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Overwatch’s Mercy is shown none by Blizzard, plus news on Overwatch League

Mercy just can’t catch a break.

The Overwatch healer is due for another round of brutal nerfs, the latest in a long, long line of downward adjustments to the character by Blizzard. This time, her resurrect has been changed from an instant cast and no longer gives a bonus charge, in addition to a nerf to the speed boost from her Guardian Angel ability.

Blizzard explained this latest Mercy nerf, saying, “Mercy’s recent Resurrect changes have helped in allowing enemies to have more counter play in dealing with her, but she was able to use Resurrect through Valkyrie enough to largely mitigate the impact of the previous changes. Additionally, we’re toning back the amount of mobility Valkyrie provides through Guardian Angel and reducing its duration to overall reduce the power of this ability.”

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Eternal Lands is the fantasy MMO that’s flown under your radar for over a decade

One of the best things about the Massively OP community is that our readers often point us toward MMOs that we never knew existed. So here’s our mutual discovery today of a title that’s been online since 2003 and existed entirely on the fringes of the genre ever since.

Eternal Lands is a free-to-play open source MMORPG that’s available for Windows, Android, Mac, and Linux. It has an extremely tiny download before ushering players into this 14-year-old world with multiple zones, a free-form skill system, a focus on exploring, live GM events, and a tight-knit roleplaying community. It’s reported around 170,000 downloads over its lifespan.

While the core game is free, there’s a special PK server that costs a whopping $5 to access. There are a couple of offshoots of Eternal Lands that are being developed, including a French port and a more community-focused version.

Source: Eternal Lands. Thanks Radu!

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World of Tanks 1.0 getting massive engine overhaul in 2018, World of Warships goes mobile

Wargaming has has quite the new year planned for fans. World of Tanks is getting an overhaul, switching to an in-house created advanced CORE graphics engine in March 2018. Dubbed World of Tanks 1.0, the game will look and sound quite different. Besides the massive visual facelift sprucing up water, flora, terrain, lighting, and more (which devs state will have no adverse effect on the game’s performance), sounds have been improved. More than 25 of the maps will be redesigned with their own musical themes that will change dynamically, all brought to you by over 40 musicians from all around the world. Mile Jerebek, World of Tanks Development Director, said:

“Update 1.0 is a true game-change. Though the spirit of the game remains the same, the introduction of the new graphics engine leads to a far greater boost in image fidelity than a simple resolution increase. It’s a staggering difference from the game as you know it, and we can’t wait for players to get hands-on with it.”

Want a peek at how this update will actually look and sound, as well as see how it will run on your own rig? Wargaming offers players World of Tanks enCore 2018 to download. You can also see some before and after screens and watch the trailer below. Read more

Pokemon Go is getting an immersive AR+ augmented reality mode for Christmas

It’s an exciting time to be a Pokemon Go player! It’s been only about a week since the introduction of generation 3 Pokemon and a literal game-changing weather addition, but data miners at Silph Road have already noticed something new. While the recent holiday event announcement confirmed the sale of the new star piece item among other goods, 20 new water and ice Pokemon, increased ice type spawns, and free single-use incubators from December 22-25, we also received news of a huge AR update in league with what we’ve seen for the upcoming AR game Walking Dead: Our World. While data miners think it may work with Android’s ARCore, Niantic’s press release only talks about accessibility for Apple’s ARKit on devices running iOS 11.

Admittedly, this means that AR+ is a feature that only a fraction of the player base will be able to experience. The fact that using this mode also gives players additional experience points and stardust (the game’s rarer currency for leveling Pokemon) is disappointing for those left out, but it makes sense as the new catching method seems rather involved.

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Villagers & Heroes preps for Christmas, says iOS port is still happening

Cross-platform MMORPG Villagers & Heroes has a new patch out this week just in time for Christmas. It heralds the return of Grintcha’s Lair. “This wintery wonderland event zone, where cheery quests, deadly battles, jolly gifts, and much more, awaits all those who seek a festive good time and some very plump rewards,” says Mad Otter.

