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WRUP: It’s time to figure out if we’re wanted by the police and why edition

All right, everyone, settle down, you’re probably wondering why I called this meeting. Let me get right down to it: Last weekend was a lot of fun, but since then, there are some disturbing indications that we may all be wanted by the police for a variety of crimes. I don’t want to point fingers, but I think it’s time to figure out if we’re wanted by the police, and if so, why.

Like, seriously, I woke up with a lot of blood on my sheets. But that could actually mean lots of things. And I didn’t write myself a note about what I did, but Liam remembered to. It’s just that Liam’s note reads “make seven bob right proper quick in Londonderrydo” and Liam is, I must remind you, from Wisconsin. He doesn’t even know how much money seven bob is. I don’t know how much money that is. Is it even money?

Oh, those are sirens outside. Look, we’ve got to sort this out quickly before the police arrive, if for no other reason than it would be helpful to know whether we should confess, pay a fine, or book it. Let us know what you’re doing this weekend down in What Are You Playing, maybe we can work backwards from that.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO offers the best sky views?

I know it’s a simple and basic thing, but I absolutely adore a great skybox in my MMORPGs. There’s something about looking up at a majestic and vibrant sky in-game that puts me right in the middle of the world and immerses me in the environment.

Fallen Earth will always be remembered fondly by me for its gorgeous sunsets, and World of Warcraft definitely brought it with some of its painterly clouds and patterns in the latest expansion. Lord of the Rings Online and Final Fantasy XIV both have crystal clear nights full of twinkling stars that make one feel small and awed.

Which MMO offers the best sky views and which zone makes for the best gazing? Bonus points if you include pictures!

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Betawatch: Sea of Thieves heads to closed beta cove later this month (January 12, 2018)

Avast, feast your eyes here, ye swabbies: Sea of Thieves be settin’ sail for the waters of closed beta on the 24th of January for both PC and the Box of X. Hoist the mainsails and prepare to have your senses bedazzled, as no shroud separates ye from the testing, nor any NDA. Ye can even read up on the intelligence what governs those fancy skeletons that be dancin’ about, or ye could pick up a fine new hand-held controller for a heft spot of dubloons.

Other news for betas? Aye, ’tis a fine time to discuss the other ships what sit full in the water.

Now, I’ve told my tale and told it true, so ye ought let me be. But first, cast your eyes to the horizon, and ye can see our full list of games what be in beta testin’ right now! Aye, a beautiful sight; take a fine boat below, and keep your eyes peeled if one of those salty dogs what slipped into a new test phase without us recognizin’ it ahead of time.

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Blade & Soul previews its anniversary update and tailor shop in new videos

Video previews of patches are like a chance to try before you buy. Except that you aren’t really trying so much as you’re watching someone try it. Also, since this is Blade & Soul, you wouldn’t be buying it regardless; the title has a free-to-play business model. But you can still enjoy a pair of videos showing off both content and new features coming with the second anniversary patch, including the tailor shop’s outfit customization.

For some things, this is more useful than others. If you’ve seen the fight against Poharan before, this is not only not elucidating but specifically unhelpful, as the preview is more concerned about what the event adds after you beat her (a new merchant!) than how to beat her. On the other hand, seeing the pattern selection options in the tailor shop are going to help anyone curious about how the feature will expand player costume options. Check out the both videos below, although fair warning: Don’t start watching if your boss is walking over.

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Massively Overthinking: What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play?

A comment on Reddit about the current size and viability of Kritika Online got me thinking about MMO playerbases in general lately. We all know that there’s a stigma attached to little games; the big games with big servers and millions of players feel safer, and nowadays people just assume a small MMO has one foot in the grave. But it isn’t always true. We could also rattle off some smaller MMOs that seem to be moving along just fine, with bills paid. Sure, they’d like to be bigger, but they’re holding steady and know how to work the playerbase they do have rather than constantly alienate their current customers in search of new customers. And some MMO gamers actually prefer those sorts of titles. After all, if the game has just a few thousand people, it’s much easier to get to know a large slice of them, plus have your voice heard by the developers and actually influence the gameworld.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to reflect on the smallest MMOs they have played, and then consider how big an MMO has to be in terms of playerbase that they’d consider playing it now. What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play, and why?

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The Daily Grind: Would you play a PvE game with full item decay?

One of the most insightful comments I ever saw about Darkfall (yes, Darkfall) was that, realistically, in a game with open PvP and full looting, it was inevitable that you’d lose all of the good gear you had on. That would always be a real risk, and it would always happen sooner or later. The real question was how long it would take you to rebuild to full power after such an event and how tedious it was to do so.

I’m not fond of that style of gameplay as it stands, but I still think about it, because it doesn’t need to be “full loot and free-for-all PvP” for that core principle to stand. A game with nothing but PvE could still have you lose gear as soon as you die, or it could ensure that your gear would eventually break and be unusable forever no matter how much you repair it.

On the one hand, this would kind of damage the very environment of a game like World of Warcraft with its emphasis on perpetual improvement; at the same time, it could also be seen as a way to break away from the game’s ever-upward treadmill, and it would mean that continued gear drops from world quests would still provide meaningful gear even if you have something better right now. So what do you think. Would you be interested in playing a PvE game where your gear decayed to nothing and you had to rebuild? Where you replaced a piece not because you got a stronger one, but simply because it was always time-limited?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMOs do you follow that you’re not playing?

