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WRUP: This sentence is about horses edition

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The Daily Grind: Are we due for a good cyberpunk MMO?

I am a generally big fan of the cyberpunk genre, especially when it works in a healthy dose of ’80s aesthetics for that clunky, neon flair. But when it comes to MMORPGs, good cyberpunk titles are extremely few and far between.

I think we have a bit of it in Neocron and Anarchy Online, and of course The Matrix Online was jacked into cyberpunk back when it was running. Now a-days there is a lot of excitement over CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, although we know very little about it other than it’ll have some sort of online functionality.

Are we due for a good cyberpunk MMO? Do you think that there’s a good audience out there for it and that it would appeal to a great number of gamers? For a bonus question, what would you like to see included in such a title?

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PSA: Darkfall New Dawn is free-to-play right now ahead of next week’s launch

If you’ve been curious about the indie spinoff Darkfall: New Dawn but aren’t sure yet about plunking down pre-order cash, then you’ll be interested to know that Ub3rgames has set aside this weekend for you to try it out for free. The game has multiple packages ranging from €19.99 with a €9.99 per month sub up to €74.99 with a €6.25 per month sub, but this weekend marks a “free trial” period before the launch.

“Wanna check out all the changes we’ve made and make your own opinion about what is new in the world of Agon? Time has come, our free trial will start tomorrow, January 19 12:00 CET [6 a.m. EST this morning]. During the free trial, there will be no limitation and the amount of xp gained will be increased by three. The free trial and the Indev_ server will close on Wednesday January 24 8:00 CET [2 a.m. EST].”

The game is scheduled to launch on January 26th in the wake of the abrupt and bizarre disappearance of the original Darkfall dev team in 2016, just after blessing multiple indie ventures seeking to reboot the game.

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Chaos Theory: Secret World Legends 2018 – new year, new game, new goals

What does Secret World Legends have in store for 2018? For the world, or for me? Either answer includes Season 2 of the story! Of course I anticipate much more exciting stuff as well. I wish I had a crystal ball — or maybe the number crunchers of the Dragon — to know what’s ahead. But this Chaos Theory is not about what the game will be doing this year, rather it’s about what I will be doing in the game!

That’s right: I started this resolutions business last year, and now I am compelled to continue the tradition. It’s a new year and a new game, so it’s time for some new goals. It’s also a great time to look back over 2017 and see how well I did with my first attempt at in-game goal setting.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO studio told the biggest fib in 2017?

Lies piss me off. I have had MMO developers look me in the eye and lie right to my face. I have had PR promise something and then intentionally break that promise with a shrug. I have had studios mail me statements that are not just playing loose with the truth but dropping it on the ground and driving their boot heel right into it. I’ve had studios claim they never said a thing right up until I produce the recording where they very clearly did (always save your recordings, folks). I’ve been doing this a long time, but nevertheless, just when I think I’ve seen everything, I’m confronted with even more shenanigans.

You folks see plenty too! Just last year, in the midst of what was apparently a furied license negotiation, layoffs, community team silence, missed patch dates, and sexual harassment scandal – some or all of which ultimately led to the abrupt end of Marvel Heroes – Gazillion reps claimed to us that “the company is functioning normally.” And don’t even start me on the “sense of pride and accomplishment” line.

Which MMO studio told the biggest fib last year, and what was it?

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Dauntless maps out its feedback-inspired plans for early 2018

Dauntless is doubtless eyeing Monster Hunter World’s launch at the end of the month with trepidation, but the plucky indie dev team is forging ahead with its own take on the genre. That’s the gist of the letter the Phoenix Labs team posted to the community on Reddit earlier this week, anyway.

Of note, the studio says it’s working on a number of systems in the short- and long-term thanks to player feedback, including hunt modifiers, better events, beards, bulk crafting, new hunt and exploration activities, war pike tweaks, better cells, better grouping tools, improved multi-behemoth hunts, and less-annoying bleed damage. Oh, and the tutorial is getting love.

“Based upon the questions we see from players across platforms, data that we’ve gathered from your play time, and our eyes-on experience at PAX — we know that we’ve got some work to do when it comes to teaching the ropes in Dauntless. We’re excited to dig into this process!”

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Pokemon Go adds monthly community events, summons giant (pokemon) whale

Still playing Pokemon Go? Wish you were, but couldn’t find a group to raid with? Or maybe you are in a group but want to fill out the roster a bit more? Good news! Niantic will begin doing monthly community events for the game starting January 20th. The plan is for Niantic to host a monthly event “starring a special Pokémon, which will appear frequently around the world for just a few hours.”

While that sounds like a good way to distribute regionals more, the kicker is that the Pokemon caught during the monthly event also will have an exclusive move. Naturally, the first Pokemon is Surfing Pikachu, but before you wander off to join the rest of us waiting for Squirtle Squad Squirtle, you should know that other bonuses will also be in play, such as increased XP or Stardust, plus Lure Modules activated during the event will last for three hours. It’s probably not going to help build communities as well as in-app social media communication option, but it’s a start.

The timing’s quite nice, as Niantic recently released a new Legendary whale, Kyogre, who (like Groudon) has Mewtwo-esque stats for those of you still pining away for EX Raid passes, but has been difficult for many trainers to catch.

