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.

EVE Evolved: Calling time on EVE Online’s five-year vision

When Andie “CCP Seagull” Nordgren walked onto the stage at EVE Fanfest 2013 and delivered her long-term vision for the future of EVE Online, the excitement in the room was palpable. EVE was riding its highest peak concurrent player numbers in the game’s history following the overhauls of the Crucible, Inferno, and Retribution expansions, and players were ready for a new blockbuster feature to fire their imaginations. CCP delivered its ambitious five year vision to hand the reigns of EVE‘s living universe over to its players, with player-built stargates and deep space exploration in completely uncharted star systems.

We’re now about four months away from the five-year mark on that vision, and many parts of it have now been completed, but no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. We’ve seen some big feature drops such as the release of citadels, the industry overhaul, and the recent moon mining overhaul, but that deep space colonisation gameplay still seems far off. Some players feel as if EVE is currently in a holding pattern, with everyone waiting for the next big feature or overhauls to their favourite part of the game before deciding what to do next. So what does come next?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down the progress toward Nordgren’s 5 year vision so far and talk about the possible next steps I think CCP could take to make it a reality.

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The MOP Up: Heroes of the Storm mains Hanzo (December 10, 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!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Crossout, Ultima Online, Monster Hunter World, HellionEverQuest II, WakfuRuneScapeStar Wars: The Old RepublicElsword OnlineRagnarok ZeroLord of the Rings OnlineDreadnought, Sword Art Online Integral Factor, and Heroes of the Storm, all waiting for you after the break!

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RIFT pulls pay-to-win packs out of the store — for now

Reacting to massive community pushback over what is perceived to be pay-to-win packs in the RIFT store, Trion Worlds announced that it is pulling the items — at least for now — to reevaluate the situation and ask the community for more feedback.

“We’ve seen the feedback on the limited time Collected Intel packs and have decided to take the short term action to switch them off for the time being (the holiday packs remain up),” CM Linda Carlson said. “Taking them offline now gives us time to review ALL the feedback, together with in-game data, next week when the dev team is back in office, and make careful, reasoned decisions.”

The Collected Intel packs in question involve a currency that is bought with real money and can be used to purchase endgame gear, which some saw as breaking through the P2W barrier. Trion is asking for players to submit all feedback to this thread, although we will not stop any of our readers from sharing their thoughts on this move below.

Source: Official forums. Thanks Clowd and Boom!

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One Shots: Boy band cover art

It’s one thing to strike a pose and get a good-looking selfie in there, it’s another to coordinate a whole group of twitchy gamers and get them to take a group photo without someone jumping or facing the wrong way or forgetting to emote.

Vincent Clark has mastered this group pose in the formation of his new Final Fantasy XIV boy band album called “Ears over Eorzea.” We anticipate great things from this mostly shirtless crew of well-manicured rebels, as long as they don’t fall into that hot tub and drown.

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The Stream Team: Visiting Q’s Winter Wonderland in Star Trek Online

Have you fought a Kramp’Ihri? Massively OP’s MJ hasn’t. Star Trek Online introduced this new holiday horror, and MJ is taking her first trip into Q’s Winter Wonderland so she can fight this foe. There’s also something called Klingon ice fishing that she’s eager to try. Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you brings you holiday cheer in…

What: Star Trek Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, December 9th, 2017

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Warframe revises focus system, adds dynamic weather

Perfectionists, nitpickers, or insecure? Your call on Warframe’s development team, although it does look like the members are striving to make the best game possible. Shortly after releasing the “Focus 2.0” overhaul with the recent Plains of Eidolon, the team is revising it once again with “Focus 2.5.”

The main takeaway with this updated system is that players will have to spend less to progress through the focus tree from now on: “The biggest systemic change with focus will address pool capacity costs. Focus points are still collected into five separate trees, but all will now have a shared pool capacity — this means you can upgrade your pool size using the points from any school you wish, which increases the maximum capacity for every school all at once.”

This week’s update adds dynamic weather patterns to the new open world zone, so enjoy them puddles! Rain, storms, wind, and moving cloud patterns are all part of the system, and players can expect to encounter reduced visibility and better fishing when it really starts getting nasty outside.

Source: Focus 2.5, patch notes. Thanks Sophiskiai!

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LOTRO Legendarium: Fixing Lord of the Rings Online’s grouping problem

One of the quirks — and frustrations — of MMORPGs is that there never seems to be one game that truly has it all. Even some of my favorites are missing what I consider key features or design elements that are present elsewhere, and it’s maddening to think about how much better the game could be with those features transplanted.

For Lord of the Rings Online, I have to say that my biggest frustration with the game design is that dungeons might as well be non-existent. Oh, they’re in the game (and raids and skirmishes too), but LOTRO has never cultivated a dungeon-running community of the sort that you see in contemporary MMOs.

In other games, I enjoy changing up the routine by grouping up with others for a run through detailed setpieces as we battle our way to the final boss. I enjoy the rewards that those runs bring and learn a lot more about how to play my character. This has almost never been the case for me and LOTRO, and it’s not for a lack of trying. This MMO has a grouping problem that undercuts participation and interest in the dungeon scene, making such runs an anomaly instead of part of the mainstream. I have some observations from my point of view and some thoughts about how it could be fixed.

