cryptic studios

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

Neverwinter offers a tour of the Fane of the Night Serpent

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes? Well, because Neverwinter is currently lousy with snakes, that’s why. Specifically, the Yuan-ti have a center of power by the old Royal Palace of Omu, and they guard the entrance zealously to keep out the sort of people who would stab the lot of them and take their stuff. You, being a player character, will have to stab lots of them to get in there, then commence the snake-stabbing.

Also you might be able to dismantle their power base in the area by doing so, but let’s be honest, the loot alone would serve as a motivator.

Of course, the snakes aren’t going to make it easy on you; you’ll have to fight your way to the entrance and the path to the main temple, then contend with the high priests of the snake god Dendar. It’s not going to be easy, but player will have ample reason to head in there, assuming you can get over any lingering apprehension about the sheer number of snakes.

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Neverwinter AMA gets into the specifics of system design

The Neverwinter system designers were on hand this week for an Ask Me Anything on Reddit about the title. Naturally, it drew a crowd interested in the nitty-gritty of specific systems and balance issues, and naturally, it elicited a lot of “we’ll take a look at that, we don’t know when that will be addressed.”

One interesting question had to do with Neverwinter’s decision to shy away from crowd control in dungeons by making the mobs immune to CC. “[Crowd control] currently just creates fights that are trivial and you generally don’t even need a build dedicated to controlling for enemies to be locked down,” the team said, going on to mention that no CC rework is planned for the future.

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Star Trek Online teams up with Mixed Dimensions for 3D printed ships (again)

It’s been about a year and a half since Star Trek Online first announced that it would be offering 3D printed versions of player ships for players to buy, thus offering you the chance to immortalize your adventures in Starfleet as Captain John Startrek with your own miniature USS Dicksmash. (That is a real name from the game.) Unfortunately, that hope got dashed when the company that was supposed to handle the printing unexpectedly folded.

But there’s a third-act positive twist! The company has partnered up again with Mixed Dimensions, and custom-printed ships are back on the table, so you can once more look forward to your very own USS Dicksmash. You can check out a sample gallery just below, or you can keep your eyes peeled for a livestream discussion on the new merch at 6:00 p.m. EST. Obviously, the game doesn’t have the best track record with these plans at the moment, but the effort is being made once more!

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Neverwinter shows off the ruined undercity of Omu

If there’s one universal rule to cities, it’s that they’ve got some other ruined underground city you can also explore because cities work like layer cakes. You don’t believe us? Are you calling Neverwinter a liar? Because there’s a whole lot of undercity lying underneath the Lost City of Omu, and by gosh, you’re going to want to explore every inch of it in hopes of finding some magical artifacts that have just been left in there piled in a heap in the corner.

Yeah, that’s how ruined cities work, too. Valuable artifacts just got thrown into the Artifact Corner. Don’t ask us why, we’re not city planners.

If you’re interested in looking through these ruined subterranean structures, you can take a full look through the tour guide on the official site (we’ve got the images just below, as well), where you can learn a little more about the various locations now found away from the gaze of the sun. There’s no mention of being able to buy up ruined portions of the city for gentrification and/or installing a Whole Foods, but we can assume.

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Neverwinter details the creation of the Atropal boss

The Atropal boss in Neverwinter is not something you want to run into in a dark alley. Heck, it’s probably not something you want to run into anywhere, for any reason, at any point in time. It is a pretty disturbing-looking monstrosity, that’s the point here. And there’s a whole development blog available now about how the boss was designed, so if you’re wondering how a boss gets from its concept art (which may have just been a used tissue) to a finished model, it’s well worth a read.

You’ll also learn something about how skeletons and rigs work in the game, as the Atropal is based off of a heavily modified human male skeleton. Yes, it’s very different, but all of the fundamental parts work, so it’s just a matter of tweaking limb size appropriately and giving it a truly disgusting appearance. If you like reading up on how bosses get put together, it’s well worth an examination.

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Secret World Legends posts a quick teaser of the agent system

One of the first new Secret World Legends systems is coming soon, and Funcom posted a quick video of it this week to whet players’ appetites.

In a minute-and-a-half, CM Andy Benditt walked players through the basics of the upcoming agent system. This system works much like World of Warcraft’s order hall missions, Star Trek Online’s duty officer system, and RIFT’s minions. The idea is that players will recruit and collect support agents that can be equipped for their passive ability bonuses (three max) and sent out on timed missions with the hopes of bringing back rewards. The strategy here is to match up an agent’s traits with the mission requirements in question in order to increase the chance of success.

Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Perfect Ten: The tabletop GMs behind MMOs

One of the advantages to computer RPGs, I’ve always thought, is that you don’t need a friend who you can alternately sucker or bribe into taking on 80% of the work that’s involved in making a tabletop RPG fun. You just turn on the game and it goes. The downside, of course, is that you also don’t have the advantages of having a GM in charge of the game, so you don’t get that personal connection and that sense of familiarity.

