones. Because they're already acclimated to their environment, taming such creatures will give you an invaluable companion when exploring these regions."

The second piece is an ultra-brief gif of players racing into battle horseback.

A week ago, the game's Chinese website apologized to players for "again" making the decision to extend development, thereby delaying beta until summer. It was originally intended to launch in the fall of last year, as we chronicled last week.

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The Stream Team: Celebrating Warframe's 4th birthday

Call her a party animal, but Massively OP's MJ can't resist celebrating a birthday, and Warframe is turning four! That's all the reason she needs to dive back in and check out more of that world. She's probably not nearly strong enough to seek out the new instruments that have just been introduced with the Octavia's Anthem update, but she can work at getting so. And that means she can look forward to making beautiful music in the future... or some kind of music anyway. Tune in live at 5:00 p.m. to wish Warframe a very happy birthday!

What: Warframe
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 24th, 2017

Enjoy the show!

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Battlenet's slow retirement, Overwatch toxicity, and Blizzard's legal history with 'modding'

Last night's update saw the end of the Battle.net branding on the Blizzard launcher. You probably shed your tears back in September, when the company first announced it was retiring the Battle.net name and replacing it with terms like Blizzard Streaming and Blizzard Voice. Now the platform for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and the rest just says... Blizzard.

Speaking of Overwatch: Kotaku has a look at the shooter's new system for dealing with toxicity, currently getting a workout on the PTR. The current version has far more specific options for reporting other players, which may or may not lead to better reports and less abuse -- but Blizzard is making an effort.

And finally, Polygon has broken down Blizzard's history with modding and reverse engineering lawsuits, presumably for younger gamers or folks who aren't aware of World of Warcraft's diverse modding offerings. Anyone who's ever wondered why Blizzard cracks down on Bossland, who's wondered why the DMCA is so powerful, or who's curious about the legal precedent of the old-school bnetd case should take a look before armchair lawyering down in the comments.

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Revelation Online's scour dungeons are a leveler's best friend

Even if MMO titles look similar to past releases, we've found that there are always interesting systems and unique quirks to each game that require some effort to familiarize. One of these for Revelation Online is the game's "scour dungeons," which are special instances devoted to the fine art of grinding mobs.

This isn't as bad as it sounds, actually. Every day, players can jump into a scour dungeon to quickly take on a host of mobs and benefit from the experience and loot. In fact, the devs say that these dungeons are one of the best ways to level up and tier up your equipment: "Operating much like a daily quest , you will only be able to kill a certain number of monsters per day in this manner, though the maximum number can be increased over time."

There's even an option to morph into an enemy and go about attacking players for fun, if that's your bag. You can sample one of these scour dungeons in the video below.

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LOTRO's Spring Festival returns

Spring is in bloom, love is in the air, and boots are primed for stompin' some major shrew butt.

Yes, it's once again time for Lord of the Rings Online's Spring Festival, which began Thursday and runs through April 2nd. During the festival, players can participate in traditional activities such as shrew stomping, pub crawling, and navigating the towering hedge maze.

There are a few new rewards in store for veterans of the holiday, including a pair of kites and a very attractive steed. There's a quick overview of the Spring Festival on the site, although if you want the full run-down, you should head over to LOTRO Wiki for the full walkthrough.

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See real life through the lens of an MMORPG

Have you ever heard of this YouTube channel called Casually Explained? It's been growing in popularity thanks to the creator's deadpan wit and his awkward, dry jokes. As much as we'd encourage you to watch through his entire playlist, we highly encourage you to check out his latest video, especially if you're an MMORPG player (we feel safe assuming this).

In his "The Human Player Type," Casually Explained looks at real life and the world through the viewpoint of an MMORPG, fitting the bulk of a human lifespan into the terminology and framework of online video games. Oddly enough, it really works, and the MMO in-jokes are absolutely hilarious if you get them.

Treat yourself to a few minutes of humor by watching it after the jump.

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