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The Daily Grind: Are superhero MMOs doomed to be niche?

Super-hero, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Comics, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Valiance Online
When Valiance Online launched its Kickstarter a few weeks ago, Massively's commenters posed an interesting debate over the viability of the superhero MMO market in general, not just the workability of a genre with three competing City of Heroes spin-offs. Some readers are convinced that the superhero genre is too risky and niche for MMORPGs, noting that the existing superhero MMOs have been more or less solid but small, nowhere near World of Warcraft huge. Fantasy, and to a lesser extent sci-fi, just dominates this scene. (Although we had a moment of hope when Blizzard first revealed Overwatch, it turned out to not really be much of an MMO.)

And yet superheroes are killing it in movie theaters; the comic genre has transcended geek culture to become thoroughly mainstream. There should be a huge audience for such games, and superhero MMOs just plain make sense: They're an ideal setting for fun skills and powers, beating up bad guys, and dressing up in costumes.

So what's the deal? Why haven't we seen a staggeringly huge superhero MMO? Are they in fact too niche after all?

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!

The Stream Team: Be a Guardian of the Galaxy in Marvel Heroes

Super-hero, Video, Comics, Marvel Heroes, Livestream, The Stream Team

Are you feeling extra superhero-y thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy? Then join Massively's MJ for some explosive Marvel Heroes escapades where you can play as one of the Guardians themselves as well as bring one along as a sidekick. The hardest part might be just choosing: Will MJ run around as Rocket Racoon or sail through adventures as Star-Lord? No matter which she picks, there's plenty of extra XP and oodles of drops to collect during the Cosmic Chaos event. Join us live at 5:00 p.m. for a slice of galactic fun.

Game: Marvel Heroes
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Saturday, August 9th, 2014
Time: 5:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Soaring through the story in Marvel Heroes and sharing costume codes

Super-hero, Video, Free-to-Play, Comics, Marvel Heroes, Livestream, The Stream Team

Have you been in and experienced Marvel Heroes' big 2015 anniversary update? Massively's MJ suffered superhero withdrawals while at E3 2014 and cannot wait to get back to MH and its sweet, sweet loot. She might even have room in her inventory for it! OK, let's not get too crazy. This round, MJ will continue with more story missions on either Storm or Psylocke and take viewer votes on which hero to highlight next. Join us live at 4:00 p.m. EDT to champion for your favorite champion and for a chance at a random costume box!

Game: Marvel Heroes
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, June 16th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Stream Team: Reveling in wanton city destruction in Marvel Heroes

Super-hero, Video, Free-to-Play, Comics, Marvel Heroes, Livestream, The Stream Team

Do you ever just get the urge to participate in some wanton destruction once in a while? That makes Marvel Heroes a life- and pocketbook-saver; Massively's MJ can disintegrate hotdog carts, chuck cars, and make everything around her explode -- all without having the corresponding property damage bill! And she gets to fly to boot. What more could you ask for? Join her live in game and in chat at 3:00 p.m. and revel in the power of demolition.

Game: Marvel Heroes
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, May 5th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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EVE Source hardcover edition now available

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Lore, Comics, Sandbox

EVE Source
First introduced at last year's FanFest, EVE Source aims to be the largest official illustrated guide to the EVE Online universe and its history.

The full-color, 200-page hardcover edition is now on sale for $39.99 at brick-and-mortar comic book stores and online for both the seasoned vet and the complete noob. If you're heading out to the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle at the end of this month, you might be happy to hear that 200 copies of the previously sold-out EVE Source Limited Edition ($89.99 retail) are waiting for you at the Dark Horse booth.

[Source: CCP press release]

Alter Ego: Issue #6 - Gargoyles' Gaze

Super-hero, Screenshots, MMO Industry, PvE, Free-to-Play, Comics, Roleplaying, DC Universe Online, Alter-Ego

Alter Ego: Issue #5 - Gargoyles' Gaze
Last time in Massively's DC Universe Online comic, Batman tasked Kid Critical with finding out what Bane's thugs are doing in Gotham City's East End.

As it turns out, the enforcers are offloading crates of the masked madman's venom at the Cape Carmine docks. Can The Kid stop them before Bane's strength-boosting street drug makes its way through Gotham's criminal underworld? Find out in Alter Ego: Issue #6 - Gargoyles' Gaze, after the break!

