First of all, thank you guys so much for responding to our One Shots rallying cry and absolutely flooding us with screenshots! My cup overfloweth, and that's a delightful change of pace for this column. Even though we're quite literally set for months now, please keep sending in your favorite old or new screencaps!
To kick us off this week is Jerry, who's showing off how Anarchy Online can party down with the best of them: "This is Yardsale, a level 220 Trader, dancing with his trader pets in Borealis."
At first glance, I almost thought we were in the Matrix. But even with polygons so sharp that you can cut yourself on them, this title definitely has a style all its own. Hit the jump to see this and other wonders of the screenshotted world.
Any game that implements a player-generated content system runs the risk of creating a system that's more fun -- or more lucrative -- than the original game itself. Players of the now-sunsetted City of Heroes, for example, were forever finding ways to turn experience and currency gain within the player-content tool known as the Mission Architect to their advantage. Imagine designing a mission with mobs that deal nothing but fire damage, then bringing your fire Tanker with her anti-fire shields to blaze through a group's worth of mobs while soaking up the levels and loot. Overpowered? Most definitely. Fun? Frequently, especially when you just wanted to level up your 50th alt to get to the good powers. Exploitable? Some people did consider such activities to be expoits, and to pacify them, the developers brought so many nerfhammers down on the system that by the end, it was seldom used except by the most diehard storygoers.
This same battle is now being wagedon theforums of Neverwinter, which game will also implement a player-generated content system that allows participants to design and play each other's missions. Cryptic plans to curtail potential powergaming by limiting rewards earned through the tool, but there's always a danger of limiting rewards so much they're not worth the bother. Today, let's discuss what you think about the potential dangers of PGC. Are powergaming and farming acceptable uses of PGC tools like the Foundry? Do you prefer studios crack down hard on people who aren't doing it the "right" way? Or do you have a different solution?
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!
Welcome back to Ask Massively. This week, I'd like to address a common gripe about Massively's coverage of sunsetted games -- specifically, City of Heroes. Even before the game closed down, some commenters were expressing annoyance that we were daring to cover the closure. Now that it's gone, these same commenters are irate at the fact that we didn't seal up the coffin and pretend that the whole thing never happened.
I promised you that we would be doing interviews next time, but astute readers would note that I did not say "next week." So welcome to our special extra installment of the column looking at two different sides following the City of Heroes shutdown.
We've already seen two projects coming from the ashes of CoH; The Phoenix Project and Heroes and Villains are both currently being assembled by passionate fans of the now-departed game. But we'd be remiss if we failed to note the impact that the game's closure has had on existing games like Champions Online and DC Universe Online. Rather than just speculating on any of this, we decided to just ask.
In the wake of City of Heroes' closure, one group of fans has decided that it's not enough to move on to a new game. The Phoenix Project aims to become a spiritual sequel and recreation of the game for players and by players, with a new trailer showcasing concept art as well as serving as a statement of purpose.
Formed by several regulars of the Save CoH movement, The Phoenix Project is the work of Missing Worlds Media, a studio composed of several independent designers, programmers, and artists united by their love of the lost game. The game is still very early in the concept stages, but the studio has already announced that it will be built using the powerful CryENGINE 3. If you're looking forward to the prospect of running around in Titan City, check out the trailer past the break, and keep your eyes peeled for an interview with the staff from our regular superheroic column, A Mild-Mannered Reporter.
The chance to prevent City of Heroes from being shut down may have passed, but the debates about the game's profitability and the merit of that shutdown aren't going anywhere. An anonymous source has come forward reaffirming several previous data points but also elaborating on some of the details surrounding the closure, including Paragon Studios' plan to pull away from NCsoft entirely and why NCsoft wouldn't greenlight a sequel to the game. Surprisingly, NCsoft's Chief of Corporate Communications, Lincoln Davis, responded to the information, denying all claims but still shedding some light on the issue.
Davis mentions repeatedly that Paragon Studios was not profitable, but at no point does he state that City of Heroes itself was not profitable. He also avoids saying that the company was unable to find a buyer for the game but simply that the company was unable to find a buyer that NCsoft thought would support the game "in a manner [players] were accustomed to for years to come." While it won't bring the game back, it certainly sheds some interesting light on the whole situation, albeit light that will likely be of cold comfort to the game's fans.
[Update: We've reached out to NCsoft for a more detailed statement; we'll keep you posted when we hear more.]
As another gaming year spins to a close, we here at the Institute for Digital Interactive Entertainment have been holding our archaeological department hostage with a trained buffy-tufted marmoset until it delivered a final report. After hours of begging and infected monkey bites, the head of that department, Prof. Justin Olivetti, Ph.D., handed us a scrap of urine-soaked paper with the following article inscribed.
While the Institute strongly suggests that you ignore this report and instead work on your button-mashing exercises, the board of directors stated that all such papers must be posted for the public to see.
