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Global Chat: The best of both worlds

If you have ever played more than one MMORPG, the thought has probably crossed your mind that you would love to see your favorite features from all of them put together. It hurts when one game has great housing and another has some of the best group content that you have experienced. Why can’t you just create the best of both worlds?

Zeriah spent some time wishing for exactly this as she drew up a list of features from both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV that she’d love to see merged together.

“If I could take a bit from each game and combine it into one, I think I’d be in heaven,” she said. “FFXIV has some of the most amazing outfits I have ever seen in a game and while it has transmog system but I feel it would be made truly amazing by the addition of the armor journal WoW has brought in.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 174: Fallout vs. Elder Scrolls

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin take tentative steps into the early reveals of E3 — including Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls Online, Anthem, and Final Fantasy XIV, all while dealing with a ton of updates and even an expansion launch. June is here, and we’re all gaming hard!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Enter to win a Star Trek Online Gamma Vanguard Starter Pack on PC from PWE and MOP

Victory is Life is officially live in Star Trek Online just in time for E3, harkening back to the much-loved run of Deep Space Nine.

Star Trek Online’s fourth major expansion, Victory is Life, is now available on PC. The update takes Captains on a journey to the Gamma Quadrant, where they will team up with crew members from Deep Space Nine to battle the Hur’q. This includes Quark (Armin Shimerman), Odo (René Auberjonois), Kira (Nana Visitor) and nine other characters voiced by the actors who originated the roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The expansion also introduces a brand new Jem’Hadar playable faction, increased level cap, seven new episodes and an all-new Gamma Quadrant Sector Battlezone.”

To celebrate last week’s launch, PWE has granted Massively OP a bunch of goodies to give away! We’ve got 50 codes for the Gamma Vanguard Starter Pack for our PC readers. Each pack includes a T6 Jem’Hadar Vanguard Dreadnought Cruiser, the playable Jem’Hadar Vanguard Species unlock, a Jem’Hadar Tactical Uniform, the “Victory is Life” title, and the “Plain and Simple” title. Do note that the cruiser can be used by only Dominion captains, and all of it’s for PC accounts only. Read on to enter to win!

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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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One Shots: Rave on Risa

I love how in the Star Trek universe, the universal consensus on what makes for an ideal vacation spot is a planet that looks a lot like Miami Beach. I mean, there’s a whole galaxy out there, people! Is it possible that there are any slightly more exciting, exotic, and thrilling vacation destinations than Jimmy Buffet’s island paradise?

Junior Ensign JonBuck doesn’t think so: “In Star Trek Online, there’s only one good place for vacations: Risa!”

Yes, I want to go to the place where humanoid cats are getting jiggy with it while wearing a two-piece. Wait, I thought cats don’t like water?

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The Daily Grind: What MMO celebration do you never miss?

The first year that any MMORPG that I’m playing launches a new festival or holiday, I’m usually all over it. Sometimes I get too much into it, spending so much time farming rewards or digging through the activities that it sours me for future years.

But there are always those celebrations that I make a point to check in and see. The allure of a free Tier 6 starship in Star Trek Online usually brings me out for its summer holiday event, and I am a huge fan of the haunted burrow in Lord of the Rings Online’s fall festival. And it wouldn’t be Christmas if I wasn’t logging into World of Warcraft to see what awaited me under the tree!

What MMO celebrations or holidays do you never miss? Which ones pull you back to the game, if only for a day or two, even if you’ve been away for months?

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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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Champions Online puts subscription switch on hold in light of player disapproval

So, as we reported Friday, Champions Online was on deck to lose its subscriptions just like Star Trek Online. Except that as many, many players pointed out on the forums with varying degrees of politeness, the difference is that at the level cap in STO, you don’t really need a subscription any longer. CO has those wonderful freeform character slots, and you lose them without a subscription… and the change to models would have had those go away with no option but the $50 freeform slot purchase.

After a weekend of angry comments, the official decision has been to hold off on this particular change and the premium pack until the developers can figure out another way to handle the changeover. Good news for players who didn’t want to lose out on their freeform slots during the change, bad news for… well, no one, really. Not every game with an optional subscription is created equal.

