One Shots: Impish greetings

First contact with native tribes and species in MMOs hardly ever goes the diplomatic route; usually there’s a lot of stabbing, fire-setting, plundering, and minimal regrets. Take only loot, leave only screenshots — that’s the motto of our readers!

Our headlining picture comes to us today from Kurt, who’s been exploring Black Desert Online with approximately 85% of the other folks on this site. Hungry for a sandbox? Looks like we were!

Anyway, right here is the moment where Kurt decided to make friends: “The screenshot is just me going to say ‘Hi!’ to the local imp tribe. We got along swell right up until I massacred them all.”

Good man, that Kurt.

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The Daily Grind: Would you play an underwater MMO?

There are a lot of very well-established pop cultural ideas that haven’t seen much adaptation into the MMO space; we’ve never had a real western MMO, for example, and there are very few that qualify as “cyberpunk” in any serious fashion. But it occurred to me that there’s an obvious area ripe for exploration that we’ve seen nothing but snippets of in various games – heading underwater completely, into a world of strange sea life.

A few games have gone underwater for brief stretches, like in World of Warcraft‘s oft-reviled Vashj’ir, but we haven’t seen a full game set there. The funny thing is, there’s so much to be done with it – players could be exploring Earth’s oceans or those of an alien world, dealing not only with hazardous life but the natural struggle to survive in a space inhospitable to air-breathing races. There are so many directions to go with it, from building underwater habitats to surviving hostile conditions to simple exploration.

Of course, the lack of a whole lot of pop culture media to use as a basis doesn’t help matters, but I think there’s space for the idea to float on. What about you, dear reader? Would you play an underwater MMO?

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Make My MMO: SOTA’s new dude, Sacrament’s Kickstarter (March 19, 2016)

Shroud of the Avatar is about to get a new dude — a new male avatar, that is. Come release 28, SOTA’s art team will unleash him into the world. Portalarium’s latest dispatch also includes a walkthrough and some gorgeous screenshots of Brittany (no relation to Britannia, we’re sure) and the Halls of Artifice.

We welcome two new games to the Make My MMO list this week. As promised, Sacrament’s Kickstarter went live this week; Ferocity Unbound Core Studios seeks $250,000 to make its sandboxy MMO. And Age of Sail MMO Caribbean Conquest hopes to raise $42,000 and change via Kickstarter to continue its development.

Meanwhile, Grim Dawn tuned its difficulty modes, Camelot Unchained got a new alpha patcher, and Pantheon talked up its old-school magic.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on!

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Nexon’s LawBreakers will be a Steam exclusive, won’t be free-to-play

CliffyB’s Nexon-backed shooter LawBreakers isn’t breaking the law, but it might be breaking hearts over those medial capitals, am I right? At GDC this week, Boss Key Productions revealed that the OFPS will be a Steam exclusive aimed at PC… for now.

The game won’t be free-to-play, either, which MMO players will note is unusual for a Nexon-backed game over here and runs contrary to original launch plans. It’ll be a “digital premium title.” The price is still unknown, but Boss Key vows it “will not have the $60 price point of a traditional box product.” The FAQ reads,

“After careful consideration of how the game has been progressing, we realized free-to-play wasn’t the right fit for what we’re building. Lawbreakers is a competitive game at heart and that means balance is a big priority. Using a digital premium model helps ensure an even playing field by giving fans access to every available role without barriers.”

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Gloria Victis patches in bosses and a larger world

The world of Gloria Victis has gotten larger with the most recent patch, a great deal of additional space available for players to tromp about. This is partly in an effort to make sure that the game can account for additional players when it launches on Steam’s Early Access service in the next few months, but it’s also going to give more space for bandit camps, deserters, and other challenges for more experienced players. Like bears that are more dangerous than regular bears. Boss bears.

It’s not just bears who have bosses, as players will also find older aurochs, wolves, and perhaps other animals. These are the examples of the species that seem to have barely changed from the days when humans were huddling in caves, massive beasts whose powerful hides can be used to craft equipment of exceptional might. Check out the full patch notes if you like, or just start hunting down some big old bosses; you’ve got more ground to cover, after all.

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Exploring ‘The Video Game Debate’: Are MMO communities real or fake?

We’ve come a long way in our discussion of Rachel Kowert and Thorsten Quandt’s book The Video Game Debate: Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Video Games, and while this article title might seem a contentious one to wrap up the series, I think it presents a topic and chapter worth debating.

In the book, Frans Mäyrä’s chapter on online communities initially offended me more than any other, but by the end of his thesis, he’d made some persuasive points that we, the MMO community, must consider. While Mäyrä does use a narrow definition of community, it’s to prove a point. It’s not that MMOs don’t contain communities; it’s a question of the circumstances, values, and outcomes related to their rise, fall, and the perception of the outside world.

