standing stone games

American studio known primarily for Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online.

Massively OP Podcast Episode 153: It’s a whole New World

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin sift through early 2018 news, including a possible leak of Amazon’s New World, a touching player memorial in RIFT, warnings of alien attacks in Elite: Dangerous, and more!

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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LOTRO players pull off massive multi-day Winterstock concert

In case you missed it, over the past few days the Lord of the Rings Online community has been running one of the largest  MMORPG player concerts in history. Winterstock V, sponsored by the Lonely Mountain Band kinship on Landroval, has been entertaining crowds with a lineup of 47 player bands performing in front of Thorin’s Hall. Not all at once, you understand. There is a schedule.

Standing Stone Games has been livestreaming the event, but in case you missed it, the studio has archived hours and hours of footage. And guess what? It’s all waiting for you after the break.

It’s really neat to see what players can do with a decade-old music system (plus the coordinated cosmetic outfits add that layer of professional dazzle). Check it out below.

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LOTRO Legendarium: My LOTRO wish list for 2018

Ever since I’ve been writing this Lord of the Rings Online column — which spans back to 2010, if you can believe it — I’ve started out every year with a little tradition of making a wish list that I’d like to see happen for the game. This year, I actually debated whether or not to do it, because Standing Stone Games has already sort of laid out its big plans for 2018 (or at least some of them) and I know that the studio’s smaller stature means that we probably can’t expect as much as we once did.

But then I thought, hey, it’s tradition. And why is it a bad thing to aspire to greater things and encourage the studio to reach for those? Should we just roll over and give up on this title that we love? Far be it! So I’m dusting off some old ideas and tossing in a few new ones to give to you my list of 11 things (for 11 years) I want to see happen in 2018 for LOTRO. Let me know what some of your wish list items in the comments too!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO offers the best sky views?

I know it’s a simple and basic thing, but I absolutely adore a great skybox in my MMORPGs. There’s something about looking up at a majestic and vibrant sky in-game that puts me right in the middle of the world and immerses me in the environment.

Fallen Earth will always be remembered fondly by me for its gorgeous sunsets, and World of Warcraft definitely brought it with some of its painterly clouds and patterns in the latest expansion. Lord of the Rings Online and Final Fantasy XIV both have crystal clear nights full of twinkling stars that make one feel small and awed.

Which MMO offers the best sky views and which zone makes for the best gazing? Bonus points if you include pictures!

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Massively Overthinking: What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play?

A comment on Reddit about the current size and viability of Kritika Online got me thinking about MMO playerbases in general lately. We all know that there’s a stigma attached to little games; the big games with big servers and millions of players feel safer, and nowadays people just assume a small MMO has one foot in the grave. But it isn’t always true. We could also rattle off some smaller MMOs that seem to be moving along just fine, with bills paid. Sure, they’d like to be bigger, but they’re holding steady and know how to work the playerbase they do have rather than constantly alienate their current customers in search of new customers. And some MMO gamers actually prefer those sorts of titles. After all, if the game has just a few thousand people, it’s much easier to get to know a large slice of them, plus have your voice heard by the developers and actually influence the gameworld.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to reflect on the smallest MMOs they have played, and then consider how big an MMO has to be in terms of playerbase that they’d consider playing it now. What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play, and why?

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The Stream Team: Investigating a graverobber in Dungeons and Dragons Online

There’s concern of a graverobber halfling named Moonshadow Lighfoot that might be dabbling in necromancy in DDO, and Massively OP’s Justin and MJ are tasked with investigating. What will they unearth? And what will they need to return to the earth? Join us live at 8:00 p.m. as the duo help Thaddeus d’Jorasco with his grave problem.

What: Dungeons & Dragons Online
Who: Justin Olivetti & MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

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Perfect Ten: 10 tips for crafting a unique MMO character name

Tell me if you’ve ever been here: You just finished spending way too much time pouring over options in the character creation screen and have finally settled on a race, class, and visuals for your upcoming hero. But then you draw a blank on the character name field — or worse, your usual nomer has already been taken and you’re in the 98% of MMORPGs that don’t allow for duplicates.

What do you do?

Because I’m not one of those players who is content to slam my head on the keyboard and accept the letter soup as an acceptable name for the next 200 hours of my gaming career, crafting the perfect name is very important to me. I have roster of names that I typically use, but those aren’t always available, especially in older games that have witness the passage of thousands of players before me.

So I’ve come up with several tips and techniques to create a fun names that exude personality, charm, and style without falling into stale tactics. And because I am your oldest and dearest friend, I’m going to share these tips with you today.

