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See: Ultima Online

The MOP Up: Black Desert shows pet love (August 20, 2017)

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!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from NeverwinterElder Scrolls LegendsElite DangerousSWTORMapleStoryHyper UniverseSMITETravian OnlineDiablo IIIFigureheadsPokemon GoHeroes and GeneralsRappelzUltima OnlineSoulworker OnlineBlack Desert, and Gigantic, all waiting for you after the break!

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Massively Overthinking: Alone together vs. forced grouping in MMORPGs

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that everyone has at some point seen the xkcd called Isolation, but if not, there it is. No matter what the age and era, someone’s always preaching that people were more sociable in the long long ago. In this comic, however, Randall Munroe isn’t even contesting that. His point is basically no duh and so what. Yes, we become less sociable with random people in our immediate vicinity as we gain more and more access to ideas, entertainment, and people not in our immediate vicinity thanks to technology. Ultimately, replacing impromptu stranger interaction with the amusements of our choice appears to be what a lot of people wanted all along.

MMORPG players surely see where I’m going with this because we have the same eternal struggle when it comes to in-game socializing, grouping, community, and stickiness, the tug-of-war between the people who want to play alone together and the people who think that forced grouping is the only true path to enlightenment.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to reflect on the alone together vs. forced grouping spectrum, to talk about where they stand on it, whether that position’s changed through the years, which games are addressing the divide the best, and how the two sides can move forward in a dynamic MMO genre.

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Ultima Online begins epic 20th anniversary event, warns of harassment threat

Is there any shame in throwing a birthday party for yourself? Not if you invite everyone and make it hecka fun, we say! Ultima Online has kicked off its 20th anniversary event this week, welcoming everyone to celebrate the 1997 MMORPG and all that it’s accomplished over the past two decades.

The event arc is called The Shattered Obelisk, and it will be rolled out in five parts over the next two months. It should be noted that once the fifth part arrives on September 28th, you won’t be able to access the previous four — so don’t dally!

“The Shattered Obelisk includes activities for group and solo play, challenging quests and puzzles, new areas of the world to explore and a continuation of the saga that is Ultima Online,” the team posted. “Along with the in game features and fiction that are part of Publish 98, we have exciting new fiction that will be posted on UO.com as well as support events held by our event moderators.”

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Ultima Online is giving away six ‘grandfathered’ castles for its 20th anniversary

While Ultima Online these days allows players to own only a single house on a production shard per account, that rule will be broken for six lucky winners of a new giveaway. For the game’s 20th anniversary this year, Broadsword is awarding six “grandfathered” castles — likely worth hundreds of dollars each — as additional premium homes to a half-dozen fortunate recipients on the shard of their choice.

So how can you get one? “Three of these castles will be raffled off live and in person at the 20th Anniversary party in September, and for those of you who cannot attend, three will be raffled off via a raffle stone on Test Center 1 that has been placed today at the New Haven Bank!”

Meanwhile, the game’s newest update, Publish 98, has begun its rollout with a worldwide release happening on August 15th. The update contains a 20th anniversary arc, special rewards, pet adjustments, and the return of the Halloween event. Seriously, what’s with MMOs bringing Halloween into August this year?

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Hacker claims to have made a living cheating in MMOs for two decades

Motherboard has a fun-slash-depressing piece out this week on an unnamed hacker who claims he’s been cheating at MMORPGs to make a living for almost two decades.

Prior to his recent Def Con hacking conference talk, the hacker dubbed “Manfred” seemingly demoed via video a hack performed in WildStar, one he used to help him accrue nearly 400 trillion gold, which he then allegedly sold to players through various black markets. He argues he wasn’t hacking — he was providing a service by “finding unintended features in the protocol.”

At least some of his claims don’t even seem particularly outlandish, especially if you’ve been around in MMORPGs for a long time and have an understanding of how rampant duping and RMT markets have been over the last 20 years. Manfred claims he got his start in Ultima Online illegally deleting other players’ houses and selling his own on Ebay, funding his days in college. Since then, Motherboard says, he cheated and duped his way through the “wild west” of Lineage 2, Shadowbane, Final Fantasy XI, Dark Age of Camelot, Lord of The Rings Online, RIFT, Age of Conan, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2.

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The Daily Grind: How would you solve the housing server merge problem?

When ArcheAge launched, I was one of those who was brutally harsh about its mind-numbingly stupid housing system, a more or less open-world system that incentivized land rushes, greed, gold sinks, and cheating. As far as I could tell, even back in 2014, the game’s handlers had learned absolutely nothing from the previous 17 years of MMORPG housing buffoonery. One of my complaints? Not thinking ahead to server merges.

“Balance your server populations carefully and never add more servers than you’ll need after the three-month slump because if you think server merges spell doom for themeparks, know that they’re even worse for open-world housing sandboxes (Vanguard, SWG), only slightly worse an option than ignoring the problem and expecting your players to pay to move themselves and lose their land in the process (UO, LOTRO).” [This was before LOTRO’s free transfers.]

