kids

The Game Archaeologist: How Sceptre of Goth shaped the MMO industry

When it comes to text-based MMOs created in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, the sheer number of them would blot out the sky. There are certainly more multi-user dungeons (MUDs) than I’ve ever been able to get a handle on when I’ve tried creating lists of the most important to know, but I will say that there are a few that seem to pop up more than others. The original MUD1, created by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, was certainly a watershed moment for online roleplaying games. Learning about DikuMUD is pretty essential, considering its impact on graphical MMORPGs that we still play today.

But there’s another title that often goes unnoticed, unless you keep an eye out for it. It’s a MUD that keeps popping up when you look into the history of the MMORPG genre, one with ties to key players and design concepts that are still active today.

It’s the MUD that shaped the MMO industry, and it was called Sceptre of Goth.

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Perfect Ten: The perfect MMO cosmetic system

Whenever I hear about or get into a new MMO, one of the very first things I’ll be asking is if the game has a cosmetic outfit system and how involved it is. Wardrobes used to be a rarity in the genre, although as time went on these systems thankfully became more prevalent.

So yes, I’m a grown adult man and I’m totally into playing dollies with my video game characters. C’mon, it’s a pretty fun thing to do. You get to stand out from the clones around you and express your own personality through fashion that costs you, if not nothing, then far less than you’d buy at the mall.

But not every cosmetic system is created alike. When I was thinking about the best systems found in MMORPGs, I realized that many of them had drawbacks and advantages that differentiated them from other games. So what makes for the “perfect” MMO cosmetic system? I have a few ideas. Several ideas. OK, 10 ideas.

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Ashes of Creation answers questions on progression, music, and (setting) forest fires

Remember kids, only devs can prevent virtual forest fires! And it’s probably a good thing that they do because apparently there are some Ashes of Creation fans who actually want the ability to light acres of in-game property ablaze for… reasons.

The bizarre query to program in firebugs came out of a wild-and-woolly community Q&A session that Intrepid CEO Steven Sharif did yesterday. Sharif fielded all sorts of questions about the game including practical (nodes, progression) and goofy (metal band music, a troll class for trolling).

The session is a little difficult to follow, what with all of the Discord pings and rambling questions from the community, but there are some interesting nuggets of info in it concerning the weather system, wider possibilities for caravans, and the depth of the crafting system. Check it out for yourself below!

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Echo of Soul is heading to China (again)

Good news, Echo of Soul fans in China: The game is coming back. (It’s not coming back in North America, it never left. It’s remaining here. It’s still here. Nothing has changed.) The title is heading to the country once again under the care of the small and heretofore largely unknown publisher Hoga.

This isn’t the first time the Korean title has been imported to China, but the first attempt under publisher ChangYou was unsuccessful and closed down back in 2015. Still, it seems that the order of the day is to not let a little thing like failing to capture the market share the first time prevent companies from making a second attempt, so it’s time for another go. Remember, kids: If at first you don’t succeed, find a new publisher and try again in a year.

Source: MMO Culture

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KingsIsle seeks support to get EverClicker on Steam; Wizard101 and Pirate101 might be next

First there was EverQuest. Then there was Ever, Jane. Now there’s EverClicker. This sort of trend could go on (wait for it) forever.

KingsIsle, the studio behind both Wizard101 and Pirate101, is branching out into the mobile space and is looking for fan support to propel its newest title onto Steam. On the Wizard101 forums, the team asks the community to head over to Steam Greenlight to vote for EverClicker in the hopes of seeing it hit the big time.

Oddly enough, both 101 games have yet to debut on Steam themselves, but KingsIsle said that EverClicker could pave the way for that. “It’s easier to start our journey onto Steam with a game that isn’t hugely complicated with a lot of moving parts,” the studio said. “Starting with EverClicker on Steam allows us to learn the process. If successful, we hope to be able to offer more of our games on Steam and other distribution outlets in the future, which could include games such as Wizard101 and Pirate101.”

Source: Wizard101 forums, Steam Greenlight. Thanks, Tom!

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H1Z1’s Fight for the Crown TV debut is tonight with $300K on the line

Just as this post goes live at 9 p.m. EDT, Daybreak’s H1Z1: King of the Kill will see its TV debut as its Fight for the Crown tournament is aired on The CW, the perfect channel for a zombie survival sandbox, given its preponderance of cringey YA genre material.

But before you go all “kids these days,” check out Daybreak’s new infographic and the behind-the-scenes vids — it’s definitely not just kids who’d like a slice of that $300,000 prize pool.

Anybody watching tonight, or will you be sobbing quietly in a corner with Just Survive?

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American families are gaming together more than ever before

Just in case you have a friend who is still under the delusion that video games are a niche entertainment market, you might want to point them in the direction of this report from the Entertainment Software Association.

According to a new 2017 study, 65% of American households don’t merely play video games — but do so on a regular basis. A slightly higher percentage of households, 67%, own some sort of video game device (and 11% of households have a VR set). What’s up, you two-percenters?

