non combat mmo

The Daily Grind: If you could live in an MMO world, which one would it be?

As much as we complain about MMORPGs, with their grinds and their boredom, even the most kill-or-be-killed ganker paradises would probably be better to live in than the real world with all its troubles and highly inconvenient implementation of permadeath. With rare exceptions, most MMOs let you return over and over to keep on trying forever, and you can always grab a mining pick or kill some trolls to make money and survive.

Me, I’d pick Glitch: Not only was the cutesy Tiny Speck game devoid of conflict, but I spent most of my time creating quests for players, wandering around, and stuffing my face with delicious food so I wouldn’t die. It was a good life. And if I did die? No biggie; hell was actually kinda fun — and critically, not permanent.

How about you? If you could live in an MMO world, which one would it be?

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Jukebox Heroes: Your top six favorite MMO music themes

After over a month of voting and counting down, we’ve arrived at the final six picks for your favorite MMORPG theme songs of all time. It’s been absolutely illuminating seeing the formation of this list and the placement of certain tracks, and I’m glad that everyone who wanted to got to participate.

Before I reveal the top six themes, here are a few honorable mentions:

  • Glitch by Vexia: “”As proof this is the ‘main theme’ since the game is closed, my soundtrack CDs have some variations of the Groddle Forest music that are titled ‘Glitch Theme (Demo),’ ‘Glitch Theme (Rook’s Woods),’ etc.”
  • EVE Online: Empyrean Age by Alex: “EVE has, like, DOZENS of theme songs. They make a new one for each expansion. It should win on variety alone. Or be in a different category. If I had to choose one, it would probably be the Empyrean Age login theme.”
  • Phantasy Star Online by Totakeke: “Boom, nothing can beat PSO’s theme. Period.”
  • City of Villains by Colonel Zechs: “Who wouldn’t like this song?”
  • SkySaga by Socontrariwise: “Just so cheerful!”

Are you ready? I know I am! Here we go!

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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn’t mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we’re going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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Ever, Jane’s latest open beta update adds horseback riding, carriages, and new homes

Ever, Jane’s fourth update of open beta has gone live this afternoon, bringing new homes and horses to the Jane Austen-themed period MMORPG. “We’re eager to add the townhouses and cottages to home ownership, fundamental changes to the Story system, additional construction on the Estate, carriages you can both drive and ride as a passenger, the first implementation of much awaited horseback riding and more!” 3 Turn Productions writes today.

Expect new and larger buildings (with basement!) in Tyrehampton, but be warned: If you’ve not logged in within the last month, you’ll be getting a warning email and then an eviction notice.

And as for horses? 3TP says it’s not a “polished experience” with finished animations or jumping, but you can indeed trot through the village now — or be ferried around in a multi-person carriage. Just don’t try to summon your horse inside a building (it will work, sort of!).

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Black Desert’s St Patrick’s Day patch brought its own beer

It is written in The MMORPG Code that MMOs, especially those of foreign pedigree, must indulge our most silly faux holidays. I’m sure that’s the case, else why would an upstanding game like Black Desert insert St Patrick’s Day into your immersions?

Yes, today’s patch sees not only the return of the dice-rolling Black Spirit’s adventure and new craftables for the Dark Knight but also beer. The Cold Draft Beer event, to be exact.

“To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, all players will receive beer on 3/17. Please check your in-game mail on this date to find your delivery of beer!”

That’s where I get all my beer for sure.

By the by, maintenance this morning was extended slightly for North American players and quite a bit for EU players; Kakao apologized for the extra downtime and told EU players that compensation is on the way, though everything is back up now.

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ARK Survival Evolved rolls back official servers following Amazon outage

Did Amazon’s Web Services outage on Wednesday wreck your day? It wrecked a lot of the internet, including ARK: Survival Evolved, which uses the service for its CrossARK transfer system. Unfortunately, the outage apparently led to a duping issue that caused Studio Wildcard to roll back the official ARK servers, which are still technically in early access:

“We will be conducting a major rollback on all Official Servers to just before this incident, and will be wiping all Cross ARK storage of any items due to a dupe glitch which surfaced due to the incident.”

The studio apologized to fans last night for the delay in communication and promised an evolution event with big bonuses to breeding, maturing, and egg hatching rates to help players make up for lost time, but it’s Reddit, and Reddit’s on fire over Wildcard’s handling of the incident.

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See all of the ‘extreme polite socializing’ that Ever, Jane has to offer

Admit it: You have been weirdly fascinated and curious ever since hearing of the existence of Ever, Jane. This period MMORPG is definitely taking a different path than most games in our genre, drawing from the works of Jane Austen to make an online roleplaying experience that’s more about dinner parties and gossip than it is about slaying dark gods and looting their decorative armor sets.

