retro

The Game Archaeologist: Kesmai’s Air Warrior and Legends of Kesmai

Most studios would be overjoyed to have pioneered one significant advancement in video game history, but then again, most studios aren’t Kesmai. While it’s not a household name today, it’s reasonable to say that without the heavy lifting and backbreaking coding that this company shouldered in the ’80s and ’90s, the MMO genre would’ve turned out very different indeed.

Previously in this space, we met two enterprising designers named Kelton Flinn and John Taylor who recognized that multiplayer was the name of the future and put their careers on the line to see an idea through to completion. That idea was Island of Kesmai, an ancestor of the modern MMO that used crude ASCII graphics and CompuServe’s network to provide an interactive, cooperative online roleplaying experience. It wasn’t the first MMO, but it was the first one published commercially, and sometimes that makes all the difference.

Flinn and Taylor’s Kesmai didn’t stop with being the first to bring MMOs to the big time, however. Flush with cash and success, Kesmai turned its attention to the next big multiplayer challenge: 3-D graphics and real-time combat. Unlike the fantasy land of Island of Kesmai, this title would take to the skies in aerial dogfighting and prove even more popular than the team’s previous project.

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Grab a Survived By closed beta key from Digital Extremes and MOP

Digital Extremes’ retro permadeath/bullet-hell MMO Survived By entered closed beta yesterday and rolled out a patch with a new 10-man raid, hardmode dungeons, UI buffs, and a graphics upgrade. But what good does that do you, person reading this who has no closed beta key?

We can fix that: In celebration of the CBT, DE has granted Massively OP 2000 keys to get our readers into the game right now. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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Digital Extremes’ retro permadeath MMO Survived By has entered closed beta

Digital Extremes has officially launched Survived By into closed beta today, accompanied by a hefty patch including a new 10-man raid, hardmode dungeons, UI buffs, and a graphics upgrade. The game was originally announced last August just ahead of PAX West; it’s basically a mash-up of an MMO and a retro bullet-hell style game. In fact, at the time DE was calling it a true MMORPG with up to 100 players per fight, plus permadeath and crafting and dungeons. The permadeath, by the way, is the type whereby your next toon is the character whom you’re “survived by” and who gets some of the benefits of your dead one’s experience. Oh, and the whole thing is free-to-play.

“To kick off the development milestone, Survived By will begin letting in more players who sign up for accounts on the game’s website, and will launch its first major event, dubbed Prophecies of Sin, for a limited time starting today July 18 and ending on July 25. Atop a giant ziggurat, players must summon a devastating new boss and coordinate their efforts to save the world. Only the most brazen will emerge victorious and earn never-before-seen exclusive event skins, gear and unique titles. Gather your friends now for a night of retro-style bullet hell bonding and madness as you protect the world from the Prophecies of Sin!”

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Perfect Ten: Endless dungeons in MMOs

Most MMO dungeons are normal songs. You start out and you have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t really change up much. But the endless dungeon is like improvisational jazz. Sure, there’s a beginning and often a fairly reliable end, but the space in the middle can be filled with all sorts of things. You don’t even know what’s going to be there until you’re already in the thick of it. It could be filled with creme! (Probably not, but hey, life is weird sometimes.)

Our reader Arsin asked us a while back about MMOs with endless dungeon modes of some sort, and well, we do our best to find these things out. The goal here is to have an online-only game with randomly generated content between the start and end. Arguably some of these might not fit your personal criteria, but that’s all right; there’s plenty of variety here!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 178: #womenarecosmetic

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over how necessary it is to actually provide MMOs with those icky, wonderful girlie-types. They deliberately deliver a light-hearted episode after last week, full of funky fresh frivolity. Will gaming ever be fun again? It has to be!

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:

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The Stream Team: Sunfest fun in Trove

Summer sun means Sunfest fun in Trove. For the rest of this week Trovians and Geodians alike can enjoy this seasonal festival, and Massively OP’s MJ is joining in. Of course, that has nothing to do with the fact that finishing gives her a cute little dragon pup ally! Nope, none at all. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. and work through the event questline with us.

What: Trove
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

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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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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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Trove celebrates three years with the interplanetary Sunfest event

If you were looking for a reason to get back into Trove to check out Geode, this week is it. Trion’s voxel sandbox is celebrating three years since launch with the return of its annual event, Sunfest, although this one is a bit special since it involves Geode too.

“Residents of Trove and Geode alike will join together to celebrate the luminescent power of the Sun Goddess during our first ever interplanetary Sunfest,” says Trion. “[Eight] new adventures will take you on a journey across Trove and beyond! That’s right, you’ll be able to complete several of the celebratory adventures on either Trove or Geode. Complete them all and earn your very own Golden Vale Dragon Pup ally.”

Keep a eye out for special Shadow Piñata Invaders with sweet loot across all open-world biomes, plus extra daily login rewards. Trion is also offering a stat reroll event, so hardercore players ought to at least pop in to take advantage of that. On Monday, we checked out the anniversary in person, so take a peek at that too!

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Perfect Ten: Best MMO debuts by year, 2007-2017

Continuing from my previous column, I’m going to be running through the second decade of graphical MMORPG launches and picking the best title to debut in any given year. From doing the first decade, I know that this thought exercise isn’t always fair; some years have several great contenders, while others see one mediocre one rise due to a lack of competition.

Still, it’s kind of fun to look back at MMO history and to see which game was really the best of that year. And if you ever felt sore that a particular title got overlooked, well, consider this a retroactive awards ceremony of some sort.

Let’s dive right in where we left off with 2007!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 177: ArenaNet A-bomb

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cleans up after Guild Wars 2’s PR disaster, chew over the survivability of Shroud of the Avatar, and commiserate about Camelot Unchained’s delay. It’s not all downer news — there’s some really great stuff happening in the MMO industry, and that makes an appearance on this extra-long episode!

Special note: If you want to skip the ArenaNet discussion for the rest of the news, go to the 50-minute mark (yeah, we talk about it a lot!). Also, please note that this was recorded before the Polygon article that came out Monday night, so it’s missing some the additional commentary on Mike O’Brien’s second formal statement.

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:

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The Stream Team: Trove celebrates three years!

It may be a Monday night, but it’s a party night! Trove turned three years old today and Massively OP’s MJ is ready to celebrate. Of course, she’d love to party with a pet pal, but she doesn’t have a Geode one yet. That means she’s off to dance her way down in the depths of the mines to find an egg while singing a variety of happy birthday songs to the voxel game. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. and jump into the celebration with her.

What: Trove
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 9th, 2018

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Trion Worlds offers free MMO goodies for Marvel Heroes refugees

Ever since Trion Worlds announced that it had snapped up all of the remaining assets from Gazillion and Marvel Heroes, we have wondered what the studio was planning to do with them. Now we know at least in part, as Trion is handing out free MMO promotional packs to Marvel Heroes refugees as a way to welcome them to the fold.

This promotion is a “limited-time offer” and only applies to former Gazillion players who register to Trion Worlds with the same email address that they used for Marvel Heroes. If this applies to you, you can pick up a promo pack to one of the five games that Trion is running.

Pick Trove and you’ll get both a super starter pack and a square necessities pack. Go with ArcheAge, and you’ll enjoy 30 days of patron time, a mount, and other goodies. RIFT’s deal is pretty good, with a month of subscription time, all of the game’s souls, two more bag slots, and a mount. Alternatively, you may choose Atlas Reactor (and get all freelancers the game has and ever will make) or Defiance (which includes a legendary shield and chip).

Source: Trion Worlds

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