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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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Perfect Ten: The City of Heroes basic Archetypes ranked

So it’s just about that time again – we’re remembering when City of Heroes launched and when it said goodbye. Which is a bit of a sad time, y’know? I loved that game. I still do. Is it my favorite game ever? Heck no, but the fact is that it was a good game, and I wish it were still around. I could, of course, just rewrite my last column when I was talking all about that game for this year… but that’s not how I do things.

No, this year I want to go a different route. At the time it closed down, the game had 10 normal archetypes, which were and were not classes; they were most cleanly classes rather than anything else, but a given archetype contained more variability than your average class in most MMOs. Yet leaving aside the epic Archetypes, we’ve got just the right number for this list format. So while we all know Crab Spiders would be at the first-place spot if we included those… out of the original basic archetypes, how do those rank up, worst to best?

Thus, that’s what we’re doing this year. Which archetypes were the most original, fun, and nifty, and which ones were the most boring? Which means this time we’re starting at 10, because I like countdowns.
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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review, part four

At least we’re finally thought the story. While we walk through a review of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in its totality, we’ve taken three weeks covering all of the various stories within the expansion, as well as touching upon a bit of the class design in the last part. Parts one, two, and three cover everything from the main scenario to some of the zone side stories. And now we can move on to the mechanical side of things enthusiastically.

Also, we’re reaching the point where I know I’m going to forget to mention at least one or two things that were really keen from the expansion, but that’s a different discussion.

In terms of sheer volume, of course, Heavensward nearly matched what we got from the base game in terms of patches, and arguably surpassed it in some categories; sure, we only got 10 dungeons from patches rather than 15, but if you didn’t have any interest in Coil in 2.x, you got the entirety of Alexander, which was new. But volume alone isn’t the determinant of how good that content was. So let’s start in on that, albeit not with the dungeons.

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Guild Chat: Planning a long break from your MMORPG guild

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively Overpowered community can discuss and solve a whole plethora of guild-related issues other readers are facing. In this edition, reader-in-need Gwen is seeking our help with finding sensible ways to take an extended break from the guild she leads. She recently has received the happy news that she is pregnant and wishes to plan ahead for the time leading up to her baby’s arrival and that crucial bonding period thereafter, and she is thinking of taking maternity leave of sorts from her MMO of choice to welcome her new bundle of joy.The trouble is that she does wish to go back to her gaming as soon as she feels ready and doesn’t wish to retire her guild, so Gwen is looking for advice on how to conduct some sort of handover so her guild doesn’t die a slow death in her absence.

Read below for Gwen’s full submission and my response, and don’t forget to leave your helpful advice in the comments too.

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LOTRO Legendarium: A marvelous decade of Middle-earth

The first I ever heard of Lord of the Rings Online was flipping through the pages of some gaming magazine back in early 2007. At the time, I was neck-deep in World of Warcraft and wasn’t really looking around for other MMO distractions, but something about the article caught my eye.

It wasn’t the use of the Lord of the Rings book franchise, which I had respected but wasn’t exactly the most rabid fan in the world. It was a mention of an online fantasy world that hewed to a low magic setting, where dazzling spell effects and typical classes weren’t the order of the day. Instead, the article poured over how much LOTRO was trying to hew to a more realistic and believable setting (albeit one in a fictional fantasy universe), and that made it stand out to me in a sea of upcoming MMORPGs.

Months later, I was in the two-week head start, experiencing Middle-earth in a brand-new way apart from the books or Peter Jackson films. Going through the Shire in those first few days was tranquil and deeply thrilling, as if I knew that this was the start of something special. Ten years later, and I know that my gut feeling was correct. While not a perfect game, LOTRO has nevertheless grown into a wide-ranging and impressive virtual world that still has so much to offer even in this modern age.

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The Soapbox: Lessons Secret World Legends failed to learn from Final Fantasy XIV

I’ve mentioned many a time that I like Funcom quite a bit. I want to like Funcom quite a bit. Heck, I want to be excited about Secret World Legends, but every day or so I get reminded that such a course of action will be very difficult at the least. Because quite frankly, Secret World Legends seems to want me not to be excited about it, as evidenced by… oh, every single thing that Funcom is doing around it.

Which is odd, because Funcom literally has access to a playbook for a large-scale reboot.

Secret World Legends is coming off of The Secret World, which was a cult MMORPG classic with a mighty fan following. Final Fantasy XIV was coming off of… well, its initial version, which had a fan following full of people who admitted that it was halfway to Stockholm Syndrome. And yet that game managed to get people excited and earn fans, while Funcom seems dead-set on alienating people or making them just plain nervous.

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Maclaine Diemer opens up about composing Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns

Today we are sitting down with ArenaNet Lead Composer Maclaine Diemer, who players might best know from his work on Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns and Living World Season 3. Diemer picked up the baton from Jeremy Soule, the original composer for the base game, and has been pumping out terrific music for the MMORPG ever since.

Massively OP: At this point in your career at ArenaNet, how many pieces of music have you composed for Guild Wars 2?

