The Daily Grind: How do you decide whether to play an MMO rogue server?

    
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The Daily Grind: How do you decide whether to play an MMO rogue server?

Last week, we covered the bizarre case of a Dragon’s Prophet rogue server, which announced itself as a legitimate, partnered version of the game coming to Steam and multiple other platforms. A few days of digging and prodding on the part of MOP and MMO Fallout exposed the server as just a fan-run emulator, whose operator banned media and lied to my (virtual) face using contract documents Runewaker itself debunked. Obviously, the game won’t actually be approved by Steam, but that won’t stop ravenous fans from handing over money and playing a game run by super shady folks, if Discord is any judge.

The thing is, as we’ve covered at length, most MMO players aren’t really that opposed to rogue servers anymore. Folks have seen too many good games cut down and nuked for reasons that had little to do with quality or profitability, and game preservation is a hot topic lately. But you surely know as well as we do that for every relatively clean server made by people who love an old game, there are many more that are selling perks and cheats under the table – and selling your data to boot.

How do you decide whether or not to play an MMO rogue server? Are there specific things you absolutely need the admins to do to prove they’re as legit as they can be under the circumstances – or specific red flags that warn you away?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Robert Mann

I don’t. I’m not interested in sub-legal activities. IF a server happened to be officially sanctioned, then I might consider it, but then it wouldn’t be rogue… would it? Even then, there would need to be some strict standards and some other things to get me in the door, things that the people who run these tend not to want or do.

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zuldar

If the official server is shut down I might consider it, ala Return of Reckoning. Otherwise I’d probably just stick to the official servers.

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EmberStar

For me it’s pretty simple. I don’t play on rogue servers.

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Paragon Lost

I don’t. Murphy is a real bastard and he’s done a number to me more than once over the years when I strayed into the dubious. I learned to mitigate the Murphy effect by avoiding things like this as much as possible. So no rogue servers for this old recon scout.

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Sorenthaz

I decide mostly just based off of whether or not I feel like playing that MMO. I was already used to playing on private servers back in like 2005 or so with Ragnarok Online servers, even messed around on one that had Jedi/Sith as playable classes.

Usually I don’t get too invested in those servers anyway and don’t spend a dime on them so the main factors are: 1. do I want to try this out and 2. is it in English/feature a primarily English speaking community.

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iamluner

Typically if the game was nuked I will play the emulator if I really enjoyed the game like WAR, But occasionally I do play DAoC Phoenix. After paying sub for 16+ years live DAoC lost its identity to me and I just did not enjoy the things they implemented and changed so I didn’t feel so bad playing Uthgard and Phoenix for a bit because it wasn’t trying to be the same game that is currently live, it was going for a classic feel.

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Mia DeSanzo

Generally, I play rogue or private servers if the official game has been shut down or if the owners of the IP give their blessing. I have been on the fence about private servers for games where the official game is being horribly mismanaged and the population on the rogue server may actually be greater than the official release. I haven’t gone there yet, although I do have friends playing on such servers.

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Anstalt

Is it a game that I want to play? Then, what state is the game on the rogue server?

If I want to play it and the game is in a good state, then i’ll play it.

However, getting me to play in the first place is a very different proposition to getting me to stay. I love SWG pre-cu, so I’ve naturally tried out the SWGEmu server. It’s still the game I love and its in a good state. However, the community is not large enough for me so I don’t get the same feelings I got from live (e.g. I sometimes found it hard to find people to train me, or to find doc buffs, or solo groups for missions etc).

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Aldristavan

I would play Rogue Wildstar without hesitation.

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Bruno Brito

It depends.

Most dead MMOs are fair game. Servers like SWG:Legends, or the entire EMU scene aren’t profit-based, so they’re as trustworthy as it gets.

When it comes to WoW pservers, or pservers in general, tho, people should remember something: All of them are sketchy by nature. There’s no way a pserver will ever be completely trustworthy. It’s still someone somewhere holding the info of several people on a server, and hosting wherever.

So, here’s the things i check out:

– What are the changes to the bugtracker these people made? If i see major changes, i know there’s a developer or more on the project, and it’s not just some schmuck running a duct-taped engine.

– Is there a cash shop? If yes, what kind. Most pservers with cashshops are in for the long haul, but at the same time, the kind of cashshop tells you what kind of administration you’ll get. Ascension servers ( WoW ), for instance, tend to have extremely short lives because the server is heavily monetized, and they discovered that they can make a buttload of money by releasing seasonal servers. Their legacy servers are all but dead. And the entire Pserver itself is monetized to hell and back, full of p2w features.

Allods servers have the same issue. They open a server who’s “fairer” than the official ones ( which…really? That’s easy ), and then cheapen the required stuff endgame. Lo and behold, there are like 500 people spending 20-40 bucks for their rubies and such, the admin cashes in, the server lasts 3 months, and then poof. Next venture.

– What rates the server have. Fast rates servers ( WoW’s 7x-10x, Allods 1000x, Ragnarok’s 50x, whatever ) are a cesspool of bugs. You know that the devs didn’t work on anything leveling wise and are using excuses like “we’re focusing on endgame”, when that’s BS. They’re cashing on the F R E S H experience. Their playerbase also tend to have terrible attention spans, and get frustrated quickly.

All in all, is a question about observation. Most servers who are run passionately show themselves up as such. Origins Ragnarok, Star Wars Galaxies: Legends, Kronos WoW. Those were servers who had extremely low cashshop influence or none ( neither SWGL nor ORO have cashshops, the admin pays out of their own pocket. SWGL accepts donations, ORO doesn’t. ), they have extremely low rates, or retail rates ( ORO is 5x because classic Ragnarok is a drag. I’m highly sure SWGL is 2x because SWG leveling is quite garbage. Kronos is x1 ), and they’ve been ran for YEARS without any sort of major drama or hiccups.

Be aware of servers surging from nowhere or chasing fads.