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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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No Man's Sky patches in a fix to allow faster movement on every planet

Last week, No Man's Sky patched in the option to build rovers for quickly traversing the landscape. That's just a good thing, right? After all, it means that you could hop from place to place without having to use up fuel on your ship. Except that for some reason, the geobays required for these rovers could only be built on your home planet, meaning that you couldn't use them at all on any new world you discovered. In other words, a great new tool for exploring strange new worlds could not be used to explore strange new worlds.

Whether this was an accident or an oversight is unclear, but either way, it's been changed now. Players can now build geobays on new worlds, meaning you can hop in and start exploring with faster movement wherever you wind up. Or you can just put on an appropriate soundtrack and start crushing the local wildlife underneath your exploratory vehicle's wheels. It's all up to you, it's your playground.

Source: Steam via Polygon

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No Man's Sky reaches 1M players in its Foundation era

Love it or hate it, No Man's Sky was the buzz around the video game water cooler last year. And while the space exploration title received major backlash following its shaky launch, creater Sean Murray said that last November's Foundations update propelled the game to a million players (in some way, shape, or form).

In an interview from GDC, Murray performed a post-mortem on the game's launch, saying that the team only expected about 14,000 players on day one -- and became quickly overwhelmed when a half million explorers showed up to party. He noted that the relatively small team (nine employees) and the fact that the game started to run out of money during development were factors in the difficult release.

Meanwhile, Murray is focused on developing even more procedural generation for all of its projects: "Making really neat, weird engine decisions, and letting them dictate a cascade of problems: It's cool for me to be able to stand up and say to talented people like yourselves, we're looking for that kind of thing."

Source: Ars Technica. Thanks BabaGra.PL!

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The MOP Up: No Man's Sky gets shielded (January 22, 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, No Man's Sky made the jump to the Nvidia Shield, giving players a new way to experience this space sim. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from NeverwinterTrove, and more, all waiting for you after the break!

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Cops-and-robbers sandbox Identity on griefing, prison, customization, and more

Identity is an open-world, cops-and-robbers sandbox, and it isn't asking you for money. That's because it was already Kickstarted to the tune of almost $150,000 back in 2015. It's a real-world MMORPG with a focus on roleplay, economy, and yes, the dark side of human nature.

Developer Asylum Entertainment sat for an AMA on Reddit Friday -- here are a few of the highlights:

  • Custom server admins can enforce a "new life rule" -- when you die and return, it's as a new character -- but the official servers won't. NPC police won't patrol the world, but players will be somewhat restricted, such that players can't raid each other's homes. "On official servers, we have a stress system in place to discourage random attacks or griefing. [...] You won't be able to shoot from inside your vehicle. We want to discourage random acts of violence for the sake of roleplay." There will also be safe-zones for player gatherings.
  • "Identity's prison is very much a game within a game." Players will join factions, attempt prison escape, create weapons, undertake a trial, or just chill out and chat until their time is served. There are no player prison guards (they said they couldn't make it fun).
  • Character customization will be limited to facial features, tats, jewelry, piercings (and presumable gender, skin color, etc.) but not physique, at least not for launch.

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Dota 2, The Division list among the best-selling Steam games of 2016

One of my favorite things to do at the end of each calendar year is to read all of the "best of" lists that get posted all over the place. Steam is contributing to my delight, as it has posted its top 100 best-selling PC games of 2016. Plenty of MMOs, MOBAs, and online multiplayer titles dominate the list, which makes it interesting reading for those invested in our hobby.

The highest-revenue titles on the list (the "platinum" sellers) included The Division, Dota 2, and No Man's Sky. Gold sellers welcomed ARK: Survival Evolved, Warframe, and H1Z1: King of the Kill to the club, while silver sellers gave tribute to Elder Scrolls Online and SMITE.

