sandbox

Sandboxes are a type of MMO that emphasize player freedom and expression. They frequently include mechanics for building, crafting, trading, character customization and development, roleplaying, destruction, and significant interaction with the world and other players. A sandbox that is dominated by an open-PvP or free-for-all ruleset is sometimes pejoratively called a gankbox. Contrast with the themepark.

Prosperous Universe liberally borrows from Facebook for one of its systems

With so much going on while you attempt to manage your own space economic empire, you’re going to need a little help to stay informed. That’s why the small dev team behind Prosperous Universe is putting a priority on hacking out a useful notification system that will deliver regular updates on projects and events that impact the user.

The devs said that they’re taking a cue for this system from social media: “It pretty much looks and works as you’d expect from a site like Facebook… and that’s on purpose: Many smart people have thought a lot about this problem in the past and there is no point in reinventing the wheel.”

Another project in the works is to rebalance the game so that it rewards specialization strongly enough that it will tempt players away from creating self-sustaining bases that don’t require any external interaction.

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Catching up with the Ultima Nostalgia project that’s rebuilding Ultima Online in Wurm

If you found last week’s community discussion on whether (good) bots could help save dying MMORPGs fascinating, then the video hereunder will suit you too. Last year we wrote about gamer and professional artist Andrea Fryer – you probably know her best as KatsPurr in the Massively OP community. She’s been working on a spectacular “Ultima Nostalgia” project to meld the worlds of Ultima Online and Wurm Online by recreating the former as a 3-D map inside the latter.

The project and server have come a long way since then, as her 10th episode shows; this particular one covers the creation of the isle of Nujel’m (one of my favorites as my guild used to use “Nuji bank” as our headquarters for a time). And during the episode, she discusses how empty some of these old sandboxes can feel.

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The Stream Team: A new day in Osiris: New Dawn

It’s been a while since Massively OP’s MJ shared her adventures in the sci-fi survival sandbox Osiris: New Dawn. How is early access coming along? She’s heading back into the harsh elements and hopes to explore some new areas. Of course, she has to stay alive long enough for that! Tune in live at 3:00 p.m. for a new day in…

What: Osiris: New Dawn
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, February 19, 2018

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Leaderboard: What kinds of MMORPG purchases do you consider pay-to-win?

I know I’m not alone in noticing that MMO gamers of late seem to have become sharply divided on how to define the term pay-to-win – indeed, the debate raged last week in threads about Black Desert’s player protest, Elder Scrolls Online’s cash shop prices, and the general consensus that ArcheAge is whale heaven. Recently Massively OP commenter Pepperzine recently wrote to us suggesting that we address it and try to sort it out.

“While there are proponents for all sides of the argument, I think it would be interesting to see where the bulk of people draw the line,” he wrote. “At the end of the day, individual perceptions are important but what is most important when it comes to this topic is what the majority perceives as pay-to-win.”

So let’s turn his proposal into the requisite Leaderboard poll, shall we? And yes, you can click as many as you want!

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EVE Online balances ships and adds the Monitor to its March patch

Even if you’re not familiar with how battles work in EVE Online you can probably still guess at what “headshotting” means for the game’s large-scale battles. Command ships offer major benefits for fleets working with them, and trying to take out that command ship can often end the fight right then and there. The next patch is adding a new sort of ship designed for combat to prevent headshots, the Monitor. It fits no weapons or drones and can only fit a few modules, but it’s incredibly durable for its size and features several options to elude pursuit. It’s not the only option for commanding a fleet, but it should serve as an excellent way to mix up strategies.

The various other balance changes should also mix things up by extending the lock range on tech 1 battlecruisers and giving attack battlecruisers more maneuvering ability with micro jump drives, along with several specific balance shifts for specific ships. Check out the full rundown to see if you’ll need a new strategy for the ship you’re flying when the March patch lands. Whether or not this will address the game’s current enormous bot problem is another story altogether.

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EVE Evolved: Solving EVE Online’s botting problem

Practically every MMO on the market today has had to contend with botting and the range of issues that come with it, and EVE Online has always been a favoured target for bots. EVE‘s slow pace of gameplay and predictable PvE activities make it ideal for automation, and the nature of a persistent sandbox is that more time spent farming resources and currency will always be better. The issue seems to have escalated in recent months since the free-to-play upgrades expanded the range of ships and modules available to free users, and the community has been pushing CCP heavily for progress.

