See: ArenaNet

Battle Bards Episode 111: Cabal Online 1 and 2

The Battle Bards are always up for a musical bargain, and on today’s episode, they’ll deliver two MMORPGs for the price of one (sitting)! It’s a look at two rather obscure eastern MMOs, Cabal Online and Cabal 2, both of which have some surprisingly good music tucked away. So expand your video game musical horizons with this show!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 111: Cabal Online 1 and 2 (or download it) now:

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s Hall of Chains raid wing first impressions

I promised you at the end of last week’s rundown of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season’s launch episode that I’d return this week with a first look at the new raid Hall of Chains and I never want to disappoint! While I haven’t stood toe to toe with each of the raid bosses yet, I’ve been glued to boss kill videos and have been gaining a feel for the fights I’m due to face. I’m delighted to explain my take on the new endgame content and I’m hoping that some of you are joining me in trying it out!

In this week’s Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll discuss each of the new raid bosses briefly and will outline the premise of the encounter mechanics. I won’t spend long outlining very detailed tips and tactics at this stage since I haven’t been hands-on with everything myself yet, though I will furnish you with some tactics guides as I get more experience post-holidays if there’s demand for them. Note that there will be spoilers for those who haven’t tried the content themselves yet, so bear that in mind before reading on. I’ll avoid totally spoilerific images and will hide big lore points behind tags.

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Guild Wars 2’s Wintersday celebrations are live along with the condition and balance patch

Ahhhhh! What’s that thing up in the sky over Divinity’s Reach, the second-best video game city ever? Oh, don’t worry, it’s just Toymaster Tixx’s enormous golem airship, back to celebrate Wintersday. Nothing to concern yourself with!

Yes, Wintersday has returned to Guild Wars 2 today, bringing with it Tixx’s Infinarium, the Winter Wonderland jumping puzzle, Toypocalypse, the most epic snowball fight ever, and all the other shenanigans ArenaNet has on offer. Expect a revamp to winter achievements and awards clutter (like the old snowflakes) as well.

Today’s patch has more than just holiday hijinks, however, including modifications to the way conditions work in the game.

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The Daily Grind: What was the best new zone added to an MMO in 2017?

Last year, MOP reader Agemyth suggested we debate the best new MMORPG zone added in 2016, so it seemed only fitting to bring the topic back for another go now that another year is mostly behind us. And it’s even harder to answer this year than then, thanks to the plethora of expansions the MMO genre saw this year.

My vote would be torn. I was inclined to grant it to Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind – Vivec, specifically – but then I remembered all the jaw-dropping moments my husband and I had wandering around the Crystal Desert in Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire. “Spectacular” doesn’t even begin to describe it, and that’s before you’ve even left Amnoon.

I’m sure you can think of others. What would you argue was the best new zone or area added to an MMORPG in 2017?

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The Humble Bundle for the holidays is full of MMO goodness, including Guild Wars 2, Neverwinter, and Blade & Soul

So here’s how the latest Humble Bundle is working. Drop $35 on the bundle and all of your money goes to charity, and you get to take part in the rolling advent calendar of bundle stuff. Which is important to us here because that rolling advent calendar includes a whole lot of MMO stuff already. Guild Wars 2, Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, Blade & Soul, and Guardians of Ember already have shown up to the party, and there are still several more days yet to be revealed.

That’s not to discount the non-MMOs in the pack so far, but we know what we’re about. So if you’re looking for a way to get a whole lot of games and bonus items besides in one place, you can do worse than dropping $35 on the bundle. Heck, get two and give one to someone else who likes a pile of games. Then you’re actually giving gifts as well as buying them for yourself.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Kanbe for the tip!


The Daily Grind: Are you willing to buy good-looking MMO cosmetics?

There are few things that bug me more in MMOs than when my character looks like he or she got dressed by sprinting through a Salvation Army and grabbing whatever was within arm’s reach. It makes such a difference to me when my character looks the part of a hero rather than a ragamuffin.

While most MMOs these days allow you to save and equip visuals from gear that you find all around the game world, many of these same MMOs create special cosmetics that can only be purchased in the game store. As they have no bearing on actual performance during play, cosmetic sales don’t draw the ire that, say, lockboxes and stat gear do. While some might avoid store cosmetics because of a lack of funds or because actually earning (or finding) good-looking outfits delivers more of that feeling of achievement, others don’t seem to have a problem with taking a paid short-cut to fashion success.

I’ve bought several outfits in games like The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 that I knew I would be wearing extensively on multiple characters. I am pretty choosy in what I do purchase, however; it’s not an everyday occurrence.

What about you? Are you willing to buy good-looking MMO cosmetics? Have you done so this year?

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Guild Wars 2 is planning a Wintersday balance patch next week

Don’t worry your little elfin ears, Guild Wars 2 players: Wintersday is on the way. And this year, ArenaNet is tossing in a balance patch as a bonus.

