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 Neverwinter, Elder Scrolls Legends, Elite Dangerous, SWTOR, MapleStory, Hyper Universe, SMITE, Travian Online, Diablo III, Figureheads, Pokemon Go, Heroes and Generals, Rappelz, Ultima Online, Soulworker Online, Black Desert, and Gigantic, all waiting for you after the break!
Now that we’re in the thick of Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor
(which I’m still enjoying very much), my mind has taken a turn back to look over 10 years of gameplay updates and expansions.
It’s bizarre to think back to a time when the entirety of the game was merely eight or nine zones crammed up in Eregion. While there’s still plenty of Middle-earth to uncover and explore, the ensuing decade vastly opened up the game world and took us on a journey that spanned from Bag End to Barad-dûr.
It all starts to blur together after a while, particularly after alternative leveling regions were added, the epic story was changed to be more solo accessible, and the studio experimented with different forms of content delivery. I felt like taking a quick trip through the expansions that brought us to where we are today. Because… why not, really?
Even if you’ve spent all summer preparing to launch a major expansion, there’s no rest for the weary over at Grinding Gear Games. The Path of Exiles
team published its first post-Fall of Oriath patch
this week that was mostly aimed at shoring up the new Harbinger league while also adding new supporter packs to the game.
The patch delivers more stacks of currency shards to players and increases the frequency of Harbinger appearances across the game maps. Harbinger minions are also a lot tougher than they were previously, so beware!
Other things to expect from Patch 3.0.1 include a fix to charged dash, free bandit respecs in Act 2, and a wider variety of monsters on the Beachhead map. Head over to the patch notes to see what else you might be missing.
Heading into Shroud of the Avatar for the first time was a bit of a strange experience for me, right from the start. Usually, when I start playing a new game, I start forming impressions and then spend the next few weeks refining those impressions in either direction. This time, I am utterly unsure of how I feel about the game, and I suspect that the next few weeks are going to make that more complex, not less.
And part of me can’t help but wonder if some of that is just a matter of missing vital reference points.
I don’t mean that in the sense of the game being actually impenetrable; it’s just that I find myself constantly asking if something that bugs me is, in fact, exactly the way it’s supposed to be for fans of the genre and Garriott’s prior work. Which is a trip, let me tell you that. I’m staggering through dark woods, getting my throat chewed on by a wolf, and I’m seized with the urge to ask the wolf if this is, in fact, an intended portion of design. You know, between bites of my trachea.
I’m delighted to have found a moment to bring you an extra edition of Flameseeker Chronicles
that outlines my thoughts on the first Guild Wars 2
: Path of Fire
preview weekend. From last Friday until Sunday, every player was invited along to take some tentative steps into the Crystal Desert and get to grips with the raptor mount. We were also treated to a little bit of introductory story that ties the new zone directly to the Living World Season 3 finale without missing a beat.
So today, I will break down my preview experience into the main points, including my highlights and unfortunately ending on a pretty crummy negative. I’m hoping that further development based on the feedback from this weekend will help to lessen or negate my issue though, so I won’t be frowning for very long! Note that this article will contain some spoilers regarding the introductory story, so it’s best avoided if you are waiting until September to find out more on that front.
In Final Fantasy XI, my first MMO, maps were few and far between, often blindingly unclear, and offered as many opportunities to be hopelessly lost as they did for finding your way. Pretty much nothing important was marked on the map even if you had one. Being lost was the default state.
This is unusual now. City of Heroes and Guild Wars both surprised me by how resistant they were to letting me get lost, and World of Warcraft now makes it nigh-on impossible. And on some level, this is undeniably a good thing, because it means I spend less time trying to find where the Thing is and more time actually interacting with the Thing.
But then, some people really do prefer that sense of not knowing where the next objective might be. So today I ask, dear readers: do you like being lost in MMOs? Is part of the excitement of the genre for you when you don’t know where to go? Or do you consider better maps and more efficient guidance to be a boon to the genre?
ArtCraft Creative Director J Todd Coleman and Senior Animator Eric Doggett are back for another lengthy Crowfall Q&A, discussing upcoming cons and and getting the campaign test server up. “We are rapidly approaching the point where we can actually run a real campaign,” Coleman notes.
The duo also touch on the 5.3 race and class update and the extensive animation and rigging work required to make the team’s relatively new plan to more or less map most classes to most races. This is a big deal, Coleman says, as a lot of money and time is going into the animation efforts.
“Take a character – let’s say, the human knight – it took us two man months to make,” Doggett explains. “Just for the animation part” — not the models, textures, power design, or the testing itself. The studio’s current tool, however, can cut that process down to five to ten days, speeding up the process.
The whole episode is below.
Remember the survival version of H1Z1? If not, we can’t say that we blame you: Since Daybreak split the game in two, the bulk of development and attention has gone to the last-man standing tournament mode. Just check out how many patches and tournaments H1Z1: King of the Kill has seen! Those wanting to focus on the survival side of things were just out of luck as those servers seriously languished.
But all that changes today. No longer will H1Z1 Just Survive be lost in its sibling’s shadow; from here on out, Just Survive is its own game. And the name isn’t the only thing changing; beyond a rebranding, the entire game has gotten quite an overhaul.