It should be said that Massively OP’s site mission is nearly impossible, since we’re trying to keep tabs on and cover the news for hundreds of online titles. But with your tips and our various processes, we make a valiant effort to touch base across the wide spectrum of MMOs and other multiplayer titles. As a result, our umbrella is very large indeed, and on any given day we may be featuring dozens of different titles here on the site.

Of course, we never know exactly what game or games might be of personal interest to you, the reader. We have a good idea of which titles are more popular, to be sure, but one can never be sure if an article might pique a reader’s interest in a title or if readers enjoy keeping tabs on MMOs that they themselves are not currently playing.

So which MMOs do you follow here on Massively OP that you’re not playing? Do you read all of the news every day? What catches your eye when it comes to types of games and the stories about them?

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Leaderboard: What’s the most vulnerable Daybreak MMO in 2018?

It’s tradition around here to take stock of Daybreak’s MMO offerings every year, thanks to the fact that one of the first big stories we did after moving from Massively-that-was to MOP centered on Daybreak’s massive transition from SOE and then round upon round of layoffs, way back in 2015. Last year, we counted it out: Daybreak has now shut down approximately 16 games, most of them in the last few years – more than most studios will ever launch.

In 2015, you all thought Dragon’s Prophet was the most vulnerable game in the stable. You were right; it shut down, at least on this side of the pond, that same year. Last year, however, you suspected PlanetSide 2 was most likely to crumble, but instead, the game is still going and picked up a largish patch toward the end of the year. How about this year? Has anything changed with the company that once won best studio four years in a row thanks to its one-time reputation for keeping beloved MMORPGs going? Which Daybreak MMO do you think is most vulnerable now?

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The Daily Grind: What MMO has the worst possible maps?

When I think back about the ways in which MMOs have improved over the 15-ish years I’ve been playing them, my thoughts invariably turn to one of the biggest tools in your MMO arsenal. I speak, naturally, of the honorable map. Humble in stature yet great in impact, the map is how you know where you’ve been, where you’re going, and where you need to sell your garbage after you’ve gotten to your destination. Or they do now, anyway; for a long time I remember MMOs having maps that were only marginally better than “utterly useless.”

Seriously, I think I got more navigational help out of the pack-in fold-out map for City of Heroes than the actual in-game map for a disappointingly long stretch of that game’s lifespan. This is not the way a map should be.

Fortunately, maps are generally a fair bit better at this point, but several of them could still use improvement. World of Warcraft still lacks good labeling on the overall zone map as opposed to the minimap for things like vendors, and an awful lot of maps lack elements like Final Fantasy XI’s user-defined labels (which were a nice feature of some overall terrible maps). So what do you think, readers? What live MMO has the worst possible maps?

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The Daily Grind: Which game made the biggest contribution to killing the MMORPG genre in 2017?

Last year, Massively OP commenter deekay_zero proposed this topic as a joke award, but when we ran it as a Daily Grind, it prompted really great responses (in spite of the obvious trolls). As we observed at the time, how you answer depends on what you think actually ails MMORPGs (assuming you think the MMO genre is in trouble to begin with) – whether it’s business model shenanigans or bad design pushing people and companies away, or other genres pulling MMO players out, or something else entirely.

So we wanted to pull the topic out again to see whether the answer has changed. 2017 was a big year for gaming, after all, as we saw the (re)birth of an entire spinoff genre. Did that influence our home genre in a good way or bad? Which game, MMO or otherwise, made the biggest contribution toward killing the MMORPG genre specifically in 2017?

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MMO Week in Review: The latest studio to enter the battle royale (January 7, 2018)

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!

While the MMO genre gets itself back in gear and puts the holiday haze behind it, we’ve been reporting back from Hi-Rez Expo 2018, where the studio has already announced a new game (sadly not an MMO, however) and a battle royale mode for one of its two MOBAs. Oh yeah, the H1Z1/PUBG battle royale bandwagon has only just begun!

Don’t miss our complete recap of all of our annual awards and other end-of-the-year articles and roundups! Then read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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One Shots: To new beginnings!

It’s a new year and a new you! Well, probably the old you a few days past the expiration date, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely useless. For example, you probably have enough mental cognition and digital dexterity to log into an MMORPG and create a new character before you dissolve into an unslightly mess of bones and goo.

To celebrate the debut of 2018, the Massively OP legion is out in force to create new characters with all sorts of crazy resolutions!

First up is CapnLan: “My first character creation for the new year is technically an old one. I recovered my old FFXIV character from 1.0 but they had me run him through the new character creator when I logged in for the first time. I touched him up a bit with some new options and went for a stroll around Ul’dah. Here’s a quick shot I took of him with all his hilariously outdated 1.0 gear in front of the New Year decorations on the main street.”

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMO to roleplay in as of 2018?

Half an eternity ago, my merry band of MMO PvPers and raiders ran headlong into a gang of roleplayers, and it changed my guild forever. I’ve reminisced before about some of my favorite roleplaying moments in MMOs, many of them in City of Heroes and Star Wars Galaxies, games where the play-your-way pace of the game led to amazing storytelling and impromptu encounters, the kind that make you research obscure planet names, spend hours on the perfect costume, and accidentally stay up until 4 in the morning… typing.

But in the post-SWG, post-City of Heroes era, I dropped out of roleplaying as a core activity. I’m not going to be that jerk on the RP server talking about sportsball, mind you, and I’ll still make sure my toons have appropriate names and sufficient backstory, but I don’t hang out in taverns waiting for something interesting to happen nowadays. And honestly, I’m not entirely sure which MMO would be the ideal home for a roleplayer anyway.

You tell me – what’s the best MMO to roleplay in as of 2018?

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