Maclaine Diemer: I think about this from time to time, but I honestly don’t know. I’d say it’s in the “several dozen” range, between all the holiday festivals, Living World content, Heart of Thorns, and other miscellaneous stuff like cinematics and marketing videos. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

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Perfect Ten: Time travel in MMORPGs

Over the years, I’ve been fascinated with the concept of time in MMORPGs. It’s one of those things that developers probably don’t want you thinking about too closely, since it could create a crack in the world illusion that they’ve created. But really, how does time work in these games? Are you forever frozen in the same fixed point in history, advancing only to a new era when a patch or expansion releases? Does the timeline advance only as you go through new quests and hit arbitrary milestones?

Even more fascinating is when developers decide to have a little fun with their storytelling by throwing players into the past and future via time travel. It’s not even strictly for science-fiction games, either; plenty of fantasy MMOs work in time travel at one point or the other. It can be a great way of expanding upon the game’s lore and giving players an insight into events that led up to the modern era.

Today we’re going to look at 10 instances of how MMORPGs have used time travel with reckless regard to paradoxes and splintering the world into millions of alternate universes.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: 5 brilliant Guild Wars 2 YouTube content creators

I often find that playing Guild Wars 2 leaves me with more questions than answers when it comes to lore and story predictions, build strategies and rotations, and efficient raid clearing, so I spend plenty of time listening to the advice and opinions offered by my fellow players to both improve my own gaming experience and engage with my favourite MMO when I’m not logged in. My YouTube subscription list reads like a who’s who of Guild Wars 2 content creators and I’m never stuck for entertaining and informative videos to watch during my commutes to classes, so I thought it was about time that I took some time to share my favourites with you in case any are missing in your own subscription lists.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll list some fantastic YouTubers who you should most definitely check out if you’re not already familiar with them. Many of the names making the list are massively popular and you’d have to have lived under a rock to be unfamiliar with their work, but others deserve much more attention that they get for the fantastic GW2 content they create and might well be new to you. Have a watch of the videos included below and don’t forget to subscribe if you enjoy what you see and, of course, add your favourite GW2 YouTubers in the comments.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review, part three

Boy, I will be really miffed if this winds up taking more time than I have until Final Fantasy XIV‘s second expansion arrives. I will be put out. But there was a lot of stuff here to review! So far we’ve covered a whole lot of story in the first two parts of this series, but there’s… still a bit more story to resolve here! Yeesh. This expansion had some stuff in it.

Of course, it also had other stuff in it, so this time around we can start going into other useful stuff like new jobs and class design. Which is a good thing, since, again, we’ve got a little while longer until Stormblood arrives, but not forever. So enough preamble; let’s finish up talking about the stories in Heavensward, especially as we’re moving into the parts that just unambiguously did not land well.

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EVE Evolved: Video highlights from EVE Fanfest 2017

For a few days each year, hundreds of EVE Online players from across the world flock to a frozen volcanic rock at the top of the world for the annual EVE Fanfest. I was on the ground at EVE Fanfest 2017 last week in sunny Reykjavik to get the latest on what’s ahead for EVE and CCP’s other titles, and it was a thoroughly enlightening experience. We learned all about CCP’s amazing plans to roll out adaptive AI-driven PvE across the game world, talked to players and developers, and heard about the next stage of Project Discovery that will let players search for real exoplanets in space.

We also got hands-on with CCP’s immersive VR sport game Sparc, looked at Valkyrie‘s new Groundrush game mode that has players fighting inside huge structures on a planet’s surface, and confirmed that DUST 514 successor Project Nova is still in development. There were talks at Fanfest that we just didn’t get a chance to go to, and others that really have to be seen first-hand. Thankfully, CCP has recorded most of the event and has begun uploading talks to the EVE Online YouTube channel.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I’ll be running down some of the highlights of the official videos from EVE Fanfest 2017 for those who missed the event.

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The Game Archaeologist: SOE’s The Agency

The graveyard of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak Game Company is certainly full enough to be considered a threat if there was ever a zombie uprising among MMORPGs. From PlanetSide to Free Realms, there are plenty of live games that were disposed of in this grim fictional burial ground. But there are also those stillborn titles that never had the change to make or break in a live environment. EverQuest Next might be the most fresh in our minds, but go back a handful of years and you might have seen players lamenting the loss of a different promising SOE game: The Agency.

The Agency seems like a natural fit for the studio’s focus on first-person shooters and a willingness to branch out from strictly fantasy territory. Instead of dragons or stormtroopers, players in this game were to face off against terrorist organizations and dastardly spy agencies, all in the pursuit of living out the ultimate James Bond fantasy.

But instead of sitting on our desktop, The Agency exists only in a forgotten corner of this imaginary cemetery. Today, let us tenderly brush off its worn tombstone and remember what we can about this canceled spy shooter.

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The Survivalist: Massively OP’s guide to survival games, single-player and beyond

As Massively OP is centered on the “massively” part of gaming, it makes sense that my first guide to survival games was focused on multiplayer titles. Similarly, The Survivalist will mostly (but not always!) concern itself with the multiplayer games in the survival genre. However, after researching this topic, I felt that not highlighting the single-player offerings would be a serious disservice to the genre. There are occasions when you want to test your survival mettle without the interference of other players; sometimes you just want to live or die on your own merits and not at the hands of someone elses decisions. Besides that, some of these titles — like Subnautica — offer an awesome premise you can’t get elsewhere.

Ready to survive on your own? Here’s a a taste of a number of games you can dive into when you want to scratch that survival itch in private.

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