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The Daily Grind: Do you have a ‘guilty pleasure’ MMO?

As comments and tweets and nastygrams in my inbox have repeatedly demonstrated over the years, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve put in years of play in brutal gankboxes and done more than your fair share of time in endgame raiding and PvP: An hour in a guilty pleasure MMO renders you irreversibly contaminated in the eyes of a certain segment of the gaming population. You’re a filthy casual (or worse!). I don’t actually buy that idea for a second, but I can’t help but find it colors my ability to enjoy and willingness to gush over cutesy games, silly MMOs, and retro titles.

Case in point? Trove. I’m consistently surprised by the depth I’ve found in Trove (in fact, the overall gameplay loop reminds me more of City of Heroes than Minecraft or Cube World), but the fact that people see neon voxel graphics and smirk it away as a kiddie game both irritates and squelches me. And yet it’s the MMORPG that’s got me logging in every day the last month or so, something I haven’t felt like doing anywhere else for quite a while.

Do you have a “guilty pleasure” MMO? Do you keep a secret any of the MMOs you play? Don’t worry; we won’t tell!

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The Daily Grind: How long is too long for early access?

Let’s be real here, there’s no question in anyone’s mind that DayZ has been in early access far longer than it should be. By the same token, I don’t think anyone would begrudge Radical Heights for still being in early access. But somewhere between those two extremes lie a large number of games, some of whom have been in ostensible early access for months, some of which have been there for years, and so forth.

In many ways, early access is like the new version of the game in perpetual open beta; there were many free-to-play games that never technically launched, just stayed in open beta forever until they finally shut down. And yet those games were selling things normally, making the distinction between launch and open beta into a very blurry and nebulous thing. Early access is already blurry, since it asks for money for a game that is decidedly early in its development cycle.

So what do you think, dear readers? How long is too long for early access? Is there a clear limit beyond which games should just bite the bullet and launch, or is it entirely down to the specific game?

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The Daily Grind: How could death be more meaningful in MMOs without being annoying?

Personally, I don’t think MMO developers should ever become complacent about game systems and copying them from other titles because that’s the way they’ve always been done. It’s healthy to reexamine why games do what they do and to be looking for better ways to do them.

So in that spirit, death systems. In most MMOs these days, the standard death penalty is a mild corpse run, a repair fee, or both. It’s not even something that I think about unless it sets me back in my advancement through a tricky area.

But is there a better and more meaningful way that character death could be handled in MMOs without being annoying? One interesting idea I had a while ago was that of a daily permadeath system: Every game day, each of your characters could only die once, and you’d have to wait until the next day to access them again. Yet players could continue in that game session by accessing other alts, encouraging a more diverse play between characters.

If you had to brainstorm up more meaningful death systems, what would you create?

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Leaderboard: Are you still playing Secret World Legends?

I’ve always been curious about you folks who forgave Funcom for 2017. I’m not sure that, were I a hardcore old-school Secret World player, I could so easily let slide that whole “yeah so we’re gonna reboot the game and you can’t bring the toons you spent the last five years building” thing. But given the reboot’s apparent success last year and the ongoing attention on the game by the MMORPG community, a lot of you did forgive the studio and jumped right back in, including our own Secret World vets here on staff. Wherever their breaking point is, that wasn’t it.

Massively OP reader Pepperzine is wondering about that breaking point too and where the game stands in the community since the relaunch nine months ago and the new content that’s finally launched. “Now that around nine months have passed since The Secret World Legends has launched, I think it would be interesting to do a follow-up poll on if the community here at MOP is playing it, quit playing it, or returning for the Africa content!”

Great idea! Let’s do it.

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The Daily Grind: Should MMOs offer open-world challenge modes?

This question is not about World of Warcraft’s upcoming PvP mode switch. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a cool option; you either explore the world safely, or you open up the possibility of danger. That’s a cool trick. But that got me thinking about what other tricks you could use to create a similar environment.

For example, imagine if you had a mode in which you didn’t actually receive loot or other rewards until you successfully returned to a certain point on the map. Sure, you might get more rewards, but if you died on your way back somewhere that would be it. Or imagine if you had a higher chance of gathering rare resources but less chance of successfully gathering in a game like Final Fantasy XIV.

Of course, some people would argue that these start stretching the definition of “challenge modes” and mostly would provide the possibility of intense frustration. What do you think, readers? Should MMOs offer open-world challenge modes? And if so, what should they consist of?

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MMO Week in Review: WoW picks its Battle for Azeroth launch date, Ultima Online goes free-to-play (April 8, 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!

Classic-but-still-updated MMORPGs were on fire this week! World of Warcraft kicked off PAX East with a bang by announcing Battle for Azeroth’s launch date of August 14th, and then Ultima Online released its Endless Journey patch, taking the 20-year-old game free-to-play for the first time ever.

