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 Old School RuneScape, Worlds Adrift, Destiny 2, Starfall Online, Survived By, Hyper Universe, Elsword, Pirate101, War of Rights, Ragnarok Online, Perfect World Mobile, OrbusVR, SMITE, and Prosperous Universe, all waiting for you after the break!
With every huge online game, there’s an accompanying rush of mainstream fuss over it – it’s in the rules.
For example, Polygon has a piece covering apparent outrage on outlets like CNN, USA Today, and the WSJ over the idea that parents are paying for Fortnite coaches for their children. “The reaction to [the WSJ] story tells us more about our relationships to class, play and trends than it does about what these parents and kids might be doing wrong,” the publication points out.
“There’s a strong incentive to recycle parenting stories that have played out across sports and games, like chess and even cheerleading, to focus on the hot new thing. And yet, if you replaced Fortnite with private lessons for nearly any other activity, you would likely get a less emotionally charged response. You can get tutors in magic, you know. There’s no public outcry about parents who pay to help their kids get better at juggling.”
What do you do when you don’t play World of Warcraft but everyone else all around you does and won’t stop talking about it because there’s a new expansion coming out? You try to find like-minded souls and start up a club, that’s what!
“If you do not play WoW or at least have some sort of history with it, you can find yourself in some kind of quasi MMO community minority group. It’s an ‘odd’ phenomenon,” said Contains Moderate Peril.
“I really don’t even know what the story other than Alliance vs. Horde,” admitted I’m Not Squishy. “Sometimes it can feel like I’m there’s a big gap in my gaming vocabulary.”
Believe it or not, this whole column isn’t just about World of Warcraft today, so dive in to read some gamer essays on Wizard101, Dark Age of Camelot, Elder Scrolls Online, and more!
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin celebrate MMORPG communities with how fantastic and passionate they can be (when they’re not complaining, that is!) and how disturbing children can be (when they’re not cuddling with you, that is!). There’s a lot of praise in this episode for the redemption of No Man’s Sky, better subscription values, and plenty of MMO updates.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
When you’ve got magic on your side, renovation on a grand scale should be a snap, right? It was probably a little more difficult than waving a wand, but Wizard101
managed to pull a major city revamp out of its hat this week with the July update
The patch delivered a graphical overhaul for much of Wizard City, character creation, character selection, and the tutorial. Visuals aren’t the only improvements for the newbie experience; music and sound got some major love. Oh, and there’s a carousel that you can ride now!
Hate the changes? KingsIsle is giving players the option to revert to a “classic mode” to bring back the old look and sound of the city hub.
Although our next Elder Scrolls Online
venture into Black Marsh is still many months away, I thought I would take a moment to talk about the Argonians. But as intriguing as the Lusty Argonian Maid might be, I will save that discussion for another article and less kid-friendly website. (Side note: Wouldn’t it be hilarious if part of the Mirkmire DLC was finding out the origin of the Lusty Argonian Maid?)
What I would actually like to discuss today is the center of the Argonian religion and mythology: The Hist. It’s hard to tell sometimes if the Hist is an actual god-like presence or if it is mythology built up by the Argonians. Maybe it’s both. So if you’re ready for a drug-induced trip into the core of Argonian culture, keep reading. But if you’re not ready for what has to be the weirdest trip into Elder Scrolls lore, you might want to turn back now.
Hey, kids, did you know that players feel more like a community when they’re working together rather than constantly fighting one another? Of course you did, you’ve paid attention to more than two decades of MMOs teaching this exact lesson. But it appears that Rare was absent during those days of design school. A recent interview on the post-launch environment for Sea of Thieves reveals that the game’s team more or less completely changed the plan for the game once it became clear that, gasp, communities form when people work together:
We looked at the game just after launch and thought: players want to enjoy the fantasy of broadsiding other ships, so it makes sense for AI to take the brunt of that: if you’re giving people the creative outlet of attacking a common foe, it’s going to reduce the wish for dominance over other players.
