The Daily Grind: When was the last time you binged on an MMO, and what was it?

Over the weekend, thanks to a perfect combination of nothing pressing on my calendar for a change, an injured ankle, and crappy weather, I stayed home and basically binged on MMOs. It started out innocently; I hopped into Trove to play with my son, then I talked myself into farming to buy him a club (it’s a like a custom private island) to play around in, and within a few hours, I had devised a list of a hundred other things in the game I wanted to do and the whole family was hanging out in the living room together playing an MMO. Finally, that whole kid thing is paying off!

It’s the closest I’ve come to binging on an MMO in quite a while; usually, real life interrupts me and ruins my streak. When was the last time you binged an MMO, and what was it?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 161: Project power

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin roll up their sleeves and take on projects left and right. It’s a look at the announcement of Project C and the imminent early access launch of Project Gorgon, among many other exciting developments this week!

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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The Daily Grind: What’s the wackiest MMORPG enemy group you’ve ever fought?

So I’m playing Trove this weekend when I go into a dungeon on one of my lowbies and I realize that the mob that’s kicking my butt is a fridge. I mean that absolutely literally; the mob was a refrigerator. To attack me, it whipped open its doors and shoved out what I think is meant to be a stuffed turkey on a rack. I thought I was going slightly mad, but the Trove wiki backed me up: This is a thing, and I’ve been away from Trove long enough that I’d forgotten about them. Long live the Fridgebots!

For me, that mob is the weirdest I’ve ever tackled in a very long time playing MMOs, and this is a genre that has candy corn elementals and playable babies. What’s the wackiest MMORPG enemy group you’ve ever fought?

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Trove’s Heroes expansion overhauls welcome panel, daily bonuses, particle effects, and the Dracolyte class

We’ve talked about the new neon cityscape biome and superhero-themed new class Trove is getting when its Heroes expansion launches later this spring. What about the rest of the game? Trion Worlds has a dev blog out this week addressing just that.

For starters, the welcome panel that smacks you in the face when you log in is getting an overhaul to be smaller and cleaner, and the daily bonuses that appear there are being tweaked so that the best ones are on the weekends.

Particle effects fiends are going to be disappointed, however, as Trion is reducing the overwhelming number of lag-inducing VFX in situations where it doesn’t really matter whether you can see your buddy’s ice cream cones falling out of the sky. That’s not a euphemism. That’s a thing that actually happens in Trove.

Finally, the Dracolyte is gonna suck a whole lot less, with better damage, better pet recharge, better wards, better dragon form… good stuff that may just make this class compete for your playtime again.


Massively Overthinking: Is battle royale a fad?

This week in Massively Overthinking, I want to talk about something out on the fringes of our genre: battle royale games. We’ve been watching BR take off, first with H1Z1, then the explosion of PUBG last summer and fall, and now Fortnite has taken the crown, becoming even more popular and raking in even more money, at least on console and potentially overall. And yet less than a year ago, we were embracing Fortnite as a PvE building game – see how blazingly fast Epic pivoted to catch this trend? I remember when PUBG started to plateau in the west even as it continued it climb in China, and I wondered then whether anything could ever dethrone it – and I have to say, I didn’t think it would be Fortnite.

So let’s talk about battle royale. Is it bleeding an online subgenre – MMOs, shooters, MOBAs, or survival sandboxes, or is it just something everyone’s tacked on top of existing gameplay? How will mobile keep up? And most importantly, is it a fad that’s destined to eventually fade away, or is it here to stay?

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Closers asks fans to vote on its next playable character

Are you Team Tina or Team Harpy? By the blank stares that you are giving us, we are guessing that you’re not playing Closers are the moment. But you could be — and then you might become invested in the next playable character to be added to the game.

Right now, En Masse is running an in-game event through which players will be able to influence the choice of a new character. Through March 14th, players can craft either a Tina or Harpy token by accomplishing various in-game tasks, and then use that token to cast their vote. If this isn’t enough election thrills, players can also craft 8-bit masks to wear because this is how it’s done in video game politics.

The two characters won’t merely be cosmetic variants of each other but will feature different playstyles. Tina is a gun-toting marksman while Harpy uses kinetic playing cards. The winner will be revealed on April 3rd.

Source: Closers


Massively Overthinking: MMOs belong in a museum!

Let’s talk game preservation. We’ve been covering MADE’s attempt to convince the government to tweak its interpretation of the DMCA to basically allow museums, academics, and institutions of learning to bypass laws against reconstituting the tech infrastructure necessary to get old dead online games back into playable (and therefore researchable) format. The law and its collected exemptions already essentially allow the preservation of everything but MMOs, leaving our specific genre screwed. MADE’s proposal was met with what I can characterize only as a melodramatic and inflammatory paper from ESA lobbyists opposing it on copyright grounds and suggesting that MADE is basically a party house planning to profit off throngs of gamers who will show up to play games closed down 15 years ago.

As we wrote yesterday, honest MMO developers roll their eyes at the idea that games which were sunsetted because of insufficient players ages ago are suddenly going to pose a financial threat if resurrected for academic purposes.

