MMOARPG stands for “massively multiplayer online action roleplaying game.” It can be contrasted with an OARPG, which makes little attempt at being “massive” in a way that MMORPG players would accept.

Lost Ark enters ‘final’ closed beta in South Korea with new class trailers

Hey, remember back in 2014 when Smilegate first announced MMOARPG Lost Ark? It’s been a long time. As I’ve written before, I was positively smitten with the gorgeous next-gen Diablo clone (and its NCsoft counterpart, Lineage Eternal) way back then. But it’s been pretty much nothing but delays and testing and restarts and more delays and testing in the ensuing four years (for both titles).

However, MMO Culture reports that the promised “final closed beta” for Lost Ark is beginning this week in South Korea, having formally revealed new trailers for three of the classes. And one’s a Bard! A new dungeon and TCG minigame are also on deck, while treasure hunting and sailing were added last year.

It’s still not a sure thing that Lost Ark will ever come here. While the Chinese version will launch next year under Tencent, Smilegate doesn’t have the cachet here that it does overseas; it runs Crossfire in the west but recently abandoned SkySaga mid-development.

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The Stream Team: Let’s talk Path of Exile’s buyout by Tencent

So, happy Monday! Many of us have started our week with the news that Tencent bought out Path of Exile. Some folks are congratulatory, but many players are quite concerned about what this will mean for their favorite title. Will this herald the end of one of the best payment models? Or will a cash influx help the game just be more awesome? Massively OP’s MJ wants to discuss the issue, so join us live at 9:00 p.m. to share your thoughts.

What: Path of Exile
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 21st, 2018

Enjoy the show!

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Tencent gains majority stake in Path of Exile’s Grinding Gear Games

Path of Exiles has a new boss this week.

Grinding Gear Games announced that Chinese mega-publisher Tencent has purchased a majority stake in the studio. While this undoubtedly will raise concerns in Path of Exile’s community about the direction and control of the game, GGG spun the announcement as good news.

“We will remain an independent company and there won’t be any big changes to how we operate,” Grinding Gear said. “We want to reassure the community that this will not affect the development and operations of Path of Exile […] Tencent’s agenda is clear: to give us the resources to make Path of Exile as good as it can be.”

The studio reiterated that Tencent isn’t going to try to change the game, force pay-to-win aspects on it, or give the Chinese version priority. It also said that it will continue its rollout of four major releases per year and is developing the next expansions as well as version 4.0, which is coming sometime in 2020.

Source: Reddit. Cheers, Cyclone Jack, yoh_sl, and Tanek.


Would you attend a Path of Exile con in New Zealand?

How does an ExileCon sound to you? Grinding Gear Games wants to know if you’d be interested in traveling down New Zealand next year to partake in all the dev and demo trappings of a convention specifically for Path of Exile. Understanding that travel costs to its home city Auckland in November 2019 would be expensive, the studio wants to gauge interest in the event before committing to run it.

Besides announcements, including the big 4.0.0 mega-expansion, players would get to hang out and talk to devs, play demos, buy merchandise, party, and revel in swag. On top of that, there would be finals to various tournaments. GGG also wants to run competitions that will grant winners free flights and accommodations to the event.

If this sounds like something you’d consider, head on over to the official forums to fill out a quick form to let the team know!

Source: Path of Exile Twitter


Grinding Gear runs down everything you need to know about Path of Exile’s Incursion League

Path of Exile is preparing to throw players back in time with its upcoming Incursion Challenge League. When the league arrives in June, players will travel back to an ancient treasure temple and monkey about with history all in the name of sweet, glorious loot.

Of course, players have had a lot of questions about how the Incursion League will function, which is why Grinding Gear posted a helpful FAQ to clarify details.

Players will be hunting for Alva on the game’s many maps. When found, she will open up portals to incursions and the temple. All of these will be modified by the level of the map in which they are found, so it sounds like the instances will vary in difficulty.

The studio said that the temple itself features a randomly generated layout that changes based on what you do during your incursions. And if you get locked out of certain rooms? “That’s what the explosives room is for.”


The Stream Team: Touring a massive menagerie and talking Path of Exile’s Incursion league

With the news that the bestiary and menageries are disappearing, Massively OP’s MJ is broken-hearted. She has no hope of collecting a robust assortment of creatures to keep. However, she her friend has a very full menagerie, and she’s going to give it a tour and show off all the critters. She might even capture a few more of her own. Of course, there is also lots to talk about with the upcoming Incursion League, so join us live at 9:00 p.m.

What: Path of Exile
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 11th, 2018

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Change history in Path of Exile’s Incursion League starting June 1st

If, like me, you are still quite disappointed from the announcement that the beloved Bestiary League won’t be included in the core of Path of Exile, perhaps Grinding Gear Games can interest you in the game’s next league? Opening its doors on June 1st, Incursion continues the studio’s tradition of offering new content every three months. But it’s more than just a league: Incursion has all the trappings of an expansion.

What is Incursion? Producer Chris Wilson and I sat down to discuss the ins and outs of this next step forward for PoE, which in actuality is a step back — in time. While I may not be able to go back in time to quell those hopes of keeping my bestiary, Incursion will have me going back to manipulate my access to an ancient Vaal temple so I can return and loot it for treasure in the present. Wilson described the league as having two layers: one’s a place where you go and kill monsters in every room in a timed trial like Breach, and the other’s a deeply strategic temple building for a customized zone experience.

