europe

Belgium seeks to ban lockboxes as gambling, plus Hawaii and France weigh in

Capping off the Great Star Wars Battlefront II Fiasco of November, Belgium’s Gambling Commission and the Dutch Gaming Authority both began investigating lootboxes/lockboxes to determine whether they constitute gambling and necessitate appropriate regulation. Now, the former has issued its ruling, and unlike the gaming-industry bodies ESRB and PEGI, it didn’t add to the BS smokescreen.

Indeed, the Belgian Kanspel Committee has indeed ruled that the practice is a serious problem. “The mixing of money and addiction is gambling,” it declares. Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Greens told VTM that he aims to have gambling mechanics stricken from games entirely, banned outright, throughout Europe. “But that takes time.”

The US state of Hawaii has joined in the fray too, as state representatives have lambasted EA’s “predatory behavior,” calling the game a “Star Wars-themed online casino, designed to lure kids into spending money.” Is it just one state? Maybe not.

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Netmarble mobile MMO Lineage 2 Revolution has officially launched

As the Google Play app on my phone frantically notified me this morning, Lineage 2 Revolution has officially launched itself right on out of open beta and into the wilds of western app stores in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania. In fact, 1.5M players apparently signed up for those same frantic notifications. We’re frantic notification twinsies!

Lineage 2: Revolution is a free-to-play mobile MMORPG based on the popular PC online game IP Lineage 2, which has entertained more than 30 million players since it first debuted. Lineage 2: Revolution stays true to its PC roots, displaying a stunning open field, raids, 200-player castle sieges, character re-designs and classes, all in a mobile environment. A fully-featured MMORPG provides seamless open-world environments, real-time 3vs3, 5vs5, 20vs20 and 50vs50 PvP battles, as well as lifelike fantasy world with dazzling graphics backed by the Unreal 4 engine.”

Netmarble is rather hoping the game does as well globally as it already did in Asia, where the title became “the top grossing game on Google Play and App Store in 11 additional Asian territories”; in Japan, it apparently “became the top grossing game on the App Store in just 18 hours.” It’s a high bar, peeps. Get to downloading!

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EVE Online players take action to prevent a suicide

When they heard a cry for help go out in their game, these players took action right away.

A few days ago on November 5th, an unnamed 28-year-old EVE Online player from Poland disturbed fellow gamers and stream viewers by stating that he wanted to kill himself, going so far as to swallow a large quantity of pills. It appeared that recent failures in the EVE had sent him over the edge. Concerned, several players and a livestream viewer all called up local police agencies across Europe in an effort to save the man’s life.

German, Icelandic, and Interpol authorities investigated the matter, sending help to the man’s home. Fortunately, the police and paramedics arrived in time to provide the care that this troubled player needed, and the man is doing better under the attention of his family.

It is always heartening to hear stories of compassion among online players, especially from those in a gaming community such as EVE Online who are often perceived as unflinchingly hardcore and ruthless.

Source: Reddit

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Global Chat: World of Warcraft BlizzCon reactions

Whether you play it now or not, chances are that your paths have crossed with World of Warcraft in the past. This is true of pretty much every MMO blogger I know, and as such, all of them have emerged over the weekend to offer their thoughts on BlizzCon’s classic server and Battle for Azeroth announcements. So what do they have to say?

On World of Warcraft Classic:

“Meanwhile, a lot of what Blizz said about WoW Classic was set in the future tense.  It sounds like they had a small group do some research and found a viable path forward.  Everything else, however, seemed to couched in ‘we will,’ ‘we’re going to,’ and ‘we want to.'” (The Ancient Gaming Noob)

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Final Fantasy XIV announces fan celebration in Denmark

Final Fantasy XIV players in Europe have a great excuse to head over to Denmark next month, as the game is hosting its “first ever” fan gathering in Copenhagen on November 25th.

The event will be rather small, with only 50 seats at a mini-bar somewhere in Copenhagen (the team is being secretive) available. The gathering will treat attendees to free drinks, snacks, and a chance at winning some goodies from a raffle.

So how do you get one of these exclusive tickets? “We will select the first 25 attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis. The remaining 25 slots will be raffled between all of those who showed their interest by sending an email by November 12th to the email address above.”

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UK lawmakers examine lockboxes, PEGI leaves definitions to gambling commissions

The ESRB may not be interested in protecting gamers against predatory business model practices like lockboxes, but European regulators may be joining their Chinese counterparts in at least taking a look before casually dismissing concerns.

As Polygon reports, a member of the UK parliament, Daniel Zeichner, submitted formal questions to the UK’s secretary of state on topic, requesting information on her plan to “to protect vulnerable adults and children from illegal gambling, in-game gambling and loot boxes within computer games,” specifically on the Isle of Man, whose legal code refers by name to “in-game gambling and loot boxes.”

Meanwhile, the European PEGI – akin to the ESRB on this side of the pond – has said that it can’t rule on the issue for game studios because it “cannot define what constitutes gambling” because it’s not a national gambling commission – contrary to the ESRB’s statement.

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MMOs you’ve never heard of: Immortal Thrones, Identity, and Lordmancer II

Welcome back to our intermittent series on MMOs and other multiplayer games you you’ve never heard of! Let’s run down three of them.

Immortal Thrones

First up is Immortal Thrones, a mobile MMO import from Chinese studio Zloong, which is calling the game a 3-D MMO set in a “richly detailed medieval fantasy world.” It’s just launched on both iOS and Android in North America and Europe. Expect four classes, multiple PvP options, and “a merged live-streaming and Location-based Service (LBS) system [that] enables players to find other competitors and engage with them in real time,” which the PR says “makes the game more interactive than the standard MMORPG.”

