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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Shroud of the Avatar goes all-in on Star Wars homages

With a revamp on the way with Release 55, Shroud of the Avatar’s East Vauban Foothills is getting promoted from a Tier 3 to a Tier 5 area and is being given greater difficulty to match. Everything in the region has gone topsy-turvy as undead have taken over a village and cultists are taking advantage of the confusion and chaos.

Perhaps a mad scientist wizard shouldn’t have intentionally transformed people into zombies to see if he could cure them? That seems like an ethically questionable move, not to mention a dumb one.

Anyway, last weekend’s Shroud of the Avatar newsletter went on to covering another zone in the works for this month’s patch, the marsh of Norgard Fens. The team is also introducing some blatantly Star Wars-themed items to the game, such as “electric swords,” Stormtrooper-looking helmets, adobe domes with burnt skeletons (Uncle Owen nooo), and, of course, blue milk. Homage!

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The Daily Grind: What’s your biggest ever MMO splurge?

Ever since Trove launched its superhero-themed expansion Heroes, I’ve been hemming and hawing over buying the big mama upgrade package for the Vanguardian and the gobs upon gobs of currency that comes with it. You guys, I want it, but I have such guilt over spending that much dough on a single class and the costume fluff I’d probably buy with the rest of it. For the same stack of cash, I could buy five or ten whole games on Steam.

It’s silly. I’ve paid way more for dumber things; ask me how much I paid to move a bunch of toons across accounts in Star Wars Galaxies back in the day when that kind of cash was far dearer to me. So I should just get it while the fam is still into the game. And yet… I keep stalling.

How about you? What MMO have you splurged on lately, and what’s the biggest MMO splurge you’ve ever made?

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Players petition BioWare for a console port of SWTOR

Here’s the burning question of the hour: Would you like to see Star Wars: The Old Republic join its single-player predecessors on the console? Do you see this as improving the MMO’s long-term survivability and potentially growing its fanbase, or would it be too difficult, costly, and unnecessary?

There is a crowd of gamers out there who are clamoring for a SWTOR port, as evidenced by a new Change.org petition for BioWare to create one. “I understand that this game was created with only the PC in mind, but with how increasingly popular Star Wars is becoming, a console version would be a great idea,” the petition’s creator wrote. “Not everyone has access to a computer to play this amazing game on and I think more people should have access to it.”

Let’s turn it over to you and see what you think by voting in our poll below.

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‘Magic through serendipity’: Raph Koster on the glorious mess that was Ultima Online

I was a wide-eyed, naive kid when I first stepped into Ultima Online in 1997, and as it turns out, the developers were too.

That’s my takeaway from reading through the Ultima Online chunk of Raph Koster’s new book, Postmortems. Koster, as any dedicated MMORPG fan will recall, went by “Designer Dragon” back then as the creative lead on the game. Having come from a MUD background, he and his wife Kristin Koster were instrumental in shaping Richard Garriott’s seminal MMORPG and therefore the genre as we know it.

Koster kindly sent us a preprint of the book, unwittingly robbing himself of $35, as I was going to buy it anyway, and it’s massive, folks: over 700 pages spanning three decades and the majority of the online games Koster’s worked on during his long tenure in the gaming industry. Some of those games are definitely of more interest to our readers on Massively OP, in particular Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. It’s the Ultima Online chapters I aim to cover today.

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The Stream Team: Has it come to SWTOR’s End Times?

Massively OP’s Larry and MJ have left the void behind and are moving into SWTOR’s Chapter VIII, End Times. The base is under assault! Can the duo protect it? They are definitely ready for a fight, and ready for you, the audience, to determine the direction of the important choices. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to make all the big alignment decisions in…

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Enjoy the show!

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Perfect Ten: Ten things you need to understand about MMORPG Rogues

Sometimes I know that I may be a bit too old-school because there’s a little twitch in my eye whenever I have to refer to a given class as a Rogue. That’s become my go-to replacing Thief, and it really does make a fair amount of sense: Rogue skillsets are usually more covering a variety of skulky activities, which incorporates but is no means limited to thievery. Not to mention that calling someone a “Thief” seems like it’s underselling the situation.

Especially when the party is frequently engaged in the act of assault, murder, destruction of property, and unnatural acts with corpses.

A while back, I talked about how to understand the lifestyle of the MMO Warrior, because there’s always a Warrior. Just as surely, there’s always a Rogue, or a Thief, or if you have to go a little further afield, a Scoundrel or Stalker. So in the spirit of understanding these conventions, let’s talk about understanding MMO Rogues.

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The Daily Grind: Will you sub to EA’s new ‘Origin Access Premier’ service?

During EA Play this weekend, EA announced Origin Access Premier, its attempt at a subscription service on PC. For $100 a year, you’ll basically get a service pretty similar to what already exists on Xbox: You’ll be able to play all the big new games, like Anthem, plus other titles within the Origin Vault, for that flat fee.

Subscriptions rise again, right? Is this a good thing for games outside the service?

“As always, I want to Bree to win the lottery, buy up some MMOs and take them to the Island of Misfit MMOs where $200 per annum gets you sub/pref access to all of RIFT, LOTRO, STO, SWTOR, et al.,” MOP tipster Sally wrote to us, urging us to write about the sub. “But picture that you are a hard-working indie dev. You already have the issues with dealing with Steam. Now a customer has to decide whether to buy your game or just play something like Anthem for no additional cost.”

