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

Conan Exile devs address Xbox One crashes, says crossplay with PC might be in the works

With the release of Conan Exiles on Xbox One’s game preview program, there are plenty of questions from this new audience about the rollout of the survival sandbox. Funcom’s team was on hand yesterday for an AMA that ranged from crafting to crashes (“our number one priority”) to camel punching.

Funcom revealed that it is working on creating voice chat (in a similar fashion to ARK: Survival Evolved). It also hinted that PC and Xbox players may one day be able to share the same servers: “That is something we are still considering. Crossplay is complicated.”

The team also addressed the controversial omission of nudity on the console: “There is a nudity DLC for European territories (it’s free), but this DLC is currently unavailable due to a last minute issue with the Xbox Store. Microsoft is currently investigating a solution to this issue. In the meantime, all territories will be limited to partial nudity.”

Source: Reddit

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Massively Overthinking: Alone together vs. forced grouping in MMORPGs

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that everyone has at some point seen the xkcd called Isolation, but if not, there it is. No matter what the age and era, someone’s always preaching that people were more sociable in the long long ago. In this comic, however, Randall Munroe isn’t even contesting that. His point is basically no duh and so what. Yes, we become less sociable with random people in our immediate vicinity as we gain more and more access to ideas, entertainment, and people not in our immediate vicinity thanks to technology. Ultimately, replacing impromptu stranger interaction with the amusements of our choice appears to be what a lot of people wanted all along.

MMORPG players surely see where I’m going with this because we have the same eternal struggle when it comes to in-game socializing, grouping, community, and stickiness, the tug-of-war between the people who want to play alone together and the people who think that forced grouping is the only true path to enlightenment.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to reflect on the alone together vs. forced grouping spectrum, to talk about where they stand on it, whether that position’s changed through the years, which games are addressing the divide the best, and how the two sides can move forward in a dynamic MMO genre.

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Revelation Online outlines the lore-hunting Scene Chronicle feature

Are you fascinated by the lore of the various locations in Revelation Online? In the event that you don’t care about that at all, are you a big fan of getting to pick up valuable items and fame just by filling in some check marks? The Scene Chronicle feature caters to both sorts of players, giving you a chance to look behind the scenes of the game’s area lore while also giving you plenty of fame and potential other rewards along the way.

The feature allows you to select from the various cities to pick out both the best spots of treasure hunting and the most interesting locales, while those not yet unlocked will require you to interact with NPCs (and the guide will helpfully point you in the right direction). Successfully filling in entries will award fame for the respective region as well as things like leaderboards and possible items. So go head on your quests, whether you want to learn more about the realm or just pick up some easy fame. We won’t judge either way.

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Overwatch promises that console reporting is (still) on its way

Remember how Blizzard said that a bad behavior reporting function was on its way to Overwatch’s console edition? While the studio promised this week that the feature was being internally tested, the community finds itself more desperate than ever to arm itself with the tool against griefers, gankers, and goons.

Eurogamer published a piece outlining how dire the situation has become on console for the Overwatch crowd due to the fact that players are powerless to report those exploiting, cheating, or engaging in toxic behavior. To make matters worse, Blizzard has been dragging its feet on delivering this necessary tool, having first promised that it was working on it back in January.

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World of Tanks introduces PvE War Stories, amps up metal soundtrack

Maybe it shouldn’t come as a huge shocker that the studio behind World of Tanks is into (pause for punny effect) heavy metal. Wargaming announced this week that it’s planning on infusing its soundtrack with heavy metal music from musicians around the world, starting with a special track by Akira Yamaoka. Additionally, the studio has teamed up with heavy metal band Sabaton to produce a game-themed music video of its hit Primo Victoria and create an in-game tank to match the song. For the music video, the band went to the Arsenalen Tank Museum in Sweden, where they drove around in an actual tank and reportedly crashed through a wall. Hopefully on purpose.

The Primo Victoria tank is now in the game, and both Sabaton and Akira Yamaoka will be joining Wargaming at Gamescom 2017, with the former doing a live performance for fans.

Meanwhile, Wargaming has announced the start of War Stories, a series of PvE story episodes “offering tankers the chance to relive historical events, discover alternate histories, or play-out fantasy campaigns.” Trailers down below!

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Ultima Online begins epic 20th anniversary event, warns of harassment threat

Is there any shame in throwing a birthday party for yourself? Not if you invite everyone and make it hecka fun, we say! Ultima Online has kicked off its 20th anniversary event this week, welcoming everyone to celebrate the 1997 MMORPG and all that it’s accomplished over the past two decades.

The event arc is called The Shattered Obelisk, and it will be rolled out in five parts over the next two months. It should be noted that once the fifth part arrives on September 28th, you won’t be able to access the previous four — so don’t dally!

“The Shattered Obelisk includes activities for group and solo play, challenging quests and puzzles, new areas of the world to explore and a continuation of the saga that is Ultima Online,” the team posted. “Along with the in game features and fiction that are part of Publish 98, we have exciting new fiction that will be posted on UO.com as well as support events held by our event moderators.”

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Watch 13 minutes of Wild West Online exploration and treasure hunting footage

Still skeptical about Wild West Online’s proposed PvP system? A brand-new video today may or may not help. PC Gamer spends 13 minutes narrating a dev-led demo of the game world showing off just how pretty and detailed it looks, though the publication notes it feels pretty empty in its current phase. The narrator reiterates the idea that you’re probably not going to want to “go buck wild” murdering in towns since you’re likely to be caught and bountied. You can fire warning shots, however, and of course you can be ambushed out in the wild, with much weaker penalties for banditry.

