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The Digital Continuum

The Digital Continuum: The trouble with sticking to MMOs

Culture, Opinion, The Digital Continuum

I get to these points where not a single MMO will stick with me any longer than roughly one month -- sometimes less. That wasn't always the case, though. There was a time when I could play a single MMO nearly every day for three or four months before getting tired of it. And a lot of my friends are in the same boat, trying to regularly play an MMO but mostly faltering.

This isn't new to me. In fact, I've been here before and I know how to get out of the viciously boring cycle. This week's The Digital Continuum is all about renewing the luster to your MMO experience, and maybe a little more.

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The Digital Continuum: Lost in worlds divided

MMO Industry, Opinion, The Digital Continuum

In the many MMOs I've played, the ratio between games that got world design right and those that got it wrong is surprisingly skewed towards the latter. Nothing kills the thrill of discovering a new online world faster than feeling like you're being kicked around seemingly unconnected environments without possessing any real understanding or control.

This week's The Digital Continuum is aimed at discussing practical ways to address this problem. Obviously this is -- as per usual -- my personal opinion taken mostly from my brain and the experience gathering within it.

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The Digital Continuum: Catching that All Points Bulletin fever

New Titles, Opinion, The Digital Continuum, All Points Bulletin, Crime

I knew it would happen. GDC 2010 came and went, leaving behind a brand new trial of All Points Bulletin information that's making me want to play it more than ever before. I've written about the game a few times before, each instance knowing a little bit more about the title. This year's GDC brought us hands-on reports, interviews, the news of a North American beta and even a nine minute video presentation via shakeycam.

Now my knowledge feels mostly complete and aside from actually playing the game I've got a pretty good idea of why it's potentially going to be something no videogame fan -- let alone MMO fan -- will want to miss. So, let me share a few of them with you.

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The Digital Continuum: The importance of involvement

New Titles, Opinion, The Digital Continuum

There's something to be said about feeling like you're fully engaged by an MMO. By "fully engaged" I don't mean that an MMO should be incredibly challenging. I also don't mean that it should "feel immersive" via sandbox or any other design philosophy.

What I mean is that -- and this is obviously just my opinion -- a game should do its very best to make sure the player is always instantly, nearly and eventually involved. I know that sounds confusing, but let me explain before you start attempting to mail me lettuce so that I can pay a friend to throw it at me.

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The Digital Continuum: My Fallout MMO

Sci-Fi, New Titles, Opinion, The Digital Continuum

There are times when I feel like being completely indulgent, and this week's The Digital Continuum is one of them.

The Fallout MMO has been a long while coming and probably will continue to be "on the horizon" well into the foreseeable future. So, it's with this knowledge that I've put together a grocery list of ideas that would be in my version of the game -- things that would make me decidedly excited to play as soon as possible. Honestly, I'm kind of surprised it took me so long to write these things down.

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The Digital Continuum: Fears and opinions

New Titles, Opinion, The Digital Continuum, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Anyone who's been playing MMOs for a little while has probably been looking forward to an upcoming game at least once. They also probably put a lot of expectations onto that game based on either their first game or what they thought an MMO should be. We've all done this at least once in our time as fans, and we've all been wrong to do it.

I've wanted to create some kind of data point -- even a fairly shaky one -- to prove this statement of mine. So, when the Star Wars: The Old Republic community created this thread to express their fears, I had my opportunity. In a wholly un-scientific manner, I've combed through the entire 17 page thread and tallied up all the fears within. This should be an entertaining ride.

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The Digital Continuum: 'Meh' to MMOs?

Opinion, The Digital Continuum

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While the MMO genre appears to be growing at a decent pace (at least for Blizzard) there's still plenty of room for growth. World of Warcraft clones can attract only so many interested players and turning to classic niche designs such as the sandbox MMO ala Fallen Earth won't do anything to pique the interest of people who otherwise have no interest in the genre.

So what will appeal to someone who has never felt a desire to play a game both massively and multiplayer?

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The Digital Continuum: Can story supplant grind?

Game Mechanics, Opinion, The Digital Continuum, Star Wars: The Old Republic


Star Wars offers a setting with incredible chances at strong storytelling and it's for this reason I've been watching closely for any hints at the story elements in Star Wars: The Old Republic. This recent developer blog on the driving forces behind the Sith Inquisitor's tale really dug its claws into my mind.

