maintenance mode

Whatever happened to Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Puzzle Pirates?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately? That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing!

In this special pirate edition of the column, we’ll be visiting the fates ‘n’ fortunes of Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Puzzle Pirates. Yo ho!

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Massively Overthinking: Which MMORPGs should stay away from legacy servers?

Legacy, vanilla, classic, progression – call them what you like, but alternative server rulesets, particularly of the nostalgia-driven kind, are all the rage in 2018. Just since the dawn of the new year, we’ve gotten a new server type for Age of Conan, with RIFT’s on the way – not to mention World of Warcraft’s looming in our future. And those are just the new ones! Games like RuneScape, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online already run similar servers.

That said, does every MMORPG need one? Aren’t some MMORPGs already in pretty good shape without needing a spin-off for nostalgia’s sake? Is it in every MMO’s best interests to prioritize, on some level, the very older ideas it intentionally left behind? That’s the question I’ve posed to the writers this week: Are there any MMORPGs that should stay far, far away from legacy servers, and if so, why?

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Massively Overthinking: What are your criteria for recommending MMOs?

Last week, we got a well-intentioned email from a reader named Rick, who proposed a column in which readers tell us what they are looking for in an MMO and we offer up suggestions for just the right MMO. It’d be like Guild Chat, we imagine, only instead of dispensing guild advice, we’d be telling you folks what to play.

The email prompted some discussion among the MOP staff about whether that would be an effective column to write (or to read). We do answer some questions like that for the podcast from time to time, for example, but I seldom get the impression we’ve actually helped. Most times, the listener has already tried everything and is hoping for a game that simply doesn’t exist yet, so we’re destined to fail. And even then, it’s really difficult to recommend MMOs to people without really knowing their full history with every studio and game. Some of us can’t even find an MMO we want to play!

So we thought we’d open that discussion up for everyone. How do you go about recommending MMOs to other people? What are your criteria? When your sister says she’s done with WoW, your co-worker requests input around the watercooler one day, or Some Dude On Reddit asks for pointers – where do you start?

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Hyperspace Beacon: No, Star Wars The Old Republic isn’t on the verge of sunset

I recently read a wild argument based on unsubstantiated rumor that Star War: The Old Republic is nearing its end of life, that BioWare is tired of it and is considering shutting it down. It’s just one among many I’ve read lately, and I don’t believe they are right. Instead, some appear to be repeating the same tired premise: “I don’t like it, and therefore no one should like it.”

Now, I don’t like many games, but I understand the merits and positive qualities of even some of the oldest, most shop-worn MMORPGs. First-person shooters make me disoriented because of the camera placement, but that doesn’t make them bad. In fact, one of my favorite series of games, Bioshock, was all told in first-person, but that didn’t affect the quality of the game. (Of course, I had to play it in super-easy mode just so that I could get through it without getting sick, but that’s beside the point.)

So in that vein, I would like to present my argument for why I believe the rumormongers are wrong about SWTOR.

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Fragmented is ‘more or less in maintenance mode’ due to lack of revenue

Over the weekend, we added a new entry to our “whatever happened to X” series with a quick note about Fragmented, the survival sandbox that Above & Beyond put together in its attempt to raise enough funds to save The Repopulation. While we quoted the formal statement that A&B wasn’t abandoning updates for the game at launch, an awesome tipster dug up a forum thread from just last week where the devs effectively admit defeat.

“The game hasn’t been abandoned but it is more or less in maintenance and bug fix mode only at this point,” A&B’s J.C. Smith says in response to players asking whether it’s worth $3 from the latest sale. “It just doesn’t bring in enough revenue for anyone to support it full time at this point. Josh are I still around to fix emergency issues and issue the occasional bug patch but the team has moved on to other projects at this point and we don’t foresee any major additions to the game in the future. Future patches will likely be similar to the last couple patches, focusing on streamlining and bug fixes.”

Just one more casualty of The Repopulation’s sad story.

Source: Steam. Cheers, Emmanuel.

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Whatever happened to Ascent: the Space Game, Aura Kingdom, and Fragmented?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?

That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at what has been going on with Ascent: the Space Game, Aura Kingdom, and Fragmented.

