Shroud of the Avatar: Partying with Portalarium, countering pay-to-win, and the state of the game

The day is finally arriving: Shroud of the Avatar is formally launching next week. It’s been a long journey. The path to this new old-school MMO started back on Kickstarter on March 8th, 2013. Now, five years almost to the day, SOTA is emerging. On March 27th, release #52 will be the official launch of episode 1. And fans didn’t have to wait until the end of the month to celebrate; Portalarium hosted a launch party this past week in Austin, Texas.

Besides hanging out with devs and fans at the shindig, I visited the studio’s offices for a tour and interview with Richard Garriott and Starr Long. There, I got to see memorabilia from the very beginnings of Garriott’s game-making career as well as a sneak peek of the events that will occur at SOTA’s launch. After that, it was celebration time at the awesome From Pong to Pokemon exhibit at the The Bullock Texas State History Museum (which happened to have a display of some of Garriott’s early gaming goodies!)

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First impressions of the newly launched ARK Park

By the time you read this dear reader, I’ll already be dead… dead tired, that is, from running around the Game Developer’s Conference talking to developers from such companies as Snail Games about upcoming games like ARK Park. Ahead of my meeting about the game, I was granted a review copy so I could get some time in with the real thing before my interview and end of the media embargo. As my Oculus Rift set-up isn’t exactly travel-friendly, and I can be prone to motion sickness, I only had enough time to jump into the game for a few scant hours. It was an interesting experience, since the game wasn’t simultaneously available to the public, and that meant I was probably missing out on the critical social factor for my impressions. Nevertheless, I think they’re worth hashing out. Let’s dig in.

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GDC 2018: Rend is looking to ‘WoW’ the survival genre

I’m already old and bitter when it comes to survival games. I’ve killed zombies, dinosaurs, infected bears, maybe even infected dinosaurs, and people. Lots of people. Even for food, and I don’t mean apples. I’ve been been forced to hand over my clothes in the freezing cold, drowned myself to escape imprisonment, and endured beaches full of dead, starved naked men on a PvE server that was unable to provide food for its citizens. It’s been the worst parts of The Walking Dead when I’ve been looking for the “It’s going to be OK!” moments. All this during what’s largely proven to be an unending “Early Access” period.

To say I’m critical of the survival genre at this point may be an understatement. By all accounts, someone might think I hate them, and they’d be half right. I hate most of what I’ve played. There’s cool stuff, but it’s like finding a $1 bill in what you hope was a pool of mud. It’s cool, but not really something you want to do a lot of. You mostly want the good stuff. Frostkeep’s upcoming survival MMO, Rend… well, it’s hard to not get excited, but my time talking to the developers actually gave me some faith for the future.

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EVE Online pumps out quality-of-life patch, starts taking CSM applications

The skies are crowded with activity in EVE Online as of late. CCP came out this week to talk about many of the “little changes” and quality-of-life improvements that have arrived with today’s patch.

These cover changes to help track fleets, the addition to fleet tags on the target bar, a new way to filter the compare tool, a reduction in jump fatigue accumulation, a structures tab in systems; show info windows, tooltips on personal security status in various systems, and plenty of other smaller items.

Applications for the game’s 13th Council of Stellar Management are now open and will continue to accept bids through this Friday, March 23rd. Players who wish to serve on the community advisory panel have to meet certain requirements, such as having an account that’s at least two months old, being 18 years old or older, and allowing CCP access to your personal identification.


Preview: Trove’s Heroes expansion is super – and launching on March 27

If you were ever of the opinion that one thing the voxel world Trove needed was a superhero, then you are getting your wish! The upcoming Vanguardian class is very much your classic superhero — or villain! But what is a hero without a city to protect and foes to protect it from? The Heroes expansion offers all of that and more. I got to hang out with Senior Producer James Karras and animator Ted Sanger as they flew through the neon world of Luminopolis on a new Vanguardian. This new superhero-themed class might just be the very class to finally pull me away from my Dracolyte (which is ironic, since this update is also when the Dracolyte finally gets some buffed-up love!).

As it turns out, this expansion is also more about a story. And you know me — I love story! That makes me even more excited to get into this expansion for myself. If you are also looking forward playing this class, touring the new city, or just collecting the many new allies, you’ll be able to join me when Heroes launches on March 27th. Until then, we’ll all have to settle for living it vicariously.

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Warframe launches a dojo improvement while celebrating its anniversary and St. Patrick’s Day

It’s a big week for Warframe, partly because the game is celebrating five years of operation. The anniversary site has gone live, and it includes a preview of the new Excalibur skin being offered to everyone as part of the celebration. But you don’t have to stop there; you can also pick up a shamrock dye pack from the market for the excessive price of… one credit. Yes, a single credit. That’s only there until March 19th, so you should pick that up sooner rather than later.

Why stop there? The game has also dropped a patch aimed at reworking the clan dojo areas, with an eye toward giving players more decorations, more functionality, and more tools to make use of those decorations. Dojo rooms can now hold more items and have access to over 60 new faction-themed decorations, like Grineer catwalks and fuel tanks. It’s all a lot of stuff, and it’s a nice way to thank the players who have been with the game for half a decade now.

