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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s lightness of dungeons

It feels really weird to think about just how few dungeons we’ve gotten in Final Fantasy XIV for this expansion. Not that it’s the start of a new trend; Heavensward already dropped the numbers compared to the base game, and thus Stormblood continued in a similar trajectory. But when you think about the fact that the game used to have three new dungeons per patch and compare it to an average of one and a half… it’s still adding them on a regular basis, but it’s a much slower basis.

The slower pace of dungeons was something that was announced well before the expansion actually launched, of course. So I think it’s interesting to look at the slower pace, at the stated goals, and see how well the changes have actually achieved those goals. Or, perhaps, if the whole thing didn’t work out very well and we should hope for an uptick again in the next expansion.

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The Game Archaeologist: The tangled legal history of Interplay’s canceled Fallout Online

With the recent revelation that Bethesda’s Fallout 76 is going to be an online multiplayer survival game, players who have been hoping for a Fallout MMO finally have something to anticipate. Sure, it’s not a proper MMORPG, but it’s all we could ask for in this day and age, right?

Actually, Fallout 76 isn’t the first time that the Fallout series was heading for online shenanigans, nor is it the closest concept to a pure MMO. Years ago, an attempt was made by the original creators of the Fallout series to bring an online game to the community, but this effort was stymied by Bethesda and a mess of legal issues.

For those who look back at the Interplay era of Fallout with deep fondness, the thought of the canceled Fallout Online project is a sore wound that continues to cause pain whenever prodded. Which is, I guess, what I’ll be doing today as we look at what Fallout Online was going to be — and why it never came to be.

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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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Tamriel Infinium: Unpacking the Elder Scrolls Online presentation at E3

Elder Scrolls Online is obviously a huge draw for MMORPG players, but it’s far from an exciting title for the vast majority of gamers attending E3, so I was surprised to see Game Director Matt Firor on the stage at all during the Bethesda presentation. It’s not to say that ESO isn’t a great game; it’s just been around awhile, and the hypetrain is hardly running at full speed right now.

During his presentation, Firor mentioned a lot of things worth considering. He had a very short time to not only tell existing fans what was happening in the game this year, but he also had to remind people of how great ESO is right now. Of course, he was hoping to get new players interested in the game. He knew that ESO wasn’t always well-received, but he had to show how far the game has come. Here’s how he did it.

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EverQuesting: A guide to EverQuest II’s new Oceansfull Festival

So there was an update in EverQuest II recently. It was major enough it had a real name. But honestly, that barely garnered a blink from me. Then devs announced a new Othmir-centered Norrathian festival, and I am all excited! That’s right, throw a party with otters and I am so there. And that’s exactly what the Othmir are doing: partying. They are shaking their tails, tossing up fireworks, and dancing like nobody’s watching. What they aren’t doing is offering any involved quest hoops for players to jump through to join them. (Yes, the game has officially eschewed its name for this event.). They are just being chill and enjoying themselves, and they invite the rest of Norrath to do so as well.

Wait, what? No quests? This is EverQuest II: How will I know what to do? you may ask. That’s where this guide comes in handy. Find out the what, why, and where right here. Just be sure to jump in before 2:59 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 19th, because that’s when the party stops. If you’d rather see a video guide walkthrough, we also have that too!

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Perfect Ten: Ten things you need to understand about MMORPG Rogues

Sometimes I know that I may be a bit too old-school because there’s a little twitch in my eye whenever I have to refer to a given class as a Rogue. That’s become my go-to replacing Thief, and it really does make a fair amount of sense: Rogue skillsets are usually more covering a variety of skulky activities, which incorporates but is no means limited to thievery. Not to mention that calling someone a “Thief” seems like it’s underselling the situation.

Especially when the party is frequently engaged in the act of assault, murder, destruction of property, and unnatural acts with corpses.

A while back, I talked about how to understand the lifestyle of the MMO Warrior, because there’s always a Warrior. Just as surely, there’s always a Rogue, or a Thief, or if you have to go a little further afield, a Scoundrel or Stalker. So in the spirit of understanding these conventions, let’s talk about understanding MMO Rogues.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Discussing Guild Wars 2 content voids and cadence disruption

Waiting for a Living World release you know is coming eventually is one of the more frustrating parts of playing Guild Wars 2 for the chronically impatient like me, but when you add a delay announcement on top of that, community frustration can quickly accelerate. Cue a minor online panic: Content creators making parody trailers, prominent accounts announcing indefinite breaks, and general fear that we’re headed back to the Heart of Thorns content drought days! I want to slow down for a minute, though, keep my admittedly thin patience intact for a moment longer, and ask if we really need to worry just yet though.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I will dig into what we know about the delay to the next episode’s release and will consider if this is the start of a worrisome pattern or a justified blip on the radar. I’ll also consider why even small delays cause the degree of frustration they do, giving some ideas for how to minimise the impact of cadence shifts in future.

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Wisdom of Nym: Some story breakdown from Final Fantasy XIV’s latest patch

I had said before patch 4.3 came out that we were going to learn a fair bit about the future direction of Final Fantasy XIV from this patch, and I stand by that. It isn’t explicit, of course – it sort of couldn’t be – but there are definitely more hints about what happens next from this patch alone, simply by virtue of the fact that there had to be. After all, we’re wrapping up our problems at breakneck pace otherwise; we don’t want to be sitting here in November when the expansion is revealed without an idea of where we’re going, do we?

