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.

One Shots: I took a picture THIS big!

When you take the best screenshot in the world and want to impress your friends, do you find that you end up exaggerating a tiny bit? Perhaps with wide-flung arm motions and tall tales of shutter speed and multiple lenses?

Reader Matthew dishes up a boast for us from Elder Scrolls Online: "This screenshot amuses me for two reasons. Firstly, my friend Jacob and I met up yesterday for the first time in a week and discovered that we'd somehow dyed our gear almost the same color. Secondly, Jacob decided to mess around whilst I was taking a screenshot but his dancing animation plus my character's idle 'look around' animation has randomly made it look as though Jacob's Dragon Knight is telling my Sorceror how big the monster he just killed in the dungeon behind us was!"

This is when kobolds mysteriously transform into elder dragons through the power of storytelling. Onward and upward!

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Cloud Pirates opens up a new deathmatch map

We're going to assume that if you're already sailing in some sort of magical airship and engaging in aerial combat with disgruntled associates, then you probably have no issue with exploring a region created by an ancient and insane alien race. It comes with the territory.

This past week, Cloud Pirates launched its Death or Glory update, at the center of which lay a special deathmatch map named Fractal Space (no, it's not a Guild Wars 2 crossover, alas). There's incentive for fighting on this map, as the bad guys have a chance of dropping a very valuable core for players to use or sell. In addition to the map, the update brought daily rewards and a brotherhood ladder system to the Allods Online spin-off.

Check out the Death or Glory trailer after the break!

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Super Adventure Box returns to Guild Wars 2 next week!

Every time my 5-year-old sees the extra portal in Guild Wars 2's Rata Sum, I have to tell him it's for Super Adventure Box and that it's currently closed. He's always sad. But next week, I can tell him it's open! ArenaNet's announced that SAB is indeed returning:

"It’s that time of year—dust off your best jumping boots, take up your pointy stick, and get ready to experience Tyria’s most cutting-edge technological edutainment system: Moto’s Super Adventure Box! Explore a whole new virtual world in beautifully-rendered, three-dimensional graphics. Go on an epic quest to save Princess Miya. Prove your strength against wizards, assassins, and giant frogs. And if all of that sounds a little too tame for you, prepare to die (repeatedly) in the punishing Tribulation Mode!"

It is not currently clear whether any new stages and new cosmetic weapons will be available, but it's a good bet. The festival begins March 30th and runs until April 20th.

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NCsoft rep says bringing City of Heroes toons to Master x Master was his 'passion project'

We've been speaking with NCsoft West off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters (to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.

Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."

"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."

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The Stream Team: Tearing through Transylvanian terrors in The Secret World

In The Secret World, Transylvania is very much like the monster stories. In fact, there are even more monsters! Massively OP's MJ has yet to finish many of the missions on her Illuminati, so she's diving into the horror-movie mayhem headfirst. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. as she faces off against the many nightmares come to life.

What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

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Massively Overthinking: The City of Heroes Master X Master debacle

On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.

Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.

For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?

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Elder Scrolls Online grants glimpses of Morrowind's Vivec and Ashlands

Ready for another super-short Elder Scrolls Online snippet? How about two? The Morrowind expanshachapter team has continued posting episodes in its travel series. Last week, we got a peek at Seyda Neen in the long long ago; this week, we've checked in on Vivec and the Ashlands.

Vivec, of course, is the city being built by warrior-poet and god Vivec himself, so its feature video shows scaffolding and other in-progress bits as the cantons are erected.

The Ashlands comprise more ominous areas of dust and ash and smoke kicked up by the active volcano at the heart of Vvardenfell, Red Mountain.

Check 'em out in all their weird aspect ratio glory below!

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Perfect Ten: Memories of an Anarchy Online noob

My initial foray into MMORPGs was, to put it nicely, quite ungraceful. I wasn't even aware that they were a thing until about the year 2000, when I started to notice EverQuest and Asheron's Call boxes on the shelves. But stories about addiction from friends and the seeming obtuse nature of these games kept me from trying... until fall 2001, that was.

