tad williams

Perfect Ten: The 10 tiers of MMORPG lore

Lore! Huh! What is it good for? Understanding why you’re standing in the middle of a pack of angry people with fangs in MMOs, of course. It’s the thin line dividing your actions from being reckless, indiscriminate mayhem and discriminating, careful mayhem. Lore is how you know what the world is like beyond your front door, and it’s the difference between understanding that you face Ragnaros, lord of flame or just knowing that there’s a dude here made out of fire, so you should probably use water spells on him.

All lore, however, is not created equal. There’s lore that creates a detailed, vibrant world full of people with their own hopes and dreams, and there’s lore that creates a game where you know what you’re supposed to be doing but have no idea what people do for fun afterwards aside from waiting to die. So today, we explore the tiers of lore, arranged in a numbered list because that’s the entire premise of the column. It’s not Perfect Vague Assortment of Concepts. That’s not even a column.

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The Stream Team: Taking another look at the revamped Otherland

It’s been a long while since Massively OP’s MJ took a stream peek at Otherland. In fact, it’s been only a month shy of two years! The game wasn’t faring the best and then it disappeared for a time. But now it’s back, and with a hefty patch to boot. MJ is interested to poke inside and see what might have changed. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. as OPTV‘s infamous Stream Team brings you a second first look at…

What: Otherland
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 132: Filth TV

On this week’s show, Justin and MJ speculate about the weirdness of a Secret World TV show, get ready for World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3, celebrate Ultima Online’s 20th birthday, and more!

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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Otherland is revived on Steam as Drago takes over publishing duties

Over this summer, we’ve been getting tips suggesting that the Tad Williams Otherland MMORPG was in serious trouble, as first it went dark on Steam and then it returned, silently, with an 8GB patch. Drago Entertainment did not respond to requests for a comment then, or perhaps it could not if it didn’t control its press relations, but either way it’s finally posted something to its Facebook page today, and although it doesn’t address the Steam outage directly, it’s definitely good news going forward.

The studio explains that it was originally brought on as the developer by the investors who own the game in the wake of the RealU studio’s closure, but it was hamstrung by the publisher, who you’ll recall was Gamigo, though Drago doesn’t name names.

“Shortly after the soft launch of Otherland as a free-to-play game in September 2016, the publisher decided to hold back on most releases and information in preparation for a major relaunch planned for June this year,” Drago says. “The game not being relaunched as planned has seen the investors sit down with the publisher to voice their concerns and to keep a long story short, it has been decided that the investors will continue Otherland on their own.”

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Global Chat: Is casual raiding in MMORPGs an oxymoron?

Do you scoff, chortle, or sneer when you hear the phrase “casual raiding” among the MMO community? You might be laughing at your own ignorance of modern trends, according to Frank at Overly Positive.

“Led by a movement in games like WoW and others who want to create more inclusive endgame, raids have gradually become more accessible to casual players,” Frank writes, “whether that is from reduction in the required number of raiding players, removal of difficult gated requirements, or the ease by which you find other people to do raids with. Some people might call this a perversion or a ruining of the idea of raiding, but I’d say that it’s more of an evolution of the practice in MMOs.”

Strap yourself in (we’re all about safety here at MOP), because we have a huge tour of the MMO blogosphere today, including a farewell to Chris Metzen, a roast of Angmar, and a visit to one of the most beautiful player homes in online games.

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Perfect Ten: The worst-squandered IPs in online gaming

There are always going to be differences in opinion about what should be done with an IP based upon a franchise. That’s just natural. The same core universe could be used to make a sprawling sandbox with weak combat but a robust non-combat market and profession system, or it could be used to make a combat-focused experience that focuses on energetic fights, nifty story moments, and little else. In both cases, even if you don’t like the end result, you can understand exactly why the IP was used for this.

Our column today is not about those games. No, this is about games that completely failed to make use of their licenses to IPs, produced totles that did not in any way logically follow from the license that was given, or otherwise took pure gold and turned it into something… less than gold. There’s room to debate whether some of these IPs would ever make good MMOs, but boy, the uses we have were pretty bad.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 82: Boldly go

As the team recovers from DragonCon, PAX West, Legion’s launch, and Labor Day, it’s anything but normal around the Massively OP office. It’s fall, and that means that we’re wading into expansion and launch season for MMOs, including a couple of significant titles this past week.

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.

