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 Project Gorgon, Star Trek Online, Bless, Skyforge, Wakfu, Roblox, War Thunder, Aion, Elite: Dangerous, New Dawn, Travian, Astroneer, and World of Warcraft, all waiting for you after the break!
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.
So you’re tired of visiting far-flung post-apoc space stations, fantasy ghost castles, underground slime lairs, and zombie grottos on Mars. What’s next? How about… Earth?
Aussie MMO Virtual Earth Online may be up to that challenge, at least if you can handle the graphic style. It looks like a mash-up of Minecraft and Second Life, with the whole world (even, apparently, your house) built out with voxels. Developer Gavin McDonald told us that building mats were on the docket for insertion over the weekend and the game has just gotten a new graphics engine after six years of development (it was Greenlit back when that was still a thing). While the original game is properly an MMORPG, or perhaps a massive online virtual world, a new single player survival mode is also rolling out (check out the video of that in action down below).
The game appears to be freely downloadable, but the trading post is offering microtransaction buildings and items for as little as 5 cents.
While the heady days of Ultima Online’s dominant position over the industry are long gone, the MMORPG continues to operate and expand, and many players have fond memories of the unique experience that game offered. In fact, some titles like Legends of Aria and (obviously) Shroud of the Avatar are doing their best to claim the unofficial title of “Ultima Online spiritual successor” in the hopes of reuniting veteran MMO players with the special qualities that made this game great.
These aren’t the first games to try to grasp the holy grail of an Ultima Online sequel. There were actually two such projects that went into heavy production in the late 1990s and early 2000s — both ending with premature cancellation and frustration on the part of developers and fans.
The second of these, Ultima X Odyssey, I covered a while back. Today, we’re going to take a look at the first MMO that attempted to mix the Ultima Online formula with a few new twists. Ultima Worlds Online Origin might not be as well-known (or as well-titled), but its history is just as fascinating as UXO’s.
If you have ever visited the MMORPG subreddit, you probably know that one of the most frequent posts that pop up are ones asking the community for recommendations. These are players who have left a full-time game and are now fishing around for a substitute, or those who have “played them all” and are hoping that some undiscovered gem exists, or are having a difficult time finding a good game match for their preferred playstyle.
I am often leery about tossing out blanket recommendations because it’s far better to get to know a player, his or her game history, and the type of game sought before giving my opinion. But if you were to put a fish cannon to my head and threatened me with rapid-codding, I think I would be generally OK promoting the following 10 MMORPGs to most players, sight unseen.
These are MMOs that have earned my personal recommendation and are the titles that I tend to promote the most. Here we go!
My kids, being of a younger age, tend to find dinosaurs pretty darn awesome. They went bananas the other day when they saw a dino mount in Neverwinter and screamed at me for not getting it (“cash shop ploy” does not mean much to them).
Not every MMORPG tosses in dinosaurs, but they get slipped into fantasy worlds more often than you would think. From World of Warcraft’s Un’goro Crater to Trove’s Jurassic biome, there seems to be this thought that dinosaurs can punch up a title and pander to that young, impressionable kid in all of us (and I won’t even get started on the whole ARK phenomenon).
It might be a frivolous topic, but do you think dinos help or hurt MMOs? Are they just too immersion-breaking and bizarre to toss into most fantasy worlds? Does their scale hamper their inclusion? What do you say?
Hey! Hey you! Yeah, you the I’m-so-bored-with-all-of-these-MMOs gamer! You’ve been grousing about for years how MMOs never take risks, never innovate, and are merely content to rehash the same-old fantasy tropes that were stale even back when World of Warcraft launched, right? Yes, we at Massively OP saw your poorly spelled Reddit post on that subject, thank you.
Well, what if I were to tell you that there’s an MMO that bucks the clichés? It’s true! Imagine an MMO that exists in a post-apocalyptic fantasy setting that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. Imagine that combat isn’t merely hotbar button mashing but tactics mixed with positioning. Imagine that you can create your character to look any way you want from the onset instead of having to collect certain pieces of gear. Imagine an immersive world that is a delight to the eyes and ears.
Got all that? Want to play it? Well, you can’t. That game was The Chronicles of Spellborn, and since you and pretty much everyone else on the planet ignored it, it tanked in 2010 after less than a year of operation. Yet for its lackluster run, Spellborn has been strongly mourned by those who saw tremendous potential in it and who keep creating internet petitions to bring it back. Because petitions change everything. Today we’re going to take a look back at an MMO that took the path less traveled.
