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Brad McQuaid’s old studio from his Vanguard days.

Enter to win a Star Trek Online Gamma Vanguard Starter Pack on PC from PWE and MOP

Victory is Life is officially live in Star Trek Online just in time for E3, harkening back to the much-loved run of Deep Space Nine.

Star Trek Online’s fourth major expansion, Victory is Life, is now available on PC. The update takes Captains on a journey to the Gamma Quadrant, where they will team up with crew members from Deep Space Nine to battle the Hur’q. This includes Quark (Armin Shimerman), Odo (René Auberjonois), Kira (Nana Visitor) and nine other characters voiced by the actors who originated the roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The expansion also introduces a brand new Jem’Hadar playable faction, increased level cap, seven new episodes and an all-new Gamma Quadrant Sector Battlezone.”

To celebrate last week’s launch, PWE has granted Massively OP a bunch of goodies to give away! We’ve got 50 codes for the Gamma Vanguard Starter Pack for our PC readers. Each pack includes a T6 Jem’Hadar Vanguard Dreadnought Cruiser, the playable Jem’Hadar Vanguard Species unlock, a Jem’Hadar Tactical Uniform, the “Victory is Life” title, and the “Plain and Simple” title. Do note that the cruiser can be used by only Dominion captains, and all of it’s for PC accounts only. Read on to enter to win!

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Star Trek Online sets Deep Space Nine Victory is Life expansion for June 5 as players grumble over newest faction

Star Trek Online has officially put a launch date on its Deep Space Nine-based expansion, Victory is Life: June 5th, at least for PC.

“The Deep Space Nine-themed update takes Captains on a maiden journey to the Gamma Quadrant, where they team up with crew members from DS9 to battle the Hur’q. This includes Quark (Armin Shimerman), Odo (René Auberjonois), Kira (Nana Visitor), Doctor Bashir (Alexander Siddig) and eight other characters voiced by the original cast members. The expansion also introduces a brand new Jem’Hadar playable faction, increased level cap, seven new episodes, an all-new Gamma Quadrant Sector Battlezone and other gameplay features.”

Meanwhile, as technically Star Trek Online is adding a new playable faction as part of the expansion, you should probably temper your expectations. You should temper them quite a lot. As players are discovering while they explore the test servers, there’s not a whole lot of original content for the Jem’Hadar faction.

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Jukebox Heroes: Vanguard Saga of Heroes’ soundtrack

It may be hard to believe, but it has already been about four years since SOE decided to close down the troubled yet cult favorite Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. On July 31, 2014, the game world went dark, and many players found themselves saying farewell to Telon for good.

While I was not a regular player of Vanguard, I did admire the game for its interesting concepts (like its diplomacy system), its gorgeous visuals, and — pertinent to this column — its soundtrack. There was a lot of artistry involved in this title, and while it was hampered in many ways for many reasons, Vanguard left a legacy that is still fondly remembered by some.

Part of that legacy is its music, and other than screenshots and recollections, it is the only part of Vanguard that we can still experience today. The soundtrack was composed by Todd Masten, who has worked on many other video games such as the Age of Empires series. So let us take a trip back to this fantasy MMO and hear the music of a dead world brought back to life.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the biggest scandal the MMORPG genre has ever seen?

Over the weekend in the Guild Wars 2 spyware article comments, a commenter remarked that Blizzard’s Warden spyware was “the biggest scandal in MMOs” over the last 10 years. I was pretty surprised to see that claim; I was aware of Warden, but it probably wouldn’t even make my top 10 list of scandals across the industry. The first one that pops to mind is Blizzard’s RealID, probably followed by Monoclegate, the Funcom insider trading case, the EVE jumpgate scandal, the Sigil Games parking lot firing fiasco, and the NCsoft/Bluehole lawsuit.

I’m positive I’m forgetting some juicy ones. What’s the biggest scandal – scandal, mind you, not just drama – the MMORPG genre has ever seen? Lay ’em on me!

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Global Chat: To RIFT or not to RIFT?

Everyone’s talking about RIFT’s new Prime server idea — and whether or not it will get us playing Trion Worlds’ fantasy MMO once again. Naturally, the blogosphere had a few thoughts about this.

Stargrace said that it was “highly unlikely” that she’d return for this: “While I am drawn into progression servers for EverQuest and EverQuest II due to a heavy nostalgia factor, I don’t get those same warm fuzzy feelings about RIFT.”

“If anything induces me to give RIFT Prime a try it will be the extent to which the experience doesn’t accurately replicate the original,” Bhagpuss said. And Endgame Variable takes a look at it from the perspective of a former player: “Do I want to pay a subscription to play old content in RIFT — a game I’ve already played to death — or pay a subscription to play new content in FFXIV or WoW?”

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Star Trek Online hands out free ships today, but you’ll have to pay for a chance of one from Discovery

Happy Free Ship Day! This isn’t us being cute; it’s an actual holiday promoted by Star Trek Online every year on its anniversary. Just by logging into the game today, you’ll be treated to a free Tier 5 ship for each faction: T5 Defiant Tactical Escort Retrofit, a T5 Dhelan Warbird Retrofit, and a T5 B’rel Bird-of-Prey Retrofit.

However, if you would prefer a ship from the new Star Trek Discovery series, you’re going to have to play the lockbox game instead. STO rolled out its Discovery lockboxes today, each giving a chance to win a Tier 6 ship: the Crossfield-class Vanguard, the Sarcophagus Carrier, and the Walker-class Cruiser. There are also some weapons, outfits, and pets from the show as possible rewards.

See what lurks beyond the final frontier of lockboxes in the video below!

