star wars the old republic

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Official Site: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Studio: BioWare/Electronic Arts
Launch Date: December 20, 2011
Genre: Sci-Fi Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

Perfect Ten: The top 10 healthiest live MMOs

One question that consistently pops up across the MMO gaming circuit is, “What are the most popular/healthy/active MMOs out there?” Every time I see this question, I sympathize with the concern behind asking it. For some players, finding a game that not only exists but is hopping and has the greatest potential for a future is of paramount concern.

Massively OP reader Duffy suggested that we cover this very topic when he asked, “Which MMOs are struggling and which seem to be rolling in gravy? Do MMOs in general do very well or are most just able to keep the lights on?”

It’s a difficult question to answer off-the-cuff because there are a lot of variables to consider. Instead, I researched several angles, including player tracking services, frequency of patches, financial reports, and even how often each game pops up on blogs. While the following isn’t definitive, I feel strongly that the following 10 games are the healthiest live MMOs on the western market right now.

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The Stream Team: Double trouble in SWTOR’s Nar Shaddaa Nightlife Event

You know those times you ask for something that you may regret getting? Well now just might one such time as MassivelyOP’s MJ and Larry team up again in SWTOR! Larry is continuing to try to convert MJ to the dark side, and this time he’s using a new event to lure her in: the Nar Shaddaa Nightlife Event. MJ’s still not convinced about the Empire, but how bad could a nightlife party be? She’s willing to give it a go just so the two can give away more gifts. Interested in a cartel pack? How about a cavern varactyl mount? Then you definitely want to tune in live at 3:00 p.m. as this dastardly Imperial duo causes mischief and mayhem as Imperial party animals.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: MJ Guthrie & Larry Everett
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

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The Daily Grind: Is swimming really that important in MMOs?

One of the big brouhahas that arose back in Star Wars: The Old Republic’s development was the game’s lack of any type of swimming. No swimming? We might as well roleplay in a desert! Oh, the humanity!

Obviously, I do not have a deep vested interest in whether or not an MMO has swimming. The swimming skill in Anarchy Online was a joke stat, the much-vaunted underwater combat in Guild Wars 2 ended up keeping me on dry land, and I am generally pleased that my WildStar hoverboard works on water (take that, McFly) so that I don’t have to get wet. You know what’s the opposite of fun? When you’re swimming and you can’t find a place to leave the water, so you have to dog-paddle slowly around until you find a ramp somewhere.

Is swimming in MMOs really that important of a game feature? If so, what does it add to the experience for you?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR Night Life and PvP changes coming soon

Two things are coming up in Star Wars: The Old Republic that I’d like to talk about. First, BioWare is bringing back the Night Life (Festival of Splendor) Event on Nar Shaddaa. It’s a gambling event where players can win different prizes by playing slot machines. Just as in real life, the house always wins, but I’ve got some tips on how to make the house a little less likely to clean you out.

Second, Alex Modny and Eric Musco talked to Bad Feeling Podcast about some very important changes that are coming to the PvP reward system that might entice some players to jump into PvP, especially ranked PvP. Let’s dive in.

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Massively Opinionated: How long will SWTOR remain relevant?

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been a controversial game since its launch late in 2011. Many fans felt burned after that first rocky year. But here it is 2015, and the game is still going strong… for now.

In this week’s Massively Opinionated vidcast, our host Larry Everett invited three prominent members of the SWTOR community to debate just how well the game is doing and how long it will continue to be relevant. Joining Larry is Heather from Corellian Run Radio, Alexander Kostadinov aka Vulkk, and Redna from It’s a Trap! Podcast.
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Global Chat: Blizzard’s war on flying

How is the MMO blogging community reacting to Blizzard’s proclamation that flying mounts are grounded — perhaps permanently — in World of Warcraft? In two words, not well.

In An Age gave 10 reasons flying was a great part of the game, Aspect of the Hare says that it felt like “a punch in the gut,” Murloc Parliament thinks that the game must move forward instead of backward, Tish Tosh Tesh considers the decision a strike against returning to the game, Cogitationes Astalnaris says that this is another example of how the studio has lost its mojo, Alternative Chat blames the studio for poor communication on the issue, and Heals n Heals speculates that it’s part of a larger probem. On the flip side of the issue, The Rykter Scale says that he won’t miss it and Tales of the Aggronaut agrees with the devs that flight is a “double-edged sword.”

With that out of the way, let’s look at some other excellent community posts from the past few weeks, including first steps in EverQuest’s progression server, a screenshot safari to City of Heroes, 10 reasons to play Trove, and a huge testimonial about the awesomeness of Marvel Heroes.

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One Shots: Reflections of me

One fun in-game photography trick is to use reflections, mirrors, and glass to offer a different — and sometimes more artistic — vision of a scene. I have to applaud reader Jake’s use of the water’s reflection in this piece because it makes it beautiful times two!