Stay tuned early this week as we roll out all our PAX coverage! In the meantime, read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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The MOP Up: Paladins’ newest hero will punch your head off (April 8, 2018)

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 Elder Scrolls LegendsFortnitePath of ExileWorld of WarshipsPaladinsArmored WarfareNeverwinterGuild Wars 2OverwatchElder Scrolls OnlineWorld of TanksShot Online, and EVE Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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One Shots: Fun with filters

You know all of those weird filter effects that you have in your photo editing software? There always seems to be a stigma against using them, mostly because they’re very noticeable and showy. But today, let’s cast off that stigma and just have some fun, eh? After all, this is a column that begins every week with a black-and-white version of the headlining photo.

And that photo this week is from Deekay, who showcases the lighter side of life in Sea of Thieves. “Finally a selfie of my pirate as she dances on the bowsprit!” he write.

One leg, choppy seas. There is no way that she didn’t fall overboard and drown about thirty seconds after that screenshot was taken.

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Make My MMO: Camelot Unchained marches on; Albion players murder half a million bunnies (April 7, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained continues inching along toward its planned summer beta. According to the game’s latest update, CSE is running internal tests on a new server while tweaking tooltips, the banes and noom system, capture-the-flag mode, item placement, armor, environment assets, and animations, including new idles for each class.

Meanwhile, Crowfall released its 5.5 alpha, Ashes of Creation announced alpha one will land by the end of the year, Albion Online balance-patched armor and GvG while counting a million dead bunnies, Dual Universe released its April newsletter, and Dogma Eternal Night hit the skids.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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Leaderboard: Are you giving Ultima Online’s Endless Journey F2P conversion a try?

With the launch of Ultima Online’s Endless Journey free-to-play conversion this week, a whole lotta old-school MMORPG players are turning their attention back to the 20-year-old MMORPG that started it all. If you could make or connect to your account – easier said than done, as our own writers and streamers found out – then you were treated to a Throwback Thursday to end all Throwback Thursdays.

I’ve actually had my old account running on a sub for the better part of the past year, and while I’m happy that the game is moving forward (and still getting love!), I’m also a little bit exhausted from the anticipation – as well as skeptical of the relatively pay-to-win new offering in the cash shop. I’m sort of looking forward to the game getting back to normal after the influx of visitors is done!

How about you? Are you giving Ultima Online’s Endless Journey a try? Let take it to the polls!

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WRUP: Advertising products we will not sell you edition

Friends, this week’s What Are You Playing must highlight the most baffling marketing move I’ve ever seen. PAX East has often featured some baffling decisions, but this year I have to give the gold cup of What In The Hell Happened to Cygames and their huge booth, which half-features Granblue Fantasy. (The other half is taken up by their mobile card game Shadowverse.)

“Well, why is that weird?” Because, dear reader, you cannot download the game. Not “it hasn’t been released yet,” the game was released back in 2014. But it still doesn’t have an official local release, despite having been localized fully for ages and completely playable right now. You have to go through an insane rigamarole to get the game onto your mobile devices, which means that half of this booth is advertising a game you are not actually being sold.

I suppose maybe it’ll inspire some people to go through that rigamarole? It’s a fun game and fully translated and all. But it’s just… baffling. Leave your weekend plans down in the comments, I’ll be boggling over here.

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The Daily Grind: Are there MMO mobs you feel bad about killing?

Call me a softy, but I always cringe when I am sent in to slaughter the small, the fluffy, and the cute in MMOs. Sure, I’ll do it, because the quest log rules my life and removes all free will from my system, but I don’t have to feel good about it.

In RIFT, there’s a special pet you can get if you kill a wide variety of helpless, defenseless critters and loot their corpses for certain artifacts. I have gotten this pet before, but I didn’t feel particularly good about doing it. And don’t even get me started on World of Warcraft’s critter cannon…

Anyway, our discussion topic today is concerned with mobs that you feel bad about killing. Are there any? Has an MMO’s artists and animators done a particularly good job in pinging your conscience and making you regret unleashing your skills on something you’d rather be your best friend on a cross-country road trip?

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Betawatch: Defiance’s beta, TERA’s console launch, and Eliot’s in the brig (April 6, 2018)

Welcome back to another look at all the MMO beta happenings of the week! I’ve stashed Eliot in the brig so that I can take over Betawatch and do some extra work on Friday! Wait, I’m not really sure I’m doing griefing right. Anyway, here’s what’s up.

  • Defiance 2050 is hunting for beta testers! Make sure you’re all signed up.
  • TERA formally launched on consoles, bringing an end to its beta.
  • Soulworker likewise moved from soft launch to full launch.
  • Made of money? A big chunk of cash will get you into Pantheon’s pre-alpha next month.
  • We got our hands on Conan Exiles’ launch build (and loved it).
  • Ashes of Creation is targeting fourth quarter 2018 for its alpha one launch.
  • Camelot Unchained is testing, testing, testing.
  • Crowfall is now in 5.5 pre-alpha, having introduced a new map and lady centaurs.
  • Arcfall may still be in pre-alpha, but now it’s also free-to-play.
  • Star Citizen rolled out 3.1 and then 3.1.1, but then rolled back to just 3.1 because bugs.
  • And Occupy White Walls was the bright star of the week, offering alpha testers the chance to play around in an MMO art gallery.

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