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The softer, gentler side of MMORPG life. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

The Daily Grind: Do you swear by any urban legends in MMORPGs?

When I first began playing Ultima Online as a newbie way back at launch, I remember watching everyone around me summoning ham with the Create Food spell and then eating it. The myth back then was that having an empty stomach caused everything from magic fizzles to combat whiffs to slowed experience gain. Over the years, multiple developers have examined the code and said no such factor exists — filling your stomach does nothing in the game and never has.

But that has never stopped players from believing the urban legend. I recently saw some players discussing what level of stomach fill was best. They know devs have denied the existence of any such code, but they insist either that the devs are mistaken (confused by 20 years of spaghetti code!) or that the food somehow plays into a “broken” RNG system, so better to be safe than sorry. Nothing will ever dissuade them. Ham ham ham.

Do you swear by any urban legends in MMORPGs?

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EVE Online is adding smaller skill injectors for newer players

The changes to PLEX for EVE Online make it easier to buy small chunks, sell small chunks, and not have all of it get blown up when you stuff a cargo hold full of your money. Of course, part of what has made PLEX so vital is the need for newer players to be able to catch up with veterans, which ties into use of skill injectors… which are currently very expensive. So the game is introducing a cheaper way to get those, as well.

Existing skill injectors will be marked as large injectors, while the new smaller skill injectors will hold a maximum of 100,000 points and offer smaller and smaller rewards to players with more skill points. The hope is that newer players can buy the bite-sized injector and start to catch up before moving on to larger purchases, thus ensuring that everyone can more quickly take part in the sprawling wars of backstabbing that make the game tick along.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – the final assessment

Here we are, then, at the end of this particular road. We’ve had enough time to look back over Heavensward as a whole, the things it did well and the things it did less well, and where do we stand? Was it a good first expansion for Final Fantasy XIV? A pedestrian one? Or did it make the game significantly worse than when it launched?

All right, the answer to the last question there is pretty transparently a “no,” but let’s not derail the opening preamble here too badly. We’re considering here.

The biggest problem with evaluating any expansion at this point is that until Stormblood releases, we don’t really have a great deal of context, just the base game and what came afterward. Context matters a great deal, but it’s easy to speculate about whether Heavensward will go down as being one of the best or one of the worst expansions. But we can at least look at it in relation to the base game, and what it changed.

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TERA’s third week of anniversary rewards includes a pin-up car

The last week of TERA anniversary rewards is almost upon us, starting on 5/23. That means you still have one more day to turn in Anniversary Tokens for the past week’s rewards, but it also means you can look forward to the final batch of rewards. And what’s on the list for the last week? Why, a hatchback car decorated in cheesecake pictures of the Elin, the race that looks like prepubescent girls!

You could also get a permanent disco ball.

It’s worth noting that the car mount is a permanent mount that has never been available before, and it likely won’t be available again given the nature of the event. Whether or not that triggers your collector instinct is for you to decide, but you’ll want to decide soon as the game’s anniversary celebration moves into its final week.

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Blizzard announces Overwatch Contenders e-sports ‘development league’

Blizzard has just announced “Overwatch Contenders,” what it’s calling a “development league for aspiring Overwatch League professionals.”

“Over the first year of organized Overwatch competition, we’ve seen an incredible exhibition of skill at Overwatch APEX in South Korea, the Overwatch Pacific Championship in the Asia-Pacific region, and the Overwatch Premier Series in China. It’s time to bring that level of competition to the West. If you and your team have what it takes to compete with the best in the West, Overwatch Contenders is your chance to shine. To find the top teams on the North American and European servers, Season Zero of Overwatch Contenders will be an open signup, online-only qualifier to determine the top eight teams in each of those two regions. Each of these tournaments will have a prize pool of USD $50,000.”

Registration in North America and Europe has opened today and will run through early June with playoffs in early July. An open division will follow in 2018 to “offer emerging teams a path to Overwatch Contenders seasons in each region.”

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Liveblogging the Final Fantasy XIV Letter from the Producer LIVE XXXVI

For those who’ve somehow missed it, Final Fantasy XIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida regularly does live letters for the community. We don’t usually liveblog them because, well, most of them take place at a time of day many people are aware of only by rumors. But this time the letter is in English and happening right now, so we’re going to go ahead and liveblog it for your viewing pleasure.

We’ve included an embed past the break, but if you can’t watch the video or would prefer not to, worry not; we’ll be updating you on the progress of the letter right in the comments. This is the first time we’ve done the liveblog with the new comment system, so we’re eager to put it through its paces. What things will be revealed? (Stuff related to Stormblood. We all know it.)

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World of Tanks demonstrates how to chill games criticism on YouTube in three easy steps

The World of Tanks community is in uproar this week over the removal of a prominent YouTuber from the game’s developer-backed promotional program and the deletion of a critical video in a move that smacks of censorship.

