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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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Global Chat: Looking back at World of Warcraft’s Legion

Now that the next World of Warcraft expansion is almost upon us, it’s time to say farewell to Legion and all that that entails. MMO blog Leo’s Life took some time for a retrospective that examines the highs, lows, and patch rollout over the past two years.

“Aside from the penalties to alts, I think Legion delivered an amazing package,” he said. “The timing of content release was good, the content was relatively bug-free, the lore was solid, the flows inside each zone worked… it was all rather seamless.”

We’ve got plenty of additional MMO essays for you after the break, covering topics such as player housing, grouping, events, ageless MMO thrills, and more!

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Former SWTOR creative lead James Ohlen departs BioWare, former Hearthstone boss Ben Brode announces new company

Some industry news this morning: James Ohlen announced that he’s retiring from BioWare after more than two decades at the company. MMORPG fans will recall he was at one time the creative director and lead designer for Star Wars The Old Republic, but of course he played a lead role in many other acclaimed BioWare franchises and was also attached to Anthem. He’s told fans he’s taking a break from the industry to work on RPG sourcebooks. SWTOR players are expressing their gratitude for his contributions over on Reddit.

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Black Desert launches a cross-regional ‘Global Lab’ test server

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.

Source: Official site. Thanks, Arktouros!

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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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Dark Age of Camelot answers player questions about damage reduction and defensive actions

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.”

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Hyperspace Beacon: Take your SWTOR PvP to Rishi!

OK, I’ll come right out and say it: I love the Rishi stronghold. The Star Wars: The Old Republic developers have outdone themselves. I will unlock that whole stronghold as soon as it’s available on the live servers. It will be expensive, even for me. But I will do it, and I will not regret it.

Star Wars: The Old Republic, an MMORPG that has taken some hits for not doing things right for its community, might be turning some things around with its latest patch 5.9.2. Of course, this latest update puts a lot of focus on PvP, but for an MMO that places the story as a major pillar of its design, we know that PvP will never be its only focus on any patch.

Even though I admit that I love the new patch and stronghold, I am not blind to its flaws, so let’s take a tour of the new stronghold to examine the good and the bad.

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Perfect Ten: Best MMO debuts by year, 2007-2017

Continuing from my previous column, I’m going to be running through the second decade of graphical MMORPG launches and picking the best title to debut in any given year. From doing the first decade, I know that this thought exercise isn’t always fair; some years have several great contenders, while others see one mediocre one rise due to a lack of competition.

Still, it’s kind of fun to look back at MMO history and to see which game was really the best of that year. And if you ever felt sore that a particular title got overlooked, well, consider this a retroactive awards ceremony of some sort.

Let’s dive right in where we left off with 2007!

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New Ultima Online book gathers developer and player interviews to document oral history

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.

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The Stream Team: Conquering KOTET’s Chapter IX in SWTOR

Once Massively OP’s Larry and MJ the final scene, Chapter VIII of SWTOR’s Knights of the Eternal Throne will be wrapped up, letting the duo move on to Chapter IX, The Eternal Throne. Will MJ’s Chiss Agent seize it as her destiny, as Darth Jar-Jar — er, Valkorian — keeps telling her to? Of course, that is completely up to the audience as it decides all the major alignment choices. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to decide the fate of the Eternal Empire.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Enjoy the show!

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Titanfall Online is over before it had even begun

Korean website Game Focus is reporting today that Titanfall Online has effectively been canceled.

As Kotaku notes, EA and Nexon have been working on the project for several years, though it just announced the team-up and its plans to launch for Asia last year. But now it appears the companies have taken stock of the changing winds of the games market, finding that player testing wasn’t going well.

“It is true that Nexon and EA have agreed to cancel Titanfall Online under a business decision. […] After much deliberation, it was decided that reallocating development resources to another project was better for the company.”

Our condolences to fans and developers.

Source: Game Focus via Kotaku

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SWTOR tests the new Rishi Hideout and Battle Ring arena

Is there a new hope for entertainment in a galaxy far, far away? At the end of this month on July 31st, Star Wars: The Old Republic is going to push back against the sinister threat of summer boredom with its Galactic Legend update.

You won’t have to wait until then to check out the patch, however. Game Update 5.9.2 is up on the public test server right now for any who would like to put it through its paces.

The patch is primarily focused on PvP, with a new 4v4 arena map that uses Mandalore’s Battle Ring, Season 9 rewards, better PvP matchmaking, and multiple warzone improvements. Housing addicts can move into the Rishi Hideout stronghold, which is a tropical bungalow that offers players the opportunity to host their own PvP battles in that instance.

This is the 10th update to follow the Eternal Throne and Fallen Empire expansions.

Source: SWTOR

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Ashes of Creation claims it’s ‘now among the largest MMOs in production’

Ashes of Creation claims it’s “now among the largest MMOs in production” thanks to the addition of a large crew of new hires and more on the way. Intrepid Studios posted today that it’s picked up a number of new senior hires – artists, engineers, designers, and so forth – with pedigrees from Disney, Daybreak, SOE, Sigil, EA, and Travian.

“In the coming weeks, a new hiring round for the San Diego studio will begin with 21 new positions as the MMO continues to speed along in production,” writes the studio. “In addition, developers have been spun up in France and Malaysia to bring the total size of the Ashes team to now over 100 of the most talented people in games.”

The studio also noted today that July is the last month players can buy into the alpha 1 package. The first phase of alpha 1 (as opposed to alpha zero, which began at the end of last year) is expected by the end of 2018. Over 8000 gamers have reportedly purchased alpha access so far; Intrepid says it “wants to keep that number below 10,000 for testing purposes in the Alpha 1 stage.”

Source: Press release

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