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Uncharted Waters Online picks up a new publisher, plans October relaunch

Lash the sails, there be rough sailing ahead for Uncharted Waters Online! But beyond that? It could be a voyage of unimaginable bounty for this seafaring MMORPG.

This past week, Uncharted Waters Online announced that it has picked up a new publisher in the form of Papaya Play, having ditched the previous operator, OGPlanet. Current service is scheduled to end on September 29th, leaving the game offline for a couple of weeks. Then, on October 18th, UWO will be relaunched on Papaya Play’s global game portal.

The new handlers said that once it gets the title up and running on its service, it has plans to release more content for the current Age of Revolution expansion cycle.

The Battle Bards podcast recently gave Uncharted Waters Online’s soundtrack a listen and covered it in a full-hour episode. Avant garde podcasting, that.

Source: Uncharted Waters Online, press release

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Battleground Europe brings vintage WWII warfare to Steam

Even an old dog can find itself a fresh young pup in the right circumstances. Battleground Europe, originally known as World War II Online, finally made the jump to Steam last week as one of the newest full-scale MMOFPS games on the platform. This, despite the title being over a decade and a half old at this point.

It looks as though the title has reverted back to the original World War II Online title for the Steam launch. As of September 22nd, the game saw an increase of 45,000 players sign up for new accounts, which is no doubt sorely needed for this aging MMO. The small indie team is using this momentum as an opportunity to push out more improvements, such as newer art models and a streamlined tutorial.

“Population levels remain substantially higher than we have seen in years, routinely around the clock,” the team posted. “We’re very happy to report this progress and these production items coming (more not listed here) are intended to help bolster that success even further.”

Source: Steam

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Kritika Online opens up its test server for its next update

The next patch for Kritika Online is on its way, and this time you get to try it before you… well, play it. (You’re not buying it, it isn’t for sale.) Yes, the game’s test server is open for testing out patch v401 before it goes live, although the most intensive period of testing has already passed. But the good news is that even if you missed this patch, the test server is slated to remain active in the future, so future patches will still need your testing and evaluation.

The net result is also that you can see the not-quite-final patch notes well before the patch goes live. Fractured Memories allows you a different way to advance your characters across your entire account by remixing and pulling in all of the game’s available content; success nets you points for the new account-wide Ability system along with the usual gear. There’s also new Xanadu side quests and party trading, so you’ll have plenty to do with the patch whether you jump in to test or wait for the full release.

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Shroud of the Avatar preps 46th release, focuses on ‘player direction’ inside the world

It’s almost the end of the month, and you know what that means: Shroud of the Avatar’s monthly update. R46 is due out this Thursday, a day after the current free trial period ends. Portalarium has posted a top 10 list of priorities for updates, the current version of which highlights load times, client FPS, loot rewards, story polish, AI, UI, the newbie experience, locatlization, launch prep, and improved player direction, something our own Eliot Lefebvre isolated as a problem during his recent CMA series with the game. As the studio put it,

“Currently we rely on some very subtle and ‘immersive’ indicators for information in the world (ex. piles of skulls to indicate scene difficulty). We are going to provide much clearer indication of information. For example, on the overworld all towns will have clear indicators of their town type (POT, NPC, etc.). We will also indicate whether you have a quest in a scene, a clearer label of the scene’s difficulty, perhaps even an indicator of what services a scene might provide (bank, mail, blessings, etc.). We will also start providing more on screen indicators of this information, so that while you are in a scene you will better know what kind of scene it is, what difficulty it is, whether you have quests in the scene, etc. We will also work hard to polish the maps and compasses to better guide you to and from your quests, homes, services, points of interests, scene exits, etc.”

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PSA: Get your free Discovery uniforms in Star Trek Online

Did you get a chance to watch the debut of Star Trek: Discovery over the weekend? It is pretty exciting to see the first new Star Trek TV show since 2001 make it to the airwaves (or, more accurately, the streaming subscription waves).

