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See: Sony Online Entertainment, now Daybreak Game Company

The Game Archaeologist: Warhammer Online

When it comes to notable years in the MMORPG genre’s history, 2008 stands out as one of the most significant. World of Warcraft’s debut onto the scene in 2004 caused an upheaval in ways far too numerous to go into detail here. Suffice to say that its overwhelming popularity drew the attention of game designers who looked at the staggering numbers of players and found themselves envious of the potential to grab a slice of that money pie.

Many projects went into high gear following WoW’s launch, with plenty of them trying to copy the formula and structure that Blizzard established in the hopes of making it at least partially as big as that game. So-called WoW clones began to pepper the market and there was a sense that gamers were ready to move on from World of Warcraft to the next generation of MMOs. In many players’ minds, this would be either 2008’s Age of Conan or Warhammer Online, two big-budget MMOs with strong IPs that carried a lot of the weight of expectation.

Little did anyone realize that 2008 represented a bubble that was about to burst on the industry and the WoW clones that followed — including Warhammer Online. Today, we’re going to take a look at “bears, bears, bears,” the high hopes of Mythic Entertainment, and how WAR became a casaulty on its own battlefield.

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The Stream Team: Diving into the Death of Superman, part 1

Superman looks pretty good for 80, doesn’t he? And 80 is definitely a birthday worth celebrating. That is exactly what DCUO is doing with a big commemorative event going on right now. Massively OP’s MJ is jumping into the festivities. Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to dive into the Death of Superman, part 1.

What: DC Universe Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 18th, 2018

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EverQuest II adds more expert dungeons and fast travel options

Next week’s Seeds of Vengeance update for EverQuest II should give the population plenty to do as the game heads into the summer months. Daybreak continued to expand upong the patch’s offerings with a look at new expert dungeons and fast travel options.

GU106 will add expert and expert event dungeons to all Planes of Prophecy instances. You know the drill: higher challenge equals better rewards. The patch also includes an Elixir of the Expert to boost a character’s stats for such dungeons even if they’re somewhat underleveled.

The devs are also helping players zip around the game: “Druzzil Ro has removed the restrictions from the teleportation platforms in Plane of Magic, and opened two new pathways to Metetherial Plains and Amphitheater of Song. Fast travelling from one location to another is as simple as stepping on your closest teleportation platform and choosing your destination.”

Source: EverQuest II

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Daybreak promises a patch for Just Survive – but it’s also ending lockbox sales

When Daybreak’s Columbus Nova fiasco and layoffs were hitting last month, most of the company’s MMORPGs resurfaced without missing a beat, reassuring their playerbases that the patches would continue and the titles would see ongoing support. That wasn’t the case for the survival half of the original H1Z1 known as Just Survive. The lack of communication and information had prompted many players to assume the game would be “Landmarked” – that is, finally released from early access/beta to earn a little launch money and then quietly sunsetted.

But late last night, Daybreak finally tossed its fans on Reddit a bone. Technical Director Mitch Evans apologized for the silence, saying that he still has a “small yet passionate team” working on the game.

“Right now, we are focused on making sure you continue to enjoy the game, so the majority of our resources are spent mostly on maintaining game stability, fixing game-breaking bugs, and improving anti-cheat methods,” he writes.

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The Daily Grind: Should running multiple MMO accounts be considered pay-to-win?

In the comments of a recent Daily Grind, MOP commenter Sally reminded me that a certain MOP writer who shall remain nameless (Larry!) had an absurd number of Star Wars Galaxies accounts, and one might argue that while one sub to such a game isn’t pay-to-win, a whole ton of them might be, particularly in an economy-centric game like SWG.

The interesting thing about SWG was the diminishing returns on all those accounts: The human’s time was the limiting reagent. Yes, having another 10-20 lots per account for harvesters would bring in AFK money, but it might not be worth the human’s time to actually go deal with the harvies (or factories or storage houses) past a certain level of wealth; you could make more money in the same amount of time doing other, far less boring things. But there was definitely a sweet spot in the 2-5 account range, where you could run one of every crafter and create enough busywork to fill an entire day.

I found four accounts overwhelming but self-sufficient – and absolutely pay-to-win, for my definition of winning. (I have always assumed Larry’s stable was more for roleplaying, and might not fit the category.) Likewise, I’d argue that paying to multibox in themeparks, bypassing the need for other people, is also pay-to-win in many games.

What do you think? Should running multiple MMO accounts be considered pay-to-win?

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DC Universe Online is celebrating 80 years of Superman… with the Death of Superman

For 80 years, everyone has enjoyed Superman. Everyone other than balding, transparently evil corporate overlords, anyhow. DC Universe Online players have enjoyed him in a more active role, though, so it may seem a bit odd that the game’s big event to celebrate four score years of the Last Son of Krypton is… the Death of Superman. That’s a bit unusual, isn’t it? “To celebrate your anniversary, you’ll die”?

Of course, the story it’s based upon is iconic. And there’s plenty to do in the update, too; players will be able to explore a new version of Metropolis in the wake of Doomsday’s rampage along with new daily and weekly missions. So it’s a celebration of an important part of the character’s history, and not to spoil a decades-old story too much, but it doesn’t end with Superman staying dead. Still, it might send… mixed messages.

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Perfect Ten: How MMOs can become more accessible

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was remarkably reluctant to enter into the field of MMORPGs despite being a perfect candidate (a gaming geek who loved fantasy and sci-fi RPGs). All of the reasons that I had at the time for stalling really could have been boiled down to a single word: accessibility.

