MMORPGs are massively multiplayer online roleplaying games, our core focus here on Massively OP. MMORPGs are traditionally differentiated from mere multiplayer games by their persistent worlds, massive playerbases and/or servers, customizable character development, and always-online status. [Follow the MMORPG category’s RSS feed]
Black Desert Online players who were taken aback at some recent and rather sudden changes to the game have the full apology of Executive Producer Jae-hee Kim to console them.
Kim wrote a letter to the playerbase in which he outlines the vision of the game, promising that the developers are taking action to “improve the fundamentals” of Black Desert’s structure to shore up the title.
“If you have to define Black Desert Online into four keywords, it would have to be MMORPG, combat, life content, and open world gameplay. In retrospect, it is true that we were afraid of making radical changes instead of improving and highlighting upon these four key themes,” he said.
A blog post on The Psychology of Video Games blog a few weeks ago seems relevant to our interests: It explores the “pleasure paradox,” which basically suggests that humans crave certainty, but once we get it, we’re bored. Experiments showed that subjects “said they would prefer to be less uncertain, but the results show that their happiness would have been diminished” if they actually were. We like a good mystery!
Consequently, author Jamie Madigan argues, games should take advantage of this human quirk – say, by rewarding us based on some hidden modifier but not telling us what we did to earn it.
In a weird way, that’s something ancient MMORPGs did by accident: Information was so obfuscated that playing was as much trial and error as anything, and game mechanics were an unintentional mystery. And something like, oh, websites publishing every single mage spell combo in Asheron’s Call? It killed the magic. So does every elitist in your group spamming DPS meters in chat in the modern era.
How much MMO game info should be hidden from the players? And is the “pleasure paradox” the reason?
Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!
If you thought it was possible to keep politics out of MMOs, you’re sadly mistaken. This week saw multiple news stories : the end to the court cases that saw the Bossland bot makers escape financial ruin, the CSGO swatting case in which police who killed a man will apparently go uncharged, the Russian Telegram crackdown that’s blocking multiple MMOs (and other services) in the former Soviet state, and the war on lockboxes (and the online games that abuse them) as waged by the Dutch Gaming Authority.
Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Uncharted Waters Online, The Division, Paladins, TERA, Reign of Guilds, War Thunder, Escape from Tarkov, Magic the Gathering Arena, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Wakfu, ARK Park, EverQuest II, Pokemon Go, Elder Scrolls Online, Crossout, EverQuest, Neverwinter, Citadel, and Kritika Online, all waiting for you after the break!
The sliver-spooned mouths of RIFT
Prime subscribers are being filled with all manner of endgame challenges this week. With the first step forward of its progression content, RIFT
Prime has reintroduced two of its slivers
to the Vigil server.
“When you dare to enter a sliver, you will experience an alternate timeline where events have evolved differently, often disastrously, from our own reality,” Trion Worlds said. “Danger and imminent death await all but the strongest.”
The first two slivers to be activated are the ocean-themed Drowned Halls and the hostile desert environment of Gilded Prophecy. The 10-player content requires “highly coordinated” teams to tackle the content. Fortunately, the looking for raid tool is now back in the game as well to hook such players up together.
It turns out that MMORPG players really don’t need much prompting to go out and take a bazillion screenshots of their favorite in-game zones, as evidenced by the avalanche of photos generated by last week’s challenge.
SmugglerSteel kicks us off this this neon nightmare: “I knew exactly where I needed to tour in SWTOR for this one. I will always remember my first trip to Nar Shaddaa. I was blown away away by the color and aesthetic. I always thought it had a very Bladerunner inspired feel, yet still did it’s own thing.”
Like any good casino, Nar Shaddaa is designed so that players can never figure out how to leave. SmugglerSteel forwards his mail there now.
Dinosaurs are one of those wells that seem to show up in a lot of MMOs. World of Warcraft? Yes, there are whole zones dedicated to dino-antics. Neverwinter? Plenty of dinosaurs in the latest stories. Final Fantasy XIV? Lots of dinos in places where you wouldn’t expect them. Star Trek Online? Yes, we got dinosaurs on spaceships in that game. It’s dinosaurs everywhere, and for some reason none of them have feathers.
That’s a bit of a sore point because dinosaurs had feathers, but then, most dinosaurs also didn’t fight people in spaceships. That we know of.
Asking which game should add dinosaurs becomes a rather silly question, then, because there are a minority of ones that don’t, and the ones that do not could probably benefit from them but are unlikely to add them. (That being said, if Ever, Jane adds dinosaurs, it’d be cool.) But which of the many MMOs with dinosaurs handles them best? Which one has the best variety of terrible lizards to interact with and the most satisfying cast of dinos?
