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The Soapbox: Six reasons MMOs should abandon raiding, part 1

Game Mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

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Sorry, Truce.  You deserve better, but you get this.
Raiding is no longer doing MMOs any favors.

I've compared raiding to open PvP in the past, and the comparison still holds up. It's something that a lot of games developed in response to a specific genre-defining game have featured. But it's not doing those games any favors, and it might be time to take a hard look at this gameplay element that games survive in spite of rather than because of. If we learn nothing else from WildStar's issues when it launched into what should have been an ideal environment, it's that raiding certainly isn't driving players into a game's waiting arms.

But I don't want to just say that and let it roll around on the floor. Let's actually break the argument down across a couple of articles this week. Why does raiding need to shuffle off of the main stage, definitely as the default endgame model, perhaps altogether? I can give you six good reasons.

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The Mog Log: The end of Final Fantasy XIV's 2.0 cycle

Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Dungeons, Subscription

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I'm betting end of May 2015, just to push it out as far as possible.
It's going to be a little while until we see the next major patch for Final Fantasy XIV. I'm not expecting to see patch 2.5 in the wild until February, to be honest. That's a little longer than the standard three months, but we've also got a holiday season through there and a not exactly clockwork schedule to begin with. It's enough time to get plenty of Poetics kit, make headway into Second Coil, and get thoroughly sick of the expert roulette dungeons. Perhaps the game shouldn't always just keep the three most recent dungeons on there...

But we still have interquel patches to consider, starting with the promised inclusion of Eternal Bonds in 2.45. While we've still got a little bit of time until the next Live Letter (which will no doubt reveal more about what's coming for the next few months), we've got enough information to speculate, prognosticate, and forecast, which is exactly what I want to do for this week. It's a thing I do.

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CCP Games kills a fan remake of Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines

MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, World of Darkness, Miscellaneous

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If CCP were any more dedicated to preventing people from using things they're not using, they'd be Harmony Gold.
With World of Darkness canned, the closest fans can get to experiencing the source material in video game form comes from Activision's 2003 Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. Unfortunately, the game was released in a half-finished state and suffers from multiple glitches, balance issues, and general weirdness, not to mention graphics that have aged very poorly. Fortunately, the fan community rallied and set to work on an unofficial remake requiring the original. Double-unfortunately, CCP Games sent that fan remake a cease-and-desist.

Although Activision technically owns the rights to the game, the IP remains in the hands of CCP due to its acquisition of White Wolf several years prior. The fans responsible for the remake are attempting to negotiate a way to keep development going, as the remake would have been unplayable without the original game. It's bad news for fans of the flawed but brilliant title and really anyone who would like to play a game based off the franchise any time within the next decade.

Trion shuts down ArcheAge APEX purchases again

Fantasy, Bugs, News Items, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Subscription

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Another exploit with currency ♪ / So much for this game's economy ♪
Good news, ArcheAge fans! APEX purchases have been disabled again following reports of another exploit! Wait, did we say good news? That's not good news. That's bad news. Familiar bad news, but bad news. Community manager Evan "Scapes" Berman addressed a thread calling attention to the exploit on Sunday, stating that the development team was looking into the issue to determine whether or not an exploit existed while disabling APEX purchases as a preventative measure.

This is hardly the first time APEX purchases have been disabled due to exploit issues; the same problem was being dealt with last Wednesday, with various hotfixes rolled out to prevent the issue. No ETA has been provided for when APEX purchases will be reinstated, nor have any declarations of rollbacks for characters been made at this time.

[Thanks to Siphaed for the tip!]

Star Wars: The Old Republic hit by DDoS attacks

Sci-Fi, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Subscription

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Gosh, we're all super impressed.
If you were playing Star Wars: The Old Republic yesterday, you may very well have been hit with some lag and disconnections. The good news is that it's not a problem with your ISP; the bad news is that it appears to be yet another installment in the ongoing saga of irritating twits with nothing better to do than try to damage servers. Yes, it looks like this was another DDoS attack.

Community manager Eric Musco's last update on Sunday night indicates that most of the issues should be resolved now, but it's possible that players may still experience intermittent connection difficulties. The representatives from BioWare have not officially stated that it was a DDoS attack, but it lines up perfectly with a DDoS attack made against Electronic Arts servers, leading to the accepted conclusion.

[Thanks to Leiloni for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: What does your scariest avatar look like?

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

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I don't generally roll evil characters, but in service of chasing some Star Wars: The Old Republic legacy achievements, I made that dude up there in the header. He's not particularly fun to play, given his despicable dark side acts, but at least he provided me with a Daily Grind topic.

