SWTOR launches 5.1 Defend the Throne with new trailer

Landing in Star Wars: The Old Republic today is the 5.1 update, Defend the Throne, the headlining feature of which is a set of five brand-new Uprisings: small-group instanced content. Players can further expect the new master chapter difficulty tier and achievements and new galactic command gear mechanics, among a number of quality-of-life and bug fixes.

Massively OP SWTOR specialist Larry Everett chatted with BioWare Creative Director Charles Boyd for an early-issue Hyperspace Beacon yesterday, getting the low-down on Uprisings. Check that out, and then hit the patch notes and brand-new trailer!

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Overwatch's Year of the Rooster update is expected today

The downside of Blizzard's Overwatch teases is that they tell dataminers right where to look and leakers right when to strike. So it goes with the online shooter's Year of the Rooster content, which according to the apparent Spanish-language trailer leak will begin today and end on February 13th, with at the very least Chinese New Year avatar skins, emotes, loot boxes, and the themey Lijiang Tower map.

Meanwhile, if Torbjorn and Symmetra gave been annoying you, take heart.

"We've been watching them closely," Game Director Jeff Kaplan told fans over the weekend. "Up until recently they were performing in lockstep with PC. Recently they've begun to diverge a little bit so we're taking a look at them now and we'll consider adjusting them."

Kaplan also says that Blizz is working on better bindings and callouts for teammates and promises reporting features on console, though there's no ETA yet.

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever participated in a protest in an MMORPG?

Protests in the real world dominated this past weekend's news, and while I surfed around for an in-game equivalent to cover, I couldn't find much of one (though I found people selling themed accessories in Second Life!). That said, protests in MMORPGs aren't unheard of, and I mean actual protests, not memorials and vigils. World of Warcraft players will remember multiple protests throughout that game's history, mostly against the design of the game, but sometimes against Blizzard's policies. How about the Million Gnome March, for example, which caused game outages and threats from the studio claiming protests were "griefing"? Or the 2006 protests against Blizzard's stance on LGBT guilds -- which the studio reversed? How about the multiple Occupy SAB protests in Guild Wars 2, which ArenaNet allowed to transpire without much fuss?

I've never been to an in-game protest that I recall [Edit: I'm wrong. I have! See comments!], but I did stage my own one-woman protest in Star Wars Galaxies, where following the pronouncement that "no one wanted to play Uncle Owen" because moisture farmers were boring, I promptly rolled a character whose primary role was moisture farming on her permanently installed moisture farm. I made a lot of credits and had a lot of fun selling water on that character, right up until the day the servers were sunsetted. Silly? Maybe, but it gave me some life to prove that the suits were full of shit and didn't really understand the first thing about their own playerbase.

Have you ever participated in a protest in an MMORPG?

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Dogma: Eternal Night adds starting apartment, functional UI and chat

Vampire MMO themepark Dogma: Eternal Night has an update for alpha testers. "Until recently, players could only play around in the character editor," says the team, but thanks to the latest patch,

"Players can now check out the starting location – a small flat in the city. Right now, all you can do is look around and move in it; we haven’t added object interaction yet, as we need to improve on some of its elements. We will add this as soon as possible (first half of February at the very latest). Now you’ll be able to see a working UI and even the chat system, though for now you can only talk to yourself."

The studio is currently building two modules: one that "allows interactions within your flat (whether it be the starting location or the one you buy later)" and one that "add[s] interactions outside of your haven."

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Shroud of the Avatar: New outfits, new zones, and charity aid

Shroud of the Avatar's latest newsletter begins with a bang, at least if you're a fan of costumes. Portalarium is showing off both clockwork armor and Ardoris-themed robes and outfits expected in the next release.

The team further explores the North Drachvald Spur in a mountainous area of Novia that was heavily inspired by Mt Rainier in Washington State and is expected to debut with update 39. Zenos, an island encountered along the Path of Truth quest arc, is also profiled; it's due in R38. The darker images in the gallery come from K'rul, one of the game's open PvP zones and is likewise due in R39. Recently, SOTA has been accompanying its extensive (and most welcome!) image-dumps with videos of the in-progress zones too; we've included those below.

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More people died from PvE than PvP in Skyforge during 2016

Did you play any Skyforge in 2016? If so, your antics and activities likely contributed to the stats on a new infographic My.com has posted to cap off the year. My favorites:

  • Over 2M characters died from stuff like falls and drowning. Ahem.
  • Over 4M fireworks were launched.
  • Almost 8M hours of Skyforge were played.
  • More than twice as many people died in PvE as PvP. (What?)
  • People like crusader armor better than togas and ghosts.

Check out the whole list below, including the lists of players with the most kills and prestige.

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Leaderboard: Where do you stand on Marvel Heroes' massive overhaul update?

Past the downtime and the lag and the inventory snafus, how are Marvel Heroes players reacting to the "biggest update ever?"

Not well. On Steam, negative reviewers are busily tanking the game's rating, dragging its review score down from its usual "mostly positive" to the recent "mostly negative" with claims that the update drained the game of fun and lore and action and depth-wise is "a shallow husk of what it used to be."