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TERA doubles and triples rewards this weekend

You know how parts of the inhabited world are freezing into a solid mass of glacial ice this week? That is all the excuse that players need to get out of responsibilities and commitments this weekend and play some serious MMOs instead. At least until the internet cable lines freeze and shatter, leaving us in a Twitterless universe.

TERA definitely wouldn’t mind if you cuddled up with its warm servers for a day or two, which is why the studio us throwing a “Triple Double Winter Weekend.” As you wrap your mind around that title, try to also absorb what it offers.

From today through Sunday, players will enjoy double drop rates in the Ghillieglade and Pit of Petrax solo dungeons. Even better, all Vanguard request rewards and reputation gains will be tripled through this same period. So stay home. You can’t hack the arctic weather anyway.

Source: TERA

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The ultimate guide to The Game Archaeologist’s MMO archives

When we moved over here to Massively Overpowered, some of us transplanted our long-running columns to the new space. I perhaps felt most devastated that I was going to lose all of the Game Archaeologist articles that I had painstakingly researched over the years. So my mission with this space became two-fold: to rescue and update my older columns while continuing to add more articles to this series on classic MMOs and proto-MMOs.

I’ve been pleased with the results so far because TGA is a series that I really don’t want to see vanish. As MMORPG fans, we should consider it important to remember and learn about these older titles and to expand our knowledge past the more popular and well-known games of yesteryear.

Now that we have quite a catalogue of Game Archaeologist columns, I thought it would be helpful to end the year by gifting this handy guide to you that organizes and compiles our continuing look at the history of the genre. Enjoy!

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Secret World Legends patches in winter event, barbershop, and plastic surgeon

Even with Tokyo completely reinstated into Secret World Legends, this reboot is still finding more content to add back in after starting over from its The Secret World roots. Will today’s patch, which adds back in the cosmetic barbershop and plastic surgeon, be the last of the “old vanguard” before it’s all new? Probably not; there are plenty of Halloween quests that are waiting for a return.

In addition to the cosmetic tools, Update 2.1.5 starts this year’s winter event, starring all sorts of special critters to attack, world raids, Christmas cosmetics, seasonal achievements, a new winter lockbox, and a free pet to players who log in by January 2nd.

The patch also adds the option to change your name (for a price), fixes several issues, and tosses in new animations for when players unlock emotes and titles.

Source: Patch notes

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The Game Archaeologist: Vanguard Saga of Heroes

The significance of Vanguard’s development, release, long-running drama, second chance, and eventual closure should be of great interest not just to game historians but to everyone who plays MMOs, period. What happened with this game caused a huge fallout in the industry, and we are still feeling some of its effects even today.

As our own Bree once put it in her blog, “Vanguard’s implosion was a big deal at the time and marked the beginning of the post-World of Warcraft destruction of the industry that hobbled Age of Conan and Warhammer Online a few years later.”

While the crash and burn of Vanguard was a very well-known tale several years ago, I’m wondering if today there might be many who are quite unfamiliar with what happened to this unassuming title back around 2007. Let me put on my old fogey glasses and we shall begin!

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Brad McQuaid: MMO devs are ‘making the very, very early foundations of the Holodeck’

Pantheon and MMOs like it are bringing our dream future one step closer (or at least, Lt. Barclay’s dream future), Brad McQuaid suggests in a new interview this week. MMORPG veterans know McQuaid as a pioneer of the genre, first with EverQuest, then with the stalled and now sunsetted Vanguard, and now with the upcoming MMO Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.

“I want to be immersed, I want to escape into a fantasy or sci-fi world. [MMO developers are] making the very, very early foundations of the Holodeck. Letting people recreate the 1930s or build new virtual worlds – that’s what MMOs are, they’re the genesis of that. Because they involve real people and that social aspect, because they’re so immersive – and will be even more so in the future, with VR coming – I lose myself in them. I don’t sit there thinking I’m playing a game; I’m really there. And that’s what interests me.”

McQuaid says the MMO is not dead and that he’s working to change that perception by catering to an “underserved” audience of virtual world gamers and “abandoned MMO fans.”

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The Daily Grind: How would you solve the housing server merge problem?

When ArcheAge launched, I was one of those who was brutally harsh about its mind-numbingly stupid housing system, a more or less open-world system that incentivized land rushes, greed, gold sinks, and cheating. As far as I could tell, even back in 2014, the game’s handlers had learned absolutely nothing from the previous 17 years of MMORPG housing buffoonery. One of my complaints? Not thinking ahead to server merges.

“Balance your server populations carefully and never add more servers than you’ll need after the three-month slump because if you think server merges spell doom for themeparks, know that they’re even worse for open-world housing sandboxes (Vanguard, SWG), only slightly worse an option than ignoring the problem and expecting your players to pay to move themselves and lose their land in the process (UO, LOTRO).” [This was before LOTRO’s free transfers.]

And now here we are again, seeing server merges so bad MOP’s MJ Guthrie, whose pixel home narrowly survived the last round of merges, intimated she was done this time once her house is nuked and she’s forced into yet another land rush. It’s too late for ArcheAge, I fear, but there has to be a way out of this — maybe it’s not too late for the next MMO with housing. How would you solve the housing server merge problem?

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EVE Online delivers ‘sneak preview’ of winter release

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the walls of EVE Online’s offices, buzzing to and fro and learning all about what the team is preparing for the future? You might want to hold off on that traumatic species transformation for right now, since the devs are more than willing to share their plans with players about the various projects that are in the works for this winter’s release.

Some of the projects revealed in this month’s “in development” video include the pirate shipyards, the new Vanguard carrier, Venom support fighters, the “V5” shader upgrade, the CONCORD battleship, additional ship skins, better-looking lasers, and a targeted content delivery system. Moon mining, quality of live improvements, and new refinery structures are also planned for the winter expansion.

Get chummy with the various EVE devs and learn more about the game’s future after the break!

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