opinion

Opinion pieces are by definition neither neutral nor subjective. Massively Overpowered’s writers’ editorials reflect their own opinions, not necessarily the opinions of the site or company.

LOTRO Legendarium: What the Amazon TV series means for Lord of the Rings Online

If you haven’t been paying attention to the television market over the past few years, you might have missed the fact that we are in the middle of a revolution of how shows are made and broadcast. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney, and CBS are greenlighting all sorts of fantastic shows with the hopes of strengthening their audience and luring them to these pay-to-watch platforms.

Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Walking Dead, The Defenders, Star Trek Discovery, and Stranger Things are a few examples of how these companies are getting acclaim and major viewership with ambitious projects. Large amounts of money are being thrown around on both the licensing and production of these shows, and companies are frantically looking around for the next big hit. So while Disney is boldly announcing a Star Wars live action TV series, Amazon went to the fantasy equivalent and nabbed a little thing called Lord of the Rings.

Yes indeed. The big news from this past week was that Amazon bought the rights to produce a multi-season Lord of the Rings series. While the exact cost of this deal wasn’t revealed, industry experts estimate that it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 to $250 million. No small po-tay-toes any way you look at it. But what will this series mean for our beloved MMORPG? I have a few thoughts about that.

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The Daily Grind: What’s keeping you from going back to a favorite MMO?

It’s weird to think that I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic on and off since its release. Seems like such a long time ago. I’ve had great memories in that game and still appreciate the work that the team put into the cinematic stories, voice acting, and the occasional moral choice.

But as of late, it’s been more “off” than “on,” especially following the most recent expansion. I don’t like the subscription-locked endgame system, and pretty much everyone keeps advising me just to finish the story and then ditch the game. That’s disheartening to me. So I’ve been waiting to see what BioWare has in store for the long-term future. Depending on the direction that the game goes, I could see going back. Just not right now.

What’s keeping you from going back to one of your favorite MMOs? Is it a change, a lack of friends, or something else entirely?

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Leaderboard: What do you expect out of live MMORPG events in 2017?

Earlier this month, Black Desert GMs ran a live in-game event. I was super excited to hear about something like that in a newer MMORPG until I saw some of the complaints. Apparently, the event amounted to a “mysterious stranger” played by what I assume is a GM, who arrived on Valencia 6 and started “gathering souls,” i.e., murdering everyone in sight with a scythe, until players took him down.

To me, that’s not really a live event. That’s the sort of obnoxious thing GMs used to do in classic EverQuest, inhabit sand giants and just start massacring newbs (less funny back when deaths cost you experience).

I’m jaded; I’ve seen live events in Ultima Online for so long that my bar is way higher than just powertripping GMs on a god character. I expect a long-running storyline, discussion, choices, a purpose to the interaction that elevates it above, well, a world boss. What do you expect out of live MMORPG events in 2017?

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Massively Overthinking: Are modern games too cheap?

This week’s Massively Overthinking topic is a submission from reader and commenter camelotcrusade, who takes the industry’s current fight over monetization in a different direction from lockboxes. “Are modern games too cheap?” he asks, probably slowly reaching into a can of worms with a wicked gleam in his eye.

“When you think about it, many other things we buy have increased in price over the last decade but AAA games are still expected to be a maximum of $60, with many of us waiting for sales (or for free-to-play). Meanwhile, games everywhere are adding shops, post-release content, and DLC galore with increasingly aggressive pricing models. How much of this is to make-up margins they can’t capture up-front? How much should an AA game cost in 2017? $75? $90? Is there a price point where lockboxes, gambling, and in-game stores could focus on value-add instead of survival? And how did we get here? Whose fault is it? And how do we get out of this, or is ‘would you like a game with your store’ the future as we know it?”

Let’s talk money!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees?

So Marvel Heroes has about six weeks to live thanks to the impending shutdown of the game following Disney’s decision to drop Gazillion as a business partner. That’s going to leave some superhero MMO players once again without a home, and though the game’s current Steam numbers can’t hold a candle to the number of players affected by the City of Heroes closure five years ago, we’re left with the same situation – and a similar roster of games vying for refugees.

The big superhero MMORPGs are still DC Universe Online and Champions Online, the former of which is certainly better supported with content, the latter of which may have more of that Marvel feel. There’s also three strong crowdfunding superhero MMOs still trying to fill the CoH vacuum: Ship of Heroes, City of Titans, and Valiance Online. Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees? Would it be another superhero MMO, another superhero game or ARPG altogether, or something else? If you’re a former MH player, where are you getting your fix?

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Choose My Adventure: It’s all the same in Secret World Legends

I was a bit disappointed to see that last week’s poll for Secret World Legends went to the Illuminati. I played the Illuminati my first time through, you see, and while I quite like the Illuminati, it does rather give me a dearth of new experiences, yes? But then, the point was that this was all supposed to be new experiences, so I shrugged it off. We’re back to the organization that treats secret lore like corporate data points, spectacular.

That may sound a bit dismissive, but it’s not really meant to be. And hey, this will provide a useful point of comparison when contrasted against my original experiences. So I start up, click through the character creator, and find myself thinking that it used to be a fair bit more flexible. Maybe not leaps and bounds, but at least somewhat, right? There used to be more options for hair color and facial features, yes? Or am I deluding myself?