Of course, the picture that it pains thus far also isn’t a pretty one, and there are a whole lot of question marks without solid answers. That’s part of the nature of this exercise. So let’s take a look at what we’ve learned from patch 4.3 and both what has gone said and gone unsaid. Fair warning, if it wasn’t obvious from context alone, there will be unmarked spoilers below. If you haven’t finished the story, you may wish to look away or resign yourself to spoiling.

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E3 2018: Dissecting the Elder Scrolls VI teaser that broke the internet

Last night, Bethesda Director Todd Howard took the E3 stage and practically broke the internet. Of course, he talked about Fallout 76, which everyone expected. After all, Bethesda teased that days earlier, and if he didn’t give us more details, the internet would have rioted. However, the thing that really broke everyone — especially Reddit — only took 36 seconds. He announced what everyone wanted but no one expected: The Elder Scrolls VI.

It’s amazing how a small teaser will set people on fire. Massively OP’s chatroom lit up with speculation. Admittedly, it was mostly me and Bree going nuts over this particular game, but we were doing our best to try to determine where The Elder Scrolls VI would take place. All we had was a 36-second fly-by that featured a bunch of rocks, bigger rocks, and a little bit of grass. In other words, it told us practically nothing. But that didn’t stop me from attempting to pull apart each little detail — what was shown and what wasn’t.

Let’s break this down.

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EVE Evolved: The expert Gila’s guide to Abyssal Deadspace in EVE Online

EVE Online‘s new Into The Abyss expansion launched less than two weeks ago and I’m bloody obsessed with it! Players have had great success running the first three tiers of the new Abyssal Deadspace sites in tech 2 fitted Heavy Assault Cruisers and there are some spectacular fits out there for dealing the tier four and five sites already. My ship of choice for the Abyss is the Gila, a pirate faction cruiser with a great passive shield tank and a huge 500% bonus to drone hitpoints and damage, and which I’ve used successfully to reliably tackle tier four and five sites.

Abyssal deadspace fits are complicated by the fact that four of the filament types have resistance penalties that apply to both your ship and the NPCs inside the site, which has implications for both your tank and the damage types you should use. But how do the resistance penalties actually work, and under what circumstances is it beneficial to switch damage types? I performed a variety of tests on the test server and built a spreadsheet (yeah, you can make the joke now) to answer this exact question and figure out how to tackle top-tier Abyssal Deadspace sites.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I explain exactly how the resistance penalty in Abyssal deadspace works, share my tried and tested Gila fit for high-tier sites, and detail strategies for tackling all of the enemies you’ll encounter.

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The Game Archaeologist: Myst Online

The impact of Myst in 1993 was akin to an atomic bomb going off in the PC gaming world. The leap forward in graphical fidelity (aided by the large storage capacity of a CD-ROM and all of the full-motion video and gorgeous images tucked into it) captured gamers’ imaginations and made this adventure title the best-selling PC game of all time, at least for several years. Brothers Robyn and Rand Miller’s story about a stranger who had to solve puzzles through a good-looking (if deserted) landscape was devilishly difficult, yet that challenge kept players coming back for months and even years.

The Myst franchise surged forward at that point, with several sequels, remakes, and ports selling like hotcakes through the final game’s release in 2005. Yet something interesting happened along the way when an offshoot of the series — Uru: Ages Beyond Myst — evolved into an MMO. With a focus on multiplayer exploration and puzzle-solving instead of non-stop combat, it may be one of the very few MMOs out there that eschews fighting for brainpower.

It’s an oddity, no doubt, and despite it being an incredibly niche title, it has fascinated me enough to pull me into a research rabbit hole. So let’s take a look at Myst Online: Uru Live!

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The Survivalist: Eight ways to give Just Survive a fighting chance

Do you remember at the beginning of May when Just Survive was talking about “working on a plan to go forward”? I understand if you don’t: It almost seems as if Daybreak itself has forgotten about the game, so how can it expect players to remember. Well, with H1Z1 doing so well on the PlayStation 4, maybe — just maybe — the game that actually birthed the battle royale version (that it lost its name to) will get some love. We can dream! And while we dream, we can also help the studio out with its plan-making endeavors. And boy, do I think it needs some help! As it is, the next promised patch sound like little more than maintenance mode and doesn’t really dispel the rumor that the game is on the sunset path. In order to survive, Just Survive needs to step up and offer a bit more than that. So here are eight ways Daybreak can give this survival game a fighting chance.

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The Soapbox: Do MMOs still fall victim to the copycat curse?

When Radical Heights launched, I was inspired to put together a whole Perfect Ten about why trend-chasing doesn’t work for online games. Obviously, my chief focus was on games that wind up being developed at a rushed pace to cash in on trends and then run face-first into problems with chasing momentary trends, which… you know, you can just read the article; it’s linked right there. But it also prompted a follow-up question by longtime reader Sally Bowls asking why, with all of these issues, why the same rules don’t apply to MMOs.

The answer? Well, there isn’t one answer. There are three answers, all of which are part of the same set of considerations. For one thing, there’s the difference of development time and depth. For another, there’s the time before grinding. And last but not least, well… they do apply, really. But let’s take this piece by piece to talk about why trend-chasing for MMOs doesn’t quite provoke the same immediate reactions as it does for, say, MOBAs.

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