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Jukebox Heroes: Music from Destiny 2, LOTRO, Absolver, Black Desert, and Champions Online

Apologies for being extensively absent from this column over the last few months! Every day the Massively OP offices are deluged with fan mail demanding, “Bring back Jukebox Heroes! Where is Jukebox Heroes? How can I survive without that epic MMO music to get me through the week?”

To which I can only mutter something about a classified mission to Paraguay, being adopted by a jaguar for six weeks, and subsequently finding myself co-starring with The Rock on his latest escapade. It’s all in the line of duty when you are an MMO reporter.

But I am back, and boy is there a lot of news to talk about this week! Let us catch up on the MMORPG music scene and see what is happening with Destiny 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Absolver, Black Desert, and Champions Online already!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 136: Westward ho!

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree saddle up for discussion on Wild West Online’s alpha, Star Citizen’s back-backlash on schedules, the miserable state of Phantasy Star Online 2, 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’s Ugrukhor isn’t too happy with the state of affairs in Mordor

The power vacuum created after the fall of Sauron in Middle-earth has wide-spread ramifications for Mordor (the country) and Mordor (the expansion). In its latest enemy leader spotlight video, Lord of the Rings Online checks in with Ugrukhor and finds a man who is not too pleased with his current position.

Aside from his unfortunate name, Ugrukhor feels passed over for glory and power as he’s left as a steward in Udun. Check out this Anakin Skywalker-wannabe and listen to his griping after the break!

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One Shots: A bridge too far

One more bridge. That’s what she kept telling me, even though I cautioned her that sooner or later our luck would run out. She would pause, then shake her head and urge us on. One more bridge.

That day, when we crossed a seemingly innocuous wooden bridge over RIFT’s gorgeous Scatherron Forest, our luck broke — as did six boards, sending us plummeting down into a gorge. As I fell, I wondered why I was taking orders from my talking mount anyway. Perhaps she knew that fall damage was a thing of the past and I could be pressured into recklessness.

After I pick myself back up and find another route onward, we’ll look at the rest of this week’s player-submitted screenshots and stories!

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Lord of the Rings Online invites players to test out two new dungeons

There was a bit of a problem with Lord of the Rings Online’s first attempt to test its next two dungeons on the test server. Combat music was causing the game to crash, which was most certainly not an intended feature of the design. But now that bug has been fixed, and players can log on to the test server to try out the Dungeons of Naerband and the Court of Seregost.

The Dungeons of Naerband (yes, it’s one dungeon) will require a full fellowship, while the Court of Sergost requires a light fellowship. These dungeons are the focus of this weekend’s testing, so the developers are eager for feedback about how the dungeons feel to play and how they’re tuned. If you already tried to jump in once and had issues, you can be assured that those issues should now be fixed, and if you encounter any other problems… well, that’s the point of testing, isn’t it?

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The Daily Grind: Do you like MMO quests with fail conditions?

In my recent forays into Dungeons and Dragons Online, I was forcibly reminded just how different this game in comparison of your standard MMORPG. For one thing, there seem to be many more quests and dungeons that are peppered with fail conditions which immediately terminate a run if certain actions are performed or fail to be executed.

Of course, this sort of thing isn’t exclusive to DDO; when you think about it, most MMOs feature fail conditions on occasion. Maybe it’s that escort quest that tanks if your bumbling NPC gets his or her butt shot up. Sometimes fail conditions come in the form of special achievements that offer an optional layer of difficulty for players looking for challenge.

Do you like MMO quests with fail conditions or do you resent them? What example would you use as a memorable mission with this sort of mechanic?

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LOTRO starts testing Mordor instance cluster, talks about its soundtrack and lore

Even though the doors leading into Lord of the Rings Online’s Mordor were busted wide open, not all secrets — and features — were revealed. The developers said that both the Mordor instance cluster and the expansion’s raid would come after launch, and now it looks like that moment is almost here.

The team announced on Twitter yesterday that it has begun testing Update 21.2, which contains the aforementioned promised content: “Bullroarer is being updated with a preview of 21.2, including instances, Allegiance quests, and more!”

Speaking of the Allegiance system, one of the game’s writers posted a lore piece about the Battle of the Five Armies that ties into the Dwarf storyline of the expansion. Or if music is more your bag, hang out with Mordor Composer Chance Thomas for an AMA this afternoon! When asked by Massively OP as to when the Mordor OST would release, Thomas said that there is nothing official yet but the publisher is aware of the demand.

