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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Video: Story vs. lore, Star Wars: The Old Republic vs. The Elder Scrolls Online

In the ultimate battle for your dollar in the MMO industry, two MMOs with rabid fan bases duke it out by serving you a deep and engaging narrative. Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Elder Scrolls Online both want to draw you in with the worlds they have to offer, but each does so in a unique fashion: One gives you interesting characters build up your ego by making you the most power being in the galaxy, while the other tempts you in with a wondrous world to discover.

In Massively OP’s latest video, we’ll examine these two games and ask which is more appropriate for an MMORPG: story or lore. It’s a tough question — there might not be a satisfying answer!

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Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind will not blow your mind, but it will tickle your nostalgia

Over the last week or so, ZeniMax Online Studios opened up parts of The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind test servers to the press and public, allowing us to hop in and take a long and unfettered look at the developing expansion. In fact, that’s why I shied away from saying anything about the Elder Scrolls Online patch notes controversy — I’ve been buried in the real thing all week. Although I can now talk about the negative, I can also finally talk about the positive bits Morrowind has to offer.

I want to be fair about my analysis of ZOS’ depiction of the island of Vvardenfell and the Dark Elf culture, so I will have to put aside some of my nostalgic feels and take the experience for what it is: a solid entertaining MMORPG with a handful of flaws. I’m not going to pull any punches, but I should let you know that I really like this next chapter for ESO.

I’m not going to give everything away, but there is an interesting story involving a god, a priest, and a giant crab.

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One Shots: Lights, camera, frogs!

Just because you happen to be a humanoid frog doesn’t mean that you’ve lost at the lottery of life. On the contrary, you have all sorts of advantages, such as being able to install and replace light fixtures very high in your underground cavern. Also, you can eat flies.

Reader Finyar starts us out this week with a stunning interior location from a fan-favorite MMO: “I’m currently playing Guild Wars 2 again and I’m always impressed with how beautifully crafted the game world is.”

Art matters, people. Also, why can’t we play more frogs in online games?

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LOTRO Legendarium: A marvelous decade of Middle-earth

The first I ever heard of Lord of the Rings Online was flipping through the pages of some gaming magazine back in early 2007. At the time, I was neck-deep in World of Warcraft and wasn’t really looking around for other MMO distractions, but something about the article caught my eye.

It wasn’t the use of the Lord of the Rings book franchise, which I had respected but wasn’t exactly the most rabid fan in the world. It was a mention of an online fantasy world that hewed to a low magic setting, where dazzling spell effects and typical classes weren’t the order of the day. Instead, the article poured over how much LOTRO was trying to hew to a more realistic and believable setting (albeit one in a fictional fantasy universe), and that made it stand out to me in a sea of upcoming MMORPGs.

Months later, I was in the two-week head start, experiencing Middle-earth in a brand-new way apart from the books or Peter Jackson films. Going through the Shire in those first few days was tranquil and deeply thrilling, as if I knew that this was the start of something special. Ten years later, and I know that my gut feeling was correct. While not a perfect game, LOTRO has nevertheless grown into a wide-ranging and impressive virtual world that still has so much to offer even in this modern age.

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SWTOR expansion trailer is nominated for a Webby

Here’s a welcome shot of publicity for Star Wars: The Old Republic this week. Knights of the Eternal Throne’s “Betrayed” trailer was nominated for a Webby Award for the Long Form (Branded) category alongside companies such as BMW and Chipotle. The public can view and vote for whichever short film they think is the best, so obviously SWTOR would appreciate your help in propelling it to the top.

The trailer, created by Blur and directed by Dave Wilson, was released to promote last fall’s expansion. It shows the backstory of a powerful Force-using family and the separate paths that certain members took over the course of their lives. Also, it has a girl Force-crushing an armored soldier like he was a soda can, so that’s pretty awesome.

If you need a refresher on the trailer in question, we’ve got it for you after the break.

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The Stream Team: The end of act one in SWTOR’s KOTFE

Massively OP’s Larry and MJ have reached a major culminating part of the story in the SWTOR Choose My Alignment adventure — the end of Knights of the Fallen Empire’s first act. The duo are on the way to talk to the Scion of Zakuul, Heska. How will things unfold? That all depends on you, the viewer! Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to direct the choices during this act one conclusion.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

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Tamriel Infinium: Why I changed my mind about Elder Scrolls Online

When I took the trip to ZeniMax Online Studios to check out Morrowind a couple of months back, I was sitting at a table with other games press and a handful of ZOS developers, including Creative Director Rich Lambert and Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler. The conversation wasn’t exactly off the record, but it wasn’t really an interview setting either. We were just talking, mostly about our lives: how Brian had to leave soon because he might get in trouble with his girlfriend and how Rich spent many overnights at the same hotel that the press had been staying in because he was at the office late and had to be there again early the next day.

