Koster’s final post-mortem: Did Star Wars Galaxies fail?

Raph Koster has wrapped up his Star Wars Galaxies retrospective with a blog post that asks whether or not the sci-fi MMORPG failed.

It’s a loaded question, naturally, and from a player perspective it depends upon whether you’re in the all-lightsabers-all-the-time camp or whether you enjoyed the fact that SWG simulated many different aspects of a galaxy far, far away.

In terms of performance, Koster debunks a lot myths about the “failure” of the game in terms of player numbers and financials. The title picked up “more new users a day than all other SOE games combined, even after the Combat Upgrade,” he notes. “The game wasn’t doing as badly as people seem to think. It didn’t fail in the market. It did just fine, even by the standards pre-WoW,” Koster explains. “But there were huge expectations that we didn’t push against, it launched with serious problems, and the team wasn’t really equipped to fix them. This resulted in a series of errors that damaged the game’s ongoing viability, which resulted in more hurried changes.”
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SWTOR’s Rise of the Emperor update arrives tomorrow

You know what they say: You can’t keep a Sith emperor down. After rumors of his demise were proved premature, the shadowy big bad of Star Wars: The Old Republic has risen to take the center stage of his very own update.

Game Update 3.2: Rise of the Emperor will hit SWTOR tomorrow, bringing with it the ancient Sith capital planet of Ziost as well as the continuation of the Shadow of Revan storyline. Players will reunite with NPCs Lana Beniko and Theron Shan to figure out what the Emperor is up to as well as combat the Sixth Line Jedi.

The new patch will also introduce the costume designer and bring back the 12X leveling boost for subscribers (which starts May 4th and will run until this fall). You’ll also want to note that the game is giving away astromech droid pets on May 4th for those who log on.

[Source: Game Update 3.2, May The 4th Be With You]

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Sword and Bored: Behind the scenes

At this point, it’s probably not overly obvious, but we have created Sword and Bored in story arcs. And this comic represents the ending of the second arc.

This also represents the first comic that doesn’t really include Mo. I feels a bit weird to have a comic without him, but I thought it appropriate to experiment. We want Mo to be the main protagonist in the comic, but we believe that the actual funny parts aren’t necessarily him but the things that happen around and to him.

At any rate, Mo will be back next week. Until then, here’s this week’s comic…

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The Saga of Lucimia focuses on ‘group-based emergent gameplay’

The days of coddling solo players through a massively multiplayer experience are over — at least according to one upstart indie MMO.

Meet The Saga of Lucimia, an in-development sandbox that eschews solo content for 100% “group-based emergent gameplay” in a dangerous and hostile environment. Players will need at least three other friends and a whole lot of supplies to head out into the wild to look for adventures, progress through the epic story, and find trainers for the skill-based character system.

The team says that it’s intentionally returning to the era of early EverQuest to reintroduce true danger and group cooperation into the MMO genre. Players will have to contend with multiple languages, corpse runs, and a lack of healing magic in their journeys.

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DUST 514 adds EVE Online-themed armor skins

It’s no small understatement to say that DUST 514 has failed to achieve the same following and numbers that its big sibling, EVE Online, has. So perhaps you can’t blame CCP when it attempts to leech off of EVE by creating, say, EVE-themed armor skins for DUST 514.

Coming tomorrow, the first dozen DUST 514 SKINs will give players a way to dress up their soldiers in the fashion of their favorite battleships. No, that is not a sentence we thought we’d be writing when we got up this morning. The armor skins draw inspiration from the colors and patterns of popular EVE Online ships, and will be purchasable both in the cash shop and through in-game ISK.

This may be the start of a trend for DUST 514, as CCP said that it has many more SKINs in the works for future updates.

[Source: Introducing DUST 514 SKIN Modules]

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Wisdom of Nym: How to catch up in Final Fantasy XIV (before Heavensward arrives)

Let’s assume you’ve just recently gotten to the level cap in Final Fantasy XIV and you’re ready to start in on catching up to the main scenario before Heavensward drops. Where do you start?

I don’t really agree with the official decision to gate people out of Ishgard if they haven’t cleared the story up through the 2.55 patch, but it was made and I didn’t get a vote there, so it’s kind of academic. The point is that if you’re hitting that level for the first time, you have five major patches of stuff between you and getting to Ishgard in June. So how do you make sure that your fresh character can get all the way up there? Is it even possible?

