player generated content

Shroud of the Avatar’s newsletter covers the mysterious comet and player-created dungeon tools

Strange sights abound in Shroud of the Avatar right now. “Astronomers across New Britannia have noted that the approaching comet has agitated the creatures of Novia and Hidden Vale, making many bolder and more ferocious,” the game’s latest newsletter teases. “Rumors suggest that the aether surrounding the comet has been mutating some of the most powerful creatures into new monstrous variations.” That’s all in the lead-up to next week’s Release 56, so best get in there and try not to die. Portalarium further notes that it’s planning another stream with more info about what’s inbound to the game, including more tools for player-generated content.

“One of the new features we plan to discuss is a set of new building tools including dungeon creation (player property) and defense building (player property, castle defenses and control points). These are part of a larger effort to increase the community’s ability to craft their own adventures that includes existing tools like notes and signs but is also expanding with other new features like advanced container settings (locks, place/take settings, etc.) along with craftable/purhasable/placeable traps and spawners (spider eggs, skeleton crypts, etc.). When you put all of these things together your ability to craft adventures will be limited only by your imagination! Last livestream we also did not get a chance to talk another cool thing coming for Episode 2 which is the ability to ‘un-nest’ and/or transfer your Player Owned Town into the new lands!”

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The Game Archaeologist: A history of EverQuest’s expansions

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!

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Star Wars Galaxies book takes fans back to this late, great MMO

Unless you’re willing to venture out onto the wild space of emulated servers, you won’t be getting Star Wars Galaxies back. That doesn’t mean that you can’t reminisce about this MMO from a galaxy far, far away, thanks to the release of an unofficial fan history book called Galaxies: An Empire Remembered.

The 172-page book recalls the history of Star Wars Galaxies from launch through its 2011 sunset and takes readers through the game’s planets, events, and ongoing legacy. More than 700 full-color images, including concept art, are included in this title. “This comprehensive guide gives those who played the game — and those who never got the chance — an opportunity to relive the nostalgia and excitement of this landmark entry into the MMORPG genre,” the description reads.

SWG creator Raph Koster gave the book his endorsement on Twitter by saying, “The passion fans can have for something they loved never ceases to amaze and humble me.”

And while you’re looking back at Star Wars Galaxies, why not read our own Larry’s favorite memory from that game?

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Global Chat: The best of both worlds

If you have ever played more than one MMORPG, the thought has probably crossed your mind that you would love to see your favorite features from all of them put together. It hurts when one game has great housing and another has some of the best group content that you have experienced. Why can’t you just create the best of both worlds?

Zeriah spent some time wishing for exactly this as she drew up a list of features from both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV that she’d love to see merged together.

“If I could take a bit from each game and combine it into one, I think I’d be in heaven,” she said. “FFXIV has some of the most amazing outfits I have ever seen in a game and while it has transmog system but I feel it would be made truly amazing by the addition of the armor journal WoW has brought in.”

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Legends of Aria hopes to recruit newbies to test the game with free trial keys

It’s Bring-a-Friend Week in Legends of Aria, but you’re going to need a working email account. That’s because Citadel Studios wants you to email it directly to request trial keys for you and your buddies, which is probably a crazy plan for the studio rep handling that job, although it might be a better way to get keys to people who will actually test the game instead of to people who will just put them for sale on a Russian key website or something.

In light of that, we apologize for making Sanya Weathers’ day harder, but you guys, free keys. There are some caveats, of course; Citadel is specifically looking for people who will provide feedback on the UI and the newbie learning curve.

“We are patching this week, with some major fixes to combat and loot,” she writes. “Make sure your friend understands, this is a closed beta and things are changing every week. Also, with the server wipe coming next month, the population is low. Most people don’t want to invest much in a character that will literally cease to exist in a matter of days. This is a chance to play and do crazy stuff just for fun.”

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Star Citizen deep-dives its player-generated content system

This week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse begins with a project update recap. CIG says it’s working on legacy armor sets, shopping kiosks, audio and VFX, ships (including the Starfarer’s landing sequence), props, environmental art to make spaces feel more lived-in, and planetary tech, at least some of which is planned for 3.2. The feature for the week is on service beacons, which sounds super boring until you realize they’re basically player generated content, from mining contracts to bounties. Not boring at all. This is the good stuff.

“At a conceptual level, the service beacon is a mechanism that allows players who want something to easily form a short term contract with others who want to provide it,” PU Director Tony Zurovec says. “This is a much more important feature than it might initially appear because it effectively means we’re leveraging the playerbase to supplement and enhance the scripted and systemic content that’s available within the game, while at the same time – because other players are involved – injecting a very unpredictable element that’s ultimately going to result in a lot of very unique gameplay experiences. Just as importantly, by constantly pushing players together when they’ve got compatible interests, the service beacon is going to help foster the creation of relationships within the community, and that in turn will lead to the formation of a lot of new friendships, alliances and in the case of deals gone bad sometimes even vendettas.”

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Global Chat: Giving Project Gorgon a try

With Project Gorgon now out on Steam early access, many first-time visitors to this strange game are feeling out the world and its systems. So what are they discovering?

