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Choose My Adventure: Starting fresh-ish in Final Fantasy XI

This is actually a Choose My Adventure that I was somewhat reluctant to do for a long time, simply because… well, in some ways, it goes against the entire spirit of Choose My Adventure. Or at least the spirit that I’ve always used as a guiding principle for these columns, for however much it matters.

The goal of Choose My Adventure has always been to take someone who is either wholly unfamiliar with a game or at least not an expert at it and throw them into a game with as little support as possible. There’s no way that I can realistically hit the level cap and make major headway into the endgame, of course, but I can at least try a game with fresh eyes and see how it plays, while presenting those thoughts in a non-tedious fashion.

And then we have Final Fantasy XI, which I cannot possibly look at with new eyes because I know this game very well. If I had to list the MMOs I know best, FFXI would probably be third or fourth on the list. Which is why for a long time I didn’t bring it up, because… I know all of this stuff, right?

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The MOP Up: Diablo levels up in Heroes of the Storm (May 13, 2018)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Heroes of the StormElder Scrolls Online, DayZEVE Online, Pokemon Go, Dota 2City of HeroesFinal Fantasy XIVPortal KnightsLineage 2 RevolutionWizard101Ingress, and Reign of Guilds, all waiting for you after the break!

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The Daily Grind: Do your MMORPG characters primarily wear in-game armor or cash-shop cosmetics?

Take a look at your main character in your main MMORPG right now. What is he or she wearing? And did you get it through play or from the cash shop?

This topic came to me as I was surfing the Guild Wars 2 Reddit earlier this week; a Redditor was polling players on whether they thought there was a good balance of cash-shop cosmetics vs. cosmetic gear acquired through actually playing the game. It’s a tiny bit hard to answer this one for Guild Wars 2, as multiple people pointed out, as you can convert the gold you get while playing legitimately into gems to buy cash-shop cosmetics (or just buy lockbox skins with gold from the gamblers). Plus, GW2 isn’t called Fashion Wars for nothing. But still: Almost all of my characters are running around in cash-shop cosmetics there. I may complain about the lack of new skins and the overabundance of buttcapes, but I like to spend money on games I want to support, and cosmetics are one of the least objectionable ways to do it. And GW2’s are still slick (vs. a lot of the in-game armor, which is grindy or group-centric).

In Trove, which is another of my favorite games lately, most of my characters are running around wearing at least core outfits from ancient Steam pack sales.

Do your MMORPG characters primarily wear in-game armor of cash-shop cosmetics? And do you see that as a problem, one way or another?

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Choose My Adventure: Ultima Online, we didn’t need to do this

Yes, this is going to come in as the shortest Choose My Adventure series, but I feel it’s got a good reason to be so. I went into Ultima Online with a very simple question: Is the game worth playing now as a free-to-play title for the curious? I very quickly got the answer to that question: No. Definitely not. And writing a whole lot more on it is just going to continue to harp on that point.

That’s not to say that there aren’t at least a few more words to be spared on the subject, of course. There are a lot of games with a free-to-play option that players have said don’t feel like free-to-play titles; you can technically play without paying, yes, but the game doesn’t seem to want you there and keeps hitting you with paywalls. That wasn’t the problem I ran into with Ultima Online, though. If anything, it seemed like the game didn’t want me there at all. Not as a free player, but as a new player.

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Soulbound readies Chronicles of Elyria for pre-alpha

Here is some exciting news for Chronicles of Elyria’s fans: The project is nearing its first alpha phase as the dev team lays down the foundation for VoxElyria. This will be the graphical MUD that will allow players to test the MMO’s systems with very basic graphics.

The team worked up a new blog post to talk about the various tasks that it is undertaking to get the game ready for 0.5.0. These tasks include developing proximity chat, working up a voting system for maps, procedurally generating the world, and figuring out a lot of the behind-the-scenes technical issues to make the gameplay smooth.

“With the impending pre-alpha release, Chronicles of Elyria will finally be growing up,” a Soulbound Studios dev said. “We’re going to be transitioning from having dozens of players able to be in the world at once … to thousands! To ensure that we’re able to scale effectively, I will be working more on our scalability, load balancing, and other platform solutions to make sure we’re ready to go.”

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Choose My Adventure: In which Ultima Online makes its displeasure known

So… this is an interesting situation for me. I’ve had a number of games that I’ve played for Choose My Adventure that I haven’t particularly liked; some of them because they’ve been fine games that just don’t agree with my sensibilities, some of them games that are actually just flat-out not very good. (You know where the archive link is.) But Ultima Online at this point is the one game that seems to genuinely not want me to play it.

I’m not talking about system impenetrability or anything like that; I’m talking about the game itself falling into all sorts of paroxysms of not working for no readily apparent reason. More to the point, falling into paroxysms of not working in ways that do not even appear to have technical solutions, or ones that I can suss out. It’s like the code is rebelling against letting me log in or something.