This report is presented in the Yetbari typeface and contains a sequential series of items that number between 11 and 13.
The game may be cold and gone at this point, but City of Heroes still lives in the warm, beating hearts of its fans. Two players endeavored to create tributes to the game that would endure long past its expiration date, and Massively thinks they should be shared with the larger community.
The first video, City of Heroes Remains, sees Paragon City being pummeled into the ground by a fiery meteor shower, only to be rebuilt by its heroes after the event. It's a movie-quality production full of special effects and stunning views of the city, set to a couple of perfect songs.
The second video, Memories, is a longer, quieter look at the end. In it, a costumed crusader pays a final visit to City Hall where he hangs up his tights for good -- but refuses to let go of a backpack full of memories.
We've got both videos for you after the jump, but be warned: You may need hankies.
I am a complete sucker for three things: novelty soft drink flavors, Tom Servo's singing voice in MST3K, and end-of-the-year lists. Egads, I love the end of the year just for the lists alone. Everyone does them (copycats!), and I like to see how my opinions stack up against them. Plus, often I learn of cool things that happened or came out during the past year that I missed.
So this is my list. My end-of-2012 list. I am devoting the 26th Perfect Ten of 2012 to the top 10 moments in MMO gaming and blogging. It was a rollercoaster of highs and lows, and looking back, I don't think I could've predicted half of the major events that happened in this industry. That's what I like about this gig: It keeps me on my toes.
The representative who asked for feedback on the item and price-point probably caused herself internal hemorrhaging by stating, "This is not a joke." The fans responded, "Of course, and the sky is made out of blue cheese." At the very least, it allowed the more creative players to come up with humorous expressions of incredulity. The fun finally came to an end when the studio announced that the "experimental" price point was a failure.
Of course, this is by far not the first time a game studio's attempted to sell a ridiculous item, an item with a ridiculous price point, or both combined. If you sell it, after all, the rubes will come.
So in the spirit of a $50 hobby horse that costs something like $20 in real life to acquire, here are 10 completely ridiculous items that we've seen in MMO cash shops.
NCsoft's recent closure of City of Heroes didn't win the company any fans in the US market, but it looks like the effects are being felt even over in the company's home of Korea. A new article in the Korea Times quotes fantasy author Mercedes Lackey regarding the game's shutdown. Her words on the matter were unambiguous: "I think canceling a game that is making a profit, along with destroying jobs and an online community, is entirely unethical."
The article covers several of the pieces of confusion regarding NCsoft's management of the shutdown and the perceived ambiguity about the financial side of the decision. Lackey also emphasizes in her quotes that she and other City of Heroes fans will not stop until they have exhausted every option to resurrect the game. NCsoft is clearly feeling the pinch considering the news of recent layoffs, but it looks as if the company is losing the image war on several fronts as well.
In this Very Special Edition of Massively Speaking, Bree and Justin hold a wake for a certain superhero MMO that's passed into the night. We were there until the bitter end, my friends, except for Justin who valued sleep and didn't want to stay up until 3:00 in the morning. But he was there in spirit -- oh yes he was!
It's not all tears and booze, of course; we have plenty of other stories to talk about, including the return of a long-lost profession, an expansion launch, a free-to-play conversion, and why MMOs are now being held up as art.
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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.
Today's One Shots will be a more somber one, as we strive to honor two MMOs that are passing into history. First up is the dearly departed City of Heroes, which Reader Michelle apparently loved quite a bit. She sent us in several screenshots, including one of her supergroup, Part Time Heroes.
"Here's a group of my friends during the Mortimer Kal Strike Force," Michelle writes. "My character is Astral Black, a Warshade who should be my last level 50. She's the one in the purple and black crop top."
Head onward for more personal dedications, but be warned: You may be misty-eyed by the end.
November 30th is a dark day for City of Heroes fans. Three months ago, NCsoft announced that it would be pulling the plug on the popular superhero MMO and shuttering Paragon Studios, the team behind the magic. The game's date of execution has now arrived; the MMO will draw its final breath tonight -- or tomorrow, depending on your time zone. The servers will shut down at 3:00 a.m. EST Saturday morning (midnight tonight on the West Coast).
Never the type to go quietly, the Titan Network crew has organized a final Unity Rally; it will begin at 2:00 a.m. EST tomorrow morning (11:00 p.m. PST tonight) and take place at Atlas Park's City Hall on every server. Join Massively tonight as we livestream a final farewell to the game and record the event for posterity (or just people who fell asleep). And while you wait, you can go join the latest #SaveCoH campaign, this one a Hail Mary pitch to Disney.
Farewell, Paragon City. Your innovation and creativity will be missed.
[Update: It's gone, heroes. We've uploaded the stream after the cut for those who couldn't be there in person.]