A team of bot-hunting players made the news last month when they took down eight ridiculously expensive supercarriers being controlled by bots, exposing just how big the scale of the problem is. The EVE security team responded with a ban wave hitting over 1,800 bot accounts in January and promises that they are “coming for the bots,” but one expert admitted in a recent interview that the war on bots may never be won. So just how difficult is it to tackle botting in EVE Online, and what could CCP do to improve things?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the difficulties in detecting and shutting down botters, how extensive botting may be in nullsec, and some things developers might have to do in order to solve the problem.

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The MOP Up: FFXIV’s Eorzean Symphony (February 18, 2017)

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 RuneScapeTERAEVE OnlineWorld of Warships Blitz, Path of ExilePUBGFinal Fantasy XIVVaingloryPath of Exile, and MU Legend, all waiting for you after the break!

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One Shots: First steps into a wider world

Every MMORPG player knows that there is something incredible and magical in the feeling that you get when you take your very first steps into a new game. It’s the fresh scent of the unknown mixed with potential, excitement, and energy.

Reader François knows this all too well as he documents an early moment from Final Fantasy XIV: “The trees of the Shroud meet the sky as Kan-E-Senna watches a young adventurer depart for the other nations of Eorzea. A familiar sight for anyone who started in Gridania.”

Small pet peeve, but when your city has a name like “Gridania” and your street patterns are all twisty-turny, you’re going to make my eye twitch. Elves need to buy better urban planners, IMO.

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ArcheAge Begins debuts its regional championship mode

Gamevil’s mobile spinoff of ArcheAge, ArcheAge Begins, pumped out its fourth content update this past week. The focus this time around was the debut of the Regional Championship, a 4v4 PvP arena.

By participating in the championship, players can fight cross-server as they claw, blast, and power their way to the top of the rankings. This championship is an evolution of the established annihilation mode.

Right now, Gamevil is running a pre-season event with prizes for the server that places first from now through February 19th. All players on the winning server will receive 1,000 gems and an ancient rune selection ticket regardless of participation.

Source: Press release

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Whatever happened to Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Puzzle Pirates?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately? That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing!

In this special pirate edition of the column, we’ll be visiting the fates ‘n’ fortunes of Pirates of the Burning Sea, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Puzzle Pirates. Yo ho!

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The Daily Grind: What skills would you like to see added to MMOs?

One of the features that captivates and draws players to Project Gorgon is the quirky indie MMO’s design of infusing the game with a wide and bizarre assortment of skills that you don’t typically see in other online RPGs. After all, this is a game that includes such skills as Flower Arrangement, Beast Speech, Psychology, Civic Pride, Holistic Wellness, Poetry Appreciation, and Howling.

It has me excited because I’ve grown tired of what I see as a limited skill set that inhabits most combat-centric MMOs. I want games to remember their pen-and-paper roots and come up with skills that go beyond “the best and fastest way to murder.” And if that takes the form of poetry, then so be it.

If you were able to add skills to an MMO, what would they be? What skills would enhance your gameplay experience and make your title that much more interesting and immersive?

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Save Evangelion pilots in Maplestory’s crossover event

Maplestory players are getting a fun treat in the form of a crossover with classic ’90s anime Evangelion later this month.

“The heroes of Evangelion have entered Maple World through an inter-dimensional rift, allowing players to interact with characters from the movies while taking part in various events and quests,” Nexon said in its press blast this week. “The Evangelion pilots are lost in their new surroundings in Maple World, so players are tasked with completing daily quests to help them navigate and become more familiar. Maplers can interact with Shinji, Rei and Asuka to earn EVA Coins to spend on limited-time items and must fend off waves of invasions from Angel enemies to save Maple World.”

The event features themed quests as well as paid and questable lockboxes galore, with accessories, hairstyles, androids, and chairs (yes) as rewards. The festivities begin on February 28th and run for a whole month; the trailer is below!

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Darkfall: Rise of Agon pushes for crowdsourcing and a freemium model

Do you have talent? Then Darkfall: Rise of Agon wants you to chip in and help out — for pay, of course. The team behind this indie PvP MMO announced the formation of its Agon’s Community Talent (ACT), an initiative to recruit talented artists that can help design resources for the dev-strapped game.

Players can submit their own decorations, weapons, and armor designs with the hopes of having them added to Rise of Agon’s cash shop. Those that do will be rewarded: “While getting new items and artwork you created added to the game you love sounds great and all, we want to also reward you for your hard work. Everyone who finds one of their entries added to the Nithron Coin Shop will officially join ACT, providing them not only with forum and in-game recognition but with financial reward as well.”

ACT will help with the game’s transition to a freemium model that should open the doors to more players giving it a try. In addition to this initiative, the team is hard at work on a market patch with a new auction house interface and a global wallet.

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