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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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The Warcraft Tales add-on project has been shut down by Blizzard

If you were excited about the promise of the World of Warcraft add-on Warcraft Tales, the bad news is that the project has been shut down by Blizzard’s legal team. The good news is that you probably didn’t have much time to get excited about it, at least. According to BellularGaming’s official announcement on his YouTube channel, the legal side of Blizzard considered it a third-party expansion rather than a simple add-on, and while he might disagree he’s accepting the judgement and promising Patreon supporters they will not be charged for the cancelled project.

The original announcement was a plan for a fully voiced add-on that completely redesigned the game’s questing and storytelling to make it more engaging and more dynamic. You can see the whole shutdown video just below the break. It’s sad news for anyone looking forward to an improved questing experience to that degree, although there are add-ons which do wonders for improving the regular quest formatting.

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Meta: Cloudbleed security notice for our Patreon users

Cloudflare DNS announced this morning that it suffered a security incident over the last few months that could affect a vast swath of the internet. It boils down to a since-repaired buffer issue that could potentially have exposed sensitive data, including website authentication tokens, to search engine caching.

Massively OP does utilize Cloudflare (you’ve probably seen it on those rare occasions our server hamsters go on strike) but we are not directly affected by the leak. “Your domain is not one of the domains where we have discovered exposed data in any third party caches,” Cloudflare told us, and our tech has assured me our site does not use the features imperiled by the bug.

However, a number of sites and services are, possibly including Patreon, which many of you use to help fund us, and Feedly, which many of you use to follow our feeds. These sites and services are not at fault, and none of those I use has contacted us about a breach, but you may wish to investigate further.

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Massively Overthinking: Unholy MMORPG hybrids

Massively OP reader and frequent tipster Gibbins wants us to play match-maker.

“I love the wonderful world that Bethesda created with the Fallout franchise, not too bleak but very post apocalypse with a very kitsch ’50s feel from the time of duck and cover educational films, but I wish it were multiplayer. The huge volume of mods for Fallout is also is a massive bonus, giving the game great variety and replayability. On the other hand, I also love the satirical in your face style of GTA Online and its no-holds-barred multiplayer experience, but I wish there were more to the story and more support for mods. Both games offer so much, and I would love to see how each studio would add to the other’s game. Which two development teams would you like to see married… and which game would be their love child?”

Let’s complicate Gibbins’ request and say that the love child game must be an MMO! I’ve posed his question to the team for this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Dogma: Eternal Night adds starting apartment, functional UI and chat

Vampire MMO themepark Dogma: Eternal Night has an update for alpha testers. “Until recently, players could only play around in the character editor,” says the team, but thanks to the latest patch,

“Players can now check out the starting location – a small flat in the city. Right now, all you can do is look around and move in it; we haven’t added object interaction yet, as we need to improve on some of its elements. We will add this as soon as possible (first half of February at the very latest). Now you’ll be able to see a working UI and even the chat system, though for now you can only talk to yourself.”

The studio is currently building two modules: one that “allows interactions within your flat (whether it be the starting location or the one you buy later)” and one that “add[s] interactions outside of your haven.”

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Legends of Gaia dares you to figure out what it is

Part of the job of writing for Massively OP is encountering new games and trying to get a handle on what they are so that we can succinctly relay that to you, the reader. In the case of Legends of Gaia, we have to admit defeat because the site doesn’t really explain what this MMORPG is all about, just that it’ll be gosh-darn awesome.

We can chalk up some of the difficulty in understanding to the odd Patreon pitch, but the official FAQ is a wealth of vague information about possible small details (will the game have “nerve gear?” What is nerve gear?) without ever painting a big picture about the title. We do know that the team is highly inspired by the anime and game series Sword Art Online, and to a lesser extent, Skyrim.

The team boldly states that this will be one of the most ambitious MMOs ever made: “We consider that its standards and mechanics breaks with the current ones that will change the whole way of playing forever.” We’ll hold them to that assertion.

Check out the trailer for Legends of Gaia after the break!

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