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Star Trek Online: Victory is Life launches with a revamped DS9, playable Cardassians, and the Jem’Hadar faction

On the 25th anniversary of Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Online is carrying the cult TV show forward with today’s release of the Victory is Life expansion.

There’s a widespread amount of content for players to enjoy with today’s release. In addition to six new episodes and a level cap increase to 65, Cryptic has given the iconic Deep Space Nine a huge overhaul, enabled playable Cardassians, instituted the Jem’Hadar faction, recruited a dozen of the series’ actors to reprise their roles, added a Swarm queue, and thrown in a Gamma Quadrant battlezone. The studio also activated a Jem’Hadar recruitment event that’s running through July 18th to give players added incentive to rolling up one of these characters.

Lead Developer Al Rivera said that the team wanted to forge new territory with this expansion: “We kind of figured out we should do the Hur’q, because the Hur’q are from the Gamma Quadrant. The only thing we know about the Hur’q [from the show] is that they stole the Sword of Kahless, that 1000 years ago they invaded the Klingon homeworld — they’re the only aliens that ever defeated the Klingons. That’s exactly the kind of thing we like to explore in Star Trek Online.”

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Champions Online is discontinuing its subscription too

Back in May, PWE surprised Star Trek Online players by effectively discontinuing the game’s optional monthly subscriptions, replacing them with a starter pack that allowed everyone to permanently unlock most of the stuff they were getting with that sub. Now it appears it’s doing the same thing for Champions Online, which was also a hybrid free-to-play title.

“We’re making a change to how subscriptions work in Champions Online,” the studio posted today. “The Lifetime Subscription will still be available and unchanged, but we’re shifting away from monthly subscriptions. As of June 7th, those subscriptions will no longer be available on our website. Instead, we’re replacing them with a brand new purchasable pack, Premium Pack.”

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Star Trek Online sets Deep Space Nine Victory is Life expansion for June 5 as players grumble over newest faction

Star Trek Online has officially put a launch date on its Deep Space Nine-based expansion, Victory is Life: June 5th, at least for PC.

“The Deep Space Nine-themed update takes Captains on a maiden journey to the Gamma Quadrant, where they team up with crew members from DS9 to battle the Hur’q. This includes Quark (Armin Shimerman), Odo (René Auberjonois), Kira (Nana Visitor), Doctor Bashir (Alexander Siddig) and eight other characters voiced by the original cast members. The expansion also introduces a brand new Jem’Hadar playable faction, increased level cap, seven new episodes, an all-new Gamma Quadrant Sector Battlezone and other gameplay features.”

Meanwhile, as technically Star Trek Online is adding a new playable faction as part of the expansion, you should probably temper your expectations. You should temper them quite a lot. As players are discovering while they explore the test servers, there’s not a whole lot of original content for the Jem’Hadar faction.

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PlayStation 4 heads into the end of its life cycle, making console MMOs nervous

No console lives forever, although it seems like the more recent generations have enjoyed lengthy runs. Sony delivered some disconcerting news to fans this week as it said that the PlayStation 4, which debuted back in 2013, is now heading into the end of its life cycle as hardware sales decrease.

This doesn’t mean that the console is going to be abandoned any time soon, just that Sony is shifting its hardware priorities elsewhere. Software sales are still expected to continue strong for the time being, and the company reported that the online PlayStation Network now has 80 million users. Sony told The Wall Street Journal that the next iteration of the popular platform is at least three years off.

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Perfect Ten: The unique pitfalls of licensed MMOs

Making a list of the “biggest” MMOs currently running is always an exercise in frustration. It’s easy to put a few things on the list – no one’s going to argue with placing World of Warcraft on such a list, for example – but then everything else always gets mired in opinions and controversy, and endless cycles of “why isn’t this game I love on there while another game I don’t like is there?!” I speak from experience.

Still, on our list of the healthiest MMOs at the moment, we’ve got only three licensed games: Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Those are by no means the only entries on the licensed game list, of course, but there does seem to be something of a dearth of those. And perhaps that’s more understandable than it seems. For all that we talk about how one setting or another would be perfect for an MMO, there are some unique troubles you inevitably run into when you get into the licensed MMO shuffle.

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