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Alter Ego: Issue #5 - Opportunity Knocks in DCUO

Super-hero, Galleries, Screenshots, MMO Industry, PvE, Free-to-Play, Comics, Roleplaying, DC Universe Online, Alter-Ego

Alter Ego Issue 5 - Opportunity Knocks
Previously in Massively's DC Universe Online comic, Kid Critical teamed up with Batwoman to rid Gotham of the Scarecrow and his hallucinogenic fear gas. Now, a new villain is filling the void, as the masked strongman Bane has set up shop in the city's East End and is terrorizing its citizens with an army of thugs powered by his rage-inducing venom.

Can The Kid and the Bat family put a stop to his nefarious plans? Find out in Alter Ego: Issue #5, after the cut!

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Alter Ego: Issue #4 - Kid Critical in the Scarecrow's Lair

Super-hero, Galleries, Screenshots, MMO Industry, PvE, Free-to-Play, Comics, Roleplaying, DC Universe Online, Alter-Ego, Dungeons

Alter Ego 4 - Kid Critical in the Scarecrow's Lair
Last time in Massively's DC Universe Online comic, Kid Critical helped Batman foil the Scarecrow's plan to turn Gotham's East End into a living nightmare. The mad scientist subsequently retreated to his lair beneath the city streets, where he managed to capture Batwoman and unleash his hellish fear gas on the pursuing Kid Critical.

Now, Batwoman and the Kid must join forces to survive Scarecrow's hallucinogenic traps -- not to mention his cheesy banter. Will they make it out of the Scarecrow's Lair with their sanity intact? Turn the page to find out!

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Alter Ego: Issue #3 - DCUO's Streets of Fear

Super-hero, Galleries, Screenshots, Lore, MMO Industry, PvE, Free-to-Play, Comics, Roleplaying, DC Universe Online, Alter-Ego

Alter Ego #3: DC Universe Online's Streets of Fear
Previously in Massively's DC Universe Online webcomic, Kid Critical suited up with a little help from Oracle and learned to harness his new exobyte powers after escaping from Brainiac's deadly harvester ship. Now, he must assist the Gotham vigilante known as Batman as he tracks the nefarious Scarecrow through the city's East End.

Can Kid Critical and the Bat family stop Scarecrow's deadly fear gas before it blankets the entire city? Find out in Alter Ego #3: Streets of Fear.

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Diving back into Marvel Heroes

Super-hero, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Previews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Comics, Marvel Heroes, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, First Impressions

Marvel Heroes screenshot
When I first heard that Marvel Heroes, by Gazillion Entertainment, was not going to allow players to make unique, customizable heroes to fight alongside classic Marvel characters, I felt the same as many of our readers did. I was shocked, hurt, and then angry. What on Earth would inspire a developer to skip not only one of the most important aspects of an MMO -- character customization -- but skip it in an IP that is begging for character customization? Instead of checking the game out, I walked away and played other titles.

But I've given it a chance over the last few weeks and had a discussion with Jeff Donais from Gazillion, and now I realize that the developers were never attempting to make an open-world sandbox with infinitely customizable characters. Instead they have made a linear story-based romp with tons of loot, plenty of explosions, and more classic Marvel characters than you can shake an adamantium claw at. Getting over preconceptions and imagining a dungeon-crawler that is set in the Marvel universe will bring you closer to understanding Marvel Heroes.

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Alter Ego: Issue #2 - Learning to fly in DC Universe Online

Super-hero, Galleries, Screenshots, Lore, MMO Industry, PvE, Free-to-Play, Comics, Roleplaying, DC Universe Online, Alter-Ego

Alter Ego Issue #2  Learning to fly in DC Universe Online
Last time in Massively's DC Universe Online webcomic, Kid Critical escaped from Brainiac's dastardly clutches and -- aided by the Man of Steel -- brought down one of the evil overlord's deadly harvester ships. But Brainiac still has designs on digitizing Earth and all its inhabitants. And both supervillains and petty criminals alike are leveraging the chaos to cause big trouble for the Justice League and its new exobyte-powered allies.

Now, Kid Critical returns home to Gotham City, struggling with his super powers and at the mercy of a mysterious hacker called Oracle. Will he master his exobytes in time to help save the city? Or will he end up as another grease spot on Gotham's mean streets? Find out in Alter Ego #2: Learning to Fly.

