electronic arts

Megacorp known to MMO gamers primarily for its ownership of BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA has previously been the steward of Mythic Entertainment (which in turn once controlled Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot) as well as The Sims Online, Warhammer Online, and Dawngate.

Dark Age of Camelot developers are looking to clean up unused games and general balance

It sucks when you have a great idea for a character, but all of the names you'd like to use have been taken. That's a problem particularly affecting Dark Age of Camelot at this point, but the developers confirm in the latest community Q&A that the team is definitely considering freeing up unused names on unplayed or particularly old characters. The staff is also holding off on another Come Back to Camelot campaign until more balance concerns have been addressed, with a potential new rulest server in the works to give player population a shot in the arm.

The developers also addressed some mechanical questions, laying out the soft and hard caps for various stats and pointing out that many understood soft caps really do allow for more variation. There are also more hidden skills for some dual wielding lines, although those hidden skills shouldn't substantially alter damage dealt. Check out all of the answers for the full rundown.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Star Wars The Old Republic will finally allow us to switch factions

Long-time players of Star Wars: The Old Republic: In the next update 5.2: The War for Iokath, you will finally be able to switch factions. Insert disco horn here.

That's right: If you are a Republic character, you will finally be able to fight alongside the best people in the universe: the Sith Empire. And if you're a traitor to the Empress, you can fight alongside the Galactic Republic.

I also wanted to amplify another announcement about a couple of long-awaited companions. Republic Troopers, you will finally get your love interest Elara Dorne back, and Sith Warriors, you will finally be able to Force choke Malavai Quinn again, just as you always wanted.

I'll explain the details, my opinion, and show a teaser video on the matter below in this edition of Hyperspace Beacon.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 110: Legends of Aria's Derek Brinkmann

Join us in welcoming today Citadel Studios' Project Lead Derek Brinkmann from Legends of Aria (fka Shards Online) for an hour-long interview about the game's rebranding, new MMO focus, and upcoming alpha tests!

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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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we're going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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Sims Online emulator's test server sees strong community interest

The underground revival of The Sims Online is seeing marked interest from the community, as players are checking out the current FreeSO beta. In fact, a month ago, the team set up a Sunrise Crater test server and has been pleased to see the activity that it has generated.

"At max, we’ve sustained 350 concurrent players in around 60 lots, on one server box," the team reported. "There are just over 2,000 lots on the map, and 11,521 avatars in existence. Cumulatively, sims have §75,528,319 in the bank, and have bought §92,393,467 worth of objects (191,956 objects)!"

A wipe will eventually hit the test server, but this won't be coming for a while. The lead developer said that players shouldn't expect any major new features soon, as he needs to finish up his Masters project first. So for the time being, "bug fixes and stability" are the mantra of this game. FreeSO actually had to downshift from an open beta to a closed one back in early January due to the server getting swamped.

Source: FreeSO

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The MOP Up: ARK's console editions get a hair-do (March 26, 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!

This week we have stories and videos from Destiny, Eternal CrusadeElder Scrolls LegendsHearthstonePokemon GoMU LegendLineage IIARKUltima OnlineSword of ShadowsGhost Recon WildlandsRagnarok OnlineHeroes and GeneralsElsword, and Dota 2, all waiting for you after the break!

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The Stream Team: Looking for SWTOR's Lady of Sorrows

Senya went off to do some "work," leaving Massively OP's MJ and Larry to skulk about SWTOR's Old World of Zakuul to learn more about the planet as well as search for the Lady of Sorrows. What information will they dig up on the surveillance feeds? What more can MJ's Agent learn about the Emperor as he continues his attempts to goad her into using his dark powers? Many questions depend on the choices you, the viewer, make. We call this Choose My Alignment for a reason! Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to have your chance at swaying the vote as MJ and Larry walk deeper into the dangerous underbelly of Zakuul.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

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Hyperspace Beacon: If you're not playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, why are you still subbed?

Let me start this article by answering my own headline: It's partly because I'm an idiot and cannot let go of this IP.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been a part of my life for over six years, and not having it there to fall back on would be difficult. But I could still play SWTOR without a subscription. Many of my friends still do! The truth of the matter is that I'm still having fun in the game, just not playing the game. I still have a guild of about 50 people who log in regularly to participate in activities. I have friends whom I've grown close to. And as much as I hate to say it, there is no other game that can give me my Star Wars fix.

