Improbable wants to build better MMO worlds

If you’re looking for signs of what the next generation of MMOs could look like, then you might want to start checking out the work that Improbable is doing.

A studio that’s been generating some serious buzz over the past year, Improbable’s main project is creating a platform that allows creators to build virtual worlds that are far more complex and emergent than the one we have today. A new piece at Wired highlights how Improbable CEO Herman Narula became frustrated with the limitations of MMOs and wanted to create tech that would surpass “player-centric illusion” to utilize physical laws and object persistence.

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H1Z1 zombies promise a screaming good time

H1Z1’s developmental plans have long included adding a variety of zombies into the mix, from different looks to different skills. Female zombies were added last October — now get ready for a new one. Remember that undead abomination in a straight jacket that you got a glimpse of in last week’s video? That’s the upcoming screamer zombie. Bound up and with no lower jaw, this creature can’t actually attack a player, but don’t think that makes it harmless. Instead of inflicting damage itself, it emits a blood-curdling wail that brings every zombie anywhere in the vicinity down upon the head of whatever player was unlucky enough to be spotted by it. Get a gander at its wobbly gait in the short animation clips below, and read up on the behind-the-scenes thought of the artists on the official dev blog.

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Massively OP’s guide to choosing an online ARPG

Bored of MMOs, despondent about the industry, or simply looking for something a little different? Turning to something similar to MMOs, yet offering a new experience, is what’s attracted many people to online action RPGs.

MMOARPGs, or ARPGs for short, are a booming segment of the online games industry for their fast gameplay, bite-sized sessions, and ease of play. They’re distinguished by features not generally found in MMOs, such as click-to-move, an isometric viewpoint, time-to-kill that is often lightning fast, simple controls, heavily instanced worlds, and loot exploding out of corpses like squishy piñatas. Still, they offer many of the same qualities that are found in traditional MMOs, most notably persistent characters and multiplayer connections.

If you’ve ever been curious about trying out an online ARPG but don’t know where to start, here’s our quick-and-dirty guide through four titles that are bridging the gap between MMOs and single-player ARPGs (such as the excellent Torchlight II and Titan Quest).

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H1Z1 shows off damage states and new zombie design

Visuals and animations can make or break an MMO for many, so it’s important that the art team not be lollygagging around when there’s so much to do on an upcoming title. Daybreak’s art crew put together a new video to show off its progress in H1Z1 over the past month, including new emotes, a creepy straightjacket zombie, armor concept art, and demonstrations of various damage states of in-game vehicles.

Give the art video a watch after the jump!

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The best MMO deals in the Steam winter 2015 sale

It’s the holiday season! A time for cuddling up before a cozy fire, enjoying loved ones, sharing memories, and… just kidding. It’s time to raid Steam’s sales and get some vidya games dirt cheap!

Here’s some of the stuff most useful for MMO players this round.

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The MOP Up: RuneScape’s big anniversary plans (December 20, 2015)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week RuneScape revealed some big plans for next year’s 15th anniversary, World of Warships announced its an anime mode, we got our first look at E3 2016, and more!

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The Game Archaeologist: Asheron’s Call

It’s hard being the youngest child — you get the hand-me-downs, suffer through swirlies by older siblings, and eventually develop such a neurosis that it requires seven different brands of horse tranquilizers to make it through the day. Not that I would actually know, being an oldest child and all. But I suppose it would be a hard-knock life.

In effect, Asheron’s Call was the youngest of the three MMO siblings that comprised the first major graphical MMO generation. Ultima Online, the big brother, had prestige and legacy behind it, while middle child EverQuest quickly became the most popular at school. And then there was Asheron’s Call, poking its head on the scene in late 1999 as a cooperative project between developer Turbine and publisher Microsoft. While AC never got the recognition of Ultima Online nor the numbers of EverQuest, this scrappy title became a cult favorite and endures even to this day, albeit in maintenance mode.