Will you be subbing to EA’s new Origin Access Premier service? Do you think it’ll have a catastrophic impact on indie games or MMOs with subs?

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E3 2018: BioWare’s Anthem has soloable co-op open world, no lockboxes, a sweet trailer, and a February 22 launch

At this afternoon’s EA Play, EA and BioWare have revealed Anthem’s brand-new trailer. The game is now slated to launch on February 22nd, 2019.

During the developer discussion, BioWare said it recognized the problems inherent in storytelling in a multiplayer shared world (reiterating Casey Hudson’s dev blog from not that long ago), but it thinks it’s found a way to reconcile driving the story without sacrificing multiplayer gameplay.

Characters will play as “freelancers” piloting Javelin exosuits, trying to survive in a hostile environment, and fighting the bad guys trying to exploit the power. There are four Javelins, each with a different way to play the game: Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor, Storm. “You are not your suit,” BioWare cautions; you can flip between them depending on the gameplay you want to take part in from moment to moment.

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E3 2018: EA confirms its open-world Star Wars game, Jedi Fallen Order

At EA Play this afternoon, Electronic Arts confirmed that it is indeed working on a Star Wars game, previously rumored as an open-world game.

The game’s title is Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, which makes it clear we’ll be playing around in the Jedi lore. It’s also set during the Dark Times when Vader and Palpatine are busying themselves hunting down all the remaining Jedi, which puts it somewhere in the 20-year period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

EA says the game is scheduled for “holiday of 2019,” so there’s something big to look forward to next year. Aaaaand that’s it – it’s not ready to be shown at E3 this year, unfortunately.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMORPG vet reward you’ve ever gotten?

CCP Games rolled out a pretty sweet veteran reward for EVE Online vets this week ahead of the game’s anniversary: Everybody who’s been playing since the game went free-to-play in 2016 picked up a tier one Abyssal Filament.

That got me thinking about vet rewards in general. It’s actually become a pretty rare concept in MMORPGs, largely because they were originally intended to reward people for being loyal subscribers, but of course, fewer and fewer MMOs have subscriptions anymore.

I’ve picked up some really good rewards over the years that actually made me want to keep my sub going. Remember the vet reward resource crates in Star Wars Galaxies? My favorite might be my ethereal mounts in Ultima Online, or maybe my seed box (it holds hundreds of gardening seeds to cut down on the inventory mess).

What’s the best MMORPG vet reward you’ve ever gotten, and what did you have to do exactly to earn it?

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The Soapbox: Do MMOs still fall victim to the copycat curse?

When Radical Heights launched, I was inspired to put together a whole Perfect Ten about why trend-chasing doesn’t work for online games. Obviously, my chief focus was on games that wind up being developed at a rushed pace to cash in on trends and then run face-first into problems with chasing momentary trends, which… you know, you can just read the article; it’s linked right there. But it also prompted a follow-up question by longtime reader Sally Bowls asking why, with all of these issues, why the same rules don’t apply to MMOs.

The answer? Well, there isn’t one answer. There are three answers, all of which are part of the same set of considerations. For one thing, there’s the difference of development time and depth. For another, there’s the time before grinding. And last but not least, well… they do apply, really. But let’s take this piece by piece to talk about why trend-chasing for MMOs doesn’t quite provoke the same immediate reactions as it does for, say, MOBAs.

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Perfect Ten: What I’ve always wished for in a Fallout MMO

This week I’ve been absolutely consumed by the thought of Fallout 76. I know, I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up for a proper MMORPG, but even the prospect of some online multiplayer functionality thrills me to no end.

Fallout has been one of my favorite computer RPG series ever since its first installment way, way back in the 1990s. I played Fallout 2 like crazy back in the day, log in to Fallout Shelter frequently now, and just recently started my third journey into Fallout 4.

There’s so much to love about these games, which is I’m quite eager to see the full reveal of Fallout 76 by Bethesda at E3 next week. Before that happens, however, I want to share with you what I’ve always wished for in a Fallout MMO. It has such potential to be an awesome online RPG with a huge built-in fan base and big developer muscle behind it. Let me share my list and then you do the same in the comments!

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The Daily Grind: Do you start over in MMOs when your character or account is maxed out?

Over the last year or so, my six-year-old has been making his way through LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga on our old PS3. Yes, I know it’s not an MMO, but bear with me a sec. Last week, he broke 4B studs in the game, completely legitimately, which is apparently as high as it goes. We didn’t even know there was cap, but there it is. And my son was despondent. He wanted to nuke everything and start over because, as he put it, there was no point to playing if he wasn’t getting a score and racking up studs. He’d rather start over with nothing as long as it meant he had goals to work toward.

This is not at all how my husband and I play games, especially MMOs: Life is too short to worry about scoring; we play for fun, and if it’s not fun, we quit and find something that is. We don’t delete characters who hit the level cap and max out their gear, or abandon maxed out accounts, because the point wasn’t the characters but what we can do with them. And yet somehow, our kid has come to the opposite conclusion, which was an eye-opener to me.

Then again, I can see the appeal. I used to start over on fresh servers in Star Wars Galaxies just to see how far I could get with nothing but knowledge. There’s definitely amusement and challenge to starting over. (We did talk him out of deleting his saves entirely, at least!)

Do you start over in MMOs when your character or account is maxed out?

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