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Massively Overthinking: How accountable should MMOs hold players for out-of-game toxicity?

Brendan’s discussion with CCP Falcon at EVE Fanfest last week included an interesting chat about out-of-game harassment and whether gaming companies had an obligation to do something about it. Falcon said it wasn’t healthy for a studio to “overstep” its “jurisdiction”: “I think our jurisdiction likes firmly within EVE Online, and I think that of people do break the few rules that we have then we should come down hard on them, especially in cases of harassment or real life threats.”

But over the years, we’ve covered multiple MMO studios who’ve made it their business to utilize content like Tweets and YouTube videos – Blizzard and SOE/Daybreak come immediately to mind – to make disciplinary calls inside their games. And that leads me to today’s Overthinking, proposed by MOP reader Sally: “What is your opinion on in-game vs. public out of game toxicity?” she asks.

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Massively Overthinking: Paying for MMORPG emulators, legal or otherwise

MassivelyOp reader Bryan recently wrote to us with a fun question about emulators, a topic that will simply never die as long as MMORPGs do.

“I recently viewed some comments claiming that official era servers wouldn’t acquire much of the player base from private servers, due the benefit of private servers typically being free to play. After thinking about it though, I actually know many people who have donated money or purchased cash shop items on private servers. And I have been in guilds that paid for guild website hosting and guild voice chat hosting for their private server guild. Free stuff is always nice, of course, but it seems as though while the benefit of free to play private servers is there, there’s still a decent amount of people willing to pay out of their pockets for them. I am wondering, how many MOP readers have donated or would be willing to spend real money on a private server?”

So let’s tackle the emulator question in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Have you ever played on an emulator? Under what circumstances? Which ones are you OK with, and which ones do you stay far away from? Are you OK with emulators raising money, and for what purpose? And have you ever donated money to or spent money on an MMO emulator?

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Warframe celebrates five years and 38 million players

Warframe continues to defy expectations for online gaming playerbase sizes. A year ago, it boasted 30M registered players. As of today, it’s up to 38M. Not too shabby, but then, it took home the staff’s and readers’ awards for Best Not-So-Massively Game of 2017 for a reason. Worth noting is that while Digital Extremes is celebrating the game’s fifth birthday, it’s still technically a soft-launched beta. Weird, right?

Warframe humbly launched its Open Beta program on PC March 21, 2013. Since that date the free game-as-a-service title has earned 38,083,936 million registered online users across PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One – 8 million more than last year at this same time,” DE says today. “And in that time Warframe players have done extraordinary things. They have crafted 52,972,344 Warframes and 234,766,197 weapons. They have assassinated Captain Vor, the game’s first boss, 53,117,969 times, and been part of 41,765,109 Stalker eliminations. And they have accumulated a total of 136,747 years, 49,912,765 days, 1,197,906,351 hours playing Warframe.”

The fifth anniversary site is expected to be live tomorrow; players will be invited to “share their five-year journey with other community members by learning unique Warframe factoids, discussing their favorite moments, watching new videos, buying cool commemorative gear, and maybe even unearthing some free in-game items.” Maybe it’ll even launch! Nah.

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Shadow’s Kiss shows pictures of sex clubs, cemeteries, and penthouses

While we haven’t heard too much about Shadow’s Kiss following its small but successful Kickstarter campaign last year, the team has been teasing its followers by posting several screenshots (or mock ups) from the vampire MMO on its Twitter feed.

We’ve compiled all of the pictures for you below, including shots of Grand River Cemetery, a BDSM club called The Lash, a penthouse view (a patreon reward), an industrial graveyard, and the Slayer base. What do you think so far? Is this a game that you’re interested in trying out for its vampire angle or mature themes? Let us know in the comments!

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The Survivalist: The downside of hosting custom servers for survival games (and why we don’t do it)

After the latest guide introduced even more possible games to sink our survival teeth into, it is understandable that the question cropped up again asking whether Massively OP would be officially hosting any servers for any of these titles. Think of it, life and death alongside your fellow MOP fans! Of course, we think it could be great fun, and we like playing games with ya’ll. However, as much as we love having folks congregate and have fun together, the answer is unfortunately no. Could it happen in the future? You could say there is a possibility, but it is extremely remote. Remote as in you have a higher chance to win the Powerball lottery. (Of course if you do win and want to fund such an endeavor, let’s talk.)

But why, you ask? Didn’t MOP have an ARK: Survival Evolved server? There are a number of reasons that official servers are not in the future, some of which the official unofficial ARK server helped illuminate or reinforce.

