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 MOP Up: ARK's console editions get a hair-do (March 26, 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!

This week we have stories and videos from Destiny, Eternal CrusadeElder Scrolls LegendsHearthstonePokemon GoMU LegendLineage IIARKUltima OnlineSword of ShadowsGhost Recon WildlandsRagnarok OnlineHeroes and GeneralsElsword, and Dota 2, all waiting for you after the break!

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One Shots: I took a picture THIS big!

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!

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Cloud Pirates opens up a new deathmatch map

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!

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RIFT acknowledges expansion issues, talks about new zone and challenge servers

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.

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The Daily Grind: What long-term MMO tech issues still annoy you?

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).

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The Stream Team: Celebrating Warframe's 4th birthday

Call her a party animal, but Massively OP's MJ can't resist celebrating a birthday, and Warframe is turning four! That's all the reason she needs to dive back in and check out more of that world. She's probably not nearly strong enough to seek out the new instruments that have just been introduced with the Octavia's Anthem update, but she can work at getting so. And that means she can look forward to making beautiful music in the future... or some kind of music anyway. Tune in live at 5:00 p.m. to wish Warframe a very happy birthday!

What: Warframe
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 24th, 2017

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LOTRO's Spring Festival returns

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.

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NCsoft rep says bringing City of Heroes toons to Master x Master was his 'passion project'

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."

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Warframe counts 30M registered players on its 4th birthday, basically adds bards

Happy fourth birthday, Warframe! It may not be a traditional MMORPG, but it's still one of those rare online MMOs that's actually doing better several years in than it was at launch: Digital Extremes is touting 30 million registered users. Actually almost 31 million! (That's up about five million just since the end of last year.)

To celebrate the occasion, the studio is rolling out the Octavia's Anthem update, complete with a new warframe, cosmetic outfit capture tools, new weapons, and the new music-themed questline:

"Octavia's Anthem has Warframe players journeying through an original, lore-driven quest in search of the musically enchanted Octavia Warframe. Along with Octavia comes the introduction of a simple-to-use musical instrument that enables players to compose original songs and synchronize them to their weapons to rhythmically dominate the enemy. Music isn't just a tool of destruction in this update -- players can create musical arrangements in cooperation with other Tenno and trade songs. For story buffs and lore fans, a newly written web comic, entitled What Remains, explores material well in advance of Octavia's Anthem."

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Marvel Heroes quietly dishes out compensation for December whoopsie

This one is going to take a little explaining. Apparently, last December someone made a mistake on Gazillion's side where Marvel Heroes players ended up getting extra stash tabs (and then couldn't use them). The players were told to delete the mistakenly awarded tabs and that they would be compensated for the flub.

Without advance notice, that compensation snuck into the game today. Players logged in to find that some of them had 600 or even 1,200 eternity splinters waiting for them as a bonus reward. Some of the affected players, however, only received 200 ES so far. Confusion ensued until a player huddle sorted out what happened.

Gazillion took to Reddit ito comment on the compensation. "So the total amount players will receive if they should receive compensation is 1,200 ES. Players who logged in on X-Mas Day and received the stash item qualifies. Thanks for your patience guys."

Source: Official forums #1, #2, Reddit. Thanks Kalamari and Rain!

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Massively Overthinking: The City of Heroes Master X Master debacle

On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.

Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.

For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?

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Neverwinter breaks out Steam trading cards

Did you have a trading card collection when you were a kid? I went along with the crowd buying baseball cards, even though I didn't much care for sports or pictures of sweaty men looking constipated while swinging sticks. It got a lot more fun when Magic: The Gathering came around, fortunately.

Those who enjoy accumulating as many virtual trading cards on Steam as they can will be happy to hear that Neverwinter has come out with its own set of cards. These eight character cards feature characters from the game and can be used to craft badges or traded with other players. These cards are also your path to a better life through additional backgrounds and emoticons.

If you need a whole explanation of what Steam trading cards are and what they do (and this author did), there's a whole page on that.

Source: Steam

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TERA sweetens its subscription package

Just because an MMORPG is free-to-play doesn't mean that the studio really wants you to, y'know, play for free. Over the past year or so, we've seen several MMO studios strongly encourage players to make the switch to a subscription from both the carrot and the stick angles.

TERA is more carrot, for sure, especially this week as the fantasy title announced that it's beefing up its subscription benefits with a new daily reward. "TERA has a lot to offer players who opt in for elite status, and En Masse just made elite status that much more tempting...with free EMP!" the studio posted. "Once each day, elite players will be able to collect 15 EMP when they log in on top of all the other perks they get for their elite status."

TERA's sub also includes double dungeon entries, double XP boosts, special store sales, a village atlas, a travel journal, no broker fees, and other daily rewards. So what do you think, TERA players? Is this enough to convince you to make the switch?

Source: TERA

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