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Choose My Adventure: And now, Ultima Online, sooner or later

Oh boy.

So, yes, I did actually play some Ultima Online. Or I tried to play some Ultima Online, at least. I’m not sure that most of what I did was actually something that I would call “playing,” although it involved me being in the game and ostensibly interacting with it. And it’s times like this that I particularly dislike my job, because this puts me in something less than a comfortable position.

I don’t know how many of you reading this right now are fans of UO, and as I established in my first column, I don’t really feel as if I’m equipped to critique the game as a whole because this is where everything started. This is the original of the species. It’s like that gag in Dr. McNinja wherein Ben Franklin is mentioning that inventing things during his original lifespan was easy because all you had to do was pay the slightest bit of attention.

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Choose My Adventure: Getting started in Ultima Online

The interesting thing about this installment of Choose My Adventure is that it’s probably the only time I could ever do this particular title. Not because it’s going away anytime soon, by all indications, but because there’s little to no way that you can actually talk about Ultima Online in the present.

If you don’t know anything about Ultima Online, it behooves you to do some research. This is really the origin point of MMOs as a whole, the game upon which all other graphical MMOs were based in no small part. You can quibble as much as you want about whether or not something else might have been a little bit further along or deserves a bigger nod, but at the end of the day it’s not an argument that actually matters. This is the starting point.

Which means discussing it at all can, at times, feel rather silly.

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Leaderboard: Are you still playing Secret World Legends?

I’ve always been curious about you folks who forgave Funcom for 2017. I’m not sure that, were I a hardcore old-school Secret World player, I could so easily let slide that whole “yeah so we’re gonna reboot the game and you can’t bring the toons you spent the last five years building” thing. But given the reboot’s apparent success last year and the ongoing attention on the game by the MMORPG community, a lot of you did forgive the studio and jumped right back in, including our own Secret World vets here on staff. Wherever their breaking point is, that wasn’t it.

Massively OP reader Pepperzine is wondering about that breaking point too and where the game stands in the community since the relaunch nine months ago and the new content that’s finally launched. “Now that around nine months have passed since The Secret World Legends has launched, I think it would be interesting to do a follow-up poll on if the community here at MOP is playing it, quit playing it, or returning for the Africa content!”

Great idea! Let’s do it.

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Leaderboard: Are you giving Ultima Online’s Endless Journey F2P conversion a try?

With the launch of Ultima Online’s Endless Journey free-to-play conversion this week, a whole lotta old-school MMORPG players are turning their attention back to the 20-year-old MMORPG that started it all. If you could make or connect to your account – easier said than done, as our own writers and streamers found out – then you were treated to a Throwback Thursday to end all Throwback Thursdays.

I’ve actually had my old account running on a sub for the better part of the past year, and while I’m happy that the game is moving forward (and still getting love!), I’m also a little bit exhausted from the anticipation – as well as skeptical of the relatively pay-to-win new offering in the cash shop. I’m sort of looking forward to the game getting back to normal after the influx of visitors is done!

How about you? Are you giving Ultima Online’s Endless Journey a try? Let take it to the polls!

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Choose My Adventure: Warframe in review

It’s funny how presentation problems can have such a huge impact on the same product.

Warframe, as a game, is almost crippled by its lack of guidance and the poor resources it has to explain things to players. Some of this, as has been noted in the comments, is the result of a general design philosophy that producing more fun stuff is more advantageous than providing guidance, but some of it is also a result of having a philosophy that doesn’t seem to take full advantage of its business model. Better tutorials and direction would do a whole lot to redeem the game.

This would be a good thing because Warframe is also strikingly unique and fun in a lot of other ways, and it seems to be to be the logical apotheosis of a lot of game design aspects. It has flaws, it could use some streamlining and refinement, but at the end of the day it’s a slick and fun experience that is mostly let down by its failings in guiding players. And it’s another game that I’m not really done with even though my month is up.

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Choose My Adventure: Frenzied slashing in Warframe

So, for this week’s antics in Warframe, I bought a frame.

“Shenanigans!” you cry. “The poll went against your buying a frame!” And it’s true, the poll did go against that… the week that I put up that poll. But there was no poll last week, and thus I declared executive privilege and went with the frame that I’d been eyeing for some time as a perfect compliment to my playstyle. Which, despite what many people have suggested, was not one of the most stealthy frames.

My reasoning, ultimately, was that there was no real way for me to reliably farm up the materials to build an additional frame and actually start playing with something else in the time I had remaining. Thus, rather than continuing to tool around with just the Excalibur, I felt that it behooved me to give another frame a shot so that I could at least realistically say whether having a different option altered my opinion about the game as a whole.

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Choose My Adventure: Anniversary groupings in Warframe

Last week’s poll on Warframe was a nail-biter, but it ultimately came down in favor of me not buying a new frame for my explorations this week. So I didn’t. But I did heed the numerous people telling me to go run those anniversary missions.

I also, belatedly, realized that my access to Amazon Prime meant that I also had access to that Twitch Prime promotion from a while back, which would have been really useful if I had realized this before now. Of course, I didn’t know that I’d be playing Warframe at the time, so perhaps my lack of precognition doesn’t qualify as a character flaw.