Then I log in, and it’s the same damn game as it used to be.

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The Survivalist: ARK Survival Evolved’s sequel tease is an insult to its fans

You know that moment when you just can’t take it anymore? I am there, right on the cusp. I know many folks have gotten to their “I can no longer support <insert name here>” phases for various games and studios for a variety of reasons, but I had never yet reached such a point in my own gaming. (That one studio doesn’t count because I never supported them in the first place.) And now here I am. I don’t think I can continue to support Studio WildCard.

That is definitely a shift for me. I have been an ardent fan of ARK: Survival Evolved. I championed the game pretty heavily: I have streamed it for over two years, I personally host two servers, and this very column was born largely on the back of ARK. I have almost 1500 hours of playtime, and I own the expansions. I had praised the game and Studio WildCard for a long while, holding it up as an example of things done right.

Then things changed. The accumulation of many remarks and actions that ate away at my trust was topped off by the way the studio shows disregard for its current customers, treating them as disposable cash cows. And then came the sequel talk this very week.

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The Daily Grind: How should MMOs handle old limited-time rewards?

Out of all the various event rewards I’ve gotten in Final Fantasy XIV, Legacy status is the only one that a new player couldn’t also acquire. Of course, that’s a pretty significant reward, since it means that it actually costs me less to subscribe to the game for all eternity. But every other holiday event item is still available; it’s just that a lot of them require dropping some real-world money. This may not, in fact, be a more popular option than just having them be gone forever!

Of course, World of Warcraft also has items (like CE bonus mounts/pets or the various BlizzCon goodies) that are actually gone forever and available for a limited time, although that time limitation is around two years. And then you have games like Final Fantasy XI, where each year’s holiday event gives you an in-game chance to earn every single reward all over again… great for new arrivals, less great for people who already have all of them already. What do you think, dear readers? How should MMOs handle old limited-time rewards? Should it vary depending on how you acquired them in the first place or based on game design?

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Conan Exiles update scrubs out dupe bugs as servers are wiped

By Crom, Conan Exiles is under attack by dupe bugs! Funcom hurried to push Update 31 live yesterday to deal with the issue and add a few fun new options to the game. These features include inventories for thralls, armor patch kits, new building materials, and an artisan crafting workbench.

Funcom said that it will be rolling out a series of server wipes (partial and full) to deal with the effects of the duping. The level of wipe is dependent on the vote results from each server, with only a handful electing not to wipe at all.

“To soften the blow, we’re increasing the harvesting and XP rate on the official servers for the next week, letting you quickly get your stuff and levels back,” Funcom said.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Assessing SWTOR one week after the big server merges

Many people believe that server merges are innately bad because in games like ArcheAge (or even all the way back to Star Wars Galaxies), they were done completely wrong or the game itself wasn’t designed for its servers to ever consolidate. However, other MMOs – RIFT comes to mind – have nearly perfected server merges. And for the most part, server merges help the game and its population. Because many of the smaller servers combine together with larger servers, there are more people around, group-finder queues tend to pop faster, PvP is more dynamic, and roleplayers can reach the all-important critical mass.

If I were to just look at the Star Wars: The Old Republic server merges from the perspective of the overall benefits of combining different server communities, I would have zero issue with them. SWTOR is one of those games that has no innate issues with combining server save for players losing character names. It could be done without losing character names, and I will get into the flaws of that system in a bit.

Now, let’s talk about my specific perspective having experienced two server merges by BioWare, then we will get into the details of how this latest one affected those in my community.

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Perfect Ten: What to expect when you play World of Warcraft Classic

Are you ready to play the most anticipated MMORPG from 2004? It turns out that, yes, many of you are. The frenzy over World of Warcraft Classic is probably nowhere near its zenith yet, as the announcement of the server has sparked enormous amounts of conversation among the community.

While we most likely have a while to go before Blizzard’s time travel machine is complete, it is not too soon to start thinking about the logistics and reality that a legacy server will entail. The existing emulator community and a look at the past development and operation of vanilla World of Warcraft can give us an idea of what WoW Classic will be like, although Blizzard’s vision may differ in format, business model, and features.

What will it be like to jump back to the first year or two of World of Warcraft and play that version of the game? It’s going to be a drastic shock to veteran and new players alike, especially those who might have forgotten how MMOs used to operate back in the day. Here are 10 things to expect when you log in to Classic for the first time.

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World of Warcraft Classic CMs talk class balance while the forums melt down

It’s a really weird and interesting time to be a World of Warcraft fan. While the announcement of WoW Classic has revitalized discussion about the launch version of the MMO, it seems just about nobody can agree on what Blizzard should do when it implements the legacy servers.

For their part, WoW’s devs are still sifting through ideas. Two of the game’s community managers spent some time discussing class balance while the dev team continues to be formed. “Should class balance be left as it was, or should it be tweaked within a certain margin, or should it be constantly tuned and worked on?” one CM posted. “I’m not so certain that any specific one is the default, correct choice.”

It sounds as though Blizzard is trying to elicit feedback before it makes any decisions: “If folks want a true 1:1 Vanilla experience, then we want to see the discussion of that. If people think there should be changes here or there, then we’ll want to see that too.”

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