Former City of Heroes players have plenty of options to try to fill the void of their favorite MMO. There’s a chat shell that uses the original client, there are superhero MMOs out right now, there are multiple superhero MMOs in development, and now, there’s a City of Heroes emulator for those who don’t mind walking on the grey side of legality.
The project is Super Entity Game Server (or SEGS for short), which allows fans to run their own City of Heroes server. SEGS has just put out its first public release and compares itself to SWGemu in focus and goals. Right now the client is fairly limited, allowing players to make characters and walk around Atlas Park, but the team hopes that it will be expanded to include all of the content that City of Heroes had when it closed down.
MassivelyOp reader Bryan recently wrote to us with a fun question about emulators, a topic that will simply never die as long as MMORPGs do.
“I recently viewed some comments claiming that official era servers wouldn’t acquire much of the player base from private servers, due the benefit of private servers typically being free to play. After thinking about it though, I actually know many people who have donated money or purchased cash shop items on private servers. And I have been in guilds that paid for guild website hosting and guild voice chat hosting for their private server guild. Free stuff is always nice, of course, but it seems as though while the benefit of free to play private servers is there, there’s still a decent amount of people willing to pay out of their pockets for them. I am wondering, how many MOP readers have donated or would be willing to spend real money on a private server?”
So let’s tackle the emulator question in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Have you ever played on an emulator? Under what circumstances? Which ones are you OK with, and which ones do you stay far away from? Are you OK with emulators raising money, and for what purpose? And have you ever donated money to or spent money on an MMO emulator?
Let’s talk game preservation. We’ve been covering MADE’s attempt to convince the government to tweak its interpretation of the DMCA to basically allow museums, academics, and institutions of learning to bypass laws against reconstituting the tech infrastructure necessary to get old dead online games back into playable (and therefore researchable) format. The law and its collected exemptions already essentially allow the preservation of everything but MMOs, leaving our specific genre screwed. MADE’s proposal was met with what I can characterize only as a melodramatic and inflammatory paper from ESA lobbyists opposing it on copyright grounds and suggesting that MADE is basically a party house planning to profit off throngs of gamers who will show up to play games closed down 15 years ago.
As we wrote yesterday, honest MMO developers roll their eyes at the idea that games which were sunsetted because of insufficient players ages ago are suddenly going to pose a financial threat if resurrected for academic purposes.
I wanted to open the topic up for discussion for the writers and readers. A lot of the MMO playerbase, I know, already supports emulators, whether or not they’re legal, and will gladly hop on board the “it belongs in a museum” train if it helps get us closer to a world where companies can’t sit on game code forever. Do MMORPGs belong in a museum? How far should the law go when it comes to protecting copyrights for shuttered games?
If you’ve not played on the original Star Wars Galaxies emulator in a season or two, it’s probably escaped your notice entirely that its core server, Basilisk, had a serious extended downtime back in August thanks to the hosting provider, which turns out to have been a blessing for the game’s longevity.
“We lost disks on the original Basilisk server causing us to do manual work to restore the game server databases, this work resulted in the restoration of the server on August 16, 2017,” explain the admins. “The week before this incident one of the mirrored disks failed, our hosting provider failed to notify us and meanwhile we did not get the emails from the sever alerting us to disk issues. In a sad twist of fate the second disk that was mirroring this failed drive also started to fail a week later. The odds of two disks failing within such a short timeframe are fairly rare.”
Star Wars Galaxies was the game that sucked Massively OP’s MJ into MMORPsGs, so how could she not celebrate its birthday? The official game may be gone, but there’s still an emu to hang out in and immerse in the memories. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for some music and maybe even some mayhem in…
What: Star Wars Galaxies Emu
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 26th, 2017
As expected, Final Fantasy XIV made its big expansion announcement at Fanfest this past weekend, and the Massively OP Podcast team is here to pick over the surprising details of the reveal. It’s more than just Stormblood, however, as WoW’s 7.1 patch, Daybreak’s mysterious new project, and a sad goodbye to a children’s MMO take up the hour.
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.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we witnessed Destiny laying the foundation for its incoming Rise of Iron expansion. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from EverQuest II, Path of Exile, EVE Online, and more, all waiting for you after the break!
If the core SWG emulator and its many spinoffs aren’t to your liking, Darklight SWG might be.
Lead developer Jameson “Levarris” Connors explained to us that his team’s goal is to build on the core emu for Star Wars Galaxies without the limitations of pre-CU or NGE. “Over the course of the past year and a half we have been slowly working to completely reshape the entire game by creating an absolutely new combat system with role based profession systems that are completely balanced,” he says, likening his emu to “SWG 2.0.”
