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See: Sony Online Entertainment, now Daybreak Game Company

Whatever happened to Ascent: the Space Game, Aura Kingdom, and Fragmented?

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. Today we look at what has been going on with Ascent: the Space Game, Aura Kingdom, and Fragmented.

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The Daily Grind: Are we due for a good cyberpunk MMO?

I am a generally big fan of the cyberpunk genre, especially when it works in a healthy dose of ’80s aesthetics for that clunky, neon flair. But when it comes to MMORPGs, good cyberpunk titles are extremely few and far between.

I think we have a bit of it in Neocron and Anarchy Online, and of course The Matrix Online was jacked into cyberpunk back when it was running. Now a-days there is a lot of excitement over CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, although we know very little about it other than it’ll have some sort of online functionality.

Are we due for a good cyberpunk MMO? Do you think that there’s a good audience out there for it and that it would appeal to a great number of gamers? For a bonus question, what would you like to see included in such a title?

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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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DCUO gives players another artifact slot

Sometimes a small, singular change can make all of the difference in your MMO.

Yesterday’s update in DC Universe Online expanded players’ abilities to include a second artifact slot and upend the current gear builds. Getting a quick additional artifact to fill that slot is pretty easy, too: “Make sure you have completed ‘Artifacts: Oblivion Bar,’ the Artifacts introductory event, and make sure you have completed ‘Monitoring the Situation,’ the pointer mission for the anniversary event. Both reward your choice of one Artifact.”

There is a known issue with this update that’s causing some European PS4 players to be missing their membership benefits, so be aware that Daybreak is working on a solution.

Speaking of events, DCUO has its 7th anniversary running for the remainder of the month. Make sure to log on and grab your free gifts by the 31st!

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Massively Overthinking: Tackling our hoarding problem in MMORPGs

By coincidence, two articles in my feeds this past week both centered on video game hoarding – not hoarding the actual games but hoarding stuff inside of them. Blizzard Watch posted a piece on what makes people stop hoarding things like currency in Blizzard’s games, while Gamasutra published an article about how game designers can stop turning us into hoarders in the first place.

For this week’s Overthinking, I thought it would be constructive for the staff and readers to reflect on hoarding in MMOs specifically. Do you hoard, and if so, is it primarily consumables? Currencies? Event items? Something else? Do you think it’s a problem, or only when it’s encouraged as part of a microtransaction loop that ends with your buying more storage?

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EverQuest and EverQuest II tease plans for 2018

Daybreak has lavished the EverQuest and EverQuest II websites with community letters from producer Lauren “Mooncast” McLemore. Both MMOs just came off a pair of expansions, but you’re probably wanting to know what’s next. And I’d like to be able to tell you, but the studio is being coy, especially with the classic game, though you can be sure anniversary content is on the agenda.

“While I can’t divulge too much yet, I wanted to let you all know that the team is deep in planning and content creation. We’re committed to delivering another year of fun, challenging content to all of you!” McLemore says of EverQuest. “The year is just getting started and before we know it, we’ll be celebrating EverQuest’s 19th Anniversary! Look for anniversary content in March, and we’re excited to have you join us for the in-game festivities.”

As for EverQuest II? Apparently that team is “in the midst of figuring out what’s in store for this year.”

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Camelot Unchained lands $7.5M investment to hasten development: Our chat with Mark Jacobs on funding, VR, and beta one

If you know one thing about indie MMORPG Camelot Unchained, it’s that CEO Mark Jacobs appears to dwell perpetually in internet comment sections amiably sparring with gamers and attracting loyal advocates.

But if you know two things, you also know that the game is late. Really late. The RvR-centric, PvM-free, anti-lockbox, sub-only MMO was supposed to enter beta three years ago, according to its successful 2013 Kickstarter, but studio City State Entertainment suffered admitted setbacks along the way – both hiring difficulties in the company’s Fairfax, Virginia, location and technical hurdles. Much of that has since been rectified; in 2016, the company launched a second studio in Seattle while continuing to hire engineers and spending the better part of a year completely refactoring its character ability code and polishing up its home-grown engine. But here we are in 2018, still mumbling beta when? at Jacobs and his dogged crew.

Well, we’re finally getting an answer to that question and more, along with a significant blast of hope for the future of the game, as CSE has just received a massive cash infusion to speed up development. I spoke to Jacobs at length – he’s infamous for being effusive – about what’s going on with the game and the studio in 2018. Read on for the executive summary!

