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German courts rule against companies using ‘coming soon’ marketing for preorders

Making its way through the German court system right now is a case that could be of considerable importance to consumer protections, and not just in Germany.

As German website Computer Base reports (via TechPowerUp and some Google translate because my German has gotten too rusty), a Munich Regional High Court ruling in a consumer lawsuit against MediaMarkt effectively argues that vague promises like “coming soon” are off-limits for dealers of preorder items. In October, the judges ruled in favor of the consumer in a case over a Samsung Galaxy preorder; this past May, the higher regional court upheld that judgment, and an appeal to the top court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) was rebuffed.

“In the view of the judges, this information was too vague to comply with the statutory information obligation of the providers. According to this, potential customers should know before the end of the ordering process how long the delivery time will be at the maximum.”

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Exploring Pokemon Go’s real-life communities: MOP staffers revisit the game from opposite corners of the world

It’s year two of Pokemon Go. While there’s always room for improvement, enough has changed that I feel comfortable recommending the game to at least pre-World of Warcraft MMO fans. Why them and not the greater MMO community? Glad you (hopefully) asked! Unlike most true MMOs, POGO is still in its early infancy in terms of in-game community. Much as in early online games, players may be able to have a friend’s list, but not only is basic chat lacking but so is guild/clan support. There’s no party system, which means no group finder, let alone instanced content that lets you join in with little to no effort.

Like old school MMOs, POGO players have to use a lot of out of game tools for their communities, but there’s enough going on that fellow Massively OP reporters Brendan Drain and Tina Lauro Pollock have renewed their interest in the game. While Brendan had previously attempted some casual raids, both he and Tina had quit entirely. As the game just had not one but two events this weekend as part of its second year anniversary, we decided to try moving out of our comfort zone and looking at the game’s community from new perspectives. Brendan and Tina tried jumping in for the events for the first time, while I tried playing outside my usual community, with mixed results.

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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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MMO business roundup: Virtual reality, Niantic, WoW emu hacking, and what Google’s up to

We’ve got some MMO industry topics you shouldn’t miss, so welcome back to our MMO business roundup!

• Last week, Pokemon Go company Niantic previewed what it’s calling the Niantic Real World Platform, a huge step forward for augmented reality games and tools.

“The Niantic Real World Platform advances the way computers see the world, moving from a model centered around roads and cars to a world centered around people. Modeling this people-focused world of parks, trails, sidewalks, and other publicly accessible spaces requires significant computation. The technology must be able to resolve minute details, to specifically digitize these places, and to model them in an interactive 3D space that a computer can quickly and easily read. We are also tackling the challenge of bringing this kind of sophisticated technology to power-limited mobile devices. The highest quality gameplay requires a very accurate ‘live’ model that adapts to the dynamics of the world. It needs to accomplish the difficult task of adjusting the model as the environment around the user changes, or as people move themselves–or their phones.”

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Warner Bros. denies wrongdoing in Bethsoft’s Fallout Shelter/Westworld copyright lawsuit

Last week, we reported on an emerging lawsuit lodged over the new Westworld mobile game. Bethsoft is suing Behaviour Interactive and Warner Bros. over what it characterizes as copyright theft from Fallout Shelter. Behaviour (you know it from MMO Eternal Crusade) developed Fallout Shelter for Bethsoft and stands accused of reusing its design, actual code (complete with identical bugs), and “substantially similar gameplay” for Westworld for Warner Bros., entirely without permission. Bethsoft claims Behaviour and WB breached their contract, misappropriated trade secrets, infringed on copyrights, and unfairly competed with it in relation to the two games; it demands that the court put a halt to distribution of the Westworld game and award Bethesda appropriate damages.

Warner Bros. isn’t rolling over for this. The media conglom told GamesIndustry.biz that Bethsoft’s claims are unsubstantiated and untrue – that WB never asked Behaviour to re-use Fallout Shelter’s code, and that Behaviour didn’t do it anyway.

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Dual Universe wants you to join the blue collar workforce

Flunked out of interstellar academy? Left your parents’ home on Mars at 17 and decided to make it on your own? Enjoy lugging stuff around or breaking things? Then you have a future in Dual Universe, thanks to an increased focus on space truckin’ and ore minin’.

Today’s big update to the pre-alpha program added a few new tools that allow players to scan for and mine that precious ore that can be found literally under your feet on the planets you visit. With the hand scanner, the directional tool, and the mining tool, you’ll be digging up your fortune in no time.

Once players get that ore, they’ll be helped out by the other features of this update, which are an improvement to the maneuverability of transport vehicles and the ability to easily transfer your goods to owned containers over a distance. You will need to be mindful of how much you’re carrying, as containers now have volume limitations.

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Hands-on: The Jurassic World Alive ARG shows promise, but not for MMO fans

Ludia’s Jurassic World Alive isn’t being marketed as an MMO, but it is an augmented reality game that involves roaming in the real world for virtual dinosaurs so you can battle them against other players. Online. But not near you.