On Reddit, players are upset that Gazillion apparently removed newbie accounts' options for their first hero, a regression in design goals.

On the official forums, players are annoyed over movement changes, the power bar, item changes, and attribute changes, calling it a "total destruction of a fantastic game." Ouch.

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These are the gods overseeing your fate in Conan Exiles

With just one week to go before its early access launch, Conan Exiles wants you to get spiritual. Specifically, Funcom's released a dev blog on the religion of the Exiled Lands -- and its very much real gods.

"In Conan Exiles you can choose to worship one of the gods and gain their favor," says the studio. "As you play the game you can worship any, all or none of the gods as you see fit. The gods you can choose from at the start of early access are Crom, Mitra, Yog and Set." Depending on your choice, you'll begin the game with different items and skills, then progress and survive by building religious altars so you can sacrifice your captives and their body parts (because this is a Conan game).

The very best worshippers and sacrificers will gain access to avatar summoning, which brings us back to that creepy flying squid that Funcom is fond of depicting.

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MMO Week in Review: A new race for LOTRO (January 22, 2017)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

The new-old Lord of the Rings Online team at Standing Stone worked the gaming press corps this week, sprinkling reveals like candy at a Mardi Gras parade as they went. Topping the list is info MOP's Justin Olivetti acquired: Not only are new character models for the game confirmed (not just a wish-list item!), High Elves are coming to the game. Huh. Plus housing is due for updates in the very next patch.

Meanwhile, MOP's Andrew Ross penned a detailed research piece on whether lockboxes and their associated business mode trappings legally constitute gambling.

Read on for the very best of this week's MMO news and opinions.

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The Daily Grind: Is there any MMORPG slang that you just do not get?

A funny thread on the MMORPG subreddit last week reminded me that gaming slang is anything but obvious.

"I just now realized that OOM means Out Of Mana," wrote Redditor Pigmyz, "And I've been playing MMORPGs for 6 years." That led to a long thread about other gaming terms people had misunderstood through the ages.

My first year working for the site way back when, a writer submitted a piece to me for review, and I said "gtg," since that's what I was used to saying for "good to go" in MMO groups. The writer said, "No wait, proof my piece first!" thinking I'd meant "got to go." Last time I used that one!

How about you? Is there any MMORPG slang that you just do not get, or that you only figured out after a long period of confusion?

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Make My MMO: Project Gorgon's new shop, Crowfall's investor tally (January 21, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Project Gorgon opened up a brand-new web store. "Currently, we are listing four crowdfunding packages from our prior Indiegogo Campaign in order to continue to raise funds until we launch on Steam Early Access," Elder Game says. "This will give those who found out about us as our Indiegogo Campaign was closing to donate and get the awesome benefits that come with doing so. The three packages that are being offered are: The Horseback Explorer, Patron, and Duke. We will not be offering a standard Contributor package as we want to encourage all those interested in a standard Project: Gorgon key to purchase directly from Steam once they become available."

Meanwhile,

  • TUG resurfaced after raising millions and a year of rework to say it's now focusing on producing a "minimally viable product."
  • We chatted with the Ship of Heroes team about its development.
  • Descent: Underground's Tenebrae update introduced a brand-new map.
  • The Exiled announced a February 23rd Steam early access launch.
  • Crowdfund platform Fig revealed it has raised nearly $8M in a financing round for venture capitalists.
  • Crowfall's Indiegogo-based equity crowdfunding campaign drew to a close, raising over $668,000 from over 1200 investors.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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A peek at Camelot Unchained's trees, forests, and C.U.B.E.

"Today's update might be a little lighter on the tech side," Mark Jacobs tells Camelot Unchained backers in his latest update, "but we have lots of art to show you as well." Indeed, check out those trees. "Big trees. Like really big trees," in a dense forest with climbable foliage. There are also some WIP model shots from the studio's unfinished Place of Power (seen in the image above) and more work on the C.U.B.E. system that should have builder types excited.

"Over the last two years, we have talked about how C.U.B.E. and the building portion of Camelot Unchained was not going to simply be a Minecraft clone. One of the many ways we are fulfilling that promise is by allowing players to create and use round objects. This work-in-progress image shows our building morph technology being put through some tests. It is a cylinder morph around the Z (vertical) axis. Then another cylinder morph around the X axis was added, which combines all the changes of the original morph with itself. The result is that you get curvature around two axes. It’s definitely a WIP, but you can see how close we are getting to the point of bringing this to life inside the engine."

This weekend, testers will be on a "major new version of [the] patcher. Check out the new images and the video update below!

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Path of Exile teases new water simulation system

Can I get you a drink while you wait for Path of Exile to land on Xbox One as recently announced? Awesome. How about some water?

"Late last year we introduced our Physics Programmer, Alex, in a developer interview where we discussed the new cloth physics system he had been working on. In addition to this new system, Alex has also been working on creating a new water simulation system. We are still in the very early phases of the development of this but we're excited to share a preview of the work we've done so far."

GGG says it's "planning to make it configurable to work on a wide variety of systems" and for "all platforms with the 3.0.0 expansion later this year." You can watch the super-short teaser video with its oddly tense background music below. Water.

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