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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The Stream Team: Sunfest fun in Trove

Summer sun means Sunfest fun in Trove. For the rest of this week Trovians and Geodians alike can enjoy this seasonal festival, and Massively OP’s MJ is joining in. Of course, that has nothing to do with the fact that finishing gives her a cute little dragon pup ally! Nope, none at all. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. and work through the event questline with us.

What: Trove
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

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Blade & Soul’s False Idols update rebalances battlegrounds, dailies, and hard mode loot

Are ya ready for Blade & Soul’s next big thing? It’s called False Idols, and it’s bringing sweeping change to multiple game systems. Expect new buyable loot in hard mode dungeons, a soulstone rebalance to make them valuable again, updates to PvP battlegrounds to reduce the impact of disconnections, and multiple itemization tweaks. Dailies are also due for an update.

“We’re continuing to tweak the Daily and Weekly Challenge rewards following the changes introduced in the Blade & Soul: Eternal Night update,” says NCsoft. “Shifting the tradable materials from Weekly Challenge to Daily Challenge should make them more accessible to a wider range of players. The Daily Challenge Reward Chest now always contains 5 Gold, with a chance at additional Gold. The amount of tradable upgrade materials in the Daily Challenge Treasure Chest will be increased and the amount of tradable upgrade materials in the Weekly Challenge Treasure Chest will be decreased.”

NCsoft has previously deep-dived the two raids coming in False Idols; you can read about that in our post from last week, and you probably should, as MOP reader Rafael pointed out these particular “raids” are actually intended for non-raiders, with great drops but no grind or punishing mechanics. False Idols lands on July 25th.

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Dauntless counts 2M players since open beta, announces city-reshaping ‘Coming Storm’ expansion

Well now, here comes Dauntless with some nice big numbers to boast about from its open beta: Phoenix Labs has apparently counted 2 million players since the start of its free-to-play open testing. Not too shabby at all. And all those players are about to be diving into some brand-new content, an expansion called The Coming Storm that launches on August 9th.

“The Coming Storm begins when an Ostian Dreadnaught, bristling with industrial might and an indignant crew, crashes into Ramsgate, the central hub in Dauntless, reshaping the sprawling city and introducing players to a variety of new NPCs, stories, and quests. A new Behemoth, Koshai, the Sovereign of Thorns, stirs beyond the horizon. Members of the Ostian faction also bring with them new technology. Players will be able to craft and wield new gear and weaponry to take on the Behemoth threat – including a explosive new grenades and the first truly ranged weapon: the Ostian Repeaters.”

Yes, the existing hub – shown in the image up above – is getting a bit of an unplanned makeover thanks to the baddies. “Players will notice a distinct (and deadly) change to the Behemoth ecosystem in The Coming Storm as the introduction of Koshai causes the other beasts to evolve and change beyond their usual behavior and form,” Phoenix Labs says. “Expect a new spin of classic encounters and keep Slayers’ skills honed.”

Source: Press release

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World of Warcraft confirms that allied race requirements aren’t changing any time soon

Today is the day of World of Warcraft turning to the first page of Battle for Azeroth with the expansion prepatch going live today. Next week sees the story buildup kicking into high gear. But if you’ve been holding off on trying the expansion until the Allied Race requirements (added several months ago) were eased up… well, you’re going to be waiting quite some time, as the official word is still that there are no plans to ease the requirements for unlocking Allied Races.

Players who wish to unlock Highmountain Tauren, Nightborne, Lightforged Draenei, or Void Elves will still need to reach Exalted with a specific reputation for each and finish a story achievement, just as before. (The other allied races will have other requirements and can be unlocked once the expansion is live.) Of course, this isn’t actually a change; players have had these requirements in place since the pre-purchase bonus was announced, and that means several months to unlock the races. If you’ve waited in hopes that it would be easier by the expansion launch, though? Not going to happen.

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Champions Online puts its lifetime subscription on sale for the price of its freeform slots

We still don’t know exactly what the plan is with Champions Online’s subscription. The plan to take subscriptions off the table entirely was postponed due to how subscriptions interact with freeform archetypes, but freeform archetypes are now cheaper. And now the lifetime subscription is on sale for a cool $120, which still sounds like a lot under the circumstances but is a 60% discount. As MOP readers Stez and Nicholas have pointed out, this morning’s update did indeed disable subscriptions, and the freemium pack is now for sale, though Cryptic does now allow unused freeform slots to apply to existing characters.

For those of you doing the math at home, that evens out to being six characters slots with freeform options for $120, the same as individually buying six freeform slots (it’s $60 for three), plus a whole bunch of other goodies on top as well as a monthly stipend in perpetuity. Is it worth it? That depends on you; it’s certainly an open question how much cool stuff you can expect to be added to the game in the future, if anything. But in terms of dollar-for-dollar value, it’s competitive with other things you can buy from the game.

