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Uncharted Waters Online picks up a new publisher, plans October relaunch

Lash the sails, there be rough sailing ahead for Uncharted Waters Online! But beyond that? It could be a voyage of unimaginable bounty for this seafaring MMORPG.

This past week, Uncharted Waters Online announced that it has picked up a new publisher in the form of Papaya Play, having ditched the previous operator, OGPlanet. Current service is scheduled to end on September 29th, leaving the game offline for a couple of weeks. Then, on October 18th, UWO will be relaunched on Papaya Play’s global game portal.

The new handlers said that once it gets the title up and running on its service, it has plans to release more content for the current Age of Revolution expansion cycle.

The Battle Bards podcast recently gave Uncharted Waters Online’s soundtrack a listen and covered it in a full-hour episode. Avant garde podcasting, that.

Source: Uncharted Waters Online, press release

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Kritika Online opens up its test server for its next update

The next patch for Kritika Online is on its way, and this time you get to try it before you… well, play it. (You’re not buying it, it isn’t for sale.) Yes, the game’s test server is open for testing out patch v401 before it goes live, although the most intensive period of testing has already passed. But the good news is that even if you missed this patch, the test server is slated to remain active in the future, so future patches will still need your testing and evaluation.

The net result is also that you can see the not-quite-final patch notes well before the patch goes live. Fractured Memories allows you a different way to advance your characters across your entire account by remixing and pulling in all of the game’s available content; success nets you points for the new account-wide Ability system along with the usual gear. There’s also new Xanadu side quests and party trading, so you’ll have plenty to do with the patch whether you jump in to test or wait for the full release.

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Shroud of the Avatar preps 46th release, focuses on ‘player direction’ inside the world

It’s almost the end of the month, and you know what that means: Shroud of the Avatar’s monthly update. R46 is due out this Thursday, a day after the current free trial period ends. Portalarium has posted a top 10 list of priorities for updates, the current version of which highlights load times, client FPS, loot rewards, story polish, AI, UI, the newbie experience, locatlization, launch prep, and improved player direction, something our own Eliot Lefebvre isolated as a problem during his recent CMA series with the game. As the studio put it,

“Currently we rely on some very subtle and ‘immersive’ indicators for information in the world (ex. piles of skulls to indicate scene difficulty). We are going to provide much clearer indication of information. For example, on the overworld all towns will have clear indicators of their town type (POT, NPC, etc.). We will also indicate whether you have a quest in a scene, a clearer label of the scene’s difficulty, perhaps even an indicator of what services a scene might provide (bank, mail, blessings, etc.). We will also start providing more on screen indicators of this information, so that while you are in a scene you will better know what kind of scene it is, what difficulty it is, whether you have quests in the scene, etc. We will also work hard to polish the maps and compasses to better guide you to and from your quests, homes, services, points of interests, scene exits, etc.”

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The Stream Team: Showing off Villagers & Heroes Starfall expansion with devs

Have you seen Villagers & Heroes Starfall expansion yet? You could have since the expansion launched a week early! Really, how often does that happen in the MMOverse? That blew Massively OP’s MJ mind, and she’s diving in to check things out. Even better, she’s got devs giving her a tour and showing off the expansiony goodness, so bring your questions and join us live at 3:00 p.m. to chat about all things Starfall.

What: Villagers & Heroes
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, September 25th, 2017

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The Repopulation’s next patch is on the way, and so is more visual lore

Fans of The Repopulation have been waiting for the game’s next patch for a little while, but it shouldn’t be much longer now. A new post on the official forum explains that it was ultimately a matter of custom scripts executing in just the wrong ways, creating way more files to be saved and bundled with patch revisions. That’s hopefully been fixed by the new management at Idea Fabrik and is being addressed, but that’s also the reason for all of the delays.

The game’s developers are also looking to the next stage of development by revamping the game’s existing map and giving more distinct visual identities to each faction’s individual architecture. The game’s extant lore isn’t being well-conveyed visually, according to the same post, so the goal is to help reinforce and emphasize the lore and worldbuilding that’s already in place.

Last but not least, the post also notes that backer rewards are being worked on, with the important caveat that funds for those backer rewards have not actually gone to the new management in charge of the title. But they’re still a priority.

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Wisdom of Nym: Deep-diving Final Fantasy XIV’s leveling structure

I do a lot of leveling in Final Fantasy XIV. This is, in part, because I am stupid; for several dumb reasons I have my main character and six alts, which is not seven only because Balmung is currently locked. (As soon as that changes? Seven.) I also have a spreadsheet tracking my progress across every character that currently has me finishing up – as in, bringing a single job for each alt and every class for my main – in early November. So I spend a lot of time thinking about leveling. And I think the game is better than it’s ever been in Stormblood, in leveling as well as other departments.

Of course, there are people who aren’t as happy about it, for understandable reasons. There are dead spaces for every job in the current leveling setup, levels where you get either nothing or no impactful additions. (A trait boosting your primary stat is definitely important, but it doesn’t really change what you’re doing.) It’s even prompted some people complaining about how late certain jobs get their core mechanics and how the level sync works.

So let’s talk about all of this. And more to the point, let’s start by explaining why a lot of the staggering of abilities amounts to, in fact, a good thing.

