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 Crusade, Elder Scrolls Legends, Hearthstone, Pokemon Go, MU Legend, Lineage II, ARK, Ultima Online, Sword of Shadows, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Ragnarok Online, Heroes and Generals, Elsword, and Dota 2, all waiting for you after the break!
A new North American data center has been in the works for Final Fantasy XIV for years now, and in mid-May, Square Enix is planning to flip the switch. Hopefully, this will decrease latency to those accessing the game in the region and offer improved services.
The studio walked players through the switchover, which will require up to 48 hours of server downtime to perform: "As has been previously announced, with the release of our upcoming expansion Stormblood, we are planning major updates and upgrades to our server system to allow not only for increased server efficiency, but also increased inventory capacity, worldless (cross-world) party matching and friend management, and additional content and increased field size for new areas. All which we hope will contribute to increased playability."
When you take the best screenshot in the world and want to impress your friends, do you find that you end up exaggerating a tiny bit? Perhaps with wide-flung arm motions and tall tales of shutter speed and multiple lenses?
Reader Matthew dishes up a boast for us from Elder Scrolls Online: "This screenshot amuses me for two reasons. Firstly, my friend Jacob and I met up yesterday for the first time in a week and discovered that we'd somehow dyed our gear almost the same color. Secondly, Jacob decided to mess around whilst I was taking a screenshot but his dancing animation plus my character's idle 'look around' animation has randomly made it look as though Jacob's Dragon Knight is telling my Sorceror how big the monster he just killed in the dungeon behind us was!"
This is when kobolds mysteriously transform into elder dragons through the power of storytelling. Onward and upward!
25Have you ever wondered how strange it was that your fantasy MMO character ends up doing grunt work like farming, mining, or baking apple pecan pies with delicate flaky crusts in your battle armor? That won't be the case in Albion Online, just in case you were wondering.
With the new Galahad update, gatherers now have their own specialty outfits that will assist the player in the task at hand. By donning one of these gatherer outfits, players can not only look the part but also gain access to special skills to assist in harvesting mats from the game world.
Each of the five gathering professions have several tiers of these outfits to pursue, with the higher offering an increased yield to mats gained. The backpack slot, which is part of each four-piece set, will allow players to carry far more resources than they would be able to otherwise. The only question is, does wearing one of these outfits automatically put a big target on your head for merciless PvPers?
We're going to assume that if you're already sailing in some sort of magical airship and engaging in aerial combat with disgruntled associates, then you probably have no issue with exploring a region created by an ancient and insane alien race. It comes with the territory.
This past week, Cloud Pirates launched its Death or Glory update, at the center of which lay a special deathmatch map named Fractal Space (no, it's not a Guild Wars 2 crossover, alas). There's incentive for fighting on this map, as the bad guys have a chance of dropping a very valuable core for players to use or sell. In addition to the map, the update brought daily rewards and a brotherhood ladder system to the Allods Online spin-off.
Check out the Death or Glory trailer after the break!
While it's always important to get players on to test servers for that human element, what if you need a huge army of characters on demand that never give up? That's when you take Camelot Unchained's approach by unleashing an army of bots on its test server to stress it out as much as possible.
"Right now, we have bots firing off 20,000 skills per hour, and logging in and out 16 times per minute, to help us not only track down issues like this, but also to stress test the ability system," the team said in this week's newsletter.
And when there's a Camelot Unchained newsletter, there's always a list of Camelot Unchained tasks that the team has tackled over the past week. Some of the items of note include work on archery mechanics, figuring out where your character respawns when it dies, and the first pass of the "banes and boons" system.
If you felt let down by the execution of RIFT: Starfall Prophecy
, you're not alone. In this week's producer's letter
, Trion Worlds admits that the expansion had "shortcomings" that need addressing. To wit, the studio said that it is "pouring heart and soul into improvements" to shore up the content as it moves forward.
Speaking of moving forward, there's certainly a lot of exciting things on deck for RIFT, starting with the imminent Patch 4.1. This update will add eternal weapons, a planar crafting revamp, a 10-player raid, and new weekly quests. Following that is the return of Carnival and the release of Patch 4.2 with its brand-new level 70 zone, Vostigar Peaks.
