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Massively OP Podcast Episode 110: Legends of Aria's Derek Brinkmann

Join us in welcoming today Citadel Studios' Project Lead Derek Brinkmann from Legends of Aria (fka Shards Online) for an hour-long interview about the game's rebranding, new MMO focus, and upcoming alpha tests!

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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Legends of Aria begins focused testing, delays Steam launch

Legends of Aria is shaking things up from the old Shards Online paradigm. In addition to the name change and broader focus, the fantasy title announced that it is going to adopt a "more conventional MMO testing platform" going forward.

"Future play-tests will now be conducted in phases of focused testing, geared towards specific areas of gameplay in preparation for final implementation," Citadel Studios said in this week's newsletter. "To accommodate the need for extra testing periods, our Steam launch will coincide with the release of the Legends of Aria Beta instead of Alpha 2."

The current Alpha 1 test will conclude on March 26th, to be followed by Alpha 2's start on April 28th. The team said that its taken a shine to the concept of a single large official server (in addition to the private ones) and that it will start to talk about all of the changes in store for Legends of Aria on March 31st in a new development blog.

Source: Newsletter

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Remembering EverQuest Next

Is it too soon -- or perhaps too pointless -- to wool-gather about EverQuest Next? After all, that MMO project is deader than dead, so dead in fact that it killed off Landmark just to be thorough.

YouTuber Daily Quests assembled a short video remembering the brief, hopeful, and ultimately disappointing saga that was EverQuest Next. It's good as a refresher course if you forgot how this all went down or perhaps as a method to roil up the blood if you have achieved a state of perfect calm.

If you can stomach the pain, check out the video below!

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Global Chat: Fare thee well, Landmark

Believe it or not, there were actually people who played and enjoyed Landmark -- and were saddened to see it taken offline. To kick off this week's roundup of interesting MMO blog posts, we turn to those who knew and remembered Landmark with their words.

"The game, once just a bullet point on the EverQuest Next announcement at SOE Live, has been shut down," The Ancient Gaming Noob said. "The web site and forums have been hidden away and the domain resolves to the Daybreak main page. The few remaining fans have had their final look at the lands of… erm… <does Google search>… Lumeria! That was the name of the place."

Superior Realities took a tour on its last day: "That, really, is what was special about Landmark. You could go to any map, walk in any direction, and in no time flat you’d be sure to find something beautiful, fascinating, or awe-inspiring. The traditional wisdom is that if you give players the tools to make their own content, the vast majority of it will be utter crap, but Landmark was stunning refutation of that notion."

Continue our roundup as bloggers dissect problems with The Secret World's combat system, share tips on how to grind LOTRO points, mull over why it's hard to go back to the "olden days," deliver an early access review of Revelation Online, and pontificate on why theme park MMOs simply work.

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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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PAX East 2017: Citadel Studios on Shards Online's switch to Legends of Aria

Big changes for MMOs frequently involve giving up almost as much as you gain. Not so with Legends of Aria, the not-actually-new title from Citadel Studios. Legends of Aria is Shards Online, you see, but it's also not Shards Online. It's everything you liked about Shards Online, but it's also placed into a larger context in which the ideas behind the game can have more space to develop and grow. If you liked the game before, you'll like it now, but if you didn't like the game before, you might think a bit more fondly of it once you see the changes.

The short version is that Legends of Aria has a robust "main" server set up. That means a large-scale map, plenty of things for players to go find, and a variety of different regions with different environmental effects. It is, in other words, a full-scale MMO which you can play as much as you'd like. But it's also a full-scale MMO that allows you to look at what the developers have done and say that you don't like it... and then make your own version of the game server.

We spoke to the folks from Citadel at this year's PAX East. Read on!

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PAX East 2017: Shards Online changes its name to Legends of Aria and goes full MMORPG

Shards Online is no more: The game is now officially called Legends of Aria. Better still? It's now being marketed by Citadel Studios as a full-fledged MMORPG.

Citadel's Derek "Supreem" Brinkmann says that the name change will be a big help to the game ahead of its Steam early access -- that Shards had a "stigma" for being limited by small maps and low player counts, as you'd expect from a game focused on custom shards in a classic UO style. Legends of Aria, on the other hand, will launch with a heavily expanded map and no player limits at all -- in other words, it's a real MMO.

"It's the same game, it's just a bigger scale, a bigger scope," he assures backers -- everything in the old game, including modding, is still happening in Aria.

The trailer and address from Citadel is below. Stay tuned for this weekend, too, as we'll be meeting with the studio at PAX East!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 106: Ready to relaunch

Call this episode "tangent city," because it doesn't take much to send Bree and Justin down conversational rabbit holes! From discussing why Champions Online failed to pick up City of Heroes' refugees to going on epic rants against gankboxes, you'll need a flow chart and a five-dimensional mind to follow all of the topics of today's show. Good luck!

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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Devs and players say farewell to Landmark and the last remnants of EverQuest Next

Landmark's servers blinked off for the very last time last night, with our own EverQuest franchise columnist MJ Guthrie there to stream the end. The sandbox hadn't even reached its first birthday after its long-awaited but still hasty launch last year.

"Such a waste," former SOE and Daybreak CEO John Smedley remarked on Twitter. "It's tragic to see this game turned off. EQ Next would have been brilliant based on it. We could have done it."

We've rounded up some memories from the current and former Daybreak and SOE reps, plus we've included MJ's stream and some of our favorite Landmark content in the last couple of years.

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The Stream Team: Landmark's sunset stream

Parting is such sorrow, but there is certainly nothing sweet about this one! Massively OP's MJ is forced to say goodbye to a game that really captured her heart and imagination; come 7:00 p.m. EST, Landmark is closing forever. To say she's not really happy about it is an understatement. So many amazing creations will  be lost, an amazing community will be homeless, and the MMOverse will lose something unique. With two hours left before the islands are blown up, what will MJ do? There's so much more to see. Join us live at 5:00 p.m. for the final two hours.

What: Landmark
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

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The Stream Team: Landmark's last weekend

Time is running out! This is Landmark's last weekend, and there are still too many things Massively OP's MJ wants to enjoy and experience in game. There's simply no way to get to every build, but she has to try; the amazing creativity of this community deserves to be admired, applauded, and archived. So starts a weekend of racing to try to get in all the spooky houses, grand castles, alien ships, and everything else before the world goes dark. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. as MJ visits as many sites as possible. You can even suggest some to see!

What: Landmark
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Friday, February 17th, 2017

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Emily 'Domino' Taylor departs Daybreak and the EverQuest franchise

Emily "Domino" Taylor, long-time EverQuest franchise crafting wizard at SOE and now Daybreak, announced that she's leaving the studio at the end of the month -- just a week after Landmark sunsets, in fact.

"I love SOE/Daybreak & am super sad to leave, but it feels like time to return home to Canada, and remember what shoveling snow is like!" she tweeted. "More news on new job once I start. Fear not, I shall still tweet food and cat photos, and shall lurk around the world of Norrath."

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