player housing

LOTRO Legendarium: Bingo Boffin’s unexpected journey

In addition to playing a lot of fantasy and sci-fi MMORPGs, I’m an avid reader of novels in the same genres. I never quite get tired of heroes growing into their own and then going on a journey of discovery and salvation over the course of one or more books.

It’s natural for me to compare the journeys I read in novels to the ones I experience in MMOs, and in some ways, online RPGs have forgotten or overlooked some of the elements that make the fantasy journey so gripping. Our characters start out already grown, already powerful, already killing machines that will save the world numerous times over. Our grand quest is usually nothing more than seeking even more power, gear, and experience points. Due to this, the whole process of progressing through a game is streamlined into a well-honed but somewhat soulless loop.

But what if a game took the time to reexamine the journey outside of the pressure to provide an optimal leveling and narrative path to the next world boss that needs extermination? What if there was a mission chain that took the inconsequential and made it essential, that was structured in such a way to more resemble books than eroded gameplay design?

Enter Bingo Boffin, the unlikeliest hero of them all, and his unique journey across Middle-earth with you in tow.

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ArcheAge’s June 7 Erenor Eternal expansion has something for every playstyle

A fresh expansion is on the way for ArcheAge, Trion announced this afternoon. It’s called Erenor Eternal, and you’ll be downloading it in all its 3.5 glory on June 7th.

The expansion seems to deserve the label, as it’ll add three new ocean-themed zones – Whaleswell Strait, Aegis Island, and Whalesong Harbor – with their concomitant quests and leveling hubs, plus a new housing province and a revamp for the game’s trading system.

Endgame achiever and crafter types can expect to grind their way up the new Ancestral skillset, work through a newly RNG-free equipment crafting advancement system, and push through the overhailed regrade mechanics.

And there’s something for the PvPers too: a pair of open-world battlegrounds. “Possessing a unique PvE focus, players will hold off waves of enemies with not just their skills, but mines and heavy artillery as well,” Trion says. “Upon completion of either tower, players will be rewarded with Honor and materials used to craft the new Erenor-tier equipment.”

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Exclusive Wild West Online interview on PvE servers, budget, and Red Dead Redemption 2

Here at Massively OP, there’s nothing we like to hear more than word that new, bold, and big MMORPGs are in development. Over the past week, Wild West Online rode in on a dusty horse out of a desert of MMO development, delivering the reveal of this western sandbox followed by a surprise announcement just this morning that full funding had been achieved and a launch was scheduled for later this year.

To dig more into these announcements, we sat down with Stephan Bugaj, Chief Creative Officer of 612 Games, to ask a few follow-up questions about this exciting project, its budget, its scope, and if only PvP gankers need apply.

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Wild West Online cancels Kickstarter and early access plans, secures funding for a full launch

Remember all of those plans that Wild West Online had for a Kickstarter campaign this month and a Steam early access release? Well, plans change — and sometimes for the better.

The studio has issued a press statement saying that the “overwhelming response” to the game’s initial announcement was enough to prompt its investors to dump more money into the game, thereby negating any need for crowdfunding whatsoever. This means that Wild West Online will eschew Kickstarter and early access in order to focus on developing the game for a full launch in 2017.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to have our initial investors step up and provide additional funding to make the game we wanted, without having to raise money via crowdfunding. Westerns are lacking on PC so we can’t wait to release the game to the public,” said 612 Games CCO Stephan Bugaj.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – odds and ends

By the time you read this, I’ll be up in the air flying across the country. Assuming you read it on the day it publishes, anyhow, and odds are that you will do so since you certainly won’t be playing Final Fantasy XIV today. Which makes for a good day to take a closer look at the odds and ends of Heavensward, doesn’t it? I sure hope so, because that’s what I’ve got lined up, it’s going to cause problems if this is a bad time.

We’ve covered the majority of the game’s battle content, but there’s still a bit more stuff to cover, and I could probably go into more depth on a few areas if I wanted this to be even longer. But let’s start by covering the content that, arguably, flopped pretty badly on launch, to the point where the whole system got yanked, revised, and returned in a much more tolerable form. Which has its own problems, but hopefully provides a good template moving forward.

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The Daily Grind: Was The Sims Online a good idea done badly?

As a gamer, I have many regrets that certain projects never came to fruition or the ones that did ended up not being quite as advertised. And in the field of MMORPGs, I definitely regret the flop that was The Sims Online, because I think it was an actual good idea done really, really badly.

On paper, such a game has so much going for it. The Sims was and still is a very popular franchise with a lot of name recognition among players. It stresses creation and creativity over destruction, and opening the franchise up to massively multiplayer seemed like a logical step. Yet TSO stumbled with its antiquated graphics, characters that had no “free will” of their own, and incredibly dull gameplay. Also, too many brothels.

I think it’s an idea that’s worth another go, maybe as EA looks at The Sims 5 and thinks about connecting players to each other more than in the past. I’d be all over an MMO that’s 80% player housing and 20% making virtual characters piddle their pants because I removed the door to the toilet. What do you think?

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Conan Exiles goes nuts with home decoration and defense

If interior decoration gets your motor running, then Conan Exiles is about to become your favorite haunt. The survival sandbox just unloaded a slew of home decor — as well as a sneaky trap or two.

There are over 50 “placeables” that were added to the game’s housing options in Update 26. These include stackable pillows, a stuffed crocodilie head, a flaming brazier, a giant carpet, a warm campfire, and for the discerning barbarian, windchimes. Conan likes to hear the lamentations of the little tinkles that it makes.

