linden lab

Known primarily for Second Life.

The MOP Up: Osiris New Dawn’s terrifying space ghosts (November 19, 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 Dragon NestTERA MMabinogi MobileIcarus MSummoner’s WarStar Trek OnlineOsiris New DawnLord of Vermilion ArenaPUBGStardew ValleyWarframeOverwatchPath of ExileAstroneerKurtzPelRuneScapeDota 2Second Life, and Renaissance Kingdoms, all waiting for you after the break!

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Virtual Earth Online looks like a Minecraft and Second Life mash-up

So you’re tired of visiting far-flung post-apoc space stations, fantasy ghost castles, underground slime lairs, and zombie grottos on Mars. What’s next? How about… Earth?

Aussie MMO Virtual Earth Online may be up to that challenge, at least if you can handle the graphic style. It looks like a mash-up of Minecraft and Second Life, with the whole world (even, apparently, your house) built out with voxels. Developer Gavin McDonald told us that building mats were on the docket for insertion over the weekend and the game has just gotten a new graphics engine after six years of development (it was Greenlit back when that was still a thing). While the original game is properly an MMORPG, or perhaps a massive online virtual world, a new single player survival mode is also rolling out (check out the video of that in action down below).

The game appears to be freely downloadable, but the trading post is offering microtransaction buildings and items for as little as 5 cents.

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One Shots: I think I’m turning Japanese

I’ve got your picture of me and you
You wrote “I love you,” I love you too
I sit there staring and there’s nothing else to do

We’ve all been there when a “good” Japanese demon of legend has a legit crush on one of the leaders of the Illuminati. How else to express that unrequited love than with a commissioned painting and some headless mannequins?

“In honor of Secret World Legends’ Kristen Geary,” posted reader Koshelkin. This is exactly how court restraining orders get started.

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The Game Archaeologist: Furcadia

Let’s face it: There isn’t really a huge pool of MMORPGs from the 1990s to explore in this column. By now I have done most of them, including some of the more obscure titles. Yet there has always been this one game that I have shied away from covering, even though it (a) was an actual MMO from the ’90s and (b) is still operating even today. And that game is, of course, Furcadia.

So why my reluctance? To be honest, I suppose it was my reluctance to tackle anything in the “furry” fandom without knowing how to handle it. I don’t quite get the fascination with wanting to pretend to be an animal, and some of the expressions that I’ve seen in the news and online from this community have made me uncomfortable. Thus I kept away because I was worried that a piece that I wrote on Furcadia would devolve into a nonstop stream of jokes to cover that personal disquiet.

But I’ve tiptoed around this MMO long enough, and I have come to realize that there is virtue in earnestly trying to understand a subculture that is outside of my bubble, even if I don’t end up appreciating or liking it. Casting off preconceptions and simple snark, let us take a look at this unique title and see what it has to offer for the larger genre.

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Massively Overthinking: How should MMOs make money in a world without lockboxes?

Earlier this week, MOP’s Justin expressed frustration over lockboxes, feeling especially provoked. “As both a player and a journalist, I find it insulting when an MMO studio wants me to get excited about its lockboxes,” he tweeted. “They are poison.”

MOP reader and gamer Iain (@ossianos) wants to hear more about poison! “I’d be interested to read an article on your thoughts, and those of the MassivelyOP staff, on how MMOs could otherwise make money,” he tweeted back.

Challenge accepted! And perfectly timed for this week’s Massively Overthinking topic. Imagine (or just remember) a world without lockboxes. How would MMOs and other online games survive without lockboxes here in 2017? What should they be doing instead, and what might they have to do when the inevitable gachapon regulation comes westward?

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MMOs you’ve never heard of: Metin2, Orake, Crusaders of Light, Legends of Equestria, and Sansar

We’re willing to bet that some of you visit Massively OP because you are keeping an eye out for new conquests: games you have never heard of, hidden titles that beg to be brought to your attention. Well, today is that day because we have a list of five MMOs for you to check out and see if they warrant your attention and devotion.

The list begins with Metin2, an Asian martial arts MMO chock-full of wicked fighting moves, demon lords, and Chinese aesthetics. Another free Steam game to check out might be Orake, a 2-D MMO that looks like it would be at home in 1997.

The creators of Second Life have made a sequel of sorts with Sansar. This virtual world is a build-anything, do-anything sandbox, and Kotaku has a hands-on with the closed beta. It should be available in open beta testing later this summer.

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The MOP Up: EVE Valkyrie lowers its price point (June 11, 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 we have stories and videos from MechWarrior OnlineGuild Wars 2EverQuest IICabal OnlineEVE ValkyrieParagonSecond LifeLuna OnlineAtelier OnlineFinal Fantasy XILegend of Ancient Sword OnlineNo Man’s SkyHeroes of the StormArt of ConquestDreadnoughtOverwatchSINoALICEBlade and SoulPokemon Go, and Eternal Crusade, all waiting for you after the break!

