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Massively Overthinking: The City of Heroes Master X Master debacle

On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.

Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.

For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #18-13

Last week we were off to a great start as we listened to the first batch of player-voted favorite MMO themes. As I said then, the results of the voting, in which I asked players to nominate up to 10 of their favorite main themes from online games, were both predictable and surprising. Nostalgia and familiarity obviously play a strong role in many of these votes, but no one was asking for objectivity here!

Today we're going to continue our countdown to the top spot by looking at numbers 18 through 13 of your favorite MMO themes. I think there's a good mix here, perhaps with tunes that I would have placed a little higher, but overall it's gratifying to see each one of these make the list.

Enough jibber-jabber, let's get to it!

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The Stream Team: Looking for SWTOR's Lady of Sorrows

Senya went off to do some "work," leaving Massively OP's MJ and Larry to skulk about SWTOR's Old World of Zakuul to learn more about the planet as well as search for the Lady of Sorrows. What information will they dig up on the surveillance feeds? What more can MJ's Agent learn about the Emperor as he continues his attempts to goad her into using his dark powers? Many questions depend on the choices you, the viewer, make. We call this Choose My Alignment for a reason! Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to have your chance at swaying the vote as MJ and Larry walk deeper into the dangerous underbelly of Zakuul.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

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Hyperspace Beacon: If you're not playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, why are you still subbed?

Let me start this article by answering my own headline: It's partly because I'm an idiot and cannot let go of this IP.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been a part of my life for over six years, and not having it there to fall back on would be difficult. But I could still play SWTOR without a subscription. Many of my friends still do! The truth of the matter is that I'm still having fun in the game, just not playing the game. I still have a guild of about 50 people who log in regularly to participate in activities. I have friends whom I've grown close to. And as much as I hate to say it, there is no other game that can give me my Star Wars fix.

I guess it's possible that I could still log into the game and not pay a dime for it, but hopefully, if I tell you what happens during my typical game day, you will understand why I still hold a subscription for the game, despite not playing a single bit of the content BioWare has given and sold me.

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South Korea's Netmarble to launch ambitious IPO

South Korean Tencent affiliate Netmarble announced today that it will launch an initial public offering to the tune of $2.35 billion US. That works out to approximately 17 million newly issued shares.

As GI.biz explains, Netmarble is hoping to pay off debts and increase its holdings, building "towards a state goal of being in the top five global gaming companies by 2020."

Reuters calls the IPO the second-largest for the country, sandwiched between two Samsung IPOs.

In the west, the company is probably best known for games like Lineage 2: Revolution, Prius, and Uncharted Waters; its recent partnership with Disney came with a license for Marvel and Star Wars titles as well.

Source: Reuters via GI.biz

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The Daily Grind: Should MMOs ever retire classes?

Last week, I asked the Massively OP readers whether World of Warcraft needed another class (I want the Bard, obviously). But one Facebook fan proposed something different entirely: Why not "retire a few classes" to "keep it fresh?"

I suspect that nearly everyone reading is recoiling in horror at the thought of deleting classes from MMOs, which is exactly why I wanted to stare the concept full in the face to sort out why. MMO developers seem to have few qualms about retooling classes -- your characters -- to be almost unrecognizable from their original versions, applying band-aid after band-aid to make them functional and keep them around. Would it really be so bad to nuke them entirely and start from scratch with something built from the ground up?

Yes, say thousands of Star Wars Galaxies Bio-Engineers and Creature Handlers. I hear you. But what if they'd done it more gracefully and replaced them more immediately with something, as the commenter put it, "fresh," as opposed to nuking them overnight and replacing them with nothing?

Should MMOs ever retire classes? Can you think of acceptable circumstances for such a thing?

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Tamriel Infinium: Battlegrounds will change Elder Scrolls Online PvP forever

I've read all the impressions from the PAX East show that I could find, and they were all overwhelmingly mild -- including ours. As you hopefully know by now, Elder Scrolls Online showed off its instanced PvP battlegrounds, and the media consensus is that they are... coming. And that's it. This really surprised me. It's superficially hard to tell whether people have come to expect one thing from battlegrounds (because so many other games already have them) and ESO really isn't changing the formula -- or the battlegrounds really aren't anything to write home about.

If you were to take Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler's word for it, battlegrounds will change PvP in ESO forever because they're a type of PvP that ESO has never had before, which is true. Personally, I do believe not only that battlegrounds will bring something special to Elder Scrolls Online but that other games should pay attention to ESO because it's actually doing something innovative without drawing too much attention to it.

Battlegrounds aren't perfect; there will be some drawbacks, but let's take an honest look at what this new PvP type means for Elder Scrolls Online and maybe other MMOs in the future.

