expansion

See how World of Warcraft’s art has evolved with Battle for Azeroth’s critters

Ever since its launch back in 2004, World of Warcraft has never boasted the most cutting-edge graphics and polygon counts. This was intentional, of course, as to keep the MMO available to a large of a crowd as possible, and Blizzard compensated with a colorful and creative art style.

Yet the game hasn’t remained stuck in 2004. The art style and detail has improved over the years, and with the higher system requirements for the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion, World of Warcraft is taking the opportunity to upgrade some of its more lackluster models to a higher fidelity.

Nowhere is this as apparent as with the game’s critters and creatures. YouTuber Bellular put together a video showing the art evolution between old and new beasts, some of which are truly shocking in their difference. Check it out below!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 158: We are all heroes

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin put on their voxel capes as they look ahead to Trove’s new expansion, LOTRO’s Hobbit fantasies, the ups and downs of Elder Scrolls Online’s outfit system, 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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The ESA is fighting proposed DMCA exemptions that would preserve sunsetted MMORPGs because of course it is

Over the last couple of years, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been petitioning for changes to the DMCA to help preserve old video games – to eliminate server-based DRM and legalize emulators for games that had been abandoned. As of 2015, the Library of Congress granted the request, but the exemption very specifically didn’t cover closed-down MMORPGs.

Then, in October of 2017, the US Copyright Office effectively renewed the exception and reopened the argument, in part because of a Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) proposal to consider even massively-multiplayer games on the table for archival purposes. Even if you have no interest in playing on an emulator for an ancient MMORPG, surely you can see the value in allowing future historians the opportunity to see these worlds first-hand instead of through blurry YouTube videos. The code still exists, after all; outdated laws simply keep them closed to all of us.

Not so fast, says the good ol’ Entertainment Software Association.

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Get a bird’s eye view of LOTRO’s new Mirkwood map

Sometimes you can learn an awful lot from an in-game map.

Take for example Lord of the Rings Online’s Northern Mirkwood map, which testers have accessed during the Update 22 beta. It shows a truly huge zone that is divided between the dense leafy forest and the eastern Dale-lands. Not only can you get a sense of scale here, but also there are many tantalizing landmarks on display for future exploration.

YouTuber Andang took fans through this map and its highlights while moving on to the new larger Rhovanion map that might contain clues pointing toward future zones and expansion. He notes that Northern Mirkwood is truly disconnected from any other zones (being situated far north of the existing Southern Mirkwood) and that it has map markers pointing toward regions like the Iron Hills, Fields of Celduin, and the Mountains of Mirkwood.

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Elder Scrolls Online dataminers spoil the heck out of the upcoming chapter

Ever since ZeniMax promised a new expansion-scale chapter for The Elder Scrolls Online this year, dataminers have been champing at the bit to be the first to dig up all the details. It’s not even a secret anymore that the area is sure to be Summerset Isles, thanks to datamining we covered last month as well as a pretty big hint at the end of the Clockwork City DLC, but maybe stop reading if you don’t want to know more!

The latest UESP digging has revealed new music, new locations including Evergloam and Artaeum, the sload mobs, new loading screens (including one for Mephala’s Realm), quests revolving around the Mages Guild and Psijic Order, and the jewelry crafting skill.

Still grumpy over the focus on Summerset and High Elves? Our own ESO columnist Larry Everett recently penned a piece examining some other possible locations for future DLC. Also, Justin is right there with you.

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Wisdom of Nym: Actual mechanical issues for jobs in Final Fantasy XIV, part one

There are a lot of people who are quick to complain about issues with their personal favorite jobs in Final Fantasy XIV. No matter what job you’re playing, there are people that will eagerly point out all of the screamingly wrong things with the job whilst completely ignoring how well the jobs actually do work together. When you can seriously clear stuff with anything, someone is doing something right, and that’s why a lot of the complaints come down to “well, I don’t like it, so it’s bad.”

However, that doesn’t mean that the game’s jobs are devoid of mechanical issues. They’re pretty well balanced at the moment (not perfectly, but acceptably so), but each job does have certain mechanical issues that are probably going to need to wait until the next expansion to really be properly fixed up. So, while that next expansion is probably a bit more than a year away now (June 2019, I’d imagine), let’s take a look at the actual mechanical issues facing all 15 jobs.

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Whatever happened to Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Puzzle Pirates?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately? That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing!

In this special pirate edition of the column, we’ll be visiting the fates ‘n’ fortunes of Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Puzzle Pirates. Yo ho!

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World of Warcraft is using new damage formulas in the Battle for Azeroth alpha

It’s going to be easy to ignore new formulas in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth for a little while. After all, you’re dealing with a big across-the-board numbers squish along with a new expansion, so you’ll probably be focusing more on your individual abilities feeling like they do the right amount of damage per hit. But there’s been what appears to be a pretty major under-the-hood change in the game’s damage calculation. Whereas previously abilities that didn’t use your weapon didn’t care about weapon damage, it appears that everything in Battle for Azeroth uses weapon damage as an important component of its overall damage.