“I’m leveling a Sylvari Ranger for the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion, and I found this beautiful little nook off the beaten path in Brisban Wildlands,” Jake wrote. “There is no vista or point of interest in this location; you just have to be nosing about to find it. That’s one of the things I like about this game: The map was designed with exploration in mind. And jumping (sigh).”

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Massively Overthinking: When IPs are wasted on mediocre MMOs

This week’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Kickstarter donor Aldranis, whose query neatly dovetails with the IP-related question we answered on the podcast earlier this week. Aldranis writes,

Do you think IP-based games lead to an oversaturation of mediocre MMOs on the market? It seems for every Marvel Heroes or Lord of the Rings Online, there are one or two Matrix Onlines. I feel these types of games can not only stunt design/developer creativity but also introduce games that no one would really play, wasting a great IP. Similarly, I’m really bummed that World of Darkness didn’t make it to the light of day (pun very intended). That was an IP-based MMO I was really looking forward to, and now seems to be lost, at least in the short-term.

I posed Aldranis’ question to the Massively OP writers, and man, they took the diss on The Matrix Online as fightin’ words!

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Working As Intended: Sex, love, and MMOs

In the ongoing, neverending sandbox-vs.-themepark MMO debate, the folks on the side of sandboxes want one thing: more. Actually they want a lot more. They want more to do, more to see, more to experience. They aren’t content with linear, level-based, content-poor design tracks scrambling to be the next floundering WoW-killer. They definitely want more than just another online murder simulator. They want to cook and dance and explore and smelt and fish and argue and build and teach and fly and age and discover.

But there’s one thing almost no sandbox junkie asks for.

Almost no one asks for sex.

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BioWare’s analytics manager talks SWTOR stats and their effect on design

If you’ve ever been curious about how data analytics impacts MMO design decisions, a new interview at SWTOR Network is worth your time. Alex Tremblay, manager of analytics for BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, talks about everything from architecture and the speed at which statistics can be retrieved to examples of engagement stats affecting design.

“Our regular monitoring of PvE content turned up a substantial discrepancy in usage between the Czerka and other tactical Flashpoints,” Tremblay explains. “Working with design and QA, we developed a hypothesis as to the cause, tested and verified its veracity, and ultimately increased the reward per time spent to align them more closely with similar content. It allowed us to give players a broader range of experiences in the game to reduce content fatigue and add enjoyment to the gameplay experience.”

Source: SWTOR Network; thanks Bob!

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Massively Opinionated: Which MMO is the stickiest?

Unlike single-player games, MMO need a built-in reason for people to keep coming back, or better yet, stick around forever and ever. Some MMOs clearly have better staying power than others. Our panelists debate this week what makes MMOs the most sticky and which MMOs have done it the best.

The rules are simple: Our arbitrator, Larry Everett, gives our panelists four questions to answer. The panelists argue each question, and whoever has the best argument wins a point. At the end of the show, whoever has the most points wins.

The panelists this week are all champions from previous Massively Opinionated debates. From right here on MassivelyOP, Tina Lauro joins us. From his YouTube channel, it’s The Cosmic Engine. And an editor at MMO Bomb, Jason Winter, has again graced us with his presence. Check out the full debate show below.

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The Daily Grind: If it were 2003 again, which MMO would you play?

Fun hypothetical: Let’s say that all of us — including Massively Overpowered — were thrown back in time 12 years to 2003. There’s no World of Warcraft. No Star Wars: The Old Republic. And very, very little free-to-play anything.

What would you play?

Would you get into the truly classic era of EverQuest? Go PvPing in Dark Age of Camelot? Build a house in Ultima Online? Get in on the ground floor of EVE Online? Rejoice that Star Wars Galaxies was back? Or something else entirely?

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s awful patch 3.2.1 Marauder and Sentinel changes

I like to consider myself a measured person. I try not to give into overblown rants and statements that I cannot take back. Too often, I’ve been called on my mistakes, and I’ve had to retract some things that I’ve said. As much as it displeases me to be wrong, I will admit when I am. I make a lot of statements very publicly, and people have listened to the things I’ve said; I hate steering people wrong. So when gamers have asked me about the changes coming to Sentinel/Marauder in the next patch for Star Wars: The Old Republic, I’ve been hesitant about giving an in-depth answer.

I consider myself an average player. I have not put in the tens of thousands of hours that some of the other players of the Marauder advanced class have. My game time with that class sits just under four thousand hours. But it was my main raiding and PvP class for the majority of the game. Prior to Update 3.0, I ran early Dread Fortress Nightmare content, and I have a valor rank of 80 on my Marauder. And the vast majority of the time my Marauder was Annihilation spec.

So I think I know the class well enough to make some educated statements about the upcoming changes in 3.2.1. And in today’s Hyperspace Beacon, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

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