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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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Hands-on with mobile Old School Runescape, plus a chat with the Jagex devs

I experienced a couple firsts recently that you may not have expected from me, and they can both be summed up in two words: Old School RuneScape mobile. Why so unexpected? Well for one, you might not have expected me to try OSRS (can I call it that?) because I started playing RuneScape only recently; I had no nostalgic draw to the game back in that iteration. Two, I am not a mobile player. I just don’t play any games on mobile, preferring my gaming time to be at my PC. But hey, doing the unexpected can be fun, and I am all for new experiences! This experience included sitting down with Jagex’s Senior Communications Manager Jon Wilcox and Product Manager John Colgrave, who shared info and answered questions as we worked our way through the tutorial together.

Now the question is, how was the experience? Would I continue to play on mobile even though the full cross-platform play allows me to move my game seamlessly back to the PC whenever I want? That’s what we are here to answer.

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever had an MMORPG-related dream?

A real dream, not just a dream to top the raid leaderboard.

MOP reader CamelotCrusade submitted today’s whimsical Daily Grind topic. “The other night I had a dream where I was fleeing a tidal wave and I was riding away from it on a horse to escape it,” he wrote to us. “After watching a cinematic in my mind of the wave bearing down on me, I realized I was actually on an MMO-style horse, and I was in virtual reality. I was still anxious in the way you are when you’re trying to save your character, but I didn’t have much time to dwell on it because of what happened next. I rode my mount furiously towards a nearby town, shelter in view, aiming for a fortified looking inn. Almost there! But then – oh no! – I was forcibly dismounted, nearly tripped, and had to run, panting, for cover, as the air got wet and misty. There’s more that happened after that, but what really stuck with me? I woke up thinking: That’s a stupid rule! Damn near got me killed! Why can’t you ride your mount in town!?”

I am positive I’ve had MMO dreams in the past, but I can’t recall anything specifically. How about you – have you ever had an MMORPG-related dream?

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The MOP Up: PlanetSide 2 throws a summer rager (August 5, 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 NeverwinterSea of ThievesReign of GuildsOrbusVRPlanetSide 2Final Fantasy XIVManylandLineage 2 RevolutionGuardians of EmberWar ThunderThe CycleDCUO, and Final Fantasy XI, all waiting for you after the break!

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Chronicles of Elyria gets players to shape the world through a plague

Chronicles of Elyria’s biggest community event yet looks to change the very face of this developing MMO — but there’s a good chance that fans won’t survive the plague that’s heading their way.

That’s probably too melodramatic for what is, in effect, an elaborate poll that will be used to set up the game world for when it does release. The Searing Plague event will be shaped by the participation of the community. Players will strive to either spread the plague or cure it through a variety of activities. Oh, and if you haven’t pledged to the game yet? Your account is flagged as a plague carrier. Don’t despair, because plague victims can be purified through donations and possibly even earn a pledge on the strength of the goodwill of others!

If the players manage to overcome the plague, participants can earn a hereditary cure that will be passed down to their characters. If the plague wins, well, the game’s landscape is going to look a lot different than it would otherwise. You can get into the spirit of this event by reading up on some of the lore behind this slice of the game’s history. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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Worlds Adrift announces its first player council, says the playerbase will pick the next round

Longtime MMORPG fans will know that the concept of player councils and senates, liaisons between the playerbase and the developers, have long been a part of the MMO landscape, be they in games like EVE Online and Star Wars Galaxies or Lord of the Rings Online. Longtime MMORPG fans will also know that the impact of these types of councils is about as weighty as a junior high student council. Worlds Adrift is now joining their number, according to a new Bossa Studios post this weekend.

The first batch of 10 on the “Community Cloud Council,” Bossa says, have been hand-picked to “help streamline feedback” from the playerbase. “These players have been very helpful to Bossa, time and time again giving very honest and constructive feedback on development,” the company explains. “These guys know every inch of the game, are aware of all the ins and outs of the mechanics, have provided thorough bug reports, and kept above board when dealing with some pretty bad exploits.”

The second council, however, will be subject to the vote of the playerbase. The Worlds Adrift team does note that members will be signing NDAs and will further serve as a sounding board for in-development content.

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Perfect Ten: The best expansions for specific MMOs

Looking over the past two decades or so, MMORPGs have grown by leaps and bounds with regular releases, events, and (of course) expansion packs. Hundreds of expansions have now flooded the scene, with some of the longest-running titles seeing upwards of two dozen or more.

That got me thinking: Which expansion was the best? Not overall, I mean, but the best for each game that it serviced? Every MMO player harbors strong feelings about which was the best expansion for the titles they enjoy, and I have read many articles in which expansions were ranked, reviewed, and debated.

For this week’s Perfect Ten, we’ll be trying to put a finger on the best expansion for 10 specific MMOs. I’ve taken the additional step of polling the Massively OP staff to give me input on MMOs that they have played extensively over the years. So what’s the best? Let’s find out!