The game also introduced two new traps, in case you want a little old-fashioned home security: “While exploding traps do a great amount of damage, vapor traps create a cloud of poisonous gas and will do increasing damage the longer you stay in the cloud. Though they take longer to kill enemies, vapor traps can for example be placed in corridors or other confined spaces, where exploding traps would not only kill your opponents, but also do great damage to your own constructions as well.”

Hospitality!

Source: Dev blog

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Crowfall expands Eternal Kingdom testing, drops yet more teasers

Are you tired of Crowfall’s string of teasers leading up to a big announcement on May 16th, or does every word and screenshot add more coal to your hype train?

Well hope it’s more the latter, because we’re only in the middle of a whole week dedicated to teasing this reveal. Today, the team posted a trio of new concept art pieces, including two characters and a part of the equipment UI. Discussion is heating up on Reddit over the reveals, theorizing that it might either be the full reveal of disciplines or some race-bending class.

ArtCraft did offer one solid bit of news, which is that the studio is getting ready to expand its testing of Eternal Kingdoms (player housing zones) with the ability for owners to toggle PvP on and off in those regions. Additionally, the studio is giving all testers a copy of this year’s medium keep to try (but not retain come launch).

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Shroud of the Avatar is free-to-play for most of May

Shroud of the Avatar is running another free trial — quite a long one! It’ll run from May 10th to the end of the month. “This will be the longest test so far of the system so that we can gather even more data about uptake, dropoff, conversions, etc.,” Portalarium says. As usual, free players are restricted from trading, vendor use, property ownership, open PvP, and offline mode. You can pick up a copy of the game through the download page on the official site.

The trial is the highlight of game’s latest newsletter, but there’s plenty more to snoop, including the team’s work on Bloodriver Outskirts, weapon rewards from the last telethon, plans for the summer telethon, a housing contest and a writing content, and finally, a peek into Novia Market, one of the game’s player-run villages.

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The Daily Grind: What would you like to see done with MMO pets?

A little while ago, I was amused by a story about how a sort-of pet for World of Warcraft’s sort-of housing was able to be moved to the current city hub via effort on the player’s part. It struck me as funny, as that game has more actual vanity and combat pets than you can shake a stick at, yet some players would put in the effort to bring Dog “home.”

Eh, who am I to judge? I love my pets in MMOs, even though most of the time all they do is trot alongside of you and clutter up dungeon runs. I enjoy the virtual companionship and being able to show off a little. I do wish they’d do a little bit more, whether it be trot around my house (in games with housing), go sell my vendor trash (Torchlight-style), or fetch me the occasional critter and drop it dead at my feet.

What would you like to see done with MMO pets? How could they become more interactive and engaging? Would you want a pet that grew up, that could be taught tricks, or one that responds to commands?

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WildStar begins testing prime raids and housing communities

With WildStar’s Patch 1.7.1 out of the way this week, the team at Carbine can kick back, open up a cold one, and… apparently go full-tilt with the next update on the test server. What is this madness, indeed?

As the game continues to expand its instance offerings with prime-levels of difficulty, Patch 1.7.2 will debut a raid with this same challenge. Y-83 Level 1 is being tested with its Prime difficulty setting on, giving players a tougher ride with greater rewards. And while housing communities aren’t slated for 1.7.2, they are on the PTR right now for players to fiddle with and break. Communities have been one of the most desired housing features since their initial reveal, tantalizing players with the thought of connecting player islands together to form neighborhoods.

The team is also tweaking the drop rate of Progenitor Access Particles for the next update: “We’ve made a change that you’ll see on the PTR, the goal of which is to ease the current PAPs burden. In 1.7.2 they now have a rare chance to drop throughout Prime Dungeons, during Arcterra five-player encounters, and in World Boss and Arcterra Boss loot bags. In addition, the chance to obtain a PAP has increased slightly at the end of Prime Dungeons and when turning in Tier-2 Contracts.”

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Neverwinter shows off the features of the Great Hall

Ah, the Great Hall! It’s the place in Neverwinter where your guild hatches all of its greatest schemes, gathers and laughs about victories won, and otherwise enjoys the togetherness of being a guild. Really, the only reason you don’t already have great memories of the Great Hall is because it doesn’t actually exist in the game at the moment. It will, however, when the next major Neverwinter patch arrives. It’s an addition to your guild’s Stronhold that’s just… there, giving you a chance to decorate, congregate, commiserate, and celebrate.

Players will have the option of placing several decorations within the Great Hall, although the core layout remains the same; the decoration locales will be specified with glowing markers on the ground. There’s a definite aesthetic to the whole thing, which the most recent art dispatch explains was a deliberate effort to create a unified look while offering options for players to customize decorations. If you prefer to hear about new features in video form, there’s also a video rundown available just below.

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Massively OP Interview: Ashes of Creation on a new way to MMO

Today, Ashes of Creation takes a big plunge into an all-or-nothing Kickstarter campaign. Over the past few months, the MMO seemed to come out of nowhere to stun us with an ambitious design, well-crafted videos, and a team of experienced industry vets who seem passionate to make the next generation of online RPG.

For this occasion, we sat down with Intrepid Studios CEO Steven Sharif to talk about the Ashes of Creation’s crowdfunding campaign, the studio’s design philosophy, and the next steps for this upcoming MMORPG. Does this game deserve your support? Will it rope in widespread interest? Let’s see if Sharif can make the case.

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