Creating and maintaining planetary colonies in EVE Online
isn’t exactly new, as the system dates back to 2010. But the developers have deemed it high past time that they give this creaky system some love
with the upcoming Into the Abyss
“Most of the changes are aimed at making setup and maintenance of your colonies less painful, especially when it comes to all the clicking that is currently involved in setting up a colony,” CCP said in a dev blog on the system. Lots of changes to planetary interaction are in the works, including a new planetary colonies window to help you keep track of your projects.
And while things get ordered down on the surfaces of planets, out in space it’s still the anything-goes sandbox that EVE has always been. One interesting piece of the game’s history that was recently documented by PC Gamer was the story of the Hellcats, an all-female fleet that pushed back against the notion that the MMO is strictly a game for men. The fleet only ran for two-years, but its legacy still lives on today.
Similar to how skill training works in EVE Online, Crowfall uses a time-based skill-up system that accrues points whether or not the player is online. The dev team took some time recently to evaluate how the system was working out in testing and decided that it could benefit from some improvements.
While a dev blog goes into depth on the minutiae of the tweaks, the gist is that the entire system will accrue points in a “time bank” for players to spend on skill nodes when they log in each session. Many of the skill trees have been streamlined as well.
VIP players are going to have an advantage over regular players with this system, as they will get a much larger time bank (30 days vs. three days) and the ability to train two types of skill trees at once instead of one.
Ooh, you really like that word “free,” don’t you? Caught your attention, and now you’re down here in the body of the article, wondering how you can Get Yours? Well, far be it from us to get in your way; we are facilitators in such situations.
It is true, Elder Scrolls Online is preparing to run a bonus event from April 24th through the 30th. During this period, players will earn one free crown crate every day just by logging in to the game. If you’re faithful to do this for the full run, that nets you six free crates (which may hold cosmetics, boosters, mounts, and skins).
In addition, ZeniMax is offering a free week trial of ESO Plus to see if you like the benefits that a subscription brings to the table (although it should be noted that trial users will not get a monthly stipend of free crowns). The trial can be found under the “featured” section of the crown store.
If all goes well, later this year we will finally be treated to an actual Harry Potter MMORPG in the form of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. While that will be a mobile ARG in the vein of Pokemon Go, it will still be a big step into the online space that MMO fans have been craving for nearly two decades now.
Obviously, Harry Potter continues to be a mammoth franchise for J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., and Electronic Arts, which has handled the video game license over the years. While there have been single-player Harry Potter titles, especially on consoles, no MMORPG emerged even at the height of the IP craze that swallowed up Star Trek, Star Wars, Warhammer, and more. So why not?
The truth is that Harry Potter Online almost did happen. Its brief existence and development isn’t too well-known, even today, but the wasted potential has always tantalized me with what could have been. Using a time-turner, we will go back to the late 1990s today and peek in on a possible future that came to fruition.
It may be hard to believe, but it has already been about four years since SOE decided to close down the troubled yet cult favorite Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. On July 31, 2014, the game world went dark, and many players found themselves saying farewell to Telon for good.
While I was not a regular player of Vanguard, I did admire the game for its interesting concepts (like its diplomacy system), its gorgeous visuals, and — pertinent to this column — its soundtrack. There was a lot of artistry involved in this title, and while it was hampered in many ways for many reasons, Vanguard left a legacy that is still fondly remembered by some.
Part of that legacy is its music, and other than screenshots and recollections, it is the only part of Vanguard that we can still experience today. The soundtrack was composed by Todd Masten, who has worked on many other video games such as the Age of Empires series. So let us take a trip back to this fantasy MMO and hear the music of a dead world brought back to life.
Best and worst, top and bottom: It’s fun to discuss video game in absolute extremes (at times). And I’ll bet that a lot of us only really remember the most excellent MMORPG expansions and the most disappointing ones.
So let’s grouse today and dredge up past heartaches. What was, to you, the most disappointing MMO expansion of all time? A few come to mind for me. Star Trek Online: Delta Rising was a narrative and structural mess that bogged down and made me desert it. I know that I was really let down with how RIFT: Storm Legion developed, faltering hard after a strong start. But probably for me, Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor took the cake. The publicity for it was atrocious, the actual expansion about as far from “fun” as I’ve ever experienced in an MMO, and the difficulty of moving and progressing was aggravating.
But that’s me. How about you? Which MMO expansion do you want to rag on today?