permadeath

Perfect Ten: Exploring MMORPGs from the far corners of the world

Have you ever noticed that while there’s an entire world out there, most all of the MMORPGs we discuss and play tend to either be ones crafted in the USA or imports from China or Korea? We even have a shorthand for this: “western” and “eastern” MMOs. We’re usually not talking about entire hemispheres with these references, but rather about categorizing three countries that are big into the MMORPG business.

But what about the rest of the world? Are all of these other countries so uncaring about this genre that they’ve never tried their hand at making an MMO? Of course not; as I’m about to show you, there are plenty of online RPGs that have been made in countries other than China, the USA, and South Korea. It’s just that for various reasons, those three countries ended up fostering concentrations of video game developers who knew how to create these types of games.

So let’s take a tour around the world and see if we can’t give some credit to other countries for their contributions to the MMORPG genre past, present, and future. Before you click the link, see how many you can name off the top of your head!

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The Daily Grind: If you could live in an MMO world, which one would it be?

As much as we complain about MMORPGs, with their grinds and their boredom, even the most kill-or-be-killed ganker paradises would probably be better to live in than the real world with all its troubles and highly inconvenient implementation of permadeath. With rare exceptions, most MMOs let you return over and over to keep on trying forever, and you can always grab a mining pick or kill some trolls to make money and survive.

Me, I’d pick Glitch: Not only was the cutesy Tiny Speck game devoid of conflict, but I spent most of my time creating quests for players, wandering around, and stuffing my face with delicious food so I wouldn’t die. It was a good life. And if I did die? No biggie; hell was actually kinda fun — and critically, not permanent.

How about you? If you could live in an MMO world, which one would it be?

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The Survivalist: Massively OP’s guide to survival games, single-player and beyond

As Massively OP is centered on the “massively” part of gaming, it makes sense that my first guide to survival games was focused on multiplayer titles. Similarly, The Survivalist will mostly (but not always!) concern itself with the multiplayer games in the survival genre. However, after researching this topic, I felt that not highlighting the single-player offerings would be a serious disservice to the genre. There are occasions when you want to test your survival mettle without the interference of other players; sometimes you just want to live or die on your own merits and not at the hands of someone elses decisions. Besides that, some of these titles — like Subnautica — offer an awesome premise you can’t get elsewhere.

Ready to survive on your own? Here’s a a taste of a number of games you can dive into when you want to scratch that survival itch in private.

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Multiplayer space sim Starfighter Inc. has 12 days to finish raising $150K

We’ve been covering Starfighter Inc. for the last few weeks in Make My MMO, but apparently a lot of you folks who say you want to hear about up-and-coming MMOs aren’t following that column (*HARD STARE*), so let’s shine a brighter spotlight!

The 20-man Impeller Studios team is marketing the game as “Counter-Strike meets World of Warships in Space.” It’s been in development for three years already, has a ridiculously high bar for scientific accuracy, uses Unreal Engine 4, and will indeed support VR.

Starfighter Inc. puts you in the cockpit of the future in a hard science-fiction based multiplayer space combat simulator for Windows PC, featuring hardcore shooter gameplay in the spirit of X-Wing vs. TIE-Fighter, but with unprecedented depth and sophistication. Starfighter Inc. combines the lethality and permadeath of Counter-Strike with the technical depth and customization of World of Warships. The key difference is that players operate a variety of nuclear-powered single and multi-crew fighters, reconnaissance ships, strike craft, and support ships, with weapons ranging from lasers, railguns, and missiles, to electronic and cyber warfare capabilities.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 108: PAX East power-up

As Massively OP is on the scene at PAX East this year, we’ve got plenty of juicy news and interviews to discuss on the show! What game is coming to console this year? What secret is Eliot hiding? Which MMO just got a name change? Find out in today’s episode!

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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Preview: Path of Exile reveals The Fall of Oriath

Path of Exile fans, today is the big day: Grinding Gear Games is officially unveiling your next expansion, dubbed The Fall of Oriath.

It turns out that the place your Exile called home before being banished is not only the main setting of this act but is going through some rough times. Even lowbies like yours truly who vaguely recall their origin story can get behind this act. We’re going home, dealing with civil unrest, and welcoming back some lost deities with sharp pointy objects or finger-wiggling destruction. And that’s literally just the beginning.

Read on for our preview of the expansion from last week’s press event, plus brand-new screenshots and the new trailer!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 104: WoW Token resistance

Financial nerds ahoy! On today’s show, Bree and Justin talk about the economics of WoW Tokens and earnings reports, encouraging listeners to break out their accountant books to play along. There’s a secret message encoded for those who balance their checkbooks correctly!

