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See: Standing Stone Games

Massively OP’s guide to MMO Thanksgiving 2017

Stately resting between the gaudy purple and orange of Halloween and merry red and green of Christmas is the earth tone-saturated Thanksgiving. While no one’s favorite color scheme, Thanksgiving does give us a nice in-between holiday with family meals, an awkward dance around politics, a work day for football teams, and the occasional MMORPG holiday event.

While not every online game has decided to embrace the American holiday, enough pop up every year that need corralling. And since we just got turkey certified here at Massively OP, we’re going to lay out all of this week’s event options for you on a platter. So enjoy the festivities and dressing up like a Pilgrim for two days maximum before deeply questioning that fashion sense. Now jingly sleigh bells, size XXXL red suits, and reindeer antlers, that’s a smart look indeed!

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Lord of the Rings Online makes Mordor and High Elves available for points

Some people would rather spend points on expansions and races in Lord of the Rings Online rather than parting with real money. Good news for those who waited for just that: Both the High Elf race and Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor are both now available in the game’s store for points! The expansion will run you 2495 points, while the race is 1000 points. Perfect if you have the points but just didn’t have access to the latest flavor of elf, then.

But wait, there’s more! The game does indeed have Black Friday sales running through Cyber Monday, offering players 75% off on Virtue bundles and 50% off on both complete crafting tiers and select housing bundles. So you’ve got lots of stuff vying for your time and money there; it’ll be up to you what is most valuable. You could always wait to get a new style of elf, after all.

Source: Official Site; thanks to BalsBigBrother for the tip!

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Perfect Ten: MMO things to be thankful about this year

It’s kind of hard to be thankful this year. Sure, some good things have happened this year, but we also have some things that, to put it politely, are unqualified messes. There’s everything around Star Wars: Battlefront II. There’s the shuttering of Master x Master and Marvel Heroes (the latter I actually flagged a year ago as being robust and healthy). There are titles like Lord of the Rings Online and ARK: Survival Evolved that have doubled down on methods to enrage players. And last but certainly not least, there’s still no sign of a sequel to the Warcraft film.

That one might be a grey area, actually.

But the year hasn’t been devoid of light, and there’s still stuff to be thankful for. So rather than being bitter and cranky about it, I want to focus on what we do have to be thankful for even while I hope for better in the future. Let’s talk about some stuff that’s good to be thankful for, even if it doesn’t tickle your particular fancy, and be a little more hopeful.

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Lord of the Rings Online is heading to Northern Mirkwood, Erebor, and Minas Morgul

Don’t get too comfortable in Mordor just yet, because Lord of the Rings Online is preparing to send its players to the far reaches of the explored map come 2018.

Executive Producer Rob Ciccolini dropped a juicy letter today that went into detail about the studio’s plans for LOTRO over the next year. It all begins with Update 21.3’s Abyss of Mordath raid, coming before the end of 2017. Then in early 2018, Update 22 is taking players to Northern Mirkwood, Dale, Laketown, and Erebor. Following that is Update 23, which returns to Mordor for a trip into Minas Morgul and a confrontation with Shelob.

Ciccolini sprinkled in some other additions and improvements coming to the game, including Elk mounts(!), a playable fiddle, updates to the festivals, the continuation of the Bingo Boffin storyline from last Halloween, and avatar updates to Dwarf and Hobbit models.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 145: Farewell Marvel Heroes and Master X Master

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree bid a sad farewell to Marvel Heroes (and Master X Master while we’re at it). It’s not all depressing news; Secret World Legends is killing it, there’s a new Path of Exile expansion, and Guild Wars 2’s fourth living world season is on its way.

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 Legendarium: What the Amazon TV series means for Lord of the Rings Online

If you haven’t been paying attention to the television market over the past few years, you might have missed the fact that we are in the middle of a revolution of how shows are made and broadcast. Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Disney, and CBS are greenlighting all sorts of fantastic shows with the hopes of strengthening their audience and luring them to these pay-to-watch platforms.

Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Walking Dead, The Defenders, Star Trek Discovery, and Stranger Things are a few examples of how these companies are getting acclaim and major viewership with ambitious projects. Large amounts of money are being thrown around on both the licensing and production of these shows, and companies are frantically looking around for the next big hit. So while Disney is boldly announcing a Star Wars live action TV series, Amazon went to the fantasy equivalent and nabbed a little thing called Lord of the Rings.

Yes indeed. The big news from this past week was that Amazon bought the rights to produce a multi-season Lord of the Rings series. While the exact cost of this deal wasn’t revealed, industry experts estimate that it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 to $250 million. No small po-tay-toes any way you look at it. But what will this series mean for our beloved MMORPG? I have a few thoughts about that.

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The Daily Grind: How can MMOs repurpose older zones?

One of the best gaming experiences that I had this past year was going through the entirety of the Bingo Boffin storyline from start to finish in Lord of the Rings Online. It wasn’t only goofy, rewarding, and oddly touching at times, but it was a thrill to be able to quest through some of my past favorite zones without having to roll up another alt.

Repurposing older zones for new content is something that the LOTRO devs have latched onto as of late (see: 10th anniversary quests), and I for one applaud this kind of initiative. It feels like such a waste to outlevel a zone and then never see it again. So much work goes into these places, so why not come back to them on occasion and squeeze some more enjoyment out of them?

What do you think? How can MMOs best repurpose older zones? What would be cool to go back and do in those classic zones with your current character?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 144: Harry Potter and the Deathly ARG

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree wrassle a mess of eastern mobile MMOs that are leaping onto the scene, imagine a world full of Harry Potter gamers wandering about, discuss SWTOR’s server merges, and take Guild Wars 2 to task for lockbox missteps.

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: What is your favorite MMORPG combat pet?

As a die-hard fan of pet classes in MMOs, I’ve played just about any that were available in the games that I’ve tried. Naturally, some pets have become my favorites, vying for my affection with their blood, sweat, and belly rubs.

In Lord of the Rings Online, my Captain’s Oathbreaker companion traveled with me far and wide across Middle-earth, although right now I’m totally vibing on my Lore-master’s Bog-lurker (which I named Puddleglum). I will always have fond memories of my World of Warcraft Hunter’s spirit wolf, which I tamed back when you really weren’t supposed to be able to tame them. And I’m starting to take a shine to my talkative iron robot dog in Dungeons and Dragons Online, although he is a little too suicidal for my liking.

What is your favorite MMORPG combat pet? Which one did you end up bonding to and loving the most?

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Perfect Ten: A list of all the MMORPGs I supposedly hate

Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.

Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.

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Dungeons and Dragons Online begins testing Mists of Ravenloft

With a December release window for the expansion beginning to loom large in Dungeons and Dragons Online’s future, the team at Standing Stone Games pushed forward to get Mists of Ravenloft’s test underway.

The first preview test for the expansion is running from now through Friday, November 10th. It includes all three public spaces, the new Barovia wilderness area, seven dungeons, and the racial AP tome. However, the team informed players that the test will not be covering any raids, the other five dungeons, sentient weapons, favor rewards, and landscape-specific loot.

The expansion will take players to the horror-themed realm of Ravenloft for the first time, becoming the third (or fourth, depending on how you count it) Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting that DDO has used since its launch.

Source: Official forums. Thanks DDOCentral!

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The Daily Grind: What older MMO systems do you wish devs would upgrade?

Perhaps few things bug me so much as when developers introduce a meaty gameplay system into an MMORPG only to neglect or abandon it by the time the next expansion rolls around. Lord of the Rings Online’s skirmish system, World of Warcraft’s garrisons and class order halls, or Star Trek Online’s exploration system are but a few examples that have rankled my sensibilities over the years.

It’s frustrating because players latch on to these systems and find enjoyment in them, even years after their introduction. It’s doubly frustrating because with some refinement and updates, these systems could become relevant and even better than before. But no, they’re shoved back under the bed so that devs can play with their new shinies.

If you had your pick, what older MMO systems do you wish your game’s developers would take the time to upgrade today?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 143: BlizzCon strikes back

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree dig into the exciting news from BlizzCon, mull over the troubles at Marvel Heroes, mourn the passing of a great studio, and cover a handful of MMO updates.

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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