You don’t need to be a brand-new and modern MMORPG to suffer major cheating scandals, something the nearly 20-year-old Ultima Online has reminded us this week.
In its most recent newsletter, UO studio Broadsword explains that an Event Moderator — one of the studio contractors paid to run live events for the game’s production shards — was caught cheating, generating what appears to have been large amounts of rare-dyed cloth and an unknown quantities of unique items, which were then circulated into the already beleaguered player economy. In UO, the so-called “rares market” involves the sale and display and items that exist only in tiny batches thanks to these types of customized events, and a large part of the game (and its bloated gold economy) revolves around trading legitimate rares. It goes without saying that mass-creating those types of items for personal gain is the worst offense for a studio contractor.
“The Event Moderator program has been going strong nearly 8 years now, and we have all worked hard to ensure its success,” Producer Bonnie “Mesanna” Armstrong told players in the newsletter. “Please know that this situation has not been taken lightly, nor is this behavior tolerated.”
It seems that it really wasn’t too long ago that I was filling in the time between night classes by boning up on video game news. I was drinking up all of the hot up-and-comers, such as Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, when I caught word that the maker of Diablo was trying to do the same thing again, only more online, in 3-D, and with a cool modern-day/futuristic/horror vibe.
There’s no better way to put it than to say that from the start, Hellgate: London looked all kinds of cool. Oh sure, you can scoff now with your perfect 20/20 hindsight, but I’m betting that more than a few of you thought the same with me around that time. Diablo but with guns and an online persistence — how could we not be intrigued? One of my most vivid memories was being torn between the idea of buying a lifetime subscription deal for $150 or not (again, this was before the free-to-play era, but also before the era of us spending the same money on alpha access. I’m just saying that you can’t judge me.).
Broadsword’s keeping fans of its MMORPGs Dark Age of Camelot and Ultima Online busy this week!
Dark Age of Camelot is running a Come Back to Camelot campaign this spring — former players may already have gotten invites in their inboxes. The caveat is that your account must have been off for 60 days for you to pick up an invite, and you get your free 30 days only if you reactivate.
Meanwhile, Ultima Online has announced in its most recent newsletter that publish 97, which we wrote about just a few days ago and includes the huge overhaul for the popular animal taming skill set, is now set to go live on April 27th. In fact, work has already begun on publish 98:
Today we are sitting down with ArenaNet
Lead Composer Maclaine Diemer
, who players might best know from his work on Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
and Living World Season 3. Diemer picked up the baton from Jeremy Soule
, the original composer for the base game, and has been pumping out terrific music for the MMORPG ever since.
Massively OP: At this point in your career at ArenaNet, how many pieces of music have you composed for Guild Wars 2?
Maclaine Diemer: I think about this from time to time, but I honestly don’t know. I’d say it’s in the “several dozen” range, between all the holiday festivals, Living World content, Heart of Thorns, and other miscellaneous stuff like cinematics and marketing videos. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!
Did you realize before you saw this headline that the granddaddy of all graphical MMORPGs is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year? Yes, we are all that old, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
This week’s Ultima Online newsletter is short but packs a punch. The team reports that it has loaded Publish 97 onto the test servers with a huge focus on animal taming and pets. There are a ton of new pets to gather, including dinos, beetles, and dragon wolves.
The Ultima Online team is planning a 20th anniversary celebration in meatspace this September in Virginia, but if you can’t make it, there’s plenty of in-game surprises coming too.
Producer Bonnie Armstrong teased what’s coming later this year: “We are starting the planning stage for Publish 98 that includes a 20th Anniversary Event arc, Halloween, and Anniversary rewards […] One small teaser I will announce is one of the new items we are offering for the 20th Anniversary — a jewelry box!”
An interesting bit of fallout from last week’s One Shots challenge to submit a picture that captures a “childlike” spirit is that several commenters noticed that there is a fine line between something being innocent and childish and something belonging in a horror movie.
Why not start out with this shot from Zulika Mi-Nam, who brings back Halloween at the tail end of February? “I think everything in Dragon Nest looks childlike, so I found all of it kinda creepy. Just as I had heard though, the combat is 100% awesome — and no child’s play.”
