non combat mmo

One Shots: Street legal

“Looks like it’s that time of year again!” says Ryuen.

And so it is. The Halloween season has come upon us and it is inescapable. You can try to hide in a cave or bury yourself in a mountain of theorycrafting, but before you know it, you’ll be trick or treating in MMORPGs with the rest of us.

And I say, why fight it when you can ride it? Sure, wearing a pumpkin on your head and driving a bike powered by 85% gasoline and 15% souls of the damned might not be street legal, but trust me, no cop is going to stop you. Just ask Ryuen… if you can catch up to him in Secret World Legends.

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Massively Overthinking: Is open-world housing really a ‘failed’ MMORPG experiment?

Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti has a provocative article on his personal gaming blog, Bio Break, this week on MMORPG housing.

“I once again wonder why open world housing is this holy grail that some players and developers seem hellbent on chasing,” he writes. “It’s an ideal, a beautiful mirage couched in the notion of players inhabiting the very world they play, allowing them to stroll through neighborhoods of fellow adventurer’s homes and basking in the connectivity of it all. Yet it’s a failed experiment, one that is proven time and again to have far more drawbacks than benefits.” After listing off his complaints with the mechanic, he ultimately concludes that “we simply don’t need fixed open world housing, even in sandboxes.”

But being Justin, he also asked for feedback on why the joys are worth the drawbacks – and how to fix the system so it works instead of running off the rails. That’s just what we’ll do in this week’s Overthinking. Is he right about not needing this type of housing? And if not, how would you fix open world housing?

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Overwatch deals with ‘ban bug,’ publishes Zarya comic

Here is a fun bug indeed: Overwatch has a glitch that’s been accidentally slinging seasonal bans at players who did not deserve them. It’s not a particularly widespread issue, having only impacted about 200 accounts, but it has concerned Blizzard and stirred the team to resolve it and restore affected players to their glory.

“We recently identified a bug that, in extremely rare cases, can cause players to lose their skill rating progress and receive a seasonal ban from competitive play without any prior penalties for leaving early or being kicked for inactivity,” Game Director Jeff Kaplan posted in the forums. “This bug is a high priority for our team, and we’re working on a fix to prevent further instances of it occurring as we speak. In the meantime, we’ll be removing the seasonal ban for all players affected by this bug as well as restoring their skill rating.”

On a happier note, Blizzard published a new 12-page comic starring everyone’s favorite Russian heavy hitter, Zarya. Keep your eyes open; another Overwatch hero or two might be popping in to say hi during this one.

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Are MMOs and video games fulfilling our need for productivity?

Here is a question for you to ponder: Do MMOs make you feel more productive than your main job or school? If so, it might not be an accident.

In an essay over at the Talk Amongst Yourselves Kinja, author @CleonWrites notes how video games have started to fill people’s needs for productivity and world fulfillment when they can’t get it in the real world. And you might be getting a hit of this emotional high when you jump into your favorite MMO.

“Using MMORPG’s as an example, [game designer Jane] McGonigal notes that games can offer a certain satisfaction in doing work,” the essay says. “‘Work’ in games commonly take the form of quests, or objectives, which the player is asked to complete. On completion of these tasks, players can be rewarded through experience points, better armour, and in particular, more quests. This constant repetition of easily completable tasks, and increasingly common rewards, drives home a feeling of productivity in the player.”

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Camelot Unchained designs beta siege battles

It’s not hard to imagine the Camelot Unchained fan as a curious and excitable prairie dog popping up whenever the word “beta” is mentioned. The wait has been long, the promises many, and the development of this RvR MMO seemingly never fast enough for both the fans and the devs.

But could the Beta 1 test actually be nearer than we think? There are certainly a lot of mentions of the test itself in this week’s newsletter, including a revised Beta 1 document on the official site. The team also discussed how it’s drafting up designs for siege battles to take place during the test and provide an important stepping stone to the future: “These battles are being designed primarily to be fun, and importantly, to test our work in Beta 1 and beyond.”

It saddens us to report that Camelot Unchained has killed Superman. Well, the “Superman” bug, that is. Apparently there was a glitch that kept player characters stuck in a falling/flying pose while moving around, but now that’s a funny memory rather than an awesome reality.

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Perfect Ten: The 10 saddest MMORPG stories

Every MMO tells a story through the run of its life. A lot of those stories are pretty happy, too. Ultima Online may not be the most happening place in the world right now, but its story is about launching a genre and then running for two solid decades. That’s a pretty great story. However much it’s become a tale of mismanaged expectations, World of Warcraft kind of became the most popular thing for a long while and brought in tons of new people to the hobby. Even titles with sad endings often have bright stories; the end bit for City of Heroes sucks, but everything leading up to that was a gas.

