ccp

See: CCP Games

Massively Overthinking: What important lessons are MMORPGs failing to impart?

MOP reader and Patron Brett has a burning question about the lessons we’re learning (and not learning) from playing MMORPGs.

“In his book Theory of Fun, Raph Koster suggests that games are really just systems of learning things in a way that we enjoy with fewer consequences. In his words, ‘That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning.’ If that’s true, then modern MMORPGs and their narratives would seem to be a pretty mixed bag of lessons – individual power can be accumulated like wealth; evil can be conquered through solo and group acts of courage; violence is a feasible solution to almost every problem; your race, nation or profession defines a lot about who you are; and accessorizing with the most expensive bag is possibly the most crucial decision to make before leaving home.

“So with so much opportunity at the moment for our real-world societies and communities to be better, I’d like to know what you think is the most important lesson or lessons that MMORPGs could be teaching us, but currently don’t? How could these games leave us wiser or more richer people for the experience?”

I’ve posed Brett’s questions to the team for the resurgence of Massively Overthinking this week.

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EVE Online is planning to weaken Force Auxiliaries

It’s just too easy for Force Auxiliaries to heal other ships right now in EVE Online. That’s the reason behind the balance proposal put forth on the official forums for a rebalancing pass. Essentially, the numbers are just too high and the counterplay options for FAX are too limited, so the plan is to reduce the numbers and see if that balances out. And they’re significant numbers, lowering healing output at all ranges while increasing capacitor costs across the board.

The estimation is that it would lead to an overall 37% reduction in potency, a significant change that seems to be warranted pending more general player feedback. To that end, feedback on the proposed change is being solicited now. One can imagine the effect this might have had on the game’s latest big conflict at UALX-3, which the community has dutifully summarized for those wondering what was lost in the latest stellar dust-up.

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Perfect Ten: Endless dungeons in MMOs

Most MMO dungeons are normal songs. You start out and you have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t really change up much. But the endless dungeon is like improvisational jazz. Sure, there’s a beginning and often a fairly reliable end, but the space in the middle can be filled with all sorts of things. You don’t even know what’s going to be there until you’re already in the thick of it. It could be filled with creme! (Probably not, but hey, life is weird sometimes.)

Our reader Arsin asked us a while back about MMOs with endless dungeon modes of some sort, and well, we do our best to find these things out. The goal here is to have an online-only game with randomly generated content between the start and end. Arguably some of these might not fit your personal criteria, but that’s all right; there’s plenty of variety here!

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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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The MOP Up: Star Trek Online’s DS9 expansion gets a console release date (July 14, 2018)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from ElswordEVE OnlineSoulworker OnlineLeague of LegendsRealm RoyaleSurvived ByEverQuest IIProsperous UniverseBlack Desert Mobile, and Star Trek Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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Battle Bards Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music

It’s a catch-all, catch-up episode for the Battle Bards as they dig through new soundtrack releases from MMORPGs that they’ve covered in the past! You may be prepared for an eclectic and enjoyable mix of music — but there is no way that you can steel yourself for the raw and heartfelt confessions that take place on this show.

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:

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Interview and excerpt: The ‘Braving Britannia’ book preserves Ultima Online’s oral history

Earlier this week, we wrote about the launch of a new book that’s right up MMORPG fans’ alley. Dubbed Braving Britannia: Tales of Life, Love, and Adventure in Ultima Online, the book gathers together 35 interviews with players and both former and current Ultima Online devs to effectively become the first published oral history of the MMORPG that started it all.

Author Wes Locher was kind enough to answer a bunch of our questions about the book and provide us an excerpt to help you folks understand what you’re getting into if you decide to pick it up. Read on for the whole scoop!

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Ashes of Creation handles world persistence and local economies in its own fashion

With a rapidly expanding studio and Alpha One coming later this year, Ashes of Creation is shaping up to be one of the great hopes of the MMORPG industry these days. PCGamesN has a piece on the technical development of Ashes of Creation, in which the team talks about using Unreal Engine 4 to create the persistent massively multiplayer environment. Currently in Alpha Zero, 2,500 players are romping around in a 16×16 kilometer zone that offers limited progression. This is due to expand, however.

The team also discussed how Ashes will be similar to EVE Online in terms of its economy: “A similar aspect with regards to our economy is that we don’t have a global auction house. We don’t have a global warehouse for resources, so while you may be able to put your staff or your sword in your warehouse and grab it somewhere else, you can’t put iron ore [in there] and grab it somewhere else.”

