EVE Online has banned almost 20,000 accounts since February for botting and RMT

Y’all remember the wild mess in EVE Online last winter and spring, when CCP Games said it was “coming for the bots” and getting tough on botting in the space sandbox? At the time, CCP said it had already banned 1800 accounts just in the month of January – and that was after a group of bot-hunting vigilante players had exposed the scale of the problem by taking down some of the outrageously expensive supercarriers owned by an RMT crew and piloted by bots.

CCP Games put out an update on its progress in the war on bots today, saying it understands that it’s “a key issue in the eyes of [its] community.” It says it’s banned 18,398 accounts since February: 8771 for RMT, 4250 for botting, and 5377 for account hacking.

The studio also says it has implemented a new password checking system to prevent account hacking and further asks the community to help by voluntarily enabling two-factor authentication on EVE Online accounts and by keeping those bot reports coming.

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MapleStory 2’s second closed beta begins today; here’s a look at the founder packages

Nexon’s MapleStory 2 is barreling toward its western closed beta launch today, complete with new dungeons, quests, the market, and plenty of network stress testing on deck for this round of the test. In the meantime, the Korean gaming giant has begun selling founder packs as of yesterday. Curiously, the company says it’s selling only 20,000 founder packs during this leg of the test, and it looks as if that’s across all of the different tiers – presumably to limit access to the beta. “Once they are sold out, Founder’s Packs will not be resold until after Closed Beta 2 ends on August 1, 2018 10:00 AM PDT,” says the studio. So there’s that.

What are you looking at if you do buy in? The $24.99 tier includes a mount, title, hat, 30 days of sub, and 2000 currency; the $59.99 package includes all that plus an outfit, another month of sub, and another 3000 currency, for a total of 60 days and 5000 currency; and the $99.99 legendary package brings the total sub days to 90, grants a total of 9000 currency, and includes an emote and daily rewards, plus the other cosmetic trinkets from the lower tiers.

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Fallout 76 doesn’t want to be labeled as ‘survival,’ shows off emote wheel

What is Fallout 76? Even Bethesda doesn’t seem to have a clear grasp on terminology to label it, avoiding both the MMO and survival labels for the upcoming multiplayer post-nuclear game.

“We avoid the word ‘survival,’ because people’s minds immediately go to DayZ and Rust and certain other games, and those comparisons are not really accurate for what we’re doing,” Game Director Todd Howard told The Guardian. “If you think about the survival modes we’ve made in Fallout 4, it has that vibe… Fallout 76, although it’s an online game, when I play it, I mostly still play it solo. We like those experiences as much as our fans do.”

Howard admitted that the project has the studio a little worried about taking this important franchise online: “We are sometimes afraid of doing it, as much as our fans are afraid of us doing it. But we’ve got to try new things.”

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World of Warcraft’s pre-expansion patch has a rough start as Blizzard levies bans and grants past content to subbers

The rollout of yesterday’s pre-expansion patch for World of Warcraft could have gone smoother. Much, much smoother. During the day, many players were completely unable to log in, and the problem reportedly popped up on Overwatch’s servers as well. While progress seems to have been made toward fixing the issue, Blizzard did take its Communities feature offline to improve stability.

Of greater concern for certain players is the fact that Blizzard is lowering the boom against players using certain cloud gaming services. Multiple users have reported that suspensions and even bans have been levied for those who have used cloud services to stream the game and play it remotely.

“If you are still using cloud gaming services for WoW, I recommend stopping now until Blizzard stops being anti-consumer about it,” said one Reddit player. “This is a real blow for my gaming for a while, as I don’t have the cash to buy hardware to play anymore at the level I was on my cloud machine.”

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The Daily Grind: How should MMO studios handle game reboots?

Over the past several years, we have witnessed several MMOs being rebooted and relaunched, including Final Fantasy XIV, Secret World Legends, and, most recently, Defiance 2050. There are various reasons why studios would want to do this, including addressing key flaws in the original game, switching over to different business models, and benefiting from a new round of publicity and review ratings.

Looking at the above titles as case studies (and more if you can pull up examples), we see both positives and negatives of these experiences arise. Not many players are keen on starting over in MMOs after investing dozens or even hundreds of hours on their characters, and because of this, there is a heavy price to be paid if the relaunch isn’t significantly different and improved from the original.

How should MMO studios handle game reboots? What would you recommend be the steps that studios should take in handling existing accounts, upgrading the game, and starting everything all over again?

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The Stream Team: Taking puppy for a Warframe walk

Massively OP’s MJ has a cute little throat-ripping puppy in Warframe, and it’s all grown up and ready to play! So MJ is going to take the Fluffinator out for a nice walk for some fresh… air? Meat? Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. and join the adventure. (Isn’t walking a puppy always an adventure?)

What: Warframe
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

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Citadel Forged With Fire is revamping character creation, PvP, and mana tomorrow

It’s been a hot minute since we checked in with Citadel Forged With Fire, but Blue Isle Studios is pushing through the negative early access reviews to deliver a hefty patch tomorrowday. Character creation is getting the biggest punch-up.

“As many players noted during our first year of Early Access, our character customization options were quite limited: Players were historically only able to modify two physical components (ie: head type and hairstyle). With this update we’ve upgraded this with a total of thirteen new customization options, all of which (aside from head and hair) can be precisely tweaked and modified with full slider support!”

