I don’t know if EverQuest holds the crown title for the MMO with the most expansions, but I’m sure it’s among the top three if not at the number one spot on that list. It’s astounding to count them up and realize that two dozen expansions have come out for that game between 2000 and 2017. That averages to a little more than one per year!
Today I want to pay tribute to the 24 expansions of EverQuest by going through them, one by one, and seeing how they grew and enriched the game over the past decade-and-a-half. I would also love to hear testimonies in the comments as to which EverQuest expansion you enjoyed the most!
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 iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:
So many games have test servers of one form or another that we seldom even need to spell out the acronym PTS – and now one more MMORPG is moving itself to that pile. Black Desert
has opened up its “Global Lab
,” and it actually reminds me more of something like Ultima Online’s
multi-region free-for-all temporary servers, as it’ll include boosts and other tweaks for characters being played there. Nope, you can’t transfer existing characters there.
“We are launching the first Global Lab server to help improve the stability of new updates on the live servers,” Kakao says. “Through the new server we will open game content in development earlier so that we can test them as well. Thus the Global Lab server will already have characters pre-created depending on the test purpose and some game money will be provided so that you can test the characters fully. The servers settings may also be changed so that you can gain items and raise your character faster. Similarly, the Global Lab server may be reset or the service may be suspended at any time in order to analyze the feedback as quickly as possible so that we can apply the feedback as much as we can into live service.”
The test environment does require a separate client download, and apparently it won’t work for EU players, in spite of the fact that Kakao is located in the EU. Expect a reset every two weeks.
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!
When a game has been running as long as Dark Age of Camelot has, it stands to reason that the players remaining are going to be deeply invested in the game and quite familiar with its mechanics. So if you approach DAOC’s most recent grab bag, understand that you will be entering a zone in which deep and granular questions are asked and answered.
Among the community queries this past week include the issue of whether or not Kertom still drops black weapon enamel (he does, whew), the stacking proc effect of a Howling Predator Vest (why would you want your vest to howl?), and the order in which defensive actions resolve in the game.
By far, the longest answer revolved around players’ Base AF and how that affects damage reduction. “Armor quality affects both the chance that your armor will absorb the blow at all and if that roll is successful, how much damage will be mitigated,” the devs said. “Armor condition also affects how much damage is mitigated.”
Old-school MMORPG players, heads-up for you: If you’re a fan of Ultima Online or wanted to hear more about the seminal MMORPG after reading our take on Raph Koster’s book, there’s another book out there you’re bound to love. We’re talking, of course, about Braving Britannia: Tales of Life, Love, and Adventure in Ultima Online by Wes Locher, whose marketing blurb describes it as
“the first nonfiction book to collect interviews with 35 of the game’s players, volunteers, and developers over more than 300 pages, revealing what they did, where they adventured, and how their lives were shaped, changed, and altered through experiences in Ultima Online’s shared persistent world. […] In a fantasy world of limitless potential, the only thing players seem to enjoy more than playing the game is talking about it, and yet, the true stories behind the avatars have largely gone unpublished for the past twenty years.”
Among the devs interviewed? Bonnie Armstrong, Raph Koster, Starr Long, Rich Vogel, Gordon Walton, and plenty more. The book is due out later this week; you can sign up on its official site to be notified when it releases.
You might think that people who’d play the “Old School” version of a game like RuneScape might not be the right demographic for a mobile port, but maybe that’s just because there are so few really great MMORPGs on mobile. And as of today, Jagex is expanding the game’s testing on Android devices.
“Closed testing on Android has been incredibly important and beneficial to us, but the time is ripe to get it into the hands of more players,” says Jagex. “Today’s initial release effectively doubles the number of players with access to mobile! If we’re happy with the progress then we expect to be increasing that number early next week. We’ll then continue to increase the number of installs available as and when we’re confident with the build. Sign-ups are not needed, and access to this test is purely on a first-come first-served basis, however, players with access to the current closed test will continue to be able to access Old School RuneScape.”
Do note that to jump in, you’ll need a decent Android phone running Lollipop or better. You’s also need need an OS RuneScape account to try to play. Existing testers are automatically included, and the cash shop on mobile is currently closed. Don’t use Android? iOS development reportedly continues; Jagex says it’s shooting for “later in summer.”
Source: Official site
, Android. With thanks to Secrets and James.
