Protests in the real world dominated this past weekend's news, and while I surfed around for an in-game equivalent to cover, I couldn't find much of one (though I found people selling themed accessories in Second Life!). That said, protests in MMORPGs aren't unheard of, and I mean actual protests, not memorials and vigils. World of Warcraft players will remember multiple protests throughout that game's history, mostly against the design of the game, but sometimes against Blizzard's policies. How about the Million Gnome March, for example, which caused game outages and threats from the studio claiming protests were "griefing"? Or the 2006 protests against Blizzard's stance on LGBT guilds -- which the studio reversed? How about the multiple Occupy SAB protests in Guild Wars 2, which ArenaNet allowed to transpire without much fuss?
I've never been to an in-game protest that I recall [Edit: I'm wrong. I have! See comments!], but I did stage my own one-woman protest in Star Wars Galaxies, where following the pronouncement that "no one wanted to play Uncle Owen" because moisture farmers were boring, I promptly rolled a character whose primary role was moisture farming on her permanently installed moisture farm. I made a lot of credits and had a lot of fun selling water on that character, right up until the day the servers were sunsetted. Silly? Maybe, but it gave me some life to prove that the suits were full of shit and didn't really understand the first thing about their own playerbase.
Have you ever participated in a protest in an MMORPG?
Earning a full set of the best possible gear you can wear is a good thing in any game. It takes a lot of time and effort, and DC Universe Online
isn't backing off from that. The problem is that players who have already done that might very well need to do so again
, either for secondary characters or another specialization on the same character. That's historically required the same amount of effort as the very first set, which can turn players off. It's a problem that the developers are aiming to fix with the upcoming vendor discount system
Under the new system, players who have purchased all of the vendor set or the elite vendor set will receive an achievement which halves the price on any subsequent sets purchased, including on alts. Purchasing the full elite set then means that any other sets you buy on the same character or another character will cost half as much, so all of your specs and characters can come out to play. It's a quality of life improvement that you can test as part of Game Update 67, currently on the game's test server.
While there are plenty of similarities among magic systems in MMOs (hey, how about you cast another fireball? There you go, champ!), there is a lot of variety as well. I'm always attracted to systems that put some though into their design, such as Guild Wars 2's illusion-based Mesmers, the mix-and-match Necromancers of Vanguard, and Lord of the Rings Online's wordy Rune-keepers.
At the very least, I have to applaud developers who at least put in the effort to gussy up the same mechanics in a new outfit. But when a team eschews the tired magic tropes and starts to get imaginative with spellcasting? That's when I perk up and pay attention.
What's your favorite MMO magic system and why?
Former PC Games editor and EverQuest senior game designer Josh Augustine announced yesterday that he's made a move to a position on a different MMORPG: World of Warcraft.
"I'm overjoyed to announce that I'm joining the World of Warcraft quest design team at Blizzard," Augustine wrote on Twitter. "One of my life goals and a huge honor!"
Augustine previously worked on several of SOE and Daybreak's titles during his tenure at the studio, including the original EverQuest, the ill-fated EverQuest Next, and Landmark.
It's been quite a month since Lord of the Rings Online
and Dungeons and Dragons Online
announced that they were breaking off from Turbine as part of a new studio
called Standing Stone Games
and being published by none other than Daybreak Game Company
. Players have had to deal with equal parts excitement and anxiety over this new course (with old developers). Does it bode for a brighter future, more of the same, or the beginning of the end for these beloved titles?
While Standing Stone has been communicative over the past month, we wanted to dig deeper into the decision to form the new studio, its relationship with Daybreak, and plans for both DDO and LOTRO going forward. To wit, we sat down with Standing Stone Executive Producer Rob "Severlin" Ciccolini, Lead Designer Ben "DrOctothorpe" Schneider, and Community Manager Jerry "Cordovan" Snook to discuss this major transition and its possible impact for these two MMO game worlds.
A little while back, I took a look at the healthiest games in the MMO space at this time. That was a nice, uplifting list, wasn't it? And all of those titles continue to do just fine, even if one or two might have had a few bits of shocking news along the way.
Unfortunately, this is not an industry in which health is assured. Games can be high-quality and beloved, but they can still be shut down by outside forces. And that's not counting games that just come out in the wrong time period or launch in an unrecoverable state.
That may sound grim, but we're already staring at the first two shutdowns of 2017 in the near future, and both of the titles being killed are surprises. One of them might have wound up on this list if it weren't being shut down, but at this point, it is. So let's look at the MMOs with the most unclear futures and start hoping for the best.
has not had the best couple of weeks. No, wait, let me start over. Daybreak has not had the best couple of years. But some of Daybreak's MMORPGs appear to be doing just fine. Want to hear from one of them?