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Grab a Kritika Online Steam launch package from En Masse and MOP

In celebration of Kritika Online’s launch on Steam last week, En Masse is stepping up its game! The studio’s granted Massively OP half a bajillion keys for goodies that our readers will want to grab: The Kritika Online Steam launch giveaway package, which includes the 14-day Puffle pet (too cute), a 14-day Red Celestial Weapon Box, and three full days of Elite status.

Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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British alt rock band Muse will close out BlizzCon 2017

Blizzard’s going old school once again with its band selection for this year’s BlizzCon: UK alt rock band Muse. Here’s the spiel:

“Widely renowned as one of the best live acts in the world, Muse—Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard, and Chris Wolstenholme—have won numerous music awards, including two Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, five MTV Europe Music Awards, two Brit Awards, six NME Awards, and six Q Awards. Since forming in 1994, Muse have released seven studio albums, selling more than 20 million copies worldwide. Their latest album, Drones, debuted at #1 in 21 countries around the world and scored the band their first #1 album in the United States—along with an award for Best Rock Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards.”

Both in-person and virtual ticket holders will be able to watch the concert. Past acts at the show include Blink-182, Metallica, the Foo Fighters, Tenacious D, Linkin Park, and last year, Weird Al. Lob your “at least it’s not Blink-182” jokes at the comments below.

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Hyperspace Beacon: The pros and cons of SWTOR’s United Forces server merges

First, if you’re hoping this is going to be an article hating on server merges and declaring them the ruination of an MMO community, then prepare for disappointment. I believe that server merges when done correctly are more beneficial to the health of a game than attempting to over segregate the playerbase. In fact, if I haven’t written about it here, I have mentioned multiple times in other forums that I think a single-server is probably one of the best things to happen to MMOs. EVE Online and Champions Online were a couple of the first MMOs to embrace this idea, and I know I’ve applauded them for it.

Although Star Wars: The Old Republic isn’t going down to one single server for its whole game, it is greatly reducing the number of servers. On November 8th, BioWare will reduce the servers to one server for each of the major English-speaking regions: US West Coast, US East Coast, and Europe. Then one server for each of the other languages represented in the game: French and German.

Surprisingly, most of the community is reacting positively to the idea of combining the servers. While the studio hasn’t actually used the term “server merge,” it’s been clear that everyone’s being moved into combined servers once again. However, there is one hold-out community that takes issue with how the merges are being handled. There are pros and cons, and there is really no way to combine servers without someone losing something, but the hope is that the overall gain will outweigh the losses.

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SWTOR’s United Forces update includes a massive server merge

BioWare has just announced Star Wars: The Old Republic’s United Forces update, a massive merge of the game’s 17 servers down to five in an attempt to improve the game’s community – two in the USA and three in Europe divided by language – pretty crazy for a game that at one point had over 200. The November 8th launch will include a multitude of rewards and unlocks for those who log in during the festivities.

“Bringing players together as United Forces in larger numbers offers multiple benefits to players, first of which is the ease of jumping into multiplayer activities,” explains BioWare. “Once the United Forces update is live, any group activity you would want to participate in will have a much larger volume of players queueing at any time that you are looking to play, including Operations, Flashpoints, PvP Warzones, Uprisings, and Galactic Starfighter battles. Communities of players, such as role-players, will have more like-minded players to join and play alongside. Plus, server-wide activities, such as Conquests, will have more fierce competition than ever before.”

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The Game Archaeologist: The Chronicles of Spellborn

Hey! Hey you! Yeah, you the I’m-so-bored-with-all-of-these-MMOs gamer! You’ve been grousing about for years how MMOs never take risks, never innovate, and are merely content to rehash the same-old fantasy tropes that were stale even back when World of Warcraft launched, right? Yes, we at Massively OP saw your poorly spelled Reddit post on that subject, thank you.

Well, what if I were to tell you that there’s an MMO that bucks the clichés? It’s true! Imagine an MMO that exists in a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. Imagine that combat isn’t merely hotbar button mashing but tactics mixed with positioning. Imagine that you can create your character to look any way you want from the onset instead of having to collect certain pieces of gear. Imagine an immersive world that is a delight to the eyes and ears.

Got all that? Want to play it? Well, you can’t. That game was The Chronicles of Spellborn, and since you and pretty much everyone else on the planet ignored it, it tanked in 2010 after less than a year of operation. Yet for its lackluster run, Spellborn has been strongly mourned by those who saw tremendous potential in it and who keep creating internet petitions to bring it back. Because petitions change everything. Today we’re going to take a look back at an MMO that took the path less traveled.

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Battleground Europe brings vintage WWII warfare to Steam

Even an old dog can find itself a fresh young pup in the right circumstances. Battleground Europe, originally known as World War II Online, finally made the jump to Steam last week as one of the newest full-scale MMOFPS games on the platform. This, despite the title being over a decade and a half old at this point.

It looks as though the title has reverted back to the original World War II Online title for the Steam launch. As of September 22nd, the game saw an increase of 45,000 players sign up for new accounts, which is no doubt sorely needed for this aging MMO. The small indie team is using this momentum as an opportunity to push out more improvements, such as newer art models and a streamlined tutorial.

“Population levels remain substantially higher than we have seen in years, routinely around the clock,” the team posted. “We’re very happy to report this progress and these production items coming (more not listed here) are intended to help bolster that success even further.”

Source: Steam

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