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Global Chat: The fallout of Fallout 76

Bethesda’s E3 reveal of Fallout 76 had many gamers and franchise fans talking, no more so than out among MMO bloggers. After all, taking the series online for the first time is a pretty notable occasion, is it not?

“As I said before, I am all onboard with a Fallout survival game,” wrote In An Age. “Exploring the wasteland and looting all the things consists of about 80% of my gameplay in this series, and I am currently on an extreme survival game kick the likes of which I have not experienced since my high school JRPG days. All of that sounds fantastic to me.”

Leo’s Life isn’t as enthusiastic: “I was certainly interested last week. Now, not so much. It’s not the game that I wanted, but it’s probably the game that someone else did.” And Endgame Variable notes that, “The first thing they showed was your basic animalistic gankbox-style PvP. That’s got to be sending a message.”

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The Daily Grind: Do you prefer ‘work’ simulation MMOs to more fantastic game worlds?

In the comments of my piece on Raph Koster’s book last week, a commenter brought up the idea that mimicking the real world in MMOs was a “sad” sort of “obsession” – why would we want to work in a video game in our spare time, he was essentially asking, when we could do something fresh and creative with our video game spaces instead?

I took a stab at answering the question, supposing that just because we can theoretically do a job in real life doesn’t mean we are realistically or physically able to do it, and exploration of the unreachable can be fun. A post on the Psychology of Video Games blog answers it even better: Author Jamie Madigan writes that games like Farming Simulator 17 and Euro Truck Simulator do so well precisely because people like to explore those types of jobs in a low-stress, who-cares-if-I-run-my-semi-off-the-virtual-autobahn environment. “These games remove the worst of the uncertainty, helplessness, ambiguity, and consequences for failure that come with those real world jobs and turn them into game systems that are interesting and fun to interact with,” he argues. “They give players clear goals, unambiguous feedback, winnable challenges, and predictable rewards. All things that most jobs sadly don’t consistently provide.”

That certainly explains it: I really hate thinking about money in real life, but I love playing around in MMO economies where my market mistakes simply don’t matter.

How about you? Do you prefer simulation MMOs to more fantastic game worlds? Or something in between? And is there an activity that you love in MMOs but hate in the real world?

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Global Chat: The best of both worlds

If you have ever played more than one MMORPG, the thought has probably crossed your mind that you would love to see your favorite features from all of them put together. It hurts when one game has great housing and another has some of the best group content that you have experienced. Why can’t you just create the best of both worlds?

Zeriah spent some time wishing for exactly this as she drew up a list of features from both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV that she’d love to see merged together.

“If I could take a bit from each game and combine it into one, I think I’d be in heaven,” she said. “FFXIV has some of the most amazing outfits I have ever seen in a game and while it has transmog system but I feel it would be made truly amazing by the addition of the armor journal WoW has brought in.”

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Dual Universe’s latest pre-alpha patch adds markets, scanning, and mining

Let’s all take a moment for an appreciative round of applause to any studio that is considerate enough to post monthly round-ups of games in development. This is especially helpful for titles like Dual Universe, as there is so much going on that it gets easy to miss updates.

So what’s going on with Dual Universe this June? The team reviewed its pre-alpha 0.10 patch, which added scanning and mining gameplay, several new gameplay videos, a dev blog on the revamp to piloting mechanics, how it’s handling player feedback, and some new concept art.

Speaking of the patch, another major feature just added to the space sandbox was its oh-so-necessary market system. The devs urge that you familiarize yourself with the market UI in order to make the most efficient use of your time and effort. Check it out below!

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Legends of Aria makes combat more sensible and nerfs fast travel in its latest update

It’s a big day for Legends of Aria and its beta testers, as the game is undergoing some pretty meaty changes to combat and stats, “heavily” inspired by player feedback.

“The goal of these changes has been to solve three distinct problems,” Citadel Studios says. “Increase the predictability of both warrior damage and interruption rates for magic spells. Increase the options for players to end fights sooner. [And] introduce opportunity cost to warrior combat through meaningful decision making and tactics.”

Notably, the game will now integrate critical hits, stamina-based swing calculations, rework armor proficiencies, shooting on the move, new craftable potions, and new abilities for warriors, archers, and rogues.

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Blade and Soul throws the kitchen sink into next week’s patch

You know it’s a really good and meaty content patch when a studio can get more than two blog posts out of it. Blade and Soul’s Celestial Dawn fits that bill, because NCsoft is still talking about next week’s update, this time with a post on the big changes coming to various items and systems.

The Celestial Dawn update is goign to give players even more rewards from Nightfall Sanctuary’s hard difficulty bosses and improved the payouts from Celestial Basin activities. The crafting system got a balance and price pass and Zen Bean traders will be stocked with a “greater variety” of goods.

To help players tackle the bigger challenges of this patch, the legendary accessory augment system was born: “The new legendary accessory augment system allows you to tackle specific hard mode dungeons for a chance at Psyche items, which will allow you to further increase your legendary accessory power. Each dungeon has their own unique psyche related to the augment system, in addition to the battlefield traders having their own PvP-focused versions.”

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‘Magic through serendipity’: Raph Koster on the glorious mess that was Ultima Online

I was a wide-eyed, naive kid when I first stepped into Ultima Online in 1997, and as it turns out, the developers were too.

