post-apoc

Perfect Ten: A list of all the MMORPGs I supposedly hate

Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.

Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.

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Hellgate: London revival project opens its alpha to everyone

Still finding yourself pining away for Hellgate: London on occasion — or perhaps you missed out on it the first time around? This 10-year-old multiplayer ARPG is making an unofficial return thanks to a fan project dedicated to its revival in the west.

Essentially an emulator for the long-dead (yet often resurrected) game, London 2038 seeks to restore the Hellgate multiplayer experience for both old and new generations of players. The title has been progressing through alpha patches this fall, with the test open to everyone who has a copy of the original game.

“All of the 2038 team missed the amazing, ahead-of-its time ARPG Hellgate: London and wanted to bring it back to the passionate, dedicated, and friendly community the game has fostered after all these years,” the project leaders wrote. Check out some of the boss battles from the alpha after the break and then head back to read our weird and somewhat sad history of this game.

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Daybreak on H1Z1 and Just Survive: ‘It’s best to consider each game as a separate entity moving forward’

Gotta stop teasing Daybreak for a month: Just Survive, the actual zombie sandbox half of the H1Z1 salmagundi, is getting love. The latest patch includes a number of base changes, map updates, raiding adjustements, damage balancing, and more fixes for Badwater Canyon.

“In September 2017, the decision was made to move forward with a second shift, but in a far more familiar direction,” Daybreak explained yesterday. “That shift was developed in parallel with the recent update including Resolution Ridge, and is making its way to the Test Server today. With this new update, we will spend several weeks iterating the large adjustments we’ve made to the core game before this new direction is published to Live. Given the gravity of the changes it is important to test this at scale and get this content in front of our players for feedback as quickly as possible.”

The studio is also emphasizing that “it’s best to consider each game as a separate entity moving forward.”

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Massively Overthinking: The state of early access, alpha, and beta ‘testing’ in the MMO genre

I remember years ago when then-Massively-columnist Rubi Bayer let loose with a blistering rant on the state of faux beta MMOs. She helmed Betawatch back then, see, and she was fed up with (mostly imported) MMOs claiming to be in beta when in fact they’d soft-launched. A lot of readers didn’t understand her fury at the time, but boy have things changed, right? Now, every game’s in on that very old trick, only they call it early access now, while some are still pushing the boundaries, charging $1000 for pre-alpha.

MOP reader Pepperzine proposed a topic for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s right on point. “I was thinking it would be interesting if we could discuss when people consider a game to be in alpha/beta versus a final launch as a topic,” he wrote to us.

“Back in the day, this was easy to determine. Selective testers were extended invites into beta who were experienced testers who had the computer hardware to handle the software. The primary purpose of being in the testing phase was exactly that, to test and bug report. When the game was made available to the public at a price, a game was considered launched. Now, players are granted access to pre-launch titles by ‘donating’ or purchasing access. For the most part, the primary purpose of participating in the pre-launch experience for these players is not testing or bug reporting but rather to experience and play the game. The division of purchasing a game and donating to test has become so blurred that it is no longer a valid way of determining if a title is at a state to where it is launch ready. These titles can stay in this pre-launch phase for as long as they deem necessary, easily deflecting criticisms by reiterating it is still in development. So when do you consider a game to be launched? Is it when the producers declare it is? Is it when there is no longer the possibility of wipes? Is it when cash shop monetization is implemented? Is it as soon as the company begins selling access?”

Where’s the line in 2017? Let’s dig in.

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H1Z1’s three-day $500K prize pool Invitational tourneys kick off right now

We may roll our eyes at H1Z1’s flip-flopping on names, gameplay splits, and apparent inability to actually launch, but there’s no doubt Daybreak is still putting money and effort into the game’s competitive community. This weekend’s H1Z1 Invitational, whose challenger qualifiers kick off at TwitchCon just as this piece goes live, will be followed by three more legs of the multi-part tourney all weekend. The kicker is the $500,000 prize pool, split over three tiers of play.

“The most watched event at TwitchCon since its debut in 2015 has returned bigger than ever with an overall prize pool of $500,000 and three action-packed tournaments. In anticipation of one of competitive gaming’s biggest showdowns, Daybreak has updated H1Z1’s look, simplifying both the in-game menus and the name. Moving forward, the game will be simply referred to as H1Z1.

We’re including the trailer (which is actually not as lame as you’d think) and the embed if you wanna watch along at home!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 140: Dubious drops in LOTRO, FFXIV, and SWTOR

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree navigate the dubious updates that dropped in several major MMOs (as well as a few other ones that seem to have gone off OK). It’s practically an all-patch, all-the-time show with the addition of a couple of interesting listener emails regarding accessibility and crafting!

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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H1Z1 has defeated its ‘King of the Kill’ branding in a last-man-standing battle royale

Looks like at least some of the rumors last week have proven true, as Daybreak is indeed removing the “King of the Kill” branding from H1Z1, meaning the battle royale half of the zombie survival sandbox is now getting the unified game’s original name free and clear.

You’ll recall that in 2016, Daybreak split H1Z1 into two separate games, H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive; this past summer, the company dropped the “H1Z1” from Just Survive’s branding, cutting loose the survival sandbox half of the original split-apart game, and then it announced a pro league for H1Z1 just last week.

“Throughout development we’ve continued to define the vision for H1Z1, which is competitive at its core with fast-paced and action-packed combat,” Daybreak explains. “Over the past year, the game has grown by leaps and bounds in terms of both player base and development, so we thought it was time to evolve the game’s look to something that better represented the spirit of H1Z1 and the level of quality we aspire to. H1Z1 is also the name that our players connect with most, so it was just natural evolution for us to transition back. We’re also working to ensure that H1Z1 can be enjoyed by players around the world, and having the word ‘Kill’ in the name of the game can be limiting with some global audiences.”