While kids certainly make up some of the demographics here, it’s actually adults who are the majority of household gamers. The report said that the current average age of a gamer is 35 and that 72% of household gamers 18 years of age or older.

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The Game Archaeologist: SOE’s The Agency

The graveyard of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak Game Company is certainly full enough to be considered a threat if there was ever a zombie uprising among MMORPGs. From PlanetSide to Free Realms, there are plenty of live games that were disposed of in this grim fictional burial ground. But there are also those stillborn titles that never had the change to make or break in a live environment. EverQuest Next might be the most fresh in our minds, but go back a handful of years and you might have seen players lamenting the loss of a different promising SOE game: The Agency.

The Agency seems like a natural fit for the studio’s focus on first-person shooters and a willingness to branch out from strictly fantasy territory. Instead of dragons or stormtroopers, players in this game were to face off against terrorist organizations and dastardly spy agencies, all in the pursuit of living out the ultimate James Bond fantasy.

But instead of sitting on our desktop, The Agency exists only in a forgotten corner of this imaginary cemetery. Today, let us tenderly brush off its worn tombstone and remember what we can about this canceled spy shooter.

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U.S. district court hears Pokemon Go trespassing lawsuit

Last summer when Pokemon Go took off, so did the lawsuits from property owners who claimed Niantic was effectively encouraging players to illegally trespass on their land. We covered two such suits, one in Michigan and one in New Jersey, and there were more — and they’ve since been consolidated into a single suit seeking class-action status.

The U.S. District Court in San Francisco is now set to decide the case, The Wall Street Journal reports this week, in a move that will likely influence future augmented reality MMOs like PoGo.

“Residents of the Villas of Positano on the South Florida coast said hundreds of people began infiltrating the 62-unit complex, parking illegally and even relieving themselves in the landscaping during late-night visits to ‘catch’ virtual characters. Another plaintiff, a New Jersey lawyer, said at least five people knocked on his door asking for access to his backyard. In Michigan, a couple said a quiet nearby park became overrun once it was tagged as a location in the game, creating a nightmare for neighbors as players stormed the area, blocked driveways and peered in windows. […] The intrusions, the plaintiffs say, amount to negligence and trespassing by the game’s developer, Niantic Inc. They claim not only that Niantic is responsible for players who physically trespassed, but also that the placement of the virtual characters is itself a form of trespassing.”

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Master x Master closed beta begins April 6; signups are open now

D’awwww, look at that image of City of Heroes’ Statesman, scowling down upon all the kids flocking to the Master X Master beta signup page with hope in their hearts! They are really not gonna let this one go quietly, nope.

Indeed, NCsoft has announced that its first Master x Master closed beta round will begin later this week starting on April 6th and running to almost the end of the month.

“The Closed Beta represents the first test in the West of the newest version of MXM, including new Masters, game modes, updated graphics and UI, and brand new features. The Closed Beta servers will be open and available from 10am PDT, April 6 until 6pm PDT, April 27.”

Signups are open on the official site.

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Wizard101, Pirate101 newsletters tease big ‘monstrology’ update for the Spiral

KingsIsle has just put out a pair of monthly newsletters for its 101 games — heads-up to any lost Club Penguin peeps that there are some non-mobile MMOs still catering to your tastes!

While Pirate101’s community letter is more of the social sort, Wizard101 is currently in the midst of plotting a new update for players.

“Please download the Test Realm and join us in Testing the Monstrology system, three new Skeleton Key Bosses, the level 118 school pet quests, Aquila fishing, and much more,” the Wizard101 crew says.

There’s a teaser video too down below so you know just what to expect.

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One Shots: Avenging angel

When you push a player too far, commit too many crimes, and flaunt your evil with one of those tacky pre-battle speeches, you’re going to get a face full of avenging angel.

Tyler, take it away! “No matter how many of The Secret World’s world bosses I fight (and I have fought a lot; I may have a problem), I never get tired of seeing the swarms of players that rush in to take them down, the riot of different outfits and ability effects, the massive bosses withering away under the combined fire, the sheer epic mayhem of it all. Add the spectacular effects from ultimate abilities, and you have an endless source of amazing screenshot fodder.”

Welcome to an all-email submissions edition of One Shots! Remember kids, when you email a screenshot and a story, you get to cut to the front of the line!

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World of Tanks players raised cash for kids during last year’s War Child campaign

Wargaming announced today that World of Tanks players raised a huge sum of money for children in need last year. Last summer, the video game giant teamed up with War Child, a UK-based charity that focuses on children affected by local and global political conflict, to raise money for that cause.

“Late last year, Wargaming partnered with War Child for their Armistice Campaign. Players of World of Tanks were able to buy special emblems and packages to help raise money for children affected by conflict all over the world, with 100% of Wargaming’s share going directly to charity. Thanks to the community’s help and generosity, a donation of $84,800 went to War Child UK. Wargaming would like to thank all the players who donated to this great cause as every single penny raised was from the community.”

Hear, hear and well done. Never let it be said that gamers have no heart!

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