That's when I saw a sci-fi title lumped together in this unknown category, and I had liked Funcom's The Longest Journey so much that I thought I'd take a chance on this odd online game. My subsequent experiences in Anarchy Online were fragmented, ignominious, and confusing as all get out. It was so weird, in fact, that I needed a "redo" of City of Heroes several years later to properly get onto the MMO bandwagon (and I haven't fallen off since!).

So what was it like being a total Anarchy Online -- and MMO -- noob back in the day, feeling out this game from a position of complete ignorance? Glad you asked, friend, because I'm going to tell you all about it.

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Rumor: Destiny 2 leak hints at September 8 launch

Reddit is buzzing this morning over posters uploaded across the internet that if legit -- and they do look legit -- seem to reveal a September 8th release date for Bungie's Destiny 2.

That revelation comports with Activision-Blizzard's last investor call in February, during which the companies said the game was on track for a fall 2017 rollout and would be catering to a "casual first-person experience."

The posters also suggest a June beta. Is everyone excited about watching the world chase this game and hearing people fight over whether it's an MMO? No? Yeah.

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The Secret World welcomes new community manager, should talk about relaunch plans soon

Ever since finding out in late February that Funcom has plans to relaunch The Secret World with a new business model and redesigned combat, players have been desperate for more information on how this all will shake out. Fortunately, we're about to end a month of speculation, as the studio will reportedly be opening up on the subject soon.

According to a player post on the forums, Funcom said on a livestream that it will be talking about the "big update" by the end of March -- so sometime in the next week -- but is keeping silent until then. That might prove welcome news for fans that have started to feel stressed out about the lack of communication on this relaunch so far.

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #18-13

Last week we were off to a great start as we listened to the first batch of player-voted favorite MMO themes. As I said then, the results of the voting, in which I asked players to nominate up to 10 of their favorite main themes from online games, were both predictable and surprising. Nostalgia and familiarity obviously play a strong role in many of these votes, but no one was asking for objectivity here!

Today we're going to continue our countdown to the top spot by looking at numbers 18 through 13 of your favorite MMO themes. I think there's a good mix here, perhaps with tunes that I would have placed a little higher, but overall it's gratifying to see each one of these make the list.

Enough jibber-jabber, let's get to it!

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Fan creates Guild Wars 2 themed collectible card game

Ever been playing Guild Wars 2 and thought to yourself, wouldn't I rather be playing a card game? UK-based designer and developer Luke Dowding has just the game for you. He's put together Guild Wars 2: Heroes of the Mists, a 200-card collectible card game.

"The objective of the card game is to defeat the opponent’s Hero. Each Hero will start with 80 Health and the first person to receive 80 Damage to their Hero loses," Dowding explains. "Players will build a deck of 40 cards each, 10 of those cards will be predetermined by the Profession you chose called Skill cards. The remaining 30 cards will be Minion cards and it will be up to the players to select and build a deck they think will bring them victory. Every turn players will use Endurance to summon Minion or Skill cards to damage the enemy Minions or the Hero."

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Elder Scrolls Online previews Morrowind's Foyada Quarry (pro tip: lava is hot)

ZeniMax has this morning released a deep-dive of one of the trio of battlegrounds due to launch in The Elder Scrolls Online when Morrowind arrives in June. The so-dubbed Foyada Quarry is quite different from the last battleground previewed, being wide-open with little cover.

"In this deserted granite quarry, you can view exactly where the action is right from the start. However, when navigating this map, you should watch your step; the entire site is now overflowing with lava, bathing the arena in a red glow and burning those unfortunate enough to fall in. Despite the environmental hazards provided by the looming Red Mountain, Foyada Quarry funnels the action right into the center of the map via a selection of granite pathways and seared wooden bridges. Because the majority of the map is so open, teams are able to quickly close and engage with each other, thrusting you into battle almost immediately upon leaving your base and making it an especially fast-paced Battleground."

ZOS notes that crowd control will be particularly useful on the map as you knock enemies into lava and away from the capture point in the center of the map, at least in domination mode. Ouch.

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