cryptic studios

A PWE studio known primarily for Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, and Champions Online.

Massively OP’s guide to MMO Thanksgiving 2017

Stately resting between the gaudy purple and orange of Halloween and merry red and green of Christmas is the earth tone-saturated Thanksgiving. While no one’s favorite color scheme, Thanksgiving does give us a nice in-between holiday with family meals, an awkward dance around politics, a work day for football teams, and the occasional MMORPG holiday event.

While not every online game has decided to embrace the American holiday, enough pop up every year that need corralling. And since we just got turkey certified here at Massively OP, we’re going to lay out all of this week’s event options for you on a platter. So enjoy the festivities and dressing up like a Pilgrim for two days maximum before deeply questioning that fashion sense. Now jingly sleigh bells, size XXXL red suits, and reindeer antlers, that’s a smart look indeed!

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Neverwinter Nights’ new enhanced edition will support old modules

It’s the thing to do lately: rerelease a classic video game with just enough enhancements to charge for it all over again. In this case, however, I suspect it’s a good thing. I’m talking, of course, about BioWare’s 15-year-old multiplayer Neverwinter Nights, which Canadian studio Beamdog will be re-delivering in an “enhanced edition,” though we don’t have a release date just yet. That’s the same studio that’s already retooled other old BioWare games, like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment, and is in fact made up of former BioWare devs.

“We’ve added an improved display that looks great on modern 4K monitors, UI elements now adjust in size based on chosen resolution, and post-processing effects make for crisper, cleaner visuals,” Beamdog writes. “Save games, modules, and mods from the original Neverwinter Nights work in the Enhanced Edition.”

Oh man, that means my guild’s old custom roleplaying modules from back in the day will still work. I wonder if anyone’s up for a campaign…

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Enter to win a trio of Star Trek Online console factional starter packs from PWE and MOP

In honor of the launch of Star Trek Online Season 14: Emergence on console last week, PWE has granted Massively OP a bunch of goodies to raffle to our console readers! We’ve got 25 sets of codes apiece for PlayStation 4 (SEN version) and Xbox One, each with a trio of starter packs for each faction.

  • Federation Starter Pack Content: Tier 1 Constitution Class Starship, 12 Inventory Slots, 12 Bank Slots, 1 Borg Bridge Officer, 13 Mark II Very Rare Space Gear, 7 Mark II Very Rare Ground Gear, One Small XP Boost
  • Klingon Defence Force Starter Pack Content: Tier 1 B’Rotlh Bird-of-Prey Starship, 12 Inventory Slots, 12 Bank Slots, 1 Borg Bridge Officer, 13 Mark II Very Rare Space Gear, 7 Mark II Very Rare Ground Gear, One Small XP Boost
  • Romulan Legacy Starter Pack Content: Tier 1 T’Varo Light Warbird Starship, 12 Inventory Slots, 12 Bank Slots, 1 Borg Bridge Officer, 13 Mark II Very Rare Space Gear, 7 Mark II Very Rare Ground Gear

Read on to enter to win!

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Magic: The Gathering Arena sets closed beta for December 4

Magic: The Gathering Arena’s alpha development is apparently going well, as according to a new dev blog and press release today, Wizards of the Coast is due to begin closed beta on December 4th.

“Starting December 4, we will begin inviting the first wave of Magic players to our Closed Beta, including bringing back everyone who has played so far in the Alpha. Whereas the Alpha was focused on a few weekends, the Closed Beta will be up and running every day (barring maintenance, downtime, or pirates storming our servers—it’s more common than you think), giving you even more opportunities to try it out.”

Everyone in the closed beta will be under NDA, but WOTC stresses that “initial invite waves will start small,” so even if you sign up right now, you may not get in until next year.

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The MOP Up: Osiris New Dawn’s terrifying space ghosts (November 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!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Dragon NestTERA MMabinogi MobileIcarus MSummoner’s WarStar Trek OnlineOsiris New DawnLord of Vermilion ArenaPUBGStardew ValleyWarframeOverwatchPath of ExileAstroneerKurtzPelRuneScapeDota 2Second Life, and Renaissance Kingdoms, all waiting for you after the break!

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World of Warships sails into Steam’s port

“You ain’t anybody if you ain’t on Steam,” our momma told us when we were tykes. Of course, back then Steam had yet to be invented, so this statement was more cryptic than it should’ve been. Now? Now it’s practically truth, which is why World of Warships made an attempt to get onto the platform.

Access to the game through Steam went live earlier this week, offering fans another way to install and play the multiplayer ship battler. Other than how you get into the game, there is no difference between Steam’s World of Warships and the official client.

The team confirmed that all players can enjoy the same game on the same servers, although any new Steam players will have to pick and commit to a region before playing. You cannot use your Wargaming login for the Steam client, unfortunately.