Source: LOTRO, Twitter, Reddit

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Perfect Ten: The 10 tiers of MMORPG lore

Lore! Huh! What is it good for? Understanding why you’re standing in the middle of a pack of angry people with fangs in MMOs, of course. It’s the thin line dividing your actions from being reckless, indiscriminate mayhem and discriminating, careful mayhem. Lore is how you know what the world is like beyond your front door, and it’s the difference between understanding that you face Ragnaros, lord of flame or just knowing that there’s a dude here made out of fire, so you should probably use water spells on him.

All lore, however, is not created equal. There’s lore that creates a detailed, vibrant world full of people with their own hopes and dreams, and there’s lore that creates a game where you know what you’re supposed to be doing but have no idea what people do for fun afterwards aside from waiting to die. So today, we explore the tiers of lore, arranged in a numbered list because that’s the entire premise of the column. It’s not Perfect Vague Assortment of Concepts. That’s not even a column.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 135: PAX in the P.M.

On this week’s show, MJ arrives to give her report on PAX West and how much swag she smuggled back on the plane. Bree and Justin touch base with the major news stories of the week, including Destiny 2’s launch, ArcheAge’s mergers, and WildStar’s housing happiness.

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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Lord of the Rings Online Roglarg trailer shows that there is no love lost between spider and orc

How many official videos will it take to wash out the taste of that terrible Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor launch trailer? At least a few more, in our opinion.

At least for today we have a new entry in the game’s “After the Fall” series that looks at the charming Orc leader Roglarg. He’s one of the several bad guy bosses vying for power in Mordor now that Sauron is on a permanent vacation. But even cranky villains have deep fears, and Roglarg’s is of one particular giant spider who might be coming back for a regime change.

Check it out after the break!

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LOTRO’s insane player Olympics return next week

What do you get when you take a bunch of stubborn and foolhearty Dwarves, get them tanked on ale, and then start boasting about physical prowess? The Harnkegger Games, of course!

Starting next Monday on Lord of the Rings Online’s Laurelin server, players will compete in the sixth annual Harnkegger Games for glory, honor, and most importantly, gold and LOTRO Points. The Games cover a week of player-run events, including the spike jump, the fishing competition, a dive into molten lava, the cross-country run, a poetry contest, and the drunken sprint across the Shire.

Players will compete for their “nation,” which is represented by their race. Even if you don’t want to participate, there is plenty of entertainment to be found in spectating and enjoying the musical acts. The event will also be broadcast live on the official LOTRO livestream.

Source: The Harnkegger Games. Thanks Kandral!

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The Game Archaeologist: Climax’s Warhammer Online

Let’s begin with a little personal history. Back in 2008, I decided to get into the blogging scene by jumping on board the latest MMO hotness — in this case, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. As I was growing increasingly tired of World of Warcraft, WAR seemed to offer a refreshing alternative: a darker world full of brutal PvP and awesome new ideas. So I joined the elite ranks of bloggers (hey, stop laughing so hard) and spent the better part of two years jawing about Mythic’s latest fantasy project.

And while Warhammer Online was, in my opinion, a solid product, it certainly failed to live up to the extremely high expectations held by both the development team and the players. No matter how it turned out, I really enjoyed talking about WAR, especially in the days leading up to its launch.

As with other IP-related MMOs like Star Trek Online and Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer Online had its roots with another company and another vision. It’s a “what if?” tale that’s tantalizing to consider — an entirely different studio, Climax Online, creating a much darker version of Warhammer.

So what if Climax had brought its version of Warhammer Online to bear? Would it have eclipsed Mythic’s vision or been its own animal? Hit the jump and let’s dive into the pages of ancient history!

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite pop culture reference in an MMO?

I will never be completely sure of it, but I like to think that the “Deep-Toads” of Lord of the Rings Online’s Moria are a sly reference to the awesome Hypnotoad of Futurama (ALL HAIL THE HYPNOTOAD). I mean, c’mon: They’re huge frogs that toss mesmerizing spirals at you in a way that is unlike how normal amphibians operate.

I really wouldn’t be surprised if it was a reference, because mischievous and sometimes-bored developers are forever tossing in such pop culture nuggets into characters, mobs, and especially quest titles into their games (as a side note: have you ever considered how many quest title names have been created for your MMO? It boggles the mind.).

Assuming that you don’t have a sour puckered reflex against such instances, what’s your favorite pop culture reference in an MMORPG? Bonus question: Did you ever fully realize the truth of one of these references only after a long time of being exposed to it?

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