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The Daily Grind: Why is MMORPG server downtime still a thing?

Massively OP Kickstarter donor John has a very simple question to kick off our morning: Why the heck is server downtime still a thing?

“How can any modern MMO still have server downtime after something like Guild Wars 2? Are we bad consumers? Do we not care? Obviously doable and I work for a company with a web frontend and plenty of places easily have the same without (planned) planned downtime.”

I’ve always found that curious too. I can understand why pre-Guild Wars 2Guild Wars 1, really — games would be locked into their server downtime/uptime paradigm, but new MMOs? What’s your excuse? Why don’t all MMORPGs have a rolling patch system like GW2’s? Why is MMORPG server downtime still a thing?

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Massively Overthinking: Are MMORPG players a minority in their own genre?

Deep in the comments of the MMOs-vs.-survival-sandboxes thread from last week, reader miol_ produced a beautiful comment about how MMO players have become a minority in their own genre, which he then expounded upon for us in this provocative email.

“I’ve reached the opinion, that since the launch of WoW and its clones, the ‘original’ MMO-playerbase became a minority in their own genre. Before, we were but hundreds of thousands of MMO players, but then came Blizzard with WoW and its legions of fans in the dozen of millions at its peak, starting to dictate what the new success of MMOs should look like. Even if we others tried to vote with our wallet and feet, we became a minority, having only a fraction of our initial influence, while many devs tried desperately time and again to find ways to get at least a portion of the new Blizzard playerbase.

“Am I wrong with that perception of history? Am I totally missing something? Or are ‘we’ are slowly becoming a majority again, now that WoW and its clones are seeing steadily declining numbers (instead of us winning more players to ‘our side’)? How do we lobby better for ‘our cause’? Or can we only wait and see, until the genre is small enough again? Or is it too late? Have we ourselves grown too far apart into our even more niche corners of personal taste since SWG, while production costs and our demands for production value have skyrocketed at the same time? How could we come closer again?”

Let’s tackle miol_’s questions in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Enter to win a Marvel Heroes Omega founder pack with beta access from Gazillion and MOP

If you were curious about the Marvel Heroes Omega edition out on PlayStation 4 but didn’t want to shell out for a founder pack to buy beta access to what will eventually be a free-to-play title, today’s giveaway is for you! We’ve got five founder codes for our readers. The giveaway, like the ongoing closed beta, is restricted to North America. Read on to enter to win!

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The Daily Grind: How many tries did it take you to get into your favorite MMOs?

I remember the first time I ever launched City of Heroes. I fired it up, made a character, started the early tutorial… got bored, rolled my eyes, sighed, and shut the game down. No, really. It actually wasn’t until my third go at the game that I really got into it, after several changes post-launch. And it’s not alone; while I talk about having played World of Warcraft right at launch, I actually stepped away from it for a while for a few months and only fell head-on into it for an unbroken period several months later.

Of course, as soon as I started playing Final Fantasy XI I was pretty well hooked, and my first go at Guild Wars got me into the game and committed to seeing it through. I was even one of the rare souls who stuck it out in Final Fantasy XIV before the relaunch. So sometimes the first try was what stuck for me… but sometimes it took a few goes before my favorite games actually hit home for me. So what about you? How many tries did it take you to get into your favorite MMOs? Which games just didn’t click for you until you were resubscribing for the second or third time, and which ones had you hooked right out of the gate?

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Leaderboard: Where do you draw the line between griefing and roleplaying?

On the Morrowind subreddit a few days ago, a player was recounting a particular roleplay-slash-griefing episode on a hardcore-roleplay Ultima Online emulator. The player explains that he spent months roleplaying as a bartender serving drinks to the adventurers he befriended. But he was actually planning something far more nefarious:

“For over a year I roleplayed with these people as a simple barman, pretended to be their friend and confidant, and then during a harvest festival where every player on our server was in attendance and I was [paid] to provide the food and drink… I poisoned every last morsel of food, every drop of drink, and after the [regent] delivered his speech and all of these fools raised their goblets for the toast and took that deadly sip, I stepped onto the stage and revealed what had happened. They [were] all going to die, and die they did. Now this was a permanent death server (hardcore RPers, mind you), and some had been playing those characters for 8 years, and there they all were, collapsed and dying. Soon they were all unconscious, as you could only die if you went unconscious three times in one day or if a certain psychotic bartender came and cut off your head… which I did to every player in our group of 38. They were all there, and unfortunately so was I.”

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best nighttime aesthetics?

I am a creature of the night. No, not like Batman, because I could never pull off the cape or brooding anger. But I do love walking around at night and soaking in the change to the world that occurs when the sun goes down. There’s a beauty and isolative quiet that emerges.

Not ever MMORPG night is created equal, of course. Some games don’t even have one, while others slap on a pale blue filter and call that a night even as players can see to the far borders of the zone. There is the occasional game that goes pure black, while the rare MMO features different mobs and visuals for nighttime romps. And there are always the stars, right? Got to love that night sky.