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Sea of Thieves’ July 31 Cursed Sails update adds creepy skeleton ghost ships and a three-man vessel

Who doesn’t love a good ghost ship story? I’m a sucker for them, so Sea of Thieves’ Cursed Sails, the game’s second major update, definitely has my eye. According to the new trailer and blog post, players are getting that promised new ship, some new story lore, and the three-man Brigantine, along with the hinted-at multi-boat alliance system and the NPC skeleton ships that will be popping out of the sea to wallop your crew as the “emergent threat” they are. Nothing like watching a ship helmed by skellies literally dive into the depths and drag everything with it. Reddit is freaking out (in a good way) over the crab sighting too.

“Cursed Sails will change things forever on the Sea of Thieves, as the sails you see cresting the horizon are no longer guaranteed to be other players making their own way through the world. The decks beneath those masts may now be manned by skeletal marauders returned to the seas from their restless graves. All that sustains these grinning terrors is a thirst for battle that leads them to terrorise Outposts and call out defenders to face them on the tides…”

The update launches on July 31st; you can watch the preview trailer down below. Arrr!

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The Survivalist: Using Conan Exiles for a virtual tabletop campaign

So I’ve been thinking. (A dangerous pastime, I know!) And I have actually been formulating an idea. And that is using a survival game like Conan Exiles to run a guided player campaign. You see, way back when as I was first playing D&D and other tabletop campaigns, I dreamed of the ability to play them in virtual reality. Can you imagine it? Instead of saying, “I cast a fireball,” you actually just do it! It is still a dream; a VR experience is not quite possible yet, but when I found MMORPGs I felt it was one step closer. I could see my actions play out in an adventure. However, for the most part it was an already scripted adventure according to the game devs. In some cases there were tools for players to make their own adventures (and boy, have I celebrated those!), but there were still more like story vignettes in a larger world out of the game master’s control. To  really have a fully-crafted experience, you need greater control than what the MMORPGs afforded.

And then came survival games. Now there is a whole world you can take control of and run a story campaign. Granted, they aren’t perfect, but survival games offer more tools for creating a robust visual player campaign a la tabletops. And that’s exactly what I am planning in Conan Exiles.

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No Man’s Sky’s Next update drops next week with absurd amounts of space and land content

Don’t call it an MMO yet, but Even More Multiplayer is making its way to No Man’s Sky with its “Next” update. Hello Games today dropped a new trailer showing off how the “limitless procedural universe” is coming along. In fact, you haven’t got long to wait to play it yourself, as it’s rolling out next week on July 24th (Europeans have to wait an extra three days to the 27th for some reason).

“The new mode will be added to the limitless procedural universe across all platforms next week via the No Man’s Sky NEXT update, coinciding with the game’s launch on Xbox One, in a publishing partnership with 505 Games for physical retail. With this launch, players across Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam for PC will be able to explore, fight and survive with friends as they voyage across the vast celestial sandbox.”

Hello Games is touting a whole slew of features, including small-group exploration, the chance to “prey on others to survive,” building shelters and colonies, exocraft racing, custom race track creation and sharing, “epic space battles,” unlimited base building, fleet control, capital ships, “challenging multiplayer missions,” and a massive visual upgrade. Holy crap. Maybe that’s why the game’s recent reviews on Steam are pretty positive, eh?

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Check out all of the Warframe’s TennoCon 2018 videos

If you missed out on the glory of TennoCon 2018, you can take in most of the Warframe experience thanks to the cache of videos of the event Digital Extremes posted last night. Probably the most important bits are the Railjack and Fortuna previews, but there are several other vids, including the art and sound panels and the cosplay contest.

Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie was on-site for the event; if you’re not into lengthy videos, check out her written coverage and interviews!

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PUBG is testing custom matches, so you can roll your own zombie survival game… hey wait a second…

It’s a big day for PUBG as its latest patch has just hit the test server, and it’s a doozy: It’s the one that finally allows custom matches. Players will be able to combine their selected game mode with other presets, like weather, spawn types, and maps. Apparently “zombie mode” is the one to watch; according to RPS, regular players have been jonesing for this option ever since influencers started streaming it. Now everyone can whip up a humans-vs.-zombies match in PUBG, and we have finally come full circle in the world of survival/battle royale games.

Over on Steam, players are ascii-spamming – is there a better word for filling a comment section with word-art of your demands for the devs? – about the game’s ongoing desync issues. There are new weapons and beat-up ol’ trucks in testing now too; you can preview those down below if that’s your thing.

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Hearthstone delivers a funny Boomsday Project short story, runs Midsummer Fire Festival

Yes, the Hearthstone team is having way, way too much fun with the loopy insanity of the upcoming Boomsday Project expansion. It’s so much fun, who could call it work? Not the person who wrote this new short story that steps into the Boom Labs to look at the mad science in progress. Plus, if you read carefully, you might catch a glimpse of one of the expansion’s newest cards.

Hearthstone is currently enjoying the heat of the Midsummer Fire Festival. In addition to enjoying some special theming, players can earn a new fire emote, take part of a fiery tavern brawl, and earn double gold from quests. This event will conclude on July 30th.

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