When it comes to text-based MMOs created in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, the sheer number of them would blot out the sky. There are certainly more multi-user dungeons (MUDs) than I’ve ever been able to get a handle on when I’ve tried creating lists of the most important to know, but I will say that there are a few that seem to pop up more than others. The original MUD1, created by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, was certainly a watershed moment for online roleplaying games. Learning about DikuMUD is pretty essential, considering its impact on graphical MMORPGs that we still play today.
But there’s another title that often goes unnoticed, unless you keep an eye out for it. It’s a MUD that keeps popping up when you look into the history of the MMORPG genre, one with ties to key players and design concepts that are still active today.
It’s the MUD that shaped the MMO industry, and it was called Sceptre of Goth.
Everything is better doubled. Get a paycheck? It’d be even better if it were two paychecks. Got a car? You could have two cars. Appendectomy? Make it a double
appendectomy; have your doctors get the other appendix out while they’re in there. That’s why ArcheAge
is doubling a whole lot of rewards for its Memorial Day event
. You’ll get doubled experience and honor points through May 30th, doubled experience and vocation badges from May 31st through June 6th, and tripled
experience, honor, vocation badges, and loot drop bonuses from June 7th until June 13th. We’re willing to count triples under the larger header of doubling.
If you can pull yourself away from all of that experience, you can also check out the game’s next major update on a stream this Friday, starting at 4:30 p.m. EDT. The stream will cover crafting and regrades in the game’s upcoming Erenor Eternal update, along with a look at some of the gear coming along for the ride. You can even make it a double livestream by opening up two windows with it playing; that won’t actually improve anything, but it probably won’t hurt, either.
You might recall that back in March, the RIFT
producer’s letter stated that the team was mulling over the idea of instituting limited-run “challenge servers”
that would operate with crazy rules and offer players ways to earn unique rewards for their main characters.
Well, now the team is allegedly surveying players on what they think about these proposed servers. According to a survey email that was sent out to some players, the team said, “In a recent RIFT producer’s letter, we announced our intent to release challenge servers in the future for RIFT. These fresh-start servers would feature the first 50 levels of the classic RIFT game. As a former player, we would appreciate your feedback.”
In other RIFT news, the MMO is throwing a “Shiny Shenanigans Weekend” that will conclude on May 29th. There are new sets to be found, artifact piñatas in every zone, special new rewards, and even a specific that can piñata only be spawned by one of the devs.
Dungeons are deeply on my mind as of late, mostly because I’ve been missing doing them in MMORPGs. It’s odd: In particular MMOs, I run dungeons all of the time, while in others, I hardly ever touch them. The latter situation might be due to a lack of useful grouping tools, unrewarding instances, and games that have failed to develop an active dungeon crawling culture.
But which MMO offers the best dungeon crawling experience? That’s a tough one. I’ve certainly enjoyed plenty of World of Warcraft and RIFT’s instances, and I’ll admit that Final Fantasy XIV did a great job incorporating dungeons into its core gameplay. The Secret World had some awesome boss fights (and very little in the way of trash mobs), and I loved skirmishes in Lord of the Rings Online for a good while there.
What do you think? Which MMO has the best dungeon experience and why?
What do you do if you’re a sentient stone head who has been tasked with centuries of guard duty? You probably do a lot of lounging around on a cushy chair, waiting for some Dudley Do Right to wander your way and agree to do your job for you.
Miol sends in this odd Guild Wars 2 shot from the Living Story Season 3 in response to my call for goofy screenshots: “How about a literal talking head? Silly enough?” Well, it’s noggin I like, but noggin I hate, either.
Yeah, I’ll just show myself out. Sorry about that.
Ever since the tone-deaf SOE proclamation that nobody wanted to play Uncle Owen in an MMORPG, contrary me has consciously fought that very stupid idea. A whole lot of people wanted to play Uncle Owen, then and now, there and elsewhere. Star Wars Galaxies was a game half full of Uncle Owens. I spent a lot of time literally becoming a moisture farmer as my own form of rebellion. And yet, as I realized while debating with my husband a few weeks ago, the person I really wanted to be was freakin’ Lando. And most MMORPGs don’t allow that either — it’s Luke or GTFO.
Such is the argument made by a recent PC Gamer article, which in its own precious mainstream way argues that “MMOs need to let you be an average Joe” to get out of the clear “creative slump” they’re in.
“With their scale and permanence, MMOs give us the chance to be citizens in a make-believe world we create with the help of our fellow players. When it’s left up to us what kind of role we want to fill in that world, everybody’s immersion benefits from being surrounded by all types of characters with vastly different stories.”
For this week’s Overthinking, I asked the staff to chime in on the concept of Uncle Owen in MMORPGs. Do you play this way? Do you wish you could? And is it the way forward?
A fresh expansion is on the way for ArcheAge
announced this afternoon. It’s called Erenor Eternal, and you’ll be downloading it in all its 3.5 glory on June 7th.
