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The category collects all of our more meta features and posts, like The Daily Grind, letters to the editor, and posts about the state-of-the-site. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Whatever happened to Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Puzzle Pirates?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately? That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing!

In this special pirate edition of the column, we’ll be visiting the fates ‘n’ fortunes of Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Puzzle Pirates. Yo ho!

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WRUP: The definitive tier list for the old men hanging out at the corner deli edition

Garbage Tier: Jim-Bob
None of Jim-Bob’s rants go anywhere, his grandchild pictures are severely lacking, his accent is grating, and worst of all is that all he ever orders is black coffee and a pickle. Completely worthless in any competitive match.

Bottom Tier: Moishe, Andy, Piotr
Moishe is basically Hiram with slower speech and an ugly walker with halved tennis balls, while Andy and Piotr both have fun stories but only a handful of them. In addition, Piotr’s mid-range control options are weak enough that he does poorly in several matchups.

Mid-Tier: George, Jimmy, Junior, Hiram, Joey
People have argued that George and Junior should really be down at bottom tier, because when they get a bad matchup against, say, Carl or “Boats,” they really have a hard time holding up. But they can all hold their own, and George especially is so dominant against Piotr that it feels wrong putting him in the same tier. Plus, all of them always have candy.

Top Tier: Petey, Carl, “Boats,” Lou
No one would argue with Lou or “Boats” being here. Lou has so many great stories about being in public works for 47 years that he almost gets up to perfect tier, and Carl and “Boats” have a few dominant matchups and no really bad ones. Also, Petey and Carl both have those really nice walkers.

Perfect Tier: Malone, Gus
Not only are these two the undisputed kings of the deli, they even show up for comments in What Are You Playing. What a pair of guys, am I right?
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Massively Overthinking: Could bots save dying MMORPGs?

Last week, a reader named Chris, who is writing a paper on the MMO industry and revivifying sunsetted games, dropped an intriguing question into my inbox. It’s about bots – but not the sort of bots EVE Online is constantly fighting. The good kind.

“Do you think people would be interested in coming back to ‘closed’ MMO games if they were populated with AI bots instead of real players (to make them feel alive/populated)?” he asked me.

Let’s ponder that for today’s Overthinking. Certainly we’ve seen bots put to work in games like Camelot Unchained, which uses them to test massive numbers of players on the battlefield. Would you want to see them in live play? Would they help the feel of the world in ways that default NPCs simply would not? Is the AI even doable? Could AI bots take our place to make MMORPGs even better – or even to keep them viable and save them from destruction?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 157: Lunar Valentines

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin overdose on candy hearts as they look at Valentine’s Day in MMOs — as well as the Lunar New Year. From expansion alpha testing to a new MMO launch to unifying a game globally, it’s a pretty upbeat and positive week of podcast chatter.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: What do you think about ‘buying runs’ in MMORPGs?

Long ago in classic Guild Wars, I used to be fond of buying runs – probably the earliest was the Beacon’s Perch to Droknar’s Forge run. You’d take your alt to Beacon’s, pay the runner a few plat, then sit back as the runner warped the party along an extremely dangerous route past the majority of the game to the zone where you could craft good-looking, max-level armor, then you’d port back and keep playing and not need to worry about tedious armor upgrades along the way. It was actually a lot of fun to watch the specialized runner “work” and to chit-chat with other folks in the running party. And yep, it was all legal gameplay. Other games have similar mechanics in spite of not having party warping; you’ve probably heard of gamers in themeparks like World of Warcraft buying a “spot” on a raid that will essentially carry them and give them the loot they’re after.

In Guild Wars 2, however, you’d probably best watch out if you’re into that type of gameplay: ArenaNet clarified last week that it’s OK with people buying runs in-game, but the studio says a lot of people in the running business are actually involved in third-party RMT, which the company considers illegal, so you buy runs at the risk of account bans if you transact with the wrong group.

What do you think about “buying runs” in MMORPGs?

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WRUP: What your favorite type of soda says about you edition

Cola: Who knows or cares.

Sprite/Sierra Mist/7-UP: You want to have soda, but when someone gives you a cola of some sort you’re all like, “whoah, not that much soda.” So then things are sort of all right.

Ginger Ale: You’d probably have fewer stomachaches if you’d stop eating all of that aquarium gravel, but it tastes like stingy candy.

Fruit soda: Stupid juice not bubbling on your tongue. You need to feel alive. Come on, bubble on my tongue, you orange-flavored mess that has probably never even been in the same room as an orange.

Grapefruit soda: Your name is Phillip D’Antonio and today is your first day of fourth grade.

Any of the above, but you call it pop: It’s called soda. Jeez.

Whale soda: Mm, you can really taste the baleen.