Regardless, my first goal this week was to get in those anniversary missions and the rewards which went along with them. Of course, that also meant that I’d be largely useless in those missions, but that would also serve the purpose of giving a sense for how the game plays in a group instead of just running solo.

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Leaderboard: Do you speculate on WoW Tokens or other legal MMO RMT currency?

Is Call of Duty the next Activision franchise to migrate to Battlenet? Very likely. As Eurogamer broke earlier this month, players are now able to link their Call of Duty accounts to Battle.net – no doubt in anticipation for Black Ops 4.

I bring this up to MMO players because of the potential impact on World of Warcraft – specifically, token prices – as WoW players buy and sell their tokens to spend down their Blizzard balance to buy up the new CoD title (or cash in on the flurry). Redditors are current speculating about the incoming speculation, arguing that tokens prices have been relatively stable over the past few months, spiking for the Battle for Azeroth hoopla but ultimately settling back down. In fact, just covering the potential for a spike can cause a spike, one poster points out. Gamers will recall a similar situation last year when Destiny 2 landed on Battlenet, sending the token to record heights.

And that leads us to some Leaderboard fun. Do you speculate on WoW Tokens or other legal MMO RMT currency (like PLEX, C.R.E.D.D, etc.), or do you stay the heck away from that noise? Multiple responses are allowed!

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Choose My Adventure: Single-track shooting in Warframe

After my second week in, I have to admit that I’m kind of bothered by Warframe. Or, more accurately, the fact that I like the game’s overall mechanics doesn’t fix the fact that it has some seriously irritating bits of work running through the whole experience.

None of this is to say that the game is bad, mind you. In fact, the second week, if anything, reaffirmed the fact that this is in fact a well-polished game with a clear picture of what it wants to be. All of that is commendable. The issues that it has are entirely down to issues of choice and the investment needed to make those choices, and the fact that it frequently prevents you from getting information that might be entirely valuable.

But then, the game also still does a good job of letting you enjoy running around while shooting stuff. So it’s a mixed bag that’s going to hit everyone a little bit differently, in other words.

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Closers asks fans to vote on its next playable character

Are you Team Tina or Team Harpy? By the blank stares that you are giving us, we are guessing that you’re not playing Closers are the moment. But you could be — and then you might become invested in the next playable character to be added to the game.

Right now, En Masse is running an in-game event through which players will be able to influence the choice of a new character. Through March 14th, players can craft either a Tina or Harpy token by accomplishing various in-game tasks, and then use that token to cast their vote. If this isn’t enough election thrills, players can also craft 8-bit masks to wear because this is how it’s done in video game politics.

The two characters won’t merely be cosmetic variants of each other but will feature different playstyles. Tina is a gun-toting marksman while Harpy uses kinetic playing cards. The winner will be revealed on April 3rd.

Source: Closers

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Choose My Adventure: Already captured in Warframe

You know, I’ve been oddly impressed with the starting experience for the past couple of titles I’ve been playing in Choose My Adventure. Both of them have managed to avoid one of my pet peeves, where characters tell you that there’s no time to explain when there is not only time but an immediate and obvious necessity to explain. Starting off Warframe immediately made it clear that there was, in fact, no time to explain, because I was surrounded by hostile enemies with some form of restraint device on my frame.

That isn’t to say that you start off with no idea what was going on. You get the absolute barest overview of what’s taking place before you launch into your first encounter, which makes it clear that you’re waking up slowly and have to get right back into the thick of things right away. But it was an impressive experience insofar as it really does feel like you shouldn’t quite have a clear picture of what’s going on. Something is happening, yes, but there has not yet been time or opportunity to explain much.

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Choose My Adventure: Voting for the start of Warframe

The votes are in, and I’m heading to the world of Warframe. Or worlds. I am honestly not altogether clear about how much of the game takes place in space and how much of it is, like, still focused around one specific planet. Obviously there’s one specific place where you can do a lot of exploring, that’s a thing, but at the (very real) risk of exposing my own ignorance, my knowledge about the setting is kind of a blank space from top to bottom.

That’s not by way of laziness, for the record. Or at least, it’s not just laziness; some of it is how I prefer to take on these game where I know very little. As it stands for me, Warframe is that game where I don’t know much of the story or the background, but the results of the game that I do see are incredibly neat and surreal. It seems like it’s a game all about intensely baroque and odd-looking robot-armor-suits engage in all sorts of high-speed high-flying combat, and limiting that down to the realm of actual facts seems like depriving it of that power.

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Choose My Adventure: Farewell to Project Gorgon

Out of all the titles that I’ve played for Choose My Adventure, Project Gorgon is probably the earliest in its development cycle. It’s also, by a sizable margin, the best in show. If you’re looking for a quick ringtone-style clip to take away from this column, that would be the one.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of criticisms of the game, nor does it mean that this is a game which will delight and amaze everyone who plays it. I have a somewhat biased starting point anyway because I talk about this subgenre for a living, and thus I have certain tastes that not everyone is going to share. That isn’t meant as a brag; that’s meant as a self-admonishment because these are things no one should really care about all that much.

Still, here I am, here this game is, and I am happy to pronounce it the best of all the Choose My Adventure games that I’ve played for this feature so far – albeit with the slight caveat that it won’t be able to hold onto that title forever if it doesn’t actually address some of the issues that I noticed while playing.

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