The studio revealed that it will be improving condition builds and adding more synergy with other traits. “We’ve heard your frustrations with the burstiness of conditions invalidating power builds across game modes (though for differing reasons in each). Conditions have always been intended as a way to achieve strong sustained damage once it has ramped up,” ArenaNet said.

In the meanwhile, players are still busy exploring — and conquering — the new Daybreak episode, which includes the Twilight Oasis fractal. Get a behind-the-scenes look at this fractal after the break and don’t forget to read up on our deep dive of the episode!

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MU Online activates exclusive server while MU Legend hauls out the PvP

Here’s a two-for-one update on what’s going on with the MU universe of games. First up is MU Online, which just activated a new Eldorado server that offers exclusive access to a special city and the wealth of upgrades tucked inside.

The free-to-play MMO also rolled out Season 12: Part 2, a patch that contains 4th class quests and skill enhance trees, master skill tree renewal, a Deep Dungeon zone, and a handy quest guide. The studio is offering a free character boost for any players who clock at least an hour a day of playtime during a two-week window.

Over at MU Legend, the mobile MMO added 3v3 PvP to the game a month following the title’s open beta launch. The update also comes with cross-server functionality, which allows for a greater range of matches. Webzen said that this PvP update will help prepare the community for the upcoming guild wars, which will arrive at some point down the line.


Flameseeker Chronicles: Deep-diving Guild Wars 2’s living world S4 Daybreak

I’m back with an earlier-than-anticipated special edition of Flameseeker Chronicles to share my impressions of the opening episode of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season. I am blown away by ArenaNet‘s commitment to the content cadence we’ve come to expect and am thoroughly impressed that the new season is upon us so swiftly after Path of Fire‘s launch, and the direction in which the season seems to be travelling is very promising indeed. The content feels more dynamic than previous offerings, relying heavily on panoramic details, mechanically rich scenarios, and strong dialogue to give us a narrative that feels more alive than ever before.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll share with you the main story points of the episode and will discuss my highs and lows throughout. Please note that, although major spoilers will be hidden by tags where possible, this article is best enjoyed after you’ve played the content for yourself due to significant spoilers throughout.

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Perfect Ten: The healthiest live MMORPGs at the end of 2017

As Counting Crows told us, it’s been a long December, although the fact that it has also only just started being December speaks to something unpleasant in the makeup of this particular month. But it also means that this is a good time to check in on the overall health of various MMORPGs and see which ones look to be in the healthiest state at the end of the year.

This is, I hasten to point out, not a scientific process; last year I pointed to Marvel Heroes as a not-quite-MMORPG title that was still in a very healthy and robust place, and it later turned out that this was entirely not true and had been built upon a foundation of lies. But we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it in 2018. What are the healthiest games running right now?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 147: Daybreak but not that one

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree get crazy into minimaps, probably more than you’ve ever heard a podcast talk about the subject. Trust us, it’s a good thing. As the year races to a close, there’s a lot to talk about with new patches, land for sale, the cost of making games, and more!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Wintersday returns to Guild Wars 2 next week

Break out your snowflakes, your sparkling daggers, and your dancing snowmen, as Wintersday returns to Guild Wars 2 next week – Tuesday, December 12th, in fact, running through January 2nd, the saddest day of the year when everybody has to go back to work with the knowledge that there are no good holidays after that for months and months. ArenaNet says players can expect the return of:

  • The Winter Wonderland jumping puzzle
  • Toypocalypse (“band together with other players to defend gift-bearing dolyaks against an onslaught of malfunctioning toys”)
  • Tixx’s Infinirarium (“enter and help the jolly Toymaker Tixx prepare to share the wonder of Wintersday with all of Tyria”)
  • Bell Choir (“take center stage and make beautiful music to celebrate the season”)
  • and Snowball Mayhem (“every day on Massively OP”).

Just kidding. That last one is where you “gather as many gifts as possible in this PvP snowball fight.”

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO needs a better music system – or any music system?

If you ask any Star Wars Galaxies veteran about the game’s most amazing features, I guarantee that the music and dance system will make the list, even if that player never picked up a slitherhorn to join in. There was just nothing comparable to a 20-man band playing in harmony while dancers synchronized their routines, and everyone was grateful for a musician who could whip out a nalargon for a tune while we waited for the shuttle.

That’s why it breaks my heart when I see articles like these gushing about the – I’ll say it – rudimentary music systems in Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV. The performances and events are thrilling, and I’m glad to see other bloggers finding joy in stumbling upon them! But these systems can’t hold a candle to what was standard fare as long ago as 2003 – never mind what a game community like Lord of the Rings Online’s can and does deliver on a daily basis. Imagine how these folks’ minds would be utterly blown by Weatherstock!

I’m glad even rudimentary music systems still exist in MMORPGs, but they can be so much more. Which MMO needs a better music system – or any music system?

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