oarpg

OARPG stands for “online action roleplaying game.”

Camelot Unchained’s Mark Jacobs on guilds, groups, and the social systems that make an MMORPG go ’round

Over the weekend, the studio behind crowdfunded RvR MMORPG Camelot Unchained released a hefty chunk of its ongoing beta one document, revealing extensive insight into the way the game’s social systems will be laid out. Parts of those social systems will look familiar to MMO players, such as groups (Warbands), guilds (Orders), and raids (Battlegroups). But there are more layers to contend with, including perma-groups or mini-guilds (Permanent Warbands), as well as project-oriented raids (Campaigns), all designed in the service of an ambitious RvR-centered MMO that makes space for soloers and small guilds by not over- or under-privileging the largest teams in the genre. That’s the goal, anyway!

CU boss and MMORPG veteran developer Mark Jacobs, whom many of you know personally thanks to his ubiquity in our comments section, gamely answered about a thousand of my questions over the weekend, which we’ve compiled into an absurdly long interview about how to properly smush together all these groups into a social system sandwich that makes everybody happy. There’s even a Star Trek quote and a bonus question about Warhammer Online’s development and CU’s budget at the end!

I strongly urge you to check out the original doc first, as the interview assumes knowledge of the basic terminology and structure of the game. Fair warning: While Camelot Unchained’s document is almost 6000 words, this interview itself is close to 4000. You put Jacobs in a virtual room with me and my questions go on forever, and damn if he doesn’t answer them exhaustively. It’s a whopper, but it’s worth reading for a glimpse into what could be the future of MMO community planning.

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Happy 20th birthday, Ultima Online! Here’s how to get caught up on the OG MMORPG

Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.

That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.

Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.

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The MOP Up: Monster Hunter World’s Tokyo reveals (September 24, 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 LawbreakersHyper UniversePlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Pokemon GoWorld of TanksDC Universe OnlineCrossoutMonster Hunter WorldRunes of MagicAtlantica OnlineRevelation OnlineLeague of LegendsCrossfireHeroes of the Storm, OverwatchPath of Exile, and Dungeon Fighter Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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The Stream Team: Just another Marvel Heroes Monday

Of course you don’t wish it wwere Sunday because that would mean no Marvel Heroes Monday! It’s been a little while (read: much, much too long!) since Massively OP’s MJ enjoyed a Marvel Heroes Monday. But that changes as she dives back into the fray tonight. She’s ready to stomp out evil everywhere, so join us live at 9:00 p.m. to get in on the adventures.

What: Marvel Heroes
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 18th, 2017

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The Daily Grind: Do you feel crowdfunded MMOs ‘owe’ you something?

My husband and I were chatting about the whole Chris-Roberts-is-fed-up-with-trolls-and-date-estimates-that-everyone-knows-aren’t-going-to-stick thing from last week when he said something that struck me. “It reminds me of how people harangue George R. R. Martin (of Game of Thrones fame) about his next book,” he observed. “They believe he owes them something for being his loyal fans,” which you’ll recall once prompted famed author Neil Gaiman to declare, “George Martin is not your bitch.”

The difference, of course, is that George R. R. Martin can do whatever the heck he wants while he rolls around in his well-earned piles of money because his books aren’t crowdfunded. He quite literally doesn’t owe us anything, even if people who’ve been his fans for multiple decades might feel otherwise.

Crowfunded MMOs like Star Citizen aren’t quite in that position. Technically, you knew when your credit card number hit the screen that yours was a donation toward an idea. Some of the games we Kickstart? They fail. Or they drift in limbo. Or they don’t meet the vision. They aren’t all Path of Exile and Elite Dangerous is what I’m saying. But when those campaigns masquerade as pre-orders, people can be left with the idea that, well, they’re owed what they think they paid for.

Do you feel the MMO you’ve crowdfunded owe you something? Or are you content knowing you donated toward a vision of a better genre?

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Check out a (very brief) Venom trailer for Marvel Heroes Omega

If you were into comic books in the ’90s, you probably remember a point where Venom was all over everything. He was like Spider-man, only he was edgy and dark and evil and killed people and had a big tongue. The ’90s were a real trip, guys. However, he wasn’t all over Marvel Heroes Omega in the ’90s because the game didn’t exist then and none of the consoles that run it would exist for several years.

Now, however, the game does exist, and it’s got Venom all over it again. You can check the lethal protector out in the brief trailer down below (yes, that was also an actual thing), which is good news for anyone who wants to play Evil Spider-man But Not So Evil He Can’t Be A Good Guy. We later got an even evil-er Spider-man. Comic books.

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Diablo III seeks smoothness and balance with Patch 2.6.1

It may not be as sexy as a new expansion or class, but sometimes it’s a worthwhile thing for developers to sit down with a determination to polish and shine a game until it feels and plays better better than before.

This is the two-part goal of Diablo III’s Patch 2.6.1 according to the devs: “We wanted each class to have multiple builds with different styles that can play in similar difficulties. […] Secondly, we want to smooth out the overall endgame experience. This means making sure each build plays well in high-density situations and group play.”