Except that’s not entirely accurate, is it? Yes, these games do not have a person eagerly perched behind a screen explaining how your characters have screwed everything up forever, but you still do get the same sense of a specific GM guiding the game over time. Because there are certain quirks, certain constants, and over time a feel to the game that informs what sort of GM you’ve got running the game. So let’s talk about the GMs running some games.

I warn you that if you’ve never played any sort of tabletop game, this column may not make a whole lot of sense. But if you’ve never played any tabletop RPGs I don’t understand how you live and thus cannot promise to target you reliably. Sorry.

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Neverwinter’s Lost City of Omu improves upon the Chult campaign

Don’t wash your hands of Neverwinter’s Jungles of Chult campaign just yet. Cryptic’s upcoming Lost City of Omu will flesh out the fun and content offerings of this primal setting with more advancement and quests.

The conclusion to this campaign setting will include new weekly repeatable tasks that will unlock after the previous Jungles of Chult campaign is completed. There are also additional boon points that can be attained and some fun new rewards, such as artifact gear and body paint. Nothing says “formal wear” like slathering paint on your torso and challenging the local decency laws.

“Exploring the ruins of the Lost City of Omu to discover the source of the death curse plaguing the lands will allow you entry into the Cradle of the Death God, a brand new trial which will require solid teamwork and daring adventurers to succeed,” Cryptic said.

Source: Neverwinter

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One Shots: Toy chests

Really, when you think about it, MMOs are our grown-up toy chests. They have all of these attractive and fun toys to keep us occupied and happy as we pretend that we are heroes on great adventures while making a pit stop to play Barbie’s dream house. And that’s OK — we need to blow off steam and relax somehow, and this beats HALO jumping in the safety department.

This week, the Massively OP readership was all-too-eager to show off the toys within their toy chests, starting with Hirku’s trip to an amusement park. In a theme park MMO. There are layers upon layers of meta in today’s column, folks!

World of Warcraft’s Darkmoon Faire is my favorite toy, and this week I get to play!” Hirku posted. “Wheeee!”

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Star Trek Online’s anniversary event heads to console next month

With all of the excitement and freebies surrounding Star Trek Online’s 8th anniversary celebration last month, it had to have been a particular bummer for console players not to be able to join in on the fun. They should have known better: Picard used a mighty PC, not a piddly Xbox, to fly the Enterprise.

At least this grievous wrong will be set right next month when the anniversary finally winds it way onto the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Cryptic announced that the event will kick off on March 6th, with giveaways and the chance to earn the Bajoran Interceptor.

In addition to the free stuff, the anniversary will also add the latest patch with two new featured episodes and the re-engineering system.

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MMOs get incredibly excited about Tesla’s Spaceman

No, you didn’t dream it up. Wednesday, the world was abuzz over Elon Musk’s Tesla company sending a rocket into orbit that was toting a roadster with a space suited manniquin (aka “Spaceman”) on board. The images were instantly provocative and captivating, and several MMO studios couldn’t help but jump on board the moment.

The Guild Wars 2 team suggested that a Quaggan in a space suit could join the fun, while Star Trek Online had a field day with an “Earth space dock traffic notification.”

And Dual Universe whipped up a short video showing its version of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket taking off, which you can watch after the break.

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Perfect Ten: RIFT features that deserve praise

Maybe it will be short-lived, but it is exciting to see attention and excitement return to the sphere of RIFT following the announcement of the upcoming Prime server ruleset. I’ve gone from not thinking much of this title in my absence to somewhat missing it to absolutely craving it within the span of a week, and I’m sure that’s only going to get worse.

Seeing friends and commenters talk about RIFT has reminded me of just how many incredible features and qualities this MMO has. Sure, it’s made a lot of missteps and just about nobody really loves the business model, but there is a genuinely good game here that has a feature set that most MMOs could only dream about having on the back of the box.

So whether you’re thinking about returning to RIFT this spring or perhaps taking it up for the first time, here are 10 features from the game that I feel deserve public kudos.

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PSA: Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, and Champions Online will be offline most of Wednesday

So we’ve got some mixed news for you, friends. The good news is that usual maintenance for Champions Online, Neverwinter, and Star Trek Online will not take place on Thursday as it usually does. Bad news? Well, it’s going to be happening Wednesday, running from 8:00 a.m. EST until… 5:00 p.m. EST. We sincerely hope you didn’t take time off from work in anticipation of a marathon gaming session when you would normally be at work.

No, we do not know why you make those plans when nothing was scheduled to be happening on Wednesday, but sometimes you just want to treat yourself, right?

Stuff is planned for social media during the extended downtime, and fans are assured that this is a series of necessary improvements and maintenance tasks being performed. So you’re just going to have to grit your teeth and bear through it without the game. Our condolences for those who had already scheduled that aforementioned all-day game session.

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