I'm talking about DC Universe Online, of course, and today, Daybreak Austin Studio CEO Jack Emmert -- yep, that Jack Emmert -- is hopping on Twitch to answer player questions and hopefully instill some confidence.
"We won't be announcing new initiatives or release dates," Senior Community Manager Mepps warns, "so come with your questions, feedback, and thoughts about the game as it is now and about our ongoing projects." You can also post your questions or see what's already been asked on the official forums. The stream begins at 3 p.m. EST today, which is right as this article is going live; watch it with us down below.
As I peruse a hundred or so community blog posts every day, it's fascinating to me to see what games the MMO blogosphere as a whole is playing and discussing. We sometimes end up flocking to certain titles based on recent announcements or because others are talking them up pretty heavily.
One game that's been getting a lot of mentions on blogs lately is Elder Scrolls Online, with players generally enthusiastic about how it's shaped up into a pretty decent MMO. "It's a really solid game that’s much better than the game that launched," writes Occasional Hero. "Visually, I would probably rank it second behind Black Desert Online for the best-looking MMORPG out there," touts Endgame Variable.
Elder Scrolls Online not your thing? No worries; we have articles covering The Secret World, LOTRO, RIFT, and more in today's community blog roundup!
What happens when a group of dislodged City of Heroes fans attempt to bring back the spirit of their favorite MMO while marrying it to another favorite geek pastime (in this case, Star Trek)? You end up with Ship of Heroes, an in-development title that's holding a torch for the popular superhero MMO... in space. We sat down with Heroic Games CEO Casey McGeever to find out more about this potential game.
Massively OP: For those a little unfamiliar with the project, can you give us your quick elevator pitch for what Ship of Heroes is?
Casey McGeever: Ship of Heroes is a new MMORPG in development, which is a spiritual successor to City of Heroes. We're combining the best elements of hero and sci-fi games in a setting 500 years in the future.
A lot of testing needs to go into DC Universe Online's
stat revamp to make sure that all of the game's powers and such actually work with the new stat balance. The alternative would be kind of embarrassing. Three new sets have been added to the game's test servers for players to double-check
; you can log in to the test realm and see how Atomic, Gadgets, and Sorcery will work under the revised stats. Or just how much you like playing them at level 30, since all new characters will start at level 30 for testing purposes.
Players are asked to focus on endgame content to give a clear picture of how well the new sets are performing, whether or not they're fun to play, and so forth. There are also vendors to get your characters equipped in a jiffy, so don't worry about catching up; just make a new character with one of the power sets being tested and go to town. If you're a dedicated fan of the game, it's a good time to get in there and make sure that the revamped sets feel fun to play for the future.
"Great News! The Repopulation is coming back!" -- or so said a hastily deleted tweet from Idea Fabrik last night, which you might have missed since the blog post titled Idea Fabrik Acquires The Repopulation was also pulled down.
Now, that announcement has been confirmed: Idea Fabrik has acquired all rights to The Repopulation from Above & Beyond and will be relaunching the game -- in the Hero Engine -- with a new content patch sometime in Q1 2017. A&B will continue work on Fragmented as it rolls toward a console release.
Let me give you a little backstory on the whole Repopulation saga.
The DC Universe Online
anniversary celebration is happening now, and as part of the celebration, you don't need to play DC Universe Online
. Not all
of it, anyhow. During the anniversary, players can log in to the game and pick a character to get advanced to CR 100
, ready to jump in to tier 5 and 6 content, at absolutely no charge whatsoever. And that's just for free
players; paying members can advance two
characters to CR 100 right out of the gate.
You can, of course, pick one of your existing characters to bump up to CR 100 from the character select screen. You can also create a new character and skip straight to CR 100 following the character creation process. Of course, it's worth noting that once the free episode event ends, those CR 100 characters will pretty much require content that's only available via membership or separate purchase... but hey, no matter how you slice it, you get a free enormous upgrade. That's pretty cool. Check out MJ's latest look through the anniversary event just below!
Daybreak did it again. Boy, that phrase has come to mean a great many different things over the years. However, in this case it refers to the art of dropping some bombshell that makes me toss aside whatever I was working on for the week and focus on that explosion -- and the resulting fallout. Sometimes it's good. And sometimes it's not. This time around we fell dead center into the "not" category. We are losing Landmark.
Remember when I said Daybreak needed a win this year? This is the opposite of that. This is Daybreak choking the last bit of hope and goodwill out of players like Vader faced with a lackey's lack of faith. Disturbing, I know. Well, gee folks, Happy New Year? Forget about breaking games; I can't help but agree that a more befitting moniker would be Sunset Games.