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The Game Archaeologist: Harry Potter Online

If all goes well, later this year we will finally be treated to an actual Harry Potter MMORPG in the form of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. While that will be a mobile ARG in the vein of Pokemon Go, it will still be a big step into the online space that MMO fans have been craving for nearly two decades now.

Obviously, Harry Potter continues to be a mammoth franchise for J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., and Electronic Arts, which has handled the video game license over the years. While there have been single-player Harry Potter titles, especially on consoles, no MMORPG emerged even at the height of the IP craze that swallowed up Star Trek, Star Wars, Warhammer, and more. So why not?

The truth is that Harry Potter Online almost did happen. Its brief existence and development isn’t too well-known, even today, but the wasted potential has always tantalized me with what could have been. Using a time-turner, we will go back to the late 1990s today and peek in on a possible future that came to fruition.

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The Daily Grind: What was the most disappointing MMO expansion of all time?

Best and worst, top and bottom: It’s fun to discuss video game in absolute extremes (at times). And I’ll bet that a lot of us only really remember the most excellent MMORPG expansions and the most disappointing ones.

So let’s grouse today and dredge up past heartaches. What was, to you, the most disappointing MMO expansion of all time? A few come to mind for me. Star Trek Online: Delta Rising was a narrative and structural mess that bogged down and made me desert it. I know that I was really let down with how RIFT: Storm Legion developed, faltering hard after a strong start. But probably for me, Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor took the cake. The publicity for it was atrocious, the actual expansion about as far from “fun” as I’ve ever experienced in an MMO, and the difficulty of moving and progressing was aggravating.

But that’s me. How about you? Which MMO expansion do you want to rag on today?

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‘We all can be heroes:’ An interview with Star Trek Online’s Chase Masterson

With a dozen members of the all-star cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine returning to reprise their roles for this June’s Star Trek Online: Victory is Life, one actress has the advantage over the others. Chase Masterson is back for at least her third stint in the MMO, having played fan favorite Leeta in past updates (including as a hologram and as a Mirror Universe villain).

With the heavy Deep Space Nine focus on the game’s third expansion, it’s good to see the reunion of a cast from a show that’s now 25(!) years old. Masterson has since gone on to act in many TV shows and movies, perform as a jazz singer, and found an anti-bullying organization called Pop Culture Hero that uses film, comics, and TV to take a stand against bullying in schools and communities.

We sat down with Masterson to talk about reprising the role of Leeta, the continuation of Deep Space Nine, the benefits of maturity, and how we all can be heroes.

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Star Trek Online improves XP boosters, brings back Delta Recruit event

There’s nothing like an expansion to draw interest and attention back to an older MMO, and Star Trek Online is enjoying such a period in its lead up to the launch of Victory is Life. For those currently playing or returning to the game, you might be interested to know that a patch has landed today with a few nice bonuses.

Shrewd captains who use XP boosters will find that while the prices for some of these have gone down, the benefits have increased.

The game has also brought back the Delta Recruit event, in which brand-new characters can experience extra special missions involving the Iconian war and be rewarded with some nifty account-wide goodies. The event is running from April 19th through May 17th.

Source: Patch notes

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Star Trek Online opens up its expansion bundle packages for Victory is Life

If you’ve been through prior expansion launches for Star Trek Online, you know that the expansion launch is almost always accompanied by big packs full of stuff for a large amount of money. So it should surprise absolutely no one that Victory is Life contains those same packs, if you’d like to buy a whole bunch of stuff for one price instead of nabbing it piecemeal from the in-game store later. It’s a time-honored tradition at this point.

The smaller and cheaper pack opens up the Vanguard Jem’Hadar racial option and includes the dreadnought cruiser (a T6 ship), while the larger pack also includes playable Cardassians, several more Jem’Hadar ships, and several Cardassian intel ships. It’s expensive (like $120 of expensive), but if you really want to cruise around in all of the newest ships with the newest species options, it’s the obvious pick. Or you can just pick things up on the in-game store if that’s your preference, tradition is tradition.

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The Stream Team: Soloing Star Trek Online’s latest featured episode

Because of her hesitation to do the featured episode solo (as is required), Massively OP’s MJ shied away from it last time and focused on her story line after the rocket event. Now, she’s gathered her courage and is launching into Renegade’s Regret. Tune in at 5:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you our first premier!

What: Star Trek Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

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Star Trek Online is finally adding playable Cardassians with its next expansion

A playable faction of Cardassians has been something Star Trek Online fans have wanted more or less since the game wanted, to the point that there was no small amount of consternation around the idea of a new faction being added that wasn’t the Cardassian Union. But fear not, lore fans; the release of Victory is Life will indeed see playable Cardassians for both the Klingon Empire and the Federation. That’s really all you need to know to be excited if you’re a fan of Star Trek.