The patch also rolls out the auction house to Android players, pulling them further into the game’s PC ecosystem.

As MOP reader Kherova reminded us, V&H intended to launch on iOS this past fall, a season you might notice ends in just a few days. It’s clearly not going to make that goal, but the studio says it’s still working on it all the same.

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Mobile MMO roundup: Pokemon Go, Like A Boss, Arena of Valor, Wargaming, Mu Origin, and mobile demographics

Welcome back to another mobile MMO roundup, maybe possibly giving you something fun to do on your phones while you’re stuck at various holiday events this season!

Players are either happy or grumpy with Pokemon Go, as apparently the game is scheduling random raids (which are hard enough to come by generally) for Christmas day. Because it needs to be said again: This is literally the worst raiding system in any MMO ever and I can’t believe there isn’t more rage.

Like A Boss isn’t an MMORPG, but like Little Healer, it does mock MMORPGs with a Dungeon Keeper twist, and it’s available on mobile now. “Now it’s time to become the Boss in the role-playing fantasy world you know from MMOs, but this time it’s your territory that is being invaded, your riches, and your minions that are being ransacked!”

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Perfect Ten: 20 upcoming MMOs to watch in 2018

It has become a long-standing tradition as Massively OP and our former site that we like to end the year by creating a list of titles that we anticipate for the coming one. It has always been a devilish list to create, full of loose dates and fast guesswork about which titles will and won’t be releasing during a 12-month window (just read last year’s list to see how spot-on I was).

This year we’re changing things up a bit by tossing out the qualifying factor of “will see a hard launch in 2018.” Instead, I drafted up a list of 20 MMOs that have the potential to do or be really interesting next year, whether that be a launch, a long-anticipated beta test, or some other significant development. Plus, hey, you get 20 for the price of 10, so no complaining now!

As an aside, this list isn’t going to cover some other exciting-looking multiplayer games that are arriving in 2018, like AnthemSea of ThievesThe Crew 2Monster Hunter WorldDayZRed Dead Redemption 2Stardew Valley, Conan Exiles, and State of Decay 2. And you old school fans won’t want to forget that Ultima Online has a new free-to-play option coming this spring.

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Mobile MMO Immortal Thrones adds new dungeon and marriage system

Back in October, we (hopefully) put Immortal Thrones on your radar as part of our MMOs you’ve never heard of series. If not, then today’s post will be your introduction to one of the rare 3-D mobile MMORPGs that doesn’t have a mega-IP behind it. It’s actually the brainchild of Chinese studio Zloong, and it’s been live on iOS and Android since only October.

Today, it’s patched up with a whopper of an update that includes the new Temple Relic dungeon, an achievement album, a new pet system, world ranking, optimization, and tweaks to something called Tarot Showdown. And lest you think this is just some mobile grinder, consider this new bit:

“In addition, players can choose to embark on a different kind of quest: marriage! The game will be adding a new system and dungeon that will allow players to marry, fight together, and win thrilling rewards.”

Anybody tried this one yet?

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Portal Knights arrives on mobile today

The nice thing about mobile MMOs is that you can still enjoy a video game when you’re out on the road. Portal Knights already let you take it on walkabout with the launch of the game on Nintendo Switch, but now you can also get it on iOS and Android devices via the App Store or Google Play, which means that you never actually need to be apart from it.

At least, not due to hardware limitations. Your boss will probably be a little annoyed if you can’t focus on work because of video games. (Seriously, that’s true even here.)

Players can pick up the title for an entry price of $4.99 before diving into the same sort of multi-faceted gameplay available on the game’s existing versions. Work together with friends, family members, or strangers who also play the game to build, fight monsters, and do all of that fun stuff. Check out screenshots and a trailer just below if you can’t wait to turn your tablet into “Portal Knights platform no. 3″ in your household.

