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See: Sony Online Entertainment, now Daybreak Game Company

Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #18-13

Last week we were off to a great start as we listened to the first batch of player-voted favorite MMO themes. As I said then, the results of the voting, in which I asked players to nominate up to 10 of their favorite main themes from online games, were both predictable and surprising. Nostalgia and familiarity obviously play a strong role in many of these votes, but no one was asking for objectivity here!

Today we're going to continue our countdown to the top spot by looking at numbers 18 through 13 of your favorite MMO themes. I think there's a good mix here, perhaps with tunes that I would have placed a little higher, but overall it's gratifying to see each one of these make the list.

Enough jibber-jabber, let's get to it!

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The Stream Team: Hopping back into EverQuest II Heritage Quests

EverQuest II-sday is back! As if Massively OP's MJ could ever stay away. She's back in Norrath to continue with her mission to complete all of the Heritage Quests. She's got The Teachings of Yoru to finish up before moving on to the level 45 tier of HQs. It the stars are aligned correctly, she might even try that last leg of The Journey is Half the Fun in Feerrott again! Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. as MJ knocks out more HQs.

What: EverQuest II
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 109: We are all Dragonborn

Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week's show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Remembering EverQuest Next

Is it too soon -- or perhaps too pointless -- to wool-gather about EverQuest Next? After all, that MMO project is deader than dead, so dead in fact that it killed off Landmark just to be thorough.

YouTuber Daily Quests assembled a short video remembering the brief, hopeful, and ultimately disappointing saga that was EverQuest Next. It's good as a refresher course if you forgot how this all went down or perhaps as a method to roil up the blood if you have achieved a state of perfect calm.

If you can stomach the pain, check out the video below!

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The Stream Team: EverQuest celebrates 18 years!

Last night's stream was aborted thanks to Twitch's issues, so we're giving it another go tonight at 9 p.m. EDT!

It's happened: EverQuest has left childhood behind. The fantasy MMO turned 18 years old today and finally enters adulthood. And what do you do as an adult? Well you party, of course! There are plenty of anniversary activities to partake in -- including pub crawls and drunken gnome racing - and Massively OP's MJ is diving right into the thick of things. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to take part in the celebration with her.

What: EverQuest
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 16th, Friday, March 17th, 2017

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The Daily Grind: Should MMOs ever retire classes?

Last week, I asked the Massively OP readers whether World of Warcraft needed another class (I want the Bard, obviously). But one Facebook fan proposed something different entirely: Why not "retire a few classes" to "keep it fresh?"

I suspect that nearly everyone reading is recoiling in horror at the thought of deleting classes from MMOs, which is exactly why I wanted to stare the concept full in the face to sort out why. MMO developers seem to have few qualms about retooling classes -- your characters -- to be almost unrecognizable from their original versions, applying band-aid after band-aid to make them functional and keep them around. Would it really be so bad to nuke them entirely and start from scratch with something built from the ground up?

Yes, say thousands of Star Wars Galaxies Bio-Engineers and Creature Handlers. I hear you. But what if they'd done it more gracefully and replaced them more immediately with something, as the commenter put it, "fresh," as opposed to nuking them overnight and replacing them with nothing?

Should MMOs ever retire classes? Can you think of acceptable circumstances for such a thing?

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EverQuest turns 18 years old, throws birthday bash with free heroic characters for everyone

One of the most famous and longest-lived MMORPGs is celebrating its 18th birthday today. Back on this date in 1999, EverQuest released to a much different gaming world than what we have today. Since then, it has released 23 expansions, switched to a free-to-play business model, and endured when many of its contemporaries have sunsetted.

Daybreak is cranking up the anniversary festivities with loads of activities, starting with the completion of two player-designed missions that were drafted up back at SOE Live in 2014. There are new rewards and marketplace items, as well as the return of all of the anniversary content from previous years. Gotta get your gnome race on!

Even better, the studio is handing out free heroic toons. "All players who have ever played the game will be granted a heroic character if they log in between March 16th and March 31st," Daybreak says.

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Global Chat: Fare thee well, Landmark

Believe it or not, there were actually people who played and enjoyed Landmark -- and were saddened to see it taken offline. To kick off this week's roundup of interesting MMO blog posts, we turn to those who knew and remembered Landmark with their words.

"The game, once just a bullet point on the EverQuest Next announcement at SOE Live, has been shut down," The Ancient Gaming Noob said. "The web site and forums have been hidden away and the domain resolves to the Daybreak main page. The few remaining fans have had their final look at the lands of… erm… <does Google search>… Lumeria! That was the name of the place."

Superior Realities took a tour on its last day: "That, really, is what was special about Landmark. You could go to any map, walk in any direction, and in no time flat you’d be sure to find something beautiful, fascinating, or awe-inspiring. The traditional wisdom is that if you give players the tools to make their own content, the vast majority of it will be utter crap, but Landmark was stunning refutation of that notion."

