Posts made in July, 2015

JOHN SMEDLEY RELINQUISHES HIS POST AT DAYBREAK

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in guides | Comments Off on JOHN SMEDLEY RELINQUISHES HIS POST AT DAYBREAK

VentureBeat is reporting that John Smedley has stepped down as President of Daybreak Game Company, the studio behind multiple MMOs, including the entire EverQuest franchise. Chief Operating Officer Russell Shanks will take his place.

A Daybreak rep told VB, “I can confirm that John Smedley will be taking some time off from the company for the near-term and transitioning to a different role to be determined. Upon finalization of his plans, further communication will be provided.”

Smedley oversaw the company’s transition from Sony-owned Sony Online Entertainment to Columbus Nova-funded Daybreak Game Company earlier this year. He made headlines this summer after he spoke up — forcefully — about his harassment at the hands of Lizard Squad e-thugs responsible for the bomb threat that diverted his plane nearly a year ago, among other alleged crimes. In apparent retaliation, the hackers assaulted Daybreak’s game servers with multi-day DDoS attacks and offered a $5000 reward for the defacement of Smed’s father’s grave.

Last week, he deleted his Twitter and Reddit accounts, saying he would “miss the interaction with […] players” but wanted to avoid distractions that stopped him from doing what he liked doing: making games.

It’s the end of a very long era for the company formerly known as SOE and Verant. Good luck to you, Smed.

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HOW TO PROGRESS IN SKYFORGE AFTER THE WEEKLY SPARK CAP

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in guides | Comments Off on HOW TO PROGRESS IN SKYFORGE AFTER THE WEEKLY SPARK CAP

Weekly limits in Skyforge are everywhere, putting a limit on how far and how fast players can progress in the game. In some ways this is most definitely a good thing, as it keeps even the most progression-oriented players on roughly equal footing, but it does mean that some players are hitting the weekly cap and wondering what in the world can actually be done to advance a character. Consequently, the developers have posted a new walkthrough of the Order system designed to highlight the fact that there is most certainly a means of advancing once you hit that weekly cap.

The Order system is all about sending out followers to promote you as a member of the pantheon and give you plenty of name recognition, which also contributes to the strength of your character (which gives you more followers, which… you get the idea). It’s one of the the three main ways to advance in the game, and it’s also a bit overlooked. The article helps correct that, but the developers promise that they will be keeping an eye on discussions to help identify problems with progress and perception alike..

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THE SOAPBOX: AN ODE TO MMO POSITIVITY

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in guides | Comments Off on THE SOAPBOX: AN ODE TO MMO POSITIVITY

I had a strange thought the other day, at least as regards the MMO genre. I’m kinda having fun here. I know, it surprised me too because it’s been an eternity since I found MMOs fun. Don’t get me wrong because free-to-play still sucks, people still love lockboxes, and you can’t click on a news article these days without reading about monetization or raving lunatics.

But funk all that! I’m in a good MMO mood. Join me past the cut and I’ll show you the games responsible.

OK, so this isn’t really an MMO. But it’s a really fun multiplayer game, and it’s put to rest the notion that all early access devs are out to kill your dog, sleep with your mother, and otherwise make your life miserable. It also boasts crafting and building mechanics that shame most modern MMORPGs, which is not nothing.

As an ARK private server admin, I sometimes get irritated with the frequency of Studio Wildcard’s patches. But then I have to step back and remind myself that this is how you’re supposed to do it. You’re supposed to listen to your playerbase, execute your vision in a timely and competent fashion, and update your game as often as new ideas and new bug fixes require it.

Apart from all that, ARK is just a fantastic freaking game. The crafting, the building, and the lush, Unreal-powered world that goes on seemingly forever simply never gets old. And oh yeah, those dinos are beyond spectacular, too. Seriously, I dare you to stand there while a bronto stomps by, shaking the earth — and your surround speakers — and making you feel rather insignificant in the game’s grand scheme.

2015-05-28_00021Grand Theft Auto Online
Er, OK. Here’s another one that’s not really an MMO, and maybe this little trend should cause me to reevaluate my earlier statement about having fun in MMOs again! But nah, I don’t think I will because GTAO, like ARK, takes the best parts of MMORPGs — namely, non-linear fun in a huge, immersive world — and strips out many of the worst.

