bioware

Major MMO studio owned by EA, famous for its RPG franchises and particularly to MMO players for Star Wars: The Old Republic

Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs on guilds, groups, and the social systems that make an MMORPG go ’round

Over the weekend, the studio behind crowdfunded RvR MMORPG Camelot Unchained released a hefty chunk of its ongoing beta one document, revealing extensive insight into the way the game’s social systems will be laid out. Parts of those social systems will look familiar to MMO players, such as groups (Warbands), guilds (Orders), and raids (Battlegroups). But there are more layers to contend with, including perma-groups or mini-guilds (Permanent Warbands), as well as project-oriented raids (Campaigns), all designed in the service of an ambitious RvR-centered MMO that makes space for soloers and small guilds by not over- or under-privileging the largest teams in the genre. That’s the goal, anyway!

CU boss and MMORPG veteran developer Mark Jacobs, whom many of you know personally thanks to his ubiquity in our comments section, gamely answered about a thousand of my questions over the weekend, which we’ve compiled into an absurdly long interview about how to properly smush together all these groups into a social system sandwich that makes everybody happy. There’s even a Star Trek quote and a bonus question about Warhammer Online’s development and CU’s budget at the end!

I strongly urge you to check out the original doc first, as the interview assumes knowledge of the basic terminology and structure of the game. Fair warning: While Camelot Unchained’s document is almost 6000 words, this interview itself is close to 4000. You put Jacobs in a virtual room with me and my questions go on forever, and damn if he doesn’t answer them exhaustively. It’s a whopper, but it’s worth reading for a glimpse into what could be the future of MMO community planning.

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Divinity: Original Sin 2 welcomes friends with four-player co-op, PvP, and a game master mode

Anyone remember BioWare’s Neverwinter Nights from back in the day? Those who have fond memories of that game and its bustling online mod community might want to take a look at this month’s Divinity: Original Sin 2.

Kickstarted for a little over $2 million back in 2015, the sequel to the hit Divinity: Original Sin launched last week and has been getting rave reviews. In addition to the “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to its RPG world, the turn-based game invites friends to the fun with several multiplayer features such as two- to four-player co-op and PvP.

Even more interesting is the opportunity to run your own campaigns: “The Game Master mode bridges the gap between the improvisation of a tabletop role-playing campaign and the immersion of a computer RPG. It’s easy to use, it’s powerful, and, most of all, it’s flexible. We’ve created a system with a single goal: to empower the Game Master so they can tell great stories and lead up to four players through a world of their own creation.”

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is available for $45 on Steam and GOG.com.

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The class balance train roars forward with SWTOR Update 5.5

Ootini! With Game Update 5.5 moved to October, Star Wars: The Old Republic players have a little more time to prepare for some of the changes to come — including additional class build adjustments. Yes, the developers aren’t quite finished monkeying around with disciplines in the MMO.

Snipers and Gunslingers are going to be getting a slight nerf to their honed shots talent. The devs said that the marksmanship and sharpshooter builds were “slightly overperforming,” and so this tweak should bring DPS in line.

Meanwhile, Juggernauts and Guardians will see a wider array of changes when 5.5 drops. “Chilling Scream/Freezing Force was doing too much damage with the Piercing Chill/Persistent Chill utility,” the team said. “It was being used as a single-target rotational ability when it’s intended use was multi-target AOE, so we reduced the damage it deals with Piercing Chill/Persistent Chill. To make up for part of the DPS loss, we increased the damage of Draining Scream/Burning Blade by 45%.”

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The Stream Team: Moving on to KOTFE’s Chapter XIV Mandalore’s Revenge in SWTOR

Choose My Alignment returns! After a brief PAX-induced hiatus, the audience-driven story of the SWTOR Chiss Agent will continue to unfold. Massively OP’s Larry and MJ are diving into Chapter XIV, Mandalore’s Revenge. Sounds perfectly safe and downright friendly, no? No. Well, at least none of the companions died last time! Tune in live at 2:00 p.m to decide exactly how friendly this next step of the KOTFE story goes and whether everyone gets to continue being a part of it.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

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Star Wars: The Old Republic bumps Update 5.5 to October

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Star Wars: The Old Republic to rock your September. BioWare revealed on the forums today that it is pushing the next major patch, Update 5.5, to early October.

“It was our plan to put out Game Update 5.5 in late September,” the team said, “but we have made the decision to move it into early October (currently 10/10). We did this to allow us more time to focus in on quality for our game updates to avoid some of the issues we had with 5.4.”

Once plans firm up on the studio’s end, it will be sharing the next game roadmap as well as what class balance changes are being planned for 5.5. And just in case your favorite companion hasn’t returned to the game, know that BioWare has heard players’ “great interest” in this feature and… is going to keep everyone waiting for more information. Good to know.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The 10 best places to find SWTOR content outside the game

Just this week, a long-running Star Wars: The Old Republic fan-made website mentioned that it was shutting down, one among many that have come and gone since the launch of SWTOR. I was just mentioning the other day to a friend how Darth Hater pretty much faded into nothing and how many of the old fan-shows and websites no longer exist. It seems to be a rare thing for creators to make content since the launch of the game, and it’s even rarer for them to have created it before the game launched.

