aventurine

Greek outfit known chiefly for sandbox Darkfall.

Massively Overthinking: Our favorite MMORPG articles of 2017

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to do something most of them hate: brag! We’ve tried to isolate our favorite personal work from the year and talk about why we think it matters, then identify our favorite work from somebody else on the site this year and do the same. I always tell them it’s easy, but it never is!

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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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Darkfall: Rise of Agon adds magical teleporting billboards

Progress continues to march in Darkfall: Rise of Agon, with a smallish content patch added to the game last week that added a special new feature that should prove convenient to this PvP community.

The patch added special billboards to each capital city, allowing “blue” players to use them to teleport between villages that are active. There is a cost to using these billboards, although the cost is defrayed the more alignment that players rise.

Other changes with the patch include better visuals for crafting windows, cheaper costs for enchanting gems, map notations showing who owns which settlement, an increased pace of village activations, and additional stat boosters for new players to get them up to speed.

Source: Rise of Agon

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 146: World of Warcraft’s fun police

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree pat their turkey-filled tummies and pontificate on the nebulous fate of Marvel Heroes, look ahead to Lord of the Rings Online’s future, and chide World of Warcraft for taking away fun toys.

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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Darkfall: New Dawn launches on January 26, 2018

At this point, it’s an odd year when Darkfall isn’t launching. Darkfall: New Dawn has announced that the game will launch on January 26th, 2018, complete with a new launch trailer to celebrate the upcoming milestone. There’s also a series of improvements to the game’s official site, including the option to pre-order via buying several months of subscription time in advance. Be warned, though, you may not be able to purchase a 12-month subscription once the game launches, so now is your one chance to get in on that for just 75 Euros!

(That’s about $90 for those of us in the states.)

More comments about launch features are promised in the coming days, which makes sense as there’s still about two months left before the game becomes reality. If you’re looking forward to the latest take on an indie relaunch for the title, by all means, get hyped up with the trailer down below.

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Perfect Ten: A list of all the MMORPGs I supposedly hate

Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.

Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.

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Battle Bards Episode 108: Vampires and werewolves

Here’s a musical episode that you can really sink your teeth into! Your… ear teeth? In any case, the Battle Bards are evaluating our Dark Masters this Halloween season to see which has the best music: vampires or werewolves. It’s a sinister, gothic show with several first-time MMO appearances for the podcast, so check it out!

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 108: Vampires and werewolves (or download it) now:

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Massively Overthinking: Three-way RvR and ‘fair’ PvP in modern MMOs

MOP reader Sally Bowls is on a roll with the good questions lately! She lobbed us one this past weekend that seems a good follow-up to a comment thread discussion about the problems inherent in unregulated three-way factional PvP/RvR (and how a game like Camelot Unchained will regulate it). By way of example, she noted that a certain MMO griefer famously argued in favor of strategy that basically made the opponent not want to log in, using tactics like creating timesinks and hassles in a sandbox. “Should the dominant faction on a RvRvR server ‘camp’ the smallest to try to drive them off?” she wondered.

“If it’s about fair PvP, then that is anathema. But if you see the game as being about your faction being at war with other factions, then not doing your utmost to win that war is incompetence. Neither is bad design per se, just a conflict in understanding of the goals. And will Camelot Unchained really be RvR, doing everything legal for your realm to win? Or will it be about PvP battles, with the RvR rhetoric being more marketing fluff than von Clausewitz and Machiavelli? If camping a mine hurts your kill/death ratio but makes the opponent weaker due to hassles or crafting, is that winning or losing? Is an RvR game really about realms vs. realms or is it just another BG?”

I’ve pitched Sally’s comments to the team for consideration in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Is RvR just a more carebear-friendly way to market FFA PvP? Do you play RvR or factional PvP to win or to have fun, and how does that differ from a more open FFA sandbox? How would you design three-way factional PvP to keep people from quitting and stop griefing before it starts?

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The Daily Grind: Why does EVE survive where other PvP sandboxes stumble?

MOP reader Tobasco da Gama pointed us to a recent Reddit thread about why EVE Online persists, even in a weakened state, where other hardcore PvP sandboxes fail. The thread OP posits that in spite of what he calls “CCP’s criminal level of mismanagement and incompetence,” EVE has outlasted other games of its ilk, from Darkfall and Mortal Online to Albion Online and pre-Trammel Ultima Online. The reason? He argues it’s because the vast majority of players who don’t quit outright never leave high-sec and aren’t actually playing the “hardcore” PvP game that New Eden is known for at all. In other words? Most people playing EVE are carebears.