And then you have these 10 titles. These are titles where the whole story is a tragedy, start to finish, and in many cases the tragedy isn’t necessarily over, but the story is still just plain sad. There are reasons, of course, maybe even good ones, but the result is that the narrative for these titles is pretty sad all the way through.

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Ever, Jane whiles away the hours playing card games

When you are a part of high society, it comes with certain expectations and customs. Entertainment is not found in slaughtering goblins, but in sitting around a table, sipping tea, and playing a friendly game or two of cards.

The refined and plucky Ever, Jane added a new card table with this week’s open beta update. And it’s not just decorative, either: “Strategy games can help build a strong mind and as such Mrs. Hatch has placed a new gaming table in her entry room. Four players may play together free-form card games, such as Whist.”

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Fortnite devs apologize for unintended base demolition

When money is put down on the counter and the word “launch” is used, it doesn’t matter if you say your game is in “early access” or “alpha” or what have you — customers will complain, loudly, if an update or glitch wipes out their progress. And this is exactly what happened with Fortnite this past week.

The situation came about when the team uploaded a new patch that, among other things, made changes to three maps that also reset any bases put on those maps. While the resources used to make the bases were refunded, the time and effort spent was lost. To make matters worse, there was no advance warning given to the community, a fact which the team regretted and for which it apologized on the forums.

“We messed up in missing a HUGE part of our patch notes,” the studio posted. “We know that the time it took to create your base can’t be replaced, we hope that opportunity to rebuild with all your resources and past experience will allow you to make an even better base.”

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One Shots: The one where we mention Michael Bay

Warning: This column will contain GRAPHIC and EXPLICIT references to film auteur Michael Bay. You may find yourself cutting away in excitement every two seconds and subject to unnecessary explosions and pixelated cleavage. Try to remain calm.

Siphaed had “super fun” in Citadel: Forged With Fire lately and wanted to share a vista from his new house. But what’s the best part? “Explosions!” he wrote. “Michael Bay would be jealous of the graphical fidelity of Citadel. And yet still aesthetically pleasing to the eye.”

Now that we’ve gotten our gratuitous Michael Bay reference out of the way, let us push forward and try to forget the man who single-handedly ruined two 1980s franchises. We are not bitter.

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Whatever happened to PlanetSide 2, A Tale in the Desert, and Istaria?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “What ever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?

That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at whatever happened to PlanetSide 2, A Tale in the Desert, and Istaria (witness protection program name: Horizons).

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The Game Archaeologist: Where are all of the open-source MMOs?

Recently we had an interesting question come in from reader and Patron Rasmus Praestholm, who asked me to do a little investigating: “What (if anything of substance) exists in the MMO field that’s not only free, but open source? The topic of open source came up briefly in a recent column, where Ryzom was noted to have gone open source at some point. But have any serious efforts actually gotten anywhere starting out as open source?”

As some graphical MMORPGs pass the two-decade mark in video game history and are being either cancelled or retired to maintenance mode, it’s an increasingly important topic when it comes to keeping these games alive. Not only that, the question of open source MMOs involves the community in continued development, with the studio handing over the keys to an aging car to see what can be done by resourceful fans.

But has anything much been done with open source projects in the realm of MMORPGs? Is this something that we should be demanding more of as online gaming starts using more accessible platforms such as SpatialOS? Let’s dig a bit into this topic and see what we turn up.

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Overwatch begins booking trips to the moon on June 20

Next week Joe and Jane Gamer can secure their own ticket to the moon itself — granted that they are playing Overwatch. Blizzard is opening the airlock to its Horizon Lunar Colony on June 20th, and the team couldn’t be more excited about it. It’s the first map that the studio has built for the game that is 90% indoors.

Citing both a strong character hook and story hook, the devs said that the lunar colony was at the top of their most-desired locations list. The map allows players to visit the origin of Winston, the super-intelligent gorilla, and get some insight into what went on at this remote science facility. Of course, how much lore you’re going to soak up while bunny-hopping your way at lightning speeds down corridors is debatable.

“We were always inspired by the fact that Overwatch was a universe future enough and expanded enough that there could be a colony on the moon,” said Game Director Jeff Kaplan. Get a full map preview after the jump!

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Perfect Ten: MMORPGs that died too soon

Your favorite game is going to die. I wrote about that. Some games are never even going to get to launching in the first place, unfortunately. But then there are these titles: games that went the distance when it came to development, marketing, promotion, testing… but somehow didn’t quite manage to stick the landing past that. These are the games that, in Transformers terms, are the hi-then-die cast of the MMO space.

That doesn’t always mean the games are bad, mind you. Some of these games were great fun. But through a combination of business model issues, publisher issues, player population, and just general weirdness, these titles couldn’t make it to a year and a half in the wild. Heck, some of them couldn’t even make it to a year and a quarter. And if you want to peruse this list and wonder why all of these titles are gone but Alganon is somehow still operating… well, we’re just as confused as you are.

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