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Make My MMO: Star Citizen’s new website and private concierge event (January 6, 2018)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen devs gave a first look at game’s brand-new website, which is due to launch later in January. It’s good news for those of you who’ve argued the existing site doesn’t do enough to explain the game to newbies who haven’t been following the game for years.

High-end Star Citizen backers also have the opportunity to attend an exclusive shindig in May. “On Friday May 4th, we will host a private Concierge event, which will include an intimate tour of our LA headquarters, followed by dinner in the commissary and a sit-down Q&A with Chris Roberts and key devs from the Star Citizen team,” members of the Chairman’s Club were told via email this week. “The event will be filmed with highlights airing at a later date. It will be limited to 60 tickets, going on sale to Concierge members for $350 in three installments [beginning next Friday].” (Thanks, DK!)

Meanwhile, Crowfall talked parcels, Chronicles of Elyria wrote about identity, Elite players are busy rebuilding, and Ship of Heroes spoke to us about its hopes for the superhero MMO genre. Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last couple of weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.

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Global Chat: Love the farm, hate the farm

How do you feel about grinding in MMOs? What about farming? These questions can elicit a wide variety of answers, from shrieks of dismay to enthusiastic head nods. Depending on the situation, grinding and farming can be something to be enjoyed, to be endured, or to be avoided at all cost.

The Game Freak Show says that he has a love/hate affair with grinding and farming, and it presents all sorts of muddled emotions, especially when gated mechanics are thrown into the mix: “While I have forgiven the grind in many RPGs for sucking away my time, this disturbing trend of games that do not have a harsh grind because they’re flawed or made for a different audience, but to force people to drop more cash on the table is something I can’t.”

Continue on for a look at Kritika Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online’s Ravenloft, the best solo MMOs, and more!

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WRUP: Introducing our cast of characters for 2018 edition

As always, a new year means a new cast of characters, because I hate resolving plotlines and we’re not going to be having a bunch of uppity actors hold this feature hostage like The Simpsons. If you want closure, assume everyone died except that guy you liked. Now, let’s meet our new cast for 2018:

  • Happy Walkin’ Steven Steven, a convicted drug dealer who is currently coaching seven different children’s sports teams to learn the true meaning of friendship, Christmas, teamwork, and IRS form 1040-A.
  • Camilla the Snail, who is a snail.
  • Jacktron, defender of Earth, the heroic robot who repeatedly insists to people that it is a CPA named “Jacktron, defender of Earth,” not an actual defender of Earth in any way. That is not a title.
  • Sandstorm Jones, your father. Or mother. Whichever.
  • Catfood Collectin’ Steven Steven, who is played by a meth addict prone to reckless driving and will be quietly retired after he tries to make an entire episode about how you should eat squirrels right off of the trees. (He calls them “squeaklemons.”)
  • Wolverine But Not The Marvel Comics Wolverine, A Totally Original Character Who We Made Up. This one speaks for itself.
  • And last but not least, Obnoxious Catchphrasia, the objectively worst character and therefore the comedic sociopath everyone will idolize.

So, let’s enjoy this band of whatevers on their adventures until we kill them off next year! Until then, feel free to let us know which character’s merchandise you would like to purchase in the comments of What Are You Playing. Or let us know what you’re playing this weekend. Honestly, whichever.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the exact MMO character you would never play?

While I typically love character creation screens in RPGs, when it comes to MMOs, I find that I limit myself more often than not. The thought of spending hundreds of hours with a character means that I become a lot more cautious about creating someone that I’ll end up hating. So there are typically some classes, playstyles, races, and genders that I won’t touch because I have this “long-term investment” mentality in mind.

But when I’m only dipping into a game for a little bit, I get a lot more wild with my character choices. Handlebar moustaches on an axe-wielding brute in Elder Scrolls Online? Sure, why not! And I enjoy the change of pace, even though this is a character I wouldn’t play in the long run.

What’s the exact MMO character you would never play? Create a description of that character and tell us why it’s a polar opposite to your typical choices!

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Betawatch: A new year, a new closed beta (January 5, 2018)

Here we are, in the untamed wilderness of 2018! It feels a lot like 2017 so far, except that it’s a year later. Also, at least here, it’s buried under snow. Also, Global Adventures has moved into its closed beta test, which is new. You can get in on that, although you should feel fairly warned that it’s going to have a wipe prior to open beta, so fairly warned be ye.

