At the start of this month, we reported on a massive new war that was kicking off in the north
of EVE Online
. The words “The Imperium Strikes Back!” rang across the game as one of the game’s largest military coalitions moved thousands of capital ships north in preparation for what it called a “dirty war.” The group planned to dump hordes of capital ships on the enemy aggressively and with little regard of the financial cost, using its vast economic wealth to spread pain and misery. This was going to be The Imperium’s great return to nullsec warfare after a year of farming ISK and building up resources, and that narrative was used to get thousands of players on board.
The reality hasn’t been quite so dramatic, but it’s been very interesting on a strategic level. We’ve seen the narrative of this war change substantially over the past few weeks and watched as every victory or loss is quickly spun into propaganda. The Imperium has lost several key battles and appears totally outmatched by the combined supercapital forces of the north, but has also destroyed a few enemy citadels and is already claiming victory over its primary strategic objective. TEST Alliance has seen its own share of victories and defeats in the region against Northern Coalition and Pandemic Legion too, but is now in the process of packing up to go home.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I examine the major strategic goals during this war, the apparent change in The Imperium’s narrative, and the effect on the average alliance line member.
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 Neverwinter, Elder Scrolls Legends, Elite Dangerous, SWTOR, MapleStory, Hyper Universe, SMITE, Travian Online, Diablo III, Figureheads, Pokemon Go, Heroes and Generals, Rappelz, Ultima Online, Soulworker Online, Black Desert, and Gigantic, all waiting for you after the break!
With Star Wars: The Old Republic
Update 5.4 coming out on August 22nd, you may be champing at the bit to get into the new content and earn that awesome moving train stronghold for your very own. But how will you get on board with the Crisis on Umbara flashpoint?
That’s where this short and handy guide from the dev team comes into play. There are a couple of requirements before you can jump into the flashpoint depending on the difficulty mode chosen. Story and master modes can only be run by level 70 players, while you can access the veteran mode as early as level 15.
The huge reward dangling before players for this flashpoint is, of course, the Umbara mobile base stronghold. To earn the key for the house, players have to reap alliance recon data by running the flashpoint (over and over and over). After that, they should head over to their Alliance HQ to purchase the actual stronghold for credits or cartel coins. Data can also be used to buy other rewards, such as a new armor set and mounts.
Star Citizen’s Sandi Gardiner and Forrest Stephan helm this week’s episode of Around the Verse as the team treks along toward the 3.0 release.
In the Burndown segment, the devs say they’re, well, burning down the bugs, touching on the shopkeeper, usables, mission givers, item highlighting, the UI, and ship doors that are “fleeing the nest,” something any environment modder will immediately recognize (doors suck). As of film time, Eric Kieron Davis says, the team has resolved 54 of last week’s issues, but it added 46 to the must-fix list, so there are 88 issues blocking the release: “Across all of our internal branches, we’ve checked in over 2052 updates this week alone.” The dev team has also moved to the 3.0 branch.
And in the system deep-dive, CIG covers surface outposts, specifically the detailing of the interior — from concepting to prop placement to lighting — as well as the exterior placement and weathering that’s specific to the location. The whole episode is below; it’ll be the last one for a bitsy while the team is in Cologne for Gamescom.
On Tuesday, Daybreak formally announced that the neglected PvE half of H1Z1, Just Survive, would be shedding its H1Z1 branding once and for all. The reveal couldn’t help but remind me of the way Daybreak did the same thing for Landmark, deleting the “EverQuest Next” and then the EverQuest IP altogether from the title and marketing before ultimately scrapping the entire game not long after launch.
I don’t think Just Survive is necessarily doomed without the branding, however. In fact, I can think of several MMOs that I wish could have dumped their IPs or changed their names to rid themselves of the proverbial albatross ’round their necks. Star Wars Galaxies leaps immediately to mind.
What MMO would you like to see dump its branding or IP?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that everyone has at some point seen the xkcd called Isolation, but if not, there it is. No matter what the age and era, someone’s always preaching that people were more sociable in the long long ago. In this comic, however, Randall Munroe isn’t even contesting that. His point is basically no duh and so what. Yes, we become less sociable with random people in our immediate vicinity as we gain more and more access to ideas, entertainment, and people not in our immediate vicinity thanks to technology. Ultimately, replacing impromptu stranger interaction with the amusements of our choice appears to be what a lot of people wanted all along.
MMORPG players surely see where I’m going with this because we have the same eternal struggle when it comes to in-game socializing, grouping, community, and stickiness, the tug-of-war between the people who want to play alone together and the people who think that forced grouping is the only true path to enlightenment.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to reflect on the alone together vs. forced grouping spectrum, to talk about where they stand on it, whether that position’s changed through the years, which games are addressing the divide the best, and how the two sides can move forward in a dynamic MMO genre.
If next Monday is Eclipse Day in North America, is it OK if we deem Tuesday to be Star Wars On A Train Day? Because you know that when Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Update 5.4
arrives on August 22nd, you won’t be able to think over the noise of millions of players shouting “WHEEE!” as they set up shop in a high tech, high velocity mobile housing.
To be sure, Crisis on Umbara will boast more than just a new stronghold on a floating train, but it’s going to be hard to get past that to see the rest. The rest such as the continuation of class build revisions that began back in Game Update 5.3.
On the forums, the team outlined some of the changes that are coming to the Operative’s concealment, the Scoundrel’s scrapper, the Marauder’s carnage, and the Sentinel’s combat disciplines. Unfortunately, all four of these builds are getting nerfed in some capacity, so our sympathies for those adversely affected.