Steam collectibles and achievements are on their way, the team said, although they won’t be present in this launch edition.

Source: Steam. With thanks to BalsBigBrother!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees?

So Marvel Heroes has about six weeks to live thanks to the impending shutdown of the game following Disney’s decision to drop Gazillion as a business partner. That’s going to leave some superhero MMO players once again without a home, and though the game’s current Steam numbers can’t hold a candle to the number of players affected by the City of Heroes closure five years ago, we’re left with the same situation – and a similar roster of games vying for refugees.

The big superhero MMORPGs are still DC Universe Online and Champions Online, the former of which is certainly better supported with content, the latter of which may have more of that Marvel feel. There’s also three strong crowdfunding superhero MMOs still trying to fill the CoH vacuum: Ship of Heroes, City of Titans, and Valiance Online. Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees? Would it be another superhero MMO, another superhero game or ARPG altogether, or something else? If you’re a former MH player, where are you getting your fix?

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Perfect Ten: A list of all the MMORPGs I supposedly hate

Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.

Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.

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Neverwinter developers are addressing random queue issues

There are some random queue issues in Neverwinter at the moment. By this, we mean that the issues are with the random queue, not that there are queue issues happening randomly. Clarification is important. The good news is that development team is acting to fix them quickly, starting by allowing level 70 players to earn shards from three separate random queues to avoid slowing down Stronghold progress. Players will also no longer have the new Merchant Prince’s Folly skirmish in the random queue, as many people found it difficult to hit the item level requirement so quickly.

All of these issues are for immediate and quickly addressed items, but the developers are also looking into adjusting things based on overall feedback. The goal of the random queue system is to vary what players are fighting through while giving players more opportunity to rendezvous and work together, not to get people not to queue with friends or anything of the sort. So it’s not a perfect system just yet, but it’s being refined and improved, and hopefully the quick fixes will address the immediate problems.

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The Daily Grind: What older MMO systems do you wish devs would upgrade?

Perhaps few things bug me so much as when developers introduce a meaty gameplay system into an MMORPG only to neglect or abandon it by the time the next expansion rolls around. Lord of the Rings Online’s skirmish system, World of Warcraft’s garrisons and class order halls, or Star Trek Online’s exploration system are but a few examples that have rankled my sensibilities over the years.

It’s frustrating because players latch on to these systems and find enjoyment in them, even years after their introduction. It’s doubly frustrating because with some refinement and updates, these systems could become relevant and even better than before. But no, they’re shoved back under the bed so that devs can play with their new shinies.

If you had your pick, what older MMO systems do you wish your game’s developers would take the time to upgrade today?

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The MOP Up: Eden Falling brings the turn-based apocalypse (November 5, 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!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from MapleStoryWorld of WarcraftRendEverQuest IIDevilianHyper UniverseEden FallingWar ThunderNeverwinterMaster X MasterFinal Fantasy XIRagnarok OnlineDota 2Old School RuneScapeKurtzPel, and Kritika Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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Star Trek Online tells a scary story for Halloween

Despite its utopian idealism, Star Trek isn’t a stranger to the occasional scary tale or horror-themed outing. Captains in Star Trek Online have faced many terrors in the night, but perhaps none are as creepy as the one in Hearts and Minds.

This special quest only pops up in the game on Friday the 13ths and Halloween, so you have a very limited time to check it out before it goes away again. It’s a “mad science” theme with a total of 13 (!) enemies that is decidedly different in tone than the rest of the game. The mission features some neat rewards, like a rare duty officer and a Vulcan Lirpa, and since it’s relatively short, it’s worth running to snag these items before they vanish.

Star Trek Online is also running a Halloween costume contest on Risa tonight at 6:00 p.m. EDT that will be judged by the development team.

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Star Trek Online’s secret weapon may be in its episode design

One Gamasutra writer’s return to Star Trek Online created a (ahem) discovery that this MMO contains a great wealth of storytelling thanks to its episodic design.

“The quality of its narrative is uneven, but mostly good and mostly very Trek-y,” the author writes. “The best parts of the game are those that manage to go beyond mere combat to tell an interesting story about Trek’s weird, wonderful galaxy.”

Experienced players will back her up on these observations, which continue to note how STO takes up plot threads from the show and continues them in unexpected and interesting ways. The format of the missions as “episodes” allows for a longer and more narratively rich story to be told, which stands in stark contrast to many other MMOs on the market (which is why, of course, that we praised this aspect as to why STO is an underappreciated game).

STO succeeds in large measure because it manages to nail Star Trek’s tone so well, using its limited suite of mechanics and UI tools in creative ways to capture that spirit,” the author said.

Source: Gamasutra

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