The other day in Massively OP office chat, Eliot and I were reminiscing about World of Warcraft's launch period and in particular a bug that would lock your character down into a looting pose for minutes on end, even as you scooted around the world. It was a particularly annoying issue that persisted for a long time before the game engineers finally squashed it.
In LOTRO right now, there is a mind-boggling amount of lag and rubberbanding going on in the high-level areas as a majority of the playerbase crowds into these areas. There have been nights that I logged out due to frustration overwhelming my desire to play, and I sincerely hope it gets sorted out soon.
That's one of the caveats of playing online games, which is that there are always tech issues that need fixing. Some of these prove to be more troublesome to fix or are ignored by the dev team in favor of working on other projects. When they significantly disrupt your play experience, it can sour your time in a game or even push you away for good.
So today's topic is a bit of a gripe session as I invite you to share long-term tech issues in MMORPGs that greatly annoyed you (or continue to annoy).
Last night's update saw the end of the Battle.net branding on the Blizzard launcher. You probably shed your tears back in September, when the company first announced it was retiring the Battle.net name and replacing it with terms like Blizzard Streaming and Blizzard Voice. Now the platform for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and the rest just says... Blizzard.
Speaking of Overwatch: Kotaku has a look at the shooter's new system for dealing with toxicity, currently getting a workout on the PTR. The current version has far more specific options for reporting other players, which may or may not lead to better reports and less abuse -- but Blizzard is making an effort.
And finally, Polygon has broken down Blizzard's history with modding and reverse engineering lawsuits, presumably for younger gamers or folks who aren't aware of World of Warcraft's diverse modding offerings. Anyone who's ever wondered why Blizzard cracks down on Bossland, who's wondered why the DMCA is so powerful, or who's curious about the legal precedent of the old-school bnetd case should take a look before armchair lawyering down in the comments.
Spring is in bloom, love is in the air, and boots are primed for stompin' some major shrew butt.
Yes, it's once again time for Lord of the Rings Online's Spring Festival, which began Thursday and runs through April 2nd. During the festival, players can participate in traditional activities such as shrew stomping, pub crawling, and navigating the towering hedge maze.
There are a few new rewards in store for veterans of the holiday, including a pair of kites and a very attractive steed. There's a quick overview of the Spring Festival on the site, although if you want the full run-down, you should head over to LOTRO Wiki for the full walkthrough.
Every time my 5-year-old sees the extra portal in Guild Wars 2's Rata Sum, I have to tell him it's for Super Adventure Box and that it's currently closed. He's always sad. But next week, I can tell him it's open! ArenaNet's announced that SAB is indeed returning:
"It’s that time of year—dust off your best jumping boots, take up your pointy stick, and get ready to experience Tyria’s most cutting-edge technological edutainment system: Moto’s Super Adventure Box! Explore a whole new virtual world in beautifully-rendered, three-dimensional graphics. Go on an epic quest to save Princess Miya. Prove your strength against wizards, assassins, and giant frogs. And if all of that sounds a little too tame for you, prepare to die (repeatedly) in the punishing Tribulation Mode!"
It is not currently clear whether any new stages and new cosmetic weapons will be available, but it's a good bet. The festival begins March 30th and runs until April 20th.
Boy, this is a time I am glad to be wrong. I was outright worried that Blizzard was going to hold patch 7.2 for a much longer span of time, but no, it's hitting World of Warcraft on March 28th. That's good! It's still squarely aimed at trying to kneecap something else going on that same day, arguably, but at least it isn't being held for months. I'm going to count that as a good thing.
In fact, there's something very good baked into the announcement, something that's easy to miss. Of course, there's also something very bad baked in as well, or at least the hint of something bad, a thought I've stated before in passing but I haven't really elaborated on before. So today I want to examine both sides of this. Why this patch date makes me very happy and very worried at the same time. (Mostly the former, if you're wondering, but the latter is relevant.)
We've been speaking with NCsoft West off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters (to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.
Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."
"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."