I sat down with Creative Director Ben Jones for a tour of the many changes that go live today. We traveled the new map, investigated new POIs, visited the new safe zone respawn points (a few times!), met NPCs, checked out the new economy, and peeked at the new stronghold system. Jones also assured me that with its own development team, Just Survive will be receiving regular updates going forward. Will it be enough to bring players back? It worked for me. I had stopped playing the title quite a while ago (as I had no interest in KotK), but what I’ve seen now has me excited to give it another go.
In the strictest sense, there’s nothing wrong with non-responsive AI in a game. Even in Citadel: Forged with Fire, it just means that whatever NPC you started smacking will not smack you back. So it technically means you get an easy win… while also feeling like you’ve cheesed the system and not actually won at all. Good thing that the game’s last patch last week was aimed at finally stomping out this particular problem once and for all, right?
The team is also looking ahead to its next Wednesday patch, which promises to add new creatures requested by the community, full WASD rebinding, and corpse markers on the map. Of course, it’s worth noting that those new creatures should all be responding and hitting you back at this point, so just keep that in mind before you decide to prod some kind of burning bird.
Last week we brought you the news of a massive new war brewing in the north
of EVE Online,
and The Imperium’s threat of revenge to the alliances that live there. The Imperium has been farming hard in the southern Delve region for months and has built up a massive war chest since it was kicked out of its northern territory during the colossal World War Bee conflict last year
. Meanwhile, military alliance Pandemic Legion has been throwing its weight around all over nullsec, interfering in TEST Alliance’s war with Guardians of the Galaxy in the north and dropping supercapital fleets on The Imperium in the south.
The revenge war kicked off as The Imperium formed a pact with TEST Alliance and then moved over 1,000 capital ships to a staging system in the low-security system of Hakonen in the north of EVE. This war seems to be mostly about creating engaging PvP content, but for The Imperium it’s also an opportunity to get revenge on those who sided against them during World War Bee. For TEST Alliance, it’s a continuation of its conflict with the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition and perhaps a way to give Pandemic Legion the bloody nose it deserves.
This week has seen some interesting developments in the war, with several failed attempts to anchor citadels and possible strategic blunders and supply issues. Read on for a breakdown of the latest in EVE Online‘s latest revenge war.
Horns of the Reach
is live in The Elder Scrolls Online
today as ZeniMax’s first major update since the Morrowind
campaign/expansion rolled out in June. As planned, the paid DLC includes two new dungeons (Falkreath Hold
and Bloodroot Forge
) and plenty of new kit. And even if you don’t pay for the DLC, you’re getting Update 15 for free; it boasts the PvP battlegrounds mode Chaosball
and the new Arcane University map.
“The Horns of the Reach two-dungeon pack is now available on PC and Mac, free for all ESO Plus Members, or for purchase via the in-game Crown Store for 1,500 Crowns. Update 15 general improvements are available free for all players, while Battlegrounds additions are free for owners of ESO: Morrowind (Battlegrounds requires ESO: Morrowind). Both will also release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One adventurers on August 29.”
MOP’s Elder Scrolls columnist Larry Everett has posted his impressions of the Falkreath Hold dungeon following a streamed play session we ran alongside ZeniMax’s Rich Lambert; we’ve tucked that down below so you can decide whether to grab it. Stay tuned for more this week!
Believe it or not, kiddos, there were other games in the Warcraft series than just a certain MMORPG. Warcraft III, which came out two years prior to World of Warcraft, was a smash hit that was soon overshadowed by its massively multiplayer sequel.
That doesn’t mean that Blizzard completely forgot about the game — or that players stopped enjoying it. Similar to how the studio continued to support Diablo II a decade or so after its release, Warcraft III is due for a gameplay improvement patch in the near future.
Patch 1.28.6 is currently on the test realm (a first-ever PTR for the title, in fact). The main focus here is to make maps more balanced and easier on the eyes so that all sides have a more-or-less equal start to each game. Still, the team admits that there are still projects that it wants to accomplish with this 15-year-old game: “We are aware Warcraft III matchmaking is a bit long in the tusk; we will be improving matchmaker logic for a future patch.”
Did you forget H1Z1 is still in early access? We did not! The King of the Kill half in particular is still getting heavy updates rolled out to the PTS, including the combat-centric one profiled in Daybreak’s most recent producer’s letter.
“The Combat Update improves many facets of the game to provide the best combat experience yet, spanning from how your character responds to your inputs, to shooting mechanics, all the way down to the specifics of where each weapon excels in a gunfight,” Daybreak says. Beyond combat, this update includes some new Points of Interest on the map, and revisions to game pacing. We will be testing this update in phases, starting with a focus on ‘solos.’ Once we’re satisfied that we’ve gotten the feedback we need for solos, we’ll announce the next phase of testing.”
Expect huge changes and additions in the form of weapon ballistics, recoil, animations, the firing reticle, retuned weapon range, shinier rifles, the new dynamic camera, more responsive player movement, improvements to thrown weapons, a ton of new points of interest, bleed mechanic tweaks, vehicle buffs, and functional footwear. I am not making that up.