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See: Sony Online Entertainment, now Daybreak Game Company

The Stream Team: EverQuest's anniversary Pub Crawl

Last time, Massively OP's MJ had to cut her EverQuest anniversary bar-hopping short when she didn't have the right booze. Luckily, the anniversary events are still in full swing, so she's able to restart the infamous Pub Crawl. Will she be able to complete the quest this time, or will she be too tipsy and get turned around and end up somewhere completely different? (Our bet is she stumbles into a dungeon!) Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. as MJ tries to slosh and stumble her way through Norrath.

What: EverQuest
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

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The Stream Team: EverQuest II-sday, Monday edition

Why would Massively OP's MJ have an EverQuest II-sday on a Monday? With so many anniversaries lately, she couldn't not celebrate this one that is special to her personally: Today marks the fifth anniversary of her streaming! And what do you suppose she streamed that very first time on Massively-that-was? Why, EQII of course! Sadly MJ can't celebrate by recreating that episode (since the Chronoportal event ended last week), so instead she'll continue with the Heritage Quest adventures. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. and wish MJ a happy 5th streamaversary.

What: EverQuest II
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 27th, 2017

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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we're going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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H1Z1 makes it easier for you to see what you're hitting

H1Z1's PvP side is finally getting some much-needed love (sorry, slight dig at Daybreak's preferential treatment of King of the Kill). The devs posted a new diary this week to talk about the three major projects that the team is tackling this month.

With 64% of players polled telling the studio that game optimization is "extremely important," Daybreak's engineers are working to improve framerates and overall performance. Another project is providing useful visual feedback from firearms so that players can easily tell if their shots are hitting body armor... or just bodies.

Vehicle destruction was the final topic for discussion: "We added several different vehicle degradation states that trigger at various damage thresholds. Take enough damage, and your car loses torque, handling, and eventually, turbo. The new vehicle UI helps to communicate these states with warning lights, and you can see the impact of each state on your overall mobility with the speedometer."

Source: H1Z1

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Massively Overthinking: The City of Heroes Master X Master debacle

On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.

Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.

For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?

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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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Perfect Ten: Memories of an Anarchy Online noob

My initial foray into MMORPGs was, to put it nicely, quite ungraceful. I wasn't even aware that they were a thing until about the year 2000, when I started to notice EverQuest and Asheron's Call boxes on the shelves. But stories about addiction from friends and the seeming obtuse nature of these games kept me from trying... until fall 2001, that was.

That's when I saw a sci-fi title lumped together in this unknown category, and I had liked Funcom's The Longest Journey so much that I thought I'd take a chance on this odd online game. My subsequent experiences in Anarchy Online were fragmented, ignominious, and confusing as all get out. It was so weird, in fact, that I needed a "redo" of City of Heroes several years later to properly get onto the MMO bandwagon (and I haven't fallen off since!).

So what was it like being a total Anarchy Online -- and MMO -- noob back in the day, feeling out this game from a position of complete ignorance? Glad you asked, friend, because I'm going to tell you all about it.

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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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