And now SWTOR-RP is shutting down, one of the last sites to have been reporting on SWTOR for over seven years. I know this because I was one of the three founders, and now the three of us remaining have decided it’s time to move on and let the site go.

So where does a SWTOR fan get content now? Are there still fansites that report on the latest news coming from BioWare Austin? I can hear Massively OP readers now: “Larry, your content is great and all, but I need more than a thousand words in Hyperspace Beacon every week.” And I hear you; I need more than that, too. So that’s why I’ve compiled another list of 10 podcasts, YouTube channels, and websites where I get my SWTOR information.

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Perfect Ten: The 10 tiers of MMORPG lore

Lore! Huh! What is it good for? Understanding why you’re standing in the middle of a pack of angry people with fangs in MMOs, of course. It’s the thin line dividing your actions from being reckless, indiscriminate mayhem and discriminating, careful mayhem. Lore is how you know what the world is like beyond your front door, and it’s the difference between understanding that you face Ragnaros, lord of flame or just knowing that there’s a dude here made out of fire, so you should probably use water spells on him.

All lore, however, is not created equal. There’s lore that creates a detailed, vibrant world full of people with their own hopes and dreams, and there’s lore that creates a game where you know what you’re supposed to be doing but have no idea what people do for fun afterwards aside from waiting to die. So today, we explore the tiers of lore, arranged in a numbered list because that’s the entire premise of the column. It’s not Perfect Vague Assortment of Concepts. That’s not even a column.

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One Shots: I think I’m turning Japanese

I’ve got your picture of me and you
You wrote “I love you,” I love you too
I sit there staring and there’s nothing else to do

We’ve all been there when a “good” Japanese demon of legend has a legit crush on one of the leaders of the Illuminati. How else to express that unrequited love than with a commissioned painting and some headless mannequins?

“In honor of Secret World Legends’ Kristen Geary,” posted reader Koshelkin. This is exactly how court restraining orders get started.

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Global Chat: Overwatch’s stalled story

With all of the attention, fandom, e-sports, and development given to Blizzard’s Overwatch, have you ever suspected that the team shooter has a critical weakness in its narrative?

Tyler at Superior Realities unloads with both barrels at what he calls the “failure” of Overwatch’s story: “The thing is, a 10-minute video clip once a year and a 10-page digital comic every six months aren’t a story. They’re marketing […] Nor has there been any forward momentum to the story. We’re still just hovering, frozen in time, at the moment Winston reactivated Overwatch. If this were a movie, we’d still be in the first five minutes.”

Our whirlwind tour through the latest that the MMO blogosphere has to offer continues, with a look at Destiny 2’s PC beta, FFXIV’s nostalgia trip, the perceived value of MMOs, and more!

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Hyperspace Beacon: A happy accident in Star Wars The Old Republic gives us hope for the future of CXP

The last couple of weeks have been really rough week for Star Wars: The Old Republic from a technical standpoint. The Umbara update itself gave us a handful of bugs, including some that were very difficult to bypass. Then players also noticed a couple of extreme bugs that were deemed exploits. Community Manager Eric Musco acknowledged the exploits, and for one of them, he emphatically said do not do it. “Following the bug being fixed we will begin to investigate the impact of the exploit and what action is required,” he said on the forum. In the past, those actions have ranged from a slap on the wrist to a three-day suspension to revoking future access to that account. I don’t think things will get that harsh for this exploit, but I do foresee players losing the items gained. I’ll get to the specifics of that later.

What was most interesting was BioWare‘s handling of the second major bug. Under normal circumstances, if players circumvented the normal rate of character progression, the MMO developers would stop everything they were doing and fix the bug immediately, or at very least, they would tell players to stop lest they be punished. Instead, Musco said on the forum, “Until they are fixed next week, enjoy them. We tried to fix the bug, the bug didn’t want to be fixed.” He actually encouraged people to take advantage of the bug.

Let’s talk about that, why it happened, and why this happy accident is one of the best things that’s happened to SWTOR in a long time.

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The MOP Up: Warframe battles cancer (September 3, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from SWTORWarframeRappelzPlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsStardew ValleyWorld of TanksStarcraft RemasteredArmored WarfareGuild Wars 2NeverwinterRuneScapePokemon GoDota 2Wakfu, and Skyforge, all waiting for you after the break!

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One Shots: In the altogether

Warning: After the break is a shocking depiction of human nudity and the bravado of a squirrel that seeks to save you from nightmares for the next two weeks. It is all thanks to that online weirdness generator called Final Fantasy XIV and beloved reader Skoryy, who is incredibly quick with that screenshot key.

This is from Skoryy’s private photography gallery entitled, “Random MMO Funny Faces.” Gaze in awe and dumbstruck horror after the break, then read on because we’ve got a whole bunch of interesting player shots for you to admire when you tire of trying to peek around that bushy tail.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 133: Gaming Gamescom

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree shovel through the mountain of Gamescom reveals, including a trip to World of Warcraft’s Argus and Star Citizen’s elaborate Alpha 3.0 tease. The duo also mourn the premature demise of SkySaga, a promising-looking MMO that got a raw deal from its publisher.

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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