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CCP's live-action EVE Online ARG looks like the best thing at this year's EVE Fanfest

Got your tix for EVE Online's EVE Fanfest 2017? Ready to set aside your in-game enmity and play nice with your fellow gamers for a few days -- or not, depending on what sort of corp you're in? Decided cowering in your house watching streams is the wiser choice?

Good news for you then no matter which way you roll: CCP has released a detailed blog post today laying out the structure of this year's event. Expect the usual round of keynotes, panels, debates, and player presentations, plus beer, a check-in with the Project Discovery scientists, a 2v2 single elimination tourney, more beer, tours for people who got dragged along and want to see Iceland's beauty, and beer. But the best bit looks to be a genuinely cool live-action game called The YC119 Kyonoke Inquest:

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #18-13

Last week we were off to a great start as we listened to the first batch of player-voted favorite MMO themes. As I said then, the results of the voting, in which I asked players to nominate up to 10 of their favorite main themes from online games, were both predictable and surprising. Nostalgia and familiarity obviously play a strong role in many of these votes, but no one was asking for objectivity here!

Today we're going to continue our countdown to the top spot by looking at numbers 18 through 13 of your favorite MMO themes. I think there's a good mix here, perhaps with tunes that I would have placed a little higher, but overall it's gratifying to see each one of these make the list.

Enough jibber-jabber, let's get to it!

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The Stream Team: Looking for SWTOR's Lady of Sorrows

Senya went off to do some "work," leaving Massively OP's MJ and Larry to skulk about SWTOR's Old World of Zakuul to learn more about the planet as well as search for the Lady of Sorrows. What information will they dig up on the surveillance feeds? What more can MJ's Agent learn about the Emperor as he continues his attempts to goad her into using his dark powers? Many questions depend on the choices you, the viewer, make. We call this Choose My Alignment for a reason! Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to have your chance at swaying the vote as MJ and Larry walk deeper into the dangerous underbelly of Zakuul.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

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Choose My Adventure: Wrapping up WildStar

Writing about WildStar at this point feels weird.

Obviously, I just finished up playing the game for this feature for four weeks. It feels fresh in my mind. And in many ways, it really has changed quite a bit from launch to its credit. In many other ways, it hasn’t changed much at all. And the ways in which it has changed would make a much bigger difference if those changes affected things that initially drove me away from the game.

So in many ways, when I write about WildStar now, I’m still writing about the launch version of the game. It’s just that we’re now several years out from that launch, and its potential to really be something no longer has the time to turn into reality. It’s still just a hope for what it could be, and there’s not much more to the game beyond what we see right now. So it’s the same state of the game, but it’s gone from promising opportunities to unrealized potential.

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Three games you've never heard of: Lothgar Online, Little War Online, Age of Rivals

When I add news to our newsroom for our reporters to pick up, I often add links that just say "such-and-such a game exists" -- because just existing is what's new, or at least new to us. Today, we had three of those, and I'm combining them all for this quick look at three MMOs and orbiting games that you've probably never heard of: Age of Rivals, Lothgar Online, and Little War Online.

Lothgar Online

Lothgar Online (Asylumsoft) launched yesterday. Let me warn you upfront: If you aren't into retro pixel graphics and hardcore gameplay, you probably won't like this MMO. The devs, who are also the folks behind the similarly styled Elderlands, call it an "Online RPG built in a classic style, paying homage to 1980s RPGs," and yes, that means PvP, corpse looting, and attunement in addition to a giant world, guilds, skills, and questing. On the other hand? There's no cash shop either. Old school isn't always a bad thing! (via Reddit)
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Leaderboard: The Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind 'chapter vs. DLC' fee debate

In the comments of a Daily Grind last week, a few commenters tangeted into debate about The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind pricing.

See, the original "ESO Plus" deal for ESO subscription holders granted them full access to all future downloadable content (DLC) forever and ever, as long as they were subscribed to the game. Morrowind, however, has been marketed not as DLC but as a "chapter," meaning it will not be subject to the Plus promises, and so everyone will have to pay for it. Grumbling ensued.

"Suppose I paid BMW a monthly fee to drive [BMW] cars," commenter Odin wrote. "I could drive whatever I want as long as I paid. They announce a great new car I want to drive. I cant wait, but they tell me, "This isnt a car; it's an automobile. You have to pay extra.'"