Before now, I'd always assumed most choice elements within the story of any given class would be mostly binary. That was the easiest solution for BioWare, who has created quite the challenge for themselves with the premise of a full singleplayer storyline experience for each class within the game.

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The Digital Continuum: The 'Next Big Thing' in MMOs

MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, The Digital Continuum, All Points Bulletin, Crime

Is All Points Bulletin the "Next Big Thing" in MMOs? While I'm fully aware that Realtime Worlds doesn't specifically prefer to associate the game with this genre, it's very much a part of it -- but it also orbits the fringes of what we commonly refer to as a massively multiplayer online game.

Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 and All Points Bulletin come from a different school of business models. These games hinge on the idea that most people dislike coughing up 15 bucks a month to keep playing their favorite title. Just look to the success of the original Guild Wars, having a year ago passed six million copies sold. That's a pretty great start for non-subscription MMOs, and because of that success we now have GW's sequel and APB on the way.

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The Digital Continuum: Your face is 'still in beta'

Betas, Opinion, The Digital Continuum

There's been discussion recently of the failings of "Dude, it's a beta!" as an argumentative device when someone makes a critical observation about an MMO during the beta process. Syp over at Bio Break takes the stance that people who say things like this are either considerable fanboys or have severe brain health issues. Of course, he then pulls away from that statement by declaring that the truth lies somewhere between the person claiming a game is "suck" and the person defending said title's honor with, well, "It's beta, dude."

I, however, think differently -- and it's probably not what you're expecting.

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The Digital Continuum: Delay? You can't handle the delay!

Sci-Fi, Opinion, The Digital Continuum, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Rumor: a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts.

Example: Star Wars: The Old Republic will be released in October, 2010.

Yeah, guys, that was never in the wings. The fact of the matter is that the game was never delayed. You need at minimum a projected release date before something can be delayed. I personally find it pretty ridiculous that some people are worried about hype dying down for a game which they themselves thrust a false release date upon because they're so hyped up for it.

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The Digital Continuum: Socialize, now

MMO Industry, Opinion, The Digital Continuum

Socialization is dead!

Isn't it?

Well actually, that's a tough one. Certainly, the perception that socialization is becoming a lesser factor to more and more developers has become the norm among most people. That doesn't necessarily mean they're correct. So, let's examine the general landscape of yesteryear and beyond to see what's really going on when it comes to human interaction in our massively multiplayer online games.

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The Digital Continuum: Traversing the fantasy fantastic

New Titles, Opinion, The Digital Continuum, Final Fantasy XIV

This week I present you with something different. Over the weekend, I participated in an interesting New Year's gaming resolution thought up by the illustrious Phil Kollar. His reasons behind playing over the weekend were to finally finish Final Fantasy XII, but mine were wholly different. For me, it was an experiment to see if I could glean any useful information for what was to come in Final Fantasy XIV. Did I fail or succeed? Well, I'd like to say the latter was achieved, but I'll let you be the judge of that.

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Massively's top 5 original features for 2009

Culture, Opinion, The Digital Continuum, Massively highlights, Virtual Worlds, Anti-Aliased, EVE Evolved, Choose My Adventure

Not only are we here at Massively passionate about covering the news, but we also deliver on unique and original content. We're out in the trenches interviewing developers, talking about our favorite games, getting inside our games and meeting the community, and giving you our perspectives on the MMO industry. Sometimes you agree with us, sometimes you don't, but we'll keep writing as long as you guys lend us your support and keep reading.

This year was a real breakout year for our original content as we had a bunch of our features rock the traffic charts higher than our news. So, in the spirit of a banner year, it's time to run down the list and name our top five features for 2009.

Once again, we're presenting the article in gallery-vision (TM), so be sure to jump on in by clicking the link below or clicking the first image in the gallery below that. If you wish to comment, drop back by this post (not the gallery) and leave your comment in the white comment box below.


The Digital Continuum: SWTOR's content conundrums, page 2

New Titles, Opinion, The Digital Continuum, Star Wars: The Old Republic

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