To accomplish these tasks, the devs are buffing up some neglected skills and evaluating a whole bunch of player feedback. Some of the specific tune-ups include the Barbarian’s Whirlwind build, improvements to the Necromancer’s Dayntee’s Binding, a better Jade Harvester for the Witch Doctor, and buffs all around for Wizards.

The team said that it has “locked down” the big changes from now on to allow for more polish and testing prior to the patch’s rollout at an undetermined future date.

Source: Diablo III

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Lost Ark releases a trailer for its second closed beta

We’re going to lead off with the bad news: Lost Ark is currently planning its release in South Korea and China in 2018 with no real word on a localized version for here just yet. So keep that in mind while you watch the eight-minute trailer below. If it all looks enticing and interesting to you, well, you don’t know when you’ll get to experience it in a language that you actually speak. So you may have to go your whole life without getting to play music with a group beautiful enough that it attracts a rampaging owlbear to sit down and listen happily.

Of course, having typed that line, you probably have to see what the heck is actually in this trailer. There’s a lot of more standard stuff in there, too, like sailing across the ocean, exploring ruins, and creeping through dangerous areas filled with monsters… but there’s also the aforementioned “singing and gathering woodland creatures” bit. So perhaps you out to just check it out to see everything being added to the game for its second closed beta test.

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The MOP Up: Skyforge gets a dark rush with the Revenant (September 10, 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 Master X MasterBlade and SoulEVE OnlineRoboManiacHearthstoneHyper UniverseThe Black DeathPokemon GoRuneScapeTERA MChampions OnlineWurm OnlineFinal Fantasy XIGiganticAllods OnlineHellionLeague of LegendsDiablo III, and Path of Exile, all waiting for you after the break!

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Marvel Heroes is bringing Venom to consoles – but only for two weeks

Want to experience the heights of joy and the depths of despair in the same sentence? Here you go, straight from Marvel Heroes’ Facebook feed: “We’re excited to announce that Venom, the Lethal Protector, will be available Thursday (9/14) on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for a limited time!”

That sounded pretty good until those last four words, which ended up casting a shadow of weird doubt over this whole exercise. Why only for a limited time? Is this a high-pressure tactic to drive up sales? Is Marvel Heroes going to start rotating its store roster? Word is that Venom will only be available for two weeks, then will take off to parts unknown until returning later this year.

One developer makes this sound like a preview of sorts: “Venom won’t be available for eternity splinters during this limited time sale, no. He will be later after his formal release, which currently is planned towards the end of the year.”

Source: Facebook

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Perfect Ten: MMOs that changed their names

Names and titles fascinate me. While sometimes they have no deeper meaning than to sound pleasant and be memorable, a label can indicate purpose, history, and connection. MMORPG names are, of course, as varied as the stars in the sky, with many of them slapping “online” or “age of” somewhere in there to designate their category. But every so often, we witness a game that changes its name as part of its development and business evolution.

Today I wanted to run down 10 MMOs (well, nine MMOs and one expansion) that received notable name changes over the years. I’m not going to talk about games that created a weird rebrand for a business model shift but mostly stuck with the original title afterward (such as DDO Unlimited or WildStar Reloaded), but instead games that had vastly different names than what they ended up using.
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PAX West 2017: Dauntless launches closed beta today; here’s the trailer

Happy PAX day, folks! Here’s your first big fun announcement: Phoenix Labs’ co-op OARPG Dauntless is launching closed beta. Today. In just a few hours.

“Phoenix Labs is launching Dauntless, the highly anticipated online co-op action RPG, into Closed Beta for PC today at 12:00pm PT. During this early access period, Phoenix Labs will continue to collect feedback and develop the world of Dauntless as a fun, challenging, and highly rewarding experience. The Closed Beta will build upon Dauntless’ live service, delivering regular updates that hone and expand the gameplay experience. Slayers can look forward to new content including Behemoths, weapons and armor, islands, story expansions and much more in the Closed Beta and beyond.”

The closed beta is the stage following the founder’s alpha, meaning you can get right in with one of the higher-tier packs. Launch is still expected for 2017. We’re checking out the game at PAX, so stay tuned for more, and have a look at the brand-new trailer below.

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Massively Overthinking: Female characters and gender-locked classes in MMOs

One of the reasons I gravitated to and stick by the MMORPG genre in spite of its many ups and downs (oh, so many downs) over the last two decades is the fact that I can play more or less exactly the character I want to play, which is usually female characters. Other genres, even RPGs, have been relatively slow to catch up to what we’ve had here in MMO land right from the start. The idea of a serious MMORPG launching without female toons of some sort is almost unheard of.

I bring this up because of Quantic Foundry’s latest blog post, which delves its Gamer Motivation Profile for data on how gamers feel about being able to play female protagonists. Unsurprisingly, three-quarters of female gamers and a third of male gamers, irrespective of age, consider that option very or extremely important!

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our mixed-gender staff three questions: what they think about Quantic’s findings, whether they stick to the gender they personally identify as when rolling toons in MMOs, and whether the lack of gender options — or in MMOs’ case, things like gender-locked classes — drive them as nuts as they drive me.

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