Over the weekend, I was chatting with the mom of my son’s friend and let slip that I’m a video game blogger. Her reaction? “What do you think of Fortnite? Is it so big because it’s free-to-play?” Our kids aren’t even old enough to play this game, and she knew all about it and wondered about its runaway success.
The truth is, there are lots of reasons for Fortnite’s success, more than I had time to mumble out in small talk. Jamie Madigan on The Psychology of Video Games blog took a stab at answering the same question this week, and his answer is probably not what anybody is expecting.
“I think Fortnite Battle Royale’s secret sauce has to do with something that’s kind of obvious once you think about it: random chance. I don’t mean that Fortnite’s success is due to luck. Rather, I mean that Epic smartly leveraged the power of random rewards in their design for the game, and that’s one of the main reasons it’s so popular.”
Please note, this article covers a sensitive subject – please skip it if the title is already crunching up your stomach.
If you’ve got kids, you probably know all about Roblox, a gaming platform that essentially allows players to build their own maps and open them to the public. But with that freedom comes responsibility – and griefers. According to the BBC, earlier this month a couple of Roblox players used their avatars to essentially gang rape the avatar of a 7-year-old girl, backed up by screenshots shared by the mother who saw it happening and took action.
Roblox Corp., for its part, said it had “zero tolerance for this behaviour,” stressing its goal to be a safe platform and banning the “bad actors” involved.
The Roblox subreddit has a couple of discussions on the topic; barring some trolls crying clickbait and false flag (seriously), most people seem a bit embarrassed about the incident as it relies on a known exploit of experimental game mechanics that could conceivably be fixed by developers. In the meantime, parents of kids playing the game should tighten their security settings, as wee tots probably shouldn’t be allowed into experimental mode games where this sort of thing is technically possible.
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:
Yesterday, Crowfall studio ArtCraft announced it was spinning off a brand-new company dubbed ArtCraft Technologies that would basically turn Crowfall’s engine into a marketable product for other studios, “providing game developers with turnkey technology solutions for creating large-scale Massively Multiplayer Online games.” We had opportunity to chat with ArtCraft Creative Director J Todd Coleman about the move and what it means for the studio and genre. Read on!
Massively OP: So to start, we’re curious about the “why” behind the new studio. Is ArtCraft thinking of this venture as an extra revenue stream for the company? Or is it trying to encourage more MMORPGs – or maybe both?
J. Todd Coleman: This wasn’t originally part of our plan. In the last 12 months, we’ve had a few different studios contact us to see if we would consider licensing our technology. The more we looked into it, the more it made sense. The additional revenue stream is great, obviously, but that has to be balanced against the potential distraction. We wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t see it as a great strategic move for the company, and a chance to leverage what we’ve built into something much bigger.
Friday is giveaway day with MOP and Wizard101
! Massively OP’s MJ has come in possession of some nifty new Accursed Play Gauntlet packs, and she wants to give them away. Would you be interested in:
- Theater Gauntlet
- Stage Ship Mount (carries two players!)
- Drama Llama Pet
- Dramaturgist’s Gear
- Dramaturgist’s Wand
- and a 1 Month Membership or 5000 Crowns?
Yes, we said a two-player mount. You can take a friend for a ride around the Spiral. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. for your chance to win!
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on June 29th, 2018
Yesterday, the game that solidified my place in the MMO space would have turned 15 years old, and MJ, Bree, and I took a trip down memory lane by hopping into one of the Star Wars Galaxies emulators. All the memories of the adventures I had came flooding back, even though my muscle memory for the combat mechanics was gone.
Since the launch of SWG in 2003, we have seen the launch of two other MMORPGs (Clone Wars Adventures and Star Wars: The Old Republic) and other multiplayer online Star Wars games, like Battlefront. If your experiences in these online games were anything like mine, you’ve made many friends that you would otherwise never had contact with and have lived through virtua; adventures you’d never dreamed of experiencing in real life.
There was a time in this column’s lifespan that I would talk about all things Star-Warsy, leading up to the launch of SWTOR. And given that we just celebrated the original Star Wars MMO’s 15th anniversary, I figured I could take a moment to reflect on one of my favorite moments in Star Wars MMO history and ask you what your favorite moment was.