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Meta: Patreon has rolled back plans to change fee structure

Hello MOP readerbase! As you are likely aware, Massively OP’s funding is a hybrid, coming both from advertising and from reader donations, most of the latter through Patreon. Last week, Patreon announced changes to its fee structure that had us all scrambling, as it would have affected sites and donors like ours and moved transaction fees from us to you in a way that would’ve made it hard to justify small monthly donations, which are the majority of our contributions and those for other indie creators on the platform. We alerted our backers on Patreon about the proposed changes last week and were as concerned as you about the future of the platform and whether it was in our and your best interests to stay on it.

I am relieved to report today that Patreon heard the public outcry over the changes and announced today that it will not be implementing those changes.

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Indie vampire fantasy MMO Shadow’s Kiss has already reached its Kickstarter goal

Still bummed over the loss of World of Darkness and Revival? Shadow’s Kiss may be for you. Last year, we covered the vampire fantasy MMO when it set up shop on Patreon. This week, it’s landed on Kickstarter proper, with all the accoutrements vampire fans will expect.

Shadow’s Kiss is a game of darkness, adventure, passion, and horror, set in the fictional city of San Cipriano. The game casts you as a vampire (or possibly other supernatural creature…) who goes on quests, faces off against other supernatural factions, and gains items of power to rule the night. While Shadow’s Kiss incorporates many of the classical elements of a Massively Multiplayer Game (MMO), it also seeks to innovate, especially in ways that make for an interesting gaming experience within a society of vampires and supernatural creatures. Parlay and diplomacy are critical parts of the experience, including building your influence in vampire society through intimidation, bribery, and seduction. You cooperate or compete with other players to rule the various aspects of the city, including law enforcement, organized crime, and the media. Your rise to power, and your story, are built around your Rogue’s Gallery, also known as your Cast of Characters, which are the allies, enemies, thralls, spies and blood dolls you’ve acquired through questing and exploration.”

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Meta: Twitch’s SUBtember promo helps Massively OP stream!

Massively OP is a Twitch Partner, meaning that our supporters are able to subscribe to our Twitch streaming channel, which puts money directly into our pocket and supports our stream team’s live antics. In fact, if you’re an Amazon Prime participant with a linked Twitch account, you get one free sub every month, and some of you grant your freebie to us. And we love you for it!

If you don’t already sub to us on Twitch, however, and you’ve been wanting to, then Twitch’s SUBtember promotion would be a good time to do it. Until October 2nd, anyone who subs to any channel on Twitch for the first time at any tier will pay only half of the usual fee for that month – while the Partner channel receives the full benefit. In other words, you could sub for $2.50 and we’ll still get our full cut, and then you can blissfully surf without having to deal with ads while drinking the PSL you just bought with the money you saved.

If you don’t care at all about Twitch, no problem! You can still support Massively OP directly through Patreon, using our Amazon affiliate link, whitelisting our ads, or even just posting our best stuff to Reddit and social media. It all helps us stay online and actually pay our writers for their work. Thanks for your support!

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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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Massively Overthinking: Forced socializing in MMORPGs

Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.

“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.

There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 116: Bree’s virtual garage sale

Is Ashes of Creation destined to be the Kickstarter event of the year? Today on the ‘cast, Bree and Justin talk about this crowdfunding tsunami, several MMO patches, a superhero preview, and even a launch. Also, Bree is selling the entire contents of her virtual garage. It was a busy week!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Ask Mo: Massively OP donors, your badges are almost here

Hiya folks! Earlier this year, the Massively OP website underwent a big change: With Livefyre shutting down, we switched over to a brand-new commenting system. While the positives have outweighed the negatives so far, one thing we couldn’t easily port to the new comments was the badge system that we’d originally commissioned. It allowed us to reward our most generous and loyal Kickstarter and Patreon donors with a clear symbol of their awesomeness. And we’d like to get that restored!

So over the past few months we’ve been working on a new badge system, and I’m happy to say that it’s almost here! The tech is functioning and the art is almost complete, which means it’s time to start figuring out who gets what — just in time for a whole bunch of you to ding 24 months on Patreon.

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Whatever happened to Alganon, Ryzom, and Forsaken Legends?

Ever find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to so-and-so? We never hear about that MMO in the news any more! Is it still running? Does it still have a loyal community? How will I find out about these things if I am too lazy to Google it?”

Well, that’s what I’m here for, gentle readers. The response back in March to the first column in this series was positive enough that it warranted a follow-up with a different trilogy of games to investigate. In today’s post, we’re going to see what’s going on (if anything) with Alganon, Ryzom, and Forsaken Legends, three titles that haven’t been in the spotlight for a while.

Have suggestions for future installments in this series? That’s what the comments are for, brah.

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