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

The Daily Grind: Which MMO have you played the most?

I updated Lord of the Rings Online over the weekend, and as I was looking at the game in my Steam list, I was surprised that it showed over 400 hours logged. That’s just on Steam, too, and I’m sure I have three or four times that in total because I played heavily at launch and throughout 2007, well before I even started using Steam.

I doubt LOTRO is my most-played MMO, though, simply because of the crazy amount of life I wasted on Star Wars Galaxies back in the day!

What about you, MOP readers? Which MMO have you played the most? Can you estimate your total hours?

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Lineage II is coming to Steam and adding a new server

Long-lived fantasy MMORPG Lineage II is coming to Steam on November 12th. The announcement post mentions exclusive Steam badges, emoticons, and trading cards. NCsoft is also adding a new server called Zaken, on which it says that both new and returning players may compete for server firsts and “the excitement of leveling together.”

You can add Lineage II to your Steam wishlist today and receive a notification on November 12th when the game is available for download and play.

Source: Steam, thanks Lukas!

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Star Citizen’s monthly report is out; also, some guy spent $30K on the game

Cloud Imperium has released its monthly development snapshot for Star Citizen. It’s a high-level look at what each of the firm’s studios has been doing to prep the release of Alpha 2.0, which is the “first serious look at how the puzzle pieces fit together.”

As opposed to previous module releases that have showcased individual portions of the game (the hangar, single-seat dogfighting, socializing in ArcCorp), 2.0 starts to tie it all together and adds things like multicrew ships and first-person ground combat.

In other Star Citizen news, this dude has spent $30,000 backing the game. He also has great musical taste, so there’s that.

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One Shots: Don’t be crabby

I don’t think I could take the blow to my ego to boot up and play something called Dragomon Hunter, but then again, I am one of those refined upper-class British types whose monocle falls into my tea every time someone does something mildly inappropriate.

Reader Vexia is more woman than I, as she sent in this headlining pic. “Lately, everyone has been understandably caught up in the expansion buzz,” she writes. “However, this past weekend my attention was completely captured by this cute new import MMO: Dragomon Hunter! Under its uber-cute exterior, the game has some surprisingly deep systems, one of which lets you catch monsters to raise on your ranch or ride around as mounts! Onward, my crabby steed — to victory!”

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The Daily Grind: Did BlizzCon deliver on your expectations?

It’s not exactly a stretch to say that Blizzard Entertainment casts a long shadow over the field of online gaming. World of Warcraft remains an absolute juggernaut of the MMO field despite its recent history of shedding subscriptions with zeal. Hearthstone seems to be everyone’s favorite as-long-as-I-have-five-minutes card game. Overwatch has the interest of many people who otherwise ignore team-based shooters; Diablo III is heir to a long legacy of not-quite-MMO item farming. Odds are that whatever your flavor of game may be, you have a Blizzard game somewhere on your hard drive.

This year’s BlizzCon addressed all of the company’s games, and that meant covering a lot of ground. Whether you were watching for Legion news, new Hearthstone cards, or more details on Heroes of the Storm, it’s probable that you caught at least bits and pieces out of the event. So did it live up to your expectations? Did it leave you excited, disappointed, or somewhere in between? Were our liveblogs awesome, or too awesome?

You don’t need to actually answer that last one.

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BlizzCon 2015: World of Warcraft Q&A liveblog

It’s the tail end of BlizzCon, and World of Warcraft players have Legion questions. Players probably had questions at the start of the convention, too, but now were’ to the point that those questions can actually get answered. Yes, tonight we’ll get the final panel for the game during the convention, and once again, we’re bringing you the results live and unfiltered.

Like our previous liveblogs, the live updates will be down in the comments, with the main body of the post updated as we go. Join us down in the comments while the panel is running to take part in the back-and-forth, or just catch up on all of the big revelations. What will they be about? We don’t know; they’re questions and answers. It’s hard to be sure yet.

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BlizzCon 2015: World of Warcraft Legion systems panel liveblog

How is transmogrifying items going to change with World of Warcraft‘s Legion expansion? What are the restrictions on transmogrifying artifacts? How do the artifacts work? What changes are being brought to abilities in order to balance PvP with a new progression system? What sort of crazy tech is involved in making all zones scale to your level? What rewards will we have access to with the new challenge keystones? Can we queue for them properly? Does the Grand Magistrix have power over time?

These questions and more are what we go into this BlizzCon panel with. What we will take away from it, hopefully, are an array of answers and fine details so that we can step into the fast-approaching beta with knowledge rather than dumbfounded stares. So jump on into the comments to take part in our liveblogging once again as we find out how World of Warcraft‘s new systems will work. You can also check below for a recap of what’s happened.

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WildStar to reunite F2P servers next week

You might recall that in the whole crush of WildStar’s free-to-play transition, Carbine decided to turn on additional servers with the promise that they would be merged with the originals after some time. Well that time has come, and the studio said that it is going to merge the EU PvP servers on Monday, November 9th, followed by the NA PvP servers on Tuesday, November 10th.