For the most part, it seems that studios were still remembering that they have to get back to work if they’re going to enjoy the new year. But we still had some movement on the beta front, so that’s all right. Examples of such are listed below.

That’s not a bad way to kick off the year, huh? There’s going to be more this year, we’re sure, but we’ve still got a list past the break of the games we know to be in testing. If something has skipped into launch or seems to have quietly shuttered while evading our notice, do let us know down in the comments. It’s very helpful and we appreciate it.

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Massively OP’s 2017 awards debrief and annual recap

As we did in 20142015, and 2016, today I’m going to recap our annual awards and other meta articles from the end of 2017. We gave out 19 formal awards this past year, all in addition to dozens of other recaps, roundups, listicles, predictions, bloopers, oddities, polls, provocations, and retrospectives. It was by far our biggest content dump to date, even bigger than last year!

Following our deep-dive into our awards and the attached reader polls, I’ll be recapping all of the end-year articles in one convenient place in case you missed something over the holidays – enjoy!

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Massively Overthinking: Our MMO hopes and wishes for 2018

One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.

But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2018 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.

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The Daily Grind: Where do you turn for your MMO guidance?

The great part about MMOs is that they’ve embraced one sort of crowdsourcing almost from the moment they first existed, and that’s crowdsourcing information. It’s never been hard to find information about the best builds for an MMO, what abilities work best, and so on. It’s all just waiting out there in handy, easy-to-read guides.

And the fact that often lots of that information disagrees or contradicts itself is just icing on an awful cake! So now instead of being confused, you’re confused and don’t know who to believe.

Of course, we usually tend to find our sources early on and stick with them as long as we can; we all know that there are good sources and worse sources. So our question today is where you turn for your MMO guidance. Official forums? Reddit? Game-specific sites? Your friends in the game? Shrugging and doing your best to work things out on your own? Random number generation?

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Leaderboard: What’s the best classic MMORPG still running in 2017?

Those of you who’ve been following Massively OP for a while know that many our writers have a fondness for old MMORPGs – that’s how we got into the hobby in the first place. My little secret is that I still maintain one of my original Ultima Online accounts with a house and gardens and a stable of toons (mostly bards!).

And yet come awards season, classic MMOs rarely win awards, which hardly seems fair. Yes, some of them have graphics that have fallen by the wayside, but most have mechanics that can stand toe to toe with anything made in 2017.

Thanks to commenter Agemyth, who suggested this topic last year, we’re going to put it to a vote, again this year including a wide range of “gracefully aging” MMOs that could reasonably be considered classics based on the era of their launch. No, we didn’t include blockbusters like World of Warcraft that are still winning awards in 2017, nor did we list any closed games (the Asheron’s Call games were sunsetted this year, alas). Onward to the future where the past lives on in the present!

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Working As Intended: The MMOs we lost in 2017

It’s true that we lost a lot of MMOs in 2016 — bigger and more important ones than in 2014 and 2015. 2017, however, has been a different sort of beast. The list is long, and while it’s painful for those whose games are gone, the genre didn’t lose many major MMOs this past year. And that startles me.

Marvel Heroes was surely the most dramatic of all the sunsets, given that it shut down early without notice. Earlier in the year, we saw Daybreak put an end to Landmark after less than a year of live operation, while Turbine let the Asheron’s Call franchise go, Firefall formally closed, Club Penguin’s sunset broke the internet, and NCsoft called it quits with Master X Master. A number of other MMOs simply halted development – Perpetuum, Sword Coast Legends, and SkySaga being the most prominent of those. And on a more positive note, there were a few sunsetted MMOs that were revivified, including Otherland, Uncharted Waters Online, and RaiderZ.

Farewell, old friends.

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The Daily Grind: Would you be interested in a retro-styled MMORPG?

As it’s been about a year now, I know that pretty much nobody remembers John Smedley’s ill-fated Hero’s Song. For a while there, we were cheering it on pretty hard, even though it wasn’t a full-blown MMORPG. The retro stylings and promised agile development blossomed some excitement, especially for those of us who wouldn’t mind a modern MMO with a 16-bit aesthetic.

There certainly aren’t a lot of these types of MMOs out there, and those that do exist are pretty niche. Guild Wars 2 has its goofy Super Adventure Box sub-game, Realm of the Mad God makes the most of its permadeath world, and the upcoming Dragon of Legends has had my interest for a while now.

Would you be interested in a retro-styled MMORPG, one that would use pixel art, be presumably in 2-D, and yet have most of the features of modern games?

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