buy to play

‘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.

Camelot Unchained’s Seattle studio finally has an office

Remember last June when Camelot Unchained startled everyone by announcing it was opening a second studio in Seattle? The team out west has been working on the game for many months now, but finally, it’s getting a home.

“The crew out in Washington now have an office space they will be moving into at the start of next week,” the game’s latest newsletter reveals. “After quite a journey, the lease is signed, the moving can begin, and maybe we’ll even convince them to appear on our streams a little more often.”

Also, may we say that this particular developer has impeccable taste in vintage 2015 t-shirts featuring a mascot rather near and dear to us:

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LOTRO Legendarium: 10th anniversary interview with Standing Stone’s Rob Ciccolini

As Lord of the Rings Online players revel in the varied activities of this year’s 10th anniversary celebration, the crew at the newly formed Standing Stone Games has a huge task ahead of them: To capitalize upon this monumental milestone and prepare to shuttle players into the “endgame” of the books.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini to talk abut the anniversary, its hiccups, and upcoming Mordor expansion. As the page turns on a new chapter of both the game and its development team, it truly feels like we’re about to venture into the unknown in more ways than one.

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Former Funcom execs convicted, sentenced in insider trading case

The insider trading case that’s embroiled the former leadership of MMORPG studio Funcom has finally come to a close today with convictions and sentences for three of the four executives charged.

Recall that Trond Arne Aas resigned from his CEO role at Funcom in 2012 on the very same day that The Secret World launched (and underperformed), after which he sold off a significant portion of his stocks, prompting the investigation and the 2014 raid on Funcom’s offices by the Norwegian economic crime unit in connection with its securities fraud investigation. Last year, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime charged Aas and three other former company executives with market manipulation and insider trading for their role in what ØKOKRIM characterized as the 2011-2012 “pump and dump” financial scandal. The trial began last November; all four men maintained their innocence, with at least one attorney denouncing ØKOKRIM for “activism.”

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The Daily Grind: Why is MMORPG server downtime still a thing?

Massively OP Kickstarter donor John has a very simple question to kick off our morning: Why the heck is server downtime still a thing?

“How can any modern MMO still have server downtime after something like Guild Wars 2? Are we bad consumers? Do we not care? Obviously doable and I work for a company with a web frontend and plenty of places easily have the same without (planned) planned downtime.”

I’ve always found that curious too. I can understand why pre-Guild Wars 2Guild Wars 1, really — games would be locked into their server downtime/uptime paradigm, but new MMOs? What’s your excuse? Why don’t all MMORPGs have a rolling patch system like GW2’s? Why is MMORPG server downtime still a thing?

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Massively Overthinking: Are MMORPG players a minority in their own genre?

Deep in the comments of the MMOs-vs.-survival-sandboxes thread from last week, reader miol_ produced a beautiful comment about how MMO players have become a minority in their own genre, which he then expounded upon for us in this provocative email.

“I’ve reached the opinion, that since the launch of WoW and its clones, the ‘original’ MMO-playerbase became a minority in their own genre. Before, we were but hundreds of thousands of MMO players, but then came Blizzard with WoW and its legions of fans in the dozen of millions at its peak, starting to dictate what the new success of MMOs should look like. Even if we others tried to vote with our wallet and feet, we became a minority, having only a fraction of our initial influence, while many devs tried desperately time and again to find ways to get at least a portion of the new Blizzard playerbase.

“Am I wrong with that perception of history? Am I totally missing something? Or are ‘we’ are slowly becoming a majority again, now that WoW and its clones are seeing steadily declining numbers (instead of us winning more players to ‘our side’)? How do we lobby better for ‘our cause’? Or can we only wait and see, until the genre is small enough again? Or is it too late? Have we ourselves grown too far apart into our even more niche corners of personal taste since SWG, while production costs and our demands for production value have skyrocketed at the same time? How could we come closer again?”

Let’s tackle miol_’s questions in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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PSA: Get Elder Scrolls Online super cheap through the Humble Bundle this weekend

Thinking about giving The Elder Scrolls Online a go as the march toward Morrowind pushes on toward June? You probably won’t find a cheaper deal between then and now than the Humble Bundle’s prices.

You’re looking at $9.89 for the cheapskate version for people who just want a looksee, but the Gold edition for $29.99 is probably the best deal, since it includes most of (though not all) of the DLC packs to date.

Anybody picking it up?

Source: Humble Bundle. Thanks,
Darthbawl!

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The Stream Team: So many Secret World sabotage missions

While there is both hopeful excitement and worried trepidation about the upcoming Secret World Legends, Massively OP’s MJ is going to continue to immerse herself in her beloved Secret World. It doesn’t matter where she goes, she just wants to hang out in the world. But while she’s there, she might as well try to finish a few more sabotage mission achievements. There are so many left to do! Can she do as well as last time and check more off her list?  Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. to see how many times she can successfully be sneaky!