The dev team recently posted a new video showing off some of the environments that future lucky Alpha One testers will enjoy. Might as well tantalize yourself by viewing it after the jump!

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IGDA calls for transparent guidelines on game studio social media and harassment following Guild Wars 2 dust-up

Regardless of who you believe had the right and wrong of the ArenaNet Twitter fiasco last week, game developers have expressed concern over the way it was handled and the potential impact on the greater industry. As Gamasutra noted, the International Game Developers Association has put out a blog post urging developers to demand that companies “clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts,” specifically referencing the recent Guild Wars 2 firings. Moreover, IGDA says, companies should be transparent about how they will “protect [their] talent from internet harassment mobs.”

“Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities,” IGDA Executive Director Jen MacLean writes. “Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles.”

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EVE Online launches the Dawn of Liberation event along with its July update today

EVE Online has a decent-size release up this month – today, in fact, as it’s already live. Notably, today’s update tweaks Abyss looot drops and other Abyssal Deadspace bits, lightly balances select ships, fixes missile optimizations, adjusts the duel wager system, improves the UI, and tackles bugs. It’s a hefty set of patch notes!

Probably the most interesting release is actually to the storyline, however; the latest leg in the game’s plot is dubbed Dawn of Liberation. Players will be helping The Republic transport rescued slaves. Yes, there’s something in it for you too.

“Access the Dawn of Liberation objectives via The Agency in the Neocom menu. Then, decide what objective you’re going to tackle, choosing from battling slaver ships, bounty hunting and rescuing slaves from enemy ships or Human Containment Facilities. Finally, set course and start racking up those Agency points for any objectives completed, eventually unlocking further rewards with your gathered points.”

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EVE Online kicks off a new recruitment program on July 11

More pilots are needed in EVE Online. The game has another patch arriving tomorrow, but it’s going to wait another day to introduce a big new recruitment program aimed at drawing in new players or existing players who wish to take advantage of the recruitment advantages. This is chiefly due to backend issues; the existing referral program goes offline today, and the new infrastructure will take about 48 hours to put into place.

New rewards will be implemented for recruiters, although prior results for recruitment will not be carried over in order to properly track everyone. There are new ship skins and new rewards for recruiters (with special rewards for up to 40 players recruited) and the same bonus of 250,000 skill points for accounts so recruited. Players will need to generate specific email referrals to comply with EU data privacy laws, however, something players should be aware of well in advance. Get out there on Wednesday and start bringing people into the fold.

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EVE Evolved: Improving EVE Online’s organisational tools

Throughout most of EVE Online‘s lifetime, players have developed their own third-party applications (and yes, spreadsheets) to help organise and enhance their gameplay. We’ve got skill training calculators, websites for keeping track of structure fuel, databases full of information on items, and advanced industry and market tools that look like they belong to real world stock brokers. Most large alliances also now use Slack or Discord to organise out of game, have their own dedicated voice comms servers, and use tools like Jabber to notify members of important events.

CCP Games itself has added some brilliant in-game tools over the years that help players organise too. We now have a great in-game Calendar and event system, a customisable notification popup tool, corporation bookmarks, and an official smartphone app. We even have the ability to simulate and share ship fittings, and a new Agency panel that helps new players find content near them. These are all extremely useful productivity tools, but with a few improvements I think they could be even better!

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss a few improvements I’d love to see for EVE Online‘s calendar, Agency interface, and official mobile app that would help players organise and work together more easily.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Are the new seasonal instances a win or a whimper?

Let us travel back to 2009, when Lord of the Rings Online released its second expansion pack, Siege of Mirkwood. This pint-sized expansion seemed underwhelming with its options (although it did give us one of my favorite zones in the game), especially after the grandeur that was Moria. However, Mirkwood did factor in a new feature that made a pretty big splash with players: skirmishes.

Skirmishes were a new type of instanced content that could be scaled in both difficulty and group size, both of which felt revolutionary at the time. They threw players into either an offensive or defensive quest, challenging the group to conquer piles of foes and continue to press onward by claiming flags, defending areas, and defeating optional side objectives. To make matters even more interesting, players got to bring along a soldier companion to assist, and this soldier could be modified and trained to become more effective.

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