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Champions Online surprises us with a new fire archetype

It always seems such a shame that Champions Online’s free-to-play model leans so hard on preset archetype builds instead of allowing everyone to build the superhero that they want, but Cryptic’s in too deep at this point to change course. And so it is that the studio has added yet another prebuilt character to the game in the form of The Blazing archetype.

The Blazing isn’t one of the 10 free archetypes but will be sold through the game’s store as a less expensive option than a freeform character slot. So what does this class do? “The flames of justice rage on. As The Blazing use your short to medium range attacks to apply Clinging Flames to your enemies. The more the flames rage the more you can heal the injuries inflicted on you and your allies. You control the devastating element of fire, creating and shaping it to your will. Whether hurling flaming projectiles or erupting into a deadly firestorm, you leave a blazing swath of destruction in your wake.”

Champions Online kicked off its winter event yesterday, which will culminate in another misfit toy attack starting December 20th. Participating players can earn a free Chiller archetype, a super-snowball device, or a toy robot head costume piece (among other rewards).

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The Stream Team: Working toward joining Path of Exile’s War for the Atlas

Because Zana, the Master Cartographer, moved to the end of Path of Exile’s Act X, Massively OP’s MJ cannot yet access the Atlas of Worlds to participate in the new war. However, she’s going to work hard to get to it so she can! Join us live at 3:00 p.m. as MJ powers through ACT V and beyond to get to the new expansion.

What: Path of Exile
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EST on Friday, December 8th, 2017

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Leaderboard: How should MMORPG studios communicate to players?

The most peculiar comment thread erupted in MJ’s recent post about Secret World Legends’ Krampusnacht. In response to the casual note that the holiday event rewards had been announced by the community manager in Funcom’s Discord channel, MMO readers expressed furious annoyance that details of that sort were being disseminated in obscure chats instead of through official channels accessible to everyone.

MOP commenter Greaterdivinity rather colorfully requested that developers stop using chat channels “for delivering information to the community at large,” not out of specific dislike of Discord but because studios must surely know that they’re reaching only the tiniest sliver of their full audience that way. The alternative “doesn’t even need to be a forum,” commenter Styopa chimed in. “Forums are for interacting and dialogue. I would be happy if they just had a single reliable go-to source for current game information. Like, say, an official web page?”

Now don’t go getting all reasonable! Save that for the polls! How should MMORPG studios communicate to players? Choose all that apply in today’s Leaderboard:

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Amazon stops selling digital cards for Star Wars: The Old Republic

You can no longer purchase digital time cards or Cartel Coins for Star Wars: The Old Republic through Amazon. This is clearly a sign that you can… er… no longer purchase those digital options through Amazon. They remain for sale from the official site, you can still buy physical copies of the cards off of Amazon, and so forth.

Clearly, this means that the game is in imminent danger and is going to shut down within the hour, if you go by the forum thread on the matter. Or, as people point out on Reddit and elsewhere in that same thread, it just means… you can’t buy that set of digital goods through Amazon any longer.

A number of speculative reasons have been put forth for the change: A new package being offered for a new expansion, a change in how profits are being shared, a desire for people to move through the official store fronts, or just a routine set of business decisions. There’s been no official statement on this change at this time, but there’s not much reason to think the sky is falling just yet.

Source: Official Forums, Reddit; thanks to MikeyMoo for the tip!

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Choose My Adventure: Wrapping things up in Secret World Legends

One of the things that I promised way back when I started writing this series about Secret World Legends was to mention the way in which this game seems to tie into The X-Files. There’s an obvious superficial connection (both take place in the real world with added supernatural stuff, for example), but that’s not actually the connection that sticks out to me. It has more to do with the nature of the story both are telling.

While I’m not on board with the game’s character vignettes (which are much more “portrait of this person you don’t really interact with” than anything), there is an underlying story running through every part of the game. I clocked out midway through Egypt when I played the original The Secret World, and there were an assortment of reasons, but part of it was that connection I mentioned above. To wit: the game really likes having mysteries, but it doesn’t really like having answers for a lot of them.

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Path of Exile’s War for the Atlas expansion is live today

Path of Exile’s free-to-play War for the Atlas expansion is slated to go live this afternoon on PC, expanding the gameworld for diehard MMOARPG fans. As we’ve previously reported, the expansion adds a crapton of new random maps – 32 to be exact – to bolster the endgame. You’re also getting the requisite new gear, new bosses, new character customization options (chiefly new support gems and necro skill gems), and of course a new plotline focused around The Elder va. The Shaper battle.

The Abyss Challenge League also begins today. “Coinciding with the launch of Path of Exile: War for the Atlas, we’re introducing the Abyss Challenge League,” says Grinding Gear Games. “Fight ancient foes that spill forth from the cracks beneath your feet as you journey across Wraeclast, and claim valuable new Abyss Jewels to customise your characters and items in new ways.” The Xbox One launch is scheduled for later this month, so you won’t have too long to wait, though you can check out our detailed preview of the expansion while you do so!

Massively OP will be streaming the expansion today at 3 p.m. EST, assuming the servers come up right at the scheduled time, so join in the fun on OPTV!

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