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Video game journalist infects hundreds of EVE nerds with insidious virus

A gaming convention turned into the banal opening scene of a zombie outbreak movie this week as a number of players who attended EVE Vegas 2017 suddenly came down with the symptoms of a cold virus after the event. The airborne virus was brought to the event by an anonymous video game journalist — let’s call him Drendan Brain — and is believed to have originated in the United Kingdom, where it’s been sweeping rapidly across the country this month.

We reached out to Drendan Brain for comment, but his phone always went to a busy tone and his emails keep getting returned to me. The cold may also have been brought to the event by 19 other attendees from the UK, the EVE: Valkyrie team from the UK, or literally anyone going through any airport, but that wouldn’t make a snazzy headline. However the outbreak started, hundreds of EVE Online players were potentially exposed and many are now crawling into bed with some chicken soup and a cup of hot lemon. Get well soon, space bros!

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The Daily Grind: Do you grade MMO studios on a curve?

Here’s a non-surprise that came out of a discussion between Bree and me: We totally grade MMO studios on a curve. That curve is determined by giving a damn. All else being equal, we tend to be a bit more forgiving of studios that give the impression of at least caring about what they’re doing, even if it’s care in horribly misguided directions or in service of awful design choices.

It makes a lot of sense to me; a lot of my own fondness for Funcom comes from a sense that even while the studio was struggling and/or making awful decisions, it’s still a team of people who care about what they’re doing. By contrast, there are companies that really don’t seem to give a toss about anything beyond the current big ticket. Part of my own uncomfortable feelings about World of Warcraft come from the sense that Blizzard has long since stopped giving a damn.

That doesn’t mean that we’re unwilling to be harsh when studios we like screw up badly; it just means that the sense of effort and genuine care gets a bit more leeway. What about you, dear readers? Do you grade MMO studios on a curve, and if so, what determines the adjustment?

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Enter to win a Star Trek Online T6 Tzenkethi Shuk-din Escort or Accelerated Officer Training Pack from PWE and MOP

In honor of the launch of Star Trek Online Season 14: Emergence on PC last week, PWE has granted Massively OP a bunch of goodies to raffle to our PC readers (console folks, you can sit this one out)!

A hundred winners will be taking home a code for the Accelerated Officer Training Pack, which contains a Retrofitted 23rd Century Constitution-class Cruiser (T1), one Large Experience Booster, and free gear requisitions from Level 10 through 50.

And five winners will also score a T6 Tzenkethi Shuk-din Escort:

“As expected with Tzenkethi design, the Shuk-din Escort [T6] is highly maneuverable with immense shielding capabilities for its size. It comes equipped with the latest in Tzenkethi shield technology, which allows the starship to massively increase defensive capabilities along all non-Forward shield facings. The forward array is tuned to offense, increasing the damage dealt by the ships’ weaponry against any foe within their forward-facing 90-degree arc.”

Read on to enter to win!

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The Daily Grind: What PvP MMO would you play if it were PvE only?

Depending on where you’re sitting, we are either in an age of PvP sandboxes everywhere or starving for games with well-organized and meaningful PvP experiences. Maybe both? It’s a weird era.

I am not a PvP type of gamer. I’ve tasted it, I’ve tried it, and I have never found it to my liking. I don’t begrudge those who do, of course, but I do suspect there’s an Illuminati-level conspiracy about the purpose of it. Anyway! One thought that occasionally crosses my mind is that there are some PvP-centric MMOs that — PvP aside — look kind of cool and have interesting mechanics. And that I wouldn’t mind playing them, you know, if the player population wasn’t out to murder my face.

I’ve heard all of the arguments about how some of these games wouldn’t hold up if you removed the PvP portion, but even so… what PvP MMO would you play if it were PvE only?

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The Daily Grind: Why does EVE survive where other PvP sandboxes stumble?

MOP reader Tobasco da Gama pointed us to a recent Reddit thread about why EVE Online persists, even in a weakened state, where other hardcore PvP sandboxes fail. The thread OP posits that in spite of what he calls “CCP’s criminal level of mismanagement and incompetence,” EVE has outlasted other games of its ilk, from Darkfall and Mortal Online to Albion Online and pre-Trammel Ultima Online. The reason? He argues it’s because the vast majority of players who don’t quit outright never leave high-sec and aren’t actually playing the “hardcore” PvP game that New Eden is known for at all. In other words? Most people playing EVE are carebears.

Fightin’ words, right? It makes a lot of sense to me, frankly, and since my husband still plays EVE, I’ve seen the phenomenon in action, that the toxic part of the playerbase perpetually eclipses the majority of normal folks just happily space mining and killing pirates and watching their skill bars go up.

Why do you think EVE survives where other PvP sandboxes stumble?

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Prosperous Universe is an indie sci-fi sandbox MMORPG focused on player economy

So here’s an MMO we’ve never heard of before: It’s called Prosperous Universe. It’s super duper indie alpha browser-based massively online game, with single-shard tech, a focus on trading and economy, and of course, a military component – a “high-level meta game” that dev Michael Olp tells us revolves around orbital and planetary structures.

