Stately resting between the gaudy purple and orange of Halloween and merry red and green of Christmas is the earth tone-saturated Thanksgiving. While no one’s favorite color scheme, Thanksgiving does give us a nice in-between holiday with family meals, an awkward dance around politics, a work day for football teams, and the occasional MMORPG holiday event.
While not every online game has decided to embrace the American holiday, enough pop up every year that need corralling. And since we just got turkey certified here at Massively OP, we’re going to lay out all of this week’s event options for you on a platter. So enjoy the festivities and dressing up like a Pilgrim for two days maximum before deeply questioning that fashion sense. Now jingly sleigh bells, size XXXL red suits, and reindeer antlers, that’s a smart look indeed!
Some people would rather spend points on expansions and races in Lord of the Rings Online
rather than parting with real money. Good news for those who waited for just that: Both the High Elf race and Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor are both now available in the game’s store for points!
The expansion will run you 2495 points, while the race is 1000 points. Perfect if you have the points but just didn’t have access to the latest flavor of elf, then.
But wait, there’s more! The game does indeed have Black Friday sales running through Cyber Monday, offering players 75% off on Virtue bundles and 50% off on both complete crafting tiers and select housing bundles. So you’ve got lots of stuff vying for your time and money there; it’ll be up to you what is most valuable. You could always wait to get a new style of elf, after all.
It’s kind of hard to be thankful this year. Sure, some good things have happened this year, but we also have some things that, to put it politely, are unqualified messes. There’s everything around Star Wars: Battlefront II. There’s the shuttering of Master x Master and Marvel Heroes (the latter I actually flagged a year ago as being robust and healthy). There are titles like Lord of the Rings Online and ARK: Survival Evolved that have doubled down on methods to enrage players. And last but certainly not least, there’s still no sign of a sequel to the Warcraft film.
That one might be a grey area, actually.
But the year hasn’t been devoid of light, and there’s still stuff to be thankful for. So rather than being bitter and cranky about it, I want to focus on what we do have to be thankful for even while I hope for better in the future. Let’s talk about some stuff that’s good to be thankful for, even if it doesn’t tickle your particular fancy, and be a little more hopeful.
Don’t get too comfortable in Mordor just yet, because Lord of the Rings Online
is preparing to send its players to the far reaches of the explored map come 2018.
Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini dropped a juicy letter today that went into detail about the studio’s plans for LOTRO over the next year. It all begins with Update 21.3’s Abyss of Mordath raid, coming before the end of 2017. Then in early 2018, Update 22 is taking players to Northern Mirkwood, Dale, Laketown, and Erebor. Following that is Update 23, which returns to Mordor for a trip into Minas Morgul and a confrontation with Shelob.
Ciccolini sprinkled in some other additions and improvements coming to the game, including Elk mounts(!), a playable fiddle, updates to the festivals, the continuation of the Bingo Boffin storyline from last Halloween, and avatar updates to Dwarf and Hobbit models.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the television market over the past few years, you might have missed the fact that we are in the middle of a revolution of how shows are made and broadcast. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney, and CBS are greenlighting all sorts of fantastic shows with the hopes of strengthening their audience and luring them to these pay-to-watch platforms.
Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Walking Dead, The Defenders, Star Trek Discovery, and Stranger Things are a few examples of how these companies are getting acclaim and major viewership with ambitious projects. Large amounts of money are being thrown around on both the licensing and production of these shows, and companies are frantically looking around for the next big hit. So while Disney is boldly announcing a Star Wars live action TV series, Amazon went to the fantasy equivalent and nabbed a little thing called Lord of the Rings.
Yes indeed. The big news from this past week was that Amazon bought the rights to produce a multi-season Lord of the Rings series. While the exact cost of this deal wasn’t revealed, industry experts estimate that it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 to $250 million. No small po-tay-toes any way you look at it. But what will this series mean for our beloved MMORPG? I have a few thoughts about that.
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?
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:
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?
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.
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?
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.”
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.
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.