“I like the idea of playing a roadside bandit and attacking innocent gold miners while they try to go pan for gold and make do or pay rent or buy a small land deed,” PC Gamer’s rep says while a dev shoots (and misses) his target. “I do worry about player density and whether any time you go out into the world to look for treasure or pan for gold or whatever it is – I do worry about getting shot too often. I’m told that’s what the beta and alpha are gonna be before, testing what kind of player population they want and how often they want you to engage with other people in conflict. There’s gotta be a sweet spot, and they will need a live environment to test that in.” You don’t say!

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Choose My Adventure: Finding my way in Shroud of the Avatar

Heading into Shroud of the Avatar for the first time was a bit of a strange experience for me, right from the start. Usually, when I start playing a new game, I start forming impressions and then spend the next few weeks refining those impressions in either direction. This time, I am utterly unsure of how I feel about the game, and I suspect that the next few weeks are going to make that more complex, not less.

And part of me can’t help but wonder if some of that is just a matter of missing vital reference points.

I don’t mean that in the sense of the game being actually impenetrable; it’s just that I find myself constantly asking if something that bugs me is, in fact, exactly the way it’s supposed to be for fans of the genre and Garriott’s prior work. Which is a trip, let me tell you that. I’m staggering through dark woods, getting my throat chewed on by a wolf, and I’m seized with the urge to ask the wolf if this is, in fact, an intended portion of design. You know, between bites of my trachea.

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Earn a new mount in TERA by leveling a new character in Kritika Online

There are, presumably, more people enjoying TERA right now than enjoying Kritika Online. That’s sort of to be expected; the former is an established game, the latter is new. So it’s quite possible that you’re playing TERA and haven’t yet played Kritika… but what if the developers enticed you with a new mount you can earn just by leveling up in Kritika several times? Until August 31st you can earn one of two mounts in TERA just by hitting level 20 or 50 in Kritika during the promotional period.

It’s worth noting that players who have already hit level 20 or 50 will have to start a new character to earn these benefits; an existing character doesn’t count. But other than that, it may be the ideal promo for anyone looking to ride a love wolf in TERA, since all you have to do is play another game for a bit to get the mount for free, including a version that restores your health as you ride. So if you haven’t tried the game, consider this your motivation for getting in on it.

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Otherland is revived on Steam as Drago takes over publishing duties

Over this summer, we’ve been getting tips suggesting that the Tad Williams Otherland MMORPG was in serious trouble, as first it went dark on Steam and then it returned, silently, with an 8GB patch. Drago Entertainment did not respond to requests for a comment then, or perhaps it could not if it didn’t control its press relations, but either way it’s finally posted something to its Facebook page today, and although it doesn’t address the Steam outage directly, it’s definitely good news going forward.

The studio explains that it was originally brought on as the developer by the investors who own the game in the wake of the RealU studio’s closure, but it was hamstrung by the publisher, who you’ll recall was Gamigo, though Drago doesn’t name names.

“Shortly after the soft launch of Otherland as a free-to-play game in September 2016, the publisher decided to hold back on most releases and information in preparation for a major relaunch planned for June this year,” Drago says. “The game not being relaunched as planned has seen the investors sit down with the publisher to voice their concerns and to keep a long story short, it has been decided that the investors will continue Otherland on their own.”

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The Daily Grind: Do you like being lost in MMOs?

In Final Fantasy XI, my first MMO, maps were few and far between, often blindingly unclear, and offered as many opportunities to be hopelessly lost as they did for finding your way. Pretty much nothing important was marked on the map even if you had one. Being lost was the default state.

This is unusual now. City of Heroes and Guild Wars both surprised me by how resistant they were to letting me get lost, and World of Warcraft now makes it nigh-on impossible. And on some level, this is undeniably a good thing, because it means I spend less time trying to find where the Thing is and more time actually interacting with the Thing.

But then, some people really do prefer that sense of not knowing where the next objective might be. So today I ask, dear readers: do you like being lost in MMOs? Is part of the excitement of the genre for you when you don’t know where to go? Or do you consider better maps and more efficient guidance to be a boon to the genre?

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Global Chat: The MMO blogosphere’s reaction to Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire

It seems like the entire MMO blogosphere wanted to chip in thoughts on the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire announcement, whether or not each writer was playing the game. So what did they all think?

“Finally, something other than dragons to fight!” enthused Occasional Hero. “I love mounts. And I love leaping and jumping mounts,” wrote Aywren Sojourner. “BUT. We all know what else a mount system introduces — cash shop opportunities!”

GamingSF ran down the features, saying that he’s on the fence as to whether or not to come back: “The best way to know that, I suspect, is to play some of the game in the time between now and the 22nd of September.”

Not everyone is on board with the expansion. “The announcement did not in any way overcome my healthy skepticism of the ‘horizontal progression’ philosophy of the game,” chimed in Endgame Viable. And In An Age seems like he’d wants to play, but admits that the business model puts him in a “mental bind” regarding both expansions.

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Battle Bards Episode 103: Wurm Online

You think you’ve heard strange MMORPG soundtracks before, but Wurm Online is about to take you to the odd frontier. With two distinctive soundtracks that skew away from typical composition, Wurm baffles, amuses, and bewitches the Battle Bards in today’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 103: Wurm Online (or download it) now:

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