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Star Wars: The Old Republic

The Stream Team: What comes after SWTOR’s Knights of the Eternal Throne?

Now that Massively OP’s Larry and MJ finished SWTOR’s KOTET story, what’s next? MJ has no idea really. Surely the story must go on somehow, but on what tangents? What awaits — and more importantly, what choices await? Not that MJ can make them, mind you; the audience does! Join us live at 2:00 p.m. as the we move beyond the Eternal Throne to new adventure in…

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

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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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Take a peek at the development of Shroud of the Avatar’s player-designed dungeon system

Drama seems to plague Shroud of the Avatar, but if you can look past it, there’s some fun innovation going on inside Portalarium in regard to MMO mechanics. Portalarium Technical Director Chris Spears, for example, has been slowly revealing a massive new player-generated dungeon system for the game, hidden away in the bowels of the forums until this week’s newsletter.

If you’re a fan of City of Heroes’ old Mission Architect, Star Trek Online’s Foundry, or even Star Wars Galaxies’ ancient Chronicles system, you’ll see remnants of all of those in this system. Basically, you buy blueprints for individual pieces from NPCs, then combine them with mats to build your dungeon space chunk by chunk, on a housing lot, out in the real world. Eventually, you’ll populate “encounter rooms” with mobs and make it a real delve for other players.

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Global Chat: Is it worth your time to alpha test MMOs?

Taugrim raises a very interesting question this week on his blog. Namely, is it really worth your time to alpha test MMOs these days? For him, at least, fickle players and unresponsive developers don’t make it a beneficial activity.

“A decade ago, I used to get super excited about upcoming MMORPGs,” he said. “And then I experienced those games losing their playerbase in droves while the developers/publishers failed to meaningfully address the concerns of the community.”

If you’ve been burned one too many times by alpha, beta, and early access testing, perhaps you can relate. Read on for more essays from the MMO blogosphere, and don’t forget to check out this month’s exciting Blaugust Reborn event that’s raging across blogs!

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Star Wars Galaxies fans are working on an emulator for the game’s TCG

I haven’t been making any secret of how much fun I’m having in the Star Wars Galaxies Legends emulator (and thanks so much to the readers who urged me to try it!). What I haven’t tried just yet is TCGEmu, which is trying to revive the Star Wars Trading Card Game that existed chiefly inside SWG itself.

Late-game SWG players will recall that the TCG was ahead of its time on so many fronts: It was actually one of the first fully online card games out there, but back then it had no chance of reaching the heights of mainstream adoption that we’re used to seeing now with games like Hearthstone, especially since few people outside of SWG knew it existed. It was gorgeous as heck, too, with stunning artwork that exists nowhere else.

Of course, the TCG also has the dubious honor of being one of the first openly and egregiously lockbox-esque pay-to-win systems in a major MMORPG, as players spent gobs of money angling for loot cards, which they could then use (or sell) inside Star Wars Galaxies itself. While I personally bought and traded my (free monthly) loot cards and loved some of the clothing and homes added to the game, I was also among those who argued that all of those items should have been added to the sandbox through crafters rather than through gamblers and junkies spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on what were basically lockboxes in the form of card packs.

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Massively Overthinking: Should MMORPGs incentivize exploration – and how?

Our Daily Grind on exploration last week sparked an intriguing follow-up from MOP reader Miol.

“When asking about sightseeing and exploration in MMORPGs, you also mentioned the lack of rewarding incentives for exploring those worlds, or worse, a poor implementation of such features, as you pointed out by Guild Wars 2’s vistas. Many of Wander’s mechanics also come to mind for me. You and many commenters in that article stated that their exploration mostly happened by their own initiative!

“So what features would you all wish in an exploration-heavy MMO? Is Trove’s Geode with its non-combat spelunking on to something? Would exploring other players’ curation and display of art already be enough for you, a la Occupy White Walls? What would an MMO need to simulate a fun road trip? Would looking for that one place with those until-then-unmatched resource stats, be a definite must for you, as in Star Wars Galaxies? Or is open-world housing more of a priority, so you can find that perfect spot for your porch? Purely just survival features? Or maybe even, as Andrew once mentioned, a certain mechanic for dying, as in Project Gorgon?”

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Perfect Ten: 10 MMO features that deserve widespread adaptation

You know what gets me excited about upcoming MMOs? It’s certainly not the list of expected systems and features that have since become standard for most games in this genre. Good-looking fantasy online RPG? Neato, that’s terrific, but what else are you selling?

No, what truly grabs my attention is when a dev team uses its imagination and comes up with a creative feature that makes me sit back and say, “Wow, I wish they all had this!”

