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Battlestar Galactica Online

Free for All: Ten of my favorite in-game items

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Ryzom, Opinion, Ultima Online, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Mabinogi, Allods Online, Free for All, Battlestar Galactica Online, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Subscription

RuneScape inventory screenshot
I love things. Truly I do. Only specific things, though. Over the last year I have doubled my efforts to catalog most of the best things in my life, from pictures and artwork to writings and songs I have played on. It's a sort of meta-hobby. As part of the effort I want to organize many of my favorite MMO in-game items, simply because I have played MMOs for so long and they are such a part of my life. I have a lot of favorite items, but some tend to stick out in my memory like a favorite smell or place.

After I finished an initial list of MMO items (it was well over 50 items in the beginning), I was surprised at how much variety there was in the items and in the games I listed. I think it reflects my character a lot, but also shows that I am a sentimental plod most of the time. I cut the list down to these 10, but I am sure I will wish to adjust the list again in the future. Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section!

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Free for All: Casual is as hardcore does and the daily gaming list

Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Opinion, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Humor, DC Universe Online, Free for All, Battlestar Galactica Online, Dragon Nest

Dragon Nest screenshot
It's always a lot of fun to compare casual players to hardcore players. We've all seen many articles and had our own discussions on the topic and it never seems to stop being entertaining. After all, how much or how intensely a player plays an MMO can help predict how that player might react to market changes or to new titles, so we can easily see how developers will always be interested in the information even when we tire of it.

For me, personally, I would rather skip the whole discussion and just talk about how I play casually. I can list hours played and titles accessed, but I think it would be a better idea to sketch out a rough but typical day or week in my household to illustrate just how someone who considers himself casual is actually quite committed. Does that mean I am hardcore in certain cases? I don't care anymore, frankly. What I care about is seeing if how I play is completely alien or if there are other players out there who love to do what I do.

Let's call it a cry for help... or at least information.

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The Soapbox: There's no such thing as pay-to-win

Sci-Fi, Lord of the Rings Online, Business Models, Culture, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Wizard101, Battlestar Galactica Online, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous

Battlestar Galactica Online screenshot
Disclaimer: The Soapbox column is entirely the opinion of this week's writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Massively as a whole. If you're afraid of opinions other than your own, you might want to skip this column.

I hate it when MMORPG players completely misrepresent this hobby. I cringe every time I find myself in the middle of a discussion about "MMOs" when most of the people chatting are pulling only from their experience as a World of Warcraft raider and nothing more. There are hundreds -- actually, thousands -- of MMOs in existence. Discussing MMOs without knowing about as many as possible is really talking about specific titles, not a genre. You wouldn't catch a group of "foodies" basing all of their passions on a few items from a handful of menus. The same should apply to MMO discussions if we ever want the genre to be taken more seriously by outsiders.

MMO players love to pigeonhole titles. What are some of the worst descriptions? "Hardcore" is one. What does that even mean? Does it mean a title is hard to play? In what way is it hard? Does it mean that it takes time to play? How much time equals hardcore? "Facebook game" is another term that drives me crazy, and it's often used by many MMO fans to dismiss all sorts of titles. While I know that the term generally refers to FarmVille-style gaming, using the term literally reflects how little the person knows about the variety of games that actually appear on or are connected to Facebook.

The term that drives me the craziest of all is pay-to-win.

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MMObility: MMO streaming services have a long way to go

World of Warcraft, Betas, Previews, Wurm Online, Opinion, Vanguard, RuneScape, Mobile, Mabinogi, Battlestar Galactica Online, MMObility

Splashtop screenshot
I've been a huge fan of streaming technology for a while mainly because it gives players an opportunity to access more powerful and flexible devices from the convenient location of their hand-held tablets or phones. The tech has come a long way even since I started reporting on it, and it continues to impress me. What's the point, you might ask? Why not just sit down at a desktop to play MMOs like everyone else? Well, the truth is that moving around is sometimes more relaxing and can definitely be better for your health.

Being able to get up, walk around, check in on a game from different locations, and just be mobile isn't just a neat gimmick. Some MMOs also work much better with a touchscreen device, especially MMORTS titles and games that require only a button press to perform an action. There are options for those who need a fully functioning joystick or control scheme, but they are not yet available to everyone. Let's go over the options we do have. Be sure to try out one or two on your tablet... you just might find that playing on a smaller screen is really fun.

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Battlestar Galactica Online inches toward 10M players, hands out swag for anniversary

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Battlestar Galactica Online, Anniversaries

Battlestar Galactica Online has quietly but surely expanded its reach across the cosmos, netting nearly 10 million registered players as the title hits its first anniversary. To celebrate the dual achievement, Bigpoint is dishing out goodies to all of its players over the next week.

