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DC Universe Online tests survival mode and St. Patty's Day

Do you lack a Fortress of Solitude? Well, Superman does now too because Braniac has moved in and is causing no end of trouble.

Right now on the DC Universe Online test server, players can engage in a new survival mode that takes place in Supes' arctic retreat. If players are tough enough, they can queue up to fight 20 waves of increasingly powerful foes in the hopes of gaining pants. Seriously, you can get Kryptonian pants from this, and if you've ever seen superhero attire, you'd know that pants are at a premium in this community.

Also on the test server is this year's St. Patty's Day event starring the always-fun-to-spell Mister Mxyzptlk. "For 2017, Mister Mxyzptlk has new base and style items, as well as a speaker that plays tunes that will make you want to dance. This year he's also brought a House Leprechaun that grants 'The Runaround' task, where if you collect all the coins you are awarded a special Green Prize Satchel!" Daybreak previewed.

Don't forget that the FLASH freebies end today!

Source: Patch notes

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Second Life as a modern refuge for the disabled

I'm certain I'm not alone in having been ill and injured several times over my life, once when I couldn't walk without considerable effort and crutches for many months thanks to a busted ankle -- and online games were a window to the world for me during each of those times, even more so than they are now.

Now imagine that you're permanently disabled -- or maybe you already are. That's the topic of a Backchannel article published last week on 2003 virtual world Second Life. Author Kristen French dug into the apparently large -- estimates begin at 20% of the game's 800,000 monthly active users -- disabled community in the "hugely profitable" Second Life world, where activists run social groups and events for people with everything from mobility issues to speech and hearing disorders and even autism.

Of note, one of the players profiled in the piece is getting more than comfort.

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Funcom is now region-locking Conan Exiles' official servers

If you're a fan of playing survival sandboxes with your friends around the world, better scrape together some pennies to invest in a private server: Conan Exiles has implemented region locks.

"We have decided to East/West region lock the official servers for three reasons," Community Manager Jens Erik told Steam players at the tail end of last week. "The language barrier and the different playstyles is proving jarring for a lot of players. Also, the vastly different time zones between regions made offline raiding an unavoidable issue for a lot of players who would wake up to all their stuff being completely ruined."

The locks appear to affect both PvP and PvE servers, in spite of the fact that PvE servers aren't subject to the same timezone exploitation issues.

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Idea Fabrik will have The Repopulation back online in the next few weeks

Idea Fabrik is forging onward in its plan to re-start The Repopulation game servers, forum posts from the last couple of weeks suggest. The company told fans that it's been working on transferring data to Steam.

"Once the transfers are complete, we're still going to have the usual spin-up time and make sure that there isn't any data/bit-rot, making sure that everything is working correctly, etc.," Community Manager Christopher Riley told backers a week ago in response to questions about when the test server would resume service. "So as of this post it should be about 2 weeks after the transfers."

Another post indicates that "a few" of the 10-man team in fact worked on The Repopulation prior to its ownership transfer.

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EVE Evolved: What do we want from Drilling Platforms?

If you followed our EVE Fanfest coverage last year, you might remember CCP announcing plans to add a whole series of new deployable structures to EVE in the form of Engineering Complexes and Drilling Platforms. The Citadel expansion added new deployable space stations that players can put anywhere in space, with medium-sized Astrahus citadels for small corporations all the way up to the colossal Keepstars designed for massive military alliances. This was expanded on in the second half of 2016 with the release of Engineering Complexes as specialised citadels with bonuses to industry and research, but what ever happened to the Drilling Platforms?

Drilling Platforms were touted as an upcoming revolution in the way we collect resources in EVE Online, but the feature was still firmly in the early design stage when we discussed it with CCP at last year's Fanfest. There were general ideas floating around about automated mining structures that require different levels of player interaction and disrupting enemy resources by attacking their drills, but nothing concrete at the time. We've now been promised a solid development roadmap update at this year's Fanfest on April 6th and more information on Drilling Platforms in devblogs before then, and it's got me wondering what EVE's upcoming resource-gathering revolution might look like.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I speculate about what Drilling Platforms might be like, discuss the kinds of gameplay I'd like to see from them, and lay out a few of my dream features.

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The MOP Up: Hearthstone gets ready to banish dozens of cards (February 19, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from Overwatch, League of LegendsEVE OnlineMabinogi DuelSpace EngineersIngressEternal CrusadeElder Scrolls OnlineFinal BladeHearthstoneGod Eater OnlineDrakensang Online, and EVE Valkyrie, all waiting for you after the break!

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One Shots: I am no man!

The big screenshot challenge last week was to capture action, not just still shots, in MMORPGs. This is tricker than it sounds, because you have to be quick with the screenshot key and manipulate the camera just right to get the perfect picture. It is easier to do this with other characters, obviously, including those in cutscenes.

Borghive gets headlining honors with his "final showdown" between the Witch King and Éowyn from Lord of the Rings Online. She looks a little outmatched, what with being smaller and having an actual head, but I think she's going to come out just fine. After all, she is no man.

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The Daily Grind: What do you think about slavery as a concept in MMORPGs?

