drago entertainment

See: Otherland

Otherland overhauls the Lambda Mall and more

One of Otherland’s most iconic locations just got a massive overhaul in this week’s Patch 5.6.63, kicking off the first update for the game in 2018.

This large patch reworked three areas of the game: the Lambda Mall, Bad Sector, and Lantern District. This was done “to increase the overall enjoyability of these zones.” When players log in, they will enjoy a massive visual overhaul of the areas, numerous quest and script improvements, and “major improvements” to the framerate and performance.

Reworking underperforming game elements is a current focus for the team, as the members are also working on a complete rebuild and redesign of the title’s currently poor user interface.

Source: Otherland

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Otherland previews a big upcoming UI redesign

Here’s the short rundown on Otherland’s UI: It’s terrible and the developers know it. Unfortunately, for a long stretch of the game’s current management, it’s been allowed to remain terrible simply because redesigning it is a big chunk of work that the team hasn’t actually had the time or manpower to swing. But now the team is sitting down to do the hard work necessary to actually make for a good and usable UI, starting over from the ground up.

The plan is to not simply reskin the old interface but completely redesign it, as the team shows off in the first few preview images. This also gives the design team the opportunity to add new elements to the UI to make the game easier to play on top of prettier to look at. It’s not new content, but it is the sort of thing that makes existing content more satisfying to play through, so it’s ultimately a net win.

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Working As Intended: The MMOs we lost in 2017

It’s true that we lost a lot of MMOs in 2016 — bigger and more important ones than in 2014 and 2015. 2017, however, has been a different sort of beast. The list is long, and while it’s painful for those whose games are gone, the genre didn’t lose many major MMOs this past year. And that startles me.

Marvel Heroes was surely the most dramatic of all the sunsets, given that it shut down early without notice. Earlier in the year, we saw Daybreak put an end to Landmark after less than a year of live operation, while Turbine let the Asheron’s Call franchise go, Firefall formally closed, Club Penguin’s sunset broke the internet, and NCsoft called it quits with Master X Master. A number of other MMOs simply halted development – Perpetuum, Sword Coast Legends, and SkySaga being the most prominent of those. And on a more positive note, there were a few sunsetted MMOs that were revivified, including Otherland, Uncharted Waters Online, and RaiderZ.

Farewell, old friends.

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Massively Overthinking: Is open-world housing really a ‘failed’ MMORPG experiment?

Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti has a provocative article on his personal gaming blog, Bio Break, this week on MMORPG housing.

“I once again wonder why open world housing is this holy grail that some players and developers seem hellbent on chasing,” he writes. “It’s an ideal, a beautiful mirage couched in the notion of players inhabiting the very world they play, allowing them to stroll through neighborhoods of fellow adventurer’s homes and basking in the connectivity of it all. Yet it’s a failed experiment, one that is proven time and again to have far more drawbacks than benefits.” After listing off his complaints with the mechanic, he ultimately concludes that “we simply don’t need fixed open world housing, even in sandboxes.”

But being Justin, he also asked for feedback on why the joys are worth the drawbacks – and how to fix the system so it works instead of running off the rails. That’s just what we’ll do in this week’s Overthinking. Is he right about not needing this type of housing? And if not, how would you fix open world housing?

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Perfect Ten: The 10 tiers of MMORPG lore

Lore! Huh! What is it good for? Understanding why you’re standing in the middle of a pack of angry people with fangs in MMOs, of course. It’s the thin line dividing your actions from being reckless, indiscriminate mayhem and discriminating, careful mayhem. Lore is how you know what the world is like beyond your front door, and it’s the difference between understanding that you face Ragnaros, lord of flame or just knowing that there’s a dude here made out of fire, so you should probably use water spells on him.

All lore, however, is not created equal. There’s lore that creates a detailed, vibrant world full of people with their own hopes and dreams, and there’s lore that creates a game where you know what you’re supposed to be doing but have no idea what people do for fun afterwards aside from waiting to die. So today, we explore the tiers of lore, arranged in a numbered list because that’s the entire premise of the column. It’s not Perfect Vague Assortment of Concepts. That’s not even a column.