What about you, Massively readers? What does your scariest avatar look like?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

MMO Week in Review: WoW's rebound

World of Warcraft, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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WoW
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

After a shockingly long content drought and disappointing expansion previews, World of Warcraft proved that no one cares about content droughts and disappointing expansion previews by resecuring over 10,000,000 subscriptions, just in time for its 10th anniversary celebration. To compensate for the trainwreck launch of Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard granted the entire playerbase five extra days of gametime.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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EVE Evolved: What does Thera mean for EVE?

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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EVE Evolved title image
If you've been keeping up with the recent news updates on EVE Online, you've probably heard about the upcoming Rhea update scheduled for December 9th. This mega patch will introduce the new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer ship class, Sleeper incursions into normal space, hands-on WASD flight controls, and 101 new wormhole systems (including 25 that are limited to small ships). The new wormhole systems have had all of their planets shattered by an as-yet unknown stellar phenomenon, and clues as to what transpired there will be hidden in the rubble. This infusion of new content and story will mark the first time the wormhole storyline and gameplay have been significantly expanded in over four years.

Each of the new shattered star systems is guaranteed to have at least one outgoing wormhole leading to normal space at all times, increasing the likelihood that pirates will catch you exploring or farming them. And since these systems won't have any in-tact moons, you won't be able to put up a permanent starbase to retreat to if hostiles appear. I'm pretty excited for exploring this new lawless frontier, but it's a unique shattered star system called Thera that I'm most looking forward to finding. Thera will be the first and only wormhole system to have fully kitted NPC stations and will serve as neutral ground for anyone who wants to live there. It's been described as the Mos Eisley of EVE, a permanent home to pirates, PvP corps, and smugglers looking to make some quick ISK.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how the Thera system could revolutionise EVE for a lot of players and where the EVE storyline could go as a result.

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Star Citizen aims to redefine avatar death, combat realism

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

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Remember way back in February of 2013 when Chris Roberts posted his Death of a Spaceman concept? It was a high-level look at how character death would function in Star Citizen, and it broke from gaming industry norms by aiming for an immersive system with strategy and consequences rather than the typical run-and-gun and die-and-respawn mechanics common to MMOs, FPSs, and most other games.

This week Roberts and company have released another extensive design doc called Healing Your Spacemen, which greatly expands the original concept. "In the end, the team decided to run counter to the standard FPS mechanics of regenerating health and instantly respawning on death to make every fight a calculated decision that can have ramifications that impact your character and place in the 'Verse," Cloud Imperium says.

Character health involves a limb-based system featuring four levels of health for each limb, and the system deliberately avoids "the current trend of hiding behind cover for blood to clear off your screen and jumping back in the fight ready for more." The post also explains how characters may be dragged to safety and how the spaceflight portion of the game will include "a robust rescue system" that complements the character death and damage mechanics. Read all about it via the official site links below!

[Thanks Cardboard!]

WoW Archivist: Epics

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Dungeons, Subscription, WoW Archivist

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Bulwark of Azzinoth
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on November 21st and is included here by permission.

Leveling through Draenor has been a blast, but as I am a player from classic WoW, a few things have struck me as incredibly strange. Triple-digit numbers in the guild panel. Sending NPCs to do quests on my behalf. And most of all, getting epic armor and weapons from solo leveling quests.

Many players in classic WoW (and not just raiders) opposed making epics more available to players. They called Blizzard's evolving attitude a slippery slope. "What's next," they argued, "epics for doing solo quests?" They never actually imagined that would happen. In 2005 it would have been unthinkable. Eight years later, here we are. But it's all been by design -- an evolving design with many steps along the way. Let's look at how we got here, one random drop at a time.

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One Shots: Nowhere to hide

Screenshots, Age of Conan, Culture, Ultima Online, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

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uo
Generally, I don't like to be pessimistic, but I have to say that things don't look good for reader Brad here. Sooner or later his childish game will fall apart, and when that happens, it will be all teeth and claws and slavering fangs. But at least it's for a good cause, right Brad? Oh, it's just to level up his skills.

"To get your skills up in Ultima Online, you had to use them over and over," Brad explains. "As they got higher, you had to do more difficult things with some skills. This was me trying to up my hiding skill. Lets just say, trying to hide in front of this many Ophidians, was not easy... but I was gaining skill! They could not get to me up here."

Who here feels bad for the Ophidians? Raise your hands please. I thought as much.

