If your MMO's overlords suddenly announced that they were going to shut down your game in a month's time, how would you spend those remaining days? For some of the players of Club Penguin, the answer to that is "try to get banned as quickly and memorably as possible."
Apparently there's this whole crazy fad going on right now in Club Penguin where new and existing players are making a game out of getting banned faster than anyone else. The goal is to make a brand-new account and time yourself while violating the game's rules and triggering an automatic ban. The current record to beat? One player used a few special tools to go from nothing to full-on ban in just 29 seconds.
The speedbanning community even has its own subreddit, bannedfromclubpenguin, in which players share their stories and techniques. Just so that you know, Club Penguin gives everyone a single free bad word before lowering the banhammer. You learn something new every day!
We were remarking in the Massively OP office the other day how weird it was that Club Penguin's shutdown was getting mainstream news attention in a way that many more important and long-running titles (Asheron's Call anyone?) were not. One reason why this might be, apart from its Disney connection, is that for some players, Club Penguin was their introduction to online worlds and they still retain a strong emotional connection because we tend to fondly remember our first everythings. Never underestimate nostalgia!
MMORPGs as we know them today weren't really around when I was growing up, but I have no doubt that many of our readers cut their teeth on titles at a much younger age. How young were you when you played your first MMO? Was it a kiddie title like Wizard101 or an all-ages pick like World of Warcraft? Were you one of those who picked up RuneScape because it was free and you didn't have access to your parents' credit cards?
After an 11-and-a-half year run, Disney's Club Penguin is preparing to close its doors. Don't cry too hard; the move is one of those strange good news, bad news situations. The reason for the shutdown of both the mobile and desktop MMO is that Disney is preparing to launch a mobile successor called Club Penguin Island around the same time.
"As part of the launch of Club Penguin Island in March, we will be transitioning to an entirely new platform, and, we’ve made the decision to discontinue the current Club Penguin game on desktop and mobile devices on March 29th, 2017," Disney announced.
Club Penguin launched back in October 2005 and was purchased by Disney in 2007. Disney has a huge party planned for the game in February and is encouraging players to reserve their names for Club Penguin Island.
Expecto MMOsium! The Battle Bards have donned their robes and taken to casting nasty spells on each other with their wands, all in the spirit of today’s soundtrack — Wizard101. This surprisingly expansive kid MMORPG visits a wide range of genres and has a score to match. But was the experience magical or mundane?
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, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
We’ve got Episode 90: Wizard101 and the show notes for you after the break!
I absolutely adore Christmas music -- in moderation and in season. I keep to strict personal rules not to listen to it before Black Friday or after New Year's Eve, which for me keeps it special and doesn't overstay its welcome. There's just a sound about Christmas music, both religious and secular, that is so happy, hopeful, and unique. It brings out so many great emotions and coats the holiday season in an extra layer of musical joy.
As we downshift for the holiday season, taking a break from the routine to spend some extra time with friends and family, I want to give you the gift of a half-dozen MMORPG tunes that embrace the Christmas music genre. Some are new, some are traditional, and some are just plain weird.
If you've listened to Frank Sinatra and the Beach Boys one too many time this season already, here's something different that ties together your love of gaming with the holidays.
December isn't slowing down as we barrel into the holidays, and the podcasters are delighted with all of the hot news and revelations (literally!) from the past week. In this show, the co-hosts talk about Revelation's launch, the reveal of Ashes of Creation, geek out over Elder Scrolls Online's housing, 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.
One of the most common questions that I'm asked from my adoring throngs on the street is, "Justin, where oh where can I get some of these marvelous MMO soundtracks that you talk about all of the time?" OK, that just never happens (on the street, that is), but people are often curious how they can go about starting to amass an MMO soundtrack collection or where to find their favorite album.
The sad truth is that so much music from these games is never officially released in any capacity, which is why I scour YouTube for fan rips of the music files. However, every so often I do discover a studio release somewhere, and I try to keep an up-to-date log on these to help others in their quest for video game scores.
So in the spirit of Christmas and sharing, today I'm going to show you how you can get your ears on more than 120 soundtracks and scores from MMOs, MOBAs, and other online titles -- some of which are free and legal for the taking. You're welcome; don't mention it!
I ran across a weird thread on Reddit [NSFW] a week or two ago from a poster asking about toxic MMO communities, not because he wanted to avoid them but because he wanted to find one where he'd fit in. It's since been pruned, but the gist was that the poster was looking for an MMO where he could shoot the breeze with gamers who weren't super-sensitive, "adults" who wouldn't be offended at being called names. "Basically my ideal MMO would be 'The Barrens - The MMO,'" he explained.
Reddit responded as you'd expect; some people took offense at the idea of toxic MMO communities, while others called the poster nasty names (hence the "NSFW"). Some folks joked that he'd be right at home in Club Penguin, while others offered up PvP sandboxes. Oh, internet.
The Sims Online was one of the odder entrants into the MMO genre, an online iteration of an immensely popular game franchise that promised deeper social interaction. With Electronic Arts at its back and the Will Wright name affixed to the front, TSO (not to be confused with Cryptic's STO) had a solid shot at cracking the big time.
It did not. It went over as well like a fish flopping out of water to make a go for it on dry land, eventually realizing that it was both going nowhere and dying slowly. The end result? It stunk.
And yet it was an interesting failed experiment in MMO gaming, especially considering that the concept wasn't as off-base as we once thought. With social "dress up" games like Second Life and Habbo Hotel that have proved there's interest in such activities, The Sims Online could be seen as a prophet of the future, mistreated in its own time. Return with us to the days of pixelated 2-D isometric glory, as the I interpret the Simlish of ancient tomes to uncover a forgotten history.
Club Penguin may not be one of the first games you think about when it comes to virtual worlds, but that's kind of a blind spot; the title has been operating now in the family-friendly market for a decade. Unfortunately, the developers behind the title have taken a bit of a blow now, with Disney reportedly laying off as many as 30 employees in the US, Canada, and the UK.
According to a local news source, the Brighton office is to be shut down outright, which leaves the developer with its LA office and its Canadian office. There's no official word on numbers or what caused the layoffs beyond a general statement by Disney Interactive about streamlining teams:
Disney Interactive continually looks to find ways to create efficiencies and streamline our operations. As part of this ongoing process, we are consolidating a small number of teams and are undergoing a targeted reduction in workforce.
If there's one thing that always, always goes with MMOs, it's combat. I mean, we can't be a hero without killing something, right? We can't explore a virtual world of wonder without needing to murder a small chunk of it, no?
And as exciting and replayable and institutional as combat is, sometimes... sometimes I get a little tired of it. Being in games where everything revolves around supporting combat in some way or directly fighting can be mentally exhausting. So the Massively OP team and I sat around one afternoon trying to name MMOs where combat is not just rare but absent entirely.
We thought we could name only a small handful, but we quickly stormed our way past 10, and that's not even counting sports MMOs, text-based MUSHes, and the iffy status of Puzzle Pirates. So if you're looking for an online game that isn't about stabbing, punching, or fireballing goblins to death, here are attempts by the industry to provide alternatives!