non combat mmo

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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The MOP Up: SMITE’s console mea culpa (May 7, 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!

This week we have stories and videos from Skyforge, EVE Online, IngressWar ThunderWorld of TanksWakfuLeague of LegendsSMITEGTA OnlineElsword OnlineWurm OnlineDarkfall: Rise of AgonWorlds AdriftCounter-Strike, SEAL Online, and Warspear Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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KingsIsle seeks support to get EverClicker on Steam; Wizard101 and Pirate101 might be next

First there was EverQuest. Then there was Ever, Jane. Now there’s EverClicker. This sort of trend could go on (wait for it) forever.

KingsIsle, the studio behind both Wizard101 and Pirate101, is branching out into the mobile space and is looking for fan support to propel its newest title onto Steam. On the Wizard101 forums, the team asks the community to head over to Steam Greenlight to vote for EverClicker in the hopes of seeing it hit the big time.

Oddly enough, both 101 games have yet to debut on Steam themselves, but KingsIsle said that EverClicker could pave the way for that. “It’s easier to start our journey onto Steam with a game that isn’t hugely complicated with a lot of moving parts,” the studio said. “Starting with EverClicker on Steam allows us to learn the process. If successful, we hope to be able to offer more of our games on Steam and other distribution outlets in the future, which could include games such as Wizard101 and Pirate101.”

Source: Wizard101 forums, Steam Greenlight. Thanks, Tom!

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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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