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite physical MMO memento?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

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I was doing some housecleaning recently and found a box of old game geekery. Most of it was junk since I've gone digital, but there were a couple of odds and ends that I put on the shelf in my office where I keep mementos from titles that made an impression.

In terms of MMO stuff, I found an original Neocron box and a hefty stack of all those EON magazines from EVE Online. What about you, Massively readers? Have you kept or collected any physical MMO-related mementos? Which is your favorite?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Make My MMO: November 16 - 22, 2014

Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

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This week in MMO crowdfunding news, a lot of people got mad at Elite: Dangerous. Developers of the sci-fi sandbox subsequently started offering refunds to customers who felt duped by the company's decision to excise a previously mentioned offline mode.

Elsewhere, Shards Online met its Kickstarter goal, while Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen started taking donations via Patreon. You can see what else happened in the crowdfunding sphere by click through to our roundup.

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Superdata CEO: F2P audience has 'reached its limits'

Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

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SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen spoke yesterday at the GameON: Finance conference in Toronto. He posited that the F2P monetization model is declining in popularity. "So I think what's really happening is on the one hand you have the free-to-play audience, and I think that's reached its limits, to some degree," van Dreunen said. "And then there's the premium audience saying, 'Yes, I want to buy a game. I don't want to deal with the ads and in-game items. I want premium.' While in the mobile market, three-quarters of stuff is built with free-to-play as its dominant monetization model, you see somewhat of a backlash."

He cited Apple's recent decision to remove the word "free" from F2P App Store titles, and he also mentioned Warlords of Draenor's success as an indicator of healthy demand for paid titles.

H1Z1 dev vid talks cities, barricades, and more

Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, H1Z1

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SOE has published another H1Z1 dev spotlight vid. Environment artist Ruby Opfer is your host, and she spends the clip's three-minute running time expounding on various fan-submitted questions.

Want to know about the zombie gankbox's underwater exploration potential? What about cities and the ability for players to take them over? How about structural barricades and whether or not you can line your bunker with crafted wooden spikes?

All these questions and a few more are touched on just past the break.

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The Stream Team: Joining the Shards Online dev playtest

Video, New Titles, Livestream, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content

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Shards Online recently met its Kickstarter goal, and Citadel Studio's Co-Founder Derek Brinkmann joins Massively's MJ to show off the game's latest developments (not the least of which is female avatars!). If you've been watching this game, you know that the future sandbox offers players the chance to really develop their own gaming worlds -- literally. So now that the funding goals are met, what's next? Now is the time to get all your questions answered by the dev team, as well as see what things are in store! Join us live at 2:00 p.m. EDT for a look at the devs latest playtest.

Game: Shards Online
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Game Archaeologist: Perpetual's Star Trek Online

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, Star Trek Online, Legal, The Game Archaeologist

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sto
If you're among the legions of Trekkies, then you are almost certainly aware of Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online. Since early 2010, players have boldly gone where no one has gone before in this MMO that blends spaceship battles, ground combat, and faithful tie-ins to the long-running franchise. Star Trek Online appears to be thriving following a free-to-play adaptation and two expansions, and some see it as the only official continuation of the TV series right now.

But what players encounter in Star Trek Online is not what it originally started out as. You may or may not know that STO began development under Perpetual Entertainment, which handled the game for several years until it went bankrupt and passed the license and art assets to Cryptic.

It's another tantalizing historical "what if?" scenario to think about what this game would look like if Perpetual had taken it to launch and beyond. But what did this version of Star Trek Online look like? Let's investigate.

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WRUP: Lucky Korea

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

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Lost Ark
Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game in which we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you remind us how sad we are that Korea is getting a crapton of MMOs we'll probably never see.

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The Daily Grind: Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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wow
Yeah, we need to sort this out today because it's been bugging me. Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

I mean, I can squint hard and ignore how mounts poof in and out of existence like some sort of incredible magic trick that everyone in these virtual worlds can do. But when they leave, where do they go? Alternate dimension? Shrunk down and stuck inside of your back pocket, where your miniaturized horse can nibble on a carrot that's now the size of its head? Handed to an off-screen assistant who faithfully jogs along just outside of camera range until you need your sweet ride again?

How have you settled this issue internally? I need to know because this is (no pun intended) driving me nuts!

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Betawatch: November 15 - 21, 2014

Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

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Betawatch - Lineage Eternal
Lineage Eternal wowed G-Star attendees with the news that it will beta in 2015 and hit its worldwide simultaneous launch in 2016. What else is new in the land of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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