Over the weekend, my husband and I were chatting about playing on a Star Wars Galaxies emulator again, probably the Legends one that people keep recommending to me. And yes, it’s an NGE server. I was basically weighing all the content that was ultimately added during the six years of the NGE against the skill-on-use-based classic game. I loved the ol’ skill tree system to bits, so don’t get me wrong, but I was able to do most of the same things, eventually, in the NGE using classes and specs and secondary trees like beastmaster, and I floated the idea – horrors, I know – that maybe the skill system wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Fighting words, right? So that led us to discussing whether the original skill tree offered merely the illusion of choice. We were thinking about MMOs like Ultima Online and Guild Wars 1; only a very small percentage of skill builds in those games are actually viable, after all. The same is true even of level-based games with talent trees. Most builds are terrible, a waste of time, a way to present the feeling of lots of choices, but in the end only a few combinations are worth pursuing – so why did anyone bother designing and implementing them? And interestingly, we both came to the conclusion that classic Star Wars Galaxies somehow escaped that trap. Even weird builds were viable because the rest of the game made space for them rather than tried to trick you into bad choices.
What’s your favorite MMORPG with a skill-based progression system, and if it avoids the “illusion of choice” in character development, how does it do so?
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 Elsword, Crossout, ARK Park, EverQuest II, Dark and Light, Conan Exiles, Kritika Online, Lineage 2 Revolution, Old School RuneScape, Titan Quest, MU Origin, World of Tanks Mercenaries, SMITE, and RuneScape, all waiting for you after the break!
The release of Raph Koster’s monster book of game essays, Postmortems, was of high interest to Bree and me for different reasons. For her, it was because Koster was a creative driving force behind two of her favorite games, Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. For me, it’d because Koster shares my passion for MMO history and has some unique stories touching on topics that no one has heard before.
So I combed through his collection of essays to see what I could find out on two topics of interest to me: MUDs and the elusive Privateer Online. Chances are that many of you reading have never touched a text-based multi-user dungeon, and none of us save Koster and his coworkers, ever got to even peek at Privateer Online.
Here’s a few quotes that popped out at me, and if you’re interested and have $35 to drop on a Kindle version, you can read Koster’s full collection of essays in Postmortems.
If your first memory of playing Anarchy Online consists of a horrifying slog through alpha, as mine does, then you might be wondering how the heck the first big sci-fi MMORPG has made it all the way to 17 years old. I’m gonna call it gumption plus Funcom’s singular ability to withstand how every article about AO over that long span of time has to mention the worst alpha test of all time.
But Anarchy Online is still here, 17 years later, and that’s something to be proud about!
To celebrate, Funcom is turning all accounts on for free through July 5th, which means you can log in right now and check out how Rubi-Ka has been doing since you last played. Current and long-term subs can pick up some sweet loot on the side.
“Additionally, until July 19th, Ganimedes Personal Jetpack & Nano Crystal (Balloons) are available in the shop, and an array of new membership offers and new armor that increase stats as you level up!”
By now, many of you probably know that I’m the curator of the MMO Timeline on my personal blog. On this page, I’ve attempted to catalog the launches, expansions, business model shifts, reboots, platform transitions, and sunsets of MMOs by year. It certainly helps me to get a high-level overview of certain eras of online gaming history as well as to trace the development of certain titles.
For fun, because that’s a lot of what Perfect Ten is about, I wanted to start with the year that MMORPGs really took off and select one title per year over the next two decades that I felt had the best debut and was the most exciting title to launch that year. Some years it’s going to be really easy to pick, while others… man, I am setting myself up for some hate mail, aren’t I?
Let’s turn our time machine back to 1997 and get this show on the road!
There’s exciting news for the 20-year-old Ultima Online this week, as the game’s latest newsletter announced an account-wide bank storage system.
“Between Publish 100 and 101 we will be introducing a new item in the Ultima Store that many of you have seen – the Vault. A vault provides storage of 125 items which is shared across all characters on a server. The vault will be available on non-abyss ruleset shards only, so Endless Journey accounts on Siege & Mugen will have their bank box limit raised to 75. We are putting the finishing touches on this new storage option so be sure to keep an eye on UO.com for when we release the vaults for testing and eventual release.”
If this works the way it sounds like it’ll work, it’ll be a huge boon for free-to-play players, who cannot own houses, meaning they have no way to swap loot between their characters without risking an old-fashioned and risky quick-swap on the floor of an inn. A shared vault (as well as a bigger vault) will basically make “living out of your bank” much more possible, and therefore improve the overall viability of playing without the subscription (although of course you’ll still have to buy it in the cash shop).