Columns Category

Enjoy a run-down of our recent long-form pieces, both game-specific and more general. You might also be interested in our list of all of our columns and recurring articles. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

LOTRO Legendarium: What the Amazon TV series means for Lord of the Rings Online

If you haven’t been paying attention to the television market over the past few years, you might have missed the fact that we are in the middle of a revolution of how shows are made and broadcast. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney, and CBS are greenlighting all sorts of fantastic shows with the hopes of strengthening their audience and luring them to these pay-to-watch platforms.

Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Walking Dead, The Defenders, Star Trek Discovery, and Stranger Things are a few examples of how these companies are getting acclaim and major viewership with ambitious projects. Large amounts of money are being thrown around on both the licensing and production of these shows, and companies are frantically looking around for the next big hit. So while Disney is boldly announcing a Star Wars live action TV series, Amazon went to the fantasy equivalent and nabbed a little thing called Lord of the Rings.

Yes indeed. The big news from this past week was that Amazon bought the rights to produce a multi-season Lord of the Rings series. While the exact cost of this deal wasn’t revealed, industry experts estimate that it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 to $250 million. No small po-tay-toes any way you look at it. But what will this series mean for our beloved MMORPG? I have a few thoughts about that.

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Betawatch: Ascent: Infinite Realm is already heading to Korean beta (November 17, 2017)

Let me tell you, I’m really glad that Ascent: Infinite Realm already has a publishing deal for the west, because otherwise I would be figuratively biting my nails about the game’s first beta test in South Korea. I only just learned it existed, sure, but it’s a game about steampunk mechs and airships. If we get superheroes and cats, that’s pushing most of my buttons right away.

More beta news? Sure, what the hey!

That’s a lot of questions followed by shouted responses, but we assure you there is less shouting in our list of games in testing down below. You can still respond to us in the comments, though; we like to hear from you. Especially if some game swapped test phases without us knowing about it. Those are useful responses!

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Choose My Adventure: It’s all the same in Secret World Legends

I was a bit disappointed to see that last week’s poll for Secret World Legends went to the Illuminati. I played the Illuminati my first time through, you see, and while I quite like the Illuminati, it does rather give me a dearth of new experiences, yes? But then, the point was that this was all supposed to be new experiences, so I shrugged it off. We’re back to the organization that treats secret lore like corporate data points, spectacular.

That may sound a bit dismissive, but it’s not really meant to be. And hey, this will provide a useful point of comparison when contrasted against my original experiences. So I start up, click through the character creator, and find myself thinking that it used to be a fair bit more flexible. Maybe not leaps and bounds, but at least somewhat, right? There used to be more options for hair color and facial features, yes? Or am I deluding myself?

Then I log in, and it’s the same damn game as it used to be.

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The Daily Grind: How should MMOs handle old limited-time rewards?

Out of all the various event rewards I’ve gotten in Final Fantasy XIV, Legacy status is the only one that a new player couldn’t also acquire. Of course, that’s a pretty significant reward, since it means that it actually costs me less to subscribe to the game for all eternity. But every other holiday event item is still available; it’s just that a lot of them require dropping some real-world money. This may not, in fact, be a more popular option than just having them be gone forever!

Of course, World of Warcraft also has items (like CE bonus mounts/pets or the various BlizzCon goodies) that are actually gone forever and available for a limited time, although that time limitation is around two years. And then you have games like Final Fantasy XI, where each year’s holiday event gives you an in-game chance to earn every single reward all over again… great for new arrivals, less great for people who already have all of them already. What do you think, dear readers? How should MMOs handle old limited-time rewards? Should it vary depending on how you acquired them in the first place or based on game design?

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Battle Bards Episode 109: Club Penguin

When you’ve got a club full of penguins overseen by the Mouse House itself, you know things are going to get both wacky and weird! Club Penguin may not be everyone’s go-to MMO for music, but its wide array of simplified genres certainly give the Battle Bards a lot to discuss on this week’s show.

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 109: Club Penguin (or download it) now:

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Hyperspace Beacon: Assessing SWTOR one week after the big server merges

Many people believe that server merges are innately bad because in games like ArcheAge (or even all the way back to Star Wars Galaxies), they were done completely wrong or the game itself wasn’t designed for its servers to ever consolidate. However, other MMOs – RIFT comes to mind – have nearly perfected server merges. And for the most part, server merges help the game and its population. Because many of the smaller servers combine together with larger servers, there are more people around, group-finder queues tend to pop faster, PvP is more dynamic, and roleplayers can reach the all-important critical mass.

If I were to just look at the Star Wars: The Old Republic server merges from the perspective of the overall benefits of combining different server communities, I would have zero issue with them. SWTOR is one of those games that has no innate issues with combining server save for players losing character names. It could be done without losing character names, and I will get into the flaws of that system in a bit.

Now, let’s talk about my specific perspective having experienced two server merges by BioWare, then we will get into the details of how this latest one affected those in my community.

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Perfect Ten: What to expect when you play World of Warcraft Classic

Are you ready to play the most anticipated MMORPG from 2004? It turns out that, yes, many of you are. The frenzy over World of Warcraft Classic is probably nowhere near its zenith yet, as the announcement of the server has sparked enormous amounts of conversation among the community.