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Starcraft’s Dehaka is on deck for Heroes of the Storm

Primal Zerg pack leader Dehaka is looking to extend his galactic conquest by invading Heroes of the Storm. The legendary character is currently being developed as the next champion for Blizzard’s MOBA, and this week the studio had a preview video showing Dehaka in all of his glory. He’ll even come to the game with a couple of different skins, including Master Dehaka and Mecha Dehaka.

Check out a quick preview of Dehaka and some other hero skins coming to Heroes of the Storm in a video after the break!

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The Stream Team: Dishing out keys to open Das Tal’s alpha doors

Last time MassivelyOP’s MJ delved into Das Tal, she was giving away alpha keys. And that’s precisely what she’s going to do this time around, too! She has tons of keys to dish out for this latest round of alpha testing, so you can get in on the fun. Join us live at 12:00 p.m.for a chance to get access to this PvP sandbox.

What: Das Tal
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, March 19th, 2016

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Camelot Unchained’s new patcher, Friday Night Fight Nights, and new pics

Camelot Unchained’s weekly update has arrived, and the team is still crunching away. Mark Jacobs delivers news on several ongoing projects:

  • An early alpha version of CU’s new patcher is ready, built partly by backers. It “already blows away what we had created previously,” says Jacobs.
  • Testing of Friday Night Fight Nights has begun! (It began at 11 p.m. EDT last night, in fact.)
  • There’s the usual list of user story card requests and reports from backers and devs, many partly or fully addressed.
  • The devs drew attention to the CUBE building system and the ongoing player gallery there. Move over, Landmark!
  • And CSE has put together a boardgame (in the devs’ spare time, not with company assets) that it hopes to invite backers to play in the near future.

There’s also a ton of new concept art and some screenshots, which we’ve collected right here for your perusal.

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WRUP: Camp in a lake of fire edition

Go camp in a lake of fire. Go find a lake of fire and camp there. Not on the shore, on the lake itself. Further in. Stop standing around and go camp in a lake of fire. Don’t bother with sleeping bags, you’ll be perfectly warm because it’s fire. It’ll clean out your… pores… and stuff.

Oh, heck, I just can’t do this any more. I don’t know what I’m even trying to accomplish any longer. You’ve all put up with years of bad advice and completely untrue facts from each and every week of What Are You Playing, ever since I asked Bree to give it back to me because I like doing it, but now it’s just ridiculous. It’s totally unmoored. I’ve got nothing more to base it upon.

You can tell us what you’re up to in the comments down below. Next week, we’ll just go back to fully educational programming with completely factual information about the monarch butterfly.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best character creation process?

I don’t know about you, but I love a great character creation segment before getting into any RPG or MMORPG. Don’t rush me; let me soak in options, debate choices, and carefully craft a character that will ultimately step out into this exciting fictional world!

I think both Guild Wars 2 and Villagers & Heroes have absolutely terrific character creators in this regard, going above and beyond merely asking for name, class, and looks. I actually got to know my characters’ backgrounds, learned about their preferences, and made a few choices that would have an impact in the game itself. That’s how it should be, in my opinion.

Have there been any MMO character creators that really impressed you? Which game has the best one?

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See Andy Serkis mimic zero gee for Squadron 42

There’s a theory out there that Andy Serkis was actually born in a full motion-capture suit as part of an educational series for expectant mothers. Whether or not this is true, you can’t deny that the man has done an awful lot of work for films by pretending to be all manner of aliens, Gollums, and King Kongs.

He’s been enlisted, so to speak, to provide the motions and animations for the always easy-to-spell Thul’Óqquray in Squadron 42. In a new video, you can see Serkis diving off of boards and chatting up Chris Roberts in between takes. He even uses a special harness to replicate the effect of zero gravity on his character.

See, believe, and be amazed that someone gets paid to do all of this (but it’s not you). It’s all there after the jump.

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Betawatch: Landmark is getting storytelling and further wipes (March 18, 2016)

The loss of EverQuest Next is bad news, but Landmark appears to be poised to absorb the strength of its fallen sibling with its further updates, like boss fights where you fight two things at once. The game is indeed getting a storytelling system, allowing everyone to jump in and craft stories, dungeons, and the like. Its next big update is due on Monday and will wipe characters and claims; two more such wipes are planned before the title finally launches.

The rest of the beta world, meanwhile, continued to move on full steam ahead.

And just like we always do, there’s more stuff down in the list below. Did we miss something? Let us know down in the comments, if you’d be so kind. We appreciate it.

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