lord of the rings

See: Lord of the Rings Online

The Daily Grind: How can MMOs repurpose older zones?

One of the best gaming experiences that I had this past year was going through the entirety of the Bingo Boffin storyline from start to finish in Lord of the Rings Online. It wasn’t only goofy, rewarding, and oddly touching at times, but it was a thrill to be able to quest through some of my past favorite zones without having to roll up another alt.

Repurposing older zones for new content is something that the LOTRO devs have latched onto as of late (see: 10th anniversary quests), and I for one applaud this kind of initiative. It feels like such a waste to outlevel a zone and then never see it again. So much work goes into these places, so why not come back to them on occasion and squeeze some more enjoyment out of them?

What do you think? How can MMOs best repurpose older zones? What would be cool to go back and do in those classic zones with your current character?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 144: Harry Potter and the Deathly ARG

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree wrassle a mess of eastern mobile MMOs that are leaping onto the scene, imagine a world full of Harry Potter gamers wandering about, discuss SWTOR’s server merges, and take Guild Wars 2 to task for lockbox missteps.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: What is your favorite MMORPG combat pet?

As a die-hard fan of pet classes in MMOs, I’ve played just about any that were available in the games that I’ve tried. Naturally, some pets have become my favorites, vying for my affection with their blood, sweat, and belly rubs.

In Lord of the Rings Online, my Captain’s Oathbreaker companion traveled with me far and wide across Middle-earth, although right now I’m totally vibing on my Lore-master’s Bog-lurker (which I named Puddleglum). I will always have fond memories of my World of Warcraft Hunter’s spirit wolf, which I tamed back when you really weren’t supposed to be able to tame them. And I’m starting to take a shine to my talkative iron robot dog in Dungeons and Dragons Online, although he is a little too suicidal for my liking.

What is your favorite MMORPG combat pet? Which one did you end up bonding to and loving the most?

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Perfect Ten: A list of all the MMORPGs I supposedly hate

Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.

Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.

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The Daily Grind: What older MMO systems do you wish devs would upgrade?

Perhaps few things bug me so much as when developers introduce a meaty gameplay system into an MMORPG only to neglect or abandon it by the time the next expansion rolls around. Lord of the Rings Online’s skirmish system, World of Warcraft’s garrisons and class order halls, or Star Trek Online’s exploration system are but a few examples that have rankled my sensibilities over the years.

It’s frustrating because players latch on to these systems and find enjoyment in them, even years after their introduction. It’s doubly frustrating because with some refinement and updates, these systems could become relevant and even better than before. But no, they’re shoved back under the bed so that devs can play with their new shinies.

If you had your pick, what older MMO systems do you wish your game’s developers would take the time to upgrade today?

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One Shots: The drinks are on us

Last week’s (last) call for tavern and inn images seemed to bring out the nostalgic in all of our readers. It certainly didn’t take much for people to share their favorite hang-out spots and the memories that ran through them.

Let’s start with Camelotcrusade’s seemingly innocuous Star Wars: The Old Republic cantina: “While I know there are better Star Wars cantinas than this one, I chose it because in the early days ‘let’s meet at the cantina’ was our rendezvous point on the fleet. After you’d done your business, we’d meet there to decide what to do, or for RP.

“Since the fleet was a big circle, and both hemispheres had similar decor on the inner rings, it was a lot easier to go the wrong way than you’d think. I wasn’t the only player making a lap while others where already queued up. I could figure out where the center was, though.”

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Lord of the Rings Online’s Mordor soundtrack is now available

Months following the release of Lord of the Rings Online’s climactic expansion comes the soundtrack to Mordor. Composed by Chance Thomas, this 16-track score is published by Thomas’ HUGEsound Records and contains an end credits-like song called “Ever On.”

Massively OP recently reviewed the soundtrack, finding it to be a much darker and more dour score with the occasional bright spot. “Mordor’s OST is very competent and does a great job helping to sell the corrupted, death-strewn nation,” we wrote, “but it’s not anywhere near as fun to listen to as, say, Thomas’ adventurous Riders of Rohan or his classic Shadows of Angmar work.”

The Mordor soundtrack can be purchased digitally through HUGEsound Records, Amazon MP3, or iTunes.

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DC Universe Online’s artifacts system goes live with GU76 today

Game Update 76 descends upon the gloomy superhero world of DC Universe Online today. The headline feature going live after the big ol’ maintenance? That’d be the new artifacts system that’ll remind you a bit of similar systems in Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft.

“Artifacts is an exciting new system that will allow you to further up your stats and effectiveness within DCUO by collecting rare Artifact objects and ranking them up by feeding unique Reagent items into them. Players above level 20 will now have access to a new instance titled ‘Artifacts: Oblivion Bar’ in the Events tab of the On Duty Menu. In this instance, tricky ol’ John Constantine himself will help guide you in getting started with these exciting new items. Artifacts can be accessed through the new ‘Artifacts’ tab in the Inventory menu, where Reagent items can be fed into them to raise their ranks until they reach milestone points. Once an Artifact reaches a milestone, players will need to use special Catalyst items to unlock the milestone and continue ranking up their Artifact.”