While we most likely have a while to go before Blizzard’s time travel machine is complete, it is not too soon to start thinking about the logistics and reality that a legacy server will entail. The existing emulator community and a look at the past development and operation of vanilla World of Warcraft can give us an idea of what WoW Classic will be like, although Blizzard’s vision may differ in format, business model, and features.

What will it be like to jump back to the first year or two of World of Warcraft and play that version of the game? It’s going to be a drastic shock to veteran and new players alike, especially those who might have forgotten how MMOs used to operate back in the day. Here are 10 things to expect when you log in to Classic for the first time.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking more of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire story

As promised, Flameseeker Chronicles is back with a continuation of the Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire story deep-dive I’ve been crafting over the last few weeks. I’ll briefly recap you on where we left off and then will launch into covering the rest of Act II. The volume of story content that came with the latest expansion is appreciable and deserves to receive a thorough breakdown, and I can’t wait to share more of it with you while adding some thoughts as I go. Not everyone is as enthused with the story, of course, so I hope these unpacking articles also help anyone who doesn’t wish to dedicate time to more than the bare bones of the story: You can always use breakdowns such as these to fill any lore gaps that arise from you skipping content you don’t enjoy, after all! Note before you proceed that, just as was the case in the other story breakdown entries, this article will contain significant spoilers if you haven’t completed Act II of the story for yourself.

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EVE Evolved: Three tricks to maximize your free-to-play EVE Online account

It’s now been almost one year to the day that EVE Online officially got a limited free-to-play option, and it’s certainly been a boon for the almost 15-year-old MMO. There’s been a significant increase in new players asking for advice on the forums and in-game channels, and activity levels have been bolstered by the increased numbers. Some of the game’s largest corporations have opened their doors to hundreds of newbros this year, and the best is yet to come. Next month CCP will be lifting some of the restrictions free players are currently placed under and allowing them to access to larger ships, helping to close the power gap between free and paid users.

While the expanded free tier will open up a lot more gameplay to free users, there are some tricks new players should know to maximise the effectiveness of that tier. There’s even a way for returning veteran players who find themselves constrained by the free tier’s limitations to get a full Omega level subscription absolutely free and even to make a profit in the process. Whether you’re on a free Alpha account or an Omega subscription, there are also a few sources of easy ISK that will take relatively little time each week to manage.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I give a few tips new players can use to squeeze more out of the free tier and look at a way for returning veterans to get Omega subscriptions for free.

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One Shots: The party at the end of all things

Do not be alarmed.

Your brain is now under our control, but that is a good thing. You no longer have to worry about the mundane tasks of life; all you need to do now is party. Party hard, party with a purpose, party until you collapse and feed all of your life’s energy to our party vampire!

You know who loves to party? Skoryy loves to party: “Here, have last night’s Extra Life 2017 party in Secret World Legends’ Agartha, complete with dancing CMs and giant Dreaming One mascots!”

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The Daily Grind: How do you pick a mount in MMOs?

In some games, like Guild Wars 2, there’s more going on with mounts than just “run faster.” Frequently, you’ll have more important choices to make. Playing Final Fantasy XIV means that you sometimes will choose your mount based on its cosmetic abilities, there are abilities present for mounts in Neverwinter… you get the idea. And yet in many of these games, you still probably have a mount (or mount skin) that is distinctly yours, the one you use most frequently.

So how do you pick a mount in MMOs? Do you go for the one that was the hardest to get? The one that best suits the character riding it? The old standby that just feels like it’s closest to your personal aesthetic? The mount that takes up the least space? The mount that takes up the most space? Or just whatever mount gets randomly selected from your expansive collection, assuming you have an expansive collection?

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Whatever happened to Global Agenda, The Realm Online, and Mabinogi?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?

That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at what has been going on with Global Agenda, The Realm Online, and Mabinogi.

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Betawatch: Closers Online has a closed beta (November 10, 2017)

Here’s this week’s test of age: When you see the title of Closers Online, is your first thought along the lines of “help me, I’ve torn apart my insides” or “four years, no call, now you’re looking pretty in a hotel bar”? It really doesn’t matter either way; the game just entered closed beta, so you can buy a founder’s pack to get in whether you want to growl about losing yourself in bed or sing about stealing mattresses from roommates.

Meanwhile, we bid farewell to Mu Legend as it moves into open beta, which rhymes with “soft launch” in this case.

Other beta news? Not a whole lot, but it’s still there if you know where to look! Specifically, toward games in testing. That’s where to look.

  • After ages of tests and rumors, Lineage Eternal is being rebooted as Project TL, which is… we’d like to say a step closer to release? It’s not actually even in consistent testing, see.
  • The second week of early testing for Prosperous Universe apparently felt a lot slower than the first one in terms of gameplay. But that’s still providing lots of technical data, so it counts as a net win.
  • The plans are set for OrbusVR’s early access schedule once December rolls around, but it’s still in a beta state for the rest of November. There’s a plan, and that plan is important.

While the week may have been quiet (read: while the week was totally quiet), there’s still a whole list of games on the testing docket just below. If you’re curious, you can jump on down there and check them out, but you can also let us know about the tests you’ve personally been checking out down in the comments. And if you’ve seen a game on the list that seems to have changed states without us noticing? Do let us know with specificity, that helps us yank things from the list.

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