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Chaos Theory: Secret World Legends 2018 – new year, new game, new goals

What does Secret World Legends have in store for 2018? For the world, or for me? Either answer includes Season 2 of the story! Of course I anticipate much more exciting stuff as well. I wish I had a crystal ball — or maybe the number crunchers of the Dragon — to know what’s ahead. But this Chaos Theory is not about what the game will be doing this year, rather it’s about what I will be doing in the game!

That’s right: I started this resolutions business last year, and now I am compelled to continue the tradition. It’s a new year and a new game, so it’s time for some new goals. It’s also a great time to look back over 2017 and see how well I did with my first attempt at in-game goal setting.

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Perfect Ten: The MMOs with the most uncertain futures in 2018

This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.

But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Three things SWTOR could add in 2018 to turn itself around

Star Wars: The Old Republic did not have a banner year in 2017. It was the first year since the launch year that did not include an expansion. And the expansion that it released in late 2016 didn’t actually live up to its expectations.

Despite this, we did see some good things come out of 2017, like a couple of new PvP maps and some great changes to group finder. But what kinds of things can we see added to or improved upon in 2018 that would make up for this underperformance? Well, I have three of them. And I have done my absolute best make them realistic and doable with the existing team of developers. Let’s talk about that.

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Chaos Theory: 2017 was a big year for the Secret World IP

Well, 2017 was interesting. It’s not often that your favorite game starts off as one game at the beginning of the year and then ends as another game — all while still being the same game. Sure, updates and expansions make changes, but major overhauls aren’t as common. And setting aside the original and remaking it even less so! But that happened with The Secret World, which morphed mid-year into Secret World Legends. It’s the same game, but not. Confused? Even if you’ve been following the game(s) semi-regularly, it’s easy to forget or miss a few details. And if you are new to it all, no one would blame you for not being in the know as to what all has transpired.

In 2016’s year-end retrospective, I noted, “Not going anywhere is better than going away!” We didn’t know how prophetic that statement would be for TSW. For 2017, I can follow that up with, “Going where it did is better than going away!” This past year was obviously a big one for the Secret World IP. It’s also been rough, stressful, and ultimately rewarding. Here’s a look back at it.

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Funcom is launching a ‘saga server’ specialty shard for Age of Conan called Saga of Zath

So much for maintenance mode: It appears that Funcom has plans yet for Age of Conan, if the studio’s email to players and post on the official forums this afternoon are any judge. Looks like you’re getting a fresh start temporary challenge/progression server called a “saga server” next year.

“In early 2018, we will be introducing a saga server to Age of Conan. A saga server is a unique server that is live for a limited period of time and comes with unique rewards for completing objectives. All players will start with a fresh, new character that will be transferred to Crom after the saga server’s live period ends, along with any earned rewards. Players will be able to claim rewards on a single character of their choosing. We’ll be releasing more details as the launch date draws closer. Until then, get ready for the Saga of Zath – launching in early 2018!”

There’s nothing on the Anarchy Online forums yet to match, though earlier this week the studio put out feelers for the idea on Facebook.

Source: Official site. Thanks so much, John and David!

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Perfect Ten: The MMOs with the best value at the start of 2018

Let’s talk about value. A couple of weeks back, I did an article on the healthiest games at the end of the year; today, I’m talking about the best value for the money. Isn’t that the same thing?

No, it isn’t. Because health is about “what games have the most robust community and are most likely to be around next year,” but value is about “where can you get the most for the least money on a reliable basis.” And while there is a fair amount of overlap, it isn’t a one-for-one comparison.

You may recall we did this last year as well. This year, there have been some pretty significant shakeups, due in no small part to the fact that the value-for-your-money in some titles has gone down, and at least one title from last year’s list has outright closed. So let’s take a fresh look at the games giving you solid value for your dollars. Let’s even say ten of them, arranged in list format.

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What are the odds that Blizzard is making a Diablo MMORPG?

Over at MMORPG.com, one of the writers has formulated an intriguing theory that Blizzard is actually in the process of creating a Diablo MMORPG which will be announced next year.

The hypothesis mostly is based on a few factors from last month’s BlizzCon, including the lack of a Diablo presence at all and the seemingly rushed announcement of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. The author argues that Blizzard originally wanted to announce the Diablo MMO, but since it wasn’t quite ready, it hurried the announcement of Battle for Azeroth before it intended to share that with the community.

When you throw in other elements such as Blizzard leeching WoW members for other projects and hiring devs with “massively multiplayer” experience, it’s enough to make you pause and go “hm.”

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