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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we're going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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Crowfall reflects on its 'unrelenting series of updates'

It's a little hard to believe, but we've now been watching Crowfall develop since late 2014, going from a teaser announcement through a successful Kickstarter and arriving at the current pre-alpha testing. For this week's founder's update, the dev team decided that it deserved a moment to reflect upon all of its accomplishments and progress to date.

The team pointed to an interactive timeline chart from German fan site Crowfall Community that marked all of the major (and minor) milestones of the project from 2014 through 2017. It's a pretty handy resource if you want to get a big-picture view of the game's progress.

ArtCraft provided a pep talk, free of charge: "Obviously, this chart shows how much we have accomplished, and that’s great to see! … but it also shows something MUCH more important: It shows a cadence, an unrelenting series of updates that make the game a little better every month [...] If that cadence proves anything, it’s that these challenges will also be tackled in due time. This game will emerge, and when it does, it’s going to be awesome."

Source: Crowfall

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The Survivalist: Massively OP's guide to multiplayer survival sandboxes

Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya'll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn't as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.

I'm not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller -- and oft times privately managed -- scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we're going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here's a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
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Massively OP Podcast Episode 109: We are all Dragonborn

Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week's show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.

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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Remembering EverQuest Next

Is it too soon -- or perhaps too pointless -- to wool-gather about EverQuest Next? After all, that MMO project is deader than dead, so dead in fact that it killed off Landmark just to be thorough.

YouTuber Daily Quests assembled a short video remembering the brief, hopeful, and ultimately disappointing saga that was EverQuest Next. It's good as a refresher course if you forgot how this all went down or perhaps as a method to roil up the blood if you have achieved a state of perfect calm.

If you can stomach the pain, check out the video below!

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Global Chat: Fare thee well, Landmark

Believe it or not, there were actually people who played and enjoyed Landmark -- and were saddened to see it taken offline. To kick off this week's roundup of interesting MMO blog posts, we turn to those who knew and remembered Landmark with their words.

"The game, once just a bullet point on the EverQuest Next announcement at SOE Live, has been shut down," The Ancient Gaming Noob said. "The web site and forums have been hidden away and the domain resolves to the Daybreak main page. The few remaining fans have had their final look at the lands of… erm… <does Google search>… Lumeria! That was the name of the place."

Superior Realities took a tour on its last day: "That, really, is what was special about Landmark. You could go to any map, walk in any direction, and in no time flat you’d be sure to find something beautiful, fascinating, or awe-inspiring. The traditional wisdom is that if you give players the tools to make their own content, the vast majority of it will be utter crap, but Landmark was stunning refutation of that notion."

Continue our roundup as bloggers dissect problems with The Secret World's combat system, share tips on how to grind LOTRO points, mull over why it's hard to go back to the "olden days," deliver an early access review of Revelation Online, and pontificate on why theme park MMOs simply work.

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Crowfall's community tries its hand at building for the first time

Crowfall's campaign worlds won't exist merely to be shot, burned, and sliced to ribbons. There's going to be a healthy building component as well, which is something that ArtCraft is (pun intended) constructing as of late.

Last weekend, the studio allowed players to test drive out these tools in its "BuilderWorld." From the looks of the video taken of the test, players were able to create some interesting villages, keeps, and even castle-mazes.

ArtCraft's cautiously positive mood was ruined by a "major" exploit that some of the community was abusing, saying that this "raises a good question about how  we want to handle the use of exploits during testing. We’re pleased when people find and report exploits of any kind. This helps make the game more robust and ready for our eventual launch. That said, we’re less pleased when people repeatedly use exploits not for testing but simply as a way to ruin the test for other people."

Get an early glimpse of what player buildings might look like in Crowfall below!

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How Frostkeep's Rend compares to other MMOs and survival sandboxes

I was pretty well taken by multiplayer survival sandbox Rend as soon as I saw it at this year's PAX East 2017, as I wrote yesterday. The concept immediately spoke to me as taking a lot of the cool ideas from other survival games while making the game as a whole into something very different. But I also entirely understand that sometimes you can look at the game and wonder what makes it so different. After all, it's hardly the first time that we've had a game using a lot of the building blocks. So why am I over the moon about Rend but not its obvious inspirations and close cousins?

The answer is that in some cases, I am over the moon about its close cousins. But it's also important to understand the distinction and the fact that Rend is not, say, Crowfall or Conan Exiles or any other game. So what makes Rend different? Not necessarily better, but how does it stack up to the obvious points of comparison?

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Roblox is taking the online kid world by storm with 48M monthly users and $92M in new investment

Have you ever heard of this game Roblox? If not, you probably will be in the future, because this title has come out of nowhere to grab an enormously large audience with its LEGO-meets-Minecraft setup. According to the site, "Every day, virtual explorers come to Roblox to create adventures, play games, role play, and learn with their friends in a family-friendly, immersive, 3-D environment."

Formed back in 2005 and growing significantly over the past few years, Roblox now boasts over 48 million monthly users across all of its platforms (the game can be accessed on PC, mobile, VR, and console), with most of its demographics being made up of children ages six to 16. The game has seen activity peak at one million concurrent players and has paid out $9.2 million to community creators.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 108: PAX East power-up

As Massively OP is on the scene at PAX East this year, we've got plenty of juicy news and interviews to discuss on the show! What game is coming to console this year? What secret is Eliot hiding? Which MMO just got a name change? Find out in today's episode!

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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Trove officially launches for Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Voxel sandbox Trove has formally launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One today, having been in open beta on both consoles since December. Trion says it's now "captivated nearly five million" players across both consoles, which by our estimate makes for about 10 million players total, including those already on PC.

Trove "has become one of the largest free-to-play console releases of all time during its successful Open Beta," the studio says, "with thousands of unique worlds being built by players and tens of millions of hours logged in the game before it’s even officially launched."

Existing beta characters and plots should be just as you left them as the studio promised no more wipes past closed beta. The game is free-to-play on both platforms. Check out the launch trailer below!

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Crowfall makes plans for its 24-7 test server

ArtCraft is about to take a little piece of tape and put it down over Crowfall's "on" button.

"We plan to transition the game servers to 24x7 uptime within a couple of months," the studio announced last night. "When that happens, we'll also bring up a new 'Testing Environment' that will be separate from the current game universe. The purpose of this Test Environment will be to give us a way to stage new changes for our testing audience (which is now over 15,000 invited players) without interrupting the 24x7 service."

Basically, the stable "live" alpha servers will be up all the time, while the test servers will not. How do you get in?

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