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Korean studio known in the west primarily for its heraldship of Black Desert.

Leaderboard: What kinds of MMORPG purchases do you consider pay-to-win?

I know I’m not alone in noticing that MMO gamers of late seem to have become sharply divided on how to define the term pay-to-win – indeed, the debate raged last week in threads about Black Desert’s player protest, Elder Scrolls Online’s cash shop prices, and the general consensus that ArcheAge is whale heaven. Recently Massively OP commenter Pepperzine recently wrote to us suggesting that we address it and try to sort it out.

“While there are proponents for all sides of the argument, I think it would be interesting to see where the bulk of people draw the line,” he wrote. “At the end of the day, individual perceptions are important but what is most important when it comes to this topic is what the majority perceives as pay-to-win.”

So let’s turn his proposal into the requisite Leaderboard poll, shall we? And yes, you can click as many as you want!

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Black Desert’s Kakao Games enjoys $131.6 million in investment

It’s all coming up Kakao Games these days.

The Korean studio received a large investment package recently that totals $131.6 million. The bundle comes from five external companies, including China’s Tencent, South Korea’s Netmarble, Bluehole Studio, Premier Growth-M&A PEF, and Actozsoft.

So what does Kakao plan to do with its newly laden pockets? The studio has its eyes on global expansion and the acquisition of other studios.

Over in its signature product Black Desert, Kakao and Pearl Abyss are preparing to roll out a new PvP server called Arsha that provides incentives for player conflict. The game is also half-off ($5) on Steam right now through February 19th.

Source: Games Industry, press release

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Black Desert players protest lag, bugs, pay-to-win, and lack of account security

Agitators on the Black Desert subreddit are attempting to whip up press and players over a range of grievances players have with Kakao, the western publisher of the Pearl Abyss MMORPG. Complaints range from the ongoing and well-documented lag problems and bugs to misapplied bans and database compromises.

The biggest post on the subreddit as I type this, however, as well as one of the biggest in a long time, is a Valentine’s poem dedicated to Kakao calling it a “P2W scam.” Readers will recall that Black Desert has been fending off pay-to-win accusations since even before its western launch in 2016.

Still other players are petitioning Kakao for two-factor authentication, which they argue will not only make accounts more secure but reduce the number of gamers whose accounts are stolen and then banned by Kakao with no chance of appeal when the thieves use third-party software.

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Fish up some love and loot in Black Desert’s Valentine’s Day events

It’s Valentine’s Day in the world of Black Desert! The Sweet Valentine event kicked off on server up earlier today, and for the first part of the event, you’re going…

… Fishing. Yep. Fish up a message in a bottle and you’ll pick up one of 28 random quests involving mini plots, summoning bosses, and loot rewards worth up to 2.5M silvers. You can also farm cacao to use for cooking up some chocolate treats and send off “sweet gift letters” to other players, thereby spreading around more “sweet chests.” We’re talking about boxes of loot, again, here. And no you can’t send them to yourself, but nice try!

Heck, let’s just throw in some fireworks while we’re going nuts here! Find those in Velia, Heidel, and Calpheon City. And as always, the best patch notes in the MMO industry deliver this beauty:

“Black Spirit’s teeth have become brighter.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 157: Lunar Valentines

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin overdose on candy hearts as they look at Valentine’s Day in MMOs — as well as the Lunar New Year. From expansion alpha testing to a new MMO launch to unifying a game globally, it’s a pretty upbeat and positive week of podcast chatter.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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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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Bless Online interview: Soft launch plans, why Gamigo bowed out, and avoiding pay-to-win

Bless Online is one of the biggest MMORPGs we’re expecting to launch in the west in 2018. Over the last six years, we’ve watched it blossom in South Korea, switch publishers, and even go back to the drawing board for a revamp before Neowiz pushes it westward. That’s left a lot of gamers, including us, with questions about the game’s future. And to get answers to those questions, we spoke with Game Director Jae-hoon Jeon all about the game’s planned monetization, early access, and just what sets Bless apart in a field of high-quality import MMORPGs. Read on for the details!