The company does note that hitboxes/jump height won’t be affected by the character changes, so it shouldn’t affect PvP. That said, PvP is getting rebalance of its own, raid spells will be harder to craft, damaged structures will appear on the map, spawn rates should be “dramatically” sped up, resource yields will go up, mana management should be less irritating, weapon trees will revert to their old layout, and you can finally delete your old toons.

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Haven and Hearth might look simple, but there’s an ocean of crafting goodness under its surface

Every once in a while here at Massively OP we like to highlight a game that might have flown under pretty much everyone’s radar despite being out for some time. Today that title is Haven and Hearth, a survival crafting MMO that’s been around for at least five years.

Inspired by Slavic and Germanic mythis, Haven and Hearth places a huge focus on an explorable, exploitable, and mutable game world. While it may look simple (the MMO was written in Java and developed by two “Swedish university dropouts”), there’s a charm with the graphics and a very deep crafting system at play.

“As players progress, they will be able to acquire new skills and abilities, allowing them to perform a variety of tasks — such as the claiming of land, the construction of buildings and the cultivation of crops — each step forward making the basic task of survival somewhat easier,” the team explained. “Having progressed far enough, players will, in time, be able to organize themselves into societies, from simple tribes and villages, progressing through republics, nation states and, ultimately, empires.”

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Overwatch’s Hamster hero hits next week

We’re going to bet that a literal hamster ball (albeit a well-armed ball) as a hero is going to divide the Overwatch community. That’s to be expected, but if you’re on board with Wrecking Ball — a genetically-enhanced hamster who crafted his own battle mech — then you’re going to be counting the days until he arrives next week on July 24th.

Wrecking Ball may be small, furry, and oh-so-adorable, but he is also packing a punch. His mech includes quad cannons, a grappling claw, mines, and shields. If that’s not enough, W.B. can roll over or slam into his competition.

Hamster or no, Overwatch is happy that its recent endorsement system and looking for group feature has proved to be major hits for the team shooter. According to VG247, chat abuse is way down, as much as 26.4% less in the Americas than it used to be.

Source: Overwatch, VG247

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Happy birthday, Albion Online – you launched one year ago today

Can you believe it’s been a whole year since hardcore sandbox Albion Online officially launched? I cannot, but that might be because its separate Steam launch wasn’t that long ago. Sandbox Interactive has a recap of its first year up on the game’s official site today, and yes, it does mention the obnoxious DDOS attacks that took the game large out of commission last summer for what seemed like weeks as the hackers tried to blackmail the devs. That frustrating period was followed by several updates, as you’ll recall, including Joseph (PvP and PvE content), Kay (GvG content and the map overhaul), and Merlyn on the way. The devs pepper the commentary with major guild political movement too for those of you who love your popcorn and drama.

To celebrate, Sandbox has a raffle going for some pretty decent packs, so go check that out if you’re curious. The company has also begun a new round of referral rewards, which is definitely going to be the easiest way to get to ride around on a bighorn ram.

Happy birthday, Albion – here’s to many more.

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Destiny 2 deploys Solstice of Heroes: Moments of Triumph update

Good times just might be here if Destiny 2 has anything to say about it. Today, the sci-fi shooter deployed Update 1.2.3 and the bounty of content goodness contained within.

There’s a lot here, although some players are griping at the endgame raid focus of the patch. The update contains prestige raid lairs, 6v5 quickplay in the Crucible, Iron Banner upgrades, tuning for exotic armor, additional bounties, and a ton more. Plus, starting on July 31st, the Solstice of Heroes event will unleash the new Moments of Triumph bounties. Complete enough of these bounties, and you’ll be able to earn a t-shirt, Sparrow, and emblems.

Go into depth with the developers on the July update after the break!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 178: #womenarecosmetic

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over how necessary it is to actually provide MMOs with those icky, wonderful girlie-types. They deliberately deliver a light-hearted episode after last week, full of funky fresh frivolity. Will gaming ever be fun again? It has to be!

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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Guild Wars 2 is bringing back the Festival of the Four Winds next week – it’s the next best thing to Cantha

You know what Guild Wars 2 could use right about now? How about a festival? Yeah! How about the return of a festival that’s been dormant for years? Yassss! How about the Festival of the Four Winds? Bringit!

“On July 24, a big summer celebration is blowing in—the Festival of the Four Winds! A collaborative effort by Her Royal Majesty Queen Jennah of Kryta, the Zephyrites, the Lionguard, and even the Black Lion Trading Company, this annual festival brings back popular summertime activities in both Divinity’s Reach and the Labyrinthine Cliffs.”

As it did way back in 2014, the Festival offers numerous minigames; the wiki lists dolyak flying, the Sanctum Spring race, and the Aspect Arena battle, and it’s a good bet we’ll see some of those brought up to date with the game’s current mechanics (like mounts). ArenaNet’s official blurb this year also mentions hot air balloons (wheee) and the Boss Blitz, whose “vicious villains and their contemptable compatriots are represented by the new, improved, and entirely secure Watchknight Mk II system.” Definitely updated for 2018!

And the best part is that everything looks like Cantha. Which is in my estimation exactly as it should be. The launch is on July 24th.

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