retro

Super Adventure Box returns to Guild Wars 2 next week!

Every time my 5-year-old sees the extra portal in Guild Wars 2's Rata Sum, I have to tell him it's for Super Adventure Box and that it's currently closed. He's always sad. But next week, I can tell him it's open! ArenaNet's announced that SAB is indeed returning:

"It’s that time of year—dust off your best jumping boots, take up your pointy stick, and get ready to experience Tyria’s most cutting-edge technological edutainment system: Moto’s Super Adventure Box! Explore a whole new virtual world in beautifully-rendered, three-dimensional graphics. Go on an epic quest to save Princess Miya. Prove your strength against wizards, assassins, and giant frogs. And if all of that sounds a little too tame for you, prepare to die (repeatedly) in the punishing Tribulation Mode!"

It is not currently clear whether any new stages and new cosmetic weapons will be available, but it's a good bet. The festival begins March 30th and runs until April 20th.

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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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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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Massively OP Podcast Episode 109: We are all Dragonborn

Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week's show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.

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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Roblox is taking the online kid world by storm with 48M monthly users and $92M in new investment

Have you ever heard of this game Roblox? If not, you probably will be in the future, because this title has come out of nowhere to grab an enormously large audience with its LEGO-meets-Minecraft setup. According to the site, "Every day, virtual explorers come to Roblox to create adventures, play games, role play, and learn with their friends in a family-friendly, immersive, 3-D environment."

Formed back in 2005 and growing significantly over the past few years, Roblox now boasts over 48 million monthly users across all of its platforms (the game can be accessed on PC, mobile, VR, and console), with most of its demographics being made up of children ages six to 16. The game has seen activity peak at one million concurrent players and has paid out $9.2 million to community creators.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 108: PAX East power-up

As Massively OP is on the scene at PAX East this year, we've got plenty of juicy news and interviews to discuss on the show! What game is coming to console this year? What secret is Eliot hiding? Which MMO just got a name change? Find out in today's episode!

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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Trove officially launches for Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Voxel sandbox Trove has formally launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One today, having been in open beta on both consoles since December. Trion says it's now "captivated nearly five million" players across both consoles, which by our estimate makes for about 10 million players total, including those already on PC.

Trove "has become one of the largest free-to-play console releases of all time during its successful Open Beta," the studio says, "with thousands of unique worlds being built by players and tens of millions of hours logged in the game before it’s even officially launched."

Existing beta characters and plots should be just as you left them as the studio promised no more wipes past closed beta. The game is free-to-play on both platforms. Check out the launch trailer below!

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Trove previews upgrades to its console inventory system

Sorting out your inventory in Trove is a bit different from the inventory systems of other games, but it still has the same core features of giving you a lot of items and asking you to pick over them later. The good news is that the game's launch update on March 14th will make inventory and loot collections much easier to sort through. Inventory will be divided into three tabs for Adventure, Building, and Crafting, with the Crafting tab further subdivided into Currencies, Components, and Gems. That should keep the inventory window the same size while making it easier to actually find what you're looking for.

The new Loot Collector interface will also give you options to lock or unlock individual items to avoid destroying them, add in a Buyback feature for items you accidentally got rid of, and allow you to mass-collect all unlocked items with a single button push. The patch is about a week away, yes, but it should make it far easier for players on consoles to get the items they need and find where everything is kept.

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SkySaga dramatically altered crafting in its latest alpha phase

If, like me, your spring break plans have been thwarted by frigid weather in the forecast, maybe you're looking for something new to do this weekend. If so, take a peek at SkySaga, which last week hit alpha 10. The voxel sandbox updated the floating City of Last Light, buffed character customization, improved the UI and atlas, added new components, and made it so much easier to search and visit other players' homes. Crafting and the economy have seen a major simplification overhaul as well:

"Intermediate components have been removed from the crafting process, which means you can get straight to building what you need. For example - to craft a chair you no longer craft wooden planks on a sawbench and iron bolts in a forge, then combine these parts on a workbench, keeping track of the recipe with a mental shopping list - now you use the raw wood and metal directly in a single crafting device, and immediately hit craft. Simplifying this way means that inventory management gets much simpler, as there are fewer leftover parts. You can batch craft a stack, too - as many as you have materials for. The crafting UI has been drastically simplified and now focuses on the important parts of the process. The item recipe will auto populate if you have the right materials to complete the build."

More recently, the team posted a video walkthrough of cave gameplay. Check them out below.

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Trove counts almost 10M players ahead of March 14 console launch

Voxel sandbox Trove's been in open beta on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for only a few short months, but it's already gathered "nearly four million" players across both consoles, according to a Trion Worlds press release this morning, which also notes that "Trove’s industrious console players have also placed more than one billion blocks in the Trove world, while destroying more than 5 billion!"

Back in December, Trion counted 5 million players on all platforms, including PC. Now, the company says that combined number is "almost 10 million." CEO Scott Hartsman says that "Trove is already dominating the Free to Play charts."

Trion is planning an official launch on both consoles on March 14th, but don't worry: Your characters and blocks are safe, as the studio promised no more wipes past closed beta. Just make sure you log in before the switchover and claim your free mounts!

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The Game Archaeologist: Earth and Beyond

Personally, I prefer science fiction over fantasy nine times out of ten, even though most of the MMOs that grace my desktop are fantasy games. Sci-fi has had an awfully difficult time making headway into the field of MMOs, with plenty of underperforming or canceled titles littering the way. I've heard it explained that the fantasy genre is easier for the common person to grasp because it uses elements of our past -- primarily the medieval period -- to provide a familiar baseline, whereas sci-fi's futuristic setting requires world-building from scratch.

Whatever the case may be, Earth & Beyond never really caught on the way that EVE Online did just a couple of years later, and its miniscule population was not enough for Electronic Arts to keep it running. But between 2002 and 2004, Earth & Beyond reached for the stars and gave its own spin on how a space-faring MMO could work. Let's take a look today at what made Earth & Beyond unique, what it gave the industry, and how it may help upcoming space MMOs avoid a similar fate.

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Ashes of Creation on dungeon finders, soloing, player shops, and guild ethics

MOP tipster Joel let us know about an absolute trove of info flowing in the Ashes of Creation Discord channel thanks to the candor of Creative Director Steven Sharif. Sharif has been on a tear explaining game systems to the players hanging out there. Here are a few of the more interesting bits!

  • "Ashes will allow medium and small guilds to stay competitive. We have specifics systems in place to accomplish this."
  • "Playing alone is complete accepted, and feasible."
  • "High customization suite for character creation will allow for fat/skinny variants."
  • "I want to see players be able to enjoy the game together, and that includes new players being able to participate in activities with their experienced friends."
  • "While we do have classic leveling mechanics for the adventuring class, there are many ways to 'level' in Ashes. Not everything is put behind a linear progression. We want players who are casual to be able to participate in activities with players that have more time to play."

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