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Lord of the Rings Online tested Dungeons of Naerband and the Court of Seregost this past weekend

Did you take part in the last dungeon testing on the Lord of the Rings Online test server? If so, you’ll have the context necessary to appreciate all of the changes that have been made to the two new dungeons coming with the next patch. If not… well, maybe you got to try out the Dungeons of Naerband and the Court of Seregost over the weekend. The developers were eager to see how the dungeons feel at level 115 and how everything shakes down with a new balance pass.

“We would particularly appreciate any feedback you may have on the difficulty of the instances at level 115 (tier 1 or tier 2),” wrote SSG. “On Friday evening(9/22), Saturday 9/23, and Sunday 9/24 members of the QA team will be looking for full groups running those instances (in particular the 6-person ‘The Dungeons of Naerband’) and will offer a lotro points code to a randomly selected player from those full groups a few times throughout the day.”

There were, of course, various additional game changes, balance adjustments, tier 11 crafted gear, and new UI options for players to explore, even if they headed to the test server without a full group.

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PUBG dev argues Fortnite spat is about Epic and Unreal Engine’s conflicts, not about owning the battle royal genre

Last week, following Epic’s announcement that PvE-centric Fortnite would be getting a PvP-centric battle royal mode its paying PvE players apparently didn’t want (but that’s OK because it’s free?), we all rolled our eyes at the transparent attempt to capitalize on the runaway success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Developer Bluehole, however, did more than that: In a press release, it all but accused Epic of ripping off the mode and suggested it’d be contemplating some sort of action against the company, causing a market run on virtual popcorn as everyone watched two massive video game companies prepare for a possible legal war over what seemed to many gamers to be a pretty old game trope.

But in a new PC Gamer interview, Bluehole has since clarified its position: It’s not about the games’ shared ideas but about Epic specifically.

“This is not about the battle royale game mode itself,” VP/EP Changhan Kim told PC Gamer. “There were other BR gamemodes earlier this year that were released, like last man standing or GTA 5’s battle royale game mode, and we never raised an issue. […] Battle royale is just about last man standing, it’s a simple game mode, and we’re not claiming any kind of ownership over the game mode or genre itself. It’s not for us to even comment.”

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RuneScape’s RuneFest features mobile clients, 2018 content plans (including the bank rework)

At this weekend’s RuneFest event in London, Jagex homed in on RuneScape’s promised mobile client and its upcoming content.

First, let’s tackle mobile. Fans in attendance were able to play the game on mobile — both the latest version of RuneScape and the Old School version, which might surprise you. The latter will be available first, in fact, coming later in 2017, while the core game will launch on the new platforms “shortly after” in 2018. Jagex has promised more details of device compatibility “over the coming months.”

Old School RuneScape is looking ahead to 2018 as well, as in January, devs will patch in the Dragon Slayer II GM quest, and in June, the game will see a new raid called Theatre of Blood.

In “real” RuneScape, players will be treated to a special competitive PvE event next month that combines two of gaming’s favorite tropes: “Transported to an alternate dimension where the dead walk across Gielinor, players must battle against the zombie horde and see who can survive the longest!”

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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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EverQuest II stops making older expansions free, while EverQuest hands out skeletons

Daybreak has quietly shifted one of the aspects of its free-to-play business model for EverQuest II. In response to a query as to when the studio would be making any previous expansions free as it has done in the past, Daybreak said that it “will not be adding anything further to the F2P lineup.” This means that free players can no longer hold out hoping that they will one day get to enjoy the newer expansions (unless, of course, they pony up for them individually).

While there is a new expansion to anticipate, this particular move doesn’t seem to be in the community’s favor. Massively OP’s MJ recently pontificated on the question of whether or not EverQuest II was in a downward spiral.

Over at EverQuest, things look a little brighter, especially if you’re a subscriber. Daybreak announced that it is handing out free Sarnak skeleton illusions to all members who log into the game between now and October 15th.

Source: EverQuest II, EverQuest. Thanks Bilbobaggins and Katriana!

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Secret World Legends rearranges the Orochi Tower while The Park spin-off goes on sale

Secret World Legends’ weekly “The Buzzing” roundup has moved from Reddit to the official site, and in the most recent edition, the team covers the recent patch, the return on the legacy transfer service, and the upcoming final chapter of the Tokyo storyline.

The Orochi Tower is loosely scheduled to arrive in SWL in early October, although veteran players might find a few new surprises when it does. “The tower’s gameplay flow is going to be different from the classic tower,” the devs said. “You’ll need to do more floors in a more linear fashion, and you can expect to see a couple small gameplay changes and references to things that weren’t in TSW.” Rumor has it that there is even a new floor in the works.

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Guild Wars 2 races to fix Path of Fire login and instance creation issues during launch weekend

With the popularity of this month’s Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire, the pressure is on for ArenaNet to keep the game running as smoothly as possible for all veteran, new, and returning players. While we have been hearing positive word-of-mouth about the expansion, there have been some serious issues that have kept many players from enjoying it – including our own columnist.

Login difficulties are the start of ANet’s woes, and the studio is racing to fix them. Even more dire are instance creation problems, which were serious enough to elicit a statement by Mike O’Brien, who said that the team has been “working on the connection and story instance creation problems that have been cropping up during peak hours in Europe.” The Guild Wars 2 boss said that the team believes the underlying issues have been fixed but will be keeping an eye on the situation to make sure this is true.

Meanwhile, there are smaller bugs and corrections that have been addressed via hotfixes to bolster the new expansion.

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