electronic arts

Megacorp known to MMO gamers primarily for its ownership of BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. EA has previously been the steward of Mythic Entertainment (which in turn once controlled Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot) as well as The Sims Online, Warhammer Online, and Dawngate.

Rend’s Jeremy Wood on how Frostkeep borrows from Blizzard, Dark Age of Camelot, and PlanetSide

GameDaily has an interview with Rend’s Jeremy Wood this week that covers a bunch of meta topics of interest to MMO players and watchers of this oddball hybrid title. While Rend has no plans to suddenly become a battle royale title, Frostkeep is very much watching what the MMO subgenres and companies are up to in order to “fill the same psychological needs that are being filled by those games in [Rend].” Specifically, Wood says his team learned a lot from Blizzard and the MMO genre.

“Our biggest takeaway from our Blizzard experience is you can make a fantastically unique product without really inventing anything new,” Wood explained. “Blizzard got where they are by taking inspiration from all sorts of different great pieces of games in different genres.”

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Pre-alpha colony sim MMO Seed will grant players the tools to fight toxicity

Seed resurfaced this summer after intensive work by studio Klang Games building out the colony simulation MMO (plus a big influx of investor money), and this month, it’s put together a handy Q&A featuring questions from its community and fresh answers from the devs.

Notably, Klang says that players will be able to password-protect their colonies to invite friends as well as join colonies with open borders; there will be a whole-planet view; and your bank account will move with you if you move colonies (though objects need to move physically). The studio is also working with a Harvard law professor on government structures available to players, with the intent that players “be able to implement laws to fight against toxic behavior.”

“To make this game genuinely scalable, we have to give virtuous players just as many gameplay tools as delinquent players,” the studio explains.

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Battle Bards Episode 126: Out of this world

It’s time to boldly go where no podcast has gone before — by exploring MMO space themes! It’s perhaps the flat-out goofiest and silliest Battle Bards episode to date, so you’re going to have to excuse a whole lot of diversions, arguments, and giggles. Because that’s what space does to people? We do not know. This episode is also notable for Syl’s all-time greatest quote, “Planets are usually in space.” Usually.

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 126: Out of this world (or download it) now:

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The Stream Team: What comes after SWTOR’s Knights of the Eternal Throne?

Now that Massively OP’s Larry and MJ finished SWTOR’s KOTET story, what’s next? MJ has no idea really. Surely the story must go on somehow, but on what tangents? What awaits — and more importantly, what choices await? Not that MJ can make them, mind you; the audience does! Join us live at 2:00 p.m. as the we move beyond the Eternal Throne to new adventure in…

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

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Functional music boxes are coming in Elder Scrolls Online’s Murkmire

One of my most beloved possessions in Ultima Online is my music box: I spent months, probably years, collecting each “track” to insert into the box, and then I can run it and play my favorite Ultima songs while I’m puttering around my house sorting loot.

That makes me all the most excited to hear that The Elder Scrolls Online is getting exactly such a feature in the Murkmire DLC later this year.

“For housing, we’re putting music boxes in,” creative director Rich Lambert told VG247 at QuakeCon last week. “It’s this cool thing and we’ve got a ton of music that we’ve written in the game and so we’re putting it all in music boxes.”

Meanwhile, ESO has delivered a breakdown of the Midyear Mayhem PvP event it held this summer. You guys dropped almost a quarter of a million chaosballs, stole over 2.5K elder scrolls, capped over 700K keeps, and murdered 7.5M fellow soldiers. Peace and prosperity for all!

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Jagex gets into games publishing while RuneScape crosses $1 billion earned

Jagex isn’t content to be “just the RuneScape studio” these days. The company announced today that it is preparing to move into the publishing space with Jagex Partners, a “third-party publishing initiative for live games.”

Jagex Partners is hoping to attract all sorts of live games and will support them with a whole suite of tools and services that Jagex has used to keep RuneScape up and running over all these years. This new publishing arm has attracted former talent from NCsoft, EA, Trion Worlds, and CCP. We’ll be hearing more about this initiative next week at Gamescom.

“Jagex Partners is so much more than a go-to-market publishing experience,” said SVP Publishing John Burns in a press release. “It’s the entire toolkit to launch and run a game in live operations, backed by years of experience.”

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Leaderboard: Must MMORPGs revolve around grouping to be MMORPGs?

It would be easy to dismiss Saga of Lucimia’s pervasive “group-based or go home” ideas as mere rhetoric, but the reality is, there exists a small segment of the veteran MMORPG population that genuinely believes an MMO is not an MMO if it doesn’t focus exclusively or near-exclusively on grouping, and there are going to be games that cater to those folks.

I wanted to bring up that recent tweet because it seems like an extremist, maybe even revisionist position to take for a game in our market, and I don’t just mean in 2018 when plenty of non-MMOs have called themselves MMOs and even more MMOs have shunned the term. I mean in terms of the historical games being used as a touchstone for these ideas. Yes, some early MMORPGs like EverQuest emphasized group content; while you could level up on some classes and in some cases alone, for the most part, you needed to group up to get things done, whether you were taking down a dragon or just trying to squeeze out a few more bubbles of level in the midgame.