And at the bottom of the top 100 sellers, the "bronze" titles, are games like Final Fantasy XIV, Tree of Savior, Path of Exile, H1Z1: Just Survive, Grim Dawn, and Elite Dangerous. Note that all of these titles only mark games that had the highest grossing revenue, possibly thanks to sales, and do not reflect how much time was spent among the community playing them.

Source: Steam. Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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MMO Year in Review: We are Legion (August 2016)

This year, we’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2017.

World of Warcraft ran away with the month of August in spite of not launching Legion until its tail end, but many MMORPG players were busy tussling over Black Desert business model shenanigans and No Man's Sky's no man's multiplayer mess, plus we learned EVE Online was destined for the free-to-play market.

Read on for the whole list!

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Perfect Ten: Biggest MMORPG surprises of 2016

Back at the beginning of December, I posted a list of what I considered to be the biggest MMORPG stories of 2016. However, there were notable exceptions in that list of news that fans thought should be included. Unbeknownst to them but knownst to me, I had a second list in the works: the biggest MMO surprises of 2016.

That's right! Today we're going to revisit all of the big news that pretty much nobody saw coming (and if they say they did, they're lying, but let them have it - it's what they live for in this internet age). Being surprised by this genre is one of the reasons why I love writing for Massively OP -- you never quite know what will pop up on any given day.

Sure, some surprises are sour and unwelcome, but others can be delightful and exciting. We've got both on this list, so let's wrap up this year by seeing what stories gave us double-takes and were the buzz on everyone's lips!

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Massively OP's Best of 2016 Awards: Biggest MMORPG Disappointment of 2016

Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for the Biggest MMORPG Disappointment of 2016, which was awarded in 2015 to World of Warcraft's setbacks: Blizzard's massive sub slide and content drought. Hey, at least it won't go two in a row!

Disappointments can be games, launches, patches, trends, stories, sunsets, all manner of topics in the MMORPG genre and orbiting sub-genres. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. 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 Biggest MMORPG Disappointment of 2016 is...

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Lazarus gets a new website, wipes every hour

Keeping track of the latest development for Lazarus, the 2-D roguelike space shooter, is now easier, considering that the team has put up a new website for those loath to troll Steam for the most recent information.

Even though the persistent servers have been up for almost a month now, the game is still in a quasi-beta state. One sign of this is that the team is doing the big server reset every hour instead of every week for testing purposes.

One of the ideas that the team is working on is a variety of enemy mobs that aren't mere cannon fodder: "We're planning an enemy that sneaks around and gathers resources from the battlefield. The idea is the give players a target that might be more important than an aggressive AI, depending on their current objective [...] We've got some really cool ideas for about 15 more very different and challenging enemies. Without wanting to sound too high-falutin', we're aiming to fill out a really wide space of gameplay possibilities, with unique enemies whose behaviours overlap and interact in fun ways."

Source: Lazarus

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The MOP Up: Dota 2 goes on a new journey (December 18, 2016)

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, Dota 2 rocked out with its massive New Journey update. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from ArcheAgeRiders of IcarusNo Man's Skyand more, all waiting for you after the break!

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MMO Mechanics: 2016's MMORPG mechanics in review

The holiday season is finally upon us: My decorations are resurrected from their dark corner of my storage closets once more, Jack Frost is beginning to nip at my toes on these frosty evenings, and even the MMOs that fill my free time are getting into the festive spirit with amazing seasonal activities. It's the perfect time for a dose of nostalgia and I thought that a look back at 2015's column entries and revisit the comments sections of each one to pull out some of your fantastic offerings on the topics I've covered over the last year. This column holds some of my favourite articles I have written in no small part because of the topic development that happens via your amazing thoughts and counterpoints that are added in the comments.

In this edition of MMO Mechanics, I'll revisit my top picks from the column's 2016 entries and summarise my thoughts on my favourite topics to provide you with an end-of-year roundup that should be particularly useful for those of you who have missed some editions and fancy a quick catch up. I'll also be quoting my favourite comments that were left on each of those articles too, so if you're a regular reader be sure to check and see if your comment is featured!

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