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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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Crowfall’s latest patch notes from the future video reads off 5.7 notes

The latest edition of Crowfall’s regular Patch Notes from the Future is not looking very far into the future. It’s actually close to looking into the present because patch 5.7 is very close to deployment. And since there’s been some time with 5.7 in development, a lot of the patch notes had already been read off before the most recent show. But it is available in archive form (you can watch it just below) and it does contain new stuff because apparently patch 5.7 just keeps getting bigger.

For example, the crafting disciplines and associated stats are being rolled into the game with the patch. The systems to alter those stats are not being included, but the stats will be there as part of the game’s UI to explore. There are also elements like decay rate and mega deeds slipped into the workings of the patch, but why take our word for it? You can see the whole rundown in video format just below.

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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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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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Sea of Thieves’ Sunken Curse Event is live with today’s patch

Sea of Thieves is pulling another patch out of drydock today, this one with a fresh event for players of the pirate pseudo-MMO.

“Cursed Mermaid Statues are the latest addition to Sea of Thieves. Hidden in the shallows around island shores, they radiate, cursed with ancient magic. For this adventure, the Bilge Rats are challenging all brave pirates to seek out and destroy the statues. Not all statues are bound by the same curse but they all regenerate health over time and while some will require more firepower than others to destroy, no more than four players will be required to destroy even the toughest statue.”

Of course, there’s plenty more to the update, including new sunken items, new titles, new cosmetics (even a tattoo set), more useful loading screens, UI tweaks, crash fixes, and a few bug fixes too – for example, “cannonball knockback no longer causes unintended damage to fellow crew members.” Check out the developer update and other goodies down below!

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Wild West Online plans ‘soft relaunch’ to boost playerbase, says playable women are a ‘cosmetic feature’

The latest Wild West Online patch landed on July 5th, and it brings in some changes like a full Sheriffs vs. Outlaws faction setup and the ability to taunt your enemies. It’s also easier to customize your character’s appearance and several skill trees have been fixed to work correctly with the game’s current build. All good things for the people still playing the game, and all meant to feed into what is apparently a plan to relaunch the game entirely to be more of an online shooter and all that entails:

What this “relaunch” plan means for you – our existing players ? to be honest it doesn’t really gonna affect you much – it will for sure will bring new players to the game, as well as add more stuff to do in a game, making user experience more in line with it being PVP shooter game.

The developers go on to explain that quests will be removed from farmers, replaced with simply daily tasks that pop up as part of the interface, and farmers will become just another sort of vendor in the game world. You can read up the full plans for the “soft relaunch” now, although you have to dig a little bit to find out that the developers are working on adding playable women to the game but don’t consider it a very high priority because it’s “just a cosmetic feature.”

If you’ve forgotten, WWO launched out of early access in May in a state which appeared wildly unready for launch, with immediate negative reception. We’ve got a roundup just below if you’d like to catch up on the progress.

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Interview: ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman on prepping Crowfall’s Artisan Engine for the broader industry

Yesterday, Crowfall studio ArtCraft announced it was spinning off a brand-new company dubbed ArtCraft Technologies that would basically turn Crowfall’s engine into a marketable product for other studios, “providing game developers with turnkey technology solutions for creating large-scale Massively Multiplayer Online games.” We had opportunity to chat with ArtCraft Creative Director J Todd Coleman about the move and what it means for the studio and genre. Read on!

Massively OP: So to start, we’re curious about the “why” behind the new studio. Is ArtCraft thinking of this venture as an extra revenue stream for the company? Or is it trying to encourage more MMORPGs – or maybe both?

J. Todd Coleman: This wasn’t originally part of our plan. In the last 12 months, we’ve had a few different studios contact us to see if we would consider licensing our technology. The more we looked into it, the more it made sense. The additional revenue stream is great, obviously, but that has to be balanced against the potential distraction. We wouldn’t have done this if we didn’t see it as a great strategic move for the company, and a chance to leverage what we’ve built into something much bigger.

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Perfect World updates its Arc client with new features

You may or may not use the Perfect World Entertainment Arc launcher to play games like Neverwinter and Champions Online. There are lots of ways to get into the games, after all. But the developers would certainly like it if you were using the branded launcher, and with the latest update to the client you’ll have even more reason to do so. The newest version updates the layout of the front page to be more readable and allow special displays for more news categories, making the launcher more useful for sorting out what’s new.

Players can also take advantage of the launcher’s improved chat system, which brings some of the bells and whistles of voice chat, friend lists, group chats and you know what, it’s another client adding in an interface that should hopefully remind people of just using Discord. But there’s also an improved overlay in the game, so that’s a good thing. It should give you a little more reason to use the Arc client, or at least more improvements for people already using it.

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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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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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Sea of Thieves fixes cannon teleporting (sort of) and bans cheaters

This week’s Sea of Thieves update did keep the servers down extralong on the holiday, but there wasn’t much to it. There’s a new cross-promotional figurehead, a new rocking effect to cannonball impact, less UI clutter in shops, and fixes for several bugs, including this gem: “Players will no longer be teleported back to their ship when they shoot themselves from the cannon on the north side of Devil’s Ridge.” However, this bug remains: “Some players travel in an unintended direction when fired from a cannon.” Can’t wait to find out where people who don’t reach patch notes shoot themselves!

Oh, and by the way, stop being a cheating cheaterpie. They’re on to you. Or “a number” of you. Wait, is zero a number? “This week we’ve banned a number of players who we’ve been able to confirm have been cheating,” Rare says. “Those players have been contacted via email and we’ve removed their Sea of Thieves account privileges. We will continue enforcing a zero tolerance policy to this behaviour and taking regular action against any players who are found to be cheating.”

The new dev vlog is down below.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO is theoretically perfect but fails to click with you?

Let’s talk about Final Fantasy XIV for a minute. This game really frustrates me because, on paper, it has so much of what I’m looking for in an MMORPG. It’s a polished and popular title with tons of story, player housing, swappable classes, incredible music, gorgeous visuals, and plenty of solo and grouping content. Yet every time I’ve made an honest effort to get into the game, I can only last about a month before I give up and head elsewhere.

I think it’s one of those cases of a game where the parts come together to make an objectively great product that doesn’t click with me personally. I’m routinely bored by the story and the slow pace, not to mention put off by the clunky controls and UI. I wish I could love it more, but I just don’t.

I’ve heard many of you say something similar about various games. There are titles that should be great for you, but so far, every time you try them, they don’t click. There’s something about these MMOs that keep them from being as fun for you as they might otherwise be. Which games are like this for you and why do you think this is the case?

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