Daybreak is a whirlwind this week: First it broke up the H1Z1 party and got Just Survive its own apartment, and now it’s bringing PlanetSide 2 up to speed. The studio is unveiling what it’s calling Critical Mass, an update planned for later in August that overhauls the game’s victory point system.
“Previously, the VP system acted as a sort of checklist where factions would complete various objectives which then rewarded points to that faction,” Daybreak explains. “Earning these points was somewhat removed from the moment to moment experience, and would often reward factions for what they’ve done in the past, instead of painting a picture of the current state of a continent. This was especially noticeable toward the end of the process, where continents would lock abruptly, often interrupting high-intensity battles in a dissatisfying or anticlimactic way.”
To fix that, the team is removing random alerts, nuking the “checklist goals” from the system, changing how continent locking works, and providing scaling rewards. Expect it on the test server “soon” ahead of the PC/PS4 launch later in August.
Over this summer, we’ve been getting tips suggesting that the Tad Williams Otherland MMORPG was in serious trouble, as first it went dark on Steam and then it returned, silently, with an 8GB patch. Drago Entertainment did not respond to requests for a comment then, or perhaps it could not if it didn’t control its press relations, but either way it’s finally posted something to its Facebook page today, and although it doesn’t address the Steam outage directly, it’s definitely good news going forward.
The studio explains that it was originally brought on as the developer by the investors who own the game in the wake of the RealU studio’s closure, but it was hamstrung by the publisher, who you’ll recall was Gamigo, though Drago doesn’t name names.
“Shortly after the soft launch of Otherland as a free-to-play game in September 2016, the publisher decided to hold back on most releases and information in preparation for a major relaunch planned for June this year,” Drago says. “The game not being relaunched as planned has seen the investors sit down with the publisher to voice their concerns and to keep a long story short, it has been decided that the investors will continue Otherland on their own.”
It seems like the entire MMO blogosphere wanted to chip in thoughts on the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
announcement, whether or not each writer was playing the game. So what did they all think?
“Finally, something other than dragons to fight!” enthused Occasional Hero. “I love mounts. And I love leaping and jumping mounts,” wrote Aywren Sojourner. “BUT. We all know what else a mount system introduces — cash shop opportunities!”
GamingSF ran down the features, saying that he’s on the fence as to whether or not to come back: “The best way to know that, I suspect, is to play some of the game in the time between now and the 22nd of September.”
Not everyone is on board with the expansion. “The announcement did not in any way overcome my healthy skepticism of the ‘horizontal progression’ philosophy of the game,” chimed in Endgame Viable. And In An Age seems like he’d wants to play, but admits that the business model puts him in a “mental bind” regarding both expansions.
Remember back in 2015 when a gamer sneaked into Digital Extremes’ headquarters and wandered around for a day, tricking the unassuming Canadian devs into spilling the beans on a top-secret “FPS with cards” game they were working on? Last spring, we found out that game was a real thing, a retro-pulp shooter/card game hybrid called Keystone.
Today, however, we’re finding out that the “Keystone” title has been scrapped in favor of a new one: The Amazing Eternals. The Warframe dev asserts now that Keystone was just a codename for the closed alpha, which is drawing to a close and will soon be replaced with a closed beta that you too can pay to play.
“Building from its Closed Alpha test with thousands of enthusiastic new players, free-to-play Canadian developer and publisher Digital Extremes will launch the Founders Program for The Amazing Eternals (formerly codenamed Keystone) Tuesday, August 29. Using the community-driven model that helped grow Warframe to great success, The Amazing Eternals Founders Program rewards early adopters with direct development team collaboration, exclusive in-game gear, instant access to the Closed Beta, and more. Join the Multiverse by signing up free for a chance to get into The Amazing Eternals Closed Beta or enter the game instantly with the Founders Program launch on Tuesday, August 29!”
Have you heard of the planet Umbara before? The Star Wars fan who has seen only the movies will likely say no, and even if you are a BioWare
or Old Republic Star Wars fan you will probably say no too. The only people who would likely know what Umbara is are those fans who watched the Clone Wars television series. However, any Star Wars fan who has seen the prequel trilogy has seen a character from
Umbara. You probably don’t know the name, but you’ll know the face of Sly Moore, the bald, pale woman who stood next to Chancellor Palpatine in Attack of the Clones
. She was his senior administrative aide, and more importantly, she was the bearer of his secrets.
Star Wars: The Old Republic takes a journey to the shadowy world in the next update, dubbed Crisis on Umbara. Of course, since this is the Old Republic timeline, we are thousands of years before the Clone Wars, and really anything can happen. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have clues for what to expect, however. Let’s discuss the things we know about Umbara and what we know the update is going to bring us.
One of the fun things about this hobby is that certain tropes repeat themselves constantly. And they’re usually weirdly specific tropes, too. Poop quests, for example. So many MMOs have one quest or another that make you dealing with poop. Someone has a fixation that is probably not entirely healthy, and that someone keeps getting hired to design quests.
But sometimes you try to come up with a trope that’s so specific that it has to be unique. Or at least rare. “MMOs that feature a zone full of floating islands requiring flight to travel around.” At least one zone, and it is traveled around via flight. That cannot be common, that has to be…
Wait. How did I not only get a full list but actually have to decline some entries? How the heck did this happen? There are this many MMOs using this astonishingly specific trope? How did this happen and why?