Fightin’ words, right? It makes a lot of sense to me, frankly, and since my husband still plays EVE, I’ve seen the phenomenon in action, that the toxic part of the playerbase perpetually eclipses the majority of normal folks just happily space mining and killing pirates and watching their skill bars go up.

Why do you think EVE survives where other PvP sandboxes stumble?

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Massively Overthinking: Epic Tavern-style player-generated content in MMORPGs

Ever played Epic Tavern? Massively OP reader Uli though it would make an interesting point of comparison for MMO content. “Epic Tavern is a single player game where you run a fantasy tavern frequented by heroes for a drink, food, bed for the night, and you can try to persuade those NPC heroes to go on a quest for you, sharing the spoils,” he explains.

“A comment I read suggested that would be great for MMO taverns: player running a tavern being able to give quests in the game to players frequenting the tavern. I know there are options for player run quests, but this would be different: pre-existing or otherwise player-made and engine-supported quests that are bestowed on player to match their group or skill level. And of course it would mean that visiting a tavern and meeting other players would finally have a point beyond mere chatting/RP. Ensuring people spent time in taverns to interact with would really help the socializing/third-space-in-virtual-rooms issue. But could it work in a MMO? Would that be abused for loot/rewards, biased quest assignment/withholding based on favors? Or what other problems could that cause?”

A lot of our writers and readers have experience with player-generated content, so I thought it would be fun to build on the ideas of Epic Tavern for Uli in this week’s Overthinking. Which MMOs have (or desperately need) great PGC, and when have you seen it go wrong? Could a formal, mechanical system for quest-giving like Epic Tavern’s work in an MMO, or is it something best left to the roleplayers?

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Darkfall: New Dawn tweaks colors, removes bindstones, and improves AI

Right now it is not hard to keep the two Darkfall reboot projects separated. While Rise of Agon launched earlier this year, New Dawn is still working toward its own official release. At least with this week’s Patch 4.0, the PvP MMO will have made significant progress toward that goal.

There is a lot that the developers crammed into this patch, so let’s tick off the salient details. There is an improvement in the mob artificial intelligence (in part, to head off exploits), new tailor robes, the removal of bindstones for a local resurrection option, a beefed up alignment system, quest kill sharing, and better player progression and combat balance.

The team also improved the visuals a bit: “We have implemented post-processing effects that allow us to tweak color saturation and image contrast. The current settings will not fit all locations in game, but individual environments are being tweaked for the next patch.”

Get a quick overview of the update and a look at some of these snazzy new outfits after the jump!

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon works on ‘reducing tedium’ with this week’s update

As promised back in July, the team behind Darkfall: Rise of Agon are taking drastic measures to reorient the fantasy sandbox to a more fun direction. Ergo, the main focus of Tuesday’s patch is “reducing tedium and also reducing the power game between players” in the game.

This is being accomplished in part by rejiggering stats and skills. All races now start out with a baseline of 20 in all stats, and a single attribute potion will take a stat up to 100 right away (do not pass go). It has also become a lot easier to see what spells and skills you can unlock and what you need to do to get them. There are more ways to level skills through use, although the team said that scrolls remain the fastest way to boost your abilities.

The patch also added in a faster way to equip gear from inventory, something called “remote crafting,” and name change tokens for players who sneezed while typing their alter ego and added an unnecessary umlaut or that fun Danish Ø.

Source: Patch notes

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Perfect Ten: The 10 saddest MMORPG stories

Every MMO tells a story through the run of its life. A lot of those stories are pretty happy, too. Ultima Online may not be the most happening place in the world right now, but its story is about launching a genre and then running for two solid decades. That’s a pretty great story. However much it’s become a tale of mismanaged expectations, World of Warcraft kind of became the most popular thing for a long while and brought in tons of new people to the hobby. Even titles with sad endings often have bright stories; the end bit for City of Heroes sucks, but everything leading up to that was a gas.

And then you have these 10 titles. These are titles where the whole story is a tragedy, start to finish, and in many cases the tragedy isn’t necessarily over, but the story is still just plain sad. There are reasons, of course, maybe even good ones, but the result is that the narrative for these titles is pretty sad all the way through.

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