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Riot co-founder asks the Twitterverse whether it should build an MMO

In today’s installment of Was This A Joke Or Not Theater, it seems that the co-founder of Riot Games (maker of League of Legends, don’t you know) asked fans on Twitter if Riot should make an MMO. Was it a serious question? Entirely unclear! Fans went all across the board in terms of their responses, ranging from enthusiastic to guarded to mocking.

Major design goals like that are generally not decided on via Twitter, nor do they hinge on an informal Twitter poll. At the same time, it’s a known fact that the gentleman in question stepped down from his role in administration in order to work more closely with the company, and Riot has both the staff and the online experience to make it plausible. So will it happen? We don’t know. Maybe it should be a Twtiter poll of some kind, to… oh, wait, we get it.

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Prosperous Universe will give players a say in planetary economic development

When you usually hear about voting systems in MMORPGs, they are usually tied to some cumbersome political system that most players will never get to participate in directly. With Prosperous Universe, however, voting isn’t just about putting a guy in office — it’s about everyone’s money.

Enter the Chamber of Global Commerce, a new idea that the team is working on to give players a direct vote and say in how business is structured and run on any given planet. This expensive building allows players to vote for a week-long economic program that gives buffs and boosts for certain sectors.

“The weight of a player’s vote depends on her workforce: the more workforce she has and the happier it is, the more it counts,” the team wrote. “But everything has a price. The CoGC will have a constant upkeep that has to be paid to keep it running. Just as with the building costs, everyone on the planet can contribute to it.”

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Leaderboard: How much input do you expect to have into a developing game you’ve paid for?

Last week, a developer from Parisian developer Dreamz Studio posted about how early access was the best thing that happened to his game, specifically because the early access playerbase acted a sort of extra pair of hands for developing the game.

“I believe that there’s no need to be a former Chef to make innovating pretty little tasty meals,” he writes. “Indeed, you just have to know the basics and then let you guide by the taste of your customers, right?” The studio basically retooled everything from the main character and the world to visuals and level customization based on eight months of feedback, even adding multiplayer because people begged for it.

This is basically how early access is supposed to work, right? This was the whole point of letting people buy their way in early, either with early access or Kickstarter or preorder packages, and then help test and guide the game as superfans. We’ve just seen it go wrong over and over, either because studios abuse the early access tag to make easy money and then abandon the title and the loyal players, or because early testers abuse their input to guide the game into becoming something nobody but them wants to play and causing it to flop hard. I bet you can name games for each group.

How much input do you, as someone who buys in during a game’s development, expect to have in the game’s ongoing design? To the pollmobile!

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Blossom and Decay offers emergent narrative in an anything-goes sandbox

In the market for a full-loot, retro-themed MMO sandbox? Your specific tastes may be satiated by Blossom and Decay, an up-and-coming MMOARPG that will offer crossplay between PC and mobile platforms.

The team is designing the game so that players, not developers, provide the core content: “Instead of scripted quest-lines in the game, players fashion their own narratives through a wide set of social mechanics and external PvE pressure. The world’s story is constantly molded by its citizens. […] Everything is created and arranged by the players wherever they choose, from buildings and roads to respawn-points, quests, goods, trade and the laws of the land. Players will toil to imprint their history in this virgin world.”

In one interesting twist, the game allows for automated offline play in which a person’s character will continue to execute activities by itself.

Currently, Blossom and Decay is enjoying some additional promotion from Square-Enix Collective. The team is lobbying fans to vote for the title to gain support going forward.

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Choose My Adventure: Starting fresh in RIFT

When RIFT first came out, I had very low hopes for it. The game already was launching into a crowded field, and it was doing so while basically just taunting Blizzard to invite comparisons to World of Warcraft. Seriously, the game had that remarkably ill-advised “We’re not in Azeroth any more” ad campaign, that looked like a bad idea then and looks even worse now. I didn’t play it before launch, but at a glance I had thought, “this looks like a good free-to-play title but it can’t go up against WoW convincingly.”

To put this in street fight terms, this is the 98-pound weakling kicking the head of a motorcycle gang in the shins, then asking him what he’s going to do about it.

Fortunately for everyone, that story did not end the way you might expect. Sure, RIFT did not in fact take the entire world by storm, but it has been running successfully for several years now, pumping out expansions and big updates and generally managing to keep its head above water. And it no longer looks, at a glance, like WoW with a lick of paint despite that being its initial design.

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Choose My Adventure: Final Fantasy XI in review and choosing our next MMO

Here’s the weird part about this week’s column: I’m going to tell you, in short, that Final Fantasy XI is still a good game once you get past the initial hurdles involved. I am also going to tell you that it is a game which has not aged well, in part because of those facts. Which no doubt is going to sound kind of weird, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in.

There are really two things you have to look at with this particular game. The first is whether or not the game is approachable by someone who hasn’t played the game in years or ever, whether or not you can make reasonable progress when you start playing. The other is whether or not the game gives you slightest idea about how to do so, or indeed about how to do anything in the game. Because all of the systems in the world don’t help if you don’t know what they are.

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