Last week, MJ and I were discussing a stream she was planning on Conan Exiles where she planned to help friends capture "thralls" to bring back to their bases and put to work. The term "thrall" is the game's way of softening what it really is: slavery. The slaves are NPCs, mind you, not other players, but honestly, the idea creeps me out a little bit anyway, far more than, say, Revival's long-ago proposed NPC prostitution design.

(But the mechanic is cool. Wouldn't it be nifty if player modders found ways to replace human slaves with elementals or automatoi or summoned spirits? That would basically negate my squeamishness entirely.)

Interestingly, as I reflect on why I find it mildly unsettling, I am thinking back to folks who roleplayed slaves, usually twi'leks, in Star Wars MMOs, and while I might roll my eyes, somehow that bothers me even less: Even though they were human vs. AI, there was a voluntariness about those storylines, play-acting instead of making an uncomfortable social statement via NPC. Conan actually rewards people for enslaving NPCs -- if you opt out on a server with the mechanic, you're at a disadvantage.

I don't know. I'm conflicted. What do you think about slavery as a concept in MMOs? Are Conan Exiles' slavery mechanics something you enjoy engaging in?

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LOTRO Legendarium: Checking out LOTRO's housing improvements

Like probably most of the population of Lord of the Rings Online, I was initially interested in player housing when it first came out, gave it the ol' college try for the first year or so to work within its limitations, and mostly forgot about it after that.

It was a sore point with the community, a subpar housing experience in a game that screamed for a robust feature on par with some of the genre's best. Year after year, a housing revamp was the top most-requested desire from players, and year after year, Turbine either ignored it, delayed it, or promised and then abandoned it.

Yet over the past year we've actually seen some movement on this front with two important changes: the addition of premium housing in Gondor and, most recently, Update 19.3's expansion of housing hook functionality. With these in mind, I turned my attention back to housing for the first time in so very long -- and found myself actually enraptured with creating a new home for myself. It's not the complete overhaul that we want and the game still needs, but it's far better than nothing and has actually revitalized the housing scene somewhat.

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Project Gorgon previews its Orc community dungeon

The largest and toughest dungeon in Project Gorgon to date is getting ready for its online debut. The team gave a sneak peek at Gazluk Keep, an Orc-themed dungeon intended for a group of a half-dozen players who are level 65 or higher.

So what makes this type of dungeon special? The devs said that Gazluk Keep is loosely based on EverQuest II's community (public) dungeons. "This dungeon will be REALLY large, with a lot of branches and offshoots, so that two or three groups can wander through it. Groups will occasionally run into each other at crossroads, but they shouldn't get in each others' way too much," the team said.

This dungeon is being designed for repeat visits and has an eye for the daily life and habits of Orcs. While it won't be puzzle-heavy, the devs do promise a secret or two for the clever player to discover.

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WRUP: This ham is your ham edition

Hello, reader. Hello, and good morning. Or should I say... good ham? That sounded clever before I typed it out. Look, the point is that I have your ham. This ham right here is yours, and if you ever want to see it again, you... well, you'll look at the header, but if you ever want to have your ham back, you're going to do exactly what I say.

First, go to the nearest Cumberland Farms. Assuming it's near you, anyway, I don't want you to be driving like fifteen miles out of your way. I guess you could just go to a regular grocery store, but... wait, they probably have ham. Depending on where you live. If you live in Israel, there's probably no ham in the grocery stores, right? That would be weird. Or is it weird for thinking that? If you live in Israel, let me know about the ham situation.

You know what, forget it. Just go get another ham and leave your comments on this week's What Are You Playing. I'll give your ham a viking funeral. It's what you would have wanted if you didn't mind me stealing your ham.

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The Daily Grind: What's the most boring part of MMORPGs?

While MMORPGs are supposed to be these giant buffets of entertainment options available at our fingertips, the truth is that there are always parts of these games that are... less exciting, shall we say, than the others.

I can think of a few that are usually systems I avoid because they're pretty boring. Crafting is unfortunately one of these. In concept, I love the idea of making your own gear and forging your economic destiny, but in practice, most MMO crafting interfaces are so dull and repetitive that I can't ever stick with them.

What is the most boring part of MMORPGs to you? And for bonus points, how would you fix it?

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Warframe community rallies for weekend Extra Life stream

The Warframe community has a big streaming weekend in store for fans thanks to what organizers are calling "the largest gathering of Warframe content creators."

"The Warframe 72 Hour Livestream is feature over 30 streamers all doing what they do best, playing Warframe and entertaining the masses! This event will also feature a few member of DE staff throughout the 3 day period, so keep your eye out for them! Of course, no honest-to-goodness streaming event would be complete with a charity to a good cause! All proceeds will go to the Extra Life network of children's hospitals! The event will kick off right after Devstream #88 this Friday, February 17th 2017 at 3:00 PM EST and will run continuously until (roughly) 4:00 PM EST on Monday, Feburary 20th 2017!"

If you'd to donate as well as watch, you can do so through the community's Extra Life page, which also lists all the streamers and their timeslots. The streams themselves will be hosted on Twitch.

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