standing stone games

American studio known primarily for Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online.

LOTRO calls Middle-earth groupies to celebrate Weatherstock X

There is perhaps no MMO player music festival as well-known and -attended as the yearly bash at the summit of Lord of the Rings Online’s Weathertop. This year, the celebration known as Weatherstock will be even greater as it enters its tenth year.

The player-led event kicks off on Saturday, July 21st, at 10:00 a.m. EST on the Landroval server and features 17 bands competing for the audience’s hearts (and votes). If you’re unable to attend in character, you can always boot up the LOTRO Twitch channel, as the music festival will be livestreamed throughout the day.

In other LOTRO news, a small patch dropped this week that made an important adjustment to Wardens, disabled mailing for mithril as part of an effort to combat spam, and allowed Kinship names to use diacritics.

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Dungeons and Dragons Online tells tales of the White Plume Mountain

Whether you’re chaotic evil or lawful good, there is always more adventure ahead of you in Dungeons and Dragons Online! Game Update 39 has gone live for the long-running MMO, adding an adventure pack that takes players through a variety of dungeons around the White Plume Mountain.

The adventure pack “includes five new dungeons, including the classic module White Plume Mountain, plus four additional all-new tales of mad Wizards and their works. The five quests are not part of a narrative arc, but instead tie thematically around Wizards run amok.”

The patch includes the new Falconry universal enhancement tree and preps for an updated Treasure of Crystal Cove event. There are also many class changes (when are there not?), so make sure to read the full patch notes so as not to be surprised.

Source: Patch notes. Thanks DDO Central!

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Battle Bards Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music

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 iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:

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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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Dungeons and Dragons Online tests patch with birds of prey and ‘wizards run amok’

It’s high summer, and in Dungeons and Dragons Online that means it is time to pack up, leave the city, and set a destination for the mountains! The White Plume Mountain, in particular.

A new five-dungeon adventure pack is on the way for the game and is in fact being tested right now. The devs said that this pack doesn’t contain a single narrative arc but instead is “tied thematically around wizards run amok.” We can get behind that.

The patch also contains the new Falconer enhancement tree, which will give an avian combat pet to any character that wants one: “It is designed to provide fewer big hits; the hunting bird swoops to attack seconds after you have made your weapon attack to provide extra damage and certain status effects.”

Favored Soul and War Priests are due for a revamp with this update, and Barbarians are going to be seeing their fair share of changes as well.

Source: Official forums. Thanks DDOCentral!

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One Shots: My name is Captain Vanity

As I’m off on vacation this week, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to cull through the previous One Shots comment section for great pics like I usually do. So I’m going to have to beg your forgiveness for a little indulgence here, because in this edition, I’ll be sharing nothing but my own screenshots. Feels like a cheat, because I do that all the time in normal news articles and columns, but why not?

First up is my tribute to the late, great Marvel Heroes. However sad it went out, I had some great times in that MMO and loved the crazy superhero encounters. Such as, in this instance, Captain Marvel giving Carnage a little something to think about before he swings that hand-axe around.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Are the new seasonal instances a win or a whimper?

Let us travel back to 2009, when Lord of the Rings Online released its second expansion pack, Siege of Mirkwood. This pint-sized expansion seemed underwhelming with its options (although it did give us one of my favorite zones in the game), especially after the grandeur that was Moria. However, Mirkwood did factor in a new feature that made a pretty big splash with players: skirmishes.

Skirmishes were a new type of instanced content that could be scaled in both difficulty and group size, both of which felt revolutionary at the time. They threw players into either an offensive or defensive quest, challenging the group to conquer piles of foes and continue to press onward by claiming flags, defending areas, and defeating optional side objectives. To make matters even more interesting, players got to bring along a soldier companion to assist, and this soldier could be modified and trained to become more effective.

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Global Chat: A starting point for WoW Classic

The recent announcement of WoW Classic’s starting point — Patch 1.12 — started to make the prospect of this legacy server a lot more real to players, including many MMORPG bloggers.