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The Stream Team: Taking another look at the revamped Otherland

It’s been a long while since Massively OP’s MJ took a stream peek at Otherland. In fact, it’s been only a month shy of two years! The game wasn’t faring the best and then it disappeared for a time. But now it’s back, and with a hefty patch to boot. MJ is interested to poke inside and see what might have changed. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a second first look at…

What: Otherland
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 132: Filth TV

On this week’s show, Justin and MJ speculate about the weirdness of a Secret World TV show, get ready for World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3, celebrate Ultima Online’s 20th birthday, and more!

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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Otherland is revived on Steam as Drago takes over publishing duties

Over this summer, we’ve been getting tips suggesting that the Tad Williams Otherland MMORPG was in serious trouble, as first it went dark on Steam and then it returned, silently, with an 8GB patch. Drago Entertainment did not respond to requests for a comment then, or perhaps it could not if it didn’t control its press relations, but either way it’s finally posted something to its Facebook page today, and although it doesn’t address the Steam outage directly, it’s definitely good news going forward.

The studio explains that it was originally brought on as the developer by the investors who own the game in the wake of the RealU studio’s closure, but it was hamstrung by the publisher, who you’ll recall was Gamigo, though Drago doesn’t name names.

“Shortly after the soft launch of Otherland as a free-to-play game in September 2016, the publisher decided to hold back on most releases and information in preparation for a major relaunch planned for June this year,” Drago says. “The game not being relaunched as planned has seen the investors sit down with the publisher to voice their concerns and to keep a long story short, it has been decided that the investors will continue Otherland on their own.”

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Massively OP’s Best of 2016 Awards: Biggest MMORPG Disappointment of 2016

Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for the Biggest MMORPG Disappointment of 2016, which was awarded in 2015 to World of Warcraft’s setbacks: Blizzard’s massive sub slide and content drought. Hey, at least it won’t go two in a row!

Disappointments can be games, launches, patches, trends, stories, sunsets, all manner of topics in the MMORPG genre and orbiting sub-genres. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively OP staff pick for Biggest MMORPG Disappointment of 2016 is…

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Global Chat: Is casual raiding in MMORPGs an oxymoron?

Do you scoff, chortle, or sneer when you hear the phrase “casual raiding” among the MMO community? You might be laughing at your own ignorance of modern trends, according to Frank at Overly Positive.

“Led by a movement in games like WoW and others who want to create more inclusive endgame, raids have gradually become more accessible to casual players,” Frank writes, “whether that is from reduction in the required number of raiding players, removal of difficult gated requirements, or the ease by which you find other people to do raids with. Some people might call this a perversion or a ruining of the idea of raiding, but I’d say that it’s more of an evolution of the practice in MMOs.”

Strap yourself in (we’re all about safety here at MOP), because we have a huge tour of the MMO blogosphere today, including a farewell to Chris Metzen, a roast of Angmar, and a visit to one of the most beautiful player homes in online games.

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Perfect Ten: The worst-squandered IPs in online gaming

There are always going to be differences in opinion about what should be done with an IP based upon a franchise. That’s just natural. The same core universe could be used to make a sprawling sandbox with weak combat but a robust non-combat market and profession system, or it could be used to make a combat-focused experience that focuses on energetic fights, nifty story moments, and little else. In both cases, even if you don’t like the end result, you can understand exactly why the IP was used for this.

Our column today is not about those games. No, this is about games that completely failed to make use of their licenses to IPs, produced totles that did not in any way logically follow from the license that was given, or otherwise took pure gold and turned it into something… less than gold. There’s room to debate whether some of these IPs would ever make good MMOs, but boy, the uses we have were pretty bad.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 82: Boldly go

As the team recovers from DragonCon, PAX West, Legion’s launch, and Labor Day, it’s anything but normal around the Massively OP office. It’s fall, and that means that we’re wading into expansion and launch season for MMOs, including a couple of significant titles this past week.

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.

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Otherland moves out of early access and into commercial release

It’s a grand day for the genre-hopping Otherland. The MMO has officially moved out of early access and released as a free-to-play title after a very short open beta period. The title has also returned to Steam after a period offline, which seems to be a habit for the troubled MMO.

All characters and progress in Otherland has been wiped for the launch, and those who bought into the early access program can log in to grab a bundle of bonus rewards for their new avatars.

The dev team said that it has a couple of big patches in the works: “The next major content update will contain an overworked combat system with improved enemy AI for an even more action-loaded gameplay. Also, another larger expansion around Christmas time is already scheduled, with a level cap raise, new quests, and a brand-new world.”

Source: Official forum. Thanks ZenDadaist!

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