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Otherland moves out of early access and into commercial release

It’s a grand day for the genre-hopping Otherland. The MMO has officially moved out of early access and released as a free-to-play title after a very short open beta period. The title has also returned to Steam after a period offline, which seems to be a habit for the troubled MMO.

All characters and progress in Otherland has been wiped for the launch, and those who bought into the early access program can log in to grab a bundle of bonus rewards for their new avatars.

The dev team said that it has a couple of big patches in the works: “The next major content update will contain an overworked combat system with improved enemy AI for an even more action-loaded gameplay. Also, another larger expansion around Christmas time is already scheduled, with a level cap raise, new quests, and a brand-new world.”

Source: Official forum. Thanks ZenDadaist!

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Otherland hits open beta today, launches free-to-play on September 8

The Tad Williams-inspired sci-fi MMO Otherland shuts down today for a week of open beta. When it returns for its planned September 8th launch, it does so as a free-to-play game. Writes Gamigo,

“In preparation for the Open Beta, Otherland has received numerous updates during the previous weeks introducing new functions to the game. The tutorial has been updated, the game’s performance has been fundamentally improved, and various additional quests as well as new factions have been implemented in the story. Most importantly, the extensive crafting system has been completely reworked, with the addition of hundreds of new recipes. The battle system is undergoing a heavy re-design as well: the improved enemy AI will provide an even more action-driven gaming experience that will be further sustained by more fluid motion patterns and revised skill sets.”

The game has already had a weird time on Steam, having disappeared from the platform for a solid two months this past spring. Its early access packs are currently on sale from 30%-50% off their original $19.99-$49.99 prices.

Massively OP’s Andrew scoped out the preview version for us last year, as did Massively OP’s MJ via stream, which we’ve included below.

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Otherland’s latest patch buffs its player-driven economy

Otherland’s 5.5.50 patch this week is a big one for the crafters in its playerbase. “The crafting system has been fully revamped in this patch to make crafted items the backbone of gearing up and steer Otherland towards a more player driven economy,” Drago Entertainment says.

Player crafters will use the SOMA resource in their trade, determining the stats, level, and power of the finished product (or whether it’s purely cosmetic).

“The design goal for the future is to have crafted items being the best items in the game, superior to drops and quest rewards,” the studio says. “Only faction rewards and very rare event driven bosses are intended to be equal or better.”

Source: Steam

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Otherland patch raises level cap to 60 and introduces factions

When Otherland returned to Steam earlier this week, Drago promised that it would soon be accompanied by two sizable updates. Players didn’t have to wait long for the first of these, as Patch 5.5.42 dropped today.

The patch strives to bolster the game in many areas, starting with a level cap increase to 60. The update tour continues with the addition of 90 daily quests, 20 locations, 12 Mars side quests, better tutorial hints, higher enemy difficulty, an overhaul of SOMA drops, and an increase in group size in preparation for the game’s first raid.

Players looking to become part of a team can join one of Otherland’s new factions: “With this patch we are introducing the faction mechanics along with the first three factions: White Army, Red Army, and the Hackers residing in the Bad Sector area below Lambda Mall. Factions come with their own UI to track your reputation progress and we introduce associated daily quests along with it. ”

Source: Patch notes

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Otherland returns to Steam after two-month absence

When you’re in early access, it probably doesn’t help your cause to disappear from the world’s most popular digital games store for months at a time. Otherland has no doubt taken a hit for its absence from Steam since the end of January, but fortunately for the studio and fans alike, the title is now back up on the platform.

“It took quite a while, but Otherland is finally back in the store,” Drago posted. “There are still some smaller issues to deal with like adjusting pricing slightly in some territories and the upgrades from standard edition to deluxe and collector’s edition not showing up in the store, but those should be fixed right after the holidays.”

The studio said that it has a pair of large updates in the works for near future deployment with factions, dailies, a level cap increase, and more. Otherland is available to buy on Steam early access for $20 to $50.

Source: Steam

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Otherland should return to Steam soon

On its webpage, Otherland boldly and repeatedly advertises that it is available on Steam. Well, no it’s not — and it hasn’t been so for some time.

The trouble began back in late January, when Otherland was removed from the Steam store due to developer Drago requesting that the game be moved to a different account. This might have been prompted by talks to change the game to a different publisher. Ultimately, the move was more complicated than the studio anticipated, but Drago reported last weekend that Otherland should be coming back “any day now.”

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