I guess it's possible that I could still log into the game and not pay a dime for it, but hopefully, if I tell you what happens during my typical game day, you will understand why I still hold a subscription for the game, despite not playing a single bit of the content BioWare has given and sold me.

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Ultima Online starts testing pet patch, teases 20th anniversary plans

Did you realize before you saw this headline that the granddaddy of all graphical MMORPGs is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year? Yes, we are all that old, but it's not necessarily a bad thing.

This week's Ultima Online newsletter is short but packs a punch. The team reports that it has loaded Publish 97 onto the test servers with a huge focus on animal taming and pets. There are a ton of new pets to gather, including dinos, beetles, and dragon wolves.

The Ultima Online team is planning a 20th anniversary celebration in meatspace this September in Virginia, but if you can't make it, there's plenty of in-game surprises coming too.

Producer Bonnie Armstrong teased what's coming later this year: "We are starting the planning stage for Publish 98 that includes a 20th Anniversary Event arc, Halloween, and Anniversary rewards [...] One small teaser I will announce is one of the new items we are offering for the 20th Anniversary -- a jewelry box!"

Source: Newsletter

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How Frostkeep's Rend compares to other MMOs and survival sandboxes

I was pretty well taken by multiplayer survival sandbox Rend as soon as I saw it at this year's PAX East 2017, as I wrote yesterday. The concept immediately spoke to me as taking a lot of the cool ideas from other survival games while making the game as a whole into something very different. But I also entirely understand that sometimes you can look at the game and wonder what makes it so different. After all, it's hardly the first time that we've had a game using a lot of the building blocks. So why am I over the moon about Rend but not its obvious inspirations and close cousins?

The answer is that in some cases, I am over the moon about its close cousins. But it's also important to understand the distinction and the fact that Rend is not, say, Crowfall or Conan Exiles or any other game. So what makes Rend different? Not necessarily better, but how does it stack up to the obvious points of comparison?

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Here's how intimacy and marriage work in Revelation Online

Did you know that you can get married in Revelation Online? You can! It's part and parcel of the game's intimacy system, which is not as weird as it sounds, I promise.

Basically, it's system intended to get players to duo with their close friends -- a noble goal, right? Participating in specific types of content will grant you and your friend "intimacy points" -- that's everything from chatting and dueling to dungeoning and PvPing. There's also a mentoring tool: "If one of you is a mentor to the other, you can use this skill on your friend/partner to gain 2 [intimacy] points per skill usage."

Need to wear your heart on your sleeve? You can kinda do that too in a UI akin to The Sims': As your intimacy points with your selected buddy increase, so do the number of hearts displayed next to him or her in the friends panel.

So what's the point of all that sappy intimacy? Mawwage.

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Tamriel Infinium: Battlegrounds will change Elder Scrolls Online PvP forever

I've read all the impressions from the PAX East show that I could find, and they were all overwhelmingly mild -- including ours. As you hopefully know by now, Elder Scrolls Online showed off its instanced PvP battlegrounds, and the media consensus is that they are... coming. And that's it. This really surprised me. It's superficially hard to tell whether people have come to expect one thing from battlegrounds (because so many other games already have them) and ESO really isn't changing the formula -- or the battlegrounds really aren't anything to write home about.

If you were to take Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler's word for it, battlegrounds will change PvP in ESO forever because they're a type of PvP that ESO has never had before, which is true. Personally, I do believe not only that battlegrounds will bring something special to Elder Scrolls Online but that other games should pay attention to ESO because it's actually doing something innovative without drawing too much attention to it.

Battlegrounds aren't perfect; there will be some drawbacks, but let's take an honest look at what this new PvP type means for Elder Scrolls Online and maybe other MMOs in the future.

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Japan and the US led mobile app sales in 2016

We're number one! No, actually, we're number two. And it's in mobile sales. Dammit.

That's according to AppAnnie, which on Friday released its 2016 rankings of mobile app publishes across the world. Japan and the US led the pack, followed by China, though it's China's Tencent that topped the publisher list itself thanks to its purchase of Clash of Clans dev Supercell last year.

"Year over year we see that Asian-Pacific publishers dominate the Top 52. This year was no exception, with 30 of the top publishers hailing from that region. But when we look at the country breakdown, it’s clear that the United States and Japan are producing some of the most influential and successful publishers."

US-based Activision-Blizzard is the fifth highest-revenue publisher on the list (thanks, Candy Crush and Hearthstone). Niantic, the dev behind last year's breakout Pokemon Go, comes in 10th place, ahead of Square Enix, Electronic Arts, and Sony.

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