“We’ve reached a point with that work where we’re confident we can bring everyone back together onto one PvE and one PvP server per-region, and still maintain a high quality game experience,” Carbine said.

As Carbine forced players to choose unique names on each servers, there is not expected to be any conflicts when the pairs of servers are brought back together. The studio posted a brief FAQ on the forums to answer pertinent questions about the merges.

Updated to clarify that the merges will initially be for the PvP servers only.

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WRUP: The Grand Magistrix has power over time edition

How do you represent a boss who has power over time? Because the Grand Magistrix has power over time. The obvious answer is that you will be traveling back and forth in time during the fight. Playing a Paladin? Enjoy trying to deal damage with your abilities from the base game. Playing a Monk? Congratulations, now you don’t exist because it’s Cataclysm. Warlock? Well, that seems fine, but it’s going to be less fun when she turns the clock ahead to the twelfth expansion when your class is constantly on fire.

Or maybe it’ll just be slowdown fields and stuff, I don’t know.

Anyway, this week’s installment of What Are You Playing is here, and while I’ll be watching a bunch of BlizzCon streams for your edification, the rest of the overpowered crew has other plans! Check them out just below, and let us know what you’re going to be up to down in the comments.

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The Daily Grind: How do you feel about solo boss fights in MMOs?

I’ve been having a blast going through Star Wars: The Old Republic’s new expansion, soaking in all of the great story beats and locales. However, it was Knights of the Fallen Empire’s occasional (and easy) solo boss battles that got me thinking whether or not these encounters were really as engaging as group boss fights.

I would imagine that it’s more difficult for developers to design boss encounters around a single opponent, especially if that person was too specialized to pull off the damage or survivability needed. Thus, so many of these solo fights are rather tame, except for The Secret World, which has no mercy on anyone caught alone.

How do you feel about solo boss fights in MMOs?

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BlizzCon 2015: Overwatch shows off three new heroes and Origin Edition bonuses

It’s been about a year since we first heard of Overwatch at last year’s BlizzCon. Since then, the beta has kicked off, and as of Tuesday, 82,000 matches had been played with an average length of about 7 minutes. But you don’t have to be limited to playing on your PC, as today’s panel and opening ceremonies confirmed that the game is coming to consoles. Developers have stated that Xbox, PlayStation, and PC players will be on separate servers rather than being stuck in the same pool.

Players can now purchase the game’s Origin Edition, which includes five special skins for existing heroes from earlier in their histories and an assortment of bonuses for other titles. Diablo III players will gain a pair of Mercy-style wings, StarCraft II players gain portraits, Hearthstone gets a new cardback, and World of Warcraft players get a baby Winston pet. Meanwhile, Heroes of the Storm players can look forward to Tracer joining the game’s lineup, although she’s very early in development.

Three new heroes were also on display. Mei is a climatologist wielding an ice gun and armored in a heavy parka, serving as a defensive character. Genji is Hanzo’s brother, an offense-oriented character with high mobility and lethal sword strikes in melee range. D. Va is a former pro gamer, piloting a mech and able to jump out of her mech when necessary. You can check out videos and screenshots below.

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BlizzCon 2015: Heroes of the Storm gaining Arena mode, Towers of Doom, and a two-player hero

How would you like to team up with another player to play a hero in Heroes of the Storm? That’s the central idea behind Cho’Gall, one of the new heroes being added to the game. Cho’Gall requires one player to take control of the physical “Cho” head to move the character around and punch things, while the other player takes control of “Gall” to cast spells and serve as a ranged assassin. He’s playable even if both players aren’t well coordinated, but he definitely becomes much stronger when both players are working together.

He’s also impossible to buy – Cho’Gall is being offered to a select group of players (including BlizzCon attendees) and can subsequently be unlocked by playing him in matches with players who do not yet have him (or purchased later, says Blizzard’s official site — thanks to Dengar for that tip!). Play two matches with Cho’Gall with someone who lacks Cho’Gall and Cho’Gall is unlocked.

The development team also showed off Genn Greymane and Lunara the Dryad, two new heroes playing around with ranged characters who move in and out of range. There’s also the new Arena gameplay mode, offering a choice of three random heroes to play in a 5v5 format, and the new Towers of Doom map with a different approach to area control. Check out preview screenshots and video just below.

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The Secret World and ARK get behind Extra Life

Gaming communities across the globe are throwing their support behind Extra Life, the 24-hour gaming marathon designed to raise money for Children’s Network Miracle Hospitals. We’ve already reported on how Trion Worlds is contributing to the event, and now you can add both The Secret World and ARK: Survival Evolved to the movement’s supporters.

Funcom posted a list of The Secret World community teams that have signed up to participate in the marathon. It also said that it will be giving a prize pack to the top two donors to each of the teams. Meanwhile, ARK is hosting a “survival of the fittest” PvP battle in which the winning teams will get a cash prize and an additional donation will be made to Extra Life on their behalf.

Extra Life’s all-day marathon takes place tomorrow, November 7th.

Source: The Secret World forums, ARK official press release

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