IBM is testing a Sword Art Online VR MMO next month

If you’ve never watched Sword Art Online, here’s the quick version: There’s a VR-based MMO that became popular but then trapped everyone inside of the game and forced everyone to live inside of it, because anime. That’s fine. A new VR MMO based off of the series is apparently going to be tested in Japan in early March. That’s something less than fine; “bizarre” might be the word you’re looking for.

Also, it’s being tested in a secret location with a very limited pool of people, which is when the irony becomes so thick that you can no longer chew on it.

There’s no word on whether or not the game in question, Sword Art Online: The Beginning, is meant to serve as a full game or just as a proof-of concept. IBM’s Watson and SoftLayer are both on tap, meaning that this may very well turn out to just be a technology test. Or it may turn out that this is the equivalent of a new deep-space company starting up and naming itself Weyland-Yutani before advertising for high-risk missions, who knows.

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Blade & Soul adjusts anti-cheater measures, says server transfers are in the works

NCsoft is making a few changes to its anti-cheater software in Blade & Soul and says that its efforts to combat sneaky behavior are improving.

“Gameguard is not the only anti-hack tool we have in our arsenal,” the studio said, “there are many other client and server-side tools we are using to catch cheaters. We actually made a breakthrough this week and banned many of the most popular cheat users.”

And in case you missed it, you should check out the round-up of NCsoft’s AMA with the community from this past weekend. The studio addressed several topics of player concern, including what is and is not planned for the future. A server transfer system is in the works, but it doesn’t sound as if it will be arriving soon. As for the import of the Soul Fighter/Qi Master class, NCsoft was predictably coy on the topic.

Source: Reddit #1, #2. Thanks to Temp for the tip!

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite MMORPG boss fight?

World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade was very definitely not my favorite WoW expansion, but it had some fantastic dungeons. Karazhan leaps to mind as being a superb small-raid experience, and of the many boss encounters it offered, the Opera Event stands in my memory as being one of my favorite boss fights ever.

While it’s a bit of a cakewalk for the modern character (as evidenced by the fact that Eliot got this screenshot for me last week, solo — thanks Eliot!), back then the Opera Event was challenging, randomly offering your group one of three encounters as part of the play: spoofs on Romeo and Juliet, Little Red Riding Hood, and my favorite, The Wizard of Oz. The last was a boss fight that rewarded exceptional crowd control as you took out Dorothee, Tito, Roar, Strawman, Tinhead, and The Crone. The loot was themed to match too.

So there’s my favorite, or at least most memorable, MMORPG boss fight — a boss fight with multiple bosses. What’s yours?

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MMO Week in Review: Black Desert and ArcheAge cash-shop rage (February 21, 2016)

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!

Cash-shop crises blew up in MMO land this week. We put up a Leaderboard poll this weekend about the growing resentment toward Black Desert’s proposed cash shop being expressed on Reddit and in the official forums; the debate is still raging over whether we should all be raging. And then ArcheAge sparked a new drama by introducing a form of stat-boosting costumes with a form of maintenance and decay built in under the RP guise of doing laundry. Is it always about money? Yes, pretty much.

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

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EVE Evolved: Citadel stats revealed, theorycrafting begins

EVE Online‘s Citadel expansion is due to launch this spring, transforming the way many of us play the game through the introduction of player-owned citadels. Building and running your own space stations seems like a no-brainer for a space sandbox MMO, but until now it’s been a very complicated and costly affair that usually appealed to only the most hardcore of players and corporations. Citadels promise to open that gameplay to everyone and make it a hell of a lot more compelling, with easy-to-use stations that can be built almost anywhere in space for as little as a few hundred million ISK.

This expansion will be the biggest step yet toward CCP’s grand sandbox vision for accessible space colonisation revealed at Fanfest 2013, with future steps including things like industrial structures and player-built stargates. Developers have now released the preliminary stats for the new structures and all of the modules and rigs that can be fitted to them, in addition to the proposed component lists and fuel costs. This information has sparked fresh speculation on how each of the three sizes of citadel will be used when the expansion goes live in just a few months, and many are already buying up materials and making plans.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I summarise all of the recently released information on player-owned citadels and draw some conclusions on how each of the three citadels will be used.

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The MOP Up: PlanetSide 2 gets a promotion (February 21, 2016)

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!

This past week PlanetSide 2 got a level cap increase, League of Legends posted its world championship schedule, Albion Online got us to bone up on its world history, and more!

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Get a video preview of Dungeons & Dragons Online’s Update 30

The truth of the matter is that you could jump onto the test server for Dungeons & Dragons Online right now and preview Update 30 for yourself. But do you really want to do that? Do you want to spoil yourself on all of that content? Or would you rather watch the developers take a quick tour through the next update’s content? Because you can do that just by jumping down below.

Preliminary patch notes are available, highlighting the update’s big features as the addition of the Gnome race (complete with iconic Deep Gnome Earthen Illusionists) and the addition of a new anniversary dungeon in House Phiarlan. There are also balance changes, new abilities, quality of life improvements, and the usual potpourri of additions. But why take our word for it? There’s a video preview to be watched.

