the agency

Spy MMORPG canceled by SOE in 2011. See: The Agency on Wikipedia

EVE Online launches the Dawn of Liberation event along with its July update today

EVE Online has a decent-size release up this month – today, in fact, as it’s already live. Notably, today’s update tweaks Abyss looot drops and other Abyssal Deadspace bits, lightly balances select ships, fixes missile optimizations, adjusts the duel wager system, improves the UI, and tackles bugs. It’s a hefty set of patch notes!

Probably the most interesting release is actually to the storyline, however; the latest leg in the game’s plot is dubbed Dawn of Liberation. Players will be helping The Republic transport rescued slaves. Yes, there’s something in it for you too.

“Access the Dawn of Liberation objectives via The Agency in the Neocom menu. Then, decide what objective you’re going to tackle, choosing from battling slaver ships, bounty hunting and rescuing slaves from enemy ships or Human Containment Facilities. Finally, set course and start racking up those Agency points for any objectives completed, eventually unlocking further rewards with your gathered points.”

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EVE Evolved: Improving EVE Online’s organisational tools

Throughout most of EVE Online‘s lifetime, players have developed their own third-party applications (and yes, spreadsheets) to help organise and enhance their gameplay. We’ve got skill training calculators, websites for keeping track of structure fuel, databases full of information on items, and advanced industry and market tools that look like they belong to real world stock brokers. Most large alliances also now use Slack or Discord to organise out of game, have their own dedicated voice comms servers, and use tools like Jabber to notify members of important events.

CCP Games itself has added some brilliant in-game tools over the years that help players organise too. We now have a great in-game Calendar and event system, a customisable notification popup tool, corporation bookmarks, and an official smartphone app. We even have the ability to simulate and share ship fittings, and a new Agency panel that helps new players find content near them. These are all extremely useful productivity tools, but with a few improvements I think they could be even better!

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss a few improvements I’d love to see for EVE Online‘s calendar, Agency interface, and official mobile app that would help players organise and work together more easily.

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EVE Evolved: 2017 EVE Online year in review

We’ve reached the end of another year, and it’s certainly been a busy one for EVE Online. This year saw heavy gameplay iteration, with improvements to everything from the UI to ship balance, and the Lifeblood expansion’s total moon mining overhaul. PvE-focused players got a new AI-driven Resource Wars activity in high-security space, and an experimental user interface named The Agency has helped tie seasonal in-game events together. New refinery structures caused a bit of a land grab on moons and gave alliances more to fight over, and CCP Games lifted some of the free to play alpha clone restrictions to help bring in new players.

It’s the players that make EVE Online special, of course, and this year had no shortage of crazy political shenanigans. We followed The Imperium’s war for revenge in the north of EVE that eventually fizzled out, watched as The Judge betrayed his alliance and stole the largest sum of ISK in the game’s history, and sat aghast as the leader of that alliance was banned for threatening to cut off the thief’s hands in real life. CCP Games itself hasn’t exactly made it through the year unscathed, with the company unexpectedly pulling out of the VR market and laying off around 100 staff worldwide.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look back at the past year of EVE Online news and summarise the highlights.

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The most popular Massively OP MMO articles of 2017

One of my favorite things to do every year is drill down the top articles on the site for our readers. I don’t mean the most controversial, the most fun, the most important, or the most commented-on; I mean the single articles that actually brought in the most hits. And what I find most interesting is that most “popular” aren’t always the ones we expect! As we’ve noted before, a well-timed link from a major website – Reddit, Fark, or a game dev – can elevate an entire month. (That’s why we’re so grateful when our fans share our work across social networks!)

Just remember that the list favors posts made early in the year (and in some cases, evergreen articles from earlier years) as later pieces haven’t had as much time to percolate, so when you do see big articles from December on a list like this, that means a popular post indeed!

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The ultimate guide to The Game Archaeologist’s MMO archives

When we moved over here to Massively Overpowered, some of us transplanted our long-running columns to the new space. I perhaps felt most devastated that I was going to lose all of the Game Archaeologist articles that I had painstakingly researched over the years. So my mission with this space became two-fold: to rescue and update my older columns while continuing to add more articles to this series on classic MMOs and proto-MMOs.

I’ve been pleased with the results so far because TGA is a series that I really don’t want to see vanish. As MMORPG fans, we should consider it important to remember and learn about these older titles and to expand our knowledge past the more popular and well-known games of yesteryear.

Now that we have quite a catalogue of Game Archaeologist columns, I thought it would be helpful to end the year by gifting this handy guide to you that organizes and compiles our continuing look at the history of the genre. Enjoy!

