Protests in the real world dominated this past weekend's news, and while I surfed around for an in-game equivalent to cover, I couldn't find much of one (though I found people selling themed accessories in Second Life!). That said, protests in MMORPGs aren't unheard of, and I mean actual protests, not memorials and vigils. World of Warcraft players will remember multiple protests throughout that game's history, mostly against the design of the game, but sometimes against Blizzard's policies. How about the Million Gnome March, for example, which caused game outages and threats from the studio claiming protests were "griefing"? Or the 2006 protests against Blizzard's stance on LGBT guilds -- which the studio reversed? How about the multiple Occupy SAB protests in Guild Wars 2, which ArenaNet allowed to transpire without much fuss?
I've never been to an in-game protest that I recall [Edit: I'm wrong. I have! See comments!], but I did stage my own one-woman protest in Star Wars Galaxies, where following the pronouncement that "no one wanted to play Uncle Owen" because moisture farmers were boring, I promptly rolled a character whose primary role was moisture farming on her permanently installed moisture farm. I made a lot of credits and had a lot of fun selling water on that character, right up until the day the servers were sunsetted. Silly? Maybe, but it gave me some life to prove that the suits were full of shit and didn't really understand the first thing about their own playerbase.
Have you ever participated in a protest in an MMORPG?
While it's true that you can see a good share of Marvel Heroes'
mega January 2017 update for yourself on the test server, who could pass up a walkthrough and interview with Brian Waggoner, game designer at Gazillion? Besides, with such a massive change incoming to many of the systems (this may be one of the only times that BIGGEST UPDATE EVER is used legitimately), having a dev on hand to explain various alterations can be a definite plus. I took advantage of the opportunity, so if you haven't had the chance to delve into the test center yourself, be it from lack of time, inclination, or even hard drive space, you can get a peek under the hood here. And then you can jump in and experience it all for yourself on Thursday, January 19th, when Marvel Heroes's
latest update goes live.
"Great News! The Repopulation is coming back!" -- or so said a hastily deleted tweet from Idea Fabrik last night, which you might have missed since the blog post titled Idea Fabrik Acquires The Repopulation was also pulled down.
Now, that announcement has been confirmed: Idea Fabrik has acquired all rights to The Repopulation from Above & Beyond and will be relaunching the game -- in the Hero Engine -- with a new content patch sometime in Q1 2017. A&B will continue work on Fragmented as it rolls toward a console release.
Let me give you a little backstory on the whole Repopulation saga.
Massively OP patron Duane is kicking the new year off right: with a brawl over combat types in MMOs.
"Tab-target, action, or hybrid combat, for many MMO gamers the combat system, regardless of whether it is a well-made, is a deal maker or breaker," he writes -- I like to imagine he wrote it with a mischievous glint in his eye. "What is the superior combat system, and why is it superior (please give examples)? Let the battle-lines be drawn!"
I posed his question to the MOP writers for this week's Overthinking. Here we go!
I usually like to bury my opinion behind a bit of measured fact-checking and the weight of opposing opinions, but Elder Scrolls Online hit all the right buttons for me with its new housing system. I have to sing its praises right now. Based on what I've seen on the public test server, Homestead will give us exactly what we are looking for in an MMO housing system.
Here comes the measured part: We won't really know exactly how the system will work in action until it hits live servers. Crafting and the horrid vendor system in ESO will likely make finding specific housing items unnecessarily difficult, but it's possible that it could be balanced by the crafting system and the Crown Store.
Despite some of the unknowns, I do really like what I've seen so far, and I'd like to give you my first impression of the Elder Scrolls Online housing system.
In light of this past week's sad Landmark news, it's perhaps too on-the-nose that I asked for players to send in pictures of defunct MMOs. Maybe it's just one of those sober reminders that sooner or later, these games will go dark. Enjoy them to their fullest now!
"To prove I can actually be on topic sometimes, I answer your call for shots from defunct MMOs with one from Dragon's Prophet," Tyler said, "the only game I've played that has shut down. There was a great deal wrong with this game, and I didn't play it for long, but there was still a lot about it that was surprisingly good. In particular I loved the unusual, battle mage-like Oracle class. Who wants to stand in the back waving your hands when your mage can charge into the thick of things and massacre everyone with a giant enchanted scythe?"
Massively OP's end-of-the-year awards continue today with our blooper award for Most-Covered Defunct MMO, as proposed by BryanCo. And the winner is...
