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Albion Online expands its launch rollout

Some MMOs have launch days, but some MMOs are not Albion Online, which is claiming a good chunk of this week to officially release this long-awaited fantasy sandbox. You see, yesterday only admitted legendary pack purchasers, while today allowed in the epic crowd and tomorrow will see veteran founders join in the fun.

This staggered release is probably helping to keep the game more stable than it might have been otherwise. There were some initial login issues, but the team reports that it (mostly) cleared those up quickly. There have been a few other problems, like missing learning points and players being able to farm gear out of their league, but for the most part it looks like things are going relatively smoothly for this launch.

Conspiracy sidebar: Did Jagex announce RuneScape’s mobile adaptation this week to take some of the wind out of the sails of Albion’s release? Your call on that one.

Anyway, check out the launch trailer and eight quick tips for starting out in this game after the break!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 127: EVE walks no more

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree recount the odd history of Walking in Stations, debate the Mordor pre-order, tackle a trio of MMO updates, talk with ARK’s soundtrack composer, and more!

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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RuneScape and Old School RuneScape are adding cross-platform mobile play

Attention, RuneScape and Old School RuneScape players who have hitherto been chained to your desktops or laptops to play: Set yourselves free! Jagex just announced that both titles are moving to mobile. And by move, we mean taking your current game with you, not starting all over. You get your same account, your same characters, everything — you just get it to go.

Play for both games will be cross-platform, allowing folks to swap seamlessly between the PC and mobile on their account, hopping between platforms as you switch from being settled at home or being out and about. Of course, you can also completely ditch the PC if you want to! This opens RuneScape up to the mobile gaming audience, giving those who prefer this platform a chance to join the community and experience the games. Of this move to mobile Senior Product Director Neil McClarty said,

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RuneScape developer Jagex is hiring for an unannounced free-to-play MMO

While sitting on top of the enormously successful RuneScape, Jagex has had a difficult go of it producing a follow-up MMORPG. Projects like Stellar Dawn and Transformers haunt the studio with what could have been. But the good news is that it doesn’t look like the studio is giving up on this dream.

According to a couple of job listings on Games Industry, Jagex is recruiting for an “unannounced MMO” project. The studio is currently seeking a senior game designer and a gameplay programmer for the same title. The postings went up at the end of May, so the studio has been looking for a little while now.

The description gives only the barest of hints as to what this game might be: “Jagex Games Studio is looking for a highly creative and driven senior game designer to work on a free-to-play unannounced, new MMO. You would be working as part of the core team that’s developing an innovative new MMO and be expected to see designs through from inception to realisation.”

Back in May, a Jagex employee accidentally showed a “next gen” project slide at a presentation, fueling rumors of a new game.

Source: Games Industry. Thanks Saryent!

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The Game Archaeologist: Where are all of the open-source MMOs?

Recently we had an interesting question come in from reader and Patron Rasmus Praestholm, who asked me to do a little investigating: “What (if anything of substance) exists in the MMO field that’s not only free, but open source? The topic of open source came up briefly in a recent column, where Ryzom was noted to have gone open source at some point. But have any serious efforts actually gotten anywhere starting out as open source?”

As some graphical MMORPGs pass the two-decade mark in video game history and are being either cancelled or retired to maintenance mode, it’s an increasingly important topic when it comes to keeping these games alive. Not only that, the question of open source MMOs involves the community in continued development, with the studio handing over the keys to an aging car to see what can be done by resourceful fans.

But has anything much been done with open source projects in the realm of MMORPGs? Is this something that we should be demanding more of as online gaming starts using more accessible platforms such as SpatialOS? Let’s dig a bit into this topic and see what we turn up.

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West of Loathing has a showdown with an August release date

It’s high noon on the streets of a dusty town, and one game is prepared to draw and fire… in about a month. West of Loathing, the western-themed spin-off of Kingdom of Loathing, announced that it will be launching sometime in August.

To prepare for this momentous occasion, the stick figure game has prepped its Steam page with a description of its features that includes “the liberal use of the Oxford comma.” Now you know you’re in for serious fun.

While Kingdom of Loathing is a pun-filled MMO (of a sort) featuring guilds, dungeons, and PvP, West of Loathing is going to exist purely as a single-player game. You can check out some of the gameplay after the break!