How does this affect you? From a moment-to-moment standpoint, it might not, but it does important work in addressing the disparity between classes like Warriors and classes like Monks. Most Monk abilities were not weapon strikes, so weapon damage didn’t actually affect their overall damage heavily and more attack power was the only real factor; by contrast, most Warrior abilities scaled with weapon damage all along. Going forward, if both classes scale based on weapon damage, it means that they’ll both need to assign roughly the same amount of weight to getting better weapons. It’s not something you’d notice unless you paid a lot of attention to damage formulas and specific gear importance, but it’s still an interesting change.

Source: Wowhead

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Trove’s Heroes expansion adds superhero-themed city and class this spring

Today is a positively massive day for fans of Trove – and fans of superheroes, for that matter – as Trion is announcing a brand-new expansion for the popular MMO and its 15 million players. It’s called Heroes, and yes, it’s comic-themed!

Trove – Heroes focuses on the neon festooned city of Luminopolis, a new high-tech skyscraper-laden section of Neon City. Luminopolis has been thrust into a battle for power between the evilly robotic Amperium and the Resistors, a rebel group fighting to bring the light back to the city. Players will partake in all new adventures, interact with new NPCs, wage battle against gigantic invading Mega World Bosses, and fight to save Luminopolis from the nefarious threat of the Amperion.”

If you’re sick of all your existing classes, you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a new one coming too, the Vanguardian. “A heroic class that pulls inspiration from the classic silver age of comic heroes, the Vanguardian is a paragon of virtue and strength,” Trion says. “Utilizing fluid combat in up close and personal melee skirmishes and from afar via effective ranged attacks, the Vanguardian is well-equipped to take up the cause of the Resistors and turn back the Amperion once and for all!”

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SWTOR’s spring content: Cash shop overhaul, conquest revamp, new flashpoint – but probably not a ‘traditional expansion’

Star Wars: The Old Republic’s had a couple of rocky months with the greater MMO community, following ominous rumors reportedly from inside BioWare that EA was internally debating the MMORPG’s future. While not everyone bought into the rumors, and the studio itself teased 2018 plans, the recent refer-a-friend promo didn’t exactly quell the growing concern that the game may be in trouble.

But maybe the roadmap will. As promised, BioWare posted the roadmap yesterday, and it’s happening as a living document in the forums from BioWare’s Keith Kanneg himself, as he says, to “not make it seem like [the devs] disappeared into the ether.” So here’s what we’re looking at for content in the short term. In March, expect GU 5.8: Command Authority; it features

  • big (unspecified) changes to the cash shop based on feedback;
  • the return of companions Ashara Zabros and Vector Hyllus;
  • a romanceable Arcann companion;
  • new companion gifts to boost influence levels to 50 (not something you can just buy outright, however);
  • a fifth boss (with two modes) for the Gods from the Machine Operation (though not all bosses are getting that Master mode, note);
  • and a major revamp to the Conquest system.

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Massively Overthinking: Could bots save dying MMORPGs?

Last week, a reader named Chris, who is writing a paper on the MMO industry and revivifying sunsetted games, dropped an intriguing question into my inbox. It’s about bots – but not the sort of bots EVE Online is constantly fighting. The good kind.

“Do you think people would be interested in coming back to ‘closed’ MMO games if they were populated with AI bots instead of real players (to make them feel alive/populated)?” he asked me.

Let’s ponder that for today’s Overthinking. Certainly we’ve seen bots put to work in games like Camelot Unchained, which uses them to test massive numbers of players on the battlefield. Would you want to see them in live play? Would they help the feel of the world in ways that default NPCs simply would not? Is the AI even doable? Could AI bots take our place to make MMORPGs even better – or even to keep them viable and save them from destruction?

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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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Path of Exile: Gotta catch ’em all in the new Bestiary League and update 3.2.0, coming March 2

With a new Path of Exile challenge league every three months, you might wonder whether Grinding Gear Games can keep coming up with new themes for each one. And each quarter, it does! We’ve had leagues where prophecies add a random element to the gaming, where powerful rogue exiles turn on players, where secret golden chests full of loot are uncovered, and where portals open to a different dimension — just to name a few. The current league includes gaping fissures into the abyss. So what’s coming next?

For that answer, I sat down with Producer Chris Wilson to talk about PoE’s next update, which hits on March 2nd. If you’ve ever looked at any of the creatures in game and wished you could have have one of your own, the Bestiary league will give you that chance. Color me super excited! And if collecting creatures isn’t your forte, there is plenty more happening in content update 3.2.0. Read on for the whole run-down!

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