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The MOP Up: Black Desert’s Ninja arrives in Southeast Asia (February 11, 2018)

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 Vendetta OnlineWorlds AdriftMonster Hunter WorldHellionRustSkyforgeBlade and SoulPortal KnightsFinal Fantasy XIDreadnoughtPUBGHyper UniverseCrossoutBlack DesertDark and LightH1Z1DauntlessRobocraftFortniteWar of RightsCosmos InvictusUltima Online, and Vendetta Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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Black Desert explains its new ‘single global build’ philosophy

Just in time for the Olympics, Kakao is bringing east and west together in Black Desert. In the game’s latest dev letter, the studio explains that up until the latest patch in Korea, attack efficiency for Korean players was different than on western servers. Recent patches, however, brought them into parity.

“Effectively, with the aforementioned patch for the KR server, all regions now have the same balance systems applied,” says the studio. “We aim to develop Black Desert Online as a Single Global Build. By doing so, we believe that it will benefit both our players and us, as developers. It will allow the latest patches to be applied to all regions more quickly than any other game, and enable us to quickly reflect even the tiniest detail of valuable user feedback. Anyone who enjoys Black Desert Online will always have the same optimal experience from any region.”

There’s more to the plan than optimal experience, however: The company is also looking ahead to global PvP.

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Black Desert preps ‘flirtatious’ Valentine’s event, new guild boss

Today’s Black Desert update is a wee one in preparation for next week’s holiday.

“Valentine’s Day is coming up next week and you will see the world of BDO to be a bit more flirtatious than usual and seasonal decorations reflect all the love in the air… xoxo,” says Kakao. “But not all is love and flowers; there is also a danger lurking.” That ancient danger would be a new guild boss called Ancient Puturum, now summonable in Valencia for titles and loot.

Additionally, there are new login rewards, a few tweaks for crafting, no more annoying combat stance reminders for highbie toons, and a fix for that poor goat in Serendia. Expect class adjustements all around, though the bulk are for Witches and Wizards. Also! “Fixed the issue with unnatural falling motions Characters made when falling off the bridge handrails near Heidel” – because the problem was the unnatural motions, not the falling! Hey y’all maybe don’t climb on the handrails? Doesn’t seem entirely safe? Just a suggestion.

Source: Patch notes

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Black Desert’s costume contest has begun with a $10000 grand prize

Last week, Black Desert teased its upcoming costume contest, and now we’ve got the full details. The big prize, of course, is the chance to have your art piece actually turned into real armor and put into the game for everyone to wear – oh, and $10,000 US. Not too shabby, right? Runners-up in each region will take home $3000 apiece.

Kakao notes that designs much “follow the basic aesthetics and theme of the classes” in BDO – “excessively imaginative” concepts, as well as “provocative” and “violent images” will be rejected. Underboobage, again, is clearly welcome.

Submissions run from February 7th to March 5th, with initial screening and voting rounds in all regions running into April. The top winners will be announced on April 11th.

Good luck folks!

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The MOP Up: Overwatch rings in the Lunar New Year (February 4, 2018)

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 EVE OnlineCSGOFortniteEverQuest IIStar Wars Battlefront IIBlack DesertWar of RightsArmored WarfareDota 2HellionElder Scrolls OnlineOverwatchFortniteFinal Fantasy XI, and Pokemon Go, all waiting for you after the break!

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Black Desert players are up in arms about a very nice (and very expensive) tent

So let’s talk a little bit about camping! Black Desert recently added the option of setting up campsites to the game, which gives you a chance to repair, buy buffs, and otherwise rest up when far from civilization. It’s time-limited and expensive, but it means that you can operate on longer journeys effectively. Unless you buy the $50 cash shop tent, which affords you a whole lot of bonuses compared to the normal tent. It has no expiration, cheaper repairs, longer-term buffs, and player testing has revealed it gives access to every single villa buff with any villa invitation.

To recap, that’s $50 for repair prices a tenth of the normal tent cost, no need to re-invest money in it, and access to even more buffs for longer.

Players are obviously upset about the item’s addition to the cash shop, with many discussing it as a pay-to-win item due to the overwhelming advantage it gives to any players willing to drop money on it. That’s including the players who think it’s overpriced but still see it as a necessary investment to play the game in a reasonable fashion. If you’re a little unclear on how the system works, you can check out a fan video just below explaining the mechanics from the game’s Korean version.

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