From today through May 6th, Bigpoint is handing out in-game gifts and bonuses to players. Players need to log in each day to grab these prizes, however. In addition to distributing freebies, BSGO is increasing the daily merit cap and offering special deals for its item shop.

Bigpoint CEO Heiko Hubertz sees Battlestar Galactica Online's first year as both a success and the beginning of a great run: "We are thrilled with the tremendous growth of BSGO and how the game has performed over the past year. We're excited to move forward with this momentum, celebrate our achievements, and reward all of our players in the community who helped us get to this point."

[Source: Bigpoint press release]

Bigpoint teases Battlestar Galactica Online carrier ships

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Battlestar Galactica Online

Battlestar Galactica Online - carrier-class ship
Bigpoint has let us know that it's about to kick off what it calls "space trials" for some new carrier-class ships in Battlestar Galactica Online. The craft will be visible on the Kobol beta server today in both Colonial and Cylon variants.

Carriers function as support and supply vessels and can also serve as mobile outposts with repair and recharge capabilities.

What's that? You say you want to pilot one of these shiny new vessels? Well, this is Bigpoint, so you'll need to enter a lottery via the community forum for your chance to jump in the cockpit of BSGO's latest and greatest. If you're not up for that, the ships will be available to all players on all servers after the completion of the trial period at the end of this month. You'll need to be level 40 (and in possession of nearly 500,000 in-game cubits) to get one for yourself.

Bigpoint surpasses 250 million registered users

MMO Industry, News Items, Browser, Battlestar Galactica Online

Bigpoint logo
The folks at Bigpoint must be feeling quite nice about themselves about now, as a new press release from the company has announced that the studio's games now have a total of 250 million registered users worldwide. Heiko Hubertz, CEO and founder of the browser-focused MMORPG developer, is quite pleased with the development, claiming that "since 2002, [Bigpoint has] strived to bring high-quality games and experiences to the widest possible audience... and we're not done."

The press release goes on to make the bold claims that "Bigpoint introduced the concept of F2P games" and that "over the past decade, Bigpoint has radically improved the quality of... online games." The statement conclues that "the company is planning a series of new launches in 2012, including new titles that leverage world-class Hollywood intellectual property." We already know that Bigpoint is the studio behind the upcoming MMOs based on A Game of Thrones and The Mummy, but what else does the studio have up its sleeve? We'll just have to wait to find out.

[Source: Bigpoint press release]

Bigpoint and gPotato join forces, host contest to celebrate

MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Battlestar Galactica Online

gPotato logo
Two of the big players in the F2P MMO industry, publisher gPotato and Battlestar Galactica Online developer Bigpoint, have teamed up with one another in order to bring Bigpoint's browser-based titles to gPotato's ever-expanding library of titles. Bigpoint titles such as BSGO and more will be available at gPotato's game portal site, and in order to celebrate the arrival of the new games, gPotato is giving away $900 US in prizes. Ten Facebook fans will receive $50 in gPotato currency just for telling the folks at gPotato which new browser titles are their favorites. Five others will win a SUMO beanbag chair or a Razer mouse.

For the full details, check out the link below and head on over to gPotato's official site to try the new game selections for yourself.

[Source: gPotato press release]

Leaderboard: Free-form space combat vs. on-the-rails shooter

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Black Prophecy, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Battlestar Galactica Online, Leaderboard

If mankind's exploration into outer space has taught us anything at this point, it's that sooner or later we're going to need to strap big guns on our bubbles of life support and blast each other out of the cosmos. It's already a prevailing theme among MMOs, with titles like EVE Online, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Black Prophecy, and Battlestar Galactica Online allowing us to jump forward a few hundred years of technological growth so we can have some space shootin' fun.

As of late there seems to be two camps developing regarding MMO space shooters. With the advent of SWTOR, some are warming up to the cinematic on-the-rails style of its space combat game. Tunnel shooters allow for a more scripted -- and potentially more exciting -- experience, and this type of combat has a long history in single-player games dating back to Starfox and before.

Of course, the other camp just loathes rail shooters, much preferring the ability to fly anywhere one wants and engage in combat on one's own terms. The freedom of this style of space combat appeals to the inner individualist who doesn't want to conform to what everyone else is doing.

In which camp have you struck your tent? Are you for free-form space combat or on-the-rails shooters? Let your vote be heard after the jump!

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The Soapbox: Bigpoint's cash-shop policies and why they are OK

Business Models, Culture, Opinion, Browser, Battlestar Galactica Online, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous

Bigpoint sign
Disclaimer: The Soapbox column is entirely the opinion of this week's writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Massively as a whole. If you're afraid of opinions other than your own, you might want to skip this column.

I have been tasked with explaining to Massively readers why I am OK with Bigpoint's very public policy on selling "advantages." I imagine that this will not be an easy task. After all, we gamers aren't much different than the rest of humanity in the way we tend to care about things that have little or no effect on us. We all have an opinion on "selling power," but I think it's high time that someone attempts to explain why it really isn't always power that Bigpoint is selling -- and why it would be fair even if it were.