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Here’s how one high school teacher uses Lord of the Rings Online in her English class

What do you say that we all go and enroll at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics?

Hear me out here: It’s at this school that Dr. Helana E. Brigman, an English instructor, is using Lord of the Rings Online to help teach Tolkien to her class. She intends to take players on a two-week intensive journey into the game: “Each morning we will create our own fellowship and work our way through the game’s epic book quests on low-level starting characters (all Hobbits). In the afternoon, we will roam Middle-earth on our choice of characters, and I will introduce you to deeds, crafting, and hobbies.”

Best class ever? We think so!

And while we’re on the subject of this gaming community, Winterstock V is happening this weekend and will be broadcast over LOTRO’s official Twitch stream. The four-day player event involves a schedule of dozens of bands performing concerts on the Landroval server.

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Global Chat: Love the farm, hate the farm

How do you feel about grinding in MMOs? What about farming? These questions can elicit a wide variety of answers, from shrieks of dismay to enthusiastic head nods. Depending on the situation, grinding and farming can be something to be enjoyed, to be endured, or to be avoided at all cost.

The Game Freak Show says that he has a love/hate affair with grinding and farming, and it presents all sorts of muddled emotions, especially when gated mechanics are thrown into the mix: “While I have forgiven the grind in many RPGs for sucking away my time, this disturbing trend of games that do not have a harsh grind because they’re flawed or made for a different audience, but to force people to drop more cash on the table is something I can’t.”

Continue on for a look at Kritika Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online’s Ravenloft, the best solo MMOs, and more!

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Perfect Ten: The best MMO updates and expansions of 2017

Last year was positively stuffed with updates, expansions, and cool stuff. A lot of years I struggle to remember which major updates happened in the past year, due partly to my own faulty memory but due largely to the simple fact that not a lot of them really stuck out for me. This year? We were awash in updates. Some games literally gave me multiple choices about which update I thought was “the best” just because, well, there were so many.

So the list that follows is, honestly, a fragment of what could be chosen. At least one of them is something you will probably disagree with. And that’s fine, because thankfully, last year (as mentioned) contained tons of great updates for people to enjoy. So without further ado, let’s delve into the best updates of 2017 and gush for a bit about how many cool things got added to games last year.

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MMO Year in Review: Lockboxes, CCP, and Destiny 2 (October 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!

The lockbox debate exploded in October, propelled in the mainstream by EA but closer to home by games like LOTRO. Meanwhile, Destiny 2 launched on PC, and the MMO world was shocked by the sudden closures of two of CCP Games’ substudios following EVE Vegas, which initially was not supposed to affect EVE Online (though by November we found out it most certainly did).

We also saw a number of updates to major MMOs, including Elder Scrolls Online’s Clockwork City, Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon, SWTOR’s pre-merge United Forces Foundation, EVE’s Lifeblood, and LOTRO’s Update 21. And Star Citizen dampened delay criticism by demoing its procedural cities.

Read on for the whole list!

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LOTRO Legendarium: Looking back at the road we traveled in 2017

“The road goes ever on” is one of the most well-known phrases from Lord of the Rings, alluding to the ongoing journey of the characters, life in general, and even the fandom that poured out of this franchise. That road took us through 2017 and one of the most interesting years for Lord of the Rings Online since the MMO’s debut in 2007.

After all, this was the first year that saw Standing Stone Games handling the title since the studio’s formation in 2016. We lived through the 10th anniversary, went to Mordor, and lived to tell the tale. It was a year of ups and downs, of mistakes and successes, and one of continued life for LOTRO.

As we walk down the road and get ready to cross the border from 2017 into 2018, I felt it would be appropriate to look back at the year that was and the road we traveled. What great memories did you make in the game — or the game made for you — this year?

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The Daily Grind: What were your best MMORPG gaming achievements in 2017?

Before we jump into 2018, let’s take a moment to ruminate on our personal accomplishments in MMO gaming this year.

While I didn’t get around to all of the games that I wanted to play or had enough time to enjoy the ones I did, I feel like it was a pretty solid year all around for me. I went through the Bingo Boffin storyline and Mordor in Lord of the Rings Online, got my fourth level 110 in World of Warcraft, and brought my Secret World Legends character all the way through the game (again). I even got reacquainted with an old favorite MMO — Dungeons and Dragons Online — and collected tons of great stories.

What were your best MMORPG gaming achievements in 2017? Looking back, what are you most proud of doing? What made you the happiest? What game worlds did you visit and what did you do in them?

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