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

Star Wars: The Old Republic outlines changes to the core worlds

Given the fact that Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s upcoming expansion is very much focused around stories, it’d be a bit odd if all of the old missions went away entirely. At the same time, the path through planets was pretty bloated and not always very story-focused. A new development diary outlines the changes coming to the core worlds and the renewed emphasis on story progression, making the most critical storyline missions the focal point for players moving through planets and class stories.

Critical missions – the thrust of the main story and each individual planet’s story – will be marked with different icons and will be the only missions shown by default. If you want to explore a planet in more depth, you can opt to see the Exploratory missions offered on every planet, with the planetary level sync ensuring that you never wind up too far above the planet’s power level. Heroic missions are also being restructured to two-person affairs available via a weekly console; check out the full diary for details.

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Sword and Bored: Costume designer

Can you imagine if your character in World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, or whichever fantasy MMO were in the real world? What would his or her armor actually look like? The shoulder pads alone would make it impossible for him or her to just walk around. I usually like to dress my characters in something that is sort of realistic.

In Mo’s MMO, a cosmetic outfitting system was just introduced, so style maven Amilya is going to help him pick the outfit that is just right for him in this week’s comic…

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Wisdom of Nym: The state of Final Fantasy XIV’s magical DPS

The purpose of magical damage in Final Fantasy XIV is to ruin everything. Really. You get a huge group of enemies together, and then you ruin them with a barrage of magical forces. Not literally using Ruin most of the time, that works its way into your rotation but isn’t a mandatory thing at all times. Though it’s pretty important for Summoners, I know. Mostly as a filler.

Just as ranged DPS and melee DPS has a niche in the game, magical DPS has its niche, and while Summoner was originally sold as a bit more of a debuffer than simply a DPS with a heavy damage-over-time element, we’re here now. So to round out the previous columns on the DPS jobs in the game, let’s take a look at the two damage-dealing casters in all of their glory. Mind the explosions, those show up a lot. Also mind the damage fields. It’s sort of their thing.

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Check out preview videos for the next Lord of the Rings Online update

Minas Tirith is a big deal in Lord of the Rings Online; everything bringing player characters closer to Mordor is important, and Minas Tirith is a milestone. The game’s next update will add in the region of Old Anorien, bringing with it Minas Tirith, Pelennor Fields, and Talath Anor. You could jump into the game’s test server and start exploring the regions there… or you could watch many, many preview videos below to get a sense of the area without a test client. Your choice.

The videos in question cover all of the major regions with an exploration as well as the battle for Minas Tirith, so players who can’t wait to explore these regions can enjoy the ambiance. It’s the next best thing to being there.

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The Daily Grind: Who’s your favorite MOBA champion?

I’ve been playing League of Legends quite a bit lately, but I haven’t settled on a favorite champion yet. I’m a MOBA newb, so I’m trying everything in terms of roles to see what sticks and what sucks. I’m having the most fun with marksmen so far, just because last-hitting is strangely addictive and I’ve always been a stand-back-and-fire-guns kind of guy instead of a sword-and-board type.

What about you, MOP MOBA fans? Which champion is your favorite and why?

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One Shots: Caught in the act

If I were an MMO character, I’d be completely paranoid that at any point in my life, I could be photographed by an invisible entity and posted for the entire world to see. Maybe that’s why everyone constantly does heroics; they’re terrified of being caught in the act doing mundane things like going to the bathroom or shucking peas.

Vindictus can really be great-looking game, and the action combat is tight and fun, especially with friends,” testifies Alexander. “Here’s a shot of my blade and magic character Elalora finishing off a boss. Gotta love that pose!”

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has your favorite cosmetic system?

The Secret World is not my game of choice, but I sure did like its system for appearances. Clothing was just… well, clothing. You could wear whatever outfit you liked! Your stats were entirely tied to other parts of your character, and there was lots of stuff to mix-and-match. Skyforge uses a similar trick with its outfits, but there’s less mixing and matching. It’s a bit less appealing.