The setting is a new one for emulators too: It begins one year after Return of the Jedi rather than between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, which means it ties in better with the new trilogy. “As a result, virtually everything in the game has had to be changed to reflect this new point in the timeline: The Rebellion replaced with the New Republic, the Empire in disarray as it struggles to maintain control in the prelude to the Battle of Jakku.”
One caveat: SWG’s emulators aren’t officially sanctioned by Daybreak or Disney but have seemingly been allowed to exist ever since the NGE. This particular emu is in pre-alpha, but you can check out some of the trailers below.
I like to think of myself as the kind of person who doesn’t care all that much about aesthetics as long as a game is awesome, and some of my MMORPG choices back that up. I still play Ultima Online, for example, and I will put up with a lot of awkward 2003 graphics to get my Star Wars Galaxies emu on. But when it comes to my characters? I just have to ensure they are super awesome-looking, as awesome as I can get them in the game. How they look literally affects how I feel about playing them, and I don’t necessarily mean how pretty they are — I have been known to play Ithorians, Gnomes, and Sylvari, after all — just whether they perfectly match my vision for them.
For example, I have abandoned more Guild Wars 2 Charr characters than I care to admit because I couldn’t find just the right armor for them. The druid armor my Charr Ranger is wearing now, however, is perfection, and it literally saved the character for me. On the flipside, my main character is a Sylvari Warrior, and to this day I’ve never found an armor set for her that I liked, which makes me want to play her less. I just don’t go in for giant shoulders, boob windows, butt capes, and foliage.
How about you? Does your characters’ appearance and gear change how you feel about playing them? How much does your MMORPG character’s appearance matter to your gameplay?
The infamous Star Wars Galaxies launched 13 years ago tomorrow. As the game that tossed MassivelyOP’s MJ down the rabbit hole of MMOs and began her virtual world addiction, she can’t help but head into the emulator to relive some of those grand moments for its anniversary. Join us live at 4:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team returns to the Mos Eisley cantina for a dance down memory lane in…
What: Star Wars Galaxies Emu
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 4:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 25th, 2016
Last week, a clever Massively OP commenter, SC_Deadline, neatly summed up the ongoing Nostalrius emulator shutdown as Blizzard “bust[ing] up someone’s nostalgia party,” which stuck with me all weekend as I mulled over how to approach this piece. I sympathize with emulator players, of course; I’ve been tooling around on emulators since the earliest days of Ultima Online’s, and the Star Wars Galaxies emulation community kept me sane after my favorite MMORPG of all time was ripped from the internet and replaced with a themepark. I’ll forever champion emulation communities from the angle of historical preservation even as I know that much of what they do falls within the dark shadow of the law.
And you know what? I sleep fine at night. I can accept that part of myself that gives zero fucks whether SWGEmu, for example, infringes on copyrights, as long as I can still have my droid shop on Tatooine.
I can also accept that my fun will come to a halt the day the copyright holder puts its foot down, and while I’m sure it will hurt like hell, I won’t proclaim I’m entitled to intellectual property that was never mine to begin with.
What’s impossible for me to accept is this ugly and pervasive idea that people who play emulators are hopelessly mired in some irrepressible, unflattering “nostalgia.”
Ex-Daybreak President John Smedley took to Twitter last night to throw his support behind MMO emulator projects. While most studios publicly ignore or condemn these fan projects, it was a well-known secret that Daybreak held a favorable attitude about them.
“I’ve been asked recently about my feelings on emulators like SWG Emu and things like Project 1999,” he posted. “Now that I’m no longer at Daybreak/SOE I can speak my mind. Truth is I’ve always respected the hell out of the people that work on the emulator stuff. Good for them. I would love to have turned over the source code for older games as long as it’s handled properly. Anyone that has that kind of passion and backwards engineers a server is someone I respect highly.”
The Daily Dot has a long piece out this week on its Kernel subsection all about Star Wars Galaxies and its emulator underground.
Author Dennis Scimeca chronicles the life of SWG and the NGE, chats with Raph Koster, and tracks some of the designers working on the core SWGemu project. But will it ever be finished?
“After 11 years’ worth of work, [Project Lead Victor] Popovici still isn’t comfortable giving an estimate as to when the project will be finished. Once upon a time, he thought the emulator would be done by 2009, but that was actually when he realized he needed to start the server code all over again. There’s still an entire space expansion called Jump to Lightspeed that needs to be added.”