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Watch 100 naked H1Z1 players take on an elite strike team

As part of Daybreak’s ongoing H1Z1 Showdown festivities, Twitch broadcaster CDNThe3rd recently hosted an amusing H1Z1 Battle Royale match that pitted a hardcore team of six loot-bedecked bros on voice comms against… a small army of 100 nakeds wearing only their undies and sporting makeshift bows and arrows.

My favorite bit is around 26 minutes in when the nakeds start jumping into cars and barricading a bridge. The carnage ramps up starting around 22 minutes in, and the big battle’s at 36. I won’t tell you who wins. That would spoil the fun of watching hardcores flee for their lives from a swarm of naked scrubs.

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DayZ now allows monetized private servers

In the event of a zombie apocalypse like the one that has apparently hit the world of DayZ, human money will be entirely worthless. Ironically, actual DayZ private server operators are now allowed to use said private servers to make some of that human money. Yes, monetization of private servers is now allowed, albeit with a list of restrictions and a variety of things that cannot be sold.

The short version is that only items and perks which do not affect gameplay can be monetized, so anything from guns to housing cannot be sold. Mods are permitted with the express permission of the mod maker, and donations do not require approval but only count as donations so long as no reward is offered. The developers are looking at this as a test run and will be re-evaluating whether or not monetized servers are having a positive effect upon the community at the end of May in 2016. Until then? Run a server and get in on making some pre-apocalypse money.

Source: PC Gamer


Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: Pseudo-MMO of the Year

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the best pseudo-MMO of the year.

The games that populate this category are games that we’d usually cover under Not So Massively — they’re MOBAs, online dungeon crawlers and ARPGs, online shooters, survival sandboxes, and other games that tread into MMO territory but aren’t full MMORPGs. Games did not need to have released in 2015 to be eligible but should have done something notable this year. Last year, our winner was Hearthstone.

Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Best Pseudo-MMO of 2015 is…

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H1Z1 gets comfortable with food

What does H1Z1 and The Sims have in common? Other than being gruesome torture boxes for innocent video game characters, both games are focused on maintaining the minute-by-minute needs of a human body.

In fact, H1Z1 is adding a fifth stat to its roster of body needs: comfort. In a new developer diary, Daybreak explains that keeping comfort high is quite helpful with both health and stamina recovery.

Comfort can be boosted by hanging out at a campfire, eating food, and drinking. By rasing comfort over certain thresholds, players ensure both stamina and health regeneration get a helpful boost (up to 10%).

Source: Dev diary


Rokh offers a persistent multiplayer survival sandbox set on Mars

If H1Z1’s zombies and ARK: Survival Evolved’s dinos aren’t your kind of survival sandbox, how about one set on the planet Mars?

Darewise Entertainment and Nvizzio Creations announced new “Martian multiplayer survival game” Rokh today, surely setting a new standard for the most specific subgenre name ever. But it actually sounds nifty.

Rokh is a futuristic sandbox survival experience, deeply rooted in scientific and authentic anticipation, where players will have to work together to overcome the numerous challenges they will face on planet Mars. It is a persistent multiplayer game where everything proceeds from simulation and systems interaction instead of classic script-based interactions. In the game, the only resources players have against hunger, thirst, the lack of atmosphere and radiation are creativity and cooperation.

Rokh brings an extensive crafting system – including housing, chemistry, programming, and robotics. To promote real social and economic dynamics between the colonists, these systems are designed to be impossible to be mastered by a single player. The game will be powered by Unreal Engine 4 and will simulate dynamic weather, radiation spreads as well as differences in atmospheric pressure.

You can check out the teaser trailer below.

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H1Z1’s booby traps look fairly painful

Have you ever trapped an actual booby? It seems like that would be pretty difficult. I won’t get into the hows and whys and instead will direct you to the latest website update from Daybreak’s early access survival sandbox H1Z1 for a primer on its booby trap mechanics. The work-in-progress traps will have different debilitating effects on would-be thieves, including blindness, uncontrollable coughs, and even death by fire.

You can craft traps at a workstation, and the update post has a list of all of the materials that you will need. Daybreak has also released a brief video that shows off the various trap effects. You can view that after the cut.

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