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Global Chat: Doom and WAAAGH!

Culture, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Guild Wars 2, Global Chat, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, WildStar, Neverwinter

It's time for our second edition of Global Chat, the column that scours the blogosphere (or blogorama if you prefer) for engaging insights, intelligent essays, and whoopie cushion goofiness. We had a good response to our first column, so I'm glad you all want to hear more about what bloggers are saying regarding MMOs!

In this week's edition, we'll look at Warhammer Online's fatal flaw, adventure through Neverwinter's foundry missions, and speculate on the status of a certain Norrathian sandpark. Remember that it's not all doom and WAAAGH! in this community; it's excitement and cherished outings as well!

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The Stream Team: Returning to Aurin roots in WildStar

Fantasy, Video, Livestream, WildStar, The Stream Team, Subscription

The Stream Team: Returning to your roots in WildStar
Even though she was even closer than ever to her ultimate goal of housing in WildStar, Massively's MJ just couldn't take it anymore! She had to start over so she could choose the Aurin starting area instead. The more she leveled, the more it nagged at her that she abandoned her own people to hang out with those humans. So she's gone back to make it all right. Join us live at 7:30 p.m. to see if the switch was worth it!

Game: WildStar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Previewing WildStar's Daggerstone Pass PvP battleground

Sci-Fi, Video, Patches, PvP, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

What a beautiful day it's going to avoid being.
Before I talk about the upcoming PvP map for WildStar, I feel I should really defend myself for my usual performance in PvP. Here's the simple version: I am all right at PvP. I know enough about what I'm supposed to do to avoid completely shaming myself. I am not the best. But can I turn a ragtag group of other journalists into a fighting force capable of defeating preformed groups of people wearing PvP gear?

Definitely not.

Along with several other journalists, I took to the field with Carbine Studios staff members yesterday, boosted my fresh Exile character up to 50, and took on all comers in the rated version of the new Daggerstone Pass. We lost several times. On the bright side, we lost in such a way that I was able to get a better sense of the map and can talk about it with some confidence, so that's good. In my weak defense, I don't think we had a chance against a fully premade team in PvP gear anyway.

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The Nexus Telegraph: The basics of crafting a WildStar build

Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Have I used this before?  I think I've used this before.  Please, let me know if I've used this before.
There are few things I love so much as writing a column for June 30th only to find out on the 30th that the patch I'm discussing is going live on July 1st. You know, when it's too late to change anything. I really would have been happy to have found that out before the day.

But, hey, WildStar's first patch came out, and now I've had a couple of weeks to explore it a bit. Am I happy with it? Sufficiently, yes, although I haven't yet digested it in full. For one month out from launch, I can't complain much.

Of course, that's not the first thing that I want to talk about today. I want to talk about builds. Rather than giving you the absolute best-of-the-best builds for tanking and DPS and so forth, which I can't quite do, I want to help you figure out how to make a build that works. It's a satisfyingly interactive, and there are lots of very functional options however you choose to build your character.

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One Shots: Requiem for a rancor

Screenshots, Culture, One Shots, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Miscellaneous, WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark

You know what scene from Return of the Jedi that always got me teared up? When Luke kills the rancor and the beast's owner breaks down sobbing. You just know that thing was his best friend and now... now there is a large, monstrous hole in his life.

Reader Chris could have had a lifelong companion but chose to go the Luke route in Star Wars: The Old Republic. "I let a Sith escape Belsavis in order to save the injured fighter pilot Conrad Gall from an 'ancient beast' -- a rancor, as it turns out. It was a close fight, as you can tell by where my Trooper finally took it down."

Hats off to the brave rancor, whose only crime was being born a big, fat, sharp-toothed freak. Stop the bullying, I say!

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WildStar offering a free mount to players with 2-step verification

Sci-Fi, News Items, Promotions, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

And then you may pimp it, as is the tradition with rides.
Do you have 2-step verification on your WildStar account already? The team at Carbine Studios really wants you to, since the added layer of security helps ensure that no one steals your stuff. So you're getting a little added incentive starting on July 10th -- a free bike! The Retroblade mount is free to all accounts with 2-step verification starting tomorrow, while everyone without 2-step verification will simply have to stare at your new ride with envy. Or, you know, get verified.

This bonus is in addition to the existing benefits offered by the verification process, which includes a cosmetic headpiece, a title, and a 2% experience boost on all characters. Plus confidence that your account won't get stolen, which is also fun. The announcement has more details about the process if you haven't already gotten in on the verification train; all you'll need is a smartphone and a few moments to log in.

WildStar rewarding loyal players with Strain Facesnuggler

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Promotions, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar in a nutshell right here, folks
Carbine is celebrating WildStar's first month "by giving you something unique, and... gross." If you've applied a retail key to your account as of today, you'll be receiving an account-level Facesnuggler reward item tomorrow!

One Shot: The eternal vigil

Screenshots, Aion, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online

Some MMO tableaus attempt to tell a wordless story, and some of those stories are up for personal interpretation. I love finding these scattered around the world because they invite my imagination to be a part of the experience instead of spelling it out for me.

Reader Chiara came across our first screenshot of the week here in Elder Scrolls Online, and it brought out strong emotions: "I don't really know what this man's story is -- but I can't help but wonder about it since I've first seen him. Did he die there? Did someone arrange his skeleton? I've no idea, but the scene just struck me as incredibly sad."