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Rumor: H1Z1 is about to drop King of the Kill branding (and maybe it’s really launching)

Remember in 2016 when Daybreak split H1Z1 into two separate games, H1Z1: King of the Kill and H1Z1: Just Survive?

Remember back in August when Daybreak dropped the “H1Z1” from Just Survive’s branding, cutting loose the survival sandbox half of the original split-apart game?

And remember earlier this week when Daybreak announced a pro league for H1Z1 – without using the words King of the Kill?

Put that all together and you may be figuring that King of the Kill is about to get its own rebrand. Indeed, while it hasn’t been officially announced or confirmed, it seems backed up by a video pulled of a new splash screen on King of the Kill’s test server, which shows just the term H1Z1 by itself. Redditors are further speculating the game will finally go free-to-play, which was SOE’s original plan, though that was chucked overboard pretty early on.

Hey, while we’re making crazy predictions, maybe we can predict that the game will finally launch. Because it still hasn’t. That was slated for a year ago, but it (and its console port) was indefinitely delayed.

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Trion Worlds entices players to support Extra Life charity with in-game rewards

If you haven’t heard already, tomorrow marks the start of a massive gaming marathon called Extra Life that will help raise much-needed funds to aid sick kids at the Children’s Miracle Network hospital. Among those forming teams and playing titles for this charity is Trion Worlds, which is encouraging its community to rally around this worthy cause.

Trion’s Extra Life marathon begins tomorrow afternoon, during which the dev team will stream non-stop for 24 hours. To encourage and entice players to join the team in this fundraising effort, Trion is offering a bounty of virtual goods based on the amount of money raised.

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Jukebox Heroes: Destiny 2’s soundtrack

I feel like making a bold statement today, so here it goes: Destiny 2’s soundtrack is far and away better than its predecessor — and I include any of the DLC’s music as well.

Oh, I didn’t dislike Destiny’s OST overall, but aside from a handful of noteworthy pieces, it wasn’t much more than sound and fury to me. Destiny 2, on the other hand, boasts meticulously crafted tunes that span an emotional spectrum of excitement, contentment, uncertainty, struggle, defeat, and victory across its rather expansive album. It was a delight to listen through the 44 tracks that make up the launch album and a struggle to choose just six of my favorite pieces to share.

The score was handled by a team of composers, including Michael Salvatori, Skye Lewin, Rotem Moav, Pieter Schlosser, and C. Paul Johnson. I truly hope that the game’s popularity spurs players to pick it up and hear some excellent video game music on its own. Let’s listen through a sample of what this OST has to offer!

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Daybreak is launching a pro league for H1Z1 e-sports

If you were wondering what Daybreak is up to as we have been, wonder no more: It’s been putting together a pro league for H1Z1, which it is now characterizing as a “groundbreaking survival battle royale game.”

“Daybreak Games has partnered with Twin Galaxies, whose new Pro League Division will establish the H1Z1 Pro League for Daybreak’s fast-paced, last-man-standing game, H1Z1. The goal of the league is to create a sustainable esports ecosystem in partnership with teams for the benefit of H1Z1 players, viewers, and League partners. Focused on a ‘player-first’ approach, the H1Z1 Pro League will include a guaranteed player minimum salary, team owner and player representation on the governance committee, along with a comprehensive Player Bill of Rights and a well-defined revenue sharing model. The H1Z1 Pro League will launch its inaugural season in early 2018.”

The studio says it’ll form the league around 15 teams of 5 players that will come together in live 75-person matches over two 10-week splits next year. “There will be no fees or buy-in costs for teams to take part in the league,” Daybreak notes, “and teams will be selected through an application process that will begin this fall.”

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Leaderboard: Are you one of the 2M people playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds today?

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds just keeps on growing globally: It’s completely outstripped every other game on Steam in terms of concurrency, having now set a new record of 2M concurrent this weekend. As GIbiz points out, its closest competitor now is Valve’s own Dota 2, which saw 700K concurrency over the same period. That’s up a million for PUBG just since last month, with 13M copies sold to date. Oh, and did I mention it’s still in early access?

We’ve previously noted that the game is primarily pulling from the CSGO audience, but now it looks to be hitting the other top games too – H1Z1 especially, whose peak concurrency has dropped a full third since August – and I have a few guildies playing who normally play MMOs. How about you? Are you one of the 2M people playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds today? Let’s take it to a Leaderboard poll.

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Massively Overthinking: Epic Tavern-style player-generated content in MMORPGs

Ever played Epic Tavern? Massively OP reader Uli though it would make an interesting point of comparison for MMO content. “Epic Tavern is a single player game where you run a fantasy tavern frequented by heroes for a drink, food, bed for the night, and you can try to persuade those NPC heroes to go on a quest for you, sharing the spoils,” he explains.

“A comment I read suggested that would be great for MMO taverns: player running a tavern being able to give quests in the game to players frequenting the tavern. I know there are options for player run quests, but this would be different: pre-existing or otherwise player-made and engine-supported quests that are bestowed on player to match their group or skill level. And of course it would mean that visiting a tavern and meeting other players would finally have a point beyond mere chatting/RP. Ensuring people spent time in taverns to interact with would really help the socializing/third-space-in-virtual-rooms issue. But could it work in a MMO? Would that be abused for loot/rewards, biased quest assignment/withholding based on favors? Or what other problems could that cause?”

A lot of our writers and readers have experience with player-generated content, so I thought it would be fun to build on the ideas of Epic Tavern for Uli in this week’s Overthinking. Which MMOs have (or desperately need) great PGC, and when have you seen it go wrong? Could a formal, mechanical system for quest-giving like Epic Tavern’s work in an MMO, or is it something best left to the roleplayers?

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