I wanted to open the topic up for discussion for the writers and readers. A lot of the MMO playerbase, I know, already supports emulators, whether or not they’re legal, and will gladly hop on board the “it belongs in a museum” train if it helps get us closer to a world where companies can’t sit on game code forever. Do MMORPGs belong in a museum? How far should the law go when it comes to protecting copyrights for shuttered games?

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Trove explores its superhero expansion city and does a former City of Heroes dev proud

Mid-February, Trion Worlds announced a big expansion coming to Trove this spring, and the best part for disillusioned superhero fans is that it’s set in a comic-themed cityscape called Luminopolis. That neon city is the subject of today’s “tourism hype” post from the studio.

“The towering skyline helps this epic new cityscape stand apart from other biomes,” Trion says. “Explore this gorgeous new sub-biome to truly appreciate the sprawling, tech-inspired architecture.” The core conceit of the zone is the battle between the evil robot Amperium and the Resistors; Resistors and Trovians will be taking on Amperium world bosses as part of the new rampage alert system.

Incidentally, MOP reader Celestia pointed out a few weeks ago that this particular expansion has some City of Heroes heritage: Former City of Heroes Systems Designer Jeff Hamilton is partly responsible for the comic-themed Vanguardian class. /holdtorch

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The Game Archaeologist: EverQuest Mac

In 2003, Sony Online Entertainment tried an experiment to reach out to the (then) small-but-growing community of Mac users. The company released EverQuest Macintosh Edition — quickly abbreviated to EQMac — which incorporated the core game and the first four expansions of EverQuest: The Ruins of Kunark, The Scars of Velious, The Shadows of Luclin, and The Planes of Power. Because EQMac was a separate version of the game, SOE segregated Apple players on their own server called Al’Kabor and then, for all intents and purposes, left them alone while the “real” EverQuest continued to expand and advance.

While the population didn’t exactly explode as the progression of time rendered EQMac stuck in a type of video game amber, a singular community of dedicated, helpful players formed. This community soon became proud of their hardcore home. According to many of them, EQMac was the way EverQuest was always meant to be played, frozen in time at the release of one of the game’s best expansions. It was a mark of pride to say that you played on Al’Kabor.

For over 10 years, EQMac quietly and doggedly continued, thanks to this small group of loyal players, SOE President John Smedley’s affection for the title, and one or two devoted devs who helped to maintain the MMO. This is the story of a spin-off game that became a living time capsule.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 158: We are all heroes

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin put on their voxel capes as they look ahead to Trove’s new expansion, LOTRO’s Hobbit fantasies, the ups and downs of Elder Scrolls Online’s outfit system, and more!

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’s Heroes expansion adds superhero-themed city and class this spring

Today is a positively massive day for fans of Trove – and fans of superheroes, for that matter – as Trion is announcing a brand-new expansion for the popular MMO and its 15 million players. It’s called Heroes, and yes, it’s comic-themed!

Trove – Heroes focuses on the neon festooned city of Luminopolis, a new high-tech skyscraper-laden section of Neon City. Luminopolis has been thrust into a battle for power between the evilly robotic Amperium and the Resistors, a rebel group fighting to bring the light back to the city. Players will partake in all new adventures, interact with new NPCs, wage battle against gigantic invading Mega World Bosses, and fight to save Luminopolis from the nefarious threat of the Amperion.”

If you’re sick of all your existing classes, you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a new one coming too, the Vanguardian. “A heroic class that pulls inspiration from the classic silver age of comic heroes, the Vanguardian is a paragon of virtue and strength,” Trion says. “Utilizing fluid combat in up close and personal melee skirmishes and from afar via effective ranged attacks, the Vanguardian is well-equipped to take up the cause of the Resistors and turn back the Amperion once and for all!”

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The Stream Team: A Valentine hellbug in Trove

Massively OP’s MJ ultimately missed out on love last year — the lovebug hellbug mount in Trove, that is! Luckily, it is back, and she’s determined to get it this time around. Will she succeed, or will her heart be broken yet again? Join us live at 9:00 p.m. for the voxel world’s Valentine’s event.

What: Trove
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 15, 2018

Enjoy the show!

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Staxel is a cozy multiplayer sandbox now in Steam early access

You know what I like? Hearing about a new game for the first time that I can actually buy right now. Of course, this one’s in Steam early access, so maybe you’ll want to hold your wallet. I’m talking about Staxel, which dropped on my radar this week thanks to a couple of my favorite readers. To me, it looks like a cross between Stardew Valley and Trove, with that voxel Minecraft look but sandboxy content that’s more focused on farming, fishing, and growing out the village with your own customizations than on mass-murdering mobs.

“Put down your roots and settle into life as a newcomer to the village. Starting out with a run-down, old home and farmland reclaimed by the wilderness, it’s up to you to turn the place around. Plant seeds, carefully tend to your crops, take care of your animals, and expand your farm. Don’t forget: take care of your farm, and your farm will take care of you!”

It’s not a formal MMORPG, but the Steam page says it was “designed with multiplayer in mind from day one,” hence custom online servers and online multiplayer capability. Anybody tried this one out?

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