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No Man’s Sky will have a physically accurate universe … almost

If you’ve been following upcoming space exploration game No Man’s Sky, you’ve probably heard a few things about its incredibly large procedurally generated universe. Because the entire universe is generated randomly but uses the same random number generator seed for every player, everyone visiting the same star system will see identical planets even though the planets weren’t explicitly designed by developers. It’s the only way to create a reasonably persistent galaxy on any kind of realistic scale, and the developers at Hello Games are understandably proud of what they’ve accomplished.

In a recent interview No Man’s Sky‘s chief architect Sean Murray discussed the use of real physics in the game, commenting that things like the day-night cycle are based on the actual rotation and curvature of the planet rather than being faked with a skybox as they would be in other games. Murray revealed that the team has made a number of compromises with its physics model for purely aesthetic reasons, however, such as allowing moons to orbit much closer than should be possible in Newtonian physics. The developers also had to fudge the physics of atmospheric scattering to produce planets with green atmospheres. No Man’s Sky is currently in testing and is scheduled for a June 2016 release.

Source: The Atlantic, via Gamasutra

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EverQuesting: A guide to EverQuest II’s monthly and yearly events

Anyone familiar with EverQuest II knows that Norrath likes to celebrate. The game is filled with so many holidays and festivals that it can be really hard to keep up with them. Sure, there is an in-game calendar that lists everything all out, and you look up individual festivals, but you have to be actually logged in for the former or recall the name of the festival during the right time of the year for the latter. And then you have to actually remember to do something about it before it ends. Maybe it just slips your mind. At times real life takes ahold of you and won’t let go; work, family, travel, meals, and sleep all can interfere with your gaming. Or, you could just procrastinate a bit and then have to scramble at the end to try and complete things on 18 different alts.

The point is, there is so much to keep track of that it’s totally easy to miss out on a festival or two. I should know: I’ve missed a couple already. And I am still kicking myself because it means I have to wait another year to get the housing items and recipes that I wanted. And that’s why I’ve created this easy-to-reference event calendar. Feel free to use it to schedule your vacations, either to devote your vacation days to your favorite festival, or so you can be sure to be back home from your travels with enough time to log in and enjoy.

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Firefall loses its senior systems designer

Last Thursday the Firefall community had to bid a sad farewell to David “Cloudchaser” Severs, the senior systems designer for Red 5 Studios. Severs announced that he was leaving the studio to take up an “exciting opportunity” at an undisclosed company.

“It’s been an amazing four years (give or take) that I’ve been around Firefall,” Severs said, “two as a player, and two as a designer working on a game I love, and these are memories that I’ll take with me and cherish. From now on, other designers will be taking point on the game’s systems, such as battleframes, weapons, abilities, crafting, perks, elite ranks, leveling, items, and content rewards. You’re in good hands.”

Severs came on board Red 5 in August 2014.

Source: Official forums. Thanks to TheLanteshGuy for the tip!

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One Shots: Taking a breather

While one might get a sense that MMOs are nonstop adventures, with players shuttling to and fro on various important (and not-so-important) tasks, every once in a while there’s that moment where you stop.

Rest.

And gather your thoughts for the mission to come.

Our headlining shot today is from Frank, who does just this in Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward. “Here Axelay enjoys a brief respite from the rigors of duty,” he wrote.

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The Daily Grind: Would you be into an MMO with constant reboots?

As much as I love the current version of Final Fantasy XIV and want the programmers to be able to visit their families, part of me is occasionally sad that we’ll never have anything like the version shift again. It was undeniably really cool when the game had a whole event dedicated to the end of an era… followed by what is, for all intents and purposes, a new game. Sure, you could import your character and your stuff was still there, but in practical terms Final Fantasy XIV right now is wholly different from Final Fantasy XIV at launch.

Of course, thinking about that just got me thinking about how cool it would be if every expansion had a similar effect. What if a new expansion to World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2 or whatever game you choose didn’t just functionally rewrite the game, but actually started things up again? What if you faced the end of the in-game world and then had to start picking up the pieces? It’d give designers a chance to really re-anchor the game on a regular basis, and it would certainly lead to the feeling that the game was really changing.

It would also be insanely expensive and probably wildly impractical, too, but let’s think about the cool parts for the moment. Would you be into an MMO with regular reboots? Or does the idea of a large-scale reboot make you get twitchy to begin with?

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Make My MMO: Vampire MMO Shadow’s Kiss is on Patreon (February 20, 2016)

So here’s a new one for the Make My MMO crowdfunding column: We have a game that’s actually vying for Patreon donations rather than campaigning on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. That game is Shadow’s Kiss, a vampire fantasy MMO. Developer Clockwork Throne says it’s using Patreon to fund production and reward backers.

Dragon of Legends has rejoined our list, having canceled its first Kickstarter and started over, asking for a much smaller amount (in fact, it’s already passed its base goal). Multiplayer sci-fi survival sandbox Planet Nomads finished its Kickstarter a winner too, pulling in almost $140,000. And while MOBA shooter Overpower didn’t quite make its funding goal on Kickstarter, its devs have announced it’ll head into early access on March 2nd.

This week, we also mused on Star Citizen’s success, had a look at Camelot Unchained’s new lighting system, and spoke to Crowfall’s devs about its world-building pipeline.

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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