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RIFT starts Carnival celebration, previews Tenebrean Prison warfront

RIFT’s anniversary event, Carnival, is now raging across the game’s live servers — but not on the new Prime progression server. While the latter does have a vendor that sells some Carnival items for void stones, the team has decided not to bring the event to Prime “in keeping with the early days of RIFT.”

But for those on the other servers, Carnival offers plenty of fun games, activities, and rewards, including the new pegasus pet Celeste, more masks, weapon runes, a raid tier 2 earring, and the 7th anniversary cape. If you are looking for a festival guilde, Rift Gate has one that’s only two years out of date. Carnival will last through April 5th.

The RIFT team is also taking a look at the latest PvP warfront to be added to the game, Tenebrean Prison. You can check it out on the live servers or by watching today’s developer livestream.

Source: RIFT


OrbusVR previews the talent system for its classes

When you first choose your class in OrbusVR, you have four options. The new talent system coming to the game also gives you four tiers of option, although it’s between two specific courses of specialization. You can check out the preview for the Ranger and Warrior alongside the preview of the Musketeer and Runemage to see what exactly you’ll be picking between when the talent system is rolled out to player.

Each class has four major choices between two options. Runemages, for example, choose between Elementalist (more focused on single-target damage) and Tormentor (more focused on multi-target damage), while Rangers choose between Quick Shot (firing as fast as possible) and Snipe Shot (slow, perfectly aimed attacks). Players can mix and match if desired, though, so you have a fairly interesting set of choices ahead of you however you choose to specialize.


Blade & Soul’s Fire & Blood update is making hardmode dungeons worth your while

So what’s in Blade & Soul’s Fire & Blood patch next week, other than way too many ampersands that our CMS can’t properly parse? Oh nothing much, just a crapton of new dungeons and an overhaul of hard mode. In its preview piece today, NCsoft details all that and more.

For starters, hard mode is getting a lot more lucrative. “We’ve received pretty consistent feedback from players feeling they could use a boost to account for the added challenge,” says the company. It’s added much more high-end loot to multiple hard-difficulty dungeons, some tradeable and some not. A few easier dungeons will become normal dungeons too, mind you, as NCsoft argues they’re “a little long in the tooth,” but they will keep their hard-mode rewards for normal mode, so that’s pretty nice for casuals.

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Monster Hunter World previews a crossover with Devil May Cry

The Monster Hunter series is a set of video games in which you fight giant monsters and then harvest their corpses to make more powerful equipment. The Devil May Cry series is a set of video games in which you fight giant monsters while making flippant bon mots at the monster’s expense, then look really cool while letting them explode or sink into lava or whatever. Clearly, these are two great tastes that taste great together, which is why we’re getting a Devil May Cry crossover event in Monster Hunter World.

We don’t yet have a date for when this is going live, but players will be able to pick up gear based on DMC’s protagonist Dante through an event quest. It does not appear that you’ll also get the ability to deliver armor-piercing lines with a smirk, so you’ll have to provide that for yourself until your teammates beg you to be quiet. Check out the collaboration trailer just past the break.

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The MOP Up: Dragonball Online kicks off beta testing (March 11, 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 FlyffRecord of Lodoss WarOld School RuneScapeLineage 2 RevolutionCorum OnlineZombie BarricadesFinal Fantasy XIMU OnlineRagnarok OnlinePokebel OnlinePath of ExileProsperous UniverseWakfuDragonball Online Global, all waiting for you after the break!

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Skyforge offers better previews, better symbols, and better trophies

The latest Skyforge patch is out in the wild, and it makes a lot of little things in the game better. Case in point, rather than guess at how an appearance item in a pack will look on your character, you can now preview the item directly on your character before you buy. You also have an improved interface for symbols (selected for free and per class now) and more ranks for trophies, including a sixth rank for those that add to your Might. Check out the full patch notes for more.

If that’s not enough for you, it might behoove you to take a look at the odd disappearance of the floral goddess Tessa. A researcher and the source of ether resonators that offered the warring deities of the world all sorts of opportunities, she vanished without a trace and left people wondering where she went. You can, of course, catch up on this in video format below; it sounds like a plot hook for the future if we’ve ever heard one.

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City of Titans’ avatar builder is on display – and it’s pretty awesome

It has been five years since comic book and City of Heroes fans threw $678,000 at Missing Worlds Media in the hopes of seeing a superhero MMO successor. Since then, City of Titans has been taking shape at a glacial pace, testing patience, and finding itself in a spandex race of sorts with Valiance Online and Ship of Heroes.

But could it have made a breakthrough? MWM announced this week that it has finally reached the point where it is proud to show off City of Titans’ character creator (or “avatar builder,” as the studio is calling it). The preview is still just pre-alpha, but it represents a huge step toward the MMO’s hopeful launch. Backers should be able to get their hands on the beta version of the character builder later this year.

“It’s taken us years to get here, but it will take a lot less than that to finish,” MWM said. “The ‘thousand program breaking bugs’ period is past for the chargen, and now visible progress will be more rapid. The biggest missing piece, currently, is female. Don’t think we’ve forgotten about the heroic women. Overcoming the final hurdles to bringing her in is the next big push. Perhaps she’ll be ready in time for next month.”

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