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EverQuest unlocks the Omens of War expansion on its progression servers

Time keeps on slipping into the future for the EverQuest progression servers, Ragefire and Lockjaw. Both servers have put matters to a vote, and the results mean that both are going to be leaping headlong into the Omens of War expansion. For those of you keeping track, that means that the progression servers are now up to 2004 in terms of expansion unlocks, and you can go and live in that particular time warp right now if you so prefer.

Well, not live in it, but at least play in a version of the game that hearkens back to those halcyon days when no one had a smartphone and everyone was really excited about The Sopranos. It’s a blast from the past, which is the whole point of the time-gated expansion server; feel free to lean in and enjoy the game you remember from back in the day.

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Leaderboard: Does the Daybreak fiasco affect whether you play its MMOs?

Over the last couple of days, we’ve been covering the Daybreak scandal – specifically, how concerns over the impact of government sanctions on Daybreak’s parent companies would affect the games, which spiraled into Daybreak publicly denying that it was ever owned by the company it said repeatedly bought it in 2015 and scrubbing its website and wikipedia of references to Columbus Nova’s acquisition. We’ve all watched on, eyes wide, dutifully recording gaslighting in progress.

But then I have that luxury: I don’t play any Daybreak games and haven’t played any of them seriously since SOE shuttered the best MMORPG ever made. So I can look at the whole situation as the dumpster fire it is, and not as the doom of my favorite MMO, since it already killed that.

Many of you are not in my position. You play DCUO, EverQuest II, PlanetSide 2, even EverQuest. You might even be playing H1Z1, although that’s less likely if you’re reading Massively OP. Or maybe the Standing Stone games Daybreak publishes, LOTRO and DDO, are your thing, and you’re not convinced by yesterday’s vague Twitch sidenote that everything’s probably fine. You are watching on in horror, wondering what will happen to your MMO homes if Daybreak implodes. You might even be pretty sure the games will be OK but aren’t so sure you want to put your own money into the mess.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds balances weapons, brings Miramar map to the Xbox One

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds isn’t giving up the fight against Fortnite for the market share of the battle royale crowd. The PvP shooter has a ton of content in the works, starting with a weapons balance patch that’s coming soon.

The team said that this patch should address imbalance in players’ selections: “According to our research, only a few specific types of weapons (ARs) are used in most situations. We believe the choice about which gun to use should be based on personal preference and its effectiveness in any given situation, rather than simply ‘which gun is strongest.’ Our goal is to make it so no one gun will feel objectively better than the others.”

The studio announced that it is hosting the first official PUBG e-sports tournament later this year in Berlin with a $2 million prize pool. Also, Xbox One players can rejoice that they will finally be getting the Miramar map only four or so months after it came out on PC.

And finally, PUBG Corp. is asking players to vote on one of five names for an abandoned resort that’s located on the Savage map.

Source: Steam, Polygon, #2, VG247

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Enter to win a copy of Wild Terra from Juvty and MOP!

B2P MMORPG sandbox Wild Terra isn’t resting on its laurels: Developer Juvty Worlds patched up for the faux-holiday at the beginning of April, adding “crystal” equipment and letting players vote on gear. Want to give it a go? Juvty has issued Massively OP a bundle of keys for the B2P game, worth $14.99 apiece on Steam, to distribute to our readers. There are no regional restrictions, other than the caveat that the game must be available to you on Steam for you to use the key. Read on to enter to win!

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Choose My Adventure: And now, Ultima Online, sooner or later

Oh boy.

So, yes, I did actually play some Ultima Online. Or I tried to play some Ultima Online, at least. I’m not sure that most of what I did was actually something that I would call “playing,” although it involved me being in the game and ostensibly interacting with it. And it’s times like this that I particularly dislike my job, because this puts me in something less than a comfortable position.

I don’t know how many of you reading this right now are fans of UO, and as I established in my first column, I don’t really feel as if I’m equipped to critique the game as a whole because this is where everything started. This is the original of the species. It’s like that gag in Dr. McNinja wherein Ben Franklin is mentioning that inventing things during his original lifespan was easy because all you had to do was pay the slightest bit of attention.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the dumbest armor?

Back in February, PC Gamer put out a piece on the absolute dumbest character armor in gaming history. There’s more than one MMORPG in the list, including World of Warcraft (Arthas’ Lich King armor) and Lineage 2 (Dark Elf string armor). Bizarrely, City of Heroes made the roster too for that one dude from The Lost faction with a TV helmet. The best part is the commentary from an actual real-life armorer (they’re basically all the equivalent of “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid”).

I thought it would be fun to dig further into MMOs for even more dumb armor. Me, I’ll vote for anything where the shoulders would poke me in the eye, anything I would legit wear clubbing, and anything that proves definitively that the designer has no idea how actual boobs work.

Which MMO has the dumbest armor? Post pics if you have them!

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The MOP Up: Seal Online embraces a cartoony spirit (April 15, 2018)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Seal OnlineTrovePokemon GoSea of ThievesTales of GaiaBattleriteWar of RightsPUBGWorld of WarcraftCity of HeroesWill to Live Online, and Prosperous Universe, all waiting for you after the break!

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