It’s a shame that we have seen plenty of these systems over the years that were tried maybe once or twice but never adapted into the greater sphere. Today we’re going to come up with 10 examples of such features that truly did try something revolutionary (or at least pretty cool) but haven’t seen follow-ups in games since.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 181: Some devs just want to watch the world tree burn

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin sift through the ashes of World of Warcraft’s burning developments, make sense of Chris Roberts’ “You win by having fun!” mantra, get cozy with werewolves and tieflings, 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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H1Z1 has officially launched on the PlayStation 4 as Jace Hall joins the H1Z1 PC team

Daybreak’s battle royale game H1Z1 has been through more ups and downs and ups again in the last few years than most games see in their lifetimes. The game once bizarrely marketed to former Star Wars Galaxies players has split in two, undergone multiple name changes, seen its survival half falter, made it to television with esports events, wallowed in early access, missed multiple launch windows, suffered layoffs, and lost most of its playerbase to PUBG, and also shed most of its zombie nature, all before seemingly finding rescue in its wildly successful PlayStation 4 beta this past spring.

“The official H1Z1 launch update on PlayStation®4 includes:

  • Battle Pass Season 1: PS4 players can now unlock up to 30 rewards levels across 3 distinct lines (free, premium, and PS Plus). Battle Pass Season 1 premium line can be purchased for $5.49 / €5.49, while all PS Plus members will receive the PS Plus line included in membership. Level progression will carry over between lines.
  • Two New Weapons: The explosive RPG can be found in gold tier airdrops, and specializes in taking out vehicles. The deadly SOCOM Sniper Rifle can be found in purple tier airdrops, and offers a new tactical option for long-range gunfights.
  • New Vehicle: The ARV fits a full fives team and includes a hatch for a squad mate to fire out the top – making it the ultimate vehicle for squad-based gameplay.
  • New Launch Bundles: Players can now customize their character to the max through the new Viper Starter bundle ($4.99 USD / €4.99) or Hardline Deluxe bundle, which includes Premium Battle Pass ($34.99 USD / €34.99). Both Launch bundles are now available at a special launch discount until September 4 on the PlayStation Store.”

Meanwhile, MOP reader and tipster Kinya has pointed us to some cryptic tweets from Monolith’s Jace Hall:

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SWTOR’s Rishi stronghold and PvP tweaks are live today with the 5.9.2 update

Multiple goodies are coming to Star Wars The Old Republic today via its previously delayed but now launching 5.9.2 update. The headliner content is assuredly the Rishi stronghold, which our own SWTOR columnist is so excited about that he’s covered it in-depth. Twice. It certainly looks like one of the most spectacular player structures BioWare has added to date, and it’s far more than just a house.

“Escape the daily grind of galactic life by traveling to your own personal slice of paradise! This Stronghold features multiple customizable structures, a flying Patrol Carrier, a cliffside apartment, and its own private beach. Plus, for the first time, Player versus Player gameplay is fully supported inside the Stronghold, allowing for 1-on-1, Team Deathmatch, and even Huttball scenarios!”

The new Mandalorian Battle Ring arena is live too, as are hefty tweaks to warzones, matchmaking, PvP rewards, and cartel market reputations. Those of you whose characters have romanced Lana Beniko should probably pay close attention to the fixes for the marriage bug introduced a few patches ago.

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BioWare explains more about Anthem’s split between MMO and single-player portions

Is Anthem a single-player game or an open-world MMO? The short answer is that it’s both, but the split is a bit different from what you may be expecting. Rather than the social hub being a shared space for all players, the latest mid-summer update from the studio explains that the “safe” spot will be where players experience the single-player story, build relationships, and so forth. It’s the open world where the shared experiences will happen for everyone.

A panel is promised for this year’s PAX West that will go into more details on the division between formats, so if you’re still curious about how the split will work you can look forward to that. There’s also a promise of new features on the horizon for Star Wars: The Old Republic that should make for an exciting year, so that’s some reason for fans to be hopeful on that front, yes?

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR is testing huge changes for the Rishi stronghold

I know I took more than a moment to explain why I liked the new Rishi stronghold coming to Star Wars: The Old Republic in the next big update. It seems that the development team has a little more freedom to really listen to its fans and add items to this stronghold to move it from being a good stronghold to a great one.

I’ve clearly been critical of many of the things SWTOR has done over the year, and I rarely give it amazing scores on my yearly reviews. But I’m still a fan, and it’s improvements like the Rishi stronghold that help keep me interested in what BioWare developers are doing. On a scale that includes jumping the timeline forward 5 years and killing off major characters, creating a PvP stronghold ranks rather low, but I’m surprised at how much it actually helps to create an enjoyable game.

The final round of PTS changes hit this past weekend, and I spent some time goofing around and diving into these additions. Let me highlight some of the changes.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 180: Superstoked for heroic MMOs

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin do a belly flop right into a big pool of superhero MMOs, news, and fan projects. City of Heroes may be dead and gone many years now, but its legacy still lives on in surprising ways!

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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