What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 27th, 2017

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Elite Dangerous’ community tool developers have gone on strike

Update: The strike has ended — see the end of the post for details.

Move over, voice actors guild: Elite Dangerous gamers are going on strike today. Specifically, it’s developers of a large number of Elite Dangerous third-party tools and websites, who have taken their services offline beginning today through Sunday, striking to attempt to force Frontier to better support them.

“Our third-party websites and tools are used on a daily basis by many tens of thousands of players, and they generate millions of pageviews every month. We believe that our tools greatly enhance the game playing experience, and yet we often feel that Frontier does not actively encourage the effort that goes into supporting their game with these tools. We believe they can and should improve on this situation by maintaining clear and open communication with the third-party developer community. There is currently no easy way for us to request features and support that will benefit the community as a whole, and there is often no warning from Frontier when a game update will alter or break existing APIs that we rely on. This places a significant extra burden on third-party tool makers to work around these issues and to fix our tools. Repeated requests for support and bug fixes are made, but there is frustration caused by an apparent lack of progress on those.”

The strikers have apologized for the inconvenience, but the timing couldn’t be worse for the players affected by the outages in light of the massive event planned this weekend, during which players will be participating in a roleplaying event whose outcome will affect the game’s upcoming novel.

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Elder Scrolls Online comes up with a wicked Morrowind wallpaper

Want to show off your excitement and attachment over the June expansion for Elder Scrolls Online? ZeniMax has an easy way for you to do so: Download its new Morrowind wallpaper and put it on your desktop. And your friend’s desktop. And the entire IT department’s desktops. And all of the library computer desktops in the tri-state area. Don’t stop, never stop; the revolution comes in every possible resolution!

OK, maybe we got a little carried away there. Anyway, the art team came up with a pretty impressive piece of Warden concept art and wanted to talk a little about its creation. “We wanted to depict the Warden in a way that would highlight the signature characteristics of the class, which suggested a combat scene as well as the inclusion of the Warden’s Feral Guardian ultimate. We also wanted to showcase a location from Morrowind, since the Warden will be debuting alongside the new zone,” the team wrote.

You can see and read on the evolution of the piece before downloading your very own Warden wallpaper. And installing it on all of the computers in Best Buy when the sales associates’ backs are turned.

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Battle Bards Episode 97: The sound of magic

“Magic can be ANYthing!”

The forces of magic run deep within MMORPGs, casting shadows of wonder wherever we look — and listen. In today’s show, Syl sparks a musical revolution as her fellow Bards struggle to rise to the challenge of defining what, exactly, constitutes a “magical” track and evokes that particular feeling. Did we nail it? You’ll have to join us for the journey to find out!

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 97: The sound of magic (or download it) now:

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Tamriel Infinium: Class changes are a bad reason to pan Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind

Elder Scrolls Online possesses a distinct flavor. I can honestly say that there is no other MMORPG like it. In fact, the whole Elder Scrolls series is unique. The only thing that probably comes close to matching it is the Fallout series, and since that’s made by the same developer, does that really count at all?

But I still know there are people who will still not like the new chapter for Elder Scrolls Online, Morrowind. Opinions abound, and I welcome them. But I also understand that you can be critical of something without pouring blind hate all over it. I appreciate it when people can have an honest, thought-filled discussion about why something doesn’t work for them. It’s kind of a journey of self-discovery, to be honest.

And that’s why I would like to talk about why some people are not going to like Morrowind. Specifically, I would like to talk about some of the more absurd reasons that people have been blowing up the hate on the forums about class changes. Although there might be a little bit of substance to what is being said, many of the underlying reasons are without merit.

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Guild Wars 2 legendary armor for raiders launches next week

ArenaNet’s Paul Ella has a fresh blog post out this afternoon revealing the plan for legendary armor in Guild Wars 2. If you’re my kind of Guild Wars 2 player, your response is probably somewhere between “woot new stuff” and “dammit quit doubling down y’all,” so let’s zoom in.

Ella confirms that legendary armor is a reward for raiding content, with unique silhouettes and animations and minimized clipping and of course rune slots. He’s got screenshots for each armor type, each one designed thematically.

“When we started creating raids, our aim was to produce complex endgame combat that would really give players a chance to demonstrate their skills, abilities, and tactical thinking in overcoming its challenges. As a reward for defeating the raid bosses, we realized early on that we would need something that reflects your success to other players. Enter legendary armor—the ultimate pinnacle of armor in all of Tyria.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 114: Moving to the big city

What does a week where the news douses us in a shower of smaller stories look like? Bree and Justin wring out of their clothes, shaking loose tales of metropolises in the planning, console features, anniversary parties, and dance studios. Maybe it won’t flood the world of MMOs, but it definitely waters the lawns of our interest!

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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