And now here we are again, seeing server merges so bad MOP’s MJ Guthrie, whose pixel home narrowly survived the last round of merges, intimated she was done this time once her house is nuked and she’s forced into yet another land rush. It’s too late for ArcheAge, I fear, but there has to be a way out of this — maybe it’s not too late for the next MMO with housing. How would you solve the housing server merge problem?

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The MOP Up: Skyforge investigates the Cradle of the World (July 30, 2017)

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!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Gloria VictisPath of ExileBreakawayDauntlessSplatoon 2DarkEden OriginEVE OnlineWorld of WarcraftUltima OnlineSkyforgeTroveFinal Fantasy XIElder Scrolls OnlineOverwatch, and Path of Exile, all waiting for you after the break!

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Ultima Online starts testing its fall update while Dark Age of Camelot continues its Dragon’s Curse campaign

Let’s check in with the Broadsword MMOs to see what’s happening in its part of the online world, shall we?

Ultima Online has kicked off testing on Publich 98, a meaty fall patch that includes 20th anniversary rewards, the return of the Halloween event, new beasts for the Huntmaster’s Challenge, and pet adjustments. The team also teased 20th anniversary content: “A multi-part arc will be active on production shards during the months of August and September, 2017.”

Over at Dark Age of Camelot, the fifth chapter of the Dragon’s Curse campaign is underway. This time players will take up arms to defeat the leaders of the Cursed uprising. The current campaign is scheduled to roll out over the rest of 2017, concluding in December.

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MMO dev and astronaut Richard Garriott hosts a Reddit AMA on /r/space today

Curious about astrophysics? The Massively OP Podcast brought on a special guest for a fun holiday bonus ‘cast back in 2015 to answer a ton of listener questions on the topic!
Don’t call him a space tourist, but if you want to pick his brain, Richard Garriott is all yours for the afternoon.

Lord British himself will sit for a Reddit Ask Me Anything this afternoon on /r/space as space enthusiasts ask him all about his experiences being a private astronaut. The AMA’s being promoted by NBC’s science wing, which last week hosted a long-form piece by Garriott in which he discussed his lifelong space flight dreams and how he finally realized them, though he shut down the “space tourist label” pretty hard.

Garriott is of course best known to MMO players as one of the founding fathers of the genre thanks to Ultima Online; he’s currently leading Shroud of the Avatar at the helm of his company Portalarium. Most recently, he published a memoir and publicly committed SOTA to Neverdie’s peer-to-peer online money trading venture.

The AMA kicks off at 3 p.m. EDT today, just as this post goes live.

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MMORPG veteran Richard Garriott decries ‘space tourist’ label

If you haven’t figured it out, Shroud of the Avatar and Ultima Online’s Richard Garriott is on a press tour lately for his new memoir, Explore/Create, in which he talks about his interesting life of video game development, adventuring, and even space travel.

As part of that tour, Garriott penned a piece for NBC news in which he goes more in depth about his stint as an astronaut that was sent up to the International Space Station in 2008. While the game designer paid a large sum of money for the privilege of the space flight, he pushed back hard against any suggestion that he was nothing more than a tourist.

“Please don’t call me a ‘space tourist,'” he wrote. “I was not a tourist. I got the same training NASA (and Russian) astronauts get. In orbit, I worked hard to complete those experiments both to offset the high cost of my flight and, more important, to build the businesses that will take me (and you) back to space and ultimately help humanity escape the cradle of our existence.”

Source: NBC News

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The MOP Up: SMITE sees a Divine Light (July 9, 2017)

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 have stories and videos from Pokemon GoSplatoon 2Blade and SoulDragon’s Dogma OnlineClosers OnlineOverwatchVindictusMu OnlineWurm OnlineAstellia OnlineDofus PetsHellionSMITEStarCraftAionFinal Fantasy XI, and League of Legends, all waiting for you after the break!

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Ultima Online adjusts animal training, gets ready to test Publish 98

Following Ultima Online’s most recent update, animal training is at the forefront of many adventurer’s minds. The overhaul to the system has received a lot of feedback, some of which the team is taking to use for adjustments. One of the biggest of these is a 50% reduction in damage when a pet attacks a player.

Speaking of updates, Publish 98 is on track to be tested later this month. The team isn’t talking much right now about what that patch will contain, but hey, it’s coming!

Ultima Online’s 20th anniversary party in Virginia this September with Richard Garriott and Starr Long is currently at capacity, so the organizers are asking attendees to inform them ASAP if they are no longer coming so as to free up their spot for others. The team will be raffling off three grandfathered castles to the entire community at that point, attending or not.

Source: Newsletter

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 124: Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott and Starr Long

On this special bonus episode, Justin catches up with Richard Garriott and Starr Long about Ultima Online’s spiritual successor, Shroud of the Avatar. How is this project shaping up now that it’s nearing launch? Listen and find out!

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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