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EverQuest and EverQuest II tease plans for 2018

Daybreak has lavished the EverQuest and EverQuest II websites with community letters from producer Lauren “Mooncast” McLemore. Both MMOs just came off a pair of expansions, but you’re probably wanting to know what’s next. And I’d like to be able to tell you, but the studio is being coy, especially with the classic game, though you can be sure anniversary content is on the agenda.

“While I can’t divulge too much yet, I wanted to let you all know that the team is deep in planning and content creation. We’re committed to delivering another year of fun, challenging content to all of you!” McLemore says of EverQuest. “The year is just getting started and before we know it, we’ll be celebrating EverQuest’s 19th Anniversary! Look for anniversary content in March, and we’re excited to have you join us for the in-game festivities.”

As for EverQuest II? Apparently that team is “in the midst of figuring out what’s in store for this year.”

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Choose My Adventure: Yes, Project Gorgon is a weird game

I want to start this column by saying the absolute meanest thing I have to say about Project Gorgon, and that one is probably pretty obvious. This is not a pretty game. I’m reluctant to say that it’s outright ugly because a lot of effort has obviously been put into making the game look as pretty as it possibly can, but there is a hard limit to how much you can do under the circumstances. The result? Even with graphics cranked up as high as they will go, this game is not a looker.

That’s the meanest thing I’ve got. In every other respect, it delivered on what I expected or actually provided me with a little bit more.

Character customization, at this point, is also pretty anemic and terrible, but I managed to make a character who looked at least halfway decent. Then my character got immediately fireballed in the face with several NPCs standing (or hovering) over her body, announcing sadly that her will wasn’t going to break, and so one of them would need to take her on specifically as a pet project. And then I woke up on an island.

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Camelot Unchained lands $7.5M investment to hasten development: Our chat with Mark Jacobs on funding, VR, and beta one

If you know one thing about indie MMORPG Camelot Unchained, it’s that CEO Mark Jacobs appears to dwell perpetually in internet comment sections amiably sparring with gamers and attracting loyal advocates.

But if you know two things, you also know that the game is late. Really late. The RvR-centric, PvM-free, anti-lockbox, sub-only MMO was supposed to enter beta three years ago, according to its successful 2013 Kickstarter, but studio City State Entertainment suffered admitted setbacks along the way – both hiring difficulties in the company’s Fairfax, Virginia, location and technical hurdles. Much of that has since been rectified; in 2016, the company launched a second studio in Seattle while continuing to hire engineers and spending the better part of a year completely refactoring its character ability code and polishing up its home-grown engine. But here we are in 2018, still mumbling beta when? at Jacobs and his dogged crew.

Well, we’re finally getting an answer to that question and more, along with a significant blast of hope for the future of the game, as CSE has just received a massive cash infusion to speed up development. I spoke to Jacobs at length – he’s infamous for being effusive – about what’s going on with the game and the studio in 2018. Read on for the executive summary!

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Age of Conan busts out a (small) patch, says saga server info coming soon

There’s a heartbeat in Age of Conan after all!

Funcom turned its attention to the maintenance moded MMO this week with a small patch, pleasing a community that feared it would never see more additions to the game. Update 5.1 has a few nice quality-of-life improvements, such as XP for melee fatalities and a whole mess o’ pets available to purchase on the gilded vendors.

The studio also confirmed that the Saga of Zath server information will be “coming soon” to players eager for word on this fresh start, limited-duration shard. The saga server is scheduled to launch in early 2018 and will allow players to roll new characters that can earn special rewards by reaching goals before a certain date.

Source: Patch notes

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Secret World Legends patch lays foundation for more events

Scraps of hope, brief Twitter conversations, and small hotfixes: These are the things that the Secret World Legends community are hanging onto these days as they await any word from Funcom on the larger content offerings that were promised for this winter.

A couple of small patches have recently hit the game to keep that hope alive. The January 17th update patched in functionality that will allow Funcom to run more “systems events.” The studio pointed to the upcoming double anima shard weekend as an example of such an event.

And for those that ended up with a load of unused malevolent snowflakes in their inventory after the winter event, the patch on January 9th allowed them to turn those in for currency.

Source: Patch notes

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Hyperspace Beacon: The case for mature-themed guilds in the SWTOR community

I am a huge advocate for guilds that can remain friendly to the under 18 crowd. One of my favorite Star Wars: The Old Republic guilds, Unholy Alliance, is open to everyone. They have rules in place that make the guild friendly and fun for both adults and those under 18. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend any MMO for those under 13 that wasn’t specifically made for children unless they are accompanied by a trusted individual over 13. If you’re a guild leader, I believe it’s in your best interest to keep your guild friendly to those under 18. It gives you a greater opportunity to grow the guild, and teenagers are some of the best advocates for the game.

On the other hand, many guilds are 18+ and with good reason. Some have even gone so far as to say they don’t want members under 21. Granted, the guilds I’m talking about are usually roleplay guilds. In fact, SWTOR has the most 18+ guilds per capita over any other game from my perception. It’s tough to find a roleplay guild in on Star Forge that accepts players under 18. Although I don’t believe that every guild should be this way, I can understand some of the reasons why, and not all of them have to do with erotic roleplay — although that’s in there. What are the mature-themed guilds that you will find in SWTOR? And do they have to be mature-themed? Let’s answer that below.

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