That’s my takeaway from reading through the Ultima Online chunk of Raph Koster’s new book, Postmortems. Koster, as any dedicated MMORPG fan will recall, went by “Designer Dragon” back then as the creative lead on the game. Having come from a MUD background, he and his wife Kristin Koster were instrumental in shaping Richard Garriott’s seminal MMORPG and therefore the genre as we know it.

Koster kindly sent us a preprint of the book, unwittingly robbing himself of $35, as I was going to buy it anyway, and it’s massive, folks: over 700 pages spanning three decades and the majority of the online games Koster’s worked on during his long tenure in the gaming industry. Some of those games are definitely of more interest to our readers on Massively OP, in particular Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. It’s the Ultima Online chapters I aim to cover today.

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Lord of the Rings Online continues to fine-tune class adjustments

How many number twos can Standing Stone Games put after a Lord of the Rings Online patch before it collapses from the sheer decimal weight? We’re getting close to finding out, as Update 22.2.2 arrived today, bringing further adjustments to last week’s mid-tier patch and its class balance changes.

Hunters, Guardians, Lore-masters, and Minstrels all should definitely read the fine print on this update, as many of the skills changes have been changed once more. Some nerfs, some buffs, you know the drill.

The studio also added a new chat restriction to premium accounts: “To help alleviate some chat spamming issues, characters on premium accounts must now be level 10 in order to chat on the global chat channels. Characters on VIP accounts continue to have no level restriction to chat, while characters on free accounts must still be level 20 to use the global chat channels.”

Source: Patch notes

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Battle Bards Episode 122: Happy town

In peaceful villages and bubbly burgs, you just know that there’s bound to be an abundance of happy music! Whenever the Battle Bards regroup to lick their wounds and drink the terrors away, they often find that happy town music is perfect to soothe jangled nerves and re-center one’s heroism. There’s plenty of those tunes in today’s episode, so recoup with them as they listen to the songs of the common folk.

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 122: Happy town (or download it) now:

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Steam’s new chat system just hit beta – will it pull you away from Discord?

Steam’s new chat client has gone into testing this week, with major overhauls to the friends list and group chat system. I gave it a spin last night after my guildies reminded me that you have to opt in to the beta to give it a go. As rumored prior to the launch, the chat system itself looks a lot like Discord, and it has a lot of the same features too, like a rebuilt voice chat system.

Notably, there’s a new invisible mode that allows you to appear offline but still see who’s on (and chat with them while otherwise hiding out).

It is pretty, but if you primarily use Steam to see who’s online rather than to group chat, you may be a bit put off by the enormous display; there’s no way to condense the list to just names as in a standard messenger client right now, and the panel includes modules that you might not use but can’t hide.

What do you think? My groups still use Slack chat primarily for the security, but Discord has always been pretty, so I wonder whether people who use Discord will feel enticed by Steam’s new featureset.

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E3 2018: PUBG will launch Sanhok map June 22, plans snow mechanics and map for this winter

During yesterday’s pre-E3 Xbox conference, Bluehole didn’t trot out Brendan Greene himself to talk PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, but it did confirm what Reddit has apparently known for several days now thanks to overseas blog posts: that the Sanhok map is launching on June 22nd for PC. The Xbox version will follow later in the summer. Notably, the map is smallish with a quicker weapon spawn to focus the fighting within its jungle theme.

To the delight of Reddit, the game’s E3 trailer and Twitter account further teased the long-awaited snow map. Predictably, it’s due out this winter and will reportedly include snow terrain mechanics.

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SCUM shows off pre-alpha character creation footage

Who is better suited to survive a horror-filled island than a bunch of hardened convicts? Running for your life and shooting anything that displeases you probably beats pick-up basketball and weight lifting in the yard.

SCUM’s survival game concept that mixes reality TV and hard-working prison folk got a lot more real this week when the developers showed off the pre-alpha character creation and customization process.

“Creating the character has never been so easy… or complicated, it depends on what you prefer more,” the dev team posted. “Check out the new dev blog video to explore how players will create and tune their inmate turned online star in everything from physique and constitution to mental acuteness and survival instinct. But remember, the character creation process is just the first step, how it will evolve from that point depends on what you do in the game.”

You can watch this humorous 14-minute look at SCUM’s character creation after the break!

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Global Chat: FFXIV re-reborn, State of Decay 2, and Dungeons and Dragons Online

With the rollout of Patch 4.3, Final Fantasy XIV is offering its players a nice big slice of content to enjoy as we head into the summer. It certainly seems to be a time in which many players are making their way back to the game — or through it.

For example, Harbinger Zero booted back up his subscription to give the game a second chance. Sounds like things are going well: “How can I not compliment the job system? It keeps the game fresh to know I can log in and with a button click change my playstyle while keeping my character and progress.”

Aywren Sojourner recently wrapped up Stormblood’s main storyline and has a few thoughts on the journey (with lots of spoilers, of course). “I hate to say it because there were some pleasant parts to Stormblood, especially in Doma,” she wrote, “but I’m actually just glad to get beyond this story arc.”

We’ve got more MMO blog essays, including ones on making alt-friendly MMOs, State of Decay 2 impressions, and the best and worst of Dungeons and Dragons Online!

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