Through livestreaming and Twitch TV, I've had a great opportunity to explore dozens of MMOs over the past year, often with my co-host Jeremy Stratton. In my weekly column here, I often focus on common issues that happen within a guild, but I've also looked at MMO communities on the whole, and that should include the community that's grown here at Massively. What's really neat is that there's an overlapping at times during these shows, where the in-game communities of the MMO we're showcasing mesh with the Massively community, and it's made for some fantastic moments. Join me in this week's Guild Counsel as I look back over my favorite moments from the past year.
Allods and the Astral
This was our first brush with the virtual baptism of fire. Jeremy and I were planning to roll up new characters and check out the early levels when at the last minute, the nice team at gPotato allowed us to see astral travel, which is high-level content. Suffice it to say, we were stumbling around a bit as we tried to figure out the controls, but we did get our ship up and running, and once we did, we had a blast touring the astral. If you've never had a chance to see it, it's worth checking out our old livestream, and we both have to thank the Allods Online community for being relatively kind to us (until the very end, when we were surrounded by ships and put through a bumper car experience on our way back home). I finished this show desperately wanting to do that again, and I'm working on setting up a second show in the near future.
Just a week after DCUO went free-to-play, SOE Community Manager Tony "RadarX" Jones was kind enough to take time away from his busy day to showcase Area 51. We ended up with an extra player in the group, and of course, we had the luck of getting someone with a less-than-polite character name. But he eventually left, and Jeremy and I had a great time fighting our way through the zone. Tony was a great host and discussed quite a bit about DCUO's physics-based gameplay as well as some of the adjustments the team had to make during that first week of free-to-play craziness.
Living dead and spawns on my head
Community Manager Darek Connole joined us for one of our Fallen Earth livestreams, and he was a terrific guest and tour guide. We started off relatively quietly with a look at crafting and some basics, but all hell broke loose when we arrived at the PvP area. Several Fallen Earth players joined us, but when we found no opponents to tangle with, the developers took matters into their own hands and spawned round after round of undead, mutants, and gigantic post-apocalyptic creatures of futuristic earth. I died several times as monsters spawned right on top of me, and I began to figure out that it wasn't a coincidence. Nevertheless, Jeremy and I enjoyed our trip to the wasteland, and once again, we were impressed with the great community there as well.
Sorry about that spear in your gut!
I don't think I've ever laughed so hard as I did during our livestream of Vindictus. We were rolling along, having a great time smashing gnolls and trying to outdo each other on finding large things to wield and hurl, when I decided to showcase the ability to aim and throw spears. The problem was that A) I'm slipping in my Ranger abilities and B) line of sight is a factor. The result was that I ended up hurling the spear toward the tangle of Jeremy and the gnoll -- and ended up hitting Jeremy right in the gut! Oh, how I love physics-based gameplay.
My first recollection of SOE Community Manager Lydia "Zatozia" Pope was a link on the SOE forums to her dungeon-themed cubicle. And she's often cracked the whip (literally) in her job moderating the forums. But when she made a surprise appearance in our chat channel during our Clone Wars Adventures livestream, she offered us a tour of her Life Day-themed home, and it was the polar opposite of what I expected. Beau, Jeremy and I had a great time visiting, and we were impressed with what she and several other CWA players were able to construct in their homes.
For my series on EverQuest II Extended late last summer, I met a great guild called Crafting Critters, whose members answered my questions and then graciously invited me into the guild. We've stayed in touch, and I ended up doing follow-up livestreams with them as they showcased their Nights of the Dead guildhall maze. I had to whimper for help, and if I hadn't been able to follow Chan (the creator) to the exit, I'd probably still be there now. I've since done a couple of other shows with members from their guild, and they always bring that same friendly demeanor and fun attitude wherever we end up exploring.
I'm on a boat! (under water)
Jeremy and I spent a few shows in Vanguard, and that was such a trip down memory lane for me. I still love the game, and it was bittersweet to revisit my favorite spots only to find them empty. But we still got a laugh out in River Valley as I summoned my boat and attempted to steer it down a river that was much too small. And to add insult to injury, I ran into another unfortunate problem when summoning the boat near a chunk line -- it sunk to the bottom like a water-logged toy boat. The only thing missing was Leonardo DiCaprio.
Star Wars Galaxies shuts down
I attended the final hour of SWG with several members of the Massively staff, and after it was over, I realized how much I regretted not playing the game more. From the community to the cool sandbox features to the incredible player-cities, this was a pretty amazing game. And while I enjoy the stories in SWTOR, my heart belongs to the SWG era from the classic films.
I really enjoyed having the Flyff World Championship-winning guild Invictus join us for our show. In addition, Jeremy and I were very thankful that the dev team helped arranged high-level characters for us so we could tour the arena. Invictus was very informative, and it was interesting to hear the guild's stories. On the surface, the screenshots make the game seem light-hearted and pretty, but there's a very hardcore, highly skilled portion of the playerbase that does some amazing things in game. I was particularly interested in hearing Invictus' struggle to divide up its $50,000 prize money for winning the FWC. We often hear about the drama and bad blood over virtual loot, so you can imagine how hard it was to split up the prize money without some amount of strife. In addition, we were treated to a surprise appearance from Community Manager Rabidfish, who filled the PvP area with tons of bosses and graciously answered questions from the Flyff community during the show.
I've had a lot of fun doing livestreams particularly because it's a chance to game with and hear from lots of great players and developers. It's also a seat-of-my-pants experience because the direction of the livestreams is often in the hands of the players and developers, which is usually what leads to such memorable moments. I'm thankful for all of the players and developers who took time to join us on our shows and for the viewers who supplied us with great questions and conversation. If you haven't yet sampled a show on Massively's Twitch TV channel, it's well worth checking out, and we have an active lineup of great shows each week. Lastly, I'm on the hunt to explore more MMOs, and I'm seeking your input. If there's a show you'd like Jeremy and me to livestream, let me know! We're not afraid of danger, and we're always eager to learn about even the most obscure MMO out there.
Do you have a guild problem that you just can't seem to resolve? Have a guild issue that you'd like to discuss? Every week, Karen Bryan takes on reader questions about guild management right here in The Guild Counsel column. She'll offer advice, give practical tips, and even provide a shoulder to lean on for those who are taking up the challenging task of running a guild.