It’s not exactly perfect, kind of like the series, in several ways. It’s not as promising as Maguss seemed in some ways, and suffers from similar design issues, but it also does things differently from Pokemon Go that, with some tweaks, could potentially attract a playerbase, even among our readers.

Just maybe not right now. Let me explain.
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Mobile fantasy MMO Talion may have autobattle, but it doesn’t have autobeta

The other day I saw a gamer asking the community for a solid list of mobile MMORPGs to try out. Even with the proliferation of titles out there, that request is surprisingly difficult due to much of the current market being flooded with generic fantasy games.

Will Talion break that streak? Probably not, to be honest. Gamevil’s newest mobile title is currently in closed beta testing through June 5th and sports autobattling, standard PvE questing, and several PvP modes. It doesn’t even sound like you really need to be there to play it, but the studio wouldn’t mind if you took the time to load the beta.

At least it’s fairly good-looking, as far as mobile MMOs go. Take a look for yourself by watching a gameplay video of Talion after the break!

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Ship of Heroes discusses milestones and communication, plus we’ve got new day/night screenies

The transparency that comes with crowdfunded and indie MMORPGs is awesome – when everything is going to plan. But what about when it isn’t? That’s what Ship of Heroes has addressed in a new forum post today. Heroic Games’ Casey McGeever explains that the studio’s milestone schedule is an internal tool, helping the team figure out what to do next when it gets ahead or falls behind. And fortunately, he doesn’t think the players freak out when the schedule goes awry.

“We don’t feel a lot of negative feedback from the community when we miss a milestone,” he writes. “And of course, we try to set the milestones so that we can achieve them. But we have missed a few — We’re late right now on delivering a new powerset and our date for the login test is slipping into June because we have people who come into and out of the project. Our core is a group of unpaid volunteers, supplemented by committed contractors. But people, resources and technical issues arise in every project — even if a big firm like Google or Microsoft is doing the project. The point of our schedule is to communicate to you all of you, our community, what we are trying to do and to enable you to understand what is happening at any time. To show what we are focused on at the moment.”

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Webzen is removing Mu Origin from service in the Netherlands over loot boxes

The ultimate goal of most legislation introduced vis-a-vis loot boxes generally seems aimed at making the companies behind these games change the mechanics of the aforementioned boxes. However, Webzen has reacted to new laws in the Netherlands with a more efficient stance. Mu Origin will no longer be available in the country as of June 20th, removed from both the Google Play store and the iOS stores in the region. The game will remain available for play elsewhere.

There’s no mention of any compensation for players who had spent money on the title in the past or whether refunds will be offered, although the game’s services will remain available in other countries with (presumably) no changes. Our condolences to Dutch players unable to enjoy the title any longer.

Source: Official Site via MMORPG.com. We have corrected our original report to clarify it’s Mu Origin affected, not Mu Legend.

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The MOP Up: Diablo levels up in Heroes of the Storm (May 13, 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 Heroes of the StormElder Scrolls Online, DayZEVE Online, Pokemon Go, Dota 2City of HeroesFinal Fantasy XIVPortal KnightsLineage 2 RevolutionWizard101Ingress, and Reign of Guilds, all waiting for you after the break!

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LOTRO Legendarium: A whirlwind of activity in Lord of the Rings Online

If you haven’t noticed already, an extended silence from me in this column space usually means that I’ve taken a break from Lord of the Rings Online for a while. I come and go from the game usually a few times each year now, but Mordor took a heavy toll on my interest and I had to rest and rejuvenate even longer than normal this time around.

Right now I’d say my current activity is “dipping my toes back into the water,” but so far I am finding that water inviting and comfortable. Northern Mirkwood is absolutely gorgeous and a complete 180 from the dreary landscape of Mordor. I’m very much looking forward to questing more there while trying to resist the urge to roll up an alt that I’ll never be able to fully level at this point.

For me, the wide-open beauty of Middle-earth’s landscape in this game is its biggest draw. It’s what makes this MMO “feel” so different than any others that I’ve played, and I am applauding the efforts of Standing Stone Games to continually add to it. I spent a full night doing nothing but touring around the Halls of the Elven-king and geeking out about its mentions from The Hobbit. It’s such a beautiful location and a great example of how the team is not phoning it in during LOTRO’s 11th year.

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Chronicles of Elyria seeks fans with medieval subject expertise

WANTED: A medieval chemist, farmer, cartographer, and martial artist to provide input for an upcoming MMORPG. Expertise and unusual knowledge in obscure subjects required. Apply at Soulbound Studios if interested.

Apparently attempting to do a Google search one better, the team behind Chronicles of Elyria is reaching out to its fan base to see if any of them could be called upon to expound upon specific medieval topics including world religions, crafting, day-to-day tilling, and (why not) meteorology. These people will form a new volunteer group that Soulbound is calling the Subject Matter Experts.

“As the design team iterates further and builds more and more systems that will ultimately end up in Chronicles of Elyria, we get to a point where we want to ensure as much realism as possible,” the studio said. “We have specific areas of expertise that we’re seeking input on.”

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