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EVE Evolved: The Agency could revolutionise casual PvE in EVE Online

Though EVE Online has a reputation as a cut-throat PvP sandbox where anything goes, the fuel that fires its conflict engine has always been PvE. Players collectively pump over 100 trillion ISK into the EVE economy each month by hunting NPCs all across the game, and at the same time they mine around 40 trillion ISK’s worth of ore for ship and module production. Over 90% of NPC bounties predictably come from people farming in the player-owned nullsec regions where some of the largest PvE rewards can be found, but data released earlier this year showed that 7.2% of bounties actually come from high-security space.

It’s unsurprising, then, that CCP chose high-security space as the test-bed for an entirely new casual PvE format with the release of Resource Wars in the recent Lifeblood expansion. The expansion also saw the return of the Crimson Harvest event and the release of a new tool named The Agency that helps players find nearby PvE content. I’ve been getting stuck into all three of these this week and seeing how it all ties together, and I’m now more convinced than ever that we could be heading for a full-scale PvE revolution.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss Resource Wars as a new model for PvE and consider how The Agency could be expanded to help promote casual pick-up PvE groups in EVE.

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CNN alleges that Russia used Pokemon Go to try to spread dissent in the USA

It always gets a bit bumpy when politics, international intrigue, and video games collide, so hold on for this one.

According to CNN, Russia’s Internet Research Agency — an organization devoted to create unrest in the USA — tapped into Pokemon Go as a way to do this. How could this be? Apparently, the agency ran a contest on a site in 2016 that encouraged supporters of Black Lives Matter to hunt down Pokemon near sites of police brutality and to even change their character names to victims.

It seems dubious whether the “Don’t Shoot Us” campaign and contest had any effect on players or interfered with politics. CNN couldn’t find anyone who actually participated in it, and the campaign’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts have all since been suspended.

Source: CNN via The Verge. Thanks Sally!

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Let’s go moon mining in EVE Online’s newly announced expansion, Lifeblood

Happy September, EVE Online. Howsabout an expansion? You got it: CCP has just announced Lifeblood, launching October 24th.

“As new technologies for resource acquisition emerge in the form of Upwell Refineries, new moon mining capabilities and refined reaction processes, pirate factions have set their sights on taking a slice of the dwindling resources that remain in New Eden. With more tools for resource gathering at the hands of capsuleers than ever before, the competition for raw materials and supremacy over space is becoming more heated than ever as the cluster is pushed closer toward the brink of all out conflict.”

New refinery structures are en route, along with moon mining, a better UI for reactions and The Agency tool, collaborative gameplay dubbed “resource wars,” pirate FOBs to take out, a balancing pass for alpha ships, and a ledger for mining history. The studio’s also awarding Fanfest and EVE Vegas ticket holders a Marshal class CONCORD Battleship. Requisite trailer below!

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The Game Archaeologist: SOE’s The Agency

The graveyard of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak Game Company is certainly full enough to be considered a threat if there was ever a zombie uprising among MMORPGs. From PlanetSide to Free Realms, there are plenty of live games that were disposed of in this grim fictional burial ground. But there are also those stillborn titles that never had the change to make or break in a live environment. EverQuest Next might be the most fresh in our minds, but go back a handful of years and you might have seen players lamenting the loss of a different promising SOE game: The Agency.

The Agency seems like a natural fit for the studio’s focus on first-person shooters and a willingness to branch out from strictly fantasy territory. Instead of dragons or stormtroopers, players in this game were to face off against terrorist organizations and dastardly spy agencies, all in the pursuit of living out the ultimate James Bond fantasy.

But instead of sitting on our desktop, The Agency exists only in a forgotten corner of this imaginary cemetery. Today, let us tenderly brush off its worn tombstone and remember what we can about this canceled spy shooter.

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UK law enforcement agency claims game modding can lead to crime

If you’ve ever installed an auction hall mod in World of Warcraft or added a mood hack to your Sims 4 install, put down your mouse and back away slowly from your computer: You could be on the road to crime!

That’s only a slightly hyperbolic takeaway from a statement made by the UK’s National Crime Agency as pointed out to us by MOP reader Sally Bowls. Following its inaugural booth attendance at last week’s EGX event, the agency told Motherboard that it was hoping to “educate” all you rapscallions who cheat at and mod video games as you’re at risk for lawlessness.

“We have undertaken analysis on pathways into cyber crime offending and can conclude that some young people who have an interest in online games may begin to participate in gaming cheat websites and ‘modding.’ This has the potential to progress to criminal hacking forums and use of low level cybercrime services like DDOS for hire. We are therefore at the event to speak to young people who may be vulnerable to becoming involved in cybercrime and promote lawful career pathways.”

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