Naturally, Star Trek Online players are no doubt wondering how and when Cryptic will be integrating Discovery’s looks and stories into the space MMO. And the answer to that, at least for right now, is that all players can dress up their characters with the new uniforms from the show — for free.

From now through October 6th, PC players who log into the game can grab a free Star Trek: Discovery uniform package from the C-store. Console players, don’t fret: This promotion should be coming your way soon enough.

Source: Star Trek Online. Thanks Flatline4400!

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The Repopulation’s next patch is on the way, and so is more visual lore

Fans of The Repopulation have been waiting for the game’s next patch for a little while, but it shouldn’t be much longer now. A new post on the official forum explains that it was ultimately a matter of custom scripts executing in just the wrong ways, creating way more files to be saved and bundled with patch revisions. That’s hopefully been fixed by the new management at Idea Fabrik and is being addressed, but that’s also the reason for all of the delays.

The game’s developers are also looking to the next stage of development by revamping the game’s existing map and giving more distinct visual identities to each faction’s individual architecture. The game’s extant lore isn’t being well-conveyed visually, according to the same post, so the goal is to help reinforce and emphasize the lore and worldbuilding that’s already in place.

Last but not least, the post also notes that backer rewards are being worked on, with the important caveat that funds for those backer rewards have not actually gone to the new management in charge of the title. But they’re still a priority.

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Lord of the Rings Online tested Dungeons of Naerband and the Court of Seregost this past weekend

Did you take part in the last dungeon testing on the Lord of the Rings Online test server? If so, you’ll have the context necessary to appreciate all of the changes that have been made to the two new dungeons coming with the next patch. If not… well, maybe you got to try out the Dungeons of Naerband and the Court of Seregost over the weekend. The developers were eager to see how the dungeons feel at level 115 and how everything shakes down with a new balance pass.

“We would particularly appreciate any feedback you may have on the difficulty of the instances at level 115 (tier 1 or tier 2),” wrote SSG. “On Friday evening(9/22), Saturday 9/23, and Sunday 9/24 members of the QA team will be looking for full groups running those instances (in particular the 6-person ‘The Dungeons of Naerband’) and will offer a lotro points code to a randomly selected player from those full groups a few times throughout the day.”

There were, of course, various additional game changes, balance adjustments, tier 11 crafted gear, and new UI options for players to explore, even if they headed to the test server without a full group.

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PUBG dev argues Fortnite spat is about Epic and Unreal Engine’s conflicts, not about owning the battle royal genre

Last week, following Epic’s announcement that PvE-centric Fortnite would be getting a PvP-centric battle royal mode its paying PvE players apparently didn’t want (but that’s OK because it’s free?), we all rolled our eyes at the transparent attempt to capitalize on the runaway success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Developer Bluehole, however, did more than that: In a press release, it all but accused Epic of ripping off the mode and suggested it’d be contemplating some sort of action against the company, causing a market run on virtual popcorn as everyone watched two massive video game companies prepare for a possible legal war over what seemed to many gamers to be a pretty old game trope.

But in a new PC Gamer interview, Bluehole has since clarified its position: It’s not about the games’ shared ideas but about Epic specifically.

“This is not about the battle royale game mode itself,” VP/EP Changhan Kim told PC Gamer. “There were other BR gamemodes earlier this year that were released, like last man standing or GTA 5’s battle royale game mode, and we never raised an issue. […] Battle royale is just about last man standing, it’s a simple game mode, and we’re not claiming any kind of ownership over the game mode or genre itself. It’s not for us to even comment.”

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The MMO Book Club votes between Guild Wars 2, Secret World Legends, DCUO, EverQuest, RuneScape, ArcheAge, and WoW

Hey, remember the MMO Book Club? That’s the Reddit-and-Discord group that allows members to vote on a game to play, then organizes a guild and events inside that game over the allotted time period, ensuring that folks who want to try out an MMORPG have a ready-made community of likeminded casual people who aren’t going to immediately scamper off to greener pastures. You scamperers, you.

