free to play

‘Free-to-play’ is a term that refers to games that do not have box or download fees associated with them and do not incur a mandatory subscription. Some have optional subscriptions and are more properly referred to as hybrid F2P. Most have cash shops and microtransactions.

The Stream Team: Recovering Warframe’s Stolen Dreams

After following events, alerts, and dreams of a kubrow pet, Massively OP’s MJ has neglected her other Warframe quests for a long while. Tonight she rectifies that. For one mission, she needs to find a thief named Maroo and uncover secrets of the Arcane Codices. Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as MJ works on the Stolen Dreams quest.

What: Warframe
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, February 17th, 2018

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ArcheAge Begins debuts its regional championship mode

Gamevil’s mobile spinoff of ArcheAge, ArcheAge Begins, pumped out its fourth content update this past week. The focus this time around was the debut of the Regional Championship, a 4v4 PvP arena.

By participating in the championship, players can fight cross-server as they claw, blast, and power their way to the top of the rankings. This championship is an evolution of the established annihilation mode.

Right now, Gamevil is running a pre-season event with prizes for the server that places first from now through February 19th. All players on the winning server will receive 1,000 gems and an ancient rune selection ticket regardless of participation.

Source: Press release

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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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Save Evangelion pilots in Maplestory’s crossover event

Maplestory players are getting a fun treat in the form of a crossover with classic ’90s anime Evangelion later this month.

“The heroes of Evangelion have entered Maple World through an inter-dimensional rift, allowing players to interact with characters from the movies while taking part in various events and quests,” Nexon said in its press blast this week. “The Evangelion pilots are lost in their new surroundings in Maple World, so players are tasked with completing daily quests to help them navigate and become more familiar. Maplers can interact with Shinji, Rei and Asuka to earn EVA Coins to spend on limited-time items and must fend off waves of invasions from Angel enemies to save Maple World.”

The event features themed quests as well as paid and questable lockboxes galore, with accessories, hairstyles, androids, and chairs (yes) as rewards. The festivities begin on February 28th and run for a whole month; the trailer is below!

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EverQuest announces ‘true box’ progression server

These days, EverQuest seems to exist to be a test bed for different progression server concepts. Its community certainly doesn’t tire of starting all over again, which Daybreak is banking on for the launch of the Coirnav progression server on March 16th.

As part of the game’s 19th anniversary, the rollout of Coirnav will give players a slightly different way to experience the game: without multiboxing. This “true box” server only allows one EverQuest account per computer as a way to encourage players to group up with friends instead of relying on armies of alts.

Other rules for this server ruleset including instanced raid bosses, a 12-week cadence of content unlocks, and slightly slower XP rates than most other progression servers. As with all of EverQuest’s progression shards, you’ll have to have a subscription to be able to access Coirnav.

Source: EverQuest

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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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Allods Online outlines the upcoming Spark Talents system

Why should you stop advancing your character in Allods Online just because you’ve hit the level cap? The game’s next major update is going to let you keep advancing with the introduction of new Spark Talents. Your Spark Level is unlimited, increasing steadily as you earn more Spark Experience; each level requires an escalating amount of experience, but the rate of acquisition is also slowly improving over time.

So how do you get this experience? By doing stuff, naturally. Daily adventures, winning rated combat, completing daily quests, and several other repeatable activities earn you more experience. You can also assign rubies to talents as your level increases, unlocking bonuses to item acquisition, special toys, and of course various bonuses to stats and special abilities. Check out the full rundown if you can’t wait to level up your character, only even more now that you finished the first round of leveling.

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AdventureQuest 3D comes to a head with the Dragons of Ashfall

The third and final chapter of AdventureQuest 3D’s epic Dragons of Ashfall is now live. After months of battling up and through a volcano, players are finally able to take the fight to the big bad dragon boss itself.

Five and 20-player raids against the Great Dragon Talyn lies at the heart of the update, but it is certainly not the only addition. With the patch, the level cap has been increased to 20, players can now earn the DragonSlayer class, and new gear is available to unlock.

The team said that now the update is live, fans can expect to see a faster pace of releases: “Next week we will release those two dungeons to the right and left at the top of Mount Ashfall. Then, it is time for Dage’s birthday — a gateway will open to new area of the Underworld. Heroes should be advised to be weary of signing any ‘contracts’ in the underworld. Then the Shaman Forest and Dragon’s Graveyard will quickly follow.”

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The Stream Team: Sunshine and Scorched Desert adventures in Secret World Legends

Is that sunshine Massively OP’s MJ sees outside? Maybe Secret World Legend’s Scorched Desert is bleeding out into the real world. No matter: She intends to stay safely indoors to continue working her way through Egypt. Join us live at 4:00 p.m. for more sizzling adventures in the desert sands.

What: Secret World Legends
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 15th, 2018

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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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Lineage 2 players are upset over Circlets of Power

So let’s do our best to break down how the latest kerfuffle in Lineage 2 started up. First, the game introduces a new set of items in the cash shop, the Circlets of Power, which are the best items you can get for that particular slot when fully upgraded. That’s going to definitely attract some cries about pay-to-win. Then, the upgrade process for those Circlets is also not assured. That’s also bad, but at least you still have the Circlet, right? Oh, except you have to upgrade them to +5 and a failed enchantment reverts the item to +0, that’s worse.

But… what if you also made the upgrade item a cash shop purchase? It’s like a lockbox where you gamble on how much more money you have to spend!

Do we even need to specify that players are unhappy about this? Because they really, really are. The announcement thread has also become the discussion thread, which prompts some speculation about whether or not the game will be balanced around the upgraded circlet or if it’ll be balanced around worse gear, thus rendering the circlets game-breakingly powerful. It also doesn’t really matter, because… yeah, this is kind of gross.

Source: Official Site, Official Forum; thanks to Martin for the tip!

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MMO devs discuss the painful process of shutting down online games

Have you ever thought about what it is like for developers and community managers who handle online games that are being shut down? It’s certain just as painful (if not more) for them as it is for us, and it is not as easy as turning off a switch and walking away.

PC Gamer has a fascinating piece on the process of sunsetting titles from a studio’s standpoint, including looks at games such as Club Penguin and PlanetSide 1.

Former Club Penguin CM Bobbi Rieger shared the overload of details that the team had to sort out when the news broke: “My immediate reaction was, ‘Oh crap.’ Of course my thoughts went to the community and how we could make this as positive as possible. At the end of the day, it’s going to be hard. It’s gonna suck. I was just like, ‘OK, what’s the action plan?'”

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