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Crowfall’s Raph Koster goes into insane depth on the cost of creating video games

If you have an exceptional memory, you might recall that a couple of months ago, Crowfall and Star Wars Galaxies designer Raph Koster wrote up a blog post on the cost of making games. The MMO expert followed that up this week with a much, much more detailed presentation that attempts to show hard data to back up his claims.

Koster said that he used industry contacts and other research to assemble data from over 250 games made from 1985 to today that shows the development cost minus the money spent on marketing. He even goes so far as to break down the cost of dollars per developed byte of information, which is where he sees costs for game falling. He said that when you look at it this way, players are getting a “deal” for games these days.

“Lots of people have made the observation that in terms of raw purchasing power, players pay around half of what they used to in the ’80s,” he notes.

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Just Survive wipes and starts over for the sake of ‘fair play’

Yes. There is indeed a yeti with a sniper rifle in the header. Let us all pretend that he doesn’t exist and he might not target us for destruction. His attention is no doubt preoccupied by Just Survive’s January 16th update, which begins with a full wipe and hopefully goes uphill from there.

Don’t get your hopes up too much for a major content patch, however, because this update is mostly about “bugs and fair play.” Probably the elimination of the former and the support of the latter. Daybreak announced that it has made significant improvements to the game’s anti-cheat system and fixed a dupe exploit.

“While we were initially hoping to push this update out without requiring a wipe, escalating abuse of the exploits fixed within indicated that it would be best for our players to wipe out the unfair advantage that these abusers had gained through cheating,” said Daybreak.

A content update is on the way “several weeks” from now with a new tier of construction, raid re-balancing, and the upgrade system.

Source: Patch notes

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Perfect Ten: The MMOs with the most uncertain futures in 2018

This is, bar none, the column I hate doing most on a regular basis. None of the games I highlight in here is something that I actually like pointing to; they’re games that people like, games that may very well be someone’s absolute favorites, and yet they’re also games where the future looks difficult if not outright bad. A cloudy future is never a good thing, and this particular column does not make it all right.

But we’re still here in the early days of 2018, and that means it’s still the right time to look at the games we might not see around next year. For various reasons, these are the games that already look like they’re in trouble, instead of absolute face-shattering surprises like a couple of the shutdowns last year.

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City of Titans drafts volunteer to build metro landmarks

Considering that it’s City of Titans and not Prairies of Titans or Lonely Country Road of Titans, it’s safe to assume that this indie MMO has quite a few buildings to construct for superheroes to visit or (more likely) fly by in a flash. While most of the metro area will utilize standard and reusable models, the team did draft a volunteer to create unique landmarks that will help give the city an identity.

“Enter our current Mogul and Landmark Titan, Nathan Purkiss, a 3-D modeler with a passion for architecture,” the team posted on Kickstarter. “We were thrilled to see his application and immediately made buildings his sole priority and domain. That was some months ago, and he’s been making excellent progress.”

Some of Purkiss’ work was shown as game models, including the Central Library, the Pharos Fire Station, the Vander Vere Museum of Technology, the Holt House, and the Thunderbolt Dive Bar. Each of these structures isn’t just a pretty facade but contains lore and history, such as a repurposed abandoned theater that is now used for private parties and shady dealings.

Source: Kickstarter

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best camping system?

The first MMORPG I ever played had a camping skill. You chopped down some wood for kindling, clicked to build a fire, and then did exactly two things with it: cook (useless) food and log out instantly. What a waste of a skill. Five points if you can tell me which MMO that was!

So it’s safe to say that camping in video games has come an incredibly long way from then, all the way to the awesome system that just debuted in Black Desert, but even so, most MMOs still don’t have camps at all, which seems bizarre to me. Justin and I were reminiscing on the podcast last week about Star Wars Galaxies, whose camping system was fantastic for getting people to explore and organically stop murder-hoboing everything in sight to take a breather, entertain, heal, and chat. Sure, we didn’t plop down tents every minute, but they made for great break points.

What would you say is the best camping system in an MMO, and how does it compare to the best camping systems in non-MMO games?

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The Stream Team: Cheers to seven years, DC Universe Online

Happy seventh birthday heroes — and villains! DCUO turned seven today, and to celebrate the occasion, you get the presents! Massively OP’s MJ is excited to be a part of the festivities… and to get the cool stuff. She’s looking forward to having her own Krypto base pet, but that’s just the tip of the goodies iceberg. There are more gifts in store. There are also anniversary activities to partake in, so tune in live at 8:00 p.m. for the fun.

What: DC Universe Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, January 11th, 2018

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