The patch also introduces new Thanksgiving stuff (happy November!), implements an inventory overhaul that buffs stack sizes (yay!), adjusts projectile targeting, and fixes up some bugs.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Reviewing the Mordor soundtrack

Here’s a weird thing to admit: I was actually concerned when I heard that Lord of the Rings Online brought back Chance Thomas to score this year’s Mordor expansion. It’s not that I dislike him or his music; on the contrary, I recognized that Thomas has created a large amount of terrific music for this MMO’s beloved score. And while SSG has done very well with its scoring in house (Gondor in particular), I would normally be ecstatic to see Thomas come back again.

My concern stemmed from the source material. Mordor is evil, through and through, and I knew that this would call for an oppressively dark soundtrack. I felt that no matter who scored it, it wasn’t going to be an eminently listenable album, and I worried that Thomas’ efforts would be hamstrung by this setting.

After receiving an advance copy of the score (which will go on sale digitally November 1st), I found my concern borne out. Mordor’s OST is very competent and does a great job helping to sell the corrupted, death-strewn nation — but it’s not anywhere near as fun to listen to as, say, Thomas’ adventurous Riders of Rohan or his classic Shadows of Angmar work. That said, there are a couple of standout pieces and some very interesting elements going on with these tunes, so let’s go through it track by track to grok this latest chapter in the LOTRO musical archive.

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LOTRO Legendarium: A shocking Halloween twist

Two of my absolute favorite “inconsequential” elements of Lord of the Rings Online have to be the Haunted Burrow every Halloween and the whole Bingo Boffin saga, the latter which I just enjoyed for the first time this past summer. When I discovered that these two features were on a collision course during this year’s Harvest Festival, I about fell off my chair. I might have even ranted a little to my kin about how I was disappointed that no one informed me of this fact. You think that I should start reading patch notes or something…

Since I have run the Haunted Burrow to death (pardon the pun), I eagerly turned to devour this new scrap of holiday content and to reunite with one of my favorite characters in the game. Ever since I’d finished up with the wonderful conclusion of the Bingo quest line, I’ve been secretly hoping that this wouldn’t be the end. That the developers would, one day, bring back this character and Bingo would ride again.

And while his much smaller quest series for the Harvest Festival is a breezy and mostly unremarkable affair, Bingo Boffin brought back his goofy charm — and a shocking twist that might be hinting at dire events to come in LOTRO’s game world.

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Dungeons and Dragons Online: Mists of Ravenloft opens pre-orders, aims for December release

The, ahem, bloodiest MMO expansion of 2017 is finally available to pre-purchase. Dungeons and Dragons Online opened up pre-orders today for Mists of Ravenloft, allowing players to secure some extras for their gameplay right now while reserving a copy of the expansion for day one of launch.

As with Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor earlier this year, Mists of Ravenloft’s expansion bundles range from $40 (for a basic edition) to $130 (the “ultimate fan bundle”). It should be noted that all editions include both the expansion and the new Aasimar race, but the Vistani Knife Fighter talent line is limited to the $80 and $130 packages. If players elect to purchase the expansion or the new race with store points, they’ll have to wait until that option becomes available in March 2018.

Speaking of dates, Standing Stone Games says that it is aiming for a release date of December 5th, although the studio is allowing for up to a month of potential delay, meaning that there is a chance that the expansion will slip into 2018.

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The Stream Team: LOTRO’s Haunted Burrow is habit-forming

October means that Massively OP’s MJ can immerse herself in as many Halloween events as possible. And one really fun event is Lord of the Ring’s Online’s Harvest Festival: That haunted Burrow is certainly habit-forming! Or is it Hobbit-forming? MJ is diving right back into the spooky rooms in hopes of looting that rare pony from the cellar. There are also brand-new things to do! After finishing that, there are pranks to play and horses to race. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to celebrate the Harvest Festival.

What: Lord of the Rings Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, October 16th, 2017

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LOTRO Legendarium: Grading Lord of the Rings Online in 2017

At the beginning of 2017, it seemed as though a mini-renaissance was brewing for Lord of the Rings Online. Standing Stone Games broke away from the sinking ship that was Turbine and offered a fresh start of sorts for the long-running MMO. We were coming to a head with the game’s story and a return to large-scale expansions was confirmed with the news of Mordor.

Reality and hopes don’t always get along, and while 2017 hasn’t always been the kindest to LOTRO, it hasn’t been a crushing disappointment either. The more I’ve been looking at the state of the game, reading the forums, playing it, and covering news, the more I’ve felt the need to grade how the game is doing in the right here and now.

So why not? It’s school season, so let’s embrace the academic spirit and assign some marks to LOTRO’s operation and state. Agree with these grades? Disagree? Get out your quill and scratch your own thoughts down there in the comments!

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