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Second Life bunnies doomed to death

If Second Life had a mascot, other than a pile of soiled sex toys, it might just be Ozimals. These are adorable little bunnies that can be bred to produce all kinds of rare and interesting patterns and could interact with AI scripts. There’s apparently been a thriving industry and subculture raging around these fluffy hareballs that’s involved marketplaces and real-world money.

Well all of that activity — and many of the Ozimals themselves — is coming to a sad end today. Earlier this week, the operator of Ozimals received a cease-and-desist letter ordering the market to be shut down. It turns out that the bunnies were cobbled together using intellectual property from different owners, leaving the critters vulnerable to such legal maneuvering.

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Second Life as a modern refuge for the disabled

I’m certain I’m not alone in having been ill and injured several times over my life, once when I couldn’t walk without considerable effort and crutches for many months thanks to a busted ankle — and online games were a window to the world for me during each of those times, even more so than they are now.

Now imagine that you’re permanently disabled — or maybe you already are. That’s the topic of a Backchannel article published last week on 2003 virtual world Second Life. Author Kristen French dug into the apparently large — estimates begin at 20% of the game’s 800,000 monthly active users — disabled community in the “hugely profitable” Second Life world, where activists run social groups and events for people with everything from mobility issues to speech and hearing disorders and even autism.

Of note, one of the players profiled in the piece is getting more than comfort.

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We’re gonna have gorgeous hair in City of Titans

A few weeks ago, the Massively OP writers were hanging in the news room on a tear about mohawks. We’re not against mohawks. Mohawks are cool. But when we open up a character creator and see 50 different types of mohawks and little else? Not cool — just lazy.

So it’s with excitement that I pass along this City of Titans forum piece that profiles Hunter Robins, the 3D developer working on the indie superhero game’s hairstyles, who says he got into game design after catching the team’s eye with his self-taught Sims modding, which he eventually turned into a revenue stream in Second Life, and then into ARK: Survival Evolved modding.

“My job is to deliver a set of quality hairstyles to give the player a variety to choose from, hoping to guarantee at least one they will really enjoy,” he writes.

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever participated in a protest in an MMORPG?

Protests in the real world dominated this past weekend’s news, and while I surfed around for an in-game equivalent to cover, I couldn’t find much of one (though I found people selling themed accessories in Second Life!). That said, protests in MMORPGs aren’t unheard of, and I mean actual protests, not memorials and vigils. World of Warcraft players will remember multiple protests throughout that game’s history, mostly against the design of the game, but sometimes against Blizzard’s policies. How about the Million Gnome March, for example, which caused game outages and threats from the studio claiming protests were “griefing”? Or the 2006 protests against Blizzard’s stance on LGBT guilds — which the studio reversed? How about the multiple Occupy SAB protests in Guild Wars 2, which ArenaNet allowed to transpire without much fuss?

I’ve never been to an in-game protest that I recall [Edit: I’m wrong. I have! See comments!], but I did stage my own one-woman protest in Star Wars Galaxies, where following the pronouncement that “no one wanted to play Uncle Owen” because moisture farmers were boring, I promptly rolled a character whose primary role was moisture farming on her permanently installed moisture farm. I made a lot of credits and had a lot of fun selling water on that character, right up until the day the servers were sunsetted. Silly? Maybe, but it gave me some life to prove that the suits were full of shit and didn’t really understand the first thing about their own playerbase.

Have you ever participated in a protest in an MMORPG?

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Perfect Ten: The worst-squandered IPs in online gaming

There are always going to be differences in opinion about what should be done with an IP based upon a franchise. That’s just natural. The same core universe could be used to make a sprawling sandbox with weak combat but a robust non-combat market and profession system, or it could be used to make a combat-focused experience that focuses on energetic fights, nifty story moments, and little else. In both cases, even if you don’t like the end result, you can understand exactly why the IP was used for this.

Our column today is not about those games. No, this is about games that completely failed to make use of their licenses to IPs, produced totles that did not in any way logically follow from the license that was given, or otherwise took pure gold and turned it into something… less than gold. There’s room to debate whether some of these IPs would ever make good MMOs, but boy, the uses we have were pretty bad.

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Player wanders into deserted virtual world, finds abundant creepiness

Chances are that you’re unfamiliar with Active Worlds. It was a virtual world created in 1995 with the ability for players to create their own content. Kind of a predecessor to Second Life, if you will.

So our story today begins with a YouTuber named Vinny who was checking out this largely deserted game for his video series. During his explorations, he came upon a figure named Hitomi Fujiko, who Vinny first assumes to be an NPC due to the repeated statements by the character. However, Hitomi Fujiko reveals that he’s a player (possibly roleplaying) and starts following Vinny around and saying incredibly creepy things, such as “Human… I didn’t want to tell you this… but this land it is empty” and “Please tell me I exist.”

The stranger finally says, “I can’t even feel pain” and then (seriously) transforms into a werewolf, yelling at Vinny to run. Now, this could be a total set-up between two players, but if not, it’s definitely one of the more disturbing things you’ll see all day. You can watch the edited and subtitled encounter between Vinny and Hitomi Fujiko after the break.

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