MMOs back then looked — and probably were — very inaccessible. They had a payment barrier. They required a lot of setup and hardware. Their interfaces were cluttered and their gameplay interactions were obtuse. Frankly, I got the impression that a lot of them were a mess that was only understandable to those who had put in hundreds of hours to decipher the format.

When MMOs started to become more accessible, particularly with City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars, I eagerly jumped in. Those three titles in particular made giant leaps forward in opening up these games to the first-time player. But that doesn’t mean that MMORPGs have arrived at universal accessibility just yet. Here are ten areas that studios could be improving in order to make their titles more appealing and understandable to outsiders.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 170: Mild West Online

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin do their darndest to shape the MMO industry by holding up Wild West Online as a cautionary tale and talking about how studios need to think before applying real-world labels to games.

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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The Daily Grind: Have you ever walked away from an MMO over a studio’s treatment of its playerbase?

Star Wars Galaxies’ NGE is one of the MMORPG genre’s favorite bugbears: We pull it out as a warning, a label of doom, every time we see a game studio doing something that will upset so many players that it could actually tank the game. We pulled it out for Funcom when it abandoned The Secret World in favor of Secret World Legends, certainly; the fact that so many core MMORPG players meekly accepted that Funcom would trade them for a chance at a totally different playerbase – at the expense of veteran characters and loyal income – continues to baffle me.

This is probably why I was soured on playing Conan Exiles this weekend. I’m extremely distrustful after the way Funcom once again sacrificed one playerbase to secure another, even if the impact wasn’t felt quite as widely as in TSW or SWG. Of course, Conan Exiles is not an MMO, and as MOP’s MJ reminds me, I can always go play on a private server and avoid the studio’s blundering entirely. Would that TSW and SWG fans had that option!

Have you ever walked away from an MMO over a studio’s treatment of its playerbase?

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Amazon Game Studios’ Greg Henninger hints about big news coming soon – is it New World?

Is Amazon Game Studios finally about to take the lid off of New World? Maybe, maybe not, but this might be a clue: AGS’ Greg Henninger’s tweet a few days ago sure seems to suggest something’s going on with the company.

“About to go off the air for the next 7 days,” he says. “I am bursting at the seams to tell you all everything I’m currently working on. That day will come soon.”

We noted that Henninger, who was at one point the Daybreak Community Manager for H1Z1, had left Daybreak and moved to AGS back in April. At the time, we assumed he’d gone to John Smedley’s team there, given that it was Smed who’d retweeted it, though Smed is reportedly working on a very different game from New World. So then why do we think it might be New World? Because AGS was reportedly having influencers to the studio to playtest the game earlier this month, possibly signaling that it’s about to break its silence. Order some extra popcorn!

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A real-life lobbyist is running for the EVE Online CSM

Want politics out of your games? What about politicians? And do you mean it literally? Because… they walk among us.

Kotaku put out a piece over the weekend on Brian Schoeneman, one of the many players currently running for positions on EVE Online’s Council of Stellar Management. It’s basically the student council for the game, only the members could potentially wield considerable influence over the game and have traditionally been flown to Iceland to meet with CCP to advocate for the playerbase, or at least its more powerful factions. So yeah, basically like real life.

Schoeneman, however, made headlines because of his day job: Kotaku characterizes him as a “career politician” and lobbyist.

“If you replace ‘government’ with CCP, ‘union members’ with the playerbase, and ‘country’ with the game world, I’m already basically a CSM,” he reportedly said. “It’s literally my day job.”

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One Shots: First MMO loves

What was your first? Not necessarily the first MMORPG you ever played, but the first that made you fall in love with that game and the genre at large? Probably for me, that would have to be City of Heroes, a title which just clicked on all levels and ushered me into a new age of gaming.

I’ll let Katriana tell you hers: “My first MMO, and first MMO love it’s probably fair to say, was EverQuest. I have many memories of my time there, but sadly I don’t have many good screenshots from that time still that aren’t just character selfies. The image below was taken circa early 2003 and is one of the better ones I still have. It represents the crowning achievement of the guild I was in there, the slaying of the first-born dragon Klandicar. It was far from being new or even necessarily notable content at the time, but it was quite an achievement for our little guild.”

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EverQuest II shows off the Shard of Hate

HATE. LET INNORUUK TELL YOU HOW MUCH HE’S COME TO HATE YOU SINCE HE BEGAN TO LIVE. THERE IS AN ENTIRE DIMENSION THAT SPANS FOR UNTOLD LENGTHS KNOWN AS THE SHARD OF HATE, REFORMED TO BE EVEN MORE SPITEFUL SINCE HE LOST HIS SEAT OF HATRED. IF THE WORD HATE WAS ENGRAVED ON EACH NANOANGSTROM OF THOSE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MILES IT WOULD NOT EQUAL ONE ONE-BILLIONTH OF THE HATE HE FEELS FOR MORTALS AT THIS MICRO-INSTANT. OBVIOUSLY THAT IS YOUR NEXT DESTINATION IN EVERQUEST II. HATE. HATE.

THE SHARD OF HATE IS FILLED WITH DENIZENS UNDER INNORUUK’S COMMAND WHO WILL EXERCISE HIS WILL AND THIS SLIVER OF HATE IS REPLETE WITH WAYS TO EXACT HIS MISERABLE SPITE UPON THOSE WITHIN. ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE REACHED LEVEL 110 MAY CHALLENGE THIS PLACE OF ANIMOSITY, WITH ALL ACCESS MEMBERS GETTING THE RIGHT TO TAKE THIS ON IN SOLO, RAID, OR HEROIC VERSIONS. IT IS NOT A PLEASANT PLACE TO BE. INNORUUK PROBABLY HATES THAT, TOO. HATE. HATE.

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