Of course, I’m very fond of any cosmetic system; there are just better and worse options. City of Heroes has some gold-standard elements to its cosmetic system, naturally, but even in games with more investment in gear, there are better and worse systems. So what MMO has your favorite cosmetic equipment system? Would it work in other games, or not quite so much?

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The Game Archaeologist: The assassination of Lord British

At the end of August 2015, the fledgling Shroud of the Avatar community gathered together for a massive PvP fight. This wasn’t to be a normal battle, however, as Lord British (Richard Garriott’s in-game avatar) waded into the fray and was the focus of a fierce fight to see who could kill him. Down he went in the end, prompting cheers from the participants — not because they hated him but because it was a reprise of one of the most famous moments of MMO history.

A little over 18 years before that Shroud of the Avatar gathering, a similar group of beta players had congregated in the Ultima Online beta for a stress test. In the crowd lurked a would-be assassin who had a dastardly plan: to attack and kill the most revered figure in the Ultima franchise in front of a live audience.

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WRUP: The appearance of birds edition

Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near? Why do birds gradually appear every time they smell fear? Why do birds cover me with beer every time I taunt steer? Why do birds shriek into my ear every time I hunt deer? Why do birds start campaigns of smear when you look for careers?

Why do birds suddenly appear every time you gradually appear? What locations do birds not appear adjacent to you? If you go to space, do birds follow you? Can you summon or control the birds? What is the maximum bird density in your airspace? Does it work when you are in a plane? Are you allowed to fly?

What Are You Playing is here, obviously. What are you playing? Does it involve birds? Read more

The Daily Grind: How closely do you follow MMOs prior to launch?

MOP commenter Tandor Shadewalker recently made me think about what the game industry was like prior to widespread use of the internet. If you’ll allow me to paraphrase, he said that gamemakers made games, we bought them in stores, and on occasion we may have discussed them with close friends or family and even less occasionally written a letter concerning them to a gaming magazine.

In 2015 on the other hand, everybody’s a critic, social media gives a megaphone to people with nothing to say, and games are dissected, analyzed, and fought over before they’ve even made it out of alpha. While I can’t fully divorce myself from this silly and toxic climate and continue to do my job, I have begun to draw a very clear line between games I’m obligated to know about for professional reasons and games I choose to know about for personal pleasure. And I’m finding that the less I know about the latter titles prior to launch, the happier I am.

What about you, MOP readers? How closely do you follow pre-launch MMOs or games from your other favorite genres?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Leaderboard: Have you played Elite: Dangerous?

I’ve got the space sim bug again. Well, OK, I never really lost it, but work and other hobbies occasionally make immersing myself in something like X or Elite: Dangerous or Wing Commander untenable. I recently reinstalled Elite after playing around with it at launch, and I’m looking forward to jumping back into my life as an intergalactic trucker.

What about you, MOP readers? Have you played Elite? If so, what did you think?

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Neverwinter shows off the iconic Forgotten Realms characters added to the game with the Underdark

Are you looking forward to meeting some of the iconic cast members of Neverwinter‘s lore with the game’s upcoming Underdark expansion? Do you have no idea who the iconic cast members are but still want to know what their deals are before you start playing? The latest development update for the game covers both groups quite elegantly.

If you’re part of the latter group, the update in question gives you a bird’s-eye view of the character’s backstory, while members of the former group can get an idea of what these characters are up to as players start exploring the eponymous Underdark. The update covers Drizzt Do’urden, his dwarven companions Bruenor and Regis, and the presumed-dead Thibbledorf Pwent.

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Records indicate that Rhode Island’s deal with 38 Studios was meant to be secret

The 38 Studios story has been a mess since it was first announced, right up to the studio’s collapse. It turns out that the first announcement wasn’t meant to happen, though; according to documents that have been released, the meetings between Curt Schilling and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation were originally meant to be completely secret. Public revelation came only after it became clear that the Providence Journal had uncovered the meetings and was planning to run a story on same.

While Schilling and the EDC were transparent about the deal after it had been revealed, the fact remains that it was apparently meant to remain behind closed doors, possibly until the deal had already happened. It adds a certain degree of shadiness to the proceedings, not that the state of affairs needs much help to not look good.

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