During the course of the conversation, we ended up talking about how the press had originally received the Elder Scrolls Online and how it received it since the console launch. It’s not a big secret that I said some pretty critical things about ESO shortly after its PC launch. Rich pointed out during the conversation, possibly not knowing the outlet I was from, that he was surprised at how the opinions had turned around, especially Massively’s. And when he said “Massively,” I don’t think he realized that it was specifically my opinion that had that changed, drastically, since I’ve been the site’s ESO columnist since before the game’s launch.

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Video: Everything you need to know about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s 5.2 War for Iokath, live today

After a week-long delay, Star Wars: The Old Republic launches its first major patch to the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion as Update 5.2: The War For Iokath today. The update continues your story directly where Eternal Throne left off and reintroduces classic companions Malavai Quinn and Elara Dorne.

Creative Director Charles Boyd spoke at length and answered a few of our most pressing questions about the update — everything from Quinn and Galactic Command ranks to raiding dynamics and win trading. Boyd doesn’t shy away from addressing any of them. Watch our interview with him in the video below to get caught up on everything coming in the update — plus check out the update’s official trailer!

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Leaderboard: Are you sick of MMORPG quests?

When World of Warcraft was in beta and I first gave it a go, I remember being absolutely captivated by questing. It wasn’t as if no MMORPGs before hadn’t included quests. Most of them had, in some way or another, be they Ultima Online’s escort quests, EverQuest’s epics, or Star Wars Galaxies’ missions. The thing that made all the games prior to Blizzard’s 2004 spectacle so different was that questing wasn’t the primary thing to do to advance your character to the cap — it wasn’t the core gameplay element at all. So those of us who were tired of grinding out mobs to level up welcomed a different paradigm, not quite realizing that we were seeing a huge shift in the way MMORPGs were going to be designed from then on out in terms of what players were expected to do — and what we would no longer be able to do at all.

Fast-forward to today: Now when an MMORPG is announced and looks to be primarily quest-driven, at least to the cap, players moan and groan about boring and tedious quest grinds. Just another themepark, people say. I’d rather log out than do one more pointless quest.

Are you also sick of MMORPG questing?

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Disney’s new Star Wars land is half an MMO

Everybody’s doing sandbox MMOARGs these days — including Disney.

Disney World in Orlando has been working on a new Star Wars ride, glad news for anyone who barfed on the old one over the last couple of decades. But Disney is getting more than an updated ride: The Star Wars expansion land part of the park nabbed an extensive panel reveal during this past weekend’s Star Wars Celebration, and it definitely shares a bit in common with live-action MMOs.

“We wanted to build new Star Wars stories, new Star Wars destinations,” Disney Creative Exec Scott Trowbridge says, echoing thousands of giddy game devs before him, “but this time you can be in the story.”

To that end, Disney is setting the new area on a new-to-the-franchise planet, within the new trilogy timeline. Attendees will fly the Millennium Falcon as one of the “rides,” and what they do during one trip will affect the trip of the next batch of guests, with “total immersion” as the goal. You’ll also be picking… a faction.

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SWTOR sits on a brand-new superweapon

Now that we’ve watched The Last Jedi teaser trailer a few hundred times and steeled ourselves for a potential Death Star Number 4, SWTOR would like to interest you in its own superweapon. When Update 5.2: The War for Iokath releases next week, players are going to work to uncover the truths behind the machine-dominated planet and its terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad secret. The team put out a dev diary that outlines some of the activities available for players on this new planet.

The devs say that players will be able to make a difference on the future of the game’s storyline: “You’ll need to make the ultimate choice between Republic and Empire, a decision that will impact the fate of Iokath and the greater galaxy. As the Alliance Commander, depending on your choice you will join forces with former Companions Malavai Quinn or Elara Dorne. Together you’ll fight to decide who will be victorious and claim the superweapons power.”

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PSA: Pick up a free astromech droid minipet in Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic fans, if you haven’t been paying any attention to Star Wars Celebration, at least point your eyeballs at this one announcement: BioWare is celebrating the event with a code that unlocks a sweet astromech droid minipet on your account.

Apply SWCELEBRATION17 to your account and get the cutest lil dude in the galaxy. Hooray for free stuff.

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SWTOR changes up producers, teases 2017 road map

Over at BioWare, the frisky employees have tagged in a new producer to handle the title. The result is that Ben Irving is out and Keith Kanneg is in as the new Star Wars: The Old Republic game producer.

Kanneg announced the changeover yesterday in his first producer’s letter, saying that Irving has moved to “a great new opportunity” in the company while Kanneg himself moved up from his previous job as director of live services.

SWTOR’s newest producer gave out his professional and gamer cred résumé: “I’ve been with BioWare/EA and SWTOR for the past six years, where I’ve held a variety of positions, and have always been a very active player with nearly 10,000 hours of gameplay, 28 plus characters and tons of achievements.”

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