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 Rend, Sea of Thieves, The Black Death, Warframe, HEX, Fragmented, MU Legend, Final Fantasy XI, Monster Hunter World, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Dota 2, Wurm Online, Ultima Online, and Path of Exile, all waiting for you after the break!
Avast, feast your eyes here, ye swabbies: Sea of Thieves be settin’ sail for the waters of closed beta on the 24th of January for both PC and the Box of X. Hoist the mainsails and prepare to have your senses bedazzled, as no shroud separates ye from the testing, nor any NDA. Ye can even read up on the intelligence what governs those fancy skeletons that be dancin’ about, or ye could pick up a fine new hand-held controller for a heft spot of dubloons.
Other news for betas? Aye, ’tis a fine time to discuss the other ships what sit full in the water.
Now, I’ve told my tale and told it true, so ye ought let me be. But first, cast your eyes to the horizon, and ye can see our full list of games what be in beta testin’ right now! Aye, a beautiful sight; take a fine boat below, and keep your eyes peeled if one of those salty dogs what slipped into a new test phase without us recognizin’ it ahead of time.
Video previews of patches are like a chance to try before you buy. Except that you aren’t really trying so much as you’re watching someone try it. Also, since this is Blade & Soul
, you wouldn’t be buying it regardless; the title has a free-to-play business model. But you can still enjoy a pair of videos showing off both content and new features coming with the second anniversary patch, including the tailor shop’s outfit customization.
For some things, this is more useful than others. If you’ve seen the fight against Poharan before, this is not only not elucidating but specifically unhelpful, as the preview is more concerned about what the event adds after you beat her (a new merchant!) than how to beat her. On the other hand, seeing the pattern selection options in the tailor shop are going to help anyone curious about how the feature will expand player costume options. Check out the both videos below, although fair warning: Don’t start watching if your boss is walking over.
You know the lockbox thing is reaching saturation when there are so many things to cover we have to resort to a roundup. Nevertheless, for those of you who want to stay on top of developments and arguments, here we go.
Polygon has an explainer piece up on Destiny 2’s Eververse fallout and why everyone is still rioting over the game’s monetization. Of note for this discussion is the publication’s note that if Destiny 2 is hell-bent on having lootboxes, it ought to adopt Overwatch’s lootboxes, as they’re relatively tame and haven’t produced a Reddit in full meltdown.
Gamasutra has a roundup of MMO developer quotes from studios that believe they’re doing lockboxes “elegantly,” including Trion (for Defiance), PWE (for Star Trek Online), Wargaming (for World of Warships). In this particularly case, that means either being easily accessible through in-game play (not just in the cash shop), making lockbox drops tradeable to other players, creating systems of accruing lockbox rewards, or offering a choice of lootbox type.
How do you feel about grinding in MMOs? What about farming? These questions can elicit a wide variety of answers, from shrieks of dismay to enthusiastic head nods. Depending on the situation, grinding and farming can be something to be enjoyed, to be endured, or to be avoided at all cost.
The Game Freak Show says that he has a love/hate affair with grinding and farming, and it presents all sorts of muddled emotions, especially when gated mechanics are thrown into the mix: “While I have forgiven the grind in many RPGs for sucking away my time, this disturbing trend of games that do not have a harsh grind because they’re flawed or made for a different audience, but to force people to drop more cash on the table is something I can’t.”
Continue on for a look at Kritika Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online’s Ravenloft, the best solo MMOs, and more!
Here we are, in the untamed wilderness of 2018! It feels a lot like 2017 so far, except that it’s a year later. Also, at least here, it’s buried under snow. Also, Global Adventures has moved into its closed beta test, which is new. You can get in on that, although you should feel fairly warned that it’s going to have a wipe prior to open beta, so fairly warned be ye.
For the most part, it seems that studios were still remembering that they have to get back to work if they’re going to enjoy the new year. But we still had some movement on the beta front, so that’s all right. Examples of such are listed below.
- The ninth alpha test for Saga of Lucimia shared some information and a prologue story, which will require a full group to fully read about. You may assemble the group however you wish, but it may not include using the phone.
- Hyper Universe launches on January 17th. If you didn’t know it was in testing before now… well, it is. And it’s launching on the 17th. Keep up.
- Speaking of launches, Monster Hunter World is launching on January 26th for consoles. If you’re sticking to the PC, you’ll have to wait until the fall. Hey, it’s still a better deal than PC players got for the original Destiny. Another PS4 beta test is scheduled for January 18th.
- If you’re curious about Seed, you’ve got some footage of the pre-alpha gameplay to check out.
- Last but not least, the MMO portion of Life is Feudal is moving into Early Access on January 11th, which is slightly different than its current testing schedule. How so? Well, that’s early access, not beta. Also it probably lacks wipes.