GTA’s hyper-realistic recreation of Los Angeles and the surrounding desert can only be called a virtual playground. There is so much stuff to do, whether it’s stealing cars, racing boats, skydiving, or dozens of other activities, that I could play here exclusively and still not see everything.

Rockstar still has some kinks to work out when it comes to multiplayer bugs and exploits, but heists with a pre-made group of friends are an absolute blast and a refreshing departure from the usual MMO grind.

I went back to LotRO a few weeks ago, as I do three or four times annually without fail. It comes with the territory when you’re a Tolkien die-hard, and despite numerous missteps over the years, frankly there’s nothing Turbine could do at this point to drive me away from Middle-earth online for good.

The game’s environment visuals have aged exceedingly well, and there’s nothing in gaming quite like riding my warhorse over the fields of Rohan, fishing in the Brandywine, or inching my way ever closer to Mordor via the new Gondor questlines that aren’t exactly new but are still new to me on account of my frequent sabbaticals.

I typically loathe themepark questing, but LotRO’s has always been a different animal. On the surface, it’s the same silly level grind as any other MMORPG, but I do read all of the quest text and it is written well enough — and respectfully enough, vis-a-vis the source material — to elevate the experience above typical grindpark pop culture references and somewhere near the realm of immersive escapism.

And at this point, some eight years after its debut, LotRO is one of the more massive MMOs in existence in terms of total land area. Every so often I’ll disable my autorun and just wander along the road between Breeland and Weathertop. It takes forever, and it’s exactly what the doctor ordered to cure a case of genre burnout and remind me why I started playing these games in the first place.

SWTOR and I have a curious relationship. In some respects, the game offends almost all of my MMO sensibilities, and I continue to shake my head at how BioWare has gotten away with producing a single-player story RPG, slapping a gear grind and a cash shop onto it, and milking the ungodly contraption for incredible amounts of recurring revenue.

The IP continually draws me back, though, and BioWare’s world designers did well enough with it that I feel a satisfaction similar to the one I feel in LotRO. SWTOR excels at the sights and sounds of Star Wars, which makes up for the fact that it completely drops the ball on the combat (and the non-combat) of Star Wars.

The game’s ostensible raison d’etre, its MMO stories, are pretty underwhelming. They’re not horrible, in the same way that the recently de-canonized Expanded Universe wasn’t horrible. But they’re not why I’m enjoying myself here lately. No, I guess I’m just easy to please because there’s something oddly enjoyable about 30-minute Star Wars-based achievement hunting sessions a couple of times per week. I’m not really achieving anything, of course, because my Imperial Agent didn’t really save the galaxy or change the game world any more than yours did.

But I do love playing with virtual Star Wars action figures while listening to endless variations on John Williams’ signature themes!

This last one is a little bit premature because I haven’t dived head-first back into Norrath as of yet. On Tuesday, though, I am so there, and yes it’s all because of EverQuest II’s progression servers. I realize that they’re not actually classic servers per se. They’re missing the original racial starting hamlets, which is kind of a big deal since I played through them so many times in 2004 and 2005 that I could give you a complete guided tour from memory.

And for some unfathomable reason, Daybreak has decided to forego the actual unlocking mechanic that typically goes along with progression shards. For example, the Beastlord class will be playable from the get-go, despite the fact that it didn’t show up until the live game’s eighth expansion.

But whatever. It’s a chance to start fresh with what will likely be a big population of veterans and curiosity seekers on a virgin shard, and since EQ2 is far and away the most feature-rich themepark in existence already, a do-over simply sweetens the pot.

Everyone has opinions, and The Soapbox is how we indulge ours. Join the Massively OP writers as we take turns atop our very own soapbox to deliver unfettered editorials a bit outside our normal purviews (and not necessarily shared across the staff). Think we’re spot on — or out of our minds? Let us know in the comments!

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BETAWATCH: JULY 18TH, 2015

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in news | Comments Off on BETAWATCH: JULY 18TH, 2015

If you were excited for Camelot Unchained opening its doors for the first time next month, we’ve got some bad news for you. The game’s planned August beta has been delayed due to programmer issues, with the vague possibility that the game won’t be ready for testing until next year. We had a lengthy interview with Mark Jacobs on that, so by all means, take a look.