Tales of the Aggronaut said that he was “hooked” when he put in a good weekend: “Part of the charm of this game is that it plops you into the game with no real warning or advisement about what you should be doing.”

“There’s never any doubting the sheer personality evident in every aspect of the game,” recommended Inventory Full. “The enthusiasm and good nature of the tiny development team sweeps all cynicism away.”

Project Gorgon not your cup of tea? Join us after the break for blog essays on Second Life, RIFT Prime, Shroud of the Avatar, and even Dungeons & Dragons!

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One Shots: At least we have pie

What’s the last thing you’ve ever done in an MMORPG before it was shut down? If you have ever found yourself in this unfortunate position, chances are that you went on a whirlwind tour of the game and took as many screenshots and videos as possible.

Today, we’ll begin with one of the last things that Amorey ever saw in the belated Landmark: pies. Well, there are worse ways to go out!

“During my last few hours in Landmark before the final sunset, I visited my friends, and then I built a small ship ready to sail into the west with everything I needed for the last journey,” Amorey writes. “Oh how I miss this game.”

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Star Citizen’s Around the Verse talks persistent universe progress and optimization

Were you in the audience for this week’s live filming of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse? Probably not, but some superfans were. Don’t worry; no actual film was harmed!

The episode include two major segments this round. The first focuses on progress made on the persistent universe; specifically, CIG says it’s rewriting the visor vehicle status holograms and working on camera presentation, vehicle displays, planet tech, procedural distribution of stuff like outposts, weapons, shops, character customization, app quality, the UI, persistence bugs… really, it’s everything. Even PGC!

“Teams in Austin and Los Angeles have been working on the Service Beacons which marks the beginning of the player generated content. Although this is only the beginning, for 3.1 we’re planning on allowing players to pay each other for services such as personal transport or combat assistance.”

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Massively Overthinking: Is battle royale a fad?

This week in Massively Overthinking, I want to talk about something out on the fringes of our genre: battle royale games. We’ve been watching BR take off, first with H1Z1, then the explosion of PUBG last summer and fall, and now Fortnite has taken the crown, becoming even more popular and raking in even more money, at least on console and potentially overall. And yet less than a year ago, we were embracing Fortnite as a PvE building game – see how blazingly fast Epic pivoted to catch this trend? I remember when PUBG started to plateau in the west even as it continued it climb in China, and I wondered then whether anything could ever dethrone it – and I have to say, I didn’t think it would be Fortnite.

So let’s talk about battle royale. Is it bleeding an online subgenre – MMOs, shooters, MOBAs, or survival sandboxes, or is it just something everyone’s tacked on top of existing gameplay? How will mobile keep up? And most importantly, is it a fad that’s destined to eventually fade away, or is it here to stay?

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One Shots: First steps into a wider world

Every MMORPG player knows that there is something incredible and magical in the feeling that you get when you take your very first steps into a new game. It’s the fresh scent of the unknown mixed with potential, excitement, and energy.

Reader François knows this all too well as he documents an early moment from Final Fantasy XIV: “The trees of the Shroud meet the sky as Kan-E-Senna watches a young adventurer depart for the other nations of Eorzea. A familiar sight for anyone who started in Gridania.”

Small pet peeve, but when your city has a name like “Gridania” and your street patterns are all twisty-turny, you’re going to make my eye twitch. Elves need to buy better urban planners, IMO.

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City of Titans drafts volunteer to build metro landmarks

Considering that it’s City of Titans and not Prairies of Titans or Lonely Country Road of Titans, it’s safe to assume that this indie MMO has quite a few buildings to construct for superheroes to visit or (more likely) fly by in a flash. While most of the metro area will utilize standard and reusable models, the team did draft a volunteer to create unique landmarks that will help give the city an identity.

“Enter our current Mogul and Landmark Titan, Nathan Purkiss, a 3-D modeler with a passion for architecture,” the team posted on Kickstarter. “We were thrilled to see his application and immediately made buildings his sole priority and domain. That was some months ago, and he’s been making excellent progress.”

Some of Purkiss’ work was shown as game models, including the Central Library, the Pharos Fire Station, the Vander Vere Museum of Technology, the Holt House, and the Thunderbolt Dive Bar. Each of these structures isn’t just a pretty facade but contains lore and history, such as a repurposed abandoned theater that is now used for private parties and shady dealings.

Source: Kickstarter

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Working As Intended: The MMOs we lost in 2017

It’s true that we lost a lot of MMOs in 2016 — bigger and more important ones than in 2014 and 2015. 2017, however, has been a different sort of beast. The list is long, and while it’s painful for those whose games are gone, the genre didn’t lose many major MMOs this past year. And that startles me.

Marvel Heroes was surely the most dramatic of all the sunsets, given that it shut down early without notice. Earlier in the year, we saw Daybreak put an end to Landmark after less than a year of live operation, while Turbine let the Asheron’s Call franchise go, Firefall formally closed, Club Penguin’s sunset broke the internet, and NCsoft called it quits with Master X Master. A number of other MMOs simply halted development – Perpetuum, Sword Coast Legends, and SkySaga being the most prominent of those. And on a more positive note, there were a few sunsetted MMOs that were revivified, including Otherland, Uncharted Waters Online, and RaiderZ.

Farewell, old friends.

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