b2p

‘Buy-to-play’ is a term that refers to games that have box or download fees associated with them but do not incur a mandatory subscription. Some have optional subscriptions and are more properly referred to as hybrid B2P. Most have cash shops and microtransactions.

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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Tamriel Infinium: Our 2017 report card for Elder Scrolls Online

All in all, 2017 has been a fabulous year for the Elder Scrolls Online, and although I have been light on talking about the game recently, I have jumped in regularly to explore Vvardenfell and Clockwork City. This year ESO saw its first expansion and dare I say its greatest addition to the game: Morrowind. But that shouldn’t diminish the other great stories in the Horns of the Reach and Clockwork City DLCs. Also, ESO introduced one of the best player housing systems I’ve ever seen with Homestead earlier this year. I really don’t know how ESO is going to top 2017.

Let’s pull apart the accomplishments of ESO this year into my standard for grading MMORPGs: The Bartle Taxonomy. MMORPGs are wonderful because of the breadth of different activities that players can participate in. They draw together many different kinds of players, and Bartle’s Taxonomy breaks these players into four different categories: Socializers, Achievers, Killers, and Explorers.

Most people will be a blend of two or more of these categories. I’m going to measure the merits of the game based each category individually using a scale you’ll often find in American schools: A, B, C, D, and F.

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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 Sea 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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Elder Scrolls Online’s winter festival quests send you party-hopping on December 14

So, that Orc… this seems safe, right? Right? Guys?

The Elder Scrolls Online is bringing back the New Life Festival again this Christmas, beginning on Thursday. “In order to join the festivities, acquire the free New Life Festival Scroll from the Crown Store. Use the scroll to find the New Life Herald Breda in a tent just south of Windhelm, Eastmarch,” ZeniMax says. “She will give you the initial quest, ‘The New Life Festival,’ which will unlock a series of nine uniquely festive daily quests.”

Those quests will ask you to travel around the provinces of Tamriel, taking part in the local wintertime festivities for each of the gameworld’s races. BYO trick swallowing-swords for the Orcish race’s Stonetooth Bash, party with the Nords in the totally-safe-sounding Snow Bear Plunge, and enjoy the Altmeri’s cheerful War Orphan’s Sojourn. Your reward for doing them all? Breda’s Bottomless Mead Mug collectible, which grants a nice experience bonus during the festival. It stacks with other experience bonuses, too.

And what Christmas event would be complete without lockboxes? The good news is you can get some themed ones for free by completing the quests. There are some new goodies for direct-sale too, like the 10K-gold New Life Bonfire.

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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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Destiny 2 is reversing some of its controversial player lockout DLC design

So, remember when Destiny 2 players without Curse of Osiris were locked out of content that predated that DLC? That was pretty great. Also, it’s still the case right now. The good news is that Bungie is planning to change some of that.

“We’ve heard from the community that both of these plans aren’t working. The Prestige Raid was a novel experience that players value, even if they don’t own Curse of Osiris, and it was a mistake to move that experience out of reach. Throughout the lifetime of the Destiny Franchise, Trials has always required that players owned the latest Expansion. However, for Destiny 2, Trials of The Nine launched as part of the main game, so it’s not right for us to remove access to it. To make matters worse, our team overlooked the fact that both of these mistakes disabled Trophies and Achievements for Destiny 2. This was an unacceptable lapse on our part, and we can understand the frustration it has created.”

The proposed changes generate issues of their since they mean downtuning content that was meant to provide a level-appropriate challenge for the new level cap in Curse of Osiris.

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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!

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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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Choose My Adventure: Wrapping things up in Secret World Legends

One of the things that I promised way back when I started writing this series about Secret World Legends was to mention the way in which this game seems to tie into The X-Files. There’s an obvious superficial connection (both take place in the real world with added supernatural stuff, for example), but that’s not actually the connection that sticks out to me. It has more to do with the nature of the story both are telling.

While I’m not on board with the game’s character vignettes (which are much more “portrait of this person you don’t really interact with” than anything), there is an underlying story running through every part of the game. I clocked out midway through Egypt when I played the original The Secret World, and there were an assortment of reasons, but part of it was that connection I mentioned above. To wit: the game really likes having mysteries, but it doesn’t really like having answers for a lot of them.

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Overwatch snags two Game Awards while Destiny 2 is honored by six nominations

Did you catch last night’s Game Awards from LA? If not, you probably didn’t miss anything super-groundbreaking, although Overwatch did quite well for itself amid a crowd of mostly single-player titles. Blizzard’s team shooter won two awards, one for Best Ongoing Game and one for Best E-Sports Game (see if you can spot what’s wrong with those awards).

There were several other online games nominated for awards but losing out to other titles. Destiny 2, in particular, had six nominations in categories such as Best Art Direction, Best Ongoing Game, and Best Multiplayer. Other nominations of note included PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (which had a Game of the Year nod), Warframe, Grand Theft Auto Online, Monster Hunter World, Fortnite, League of Legends, and Dota 2.

Don’t put too much stock in these results; after all, the Massively OP end-of-year awards are coming to you very soon, and we actually understand what an ongoing game really is! You can watch the full three-hour stream below to get the full experience if you so desire or just catch our favorite highlight.

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The Daily Grind: How do you feel about Destiny 2 six weeks post-launch?

Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris has already been out a few days and… it’s not exactly lighting the world on fire. Core fanboys aren’t happy and are advising folks to just hold their wallets until Bungie gets its house in order. I’m down to just one guildie obsessively playing. And the hype? The hype for Destiny 1 was a surge that carried for months. D2 hype seems to have fizzled out.

All of that was in my mind already with MOP Patron Roger dropped the perfect topic in my inbox. “I’ve been more in pen and paper games recently than MMOs, but I have been playing something that gives me that MMO feel: Destiny 2.” he writes. “Have any of you guys played it yet? If so, how do you feel if MMOs and massive-coop-online games met closer in the middle?”

For starters, I am digging “massively co-op”! So let’s tackle Roger’s query and mine together. How do you feel about Destiny 2 six weeks post-launch? Were you one of those folks who said, “PC or bust,” and are you still PCing? What happened to the hype? Where did Bungie go wrong? And above all else, do you think Destiny 2 is that perfect midpoint between MMORPG and co-op shooter? Will it have an impact on the way the genre is developed moving forward, or will that be left to future games like Anthem?

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