But, of course, the beta testing world goes on. Betas find a way. Some of them do, anyhow.

The players of Albion Online are having a very good time in the summer testing phase, yes they are.
After some early access issues, Skyforge went into open beta, which means it soft launched, which means you can go pay money for it now, what more do you need?
The path to launch for The Repopulation now includes better tutorials and guides.
It appears that Shroud of the Avatar has run out of room for map access for player-run towns. Because they set a limit. You get the idea.
Last and not least, Shards Online kicked off another phase of pre-alpha testing, with server admins setting their own rules and learning the ins and outs of being the master of the ruleset.
Did you know that there’s an entire lineup of games just below? Because they’re there! And they might include some games that snuck into another phase of testing or it might be missing something, in which case we encourage our readers to let us know in the comments.

As always, we consider an MMO to be in open testing if it features free, public signups and will server wipe prior to launch. An MMO is marked in closed testing if it’s running a private test phase that cannot freely be accessed by the general public; it’s usually under NDA as well. Early access and crowdfunded MMOs whose tests we deem legitimate will be included. So-called “open beta” soft-launch MMOs with cash shops, no sign of launch in the west, or limited interest for our readers will not be listed.

Albion Online: Founder alpha in progress
Ascent: The Space Game: Steam early access
Auto Club Revolution: Closed beta
Beasts of Prey: Early access alpha
Black Desert: Korean and Japanese open beta
Camelot Unchained: Backer alpha
Das Tal: Alpha expected in 2015
DayZ: Early access
Divergence Online: Alpha
Dungeon Fighter Online: Open testing
Earthrise: First Impact: Alpha but still alive
Eleven: Closed alpha
Eternal Crusade: Early access begins fall 2015
EVE: Valkyrie: Pre-alpha registration for EVE and DUST players
Ever, Jane: In testing; 2016 anticipated release
Gloria Victis: Donor pre-alpha
H1Z1: Paid early access
HEX: Unofficial open beta
Kingdom Online: Closed beta
Landmark: Paid closed beta, cash shop active
Life is Feudal: Early access beta
Line of Defense: Early access
MyDream: Closed testing open to donors
Nosgoth: Open beta
Oort Online: Donor alpha
Origins of Malu: Combat module in early access
Otherland: Second closed beta
Pathfinder Online: Subscription “early enrollment”
Project Genom: Closed alpha
Project Gorgon: Free, open testing
Shadowrun Chronicles: Steam early access; launching in April
Shards Online: Pre-alpha
Shroud of the Avatar: Steam early access, backer testing
SkySaga: Ongoing NA and UK alpha events
Star Citizen: Backer pre-alpha
Starriser: Taking beta signups
Stash: Backer alpha
The Repopulation: Early access/backer alpha, launching Q4 2015
Tree of Life: Paid early access
Tribal Wars 2: Open testing
TUG: Steam early access alpha
Valiance Online: Pre-alpha testing
Venus Rising: Internal alpha (adult/NSFW)
World of Warships: Open beta

Yes, MMO gamers, you too can perform the unpaid quality-control work otherwise known as game testing! Check out Massively Overpowered’s Betawatch every week for a run-down of MMOs that are still on the road to reality.

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Metro Conflict Open Beta Underway

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in news | Comments Off on Metro Conflict Open Beta Underway

OGPlanet today announced the launch of their hottest event of the Summer with the Open Beta release of the hugely anticipated free-to-play MMO shooter, Metro Conflict. Beginning today at 4PM PST players were able to enter the battlefield in the long-awaited release from Red Duck Inc, with Metro Conflict’s origins tracing back as far as 2010. Despite taking 5 years to see their concept come to fruition the team are excited to release Metro Conflict to the general gaming audience in a week long event.

This initial Open Beta even will run through until June 30th and will include a number of the games most exciting features and abilities including the opportunity to play as any of 8 versatile classes, fight for supremacy across detailed maps and enjoy 4 major game modes that offer the perfect opportunity to test ones skills against similar enemies. The Open Beta is available on both Valve’s popular Steam platform and OGPlanet’s personal launcher, although both are currently restricted to North American and European audiences.

The Open Beta week also presents players with the chance of seeing their names forever etched into the Metro Conflict annals of history with 5 competitive categories heavily tracked throughout the event, with the top 100 from each being named and framed in-game.

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