Game Designer Raph Koster continues to ponder the significance of Ultima Online on this, the 20th anniversary of the MMORPG’s historic release. In a recent blog post, he answers a question from a fan who asked how UO pushed the industry forward.
To address this, Koster takes readers back to 1995, when the internet was mostly accessed over slow dial-up modems and the gaming landscape was much more different than it is today. After outlining a brief history of MMOs to that point, he lists several groundbreaking features that Ultima Online attempted, including:
- “Pure scale” with up to 2,500 players in the world at once
- Dyeable gear
- A world simulation that was varied in behavior
- A massively interactive world
- Widespread player killing, housing, and shopkeeping
- An actively managed community
- A flat monthly fee to subscribe
- A world where you could live and not just fight
Just in case you were wondering, it’s still a puddle of sadness and despair over at SkySaga. Following the online game’s abrupt development halt in August due to its publishing partner pulling out, fans have held on to a thin thread of hope that, somehow, the project would be revived.
It’s not looking exactly promising right now. The official site was recently locked down, cutting off access to the forums and other content. Only a reprise of the announcement is able to be read:
Smilegate apologises for any confusion caused due to recent events. The development of SkySaga has been put on hold for now. We would like to extend our gratitude to all the fans of SkySaga who have participated in the development of the game. As to the future of SkySaga, all we can say is that nothing can be said for certain at this moment. We will be sure to let all of our dedicated fans know as soon as there is any update on this front.
Digital Extremes’ new retro-pulp shooter/TCG hybrid The Amazing Eternals (fka Keystone) has been under heavy development since its reveal last summer, most recently with characters Niia, Worp, and Ray; locations Odona, Multiverse, and Space Map; a new game mode codenamed Daring Delivery; and a nifty feature called mini-boards:
“Mini-Boards have the ultimate reward of granting a Keystone card, which is a special Ability that replaces your usual Q Ability. Mini-Boards will have branching paths for players to progress toward different Keystone Cards. For example, Ray’s Keystone Cards change his Turret to a Healing Station for his allies or a temporary Phase Shift that renders Ray untouchable by enemies for a short time.”
Want to check out the beta? Then you’re in the right post, as DE’s granted us a bundle of keys providing standard access to beta. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab a key!
Massively OP’s MJ has been looking forward to showing off The Amazing Eternals since she played it at PAX West. And now is her chance! She’s ready to dive into this Jumanji-esque experience and check out the various Eternals. So far, her favorite is the healer, Nautica. You’ll also have the chance to join MJ in game: She has a number of beta keys to give away! Tune in live at 7:00 p.m. for a chance to win as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a first look at…
What: The Amazing Eternals
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 7:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 26th, 2017
Probably my greatest and most constant gripe about fantasy MMORPGs is that for all of the freedom and imagination that this genre supposedly boasts, game designers keep going to the same boring well of tropes and limit themselves instead of exploring possibilities.
Nowhere do you see this more than in races. Dwarves and Elves? We’ve got bushels and barrels of them, all on sale at discount prices. There are regular humans, of course, and Slightly Bigger Humans, and Half-Sized Humans, and Blue Humans. But what about getting outside of this been-there-played-that cookie cutter design to offer some interesting playable choices?
Like fairies, perhaps?
I could never understand why we don’t see fairies more in MMOs. They are widely recognized in the fantasy genre, they seem to have popularity, and they even share some cross-over with Elves. But the poor fae have been unrepresented, so much so that it took a lot of digging to come up with a mere 10 MMOs that allow you to play as one, whether it be as a race or class. Let’s take a look!
All the time through playing Shroud of the Avatar, I found myself wanting to like the game a lot more than I did. And my brain kept turning back to Minecraft, which seems like a worthwhile comparison to make.
Much like SOTA, Minecraft is a game strongly based on the concept of making your own fun. You are definitely making your own adventure in the game. But at the same time, it seems very relevant to point out that the game starts by giving you a clear set of parameters to work within. Monsters will spawn at night, there are resources under ground, you break things to get better things, and then combine those things to make still better things. From there on out, much of the game is devoted to figuring out how these various elements play off of one another.
So they’re both sandbox-ish titles in which you make your own fun. Except that one of them starts by showing you the fun that you’re supposed to be having and giving you a goal, and it does so with absolutely no story to guide you along that route. It shows you exactly the sort of game it’s trying to be and lets you start working at meeting it halfway. But SOTA never quite got there, at least for me.