After we explored the new content, Wilson made the vision clear. “Our philosophy with Path of Exile releases: The two important things to do are to add compelling new content for people to play and compelling new ways for the players to play it.” With every new league I wonder if GGG can hit that mark, and every time I chat with Wilson I think, By Jove, I think they’ve got it! Read more

Revenues for all NCsoft MMORPGs are down in Q1 2018 except… Aion?

NCsoft’s first quarter 2018 financial results are in, and it’s… kinda OK? Guild Wars 2 saw a big drop-off, though that’s to be expected since the previous quarter saw revenues from Path of Fire. “GW2 sales dropped 32% QOQ but increased 66% YOY, as some of the 2nd expansion pack effect was included,” NCsoft notes.

Blade & Soul continues to perform well QOQ, though it’s lost a quarter of its revenue YOY, and Aion revenues surged, NCsoft says, “fueled by the change in the monetization scheme.” Lineage itself at one time seemed to drive the company all by itself, but it’s down QOQ and YOY too. So is the company’s mobile games branch, which was riding high on Lineage M last year but is now “stabilizing” at what one might assume is a more realistic number (which is still higher than the five big MMORPGs combined).

As MMO Culture reports, the investor call itself admitted that Blade & Soul II for mobile has already been delayed into 2019 as it “didn’t meet expectations.” It’s apparently gotten a new team and new redesign, which is basically what happened to Lineage Eternal way back when, you’ll recall. And speaking of that: Project TL is supposedly still on schedule, with a launch still on track for next year.

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Path of Exile will not maintain the Bestiary League mechanics in the core game

It’s hard not to hear about how Path of Exile players like the game’s Bestiary League. It’s been a real breakout success for the game, and the combination of the game’s core mechanics with the promise of capturing rare beasts (and using them for armor) has delighted many fans. So it’s a good thing to read that the game will most definitely be getting rid of the bestiary league mechanics following the end of the league cycle.

Yes, there will be some wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the announcement explicitly outlines the reasons why the mechanics and features like the menagerie won’t be sticking around. In short, as much as the team (and players) enjoyed parts of the Bestiary experience, it’d create problems for new players and for keeping the menagerie updated, while demanding even more work to keep the crafting balanced. So it’s sad news if you had really hoped to keep the Bestiary League around in some form, but it seems like the best long-term health decision… even if it’ll be hard for the next league to be half as well-loved.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Pepperzine for the tip!


The Stream Team: Hanging out with Path of Exile’s beastie boys

Life as a Scion in Path of Exile has been a bit different for Massively OP’s MJ, but she has managed to stay ranged as well as use spells. She just can’t leave her Witch roots too far behind! Perhaps one of the reasons she’s enjoying this class is the fact that she is enjoying the bestiary league so much. Here, she gets to hang out with some real beastie boys. Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. as MJ captures more critters for her collection.

What: Path of Exile
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 4th, 2018

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Path of Exile details the overhaul coming to Vaal skills

The purpose behind the Vaal skills in Path of Exile was to offer players big, show-stopping skills that could have a large impact on the battlefield. That, unfortunately, is not quite how they’ve worked out in practice. So the game’s next major patch is overhauling them in a major way, starting by making sure that each Vaal skill gem contains both the normal and the Vaal version of a skill to avoid forcing players to choose between them. Soul acquisition is also being altered to ensure that you can expect to use them during boss fights more than once, while also making them less relevant while chewing through hordes.

Meanwhile, individual skills have received balance tweaks. Vaal Arc can no longer bounce as much, but should deal more initial damage to make up for it; meanwhile, Vaal Detonate Dead now creates a pulsing field on the ground bursting corpses in quick succession. You can check out the full rundown of changes on the official site, although the exact numbers haven’t been tweaked just yet. It’s all about giving you new ways to really show off your power, so hopefully the improved skills will provide that rush of explosions.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Pepperzine for the tip!


Perfect Ten: MMOs with different (camera) perspectives

By the time that World of Warcraft came on the scene in 2004, the MMORPG industry had already gravitated toward standard when it came to the interface — specifically, the camera angle. MMO players and devs seemed to prefer third-person views that either peered over the shoulder of avatars or followed right behind them. For decades now, we’ve grown used to watching our characters’ rears as they jog along, and we can’t really imagine the experience otherwise.

Yet when you think about it, while this camera perspective is overwhelmingly used in the genre, it’s not the only one that crops up in MMOs. We’ve seen both old and new titles experiment with the camera angle, sometimes out of style and sometimes out of necessity (here’s a great Gamasutra article on the subject).

For today’s list, we’re going to look at 10 MMORPGs where the camera is positioned in a different way than you’d normally expect, especially if you are coming from modern games.

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Path of Exile turns the temperature up on its ignite skills

Path of Exile is a great game to indulge your inner pyromaniac in a safe, controlled fashion, and it’s only going to be a better release when Patch 3.3.0 arrives. Grinding Gear Games is expending time and effort to improve fire-based active and passive skills for the upcoming content addition to the game.

There are a lot of changes in store for fire skills, but the gist of it all is that the team is buffing fire nearly across the board. A better Heart of Flame? Done. An impressive 25% boost to Ignite? It’s there. A scarier flameblast, larger fireballs, and more ways to ignite the world and watch everything burn? It’s all there and more.

“Our testing of these balance changes so far has gone well and there are several ignite-focused builds that are now more enjoyable to level and more effective in end-game content,” the studio said.

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