“Fans of Captain Placeholder are no doubt disappointed, but it seems like a reasonable place to call Vanilla to me,” said The Ancient Gaming Noob.

“I do wonder whether Blizzard will ever take this idea to the logical next step, as other studios have already (both EverQuests and now RIFT), and make it into a progression server so that players can relive the highs of each new content release, patches, and expansions in turn,” mused GamingSF.

Inventory Full concurs: “A server that simply locks at a specific snapshot of the game risks stagnation. There is a market for an unchanging experience as can be seen by the number of ‘maintenance mode’ MMOs that still hold some kind of population but it’s easy to see why a company as large and successful as Blizzard might not consider that audience sufficiently large or profitable to encourage.”

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One Shots: Better virtual homes and gardens

Lately I’ve been overdosing on some serious Sims 4 time (blame the Seasons expansion announcement for this!) and indulging in my long-standing passion for player housing. I don’t always get that fix in every MMO I play — looking sideways at you, Blizzard — but I do enjoy expressing myself and seeing what other players have come up in their own living spaces.

Let’s take a tour of some excellent virtual abodes today! We’ll start with Rees Racer: “I’ve been a Elder Scrolls Online plus player for… a long time. I don’t buy much, so I had some crowns to spend. I eventually purchased the Alinor Crest Townhouse in Summerset. I’m a Bosmer, and it’s technically Altmer architecture, but I really like the colours and the courtyard fountain, and I’m fairly certain I saved the rule of Queen Ayrenn a few years ago. It’s more extravagant (like all High Elf accoutrements) than I need (or like), but I earned it.”

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The Stream Team: Sun and fun in LOTRO’s summer festival

It has been… well, almost a fortnight since LOTRO’s last festival, so it’s obviously time for another! The summer festival has begun, and Massively OP’s MJ heard tell of a peacock pet available from it. Of course she just has to get one of those, so you know that she will be heading in to revel, soaking up the pixel sun (which is much better than the real one!) while collecting the festival goodies. Join us live at 8:00 p.m. to fish, frolic, and have fun.

What: Lord of the Rings Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, June 30th, 2018

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Perfect Ten: The best MMO debuts by year, 1997-2006

By now, many of you probably know that I’m the curator of the MMO Timeline on my personal blog. On this page, I’ve attempted to catalog the launches, expansions, business model shifts, reboots, platform transitions, and sunsets of MMOs by year. It certainly helps me to get a high-level overview of certain eras of online gaming history as well as to trace the development of certain titles.

For fun, because that’s a lot of what Perfect Ten is about, I wanted to start with the year that MMORPGs really took off and select one title per year over the next two decades that I felt had the best debut and was the most exciting title to launch that year. Some years it’s going to be really easy to pick, while others… man, I am setting myself up for some hate mail, aren’t I?

Let’s turn our time machine back to 1997 and get this show on the road!

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Lord of the Rings Online plans a ‘perfect picnic’ with this week’s summer festival

Lord of the Rings Online’s summer festival is coming back on June 28th, and this year the event has a couple of exciting surprises for players to discover.

Standing Stone Games is trying out a new type of instance for these festivals, starting with the two that arrive in today’s Update 22.3. These include “The Perfect Picnic” with all sorts of cool rewards (want a raincloud pet?) and a revamped boss fight against Thrâng. The rest of the summer festival offerings will also be available, so head over to the LOTRO Wiki for a full guide through these.

Update 22.3 also makes significant changes to the Hunter’s Lingering Wound skill, adds a search bar to the quest log, and puts a throttle on global chat message frequency to combat spamming.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 176: Guild Wars 2, The Crew 2, and Elder Scrolls too

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin agree that two is the best number in the world, especially when it comes to video games! It’s a hodge-podge of topics, including Guild Wars 2’s latest episode, The Crew 2’s launch, Trion Worlds’ Gazillion acquisition, and more!

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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