When the sun goes down in an MMO, which game would you prefer to be in? Which MMO has the best aesthetics, from visuals to creatures to sound?

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Global Chat: Which MMO developer do you most appreciate?

Recently, Ravalation carried on an annual blogger tradition called Developer Appreciation Week. During this week, gamers would put aside their usual vitriol and criticism for devs to pen posts about the appreciated side of studios. It was certainly nice to see a bloom of positivity and praise, that’s for sure.

“If there’s something I’ve learned from my fellow participants during this year’s DAW it’s that 1) game developers work extremely hard purely because they love their games, 2) bugs frequently appear in complicated coding, and 3) devs are usually aware that bugs exist when content goes live and feel terrible about it,” she wrote.

Join us after the break for more MMO blog essays, including a tour of Star Citizen’s luxury ship, more thoughts on Secret World Legends, and the enduring love of a World of Warcraft fan.

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Snag a Mu Online, Flyff, C9, or Rappelz key in honor of Webzen’s 8th anniversary

Webzen is celebrating 8 years of MMOs today, kicking off multiple events and patches across its games: MU Origin has posted its 1.7 update with multi-server “Battle Core” events and two new dungeons, while MU itself has opened up part one of its 12th season of play, which features the Nixies Lake map, new gear, and the Vanaheim server.

In honor of the anniversary, the studio has granted Massively OP 1000 keys that can be applied to one of four of their games (Mu Online, Flyff, C9, or Rappelz) so you get to pick what you’re getting!

Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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The Daily Grind: Do you believe MMO studios release overpowered new classes on purpose?

Yesterday’s Elder Scrolls Online press embargo drop allowed us to talk a bit more about the overpowered state of the Morrowind Warden class — in fact, Larry flat-out called it a Mary Sue. What surprised me about the ensuing discussion was how incredibly cynical our readers were in response to that (and to the general community uproar over the class). Quite a lot of you (and other highly engaged gamers) seem to believe that ZeniMax is releasing the Warden totally overpowered intentionally as part of its marketing strategy, and to some extent, it makes sense — you want to create hype for your game and get people to buy it, so make sure to pack in a badass, solo-friendly class that encourages fence-sitters to make that leap.

On the other hand, you risk ticking off a couple million existing players who don’t want their characters falling to the bottom of the heap or who don’t want to feel as if they have to reroll.

Do you believe studios like ZeniMax, Blizzard, and ArenaNet intentionally release overpowered new classes, planning to nerf and balance them later? And if so, is it the smart call?

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Enter to win a Star Trek Online Tal Shiar Adapted Battlecruiser for Xbox One

In honor of the launch of Star Trek Online‘s season 12 Reckoning for console, PWE has granted Massively OP five Tier 6 Tal Shiar Adapted Battlecruisers to raffle to our readers!

The Tier 6 Khlinae-class battlecruiser is one of the many ships used to great effect by the Tal Shiar. It utilizes an insidious variant of Borg technology to subvert the weaponry of an enemy vessel – the Enhanced Indoctrination Nanite Dispersal System. This starship features a Lieutenant Tactical/Intel bridge officer station and a Lieutenant Commander Science/Command bridge officer station.

Read on to enter to win!

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The Daily Grind: Where do you stand on Dota 2’s plan to require phone numbers for competitive play?

Last week, Valve announced that in order to compete in ranked play, Dota 2 players will be required to register a unique phone number.

“Players using multiple accounts create a negative matchmaking experience at all skill brackets, so our goal is to add just enough friction to this process that the number of players doing this will be noticeably reduced,” Valve wrote. “Having more players using their primary accounts will have a positive effect on both Ranked and Unranked Matchmaking.”

Security-conscious players are probably thinking “RealID” right now, while others are thinking that they’re getting off easy if all they need do is pay a few bucks for a number — at least no one has to cough up social security numbers to play video games. Yet.

Is this a good idea on Valve’s part? And more importantly, will it work?

(With thanks to Joseph!)

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MMO Week in Review: SWTOR goes to war on Iokath, Marvel Heroes goes to PS4 (April 23, 2017)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

This week, MMORPG players saw three major releases: Star Wars The Old Republic’s War for Iokath, Lord of the Ring’s Online’s anniversary update, and the arrival of a slimmed-down and isolated Marvel Heroes on PlayStation 4. Meanwhile, Funcom is full steam ahead on a spring release for Secret World Legends, in spite of mounting criticism.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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The MOP Up: Aion has spring fever (April 23, 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 EVE OnlineWurm OnlineGloria VictisBrawl of AgesTERAWorld of Warships, H1Z1Champions OnlinePortal KnightsFinal Fantasy XIAionWakfu, and The Black Death, all waiting for you after the break!

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