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MMO Week in Review: Funcom’s elder MMORPGs (April 17, 2016)

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!

Funcom’s older MMORPGs, Anarchy Online and Age of Conan, both made headlines this week with new patches: AO’s update added a controversial membership award scheme that’s annoyed some players, while AoC’s patch added a new arena but didn’t quite soften the blow for crafters, who were told that the crafting revamp promised years ago is not happening.

Meanwhile, it was a pretty good week for veteran MMORPGs, as RIFT celebrated its fifth anniversary, Guild Wars 2 prepped its spring patch, and Lord of the Rings Online’s latest update brought players to Pelennor Fields. You guys, I think they’re actually going to make it to Mordor for real.

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

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The MOP Up: ARK’s free PvP version goes wide (April 17, 2016)

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 past week ARK: Survival of the Fittest released to several other platforms, including Mac, Linux, and Steam OS. Will anything stop the world-conquering march of these terrible thunder lizards and their fans? If you’re still alive after their rampage, read on for more news and videos including stories from Saga of Lucimia, Diablo III, and DC Universe Online!

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One Shots: Hello Spino!

I should have known better. I really should have. A couple of weeks ago, I challenged Massively OP’s readers to submit “disturbing, grim, or macabre” screenshots from their games. After sifting through many unsettling scenes, the one that shook my grasp on reality the most was the following clash of hues in ARK: Survival Evolved.

“What could be more disturbing than a dinosaur parade led by Hello Spino?” SC_Deadline asked. I know what you’re thinking. You’ve seen the black-and-white banner up there and figure all is well with the world. Well just you wait. Wait until after you shoot past the break and crash into the colorstorm that follows. You might want to put on a seatbelt!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the most satisfying level up you’ve ever experienced in an MMO?

As much as I’ve been enjoying my time in Final Fantasy XI and seeing stuff that was previously inaccessible, one of the big things I’ve realized is that leveling in the game never felt satisfying. It never felt like that was something I was happy with, just one fewer barrier between me and what I wanted to do. By contrast, hitting level 50 on Ninja in Final Fantasy XIV felt satisfying; I had managed to do so in less than four days, and it meant that I was where I had wanted to be in roleplaying terms for years.

Still, that wasn’t the most satisfying level I’ve ever had. If I was really pressed for it, I think the most satisfying level up I ever had was in Star Trek Online, of all the things in the world. Hitting Admiral rank and being able to fly one of my favorite classes of ship (the Prometheus-class) just felt super satisfying.

But this isn’t about my most satisfying levels, it’s about yours. What’s the most satisfying level up you’ve ever experienced in an MMO? What threshold really felt like a big milestone when you crossed it, even if you knew it wasn’t that big of a deal objectively?

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Make My MMO: Ascent’s launch, Elite’s Engineers, and Star Citizen’s new concept ship (April 16, 2016)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, space games have dominated the headlines. Indie Kickstarted sandbox Ascent: The Space Game formally launched out of early access into the wilds of fully live games, and Elite: Dangerous announced that the beta for its next big update, Engineers, will be live within the month. Star Citizen, meanwhile, announced a new concept ship, the MISC Prospector, that made eyebrows rise on even the normally CIG-friendly Star Citizen subreddit. The ship costs $140 now and is expected to rise as it progresses from concept to hangar to actual playability. (Thanks, Cotic!)

There’s a bit of bad news too for two games we’ve been watching: Sacrament’s Kickstarter finished well short of its goal, and LUX’s Kickstarter, which ends tomorrow, isn’t quite to 50%.

Remember Shadow’s Kiss, the vampire-themed MMO on Patreon? It’s got new gameplay footage out (which you can watch below). And don’t forget our own Justin Olivetti’s handy guide to getting started in Project Gorgon!

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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Leaderboard: What was World of Warcraft’s best era or expansion?

With vanilla World of Warcraft on the brain so much lately, I thought it would be fun to take stock of just what people consider the best version of WoW — particularly our audience, which is likely to have played WoW over the years but isn’t necessarily made up of die-hard fans of the game at all, let alone partisans for a particular era. For this weekend’s Leaderboard, let’s put it to a vote: Which expansion or version was the best version of WoW?

What was the best expansion for WoW? (You can choose up to three options.)

  • Beta, kickin' it old-school (1%, 127 Votes)
  • Vanilla (15%, 2,829 Votes)
  • The Burning Crusade (22%, 4,142 Votes)
  • Wrath of the Lich King (34%, 6,492 Votes)
  • Cataclysm (4%, 742 Votes)
  • Mists of Pandaria (11%, 2,044 Votes)
  • Warlords of Draenor (1%, 267 Votes)
  • It'll be Legion for sure (5%, 849 Votes)
  • I've never played WoW and/or have no opinion (1%, 207 Votes)
  • Elf butts (6%, 1,144 Votes)

Total Voters: 11,355

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WRUP: Purely genuine life advice edition

When dealing with failure, ask yourself what you did wrong first – you don’t have control over anyone else’s actions, and this will allow you greater insight. Don’t accept easy answers, but ask why things are the way they are, including your own beliefs. Examine everything with care, then re-examine it, and pause every so often to make sure that the causes you once supported are not more toxic than you realize. Go into every disagreement prepared to be wrong, because being wrong is how you learn. There is no shame in not knowing something, only in being taught something and choosing to ignore it to avoid looking foolish.