I’ve occasionally heard that Dragon Nest is an underrated title in the same vein. Might have to check it out one of these days.
It’s no secret that The Secret World had a rough year in 2016. I just really wish I could say differently. And it’s especially sad because I had such hopes for my favorite game. Granted, I knew it wasn’t going to miraculously get the funding and staff to give me all the story and things my heart so desired, but I did anticipate a bit more than what we actually got. When 2016 dawned, I pieced together our available clues to try and draw a map of where the year was going. A cartographer I apparently am not, and Google maps won’t be hiring me anytime soon. Perhaps for this year I shall consult with the Magic Eight ball? Here’s a look at the scorecard for my 2016 predictions, and a modest list of 2017 hopes, dreams, and predicted happenings. (We’ll just have to wait to see how those ultimately pan out!).
Veteran MOP reader and tipster Nordavind is going to break your immersions. Just kidding. He does have a question for us all on that topic, however:
“After the discussion about the recent Worlds Adrift article, I started to think about what my limit is when it comes to plausibility in games. I do not need a game to be realistic; I can easily accept no fall damage ‘because strong,’ shooting flames from your fingertips ‘because magic,’ and faster-than-light travel ‘because sci-fi,’ but things like those serial turbines in the article’s image [shown above] just utterly shatters the little immersion I bring to games. Don’t mess with the physics! Where do you guys draw the line? What odd things do you accept ‘because’ and what pet peeves can break your immersion in even the most fantasy world of them all? (And the answer “other players” does not count!)”
We’re gonna hold you all to that! We posed Norda’s question to the MOP staff for this week’s Massively Overthinking.
Have you ever had a year that you looked back on and all you could really say was, Hey, I made it through. I’ve had years like that, when many things either go wrong, go a totally different way than hoped/planned, or just don’t really go anywhere at all. But you know what? Not going anywhere is better than going away! It may seem sometimes like the only thing to celebrate is the fact that you are are actually still here, but that is reason enough to cheer.
The Secret World seems to have had just such a year. And by golly, it deserves three cheers just for hanging on. It may not have been the best year filled with fulfilled dreams and wishes, but it could have been worse. It could have been way, way worse: It could have not made it to 2017! So even though there were hiccups and disappointments, I am super glad I still have TSW to log into and play. And I am looking forward to 2017!
Massively OP’s MJ may not have done so well on Guild Wars 2’s Halloween jumping puzzle, but surely she can do better on the Christmas one, right? After all, keeping your footing on candy has to be easier than on a psychotically shifting tower of evil! Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as MJ dives headfirst into the Wintersday festivities of jumping puzzles and Toypocalypse.
What: Guild Wars 2
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 28th, 2016
Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for the MMORPG with the Best Holiday Event of 2016, which is yet another new award for us this year, and we have readers Agemyth and Mylicia to thank for suggesting it. The award is self-explanatory: It’s meant for the MMORPG with the best holiday-themed event that took place during 2016 specifically, regardless of when the game itself was launched. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!
The Massively OP staff pick for MMORPG with the Best Holiday Event of 2016 is…
The Elder Scrolls Online surprised and delighted Massively OP’s MJ with a Halloween-themed event, but that wasn’t the end of things – now there’s a Christmas one, too. She’s not going to miss out on participating (read: getting all the goodies!) in this new New Life Festival. Now if only she could decide which character to do it on. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to take part in ESO’s first winter holiday event.
What: Elder Scrolls Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
You might think you’re having a bad week. You would be wrong. A bad week is getting podded in the void of space as part of a mere interstellar mugging.
“In EVE Online, I got myself stranded in wormhole space after accidentally logging out for the night before I put my exploration probes back in the ship,” Agemyth explained. “Being a solo capsuleer, the only way out would have been to rely on the kindness of strangers, but in wormholes it is very difficult to get anyone to speak at all, much less lend a helping hand. I decided to write my tale in some death notes and jettison them and my phat lewt with it worth a whole seven million ISK. No idea if/when someone will find that, but I like the idea that it might take some time.”
At least you wore underwear when you died! That’s got to count for something.