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Global Chat: Is it worth your time to alpha test MMOs?

Taugrim raises a very interesting question this week on his blog. Namely, is it really worth your time to alpha test MMOs these days? For him, at least, fickle players and unresponsive developers don’t make it a beneficial activity.

“A decade ago, I used to get super excited about upcoming MMORPGs,” he said. “And then I experienced those games losing their playerbase in droves while the developers/publishers failed to meaningfully address the concerns of the community.”

If you’ve been burned one too many times by alpha, beta, and early access testing, perhaps you can relate. Read on for more essays from the MMO blogosphere, and don’t forget to check out this month’s exciting Blaugust Reborn event that’s raging across blogs!

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Massively Overthinking: Should MMORPGs incentivize exploration – and how?

Our Daily Grind on exploration last week sparked an intriguing follow-up from MOP reader Miol.

“When asking about sightseeing and exploration in MMORPGs, you also mentioned the lack of rewarding incentives for exploring those worlds, or worse, a poor implementation of such features, as you pointed out by Guild Wars 2’s vistas. Many of Wander’s mechanics also come to mind for me. You and many commenters in that article stated that their exploration mostly happened by their own initiative!

“So what features would you all wish in an exploration-heavy MMO? Is Trove’s Geode with its non-combat spelunking on to something? Would exploring other players’ curation and display of art already be enough for you, a la Occupy White Walls? What would an MMO need to simulate a fun road trip? Would looking for that one place with those until-then-unmatched resource stats, be a definite must for you, as in Star Wars Galaxies? Or is open-world housing more of a priority, so you can find that perfect spot for your porch? Purely just survival features? Or maybe even, as Andrew once mentioned, a certain mechanic for dying, as in Project Gorgon?”

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Perfect Ten: 10 MMO features that deserve widespread adaptation

You know what gets me excited about upcoming MMOs? It’s certainly not the list of expected systems and features that have since become standard for most games in this genre. Good-looking fantasy online RPG? Neato, that’s terrific, but what else are you selling?

No, what truly grabs my attention is when a dev team uses its imagination and comes up with a creative feature that makes me sit back and say, “Wow, I wish they all had this!”

It’s a shame that we have seen plenty of these systems over the years that were tried maybe once or twice but never adapted into the greater sphere. Today we’re going to come up with 10 examples of such features that truly did try something revolutionary (or at least pretty cool) but haven’t seen follow-ups in games since.

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Interviewing the Bless team on the Assassin, merges, PvP, and concurrency as the patch goes live today

Bless Online is rolling out a hefty content update today as promised, including the Siege of Castra PvP battleground, the faction-based open-world Capital War, and of course, the sneaky Assassin class. We had a chance to speak with Neowiz – specifically, Lead Game Designer Junyoung Hwang, Combat Designer Seongil Ma, and Chief Creative Officer Jangchoel Rhee – about both the update and ongoing concerns in the game. Read on!

Massively OP: First, regarding the Assassin: I’ve yet to see a rogue class in an MMO that wasn’t overpowered in some way in PvP, and that goes double for a class newly added to the game – studios just can’t seem to stop themselves from making the new toon a bit too appealing. How is Neowiz working to avoid all that, while still making the class something people want to roll up as a new toon?

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SWTOR’s Rishi stronghold and PvP tweaks are live today with the 5.9.2 update

Multiple goodies are coming to Star Wars The Old Republic today via its previously delayed but now launching 5.9.2 update. The headliner content is assuredly the Rishi stronghold, which our own SWTOR columnist is so excited about that he’s covered it in-depth. Twice. It certainly looks like one of the most spectacular player structures BioWare has added to date, and it’s far more than just a house.

“Escape the daily grind of galactic life by traveling to your own personal slice of paradise! This Stronghold features multiple customizable structures, a flying Patrol Carrier, a cliffside apartment, and its own private beach. Plus, for the first time, Player versus Player gameplay is fully supported inside the Stronghold, allowing for 1-on-1, Team Deathmatch, and even Huttball scenarios!”

The new Mandalorian Battle Ring arena is live too, as are hefty tweaks to warzones, matchmaking, PvP rewards, and cartel market reputations. Those of you whose characters have romanced Lana Beniko should probably pay close attention to the fixes for the marriage bug introduced a few patches ago.

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BioWare explains more about Anthem’s split between MMO and single-player portions

Is Anthem a single-player game or an open-world MMO? The short answer is that it’s both, but the split is a bit different from what you may be expecting. Rather than the social hub being a shared space for all players, the latest mid-summer update from the studio explains that the “safe” spot will be where players experience the single-player story, build relationships, and so forth. It’s the open world where the shared experiences will happen for everyone.

A panel is promised for this year’s PAX West that will go into more details on the division between formats, so if you’re still curious about how the split will work you can look forward to that. There’s also a promise of new features on the horizon for Star Wars: The Old Republic that should make for an exciting year, so that’s some reason for fans to be hopeful on that front, yes?

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