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NetEase’s Age of Exploration MMO Ocean Legend sets sail for mobile

Multiple new-to-us games calling themselves MMORPGs seem to land on mobile devices every week these days. On our radar today is Ocean Legend. Live on iOS and Android in some soft launch beta hybrid mode, it’s a swashbuckling “Age of Exploration” MMO that’s a mix of Sea of Thieves and Pirates of the Burning Sea and Sword of the New World. Here’s NetEase’s pitch:

“Players take part in the growing naval empires of 15th and 16th century Europe. Choose between four different characters and five separate countries for your own oceanic adventure in the Age of Exploration! In single player mode, join Columbus and his shipmates on their third expedition, battle against pirates, then set out on your own to make a name for yourself as commander of your own fleet.”

Exploration is accomplished through “Cards of Discovery” – History, Theology, Architecture, Art, Biology, and Geography – each of which “opens up a new world of knowledge for players, and an opportunity to travel more and face new challenges, like difficult weather conditions, real navigation, and even other players in multi-player mode.”

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Black Desert Korea is letting players date (and vie for) NPCs

If yesterday’s Black Desert patch in the west didn’t grab you, maybe a peek into what Korea’s getting will. Daum’s official patch notes over on the Korean site lists some of yesterday’s changes here, including the PvP and crowd control tweaks, but it also has some fun new bits, including “a new system where you can date an NPC.” Wait, what?

“After establishing an intimacy with a specific NPC and succeeding in confession, you can become a lover with that NPC. Also, when you become a lover, you can get special title.”

Inven Global’s translation is better than Google’s here; it refers to an “amity” pool and a “confession” of love to pick up that NPC as a girl/boyfriend. You can also send gifts to your new beau in a system that looks a lot like the one in Star Wars The Old Republic – except that in this system, everyone’s vying for the same NPCs instead of lugging around a copy with eyes only for one PC.

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GDC 2018: Ultima Online post-mortem with Richard Garriott, Starr Long, Raph Koster, and Rich Vogel

Plenty of panels at GDC are recorded and uploaded to the internet weeks after the event, including this one. It’s not quite the same as being there, as you miss a few things. For example, this year’s Ultima Online Post-Mortem panel was packed. It was international. It was fun, gross, nostalgiac, and sometimes groan-inducing.

And I’d hate to just summarize the talk, especially since some of you vets have heard these stories before, but since ya’ll couldn’t make it, I’ll do it. For you. But for this particular panel, not only will I try to summarize what was said before the panel will be viewable online in a few weeks, but I’ll dish out on the after-panel chat with Richard Garriott, Starr Long, Raph Koster, and Rich Vogel, including comments from the team on bad bans, kingslaying, VR, and the state of the MMORPG.

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The MOP Up: Final Fantasy XIV gets primal (March 25, 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 Destiny 2ScumPokemon Go, OrbusVRDauntlessHeroes of the Storm, SkyforgeElswordOld School RuneScapeMapleStory BlitzDestiny 2The Elder Scrolls LegendsProsperous UniverseFinal Fantasy XIVMU LegendWakfu, and Dark and Light, all waiting for you after the break!

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Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s devs take you spelunking in the pre-alpha

Here’s a neat two-for-one deal for fans of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The developers recently hosted a livestream in which they showed pre-alpha spelunking in Halnir Cave while also discussing the game and its ongoing development.

There were a lot of details to be gleaned from the livestream, including how the improved user interface functions during adventures, a glimpse of the touted perception system, some of the Rogue’s abilities and descriptions, and plenty of examples of loot.

Over the two hours, the dev team covered many topics: hotbars, macros, craftings, light sources, death, the class system, alternative advancement, and so much more. The team said that alpha is not scheduled as of right now as the game is moving through several pre-alpha phases at the present.

Pantheon will be present at PAX East next month with a limited demo that lucky players (and press!) will experience, so stay tuned.

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MMO designer Raph Koster reveals ‘Trust Spectrum’ research for online games

If you’ll be at GDC this week (we will!), you’re in for a treat, as research from MMORPG designer Raph Koster will be on tap.

It’s new design framework aimed at co-op multiplayer game designers, conducted as part of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group under Aaron Cammarata. The team is calling it the Trust Spectrum, and as Koster explains on his blog, the idea was to study how trust impacts games and vice versa, specifically for the purpose of building games that make sense for the level of trust players have for each other – and then building games that actually push people along the trust spectrum in a way that makes sense.

What they found in digging through games and gamers of all stripes was that “virtually all games are actually played at all levels of this spectrum; meaning, you can play competitive games with friends or strangers, a bidding system or supply chain system may exist at any point on the spectrum.” Ultimately, the investigators were able to map features across a trust range to make predictions on everything from audience size to retention.

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Glitch-inspired Children of Ur abandons Google Chrome due to incompatibility

The uphill struggle to rebuild Glitch has hit a rather significant snag in Children of Ur.

“It saddens us to bring you this news, but Children of Ur is no longer working in Google Chrome, our browser of choice,” the team said on Facebook. “This is because Chrome is no longer supporting a feature that Polymer (which we heavily rely on) uses. CoU will not run on Chrome for the indefinite future, as resources are very limited. From this point on, Mozilla Firefox is the browser to use in order to play CoU. Unfortunately, the game is very choppy and somewhat slow in their browser.”

