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Veteran Norwegian studio behind The Secret World, Anarchy Online, Age of Conan, and LEGO Minifigures Online.

The Stream Team: Celebrating Secret World Legend’s Krampusnacht!

Up on the housetop
Krampus paws,
Those aren’t presents in his claws
In through the window
He breaks right in
To punish bad children
That live within!

Oh no no!
You’d better go
Oh no no!
You’d better go
Dash to your front door
Quick quick quick
Else he will get you
Lickity split!

It’s time to delve into the realm of cloven-hoofed demons and horned holiday gods! Massively OP’s MJ is joining the Krampusnacht celebration. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to be a part of the festivities (and singing).

What: Secret World Legends
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Friday, December 15th, 2017

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Massively Overthinking: Our favorite MMORPG articles of 2017

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to do something most of them hate: brag! We’ve tried to isolate our favorite personal work from the year and talk about why we think it matters, then identify our favorite work from somebody else on the site this year and do the same. I always tell them it’s easy, but it never is!

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Choose My Adventure: Secret World Legends in review

Earlier this year, when we had yet to actually get much information about Secret World Legends, I posted a piece in which I discussed at length how Funcom didn’t seem to quite know what it was doing with the whole reboot thing. On the one hand, the development team didn’t seem to know if SWL was actually a reboot of The Secret World or just a new structure for it; on the other hand, it was certainly positioned as a hard reboot, considering how it jettisoned more or less everything players had previously accomplished.

So the question, for me, was always whether or not the game could justify its reboot and still be fun in and of itself.

The answer to the former question, I’m sorry to say, is an unambiguous “no.” There’s a lot of reasons thrown around for why the game absolutely needed a reboot, but none of them actually succeeds at justifying a whole drop-and-rebuild. Partly because, well, the game didn’t rebuild anything. It patched in a few new systems and called it a day, and it did absolutely nothing to address the core problems that kept people from being turned off from the game in the first place.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 148: Vampires, kobolds, and pirates

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree sort out the pile of expansions and updates that developers are scrambling to get out of the door before the holiday break. From vampires to kobolds, there’s something for everyone this month, and it only looks to get nuttier with the new year!

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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Anarchy Online and Age of Conan host an arrested development sale

Just because an MMORPG’s development has been put into suspended animation doesn’t mean that profit still can’t be made! To wit, check out Funcom’s can-do spirit, which doesn’t take “maintenance mode” for an answer when it comes to holiday sales.

For whatever reason, the studio is holding a sale on Funcom Points for both Anarchy Online and Age of Conan. These titles, you might recall, joined the original Secret World earlier this year in having their active development canceled while nominally keeping the servers running.

Anyway, both games are throwing in bonus points when you buy certain tiers of bundles. Additionally, Anarchy Online has a luxury armor set that it would like to sell you as part of a multi-month membership package.

Source: Twitter

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Secret World Legends patches in winter event, barbershop, and plastic surgeon

Even with Tokyo completely reinstated into Secret World Legends, this reboot is still finding more content to add back in after starting over from its The Secret World roots. Will today’s patch, which adds back in the cosmetic barbershop and plastic surgeon, be the last of the “old vanguard” before it’s all new? Probably not; there are plenty of Halloween quests that are waiting for a return.

In addition to the cosmetic tools, Update 2.1.5 starts this year’s winter event, starring all sorts of special critters to attack, world raids, Christmas cosmetics, seasonal achievements, a new winter lockbox, and a free pet to players who log in by January 2nd.

The patch also adds the option to change your name (for a price), fixes several issues, and tosses in new animations for when players unlock emotes and titles.

Source: Patch notes

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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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The Daily Grind: Are you willing to buy good-looking MMO cosmetics?

There are few things that bug me more in MMOs than when my character looks like he or she got dressed by sprinting through a Salvation Army and grabbing whatever was within arm’s reach. It makes such a difference to me when my character looks the part of a hero rather than a ragamuffin.

While most MMOs these days allow you to save and equip visuals from gear that you find all around the game world, many of these same MMOs create special cosmetics that can only be purchased in the game store. As they have no bearing on actual performance during play, cosmetic sales don’t draw the ire that, say, lockboxes and stat gear do. While some might avoid store cosmetics because of a lack of funds or because actually earning (or finding) good-looking outfits delivers more of that feeling of achievement, others don’t seem to have a problem with taking a paid short-cut to fashion success.

I’ve bought several outfits in games like The Secret World and Guild Wars 2 that I knew I would be wearing extensively on multiple characters. I am pretty choosy in what I do purchase, however; it’s not an everyday occurrence.

What about you? Are you willing to buy good-looking MMO cosmetics? Have you done so this year?

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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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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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Massively Overthinking: The best and worst MMO developer quotes of 2017

Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.

Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.

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The Stream Team: A soiree with Said in Secret World Legends

The day has finally come for Massively OP’s MJ to spend some time with Said, everyone’s favorite mummy in Secret World Legends! For her, Said is one of the best characters in the game and hanging out with him is one of the highlights of Egypt. He proof that the undead can be the life of the party. Tune in live at 5:00 p.m. join in this soiree.

What: Secret World Legends
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 7th, 2017

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Chaos Theory: Exploring Secret World Legend’s anima allocation and other QoL improvements

Remember that big quality-of-life update that Secret World Legends launched mid-November? Chances are your quality of SWL life did indeed improve with a number of those changes. Mine did. Some you may have been enjoying are the new summoned vendor that visits you in the field, or the teleports that allow you to pop instantly back to the three hubs to do your business. Perhaps you’ve gotten one of the new weapon-specific belt talismans (one of the 10 actually works for all weapons) that are mob loot drops. You might even have been having some fun in the Seoul Fight Club with its equal-footing PvP matches. Surely you’ve appreciated the new loot added to dungeons, scenarios, or lairs.

While I certainly benefit from all these other improvements, two of the biggest changes for me have been the anima allocation system and the XP transfer on empowerment. The two are actually tied together, along with the reduced cost to recover glyphs and signets. I wanted to give it some time working with the new system before talking about it. And I’ve concluded that more than just quality of life improvements, these tread a bit into the game-changer category.

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