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The Soapbox: Evaluating gaming monetization through the lens of Nintendo’s mobile history

Bloggers and journalists throughout the online gaming industry have been talking about monetization a lot lately. It’s not just lockbox/gachapon scandals, or their relationship with gambling, but basic monetization and what we want from it. Games, after all, don’t make themselves; we have to pay for something to make that happen. But some gamers seem to view free-to-play games as a game that should be free, not one to be supported if it earns respect. And on the flipside of that, far too few game studios give off a vibe not of experimenting with monetization but of maximizing profits above all else while barely veiling their greed.

However, outside the MMO world, there is a company that’s been doing it “right” for a long time: Nintendo. The AAA developer/publisher is known for both innovation and hesitance, following in others’ footsteps with great trepidation, trying to figure out the ins and outs while entering the mobile market long after it’s been established. The company recently released a new mobile title, but what’s interesting is that it and the company’s last four games are all different genres with different monetization strategies. Exploring these titles and their relationship to their monetization plans will not only highlight the potential success of the models but hint at why they work and how they can be curbed into models gamers and lawmakers can better accept.

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Pocket Legends Adventures brings the Spacetime magic back to mobile

Once upon a time, Spacetime Studios was well-known as one of the few heavyweights in the mobile MMO space, putting out a stream of successful titles like Pocket Legends and Space Legends. While it seemed to fade away in recent years, the studio is looking to make a comeback with this week’s launch of Pocket Legends Adventures.

Released on both iOS and Android platforms, Pocket Legends Adventures offers players a “casual take on old-school MMOs” with a strong emphasis on social gameplay. The game uses a lobby structure with plenty of instanced stages that individuals or teams can explore.

Improving upon its older games, Spacetime allows players in PLA to enjoy an open character creation system, collect pets, use a wide variety of weapons, and compete against others in multiplayer zones. Check out the launch trailer below!

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Researchers document Pokemon Go’s vehicular casualties, Niantic raises $200M for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Pokemon Go developer Niantic just got enough money to build a second pool in which to put all that money to roll around in. Venture capitalists have poured another $200M into the company through a Series B funding campaign following the reveal of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, its upcoming wizarding world MMOARG. As Android Central points out, Niantic raised just $30M in 2015 following its Pokemon Go announcement, so this is a hefty increase that demonstrates continuing confidence in the power of Harry Potter, MMOARPGs, or both.

Meanwhile, researchers from Purdue University have produced a paper documenting the real cost of Pokemon Go in property damage and human life in a single county in Indiana, which won’t surprise anyone who recalls the parade of articles about crashes and deaths and vandalization last year when POGO first released.

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The Daily Grind: Did you take advantage of any Black Friday sales in MMOs this weekend?

I did a ton of shopping – all online, mind you, as I’m not so far gone as to actually put on pants or leave the house on Black Friday – this past weekend, and quite a bit of it was gaming-related. I dropped money for games for my dad, my husband, and my kid (he’s getting Path of Fire, but he’s too young to read MOP yet, so he won’t be spoilered!). I bought a pile of new Android games and a few little bits off my wish list on Steam too.

What I didn’t do this year was spend anything in an MMO cash shop. It’s not that I am against it; I have a stack of gemmies sitting in Guild Wars 2 waiting for something to grab me. I just keep finding that my MMORPGs that they aren’t offering things that are enticing to me. I won’t buy lockboxes, and I’m not dropping the price of a full-scale AAA video game for a mount because that’s ridiculous. And there’s almost nothing “early access” I’d actually play for free, let alone pay money for. But here I am with money willing to buy the right shinies, and the studios are acting like it’s lockboxes or bust (or buttcapes or bust?) instead of selling me those shinies. It’s frustrating, but I guess my wallet stays that much fatter.

Did you take advantage of any Black Friday sales in MMOs this weekend, or do you find yourself in my same predicament? And if the latter, what did ya get?

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