It is written in The MMORPG Code that MMOs, especially those of foreign pedigree, must indulge our most silly faux holidays. I'm sure that's the case, else why would an upstanding game like Black Desert insert St Patrick's Day into your immersions?
Yes, today's patch sees not only the return of the dice-rolling Black Spirit's adventure and new craftables for the Dark Knight but also beer. The Cold Draft Beer event, to be exact.
"To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, all players will receive beer on 3/17. Please check your in-game mail on this date to find your delivery of beer!"
That's where I get all my beer for sure.
By the by, maintenance this morning was extended slightly for North American players and quite a bit for EU players; Kakao apologized for the extra downtime and told EU players that compensation is on the way, though everything is back up now.
Did Amazon's Web Services outage on Wednesday wreck your day? It wrecked a lot of the internet, including ARK: Survival Evolved, which uses the service for its CrossARK transfer system. Unfortunately, the outage apparently led to a duping issue that caused Studio Wildcard to roll back the official ARK servers, which are still technically in early access:
"We will be conducting a major rollback on all Official Servers to just before this incident, and will be wiping all Cross ARK storage of any items due to a dupe glitch which surfaced due to the incident."
The studio apologized to fans last night for the delay in communication and promised an evolution event with big bonuses to breeding, maturing, and egg hatching rates to help players make up for lost time, but it's Reddit, and Reddit's on fire over Wildcard's handling of the incident.
It’s taken this long, but the Battle Bards have gone completely and irreversibly insane in the membrane! Today the team cracks open the door of the MMO music funhouse to see what off-kilter, crazy, and manic tunes may be found. WARNING: Once you’ve entered the asylum, you might find yourself a resident… for life!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 93: It's a Madhouse! (or download it) now:
Have you ever fallen through the world in an MMO? Good times, right there. It's a jarring, crazy experience in which you see just how flimsy and thin the surface is from beneath as you plummet to your death or disconnection.
We've all experienced weird bugs and glitches in MMORPGs from time to time. Often they're nothing more significant than odd character models, clipping, or rubberbanding, but once in a while we hit on some winning moments where, say, a character's face disappears save for his eyes and teeth. Or when an NPC abruptly shrinks to the size of an ant.
What's the weirdest MMO glitch you've ever experienced? Bonus points for screenshots in the comments as proof!
In March of last year, MOP's Justin wrote a detailed guide to the most common death penalties in MMORPGs. Last September, Gamasutra pulled seven game developers together to discuss the most effective gaming "fail states," several of which involve death. Both articles came rushing back to me this week when Crowfall revisited the subject of its own death penalty, which involves a brief ghost period and a fast-track trip to the temple for resurrection.
This week, I've asked the MOP writers to consider MMOs and non-MMOs and propose their own favorite death penalty. Is it an old one, a new one, or one no one's done at all? What's the best way to implement death in a modern MMORPG?
In third grade, my teacher sent home a report card with the note that "Justin is wonderfully strange." Ever since then, I never found the terms "strange" or "weird" to be pejorative but rather a signpost pointing the way to interesting paths less traveled.
To be weird is to deviate from the safe and predictable and instead venture into the wild and woolly lands of the imagination. When it comes to MMORPGs, I feel that more devs would love for their games to be more strange while the risk-averse studios (and their publishers) pull hard to keep traditional tropes in play.
Still, every once in a while a game comes out that walk on the weird side. These MMOs don't usually boast universal appeal, large numbers, or even great respect, but they do offer vivid imagination, hidden qualities, and a certain uniqueness that is rarely found elsewhere. Today, we will celebrate the wonderfully strange in online gaming with these 10 titles.
Chargebacks were a big deal in 2016: Black Desert, ArcheAge, and No Man Sky were all embroiled in community drama thanks to perceived chargeback abuse. PayPal even ended its chargeback protection for crowdfunding donations, making it harder for gamers who hand over cash to abuse the credit card system to get that money back.
But some games are offering you your money back and you're still not taking it.