YouTuber SirFoch’s latest WoT video [NSFW] aggressively berates Wargaming for overt pay-to-win tactics with its $80 Chrysler K Grand Finals premium tank in what is legitimate but profanity-laced criticism. But after its publication, Wargaming demanded he remove the video, expelled him from its program, accused him of “slandering [the] brand,” and apparently then threatened to abuse YouTube’s copyright claim tool to kill the video and cause him lost revenue on future videos – at least according to the chat logs provided by SirFoch.

“We asked him to remove the video because he abused his status as a contributor and the content he received from us to create a video that defamed our company image with the tone and language he used,” Wargaming rep Ph3lan told Kotaku. A second statement from the company insists it’s not censoring the YouTuber and effectively accuses him of lying about threatening to censor his future videos. (In fact, it appears Wargaming didn’t directly threaten to censor future videos but rather threatened to lodge copyright claims in perpetuity to deny him monetization, having the same effect. There’s also a forum Q&A where Wargaming repeats that refusal to remove videos would cause the studio to “go through YouTube” to achieve its ends.)

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Wynncraft fashioned a free MMO out of Minecraft

Love MMOs? Have a hankering for Minecraft? Your desire for the two aren’t mutually exclusive in the case of Wynncraft!

If you haven’t heard about it already, Wynncraft is a really impressive community-made MMO using Minecraft as its bones and sinew. The free game takes place on one of the largest seamless maps in Minecraft and has all of the staples that you’d come to expect from a fantasy F2P MMO: quests, dungeons, loot, crazy cosmetics, leveling, events, exploring, and all manner of aggressive mobs.

Wynncraft’s team boasts that the game has already seen over one million players pour through its gates in the four or so years that the project has been active. Get a brief glimpse of what it looks like below!

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Guild Chat: Keeping romantic relationships from affecting MMORPG guilds

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively Overpowered readership can band together to solve the guild-related queries and problems of readers in need.  In this edition, reader Roxxus is worried about forming a romantic attachment with an in-guild love interest in case it affects the guild’s group dynamics and ruins the fun that the pair is currently having as platonic guildmates. Roxxus seems to be concerned about how to handle an online relationship without opening up that blossoming romance to the external influences already present in his or her guild, and the pair is perhaps considering getting together without telling anyone else in the guild. Read on for Roxxus’ full submission as well as my ideas, and don’t forget to leave your own thoughts on the matter in the comments.
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One Shots: Head of the class

What do you do if you’re a sentient stone head who has been tasked with centuries of guard duty? You probably do a lot of lounging around on a cushy chair, waiting for some Dudley Do Right to wander your way and agree to do your job for you.

Miol sends in this odd Guild Wars 2 shot from the Living Story Season 3 in response to my call for goofy screenshots: “How about a literal talking head? Silly enough?” Well, it’s noggin I like, but noggin I hate, either.

Yeah, I’ll just show myself out. Sorry about that.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best launcher?

Launchers! They’re stupid, they’re boring, they exist primarily as a gateway between you (the player) and what you actually want to do (play an MMO). And yet I find myself sometimes having a weird nostalgia for some of these programs. PlayOnline is a pretty terrible and unnecessary piece of software, but that opening tune always gets me, and I remember browsing around it even aside from just jumping into Final Fantasy XI.

Heck, I miss the old World of Warcraft launcher from the game’s inception. I far prefer it to Battle.net or the Blizzard App or The Impediment To Playing Destiny 2 or whatever it’s called at this point. That might just be me getting old and cranky, though.

Then again, that’s part of the thing about launchers – they’re transparent until they aren’t, and for better or worse they have a long history with MMOs. So which MMO has the best launcher? Is it the best because it’s lightweight? Familiar? Reliable? Or just because it hits you just right and you love it despite its many flaws?

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Camelot Unchained finishes UI icons, makes ‘major inroads’ into living world support tech

Camelot Unchained hopes you’re not tired of the words “living world” because its devs are busy making “major inroads into the tech to support” just that.

“At the start of the month, we began working with our portal tech to allow players to teleport between zones, primarily to make testing easier,” City State’s Tyler Rockwell explains. “However, we delayed more expanded testing of that tech” — chiefly to improve seamless zone transitioning and terrain generation.

The art is worth a peek this week as usual too, particularly the icons. CSE says its expects the “styling and overall UI to change and grow throughout testing,” these armor, weapon, and crafting icons for beta one are ready to roll. Check them out, along with the weekly recap video, down below.

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Second Life bunnies doomed to death

If Second Life had a mascot, other than a pile of soiled sex toys, it might just be Ozimals. These are adorable little bunnies that can be bred to produce all kinds of rare and interesting patterns and could interact with AI scripts. There’s apparently been a thriving industry and subculture raging around these fluffy hareballs that’s involved marketplaces and real-world money.

Well all of that activity — and many of the Ozimals themselves — is coming to a sad end today. Earlier this week, the operator of Ozimals received a cease-and-desist letter ordering the market to be shut down. It turns out that the bunnies were cobbled together using intellectual property from different owners, leaving the critters vulnerable to such legal maneuvering.

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