That’s not a bad way to kick off the year, huh? There’s going to be more this year, we’re sure, but we’ve still got a list past the break of the games we know to be in testing. If something has skipped into launch or seems to have quietly shuttered while evading our notice, do let us know down in the comments. It’s very helpful and we appreciate it.
A few weeks ago, we posted our pick for best not-so-Massively game of 2017. Warframe narrowly won our award, firmly validated by the reader poll where Warframe came close to sweeping.
Of course, that award was open to all NSM games, not just those that made some sort of effort to launch something playable this year. What if we cut the pool down to just those? What was the best new NSM game in 2017?
As we did in 2014, 2015, and 2016, today I’m going to recap our annual awards and other meta articles from the end of 2017. We gave out 19 formal awards this past year, all in addition to dozens of other recaps, roundups, listicles, predictions, bloopers, oddities, polls, provocations, and retrospectives. It was by far our biggest content dump to date, even bigger than last year!
Following our deep-dive into our awards and the attached reader polls, I’ll be recapping all of the end-year articles in one convenient place in case you missed something over the holidays – enjoy!
In all our many roundups at the turn of the year, we’ve never done one on the legal dramas that have affected the MMO genre. That changes today!
Of note, there’s…
- the lockbox scuffle as various countries turn their watchful gaze on the industry and self-regulation collapses in a puddle of shrugs;
- the Crytek lawsuit against Star Citizen studio Cloud Imperium;
- the potential for dead online games to skirt DMCA laws;
- multiple Pokemon Go-inspired lawsuits and criminal trials;
- the end of the Warner Bros. and Tolkien estate lawsuit;
- the continuation of the Oculus/ZeniMax Media lawsuit;
- the cease-and-desist filed against Asheron’s Call emulators;
- and a whole ton of Blizzard lawsuits, including the capsizing of the Bossland cheaters following multiple Blizz victories.
My favorite, however, is Andrew’s research into whether lockboxes legally constitute gambling – from last January. Enjoy!
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey as we head into 2018!
Far from being a slow month for MMOs and the site, December has been hopping these last few years, spurred on partly by of our massive awards and end-of-the-year content rollout. But plenty of MMOs added fuel to the fire: Star Citizen pushed its alpha 3.0 out the door at the very last minute, under siege from the Crytek lawsuit, Squadron 42 doubts, and criticism over its latest concept
ship tank sale; Wild West Online delayed into the new year following the gutting of its open PvP system; and RIFT studio Trion stepped into quite a mess – twice – when it posted a pay-to-win currency pack and a $100 random mount lockbox up for sale (and later backtracked on both).
Read on for the whole list and have a happy new year!
Over the last couple of years, we’ve redoubled our efforts on our science-related articles, as you may have noticed from our roundups in 2016 and 2015. Last year, we even hired on a staff writer specifically to cover gaming science, especially as it relates to MMORPGs, and we’ve been collecting all of his work along with our other science posts in their very own category.
Read on for a recap of our best science-related MMO articles from 2017, from EVE Online’s real-life hunt for exoplanets and the economics of MMO monetization to how lockboxes use psychology to manipulate us and the math behind the gamblebox phenom. Dr Richard Bartle even announced a new gamer matrix this year. Don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz at the end!
With the community consensus that World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3.5 will be coming out prior to January 21st, some excitement and interest has been bubbling up over this “mid-sized” content update.
Icy Veins has a great roundup of pretty much everything you need to know about this patch, including the new mounts coming in the Call of the Scarab micro-holiday, the Seething Shore PvP battleground, new rewards for Trial of Style, the Ulduar timewalking raid, and the much-anticipated zone scaling that will revamp the leveling experience.
Perhaps the biggest question mark over this patch is the first wave of allied races. These alternative racial options are a major selling point of the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion, although it appears that four of them, including Highmountain Tauren, will become available well before then. While 7.3.5 will contain the races, mounts, and faction embassies in the data files, it will be up to Blizzard when this content will unlock.
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!
Blizzard took the month of November with huge announcements for World of Warcraft, specifically the Battle for Azeroth expansion and vanilla-flavored WoW Classic servers.
Meanwhile, we saw the sunset of Motiga, the sunset announcement for Master X Master, and the abysmally handled and abrupt end of Gazillion and Marvel Heroes.
In happier news, Kakao took the wraps off its next mega-MMORPG, Ascent: Infinite Realm, specifically targeting western players.
And lockboxes continued to drive conversations around the law, the cost of games development, the press, and gambling, and not just because of EA: Guild Wars 2’s mount lockboxes and Star Citizen’s land claims sales reminded MMO players that monetization problems aren’t just for mainstream gamers. Still, we doubt anyone will be forgetting the ol’ claim that lockboxes create a “sense of pride and accomplishment” any time soon.
Read on for the whole list!