Flavored seltzer: Why are you this way? Why do you do this. You come into my home, my home full of soda, and you ask me for this flavorless water with bubbles that tastes like nothing. How can you do this to me? How do you live? Get out! I have no son!

WRUP soda: This isn’t a soda. It’s What Are You Playing. Let us know what you’re playing down in the comments, and stuff.

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The Daily Grind: What would it take to get you back into WoW?

This week, I found myself discussing with MOP’s Justin and Eliot my current disillusionment with World of Warcraft, specifically for its allied races. I’m happy for people in love with Allied races, but they do nothing for me. It would take world and class updates to get me to go back to WoW and go through the effort of catching up. Without that? It’s time I could be spending in one of my “home” MMOs, so there I stay.

But dang. If WoW added bards? Dual-classing? A crafting system that actually cared about crafters? A more (as Eliot put it) open class structure in general? Real housing? They’d already have my resub, and I’d be right next to Justin grinding gold for tokens.

What would it take to get you back into WoW? Did allied races do it for you? Are you holding out for legacy? Or is there nothing at all?

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Massively Overthinking: Which MMORPGs should stay away from legacy servers?

Legacy, vanilla, classic, progression – call them what you like, but alternative server rulesets, particularly of the nostalgia-driven kind, are all the rage in 2018. Just since the dawn of the new year, we’ve gotten a new server type for Age of Conan, with RIFT’s on the way – not to mention World of Warcraft’s looming in our future. And those are just the new ones! Games like RuneScape, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online already run similar servers.

That said, does every MMORPG need one? Aren’t some MMORPGs already in pretty good shape without needing a spin-off for nostalgia’s sake? Is it in every MMO’s best interests to prioritize, on some level, the very older ideas it intentionally left behind? That’s the question I’ve posed to the writers this week: Are there any MMORPGs that should stay far, far away from legacy servers, and if so, why?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 156: Downfalls and uprisings

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over the fate of MOBAs, investigate Alganon’s nebulous state, talk about why subscribing to an alpha test might not be the smartest thing in the world, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018?

Here’s something you probably didn’t know about Camelot Unchained: Yes, it’ll have a sub, but it won’t be $15. Mark Jacobs re-confirmed that it’ll be less than the industry standard down in our comments a few weeks ago. It’s been rattling around in my head since then as subscriptions just keep popping up in the news. Star Citizen has an optional sub in alpha. Age of Conan just lowered its subscription rate. And the biggest subscription MMO in the world seems to have no problems moving a bajillion expansions, driving token prices to fluctuate. Did we hit rock bottom? Are we just watching the price reset in a new era?

I’m currently paying $13 a month for an old-school game because nobody else has content that even comes close. I wouldn’t hesitate to pay more for an MMO I couldn’t wait to play. In fact, I was prepared to pay more than $15 for CU. Would you? What would you pay for an MMO subscription in 2018? And what would you expect from an MMORPG charging a subscription?

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Leaderboard: Did you preorder WoW’s Battle for Azeroth expansion?

Last week was a flurry of excitement over World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth’s preorders – and the news that the game will probably launch that expansion in September. In fact, so many people were lining up to buy it (and get immediate access to perks) that many players, including some of our writers, were put into multi-hour wait queues.

Were you among them? Are you sold on the expansion’s features? Did you preorder WoW’s Battle for Azeroth expansion? To the polls!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the most unused place or feature in your favorite MMORPG?

I really like abandoned places in games. One of my favorite articles ever was about Glitch, after it sunsetted, when I recapped my experience touring the abandoned secret places that were inexplicably built into that MMO.

That article popped into my brain again last week when Kotaku wrote about abandoned modes in GTA OnlineGTAO is one of the biggest, most lucrative online games in the world, a top-10 game even last year – and yet there’s so much to do, Kotaku argues, that most of the game is suffering from the old MMO problem whereby old content is a ghost town as everyone is in the new stuff. Hence, abandoned modes.

Of course, MMORPGs are constantly struggling to fix that problem by giving us reasons to go back into old content, but they’re not always successful. What’s the most unused place or feature in your favorite MMORPG?

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WRUP: The moment never comes edition

Congratulations, champion. You’ve won. Now leave.

What’s that? Of course you don’t want to leave. You’re waiting for the moment to come. You’re waiting to feel as if it meant something. You want that confrontation, the point when everything comes together and you can feel as if you’ve learned something important, that there was a lesson to be found and you found it. Here’s your lesson, then: that doesn’t happen. It’s not going to happen.

Being right doesn’t make you feel better. Being successful doesn’t make you feel complete. Accomplishing something difficult only means that you accomplish that difficult task, not that everything else is going to make sense now. You won the battle, but the war you’re fighting is your own. And it continues, and it’s not going anywhere.

Let us know what you’re doing in the comments to this week’s What Are You Playing. The rest is just follow-through.

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