In late 2012, former Wing Commander developer-slash-movie director Chris Roberts emerged from a decade of obscurity to ask for help to fund his vision of a massive, engaging space sim for a modern audience. Fans opened up their wallets and started pouring unprecedented amounts of money into the project, which Roberts called Star Citizen.
I don't have to explain to you the subsequent rise of this $138M+ budget title, the vast expansion of its scope, the debate over its viability, and the fanatical following that fans have for this "under construction" sim. Even if it can't be Wing Commander in name, gamers reasoned as they plunked down their money, it could be the Wing Commander MMO in spirit.
Interestingly enough, there was another, older effort made to bring the well-known franchise to the MMO table back in the late '90s. A pair of projects, Wing Commander Online and Privateer Online, promised the thrills of the hit space saga with the expanse of the online gaming world. What happened and why aren't we playing one of these games today? Find out on this exciting episode of The Game Archaeologist!
Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for Best MMORPG Player Housing of 2016, which is a new award for MOP and one proposed this year by Agemyth and Mylicia. MMORPGs eligible for this award can have launched in any year as long as they are still alive and still offer player housing; nominees should be judged based on the quality and depth of that feature and that feature alone. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMORPG Player Housing of 2016 is...
There's a new Star Wars movie out now; you may have heard about it. Heck, you might have gone to see it already. But even if you're holding off for a little while longer, you can watch a different Star Wars film right now if you'd like; it's a 40-minute retrospective on the death of Star Wars Galaxies by YouTube user NerdSlayer, just in time for the fifth anniversary of its sunset. It's comprehensive, too, going back to the game as it existed at launch up to its eventual shutdown.
Is this going to be the video that makes you suddenly turn around and realize that the game died due to secret Illuminati plotting? No. In fact, if you're a SWG fan, it's probably just going to give you a trip down memory lane and possibly motivate you to fire up an emulator. But hey, it's the season for warm feelings, right? Why not take a trip down memory lane just the same?
The underground rebels of the Star Wars Galaxies community continue to fight to keep the MMO alive any way that they can. One group called Stella Bellum is doing its part by opening up a new emu server and inviting former SWG players to "come home" to their favorite playground.
The Stella Bellum emulator project is going live on December 16th and is focused on bringing back the NGE (New Game Enhancements) version of the game that was running before SOE shut it down a half-decade ago.
"We are a group of currently eight developers, some of us have worked on various NGE projects in the past, and we like to bring back Star Wars Galaxies for the players, as it was in the final days before shutdown," the team posted on the forums. "Since many NGE projects the developers had their teams fall apart, ours decided to work in secret to finish the job. All trustworthy developers willing to work as a team were recruited and some have been working on the code for almost two years."
Hey you! Yeah, the player who actually reads quest text and lore entries when all of the other hooting madmen are furiously clicking past them so that they can go back to the digital bloodbath! There's no shame to settle in with a good book that just so happens to feature your favorite MMO or touch on the genre as a whole. Many of us at some time have cracked open novels, art books, and even graphic novels to dive more deeply into the worlds of the games we love.
So if you're looking for a printed companion to help you while away the hours this winter, we have a list of recommended reads for you today. You can get many of these as e-ink digital books, of course, but the bibliophiles should be happy to know that these are all available as physical tomes as well.
Eleven years ago this week, the New Game Enhancements patch descended on Star Wars Galaxies, forever changing the trajectory of the game, SOE, and maybe even sandbox MMORPGs in general by completely uprooting the character development process of the MMO and gutting beloved professions, not to mention breaking essential pieces of the game's crafting economy. The ensuing fallout caused a mass-exodus from the game, tarnished gamer trust in SOE, and guaranteed that we'd still be talking about it more than a decade later. And though I've long argued that the game that sunsetted in 2011 was as far removed from the NGE as the NGE was from the game that launched in 2003, I'm first in line to declare that the NGE implemented in 2005 was an unmitigated disaster.
For this edition of Massively Overthinking, I don't want to talk about Star Wars Galaxies' NGE. I want to talk about all the other NGEs in MMORPG history -- all those other massive patches and updates and expansions that shattered or altered an MMO so fundamentally that gamers never looked at it the same way again and indeed considered it irreparably ruined. What's the most brutal NGE (that wasn't that NGE) that you can think of? That's the question I posed to our writers this week.