“Imagine a game world with hundreds of stars, thousands of planets and asteroids, new colonies, huge empires and — you. A tiny little company, owning a few ships, barely enough money to buy fuel for your next jump. What would you do? Would you try your luck in one of the asteroid fields mining for rare ores? Would you sell your ships, your cargo and everything else to start trading in one of the large trading hubs? Would you want to become a respected designer of modern space ships? Or would you do anything to become the leader of one of the large corporations to scheme plans on how to wage trade wars against your enemies? Whatever you decide to do, it will leave a mark in the persistent world of Prosperous Universe and have consequences for you and everyone else.”

It’s pretty much got “Bree, come be a Star Wars space trucker” written all over it, and I’m digging the positive name for a change. But while we’re going to kick up a dev video down below and point to the features roadmap, let us also note that there’s no in-game demo or pics just yet. On the other hand? The tiny German Simulogics team also isn’t asking for money just yet. It’s one to keep an eye on!

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Leaderboard: Are you one of the 2M people playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds today?

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds just keeps on growing globally: It’s completely outstripped every other game on Steam in terms of concurrency, having now set a new record of 2M concurrent this weekend. As GIbiz points out, its closest competitor now is Valve’s own Dota 2, which saw 700K concurrency over the same period. That’s up a million for PUBG just since last month, with 13M copies sold to date. Oh, and did I mention it’s still in early access?

We’ve previously noted that the game is primarily pulling from the CSGO audience, but now it looks to be hitting the other top games too – H1Z1 especially, whose peak concurrency has dropped a full third since August – and I have a few guildies playing who normally play MMOs. How about you? Are you one of the 2M people playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds today? Let’s take it to a Leaderboard poll.

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The Daily Grind: Is there MMORPG lingo that you just cannot stand?

In past articles, we’ve coined some MMO terminology neologisms and expressed confusion over obscure MMO slang, but it’s been a while since we talked about the terms we really do not like, the stuff that makes us cringe.

I started thinking about this after a Lifehacker piece that suggested slang like “ROFL” and “LOL” have long since been supplanted by “haha” and “lol,” though there’s apparently a cultural fight between purveyors of those two as some people look at one or the other and flinch in revulsion.

In the MMO world, I have to say I would be thrilled to never see things like “gg,” “carebear,” “gimp,” “dkp” – ironic usage, I suppose, notwithstanding. In fact, there are quite a few terms that I’d say have already begun dying since the early days, like “puller,” “medding,” “creep,” “oom,” “named,” “leech,” “PL,” “bank sitting,” “kiting,” “reds,” and so on.

Plus there’s toon, which I know drives some of you guys crazy.

Is there MMORPG lingo that you just cannot stand?

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MMO Week in Review: The battle of the sci-fi MMO conventions (October 8, 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!

It’s the battle of the conventions this weekend as NYCC, EVE Vegas, and Frontier Expo have all gone head-to-head. At NYCC, Star Wars The Old Republic dished out info on the new Timothy Zahn-inspired planet; at EVE Vegas, we got the scoop on post-Lifeblood F2P EVE Online improvements and CCP’s new mobile game; and we’ll have a bunch of news on Elite Dangerous tomorrowday straight from London!

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

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The MOP Up: Black Desert’s Taiwan meet-and-greet (October 8, 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!

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 HellionHand of the GodsWakfuHyper UniverseDark Age of CamelotBlack DesertDragon ProjectStardew Valley, and EVE Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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One Shots: Counting sheep

I might not pick one of Final Fantasy XIV’s Lalafell as an ideal combat companion, but when it comes to staging adorable photogenic moments? I would say that they are ideal.

Reader Vexia nodded off to a bunch of fluffy sheep in today’s headlining pic: “It’s totally worth it ’cause then you can count them all to fall asleep. I guess this qualifies as being ‘in my element’ too: surrounded by fluffy cuteness.”

Ack. We need a palette cleanser! Truck in some gratuitous gore and oversized spiders!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMOs do the best job with patch notes?

To the surprise of no one, working here involves reading lots of patch notes. Some games do a better job with this than others. Final Fantasy XIV does a pretty good job with the notes, but they’re still enormous and sometimes difficult to navigate; still, it’s better than the patch notes for Star Wars: The Old Republic, which always struck me as needlessly obtuse and unclear. World of Warcraft has gone back and forth over the years, although they tend to at least be readable (and the “fake patch notes” every April 1st are usually great).

By contrast, I quite like the trick that some games such as Eternal Crusade use, putting the biggest and most relevant changes front-and-center before launching into the detailed patch notes. And I would be remiss to not mention the old Final Fantasy XI patch notes, including such wonderful vagueness as “altered the drop rates on certain items.” That’s real clear. What do you say, readers? Which MMOs do the best job with patch notes?

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Make My MMO: Star Citizen is hosting parties for space whales (October 7, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, I hope you’ve got your special black Star Citizen VIP card because CIG has invited concierge-level backers — sorry, space whales — to what it’s calling the first of many “pop-up parties” this coming Tuesday near its LA, Austin, Frankfurt, Wilmslow, and Derby bases. The studio’s also issued its monthly report, which coincides with the latest Around the Verse, during which it was revealed that the long-delayed alpha 3.0 is finally in the hands of the Evocati player testers. (Thanks Josh!)

Meanwhile, Valiance Online confirmed sidekicking, Crowfall discussed its soft launch checklist, Dual Universe hit pre-alpha, The Exiled extended its free-to-play trial, and Shroud of the Avatar delayed its launch.

Stay tuned for more from FrontierExpo as MOP’s MJ is there checking out Elite Dangerous!

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

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