Hero's Song, for example, recently went under, but John Smedley pledged to refund any Steam and Indiegogo purchasers who asked for their money returned. Yet there are folks in our comments who said they wouldn't take him up on that -- they feel they got their money's worth or don't feel it's right to take back what was intended as a gift, risks fully understood. That reminded me of when Glitch sunsetted after a couple years in operation and Stewart Butterfield offered everyone all of their money back from years of play and a lot of players said no way.
How about you? Do you claim refunds on games when available? How often do you do it?
It's Christmas in Black Desert! Or at least it will be once the extra maintenance is over.
Kakao is kicking off the winter festivities today with snow falling in appropriate zones, new aurora effects, winter themes for parts of the UI, the return of cash-shop gifting, and Christmas clothes and furniture in the cash shop. Plus:
"During the event, Santa will appear in the sky riding his sleigh and dropping gifts through the world of Black Desert in [...] Velia, Heidel, Calpheon, Altinova, and Valencia."
We're sure it all makes sense in the lore... somehow.
Critically, Kakao says, "While wearing the Zebra Underwear or Zebra Underwear (No Stockings), and entering Dye interface with the combat stance turned on will no longer cause a graphical glitch with the sorceress' body."
One of the most common questions that I'm asked from my adoring throngs on the street is, "Justin, where oh where can I get some of these marvelous MMO soundtracks that you talk about all of the time?" OK, that just never happens (on the street, that is), but people are often curious how they can go about starting to amass an MMO soundtrack collection or where to find their favorite album.
The sad truth is that so much music from these games is never officially released in any capacity, which is why I scour YouTube for fan rips of the music files. However, every so often I do discover a studio release somewhere, and I try to keep an up-to-date log on these to help others in their quest for video game scores.
So in the spirit of Christmas and sharing, today I'm going to show you how you can get your ears on more than 120 soundtracks and scores from MMOs, MOBAs, and other online titles -- some of which are free and legal for the taking. You're welcome; don't mention it!
Earlier this week, Redditor maxpower888 started an epic thread on the /r/mmorpg sub asking everyone to chime in and name his or her top five MMORPGs of all time. I thought it was a nifty thread to skim to see how many times the same games kept popping up (and the same games turned up in combination with each other).
"You can tell how old people are by their lists," one gamer objected, but I don't think that's necessarily true!
So for this week's Overthinking, we're going to join in the fun, then explain our choices and puzzle out what those choices say about us -- don't forget to click the entries to expand them for explanations! You should do the same down in the comments!
Last week, we introduced the first part of our guide to the best upcoming, in-development indie MMORPGs -- yes, the list was so long that we had to split it lest our CMS explode! So this week we're back with the other half of our list, a quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: We're not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, we won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.
On with part two!
We are fast approaching the late, lamented Glitch's birthday on September 27th, and to mark the occasion, we thought we would check in with the progress of both of the game's community reboot projects.
Over in Children of Ur, the team released its "Cuteness Update" earlier this month. Players can witness cubimal racing in the streets, enjoy a bag for music boxes, and stay in touch with others thanks to the new friends list.
Meanwhile, Eleven continues with its extremely small alpha, although the devs are hosting a drawing to pull out additional testers (you'll need to enter before next Monday if you're interested!). The project's lead developer also recently posted a roundup of AMA questions and answers.
When you write for an MMORPG website that covers literally hundreds of games and could probably add in hundreds more that are extinct, are in operation only overseas, or are so incredibly niche that their creators' moms don't even know about them, you start devoting a large portion of your brain to trying to keep details about all of these games straight. This not only results in forgetting two of your kids' names (after all, space is limited), but it's nearly an impossible task. There's just too much out there.
And lately I've noticed that the staff and readers alike have started to become incredibly confused regarding all of the indie MMOs that are oozing through the development process in their 72 planned testing stages (the other week I could swear that I saw a game declare itself to be going into "state semi-regionals"). There are too many games, some of which look far too similar, and it's stressing us out.
Enhance your calm, citizen. Here's the first part of our quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: It's not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, I won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns. Then stay tuned next week for the second half of this list!