Continue our roundup as bloggers dissect problems with The Secret World's combat system, share tips on how to grind LOTRO points, mull over why it's hard to go back to the "olden days," deliver an early access review of Revelation Online, and pontificate on why theme park MMOs simply work.

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #24-19

What are the best and most popular MMO theme songs of all time? A couple of weeks ago I posed this question to the Massively OP community and encouraged fans to submit their own list of music themes in response. We saw a healthy amount of email votes and comment nominations since then, and I was able to compile a nice list of the top 24 MMORPG themes from it.

There were several surprises, at least to me, in the final results. I thought some games would've gotten more nods, while others seemed to come out of nowhere to demand a spot on the list. Each of the themes on this list was put out there by at least two fans, which is why we're going to start with number 24. I'm thinking we might have an honorable mentions column as a post-script, but we'll see how it goes.

Today we will begin our countdown to number one, looking at your favorite MMO themes with my own take on each. Let's get started!

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The Daily Grind: How often do you play outside your comfort zone in MMORPGs?

During the first couple of years I played MMORPGs, I was a pretty timid gamer in terms of my comfort zone for actual content. It took me a good while (and a lot of pressure from guildies) to mentally gear up to kill people and cut off their heads for my collection in Ultima Online. In EverQuest, I picked an alt to force myself to practice pulling (pulling was more of a skilled thing back then). In Camelot, my puller was my main. And by World of Warcraft, I was main tanking for my guild. (She's up in the screenie above, circa 2004. D'awww.)

It seems like a silly progression now, I'm sure, but I had to force myself to play out of my comfort zone to get good at new things -- and to appreciate them. Now, in my two main MMOs, I'm playing up-close-and-personal tanky melee as a matter of habit, when as a teenager I would have made a beeline for the nearest healer class to hide. (Although I still like healers too!)

How about you? How often do you play outside your comfort zone in MMORPGs?

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A space starfish is attacking DC Universe Online, seriously

To honor the upcoming Justice League movie, the devs over at DC Universe Online are roping in the very first villain that fought this supergroup, which so happens to be an alien starfish named Starro.

Starro is part of a wider 2017 initiative with the MMO: "We wanted to provide a new type of content, a bridge for what we saw as a gap between our larger episodes and our relatively smaller seasonal events. We wanted content that would reach out across the entire spectrum of players [...] We wanted to build content for you that is more dynamic than the seasonal events, easier for us to add to and bring back at different times, and that also still reached most players."

This bridge content will come in the form of two-month events, starting with Starro. Players can take up the fight against this tyrannical echinoderm in missions, group content, and even a raid that takes place on an Atlantean research outpost map. Starro-themed gear and costumes are the primary rewards for this event, because who wouldn't want to terrify one's foes by brandishing starfish fashion in a fight?

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EverQuest II activates 14 expert dungeons and raids

EverQuest II is pouring a dollop of danger in the cups of its players this week, thanks to the activation of expert modes for Kunark Ascending's instances.

A dozen dungeons have received the expert mode treatment, along with two raids. These include Arcanna'se Spire, Kaesora, the Ruins of Cabilis, Crypt of Dalnir, and the Lost City of Torsis. There's also a small patch that came out alongside all of this, so check out the notes to see what might be interesting.

Naturally, with greater challenge comes greater opportunities to do an epic faceplant in front of your team. But if you get past that, there's also better loot as incentive, so step up your game and see what you can do!

Source: EverQuest II

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EverQuesting: The Domino effect on Daybreak and EverQuest II

Yup, it's true. It was a sad day when Emily Taylor confirmed that she was indeed leaving Daybreak. When John Smedley's tweet popped up outing Taylor's move to Canada, I was in the middle of chatting with friends and fellow EverQuest II players. We were stunned. We know that the industry can be fickle, but Taylor had been a staple on the EQII scene. Known as "Domino," she'd been in integral part of the Norrath crafting scene; she was responsible for penning many of the crafting signature quest lines as well as developing other parts of crafting, events, and housing. She was also well admired and appreciated by the community. Her loss would really be felt.

When we first read that tweet, our thoughts went to, oh no, what happened? followed very quickly by what's going to happen? After the rough time Daybreak has had since the split from Sony (multiple layoffs, game closures galore, and clandestine management changes along with staff resignations), we understandably wondered if we were witnessing a step toward impeding disaster -- a sentiment shared by other fans of the franchise. The uncertainty of the news was laid to rest when Taylor herself announced that yes, she was leaving. She informed players that her move was of a personal nature (she wants to shovel more snow?!) instead of any thing related to the studio. She also assured us that there were plenty of devs at Daybreak still working on the games -- moreso, in fact, than when the name changed.

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