I will attempt to stick to the specific topic of Bigpoint's policies, but much of what I say will probably apply to any game developer that sells practically anything for real world money. Yes, I am talking about those wonderful collector's editions and favorite cash-shop mounts. They all fall under the same category that Bigpoint's ships or special drones do.

Click past the cut and I'll explain why.

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Win a life-size Cylon statue from Bigpoint and Battlestar Galactica Online

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Giveaways, Battlestar Galactica Online, Promotions

Battlestar Galactica Online - life-sized Cylon statueBigpoint's in the news again this week, and for once the company is steering clear of microtransaction controversies. It seems as if there's a giveaway afoot, and Battlestar Galactica Online fans will be pleased to note that they have a chance to win a life-size Cylon statue (settle down guys, it's a Centurion, not a Number Six).

The browser-based sci-fi MMO also features 15 new paint jobs for Cylon and Colonial ships, each of which may be purchased with real money or in-game credits.

Bigpoint says more color schemes are on the way, and oh yeah, if you want a chance at the statue, you'll need to log in at least five times during the month of December. Head to the official BSGO forums for the official contest rules.

Battlestar Galactica Online adding new ships this month, surpasses 5M registered players

Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Battlestar Galactica Online

Battlestar Galactica - the fleet
Bigpoint just can't seem to stay out of the news today, and whether its the incendiary pay-to-win remarks of an executive or an update to its Battlestar Galactica browser MMO, there's a lot of interesting buzz swirling around the company of late.

The devs are adding a new line of fleet recon ships to Battlestar Galactica Online, and the craft will enable both Colonial and Cylon players to jump directly to their targets while "in proximity of an erupting battle." The ships will debut in mid-September and are modeled on the Raptor and Heavy Raider craft from the beloved Syfy television series. Bigpoint's latest press release also mentions that the Brimir-class carrier will be "available this fall, though its size, complexity, and impact on game balance must be optimized before its general release."

Finally, the company is trumpeting some new metrics, and the release says that BSGO has surpassed the five million registered player mark.

[Source: Bigpoint press release]

Free for All: So what else can you get for 150 dollars?

EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Business Models, Culture, Economy, Wurm Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, Free Realms, Mabinogi, Kids, Free for All, Battlestar Galactica Online

Recently, fans of the upcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic had the pleasure of plopping down 150 clams to pre-order a special collectors edition of their favorite game they have never played. I've seen this before, and have even pre-ordered a few in my day (I'm looking at you, giant Warhammer Online box.) Pre-orders are the oldest form of virtual goods...they were cash-shops before cash-shops appeared in every game. The funnest part is seeing hardcore cash-shop haters gladly paying huge sums of money for a robot pet or a cool looking cape. Somehow, they see it as a different thing altogether than buying a shiny mount or pink dress from in-game.

Still, I understand the impulse. I get it every time I am in the check-out lane and the new flavors of gum have been released. Even worse is when one of my favorite games releases new items in their cash shop. New mounts, housing goods, heck even new weapons or stat-increasing potions...they make me drool.

So, I decided to take a 150 dollar budget and see what I could get for it. Click past the cut and let's look at the list!

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Battlestar Galactica Online unveils new Brimir Class Carrier

Sci-Fi, News Items, Free-to-Play, Battlestar Galactica Online

Bigpoint Games has announced that Battlestar Galactica Online will be welcoming a new addition to its fleet of ships this fall. The new arrival comes in the form of the Brimir Class Carrier, a rather hefty tier 4 ship. The ship is a relic of earlier Colonial designs, most of which were eventually replaced by Battlestars.

The Carrier, however, brings its own unique surprises to the table. Its heavy armor allows the Brimir Class Carrier to survive enemy onslaughts while it deploys squadrons of strike craft to overwhelm opposing ships. Whether these strike craft will be controlled by AI or players is to be determined, but players will be able to send their strike craft after specific targets. The novel fleet support vessel will be available for purchase with cubits (in-game currency that can be earned via gameplay or bought with cash) coming this fall.

Battlestar Galactica Online sheds "beta" tag

Betas, Sci-Fi, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Battlestar Galactica Online

Bigpoint announced today that its game Battlestar Galactica Online has dropped its "beta" tag and is now wearing the big-boy pants of a fully launched game. Since its open beta release less than five months ago, the game has garnered over three million registered users, so it's probably safe to say the game is indeed ready to move out of beta.

What does this mean for the future of the game? Well, it's simple really: It means that the BSGO team is shifting its focus away from optimization and patches and will instead be zeroing in on adding new content and features to the game. For more information about Battlestar Galactica Online, or to sign up to give the game a go for yourself, head on over to the official site.

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