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Choose My Adventure: A high-level venture in WildStar

First and foremost, before I start talking about my last week of adventures in WildStar, I'd like to thank the developers for giving me an opportunity I rarely have in this column. Nine times out of ten the reality of the column means I don't get to actually see high-level play at all; I don't know that I'd classify this week's adventure as being indicative of the whole level cap experience, but it gives me a better picture of it than just sitting down at level 10 or whatever.

I'd also like to thank a friend for accompanying me up to the high-level portion of the game, since she was curious about it as well. Teamwork, people, that's what MMOs are all about.

When I originally played WildStar, I had in fact reached level cap and done a fair number of the initial crop of dailies during one of the earlier patches. Thus, my friend and I decided to unlock the Primal Matrix and head out to Arcterra, which was added too recently for either of us to have seen it in the past. Yes, that meant I wasn't going to be in an area going "oh, I remember this," but it meant that I'd have a good idea about that part of the endgame.

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #24-19

What are the best and most popular MMO theme songs of all time? A couple of weeks ago I posed this question to the Massively OP community and encouraged fans to submit their own list of music themes in response. We saw a healthy amount of email votes and comment nominations since then, and I was able to compile a nice list of the top 24 MMORPG themes from it.

There were several surprises, at least to me, in the final results. I thought some games would've gotten more nods, while others seemed to come out of nowhere to demand a spot on the list. Each of the themes on this list was put out there by at least two fans, which is why we're going to start with number 24. I'm thinking we might have an honorable mentions column as a post-script, but we'll see how it goes.

Today we will begin our countdown to number one, looking at your favorite MMO themes with my own take on each. Let's get started!

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Choose My Adventure: Poisoning the well in WildStar

It's amazing how some things stick in your mind while others don't. I honestly had forgotten about the whole questline in WildStar that involves showing off just how awful the Dominion can be until I was knee-deep in it, but as soon as I was in there, I remembered being impressed with it. There's a lot to like: subtle worldbuilding and careful production that really sends a message and forces you to think about what you're doing and why. I like that and appreciate it immensely.

That makes it a good companion piece to dungeon queues just not happening. And it also lines up nicely with the fact that this week's CMA provides us with a heretofore unprecedented opportunity, one that I am very curious to see about the response to. It wasn't really an option in the last installment, and it wasn't necessary in the prior one anyhow... but now, it's a choice. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

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Leaderboard: Will WildStar's free max character influence you to play?

Eyebrows flew up earlier this week when Carbine announced it would be granting free max-level WildStar characters to players who log into the game with the patch launch today.

In way, the decision makes sense, since the game has long touted its endgame and Power of the Primal Matrix introduces horizontal advancement best explored at the level cap.

On the other hand, MOP's Justin and I have a longstanding debate on whether advanced characters are a boon to MMOs -- do they crush your fun or just help you skip unrelated grind? Are they a net positive for a game or just a Hail Mary?

For today's impromptu Leaderboard, let's see how the free toon is working out for you.

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EVE Online starts CSM voting, posts whole bunches o' numbers and graphs

The space air is electric with excitement as EVE Online has opened up the vote for the next members of the Council of Stellar Management. There are many candidates from all around the world vying for a spot on the influential player council.

According to CCP, the CSM is "a player advocacy group, consisting of 10 members democratically elected by the players to advise and assist CCP in the continuous development of EVE. The CSM brings focused, structured feedback from the community to CCP and represents its views and interests."

And if you really want to nail home that old cliché of EVE being "spreadsheets in space," check out the many, many graphs of the game's February economic report. Read it to your kids at night to get them to sleep!

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The Daily Grind: What provokes you to kick MMO group members?

Yesterday, Blizzard Watch writer Dan O'Halloran recounted -- unfavorably -- dispiriting tales about looking-for-raid scenarios in World of Warcraft that end in vote-kicking -- not for abuse or AFKing but for simply being the lowest-performing damage character.

"Tichondrius, for example, has an enrage timer and if you don’t kill him in a certain amount of time, he goes HAM on the raid, everyone dies and you have to start that encounter over. Twice that has happened in my LFR raids on him and both times someone in the raid has immediately called to kick the low performing DPS players arguing that we need better performing replacements to down the boss."

Maybe I'm too nice for my own good, but I'm with Dan: I would never dream of booting someone in order to replace him with someone with better damage meter performance. Sure, I want to win, but not more than I don't want to be a giant jerk to my groupmates. I've seen enough bullying for one lifetime; I don't want my valuable leisure time filled with it too.

Would you? What provokes you to votekick and kick MMO group members?

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