The answer is most definitely yes, but you’re going to have to put some time in. Most of the gating you’ll have to deal with, though, is a matter of getting the gear you need to take on the later challenges that the story throws at you.

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Shroud of the Avatar to introduce player-owned towns with Release 17

Shroud of the Avatar’s Release 17 is preparing to hit the ground running when it comes out on Thursday, April 30th. In its most recent newsletter, Portalarium talked about what players can expect from this patch, including the debut of the first official player-owned town.

Player-owned towns have been in the works for a while now, as the team has used veteran Ultima Online guild PaxLair as a “guinea pig” to construct the first permanent player settlement. Such towns will use a pre-designed template on which to create a personalized village.

Other Release 17 goodies include the summon phoenix skill, the new Soltown Sewers area, a damaged version of Solace Bridge, and 16 additional fence styles.

[Source: Update of the Avatar]

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EverQuesting: Daybreak expounds on Landmark’s postponed wipe

Some pretty big changes are on their way to Landmark, not the least of which is the final full character wipe and an extensive land reformation. Anticipation is certainly high for the new biomes, and to say many testers are looking forward to finally keeping character progression into the open beta phase and launch is an understatement! But that’s only a small part of the new build: The achievement, crafting, and harvesting systems are all getting their own facelifts.

With so many modifications incoming, players may not be too surprised to learn that the big wipe will happen later than anticipated; instead of April 29th, the wipe is postponed until the week after. At least that gives everyone a bit more time to digest all of the information, including these new details we’ve gathered from our talk with Senior Producer Terry Michaels and Lead Designer Darrin McPherson.
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Novus Inceptio gives you an alien world to rebuild

There’s something about the apocalypse that makes a world 100% more awesome, isn’t there? People get more creative, previously undeveloped mutated powers come into the light, and there are Thunderdomes everywhere.

That’s why it might be worth keeping an eye on one post-apocalyptic sci-fi MMO, Novus Inceptio. Being developed by a single person, Novus Inceptio aims to create an alien world where players will come together for “hardcore survival action, tactics, and strategy” in order to rebuild the world.

The sandbox aims to have some sort of aging and death system, although there will be clones to offset the loss. The main focus will be on establishing and building up player settlements with the aid of technology and supernatural abilities. You can get a look at the (quite pretty) pre-alpha world after the break.

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Pathfinder Online pushes for aggressive recruiting on media sites

What do you do when your in-testing MMO isn’t drawing in the crowd that you need it to be? Pathfinder Online thinks that the solution is to command loyal followers to go forth and recruit on various game media sites including Massively Overpowered.

“In my opinion, settlement recruiting activities in the wider MMO community continue to be almost zero,” Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey posted on the forums. “Collectively we need to be raising awareness about individual settlement AWESOME. […] We need recruiting activity in the EVE community. I don’t know what the best vehicle is for that, so any and all suggestions are welcome. Settlements that are committed to growing should have someone delegated to be visible in these places making regular posts and talking about the cool stuff their Settlement is doing. When the wider community sees activity and fun, that is a powerful attractant.”

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Russian version of Lord of the Rings Online closes June 1st

If you were hoping that the Russian version of Lord of the Rings Online would last forever, we have some sad news for you today. The game’s localized servers will be shutting down on June 1st, with new account registration already disabled and all cash shop items discounted to cost just 1 mark. There’s also an NPC to power your character up in case you weren’t already at maximum level for whatever reason.

It’s not clear at this time whether Mail.ru was unwilling or unable to reach an agreement with Warner Bros. for extending the license for the game. Bonuses are being offered for Russian players affected by the shutdown in the other games that Mail.ru maintains.

[Source: MMO Fallout]

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The Daily Grind: What did you accomplish in your MMOs this weekend?

I didn’t get a whole lot of gaming time this weekend, but I did manage to log a couple of hours in GTA Online. I mostly ran heists with pickup groups, but I also bought my first aircraft and spent a fair few minutes flying around snapping screenshots and prepping video clips for use in Rockstar’s editor.

How about you, MOP readers? What did you do in your MMOs this weekend?

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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MMO Week in Review: Guild Wars 2 specs and traits – April 26, 2015

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!

This week, ArenaNet finally unveiled just how Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns’ revamped specialization and trait system will work. Massively OP’s own Tina Lauro posted her experiences with the game’s Stronghold PvP, and the studio further promoted its ongoing e-sports efforts.

Fancy classic Guild Wars instead? It’s in the midst of its 10th anniversary celebrations. Happy birthday!

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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