Maybe he was keeping a vigil for a loved one. Maybe that vigil is not yet over. Who knows?

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The Stream Team: Talking WildStar with Jeremy Gaffney

Fantasy, Video, Livestream, WildStar, The Stream Team

WildStar just released its first major content update this week: the Strain ultra drop. And while Massively's MJ might not be anywhere near high enough in level to participate in that new content yet, she's bringing an expert in the subject along to talk about it with you! Carbine's Jeremy Gaffney joins MJ as she explores the wilds of Nexus. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to watch the adventure and ask any burning WildStar questions.

Game: WildStar
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, June 3rd, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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WildStar bans thousands of botters

Sci-Fi, Launches, Legal, WildStar, Subscription

Carbine Executive Producer Jeremy Gaffney informed the WildStar community last night that the team is waging a serious fight against botters, having suspended 7,300 accounts in the last few days.

"Obviously 7,300 is a tiny fraction of the overall player base, but it's a noticeable chunk of the current bots," Gaffney wrote. He pointed out that over half of those accounts were regular players who had their accounts hijacked and urged players to use two-factor authentication as a preventative measure.

To aid in the war against bots, the team will be improving the reporting process and tuning its automated bot detection. Gaffney said that the studio will be unrelenting in its prosecution of such accounts: "We're attacking this with a full-spectrum approach as a placeholder until we get to the better tools that should help in the short-medium term. We acknowledge it sucks when you see obvious cheaters, and we're working to eliminate it."

WildStar's Strain patch is live today

Sci-Fi, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

There's been plenty of chatter about WildStar's first major patch, but the team at Carbine Studios has been largely silent on when all of this content would be available for players. Turns out it's right now. Yes, the servers should be up now (barring extended maintenance) for max-level players to enjoy all the lore, infections, and so forth that they could possibly want.

For those of you who have missed the prior updates, this patch is adding new costume pieces, new housing decor, two new zones, a new mount, new dyes... a lot of things. You can find out a little more on the official patch page, complete with videos and the like. If you've been looking forward to spending a little more time with the game's big creepy disease carpet, today's your day.

[Source: Carbine Studios press release]

The Nexus Telegraph: WildStar's first dose of Strain

Sci-Fi, Patches, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Not that I can't think of some people who will totally want this one.
The funny thing about launches is that they're like every other aspect of the game industry: They're based on momentum. Create the feel that you're coming out with new content on a quick basis and you get points from players, even if it's inevitable that some of this content is stuff that was almost-but-not-quite ready for launch and just had to be trimmed back a little before we first got to dip our toes in the official swimming pool. You can see the zones on your map in WildStar right now, even.

Does it matter to me? Nope. I have to admit it doesn't. I'm satisfied.

The bulk of the news this month has been about the game's first major patch, which is due for "early July" without a harder date. I have not yet gotten to go hands-on in this content; I've been too busy focusing on the live game and advancing there (up to 50 on one character, at least!), but let's talk a little bit about what's being added in the patch. Fair warning: Spoilers may ensue.

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WildStar's Strain update promises something for everyone

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Humor, WildStar, Subscription

There's something for everyone in the Strain ultra drop, promises the latest WildStar Devspeak video, "no matter how you love to play." Except if you love to play PvP; for that, you'll have to wait until the next drop.

The just-released video follows the exploits of an obsessive lorehound, a spazzy explorer, a creepy homebody, and a hardcore lootmonger as the narrator wisecracks about how each of their playstyles will benefit from the upcoming patch. Even if you don't fall neatly into one of those categories, you'll no doubt pick up some clues about the new content or at least be impressed by the visuals.

Enjoy the new vid below. Skinny-dipping sold separately.

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The Daily Grind: Is PLEX/APEX/C.R.E.D.D. risky for developers?

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox, WildStar

Trion announced ArcheAge's APEX system recently, and while I'm sure it has its own wrinkles, my first instinct was to compare it to EVE Online's PLEX. It's a fascinating idea, allowing players with knowledge of an in-game economy to leverage said knowledge into enough currency to buy tradeable items that can be redeemed for subscription time.

It's always struck me as a bit risky, though. We can only guess at the number of EVE fans who play the game for free thanks to PLEX, but I imagine it's a pretty significant slice of the game's old money crowd. And while newer games like ArcheAge and even WildStar are aping the system in some fashion, it's too early to tell what sort of effect APEX and C.R.E.D.D. will have on developers' bottom lines.

What do you think, Massively readers? Do these sorts of systems seem risky to you if you put yourself in a dev's shoes, or do you think the number of players taking advantage of these systems is relatively small?

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!

WildStar unveils Strain-themed customization options

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Patches, Previews, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Home is where corruption lies.
It is the doom that slumbers beneath Nexus. It is dread and loathing. It is a vile plague that both the Dominion and Exiles are desperately striving to purge. It's your new housing decor! Yes, the WildStar fashion police have spoken, and with the game's first major update, covering your home in the tentacles, eyeballs, and various protrusions of the Strain is all the rage this year. Also covering your clothing and mounts, because at that point why not, right?

Players will be able to pick up new plugs and decor for houses, new costume items and dyes for their personal equipment, a new hoverboard, and new mount customizations, all of which should make your character look completely Strain-infested. If that's what you want, at least. No word on what functions the new plugs will perform, but we're betting it'll be gross. Take a look at the official drop page for a few more pictures of these customizations in action.

[Source: Carbine Studios press release]

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