To date, the Club has dipped into Lord of the Rings Online (which we streamed!), WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, and TERA, the reigning champ. As the group enters its second half-year, it’s opened the voting once again; that takes place in Discord to avoid brigading.

“The shortlist of games you can vote on to play with the Bookclub now are: Guild Wars 2, Secret World Legends, DC Universe Online, EverQuest, RuneScape, ArcheAge, World of Warcraft and TERA.” (Voting for TERA extends the current cycle another month instead of moving the crew to a new game.)

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Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs on guilds, groups, and the social systems that make an MMORPG go ’round

Over the weekend, the studio behind crowdfunded RvR MMORPG Camelot Unchained released a hefty chunk of its ongoing beta one document, revealing extensive insight into the way the game’s social systems will be laid out. Parts of those social systems will look familiar to MMO players, such as groups (Warbands), guilds (Orders), and raids (Battlegroups). But there are more layers to contend with, including perma-groups or mini-guilds (Permanent Warbands), as well as project-oriented raids (Campaigns), all designed in the service of an ambitious RvR-centered MMO that makes space for soloers and small guilds by not over- or under-privileging the largest teams in the genre. That’s the goal, anyway!

CU boss and MMORPG veteran developer Mark Jacobs, whom many of you know personally thanks to his ubiquity in our comments section, gamely answered about a thousand of my questions over the weekend, which we’ve compiled into an absurdly long interview about how to properly smush together all these groups into a social system sandwich that makes everybody happy. There’s even a Star Trek quote and a bonus question about Warhammer Online’s development and CU’s budget at the end!

I strongly urge you to check out the original doc first, as the interview assumes knowledge of the basic terminology and structure of the game. Fair warning: While Camelot Unchained’s document is almost 6000 words, this interview itself is close to 4000. You put Jacobs in a virtual room with me and my questions go on forever, and damn if he doesn’t answer them exhaustively. It’s a whopper, but it’s worth reading for a glimpse into what could be the future of MMO community planning.

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RuneScape’s RuneFest features mobile clients, 2018 content plans (including the bank rework)

At this weekend’s RuneFest event in London, Jagex homed in on RuneScape’s promised mobile client and its upcoming content.

First, let’s tackle mobile. Fans in attendance were able to play the game on mobile — both the latest version of RuneScape and the Old School version, which might surprise you. The latter will be available first, in fact, coming later in 2017, while the core game will launch on the new platforms “shortly after” in 2018. Jagex has promised more details of device compatibility “over the coming months.”

Old School RuneScape is looking ahead to 2018 as well, as in January, devs will patch in the Dragon Slayer II GM quest, and in June, the game will see a new raid called Theatre of Blood.

In “real” RuneScape, players will be treated to a special competitive PvE event next month that combines two of gaming’s favorite tropes: “Transported to an alternate dimension where the dead walk across Gielinor, players must battle against the zombie horde and see who can survive the longest!”

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Happy 20th birthday, Ultima Online! Here’s how to get caught up on the OG MMORPG

Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.

That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.

Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.

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Age of Conan (finally) adds 720-day loyalty rewards

In one of our recent Daily Grind discussions about MMORPGs that might make it to 20 years of live operation, some of our commenters pointed out that despite Age of Conan continuing in maintenance mode, Funcom had ceased to honor its ongoing subscription loyalty reward program for players pushing two years or more.

The same day, Funcom (purely coincidentally, we have no doubt) posted its 720-day loyalty reward information. The good news for loyal subbers is that the two-year mark will net you five royal treasure chests and a free character boost to level 80.

Age of Conan was officially put into maintenance mode back in February as Funcom chose to instead pursue Conan Exiles, Secret World Legends, and other upcoming projects.

Source: Age of Conan

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