If someone hurts you, remember that you don’t reduce pain by inflicting more pain. Try not to shout so that people remember your words instead of your volume, but don’t take that as justification for being shouted down. Try not to live by simple principles; life is complex, and simple axioms usually present a straightforward way of dealing with the world that doesn’t fully grasp the nuance. Spend your time with people who treat your feelings as legitimate, but always ask yourself first if your feelings are legitimate. Dig. Don’t let dualities define your thinking. Remember that complex problems have complex solutions and causes. Try things with the knowledge that we regret failure less than we regret missed opportunities.

I know, you’re waiting for the joke. You can offer your own in this week’s What Are You Playing comments. You should avoid doing the same thing all of the time; no one changes by doing more of the same.

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The Daily Grind: What are your current MMO goals?

I’ve noticed that several of my friends have taken to drawing up monthly goals for their MMO sessions, an activity that I’ve been doing as well. It helps my focus to state what I want to accomplish in several titles, with the foreknowledge that I’ll be evaluating that progress at the end of the month, or week, or whatever.

I have a lot on my plate right now, to be sure. I’m slowly leveling up a Shaman in World of Warcraft, I want to get my Captain caught up in Lord of the Rings Online’s epic story, and I would love to see WildStar’s new Arcterra zone before too long. Putting goals on (virtual) paper to do these things gives me some extra motivation in case I get distracted.

Maybe you don’t play that way. Maybe you’re a free spirit who does whatever feels natural on any given day. But if you’re the goal-oriented type, I’d love to hear from you today. What are your current MMO goals? What games do you want to pick up and try? What do you want to accomplish in your favorite titles?

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Betawatch: A perilous siege hits Crowfall (April 15, 2016)

Players of Crowfall are in quite a lot of peril with the arrival of the Siege Perilous testing phase. Or are they assaulting a place called “Perilous?” It could go several ways from a grammatical perspective. Plans are already in place for the game’s next stage of testing, and there are several bigger picture answers available for anyone fascinated by the game and looking for more information.

This week, we bid farewell to Ascent, which has launched out of early access in the hopes of garnering a bit more attention and a wider playerbase because otherwise it’s going to be hard to keep spending time and money working on it. That might not be pleasant, but it’s still the reality.

Other beta news? Oh, yes indeed.

And yes, a full list of beta stuff exists down below. Go forth! Read! Let us know if something slipped into another test phase without us realizing it! Tell us what you think about betas not under NDA! Use exclamation marks relentlessly! Bees!

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The Daily Grind: Should e-sports players unionize?

MCV reported this week that World of Tanks studio Wargaming plans to help organize a union for pro e-sports players. Wargaming European e-sports boss Nicolas Passemard implied that without some formal organization looking out for pro players’ interests, exploitation is possible:

“It comes from a need to do something. We faced a few issues and incidents, and of course we didn’t like that because these incidents were not in favour of the players. So at a point we have to make a decision, either we get more directly involved or we keep having issues. We still want the players and the teams to lead a life of their own, because if we help them too much or if we do things for them they kind of lose the warm feeling of doing it themselves or they lose motivation, but in the end we had to do something. So we looked at some options and the best one is to help the pro players create a union for themselves. We have to do it, there will be issues, maybe we aren’t ready [for a players union] but we will find a way.”

Where you come down on the issue probably depends a lot on your own experiences with unions in the real world and on how much stock you put into pro gaming on the whole, but let’s have it: Do you think that pro e-sports players ought to unionize?

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Massively Overthinking: Reconsidering the MMORPG daily quest

Dailies.

The word evokes pure hatred from some corners of the MMORPG world. And yet games without dailies are dinged for not having enough content or “glue” to pull people back. Aren’t MMOs damned if they do and damned if they don’t?

This week’s Massively Overthinking question is from Das Tal developer Alexander Zacherl and is right on point: “Are daily quests in MMORPGs good, bad, or ugly?” he wonders. “Which games have managed to implement them in especially great or horrible ways?” I posed these questions to the team this week!

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Global Chat: An MMO to call home

Home. It’s what many MMO gamers are looking for in a title: to plant down roots and find a place that exudes belonging. What makes one game feel more like home than another? And how do we go about finding and settling down in the MMO that’s right for us?

Blogger Tyler from Superior Realities penned an essay as to why The Secret World ended up feeling more like home to him, even though he wasn’t expecting it initially: “TSW is a game that gives me tremendous pleasure simply to inhabit […] Somewhere along the line TSW became more than a game to me. Sometime between pursuing Loki into the depths of the earth, trekking through the surreal industrial nightmare of the hell dimensions, and delving into the darkest pits of the Dreaming Prison, TSW came to embody a sense of infinite mystery and possibility.”

We’ll be visiting many MMOs that various players call “home” today, from World of Warcraft to Black Desert Online. Join us for a trip through notable blog posts from the past few weeks!

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The Daily Grind: What MMO has the most user-unfriendly interface?

Here’s the stunning secret about Final Fantasy XI‘s interface: It gets passed off as being horrible because it was designed for a console, but it’s still a terrible interface even without that. Full credit to the developers for doing the best they can to add in PC-based quality of life improvements over the years, but it’s still hideous and unwieldy and requires tabbing through eight pages of menus for things that most games let you do in one, if not zero.

Meanwhile, I hate to be the guy who says that WildStar‘s interface was kind of curtailed by its lack of the option to lock the camera to mouse movement, but… there it is. (I know it got added in later.) And sometimes it’s even little things, like having status bars fill or empty the wrong way, or windows you can’t resize, or how Star Wars: The Old Republic handles its split between the first and second row of the action bar. There are lots of ways that an interface can technically work but make life harder on the player.

So today, we’re turning the question over to you, dear readers. What MMO has the most user-unfriendly interface?

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