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Raph Koster explains why griefing in virtual reality isn't going away

Even if you can overlook the expense, the current lack of games, the potential for nausea, and the annoyance of wearing a clamshell on your sweaty face, virtual reality has a looming problem: trolls.

Turns out that the same internet jerks who ruin online spaces and games via text and avatar show up to do the same in virtual reality too.

As MIT Technology Review wrote yesterday, part of the point of socializing in virtual worlds is to feel the "presence" of other people -- but the very benefit that makes "virtual reality so compelling also makes awkward or hostile interactions with other people much more jarring," such as when people invade your private space or try to touch your avatar without permission.

The publication highlights AltSpaceVR, a startup building tools to help people deal with trolls. The company has some of the basics already -- like a way to make obnoxious people invisible with a block -- but it's also working on a "personal space bubble" to stop people from groping your virtual self without permission, which they would otherwise do because people are gross and have no shame.

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #24-19

What are the best and most popular MMO theme songs of all time? A couple of weeks ago I posed this question to the Massively OP community and encouraged fans to submit their own list of music themes in response. We saw a healthy amount of email votes and comment nominations since then, and I was able to compile a nice list of the top 24 MMORPG themes from it.

There were several surprises, at least to me, in the final results. I thought some games would've gotten more nods, while others seemed to come out of nowhere to demand a spot on the list. Each of the themes on this list was put out there by at least two fans, which is why we're going to start with number 24. I'm thinking we might have an honorable mentions column as a post-script, but we'll see how it goes.

Today we will begin our countdown to number one, looking at your favorite MMO themes with my own take on each. Let's get started!

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PAX East 2017: En Masse tells us all about TERA's console port

Putting TERA on consoles seems like it's the most obvious combination of games and platforms ever conceived. Even more than Super Mario Bros. and the NES controller, or Star Wars and awkward dance sequences. I was happy to get a chance to talk a bit about the recent announcement of the console port with En Masse at this year's PAX East, and the obvious question that sprang to mind wasn't about why it is getting a port but why it is happening now instead of earlier.

In a word? Timing. When TERA originally launched, it was the middle of the life cycle for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and neither console was really a perfect match, according to the studio. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, on the other hand, are both more powerful systems and systems designed from the ground up to be suited to online connectivity and interaction. The result was that it was the right opportunity for the team to make the port happen, with all of the stars aligning perfectly.

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The Soapbox: Everyone's being dumb about Star Wars: The Old Republic's lightsaber

A couple of years ago, The Force Awakens introduced us to (among other things) a lightsaber that looks poorly made, like a little kid made it. So Star Wars: The Old Republic added a version of it to a lockbox, and everyone got pissy. Then it got added to direct sales, and everyone got pissy.

Including me! Except, in my case, not because I feel like one side or the other is being hard done by. No, it's that rare situation wherein I consider pretty much everyone involved to be whining about something that really requires not the slightest bit of whining. Yes, everyone here is being dumb and I am on absolutely no one's side here. Except for the side of tegu.

As such, I've compiled my thoughts briefly below, with sections dedicated to both "sides" of the debate and all of the people who are mad. I've also included a few pictures of big old lizards because I was told that I couldn't write an entire column about liking lizards and I can be petulant, too. So if you don't care about this debate, check out some lizard pictures. That'd be fun.

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The Stream Team: Senya's secret is out in SWTOR

Massively OP's MJ has made it through the trials, and now SWTOR's Scions of Zakuul have agreed to help her and Larry as they work against Arcann. MJ also learned a secret about Senya. What will MJ's Chiss do about this revelation? That all depends on which way the Choose my alignment votes go. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to sway the vote as Larry and MJ move forward with their plans to dethrone Arcann.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

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Star Wars: The Old Republic opens up direct sales of the Unstable Arbiter's Lightsaber

When Star Wars: The Old Republic first introduced the Unstable Arbiter's Lightsaber with one of its random item packs, players were unhappy about it. It was a highly desirable item locked behind an uncomfortable amount of random chance, which is bad enough in and of itself, but it was also being advertised as if it were common. Bit unfair, that. So now you can, in fact, buy the lightsaber directly, the first time that a high-rarity reward from an item pack has been available for purchase directly from the game's store.

The down side, of course, is that it's pricey. Sixty bucks for a lightsaber pricey.

The rationale is that this will, hopefully, preserve the rarity of the item (and the sense of it being either very expensive or a very lucky drop) while also making it directly available to fans who want it. Naturally, no one is happy about this, either. Expect a similar reaction in a few weeks when everyone just gets a half-dozen unstable lightsabers for logging in and the people who had already acquired one are unhappy about having their work ruined.

Source: Official site via Dulfy; thanks to Sally for the tip!

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