This notice was the first development post about the game since May 2017. Children of Ur is one of two indie community projects that have been attempting to bring back Glitch in some way, shape, or form, the other one being Eleven.

Source: Facebook. Thanks Xanward!

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Google and Ubisoft are working on a multiplayer open source server

The next time you play an online game, you might have Google to thank for handling the heavy lifting. The tech giant announced that it is working on an open-source multiplayer server called Agones that should allow gamers “more freedom and flexibility” to host their own matches on the cloud.

Google is developing this new server setup with Ubisoft, as the latter is more than familiar with the requirements and demands of online gaming. The project is still in the early stages but when it comes out, users will be able to create, run, and scale servers to meet the needs of individual matches.

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Black Desert patches in Black Spirit’s Adventure 2 minigame, anticipates Drieghan region in Korea

If you found Black Desert’s little black spirit dude disconcerting, this week’s patch is… not gonna help that. Today’s update adds Black Spirit’s Adventure 2, a second season of the minigame with a refreshed look. Kakao is also incentivizing fishing with the Ancient Relic Crystal Shard drop event, plus adding tweaks for battlefields and new login rewards. And this sounds ominous: “The dragon flying around North Kaia Mountain has suddenly disappeared without a trace.”

Meanwhile, Korean players are anticipating the launch of the Drieghan region in their version of the game as of tomorrow. The teaser site is live now, and if you can wade through the Korean with Google Translate, you’ll be able to scope out the new grind areas, level 59+ areas, a new hunting ground with a diurnal spawn cycle, new loot, changes to contribution levels for experience, mass processing crafting, a new minigame, and the city of Duvencrune. The trailer for that is down below.

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Pearl Abyss calls Black Desert Mobile’s soft launch a ‘domestic success’

Does Pearl Abyss have a hit on its hands with Black Desert Mobile? In Korea it appears to be so. The company sent ’round a press release this morning crowing about the game’s successful soft launch in the region.

“In less than a week, Black Desert Mobile has been able to knock most of the top contenders out of the game, reaching the #1 position for Most Popular Game in both the Apple App and Google Play stores in Korea on the very first day,” says the company, calling it a “domestic success” at home in South Korea.

The game is wishlistable in the west on the Google Play Store right now, though everything still looks to be in Korean and none of my devices can grab it without tinkering. The global launch with full English localization is forthcoming. Anybody dived in yet?

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Paladins begins testing its battle royale mode and removes controversial lootboxes

While it’s not as cool of a name as “Thunderdome,” Paladins’ Battlegrounds is still likely to attract plenty of bloodthirsty savages looking for a good scrap.

The new game mode, which is pretty much your now-standard battle royale (complete with the ever-shrinking walls of poison fog), arrived in Open Beta 66 this past Wednesday. Other changes that came with the patch include a Facebook Live streaming option, changes to the minimum system requirements, and a required level of 15 for the classic siege mode.

Hi-Rez has had its hands full this week. The studio faced an uprising from players following the addition of lootboxes in Update 64. These lootboxes, which came in the form of cards, were seen as pay-to-win by many and resulted in players flooding the Paladins subreddit with crappy card art as a way to mock the move. This goofy protest paid off, and Hi-Rez announced that it will be removing and replacing the system.

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Old School RuneScape mobile won’t unduly task your phone or tablet

Looking forward to playing some Old School RuneScape on your phone or tablet this year? That day is getting closer all the time, and a new blog post shares how much space and data the app will use.

The base application for the mobile MMO is 30 MB, which is certainly on the small side. The team estimates that the game will use about 103 MB of data transfer and between 8% and 12% of battery charge per hour of gameplay. [Jagex has since said this figure is not accurate and it is working on a better estimate.]

The team said that it is laying the groundwork for future updates on both Android and iOS: “An MMORPG which receives weekly content and engine updates is somewhat a new concept in mobile gaming, and so one area of difficulty we had to navigate was the manner in which app stores vet app updates. We’ve been engaged in discussions with both Apple and Google to ensure the app is fit for being on the stores, and we’re making good progress with both!”

Over in regular RuneScape, new features such as Aura Management are being added to the game in response to player feedback. “More bank space and less faff” are the results of this change.

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Maplestory mobile spinoff Maplestory M hits Android beta today

Maplestory is one of those MMOs that runs quietly under the radar but manages to have a massive following all the same. Will Maplestory M, its mobile spinoff, amass the same sort of loyalty? We’ll see, and soon, as today it’s kicked off a global beta for Android players that runs through January 30th.

Maplestory M will reportedly offer new playable characters in addition to familiar friends, plus the typical assortment of mobile content: daily dungeons, boss mobs, power-up jewels, a new forging system, and something called private mini-dungeons. Ten-man raids are also on offer.

According to Nexon, the game became the top-ranked free-to-play game in Korea on both iOS and Android when it launched in the region in 2016. Formal release in the west is expected “later this year” for both platforms.

For what it’s worth, I’m downloading the game as I write this; I was surprised to see that it will run on both my brand-new phone and my antique that’s four years old, so your kid’s hand-me-down toaster might just run this.

Source: Press release, Google Play

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