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RuneScape is on the Switch (using the Rainway app)

If you’re one of the small army of people wondering when you can play your favorite MMOs on the Nintendo Switch for some reason, the good news is that it appears to be happening here. Here’s RuneScape running on the Nintendo Switch:

Of course, this is not an official port or client but a bit of trickery using the Rainway application, which is built on the promise of letting you control your favorite PC games on a variety of different viewing devices. So it’s not exactly a port running on the Switch. But it’s still the game running on the Switch, and now you can dream about playing your favorite MMO on that console. (Feel free to insert your own Jurassic Park joke in the comments.)

Source: Twitter

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Jukebox Heroes: Six goofy RuneScape tunes

Over the past year I’ve nearly been bested by the unclimbable mountain that is the RuneScape soundtrack. With well over 1,200 tracks currently existing in the game, it’s sheer folly to try to listen to it all straight through. That, of course, is exactly what I’ve been attempting, yet with new tracks coming out all of the time, I feel that there’s no end in sight.

If I’m to be forever working my way through an MMO soundtrack, RuneScape is a great place to be. As I’ve been discovering, there is such a sheer variety of interesting and catchy tunes on display covering a wide swath of biomes, races, events, and situations. What I perhaps like best is how RuneScape’s score isn’t in the slightest self-conscious with being silly and bizarre. In fact, it seems to revel in it!

So today let’s take an odd musical interlude to listen to six goofy and weird RuneScape tracks before we all get serious again about our video games.

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Tale of Toast starts bi-weekly alpha tests on Steam

Self-labeled “hardcore” MMO Tale of Toast is kicking off bi-weekly alpha tests, and you are invited to the party. The two-person development team told Redditors that starting this weekend, it will be holding an alpha test through Steam. Interested parties can hop over to the official Discord channel to ask for a key.

Curious about what Tale of Toast looks like? The team put together a photo tour of this deceptively colorful game while pointing out some of its key features along the way.

The devs also made their elevator pitch about what makes this MMO special: “Tale of Toast is an open world MMORPG with hardcore PvP mechanics and where dying actually means something, and is inspired by old school MMORPGs and boardgames. Experience battles throughout the entire world against other players and guilds with the goal to take their items upon killing them, and risk losing your own upon your death.”

Source: Reddit. Thanks Harley!

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Battle Bards Episode 100: Centennial spectacular!

After four years and over 700 MMORPG music tracks, the Battle Bards have arrived at their 100th show! For this centennial spectacular, Syl, Steff, and Syp reminisce about the most notable shows, their best soundtrack discoveries, and their favorite tracks. This super-sized show gets wrapped up with a bout of listener emails and a promise of another amazing hundred episodes!

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 iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 100: Centennial spectacular (or download it) now:

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The Stream Team: Entering the gates of RuneScape’s Menaphos

RuneScape just opened up a giant city of Menaphos. Do want to peek inside and see what is different in the game’s first big expansion? MassivelyOP’s MJ does! She’s going to explore the city to see what she can see. Maybe she’ll find some of those hidden cats, or take a turn The Shifting Tombs. Chances are she’ll get into some kind of trouble in the desert. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to finally get through those long-closed gates.

What: RuneScape
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 8th, 2017

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Perfect Ten: MMORPGs that died too soon

Your favorite game is going to die. I wrote about that. Some games are never even going to get to launching in the first place, unfortunately. But then there are these titles: games that went the distance when it came to development, marketing, promotion, testing… but somehow didn’t quite manage to stick the landing past that. These are the games that, in Transformers terms, are the hi-then-die cast of the MMO space.

That doesn’t always mean the games are bad, mind you. Some of these games were great fun. But through a combination of business model issues, publisher issues, player population, and just general weirdness, these titles couldn’t make it to a year and a half in the wild. Heck, some of them couldn’t even make it to a year and a quarter. And if you want to peruse this list and wonder why all of these titles are gone but Alganon is somehow still operating… well, we’re just as confused as you are.

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Old School RuneScape players threaten to riot over LGBTQ pride event

Old School RuneScape’s playerbase isn’t showing its best side this week.

Motherboard reports that following the announcement by a Jagex employee that a small gay pride quest will be implemented in the game, Old School RuneScape players have flocked to Twitter and Reddit to complain (the latter with over 6000 upvotes, though the original poster has since updated to note he no longer wants the event removed because of the inevitable “media backlash” that could tank the game’s rep). Objections range from reasonable (the event wasn’t put to a community poll in accordance with the server’s guidelines) to tedious (no politics in my games! think of the children!) to overt homophobic screeds that I won’t reproduce or dignify here. Just imagine really bad stuff, then crank it up to 11.

In fact, some players are plotting to riot (their word) in-game while the event is live, not against the LGBTQ community (they say) but “in support of keeping this game free of any agenda.”

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