YouTuber The Hive Leader took some time to explore the interesting (and confusing) open beta and returned with a hilarious report. He notes that the world is largely silent and devoid of people while the game is not very clear on what players need to do and can do.

Satisfy your curiosity by watching all of the “extreme polite socializing” that Ever, Jane has to offer after the break!

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Battle Bards Episode 93: It’s a madhouse!

It’s taken this long, but the Battle Bards have gone completely and irreversibly insane in the membrane! Today the team cracks open the door of the MMO music funhouse to see what off-kilter, crazy, and manic tunes may be found. WARNING: Once you’ve entered the asylum, you might find yourself a resident… for life!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 93: It’s a Madhouse! (or download it) now:

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The Daily Grind: What’s the weirdest MMO glitch you’ve ever experienced?

Have you ever fallen through the world in an MMO? Good times, right there. It’s a jarring, crazy experience in which you see just how flimsy and thin the surface is from beneath as you plummet to your death or disconnection.

We’ve all experienced weird bugs and glitches in MMORPGs from time to time. Often they’re nothing more significant than odd character models, clipping, or rubberbanding, but once in a while we hit on some winning moments where, say, a character’s face disappears save for his eyes and teeth. Or when an NPC abruptly shrinks to the size of an ant.

What’s the weirdest MMO glitch you’ve ever experienced? Bonus points for screenshots in the comments as proof!

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Paladins brings out the street-smart Maeve

So apparently Paladins’ thing is that it’s going to be the online multiplayer title that fires patches and new characters at us from some sort of coding gatling gun. It hasn’t even been two weeks since Patch 42 and the introduction of Torvold, and now Hi-Rez is springing Patch 43 on us with a whole new champion to play.

The hero of the moment is Maeve, a street-smart rogue who dual-wields throwing daggers, double-jumps around the place, and puts enemies to sleep. Plus, she has pink hair and you know that’s half the battle right there.

Patch 43 also contains several limited-time Valentine’s Day-themed accessories, skins, and even a “McDreamy” candy pony mount in the store. Yes, you’ll certainly be the envy of every Jerry and Jane on the block when you’re riding that bad boy in late August. Check out the patch notes and get an overview of this update after the break!

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Massively Overthinking: Death and dying in MMORPGs

In March of last year, MOP’s Justin wrote a detailed guide to the most common death penalties in MMORPGs. Last September, Gamasutra pulled seven game developers together to discuss the most effective gaming “fail states,” several of which involve death. Both articles came rushing back to me this week when Crowfall revisited the subject of its own death penalty, which involves a brief ghost period and a fast-track trip to the temple for resurrection.

This week, I’ve asked the MOP writers to consider MMOs and non-MMOs and propose their own favorite death penalty. Is it an old one, a new one, or one no one’s done at all? What’s the best way to implement death in a modern MMORPG?

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Perfect Ten: MMORPGs that walk on the weird side

In third grade, my teacher sent home a report card with the note that “Justin is wonderfully strange.” Ever since then, I never found the terms “strange” or “weird” to be pejorative but rather a signpost pointing the way to interesting paths less traveled.

To be weird is to deviate from the safe and predictable and instead venture into the wild and woolly lands of the imagination. When it comes to MMORPGs, I feel that more devs would love for their games to be more strange while the risk-averse studios (and their publishers) pull hard to keep traditional tropes in play.

Still, every once in a while a game comes out that walk on the weird side. These MMOs don’t usually boast universal appeal, large numbers, or even great respect, but they do offer vivid imagination, hidden qualities, and a certain uniqueness that is rarely found elsewhere. Today, we will celebrate the wonderfully strange in online gaming with these 10 titles.

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The Daily Grind: How often do you claim refunds on MMOs?

Chargebacks were a big deal in 2016: Black Desert, ArcheAge, and No Man Sky were all embroiled in community drama thanks to perceived chargeback abuse. PayPal even ended its chargeback protection for crowdfunding donations, making it harder for gamers who hand over cash to abuse the credit card system to get that money back.

But some games are offering you your money back and you’re still not taking it.

Hero’s Song, for example, recently went under, but John Smedley pledged to refund any Steam and Indiegogo purchasers who asked for their money returned. Yet there are folks in our comments who said they wouldn’t take him up on that — they feel they got their money’s worth or don’t feel it’s right to take back what was intended as a gift, risks fully understood. That reminded me of when Glitch sunsetted after a couple years in operation and Stewart Butterfield offered everyone all of their money back from years of play and a lot of players said no way.

How about you? Do you claim refunds on games when available? How often do you do it?

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