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

Anarchy Online’s new graphical engine is finally live

Anarchy Online has been on the verge of having a new graphics engine for what seems to be forever and a day, but it’s finally here. Yes, the game’s new graphics engine is available for use in the game’s newest update. If you want the game to look even prettier despite its age, you can do that.

It’s worth noting that the new graphical engine is quite bulky; the installer is 5 gigs, and the total installed size comes to roughly 23 gigs. You’ll need to download the new engine client separately from the existing game, as well. Still, it’s the big centerpiece of the game’s latest patch, and with good cause. If you’re an Anarchy Online fan with a more modern computer, get the new engine installed and see the game be prettier than ever.

Source: 18.8.0 Update Release Notes; thanks to the many excited readers who sent this in!

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The Daily Grind: Do you read MMO dev blogs?

I read a lot of dev blogs. It kind of goes with the territory, since part of this job entails picking through studio press releases and website updates and separating the fluff from the stuff that makes for interesting news posts.

If it weren’t for this job, though, I probably wouldn’t read them. I prefer to just explore stuff on my own in a given game, rather than have most of the changes spelled out for me in a bullet-point list. It also probably helps that I’m not much of a min-maxer, so buffs and nerfs normally don’t even register on my radar.

What about you, MOP readers? Do you read dev blogs? Why or why not?

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BioWare comments on SWTOR’s chair exploit

Did you hear about that temple chair decoration exploit in Star Wars: The Old Republic? In a nutshell, the chair could be purchased for one credit and sold back for 100, which is obviously not what BioWare wanted or intended.

Community manager Eric Musco warned players that buying and selling the chair is considered an exploit, and that it will be fixed as soon as possible. He also noted that once the fix happens, BioWare will take action against players who disregarded the warnings and continued to abuse the exploit.

Source: Dulfy

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Leaderboard: Which Wargaming title is your favorite?

World of Tanks never interested me much. World of Warplanes nailed the subject matter but unfortunately it didn’t meet my expectations for an aerial combat title. World of Warships, on the other hand, is surprisingly enjoyable. Granted, I’ve only played it over a beta weekend at this point, but there’s something oddly satisfying about the title that I can’t quite verbalize just yet.

What about you, Wargaming fans? Which of the company’s three action battlers is your favorite? Vote after the cut!

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World of Warcraft details the timewalking mechanics of the Shattered Halls

Let’s assume you’re playing World of Warcraft‘s latest big patch, but raiding Hellfire Citadel isn’t in the cards for you for whatever reason. What else can you do? Well… you could go into Hellfire Citadel anyway. Only not this version of Hellfire Citadel; a different version of Hellfire Citadel wherein you take on a demonically corrupted version of the Horde and face off against a prominent figure that’s been altered beyond recognition.

Yes, Timewalking dungeons can be a source of endless hilarity.

Let’s set aside the obvious irony: Shattered Halls is one of the new Timewalking dungeons available this weekend, and players can read up on the mechanics and the bosses if they’ve forgotten in the years since it was relevant content. (Or if they were never around for that.) Check out the full walkthrough and get ready to take on a very different sort of Hellfire Citadel that still feels familiar after all.

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Massively Opinionated: What is the biggest PR mistake an MMO’s ever made?

The Electronic Entertainment Expo presented a lot of opportunities for public relations mistakes, which led me to wonder about the biggest mistakes an MMO’s ever made, the topic of today’s Massively Opinionated debate vidcast! We also have multiple questions from the Patreon backers, and an interesting question about changing MMO systems mid-stream.

This week’s panelists hail from all over the internet: Mike Byrne is the Editor-in-Chief at MMO Bomb, Cosmic Engine can be found on YouTube doing video game reviews, and Tina Lauro can be found right here on MassivelyOP and the Predestination game website.

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Guild Wars 2 adds a canonically transgender NPC

Inclusion has always been a big priority for Guild Wars 2, and that cause has taken another step forward as of yesterday’s patch. A character named Sya is in the game now, and if you talk to her briefly, she reveals that you met her before in the Bloodtide Coast, but she was going by her birth name of Symon at the time. After the attack on Lion’s Arch, she realized that she both needed and wanted to transition.

Sya isn’t a major character and can be missed if you’re not paying attention, but her presence in the game is a deliberate and welcome nod to transgender individuals. It also confirms that transitioning is definitely a thing that happens in Tyria, above and beyond the mechanical side of letting you purchase and use Full Makeover Kits.

Source: GW2 forums; thanks to Kieran for the tip!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the prettiest MMO?

Judging video game eye candy is one of the most subjective activities in our hobby, is it not? Everyone has a different standard (and tolerance) for beauty, which can extend to art style, palettes, locales, animation, and lens flares. We know which way J.J. Abrams will vote whenever he sees that last one.

There are a lot of good-looking MMOs on the market right now. I enjoy the colorful zaniness of WildStar, the gorgeous “painterly aesthetic” of Guild Wars 2, and even the old-school talent behind Lord of the Rings Online. But I think that there’s beauty in most online games if you look for it.

So in your opinion, what is the prettiest MMO on the market? Bonus points to your position if you post a screenshot to back it up!

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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Lineage Eternal begins testing with a focus group

After a couple years of development, it’s easy to feel that we’re no closer to Lineage Eternal actually launching. But that’s not true; NCsoft is hard at work, it seems, and the game has just entered focus group testing. It’s not precisely a full beta, but darn it, it’s something. Work with us.

Focus group testing will last until June 26th, with students pulled from Seoul’s Sogang University in the Game Education Center. Said group reportedly contains some foreign students as well to help provide inside before the game’s eventual global release. If you’re not there, though, all you can do is watch and wait, but at least it’s enough to make it clear the game is moving forward.

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Bungie responds to Destiny’s ‘tone deaf’ DLC fiasco

Destiny has already launched some downloadable expansions for itself, and they’ve been cheaper than the upcoming The Taken King. In fact, they’ve been much cheaper than The Taken King‘s Collector’s Edition, which contains several bits of physical swag and some exclusive emotes, which has caused considerable uproar in the Destiny community, particularly veterans who feel they’re being asked to rebuy content they already own (sound familiar?). A recent Eurogamer interview with the developers focused around defending the price, which largely came down to saying that it’s a justified price for a very large amount of content.

Players didn’t like that either. Forbes called the entire interview “tone deaf.”

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best way to boost MMO populations?

An anonymous Kickstarter donor pinged us with this question for this morning’s Daily Grind:

With the breadth of niche MMOs available, how will companies resort to increasing players?

I presume our donor refers to the absolute deluge of smaller indie titles that we’ve seen crop up in development over the last few years thanks to Kickstarter. While some folks praise the creativity that these niche titles promise in a field of higher-budget WoW-style themeparks, others see only a future of flopped games and communities spread far too thin to sustain themselves. “Niche” can bring dilution as much as diversity.

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Sword and Bored: Teleport

I promised Jef that I would never publicly show the stick-figure sketches that he does for these comics before I draw them. And usually I understand exactly what’s going on in the sketches despite Jef’s saying that they are awful. However, when he showed me this one for the first time, I totally didn’t get it. It had nothing to do with the quality of the drawing; it had more to do with my ignorance.

I asked, “Is this a thing that happens in MMOs?” And he said that one particular MMO has this issue, and it’s hilarious to see how certain classes in that game handle it. That, of course, brings us to this week’s comic…

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