The expansion seems to deserve the label, as it’ll add three new ocean-themed zones – Whaleswell Strait, Aegis Island, and Whalesong Harbor – with their concomitant quests and leveling hubs, plus a new housing province and a revamp for the game’s trading system.
Endgame achiever and crafter types can expect to grind their way up the new Ancestral skillset, work through a newly RNG-free equipment crafting advancement system, and push through the overhailed regrade mechanics.
And there’s something for the PvPers too: a pair of open-world battlegrounds. “Possessing a unique PvE focus, players will hold off waves of enemies with not just their skills, but mines and heavy artillery as well,” Trion says. “Upon completion of either tower, players will be rewarded with Honor and materials used to craft the new Erenor-tier equipment.”
Kind of a weird and fascinating week for MMOs, as an expansion has a legal showdown with a charity, a western MMO is announced, and Vvardenfell decided to come to us two weeks early. Is the industry shaping up for the most explosive June on record? It might just be!
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If you were a little bit puzzled by Trion’s announcement this week that it was changing the name of RIFT’s latest expansion from Starfall Prophecy to Prophecy of Ahnket because it had “recently become acquainted” with a children’s charity called Starfall, welp, get in line behind us. It turns out that there’s more to the story.
Massively OP tipster Clowd dug up a lawsuit that sheds light on what happened behind the scenes. A trademark lawsuit – Starfall Education Foundation v. Trion Worlds, Inc. (CN 1:2017cv00650) – was filed in a Colorado district court back in March but was apparently settled out of court at the tail end of April. Connecting the dots, one might assume Trion had been sued over the name and decided to change it as part of the settlement agreement, in a decision that wasn’t quite as amicable as the producer’s letter implied.
We reached out to Trion’s PR yesterday to ask whether it wished to amend its statement about the motivation behind the decision; in particular, we asked whether the trademark was checked prior to Starfall Prophecy’s launch, whether Trion believed it might have prevailed had it not settled, whether the free giveaway of the expansion was part of the settlement or merely a marketing move, and why, if Trion was prepared to change the name, an agreement wasn’t reached prior to the filing of a lawsuit.
RIFT’s latest expansion is getting a name change from Starfall Prophecy to Prophecy of Ahnket. No, it’s not some veiled NGE; it’s just an attempt to reduce confusion with the Starfall Education Foundation charity, which seems a noble cause to us.
Perhaps the more important bit for would-be RIFT players is that the expansion is being offered for free to players who log in this weekend. Free stuff!
If you’ve already purchased the expansion, you’re not out of luck either; you’re getting a claimable Prophecy of Ahnket Cache with 2 Tenebrean Engines, 100 Phenomenal Sparkles, 10 Individual Reward Charges, 1 White Deer Companion Pet, and 1 Random Puzzle Box Dimension Item — that is, if you remember to log in and grab it before the timer runs down on May 14th. After the promo ends, the expansion will be $19.99.
Trion further notes it’s hard at work on the 4.2 update right now; it’ll include a normal mode for Tartaric Depths, big changes for the planar fragment system, and new Primalist souls.
Season 3 has dropped in Trion’s Atlas Reactor today, introducing the brand-new Hyperforge map and a brand-new support hero, Meridian.
“He blurs the line between Frontline and Support, and doesn’t feel the burden of carrying the p.u.g.s! He’s the royal Hyperion Primus that hefts a massive 2-handed hammer powered by old Reactor tech. His ultimate shields his nearby teammates turn after turn, helping keep his Firepower’s alive to win trades. He’ll launch with a Necrolancer alternate skin that is scary enough to win games through skintimidation.”
Trion’s also rolling out new skins, new achievement tracking and badges for the season, and the return of the Extraction game mode. The ranked component of the season kicks off two weeks from now and also includes special rewards for those who jump in. We’ve got all the new images of Meridian below — enjoy!
Are gamers really lonely? Do we flock to MMORPGs as a response to that? I’m pondering these thoughts today following the response of a call for screenshots that captured the emotional state of loneliness. There were several entries, which makes me think that being alone, even together, is something that’s often on our mind.
In this vein, Rees Racer has an example from — of all games — Winning Putt Online. Seriously.
“Despite several different modes of team play in Winning Putt Online, sometimes it’s just you and your putter left to walk off the 18th green after a round, wondering how it all went so terribly wrong,” Rees writes. Mental note: “Rees Writes” would be an interesting PBS kids-type show.
If you play one of Trion Worlds’ online games, then chances are very good that you also use Trion’s Glyph launcher on a daily basis. The studio said that it’s been evaluating the launcher after complaints that it was too much of a memory hog, and as a result, Trion has streamlined Glyph so that it doesn’t take up as big of a footprint when used.
Part of the solution was to drop browser functionality altogether, Trion said. Doing so has cut the program’s memory usage by as much as 75% in the studio’s tests.
“A great many of you mentioned the memory usage and CPU performance that Glyph was gobbling up,” Trion said. “While this won’t be the last time we assess and address this issue, we are excited to talk about the release of an update that frees up more of your computer’s resources so you can focus on crushing that 20-man raid, explore strange lands or bask in the glory of your fantastic creations.”