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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Project Gorgon adds support for player-run challenges

While Project Gorgon is not going to implement a permadeath mode any time soon, the team has put in some tools to allow players to operate their own hardcore challenges.

In response to a discussion on the forums about permadeath, the team quickly added a new feature that will keep track of player activities in the game as a means of proof if someone wanted to show that, for example, they had not died yet or bought any items from the vendors.

“I spent a few hours adding a new command to the game. It’s undocumented right now, because it’s untested and pretty bare-bones — but if you’re interested in challenge contests, I’m hoping you can help test it and figure out how to improve it,” Eric Heimburg posted. “The idea is that after the challenge ends, you can take a screenshot of the output of this command, and post it on the forums as your ‘proof’ that you participated without breaking whatever rules the challenge had.”

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First Impressions: Struggling to survive in Conan Exiles

I am no stranger to covering survival sandboxes for Massively OP. I wrestled with dinosaurs before ARK: Survival Evolved was a thing. I got kidnapped and tried to drown myself in a puddle, spent days building a glorified shack before hackers or server admins could destroy them, and got to better understanding of what it’s like to be an Asian gamer thanks to Valve’s social experiment. There have been some good memories for sure, but the cancelled games, broken promises, and fact that most of the genre is in an infinite non-launch state are just some of the reasons I’ve been losing faith in online, multiplayer survival games. I love the idea of PvP allowing for meaningful social gameplay, but in reality, I mostly experience only ganking. But without PvP, I generally get so bored of PvE that I run into the arms of a (J)RPG so I can get drama and permadeath in a finished product, often without kids screaming at me to stop moving and just die.

But here I am again: roped into another shot at the genre. I’m looking at pay-to-play Conan Exiles like a launch title, “early access” be damned!

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Massively Overthinking: Death and dying in MMORPGs

In March of last year, MOP’s Justin wrote a detailed guide to the most common death penalties in MMORPGs. Last September, Gamasutra pulled seven game developers together to discuss the most effective gaming “fail states,” several of which involve death. Both articles came rushing back to me this week when Crowfall revisited the subject of its own death penalty, which involves a brief ghost period and a fast-track trip to the temple for resurrection.

This week, I’ve asked the MOP writers to consider MMOs and non-MMOs and propose their own favorite death penalty. Is it an old one, a new one, or one no one’s done at all? What’s the best way to implement death in a modern MMORPG?

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Shards Online updates players on permadeath and targeting

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on Shards Online, so let’s talk about death. No, not the game itself, but death within the game. One of the big features of the most recent community roundtable video is covering the game’s new death system and the game’s permadeath rule system. Yes, if you want to, you can risk losing everything about your character every time your character expires. (Which will, admittedly, just be once.)

The roundtable also talks about improvements to targeting and the game’s UI, both of which are important whether or not you’re in a permadeath state. Set some time aside to watch the whole thing, though, as it racks up at just over an hour of playtime. If you’ve been wondering what’s new with the game, you should jump down and watch.

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Enter the Breach in Path of Exiles’ next league, launching December 2

If you’ve ever wanted to call out “Once more unto the Breach!” as a battle cry, Path of Exile offers you just that chance starting on December 2nd at 3:00 p.m. EST. That’s when Breach, the Atlas of Worlds mid-expansion challenge league, launches. And this three-month league is literally all about finding and entering short-lived breaches in reality, furiously fighting enemies for new goodies before the brief window of opportunity closes.

What exactly will players face when they enter a breach? What rewards will they emerge with? And what other changes are in store for the rest of Path of Exile in patch 2.5.0? Producer Chris Wilson shared these details with us, and we’re sharing them (and the images and trailer) with you. Read on!

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Working As Intended: Westworld is a sandbox MMORPG on your TV

Westworld has emerged this fall as the geek obsession TV show, a gunslinger’s LOST about which people can’t stop talking and theorizing and debating. Don’t worry; Massively OP is not suddenly becoming an entertainment website, but I hope you’ll indulge me for a round of Westworld in this edition of Working As Intended because in every episode of the show, I see the MMORPG genre: our players, our proclivities, and our many, many problems.

And that’s by design. The show’s premise is that in some sci-fi near-future, wealthy people are able to pay their way into an elaborate, real-world themepark, where corporate gamemasters and engineers and designers control high-functioning human-like robots (“hosts”) in an Old West setting to create whatever roleplaying or entertainment environment the guests are seeking. The players can interact with the robots in extremely realistic ways, from playing cards and having sex to going on scripted quest adventures — and even murder.

Minor spoilers follow, though I’ll avoid the big ones since the season’s but half over. Let’s talk about Westworld’s MMORPG trappings.

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