Want a little bit more on the game? Fear not, the developers also have you covered when it comes to how the game’s leveling will work for the expansion’s level cap increase. Perhaps most importantly, players need not fear another tier of ships; Tier 6 remains the top end and there will be no additional lore ranks added. Check out the full rundown to get an idea of what the game will have in store for you, along with a breakdown of the experience needed to acquire the increased levels.

Source: Leveling, Playable Cardassians; thanks to Jake for the tip!

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Star Trek Online spruces up Deep Space Nine for the expansion

While Deep Space Nine and the Gamma quadrant are the chief focus of this June’s Star Trek Online: Victory is Life, the space station actually has been in the game for a long time now. However, the developers feel that the place wasn’t up to snuff and decided to use the expansion as an excuse to bring DS9 up to code.

“We’ve rebuilt the entirety of the Promenade ring to match the show,” Cryptic said. “That means all of your favorite spots are there, including one you’ve already got a sneak peek at in the recent episode ‘The Renegade’s Regret’ — the Security Office and its Holding Cells. In addition, we’ve updated or added the Infirmary, the Bajoran Temple, the Klingon Deli, the Jumja Stand, the Replimat, and of course, Garak’s Clothiers. Oh, and how could I have forgotten, Quark’s Bar!”

To expand and flesh out the station, the developers used blueprints from the TV show and screenshots from several episodes. Much of the show was referenced, in fact, filling up a folder with 2,600 screenshots to aid in the reconstruction process.

Source: Star Trek Online. Thanks Castagere!

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Star Trek Online recruits a dozen Deep Space Nine actors for this summer’s expansion

The final Deep Space Nine cast members reprising their roles for Star Trek Online: Victory is Life were announced today, bringing the total up to an impressive 12 voice actors from the series.

The full roster of DS9 vets that will be encountered in the expansion include Alexander Siddig (Doctor Julian Bashir), Andrew Robinson (Councilor Elim Garak), Armin Shimerman (Quark), Aron Eisenberg (Captain Nog), Bumper Robinson (Elder First Dukan Rex), Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun and Brunt), J.G. Hertzler (General Martok), Max Grodénchik (Grand Nagus Rom), Chase Masterson (Leeta), Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys), René Auberjonois (Odo), and Salome Jens (Female Changeling).

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The Stream Team: Replica rocket races in Star Trek Online

Massively OP’s MJ is shooting for the stars! Star Trek Online is celebrating First Contact Day, and MJ is in the race to build a replica of the Phoenix to rocket into the sky. Can she find the parts to make the best spaceship and win the race? Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. to join in the celebration.

What: Star Trek Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

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Perfect Ten: Why trend-chasing doesn’t work at all for online games

Video games have always been a remarkably insular field; that’s the nature of development. Someone produces Super Mario Bros, and a few years later Sonic the Hedgehog sounds like a really good idea for some reason. But then you have games like The Great Giana Sisters, games that don’t try to just copy parts of what made the inspiration good but just copy the whole thing with one or two changes.

For normal video games, this can work out decently; a game that just doesn’t get much traction still sells some copies, hopefully. Just because Croc wasn’t Spyro didn’t mean that no one bought the former. But for online games, these trend-chasing games are almost always dramatic failures that litter the landscape. Why is that? Well, there are pretty good reasons, and today seems like a good time to talk about that.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 165: Step into the Morninglight

On this week’s show, MJ and Justin get giddy over Secret World Legends’ season two, discuss what World of Warcraft’s launch date means for players, and cover a whole host of major updates that have arrived for the MMO community.

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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Choose My Adventure: Warframe in review

It’s funny how presentation problems can have such a huge impact on the same product.

Warframe, as a game, is almost crippled by its lack of guidance and the poor resources it has to explain things to players. Some of this, as has been noted in the comments, is the result of a general design philosophy that producing more fun stuff is more advantageous than providing guidance, but some of it is also a result of having a philosophy that doesn’t seem to take full advantage of its business model. Better tutorials and direction would do a whole lot to redeem the game.

This would be a good thing because Warframe is also strikingly unique and fun in a lot of other ways, and it seems to be to be the logical apotheosis of a lot of game design aspects. It has flaws, it could use some streamlining and refinement, but at the end of the day it’s a slick and fun experience that is mostly let down by its failings in guiding players. And it’s another game that I’m not really done with even though my month is up.

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