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Alter Ego: Issue #1 - Kid Critical in DC Universe Online

Super-hero, Galleries, Screenshots, Lore, MMO Industry, PvE, Free-to-Play, Comics, Roleplaying, DC Universe Online, Alter-Ego

test
Some intergalactic psychopath called Brainiac covets the Earth. He's trying to digitize the lot of us, see, only his exobyte technology has some... unforeseen side effects. At the risk of going all science whiz on you, I'll just say that these nanite exobyte gizmos transformed hundreds of humans into uber-powerful ubermensch. Mutants or even metahumans, if you'd prefer. We're superheroes, really, when you get right down to it.

It's a good thing, too, because Earth's real superheroes couldn't stop Brainiac. Superman, Batman, the Justice League, all of them failed. Even supervillains attempted to save mankind, for a time at least. Before long, though, they did what villains do: They leveraged chaos and exploited disorder for their own selfish ends.

So, yep, it's pretty much business as usual but for the meglomaniacal space invader bent on destroying both sides. Me, I'm just a soldier in this new war, one of a fortunate few gifted with the power of Brainiac's buggy exobytes. Before all this I was a nobody. A minor game critic or some such silliness. Now, my friends just call me the kid. You can call me Kid Critical.
Every two weeks, Kid Critical and his Alter Ego, mal-mannered game journo Jef Reahard, take you for a whirlwind tour of DC Universe Online. Join the dynamic duo as they explore PvE, PvP, story content, and more!

Not So Massively: SimCity's launch fiasco, Victory's kickstarter

Betas, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Launches, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Comics, Dev Diaries, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Crowdfunding

Not So Massively title image
Fresh from its work on End of Nations, developer Petroglyph launched a Kickstarter campaign this week for its own online RTS Victory. The campaign hit $19,574 in the first five days but has a long way to go to hit its $700,000 target. SimCity's always-online DRM backfired spectacularly as launch server capacity and stability issues left thousands unable to play what they thought of as a largely singleplayer game.

Diablo III revealed details of its upcoming loot overhaul that will make legendary items a little more legendary and rare items and good bit rarer. Path of Exile's patch 1.10.2 was deployed successfully, adding a few item mods and significantly improving the Duelist class area of the passive skill tree.

League of Legends celebrated its 100th Summoner Showcase with a look back at the community's best creative output and announced a brand-new comic contest that will see players voting for the winner. SMITE announced its $10,000 PAX East invitational tournament, and Guardians of Middle-Earth tempted players back with 75,000 free in-game gold in a new weekend event.

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The Secret World releases Issue #5 teaser, announces End of Days events [Updated]

Horror, Real-Life, Events (In-Game), Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Comics, The Secret World, Dev Diaries

The Secret World releases issue #5 teaser, announces End of Days eventsWhen Funcom announced that The Secret World was abolishing subscriptions and converting to a "pay once, play forever" model, the studio also noted that Issue #5 would be included free for everyone who had the game by the end of December. So now that the free-to-play question is answered, inquiring minds want to know what the next monthly update includes!

Well, folks, we'll have to wait a bit longer on the full answer to that, but we do have a hint of the upcoming story; the cover art lets us know it deals with The Vanishing of Tyler Freeborn. We also have a special comic to start the story off after the break.

Of course, the world is supposed to be ending, so what does that mean for TSW? Senior designer Tanya Short has jumped on the end-of-days bandwagon. In the latest dev blog, she details the special events that will begin on Friday the 21st, including special dynamic events and limited-time currency to spend on potions, unique weapon skins, and even a pet. As expected in any horror apocalypse, zombie attacks escalate everywhere and three giant nigh-invulnerable Harbingers will be roaming the lands. Will players find the single weakness of each that will bring down the behemoths before the world crashes? There is also a contest for the top player throughout the apocalypse with a title and pet reward, so hop on in and play a part in the end!

[Updated with second version of comic. So tell us, which do you prefer?]
Two comics, one story -- which do you like best?
version 151 (26.0%)
version 2145 (74.0%)

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Not So Massively: Free Firefall manga, MOBA news, and D3 server woes

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Comics, Dev Diaries, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Firefall

Not So Massively title image
There's no shortage of MOBA news this week, as Valve announced that Dota 2 will be free-to-play and Warner Bros. unveiled its new Lord of the Rings-themed MOBA, Guardians of Middle Earth. League of Legends ran its first invitational player-vs.-developer tournament in Las Vegas this week and released details on upcoming champion Draven, the Glorious Executioner. Heroes of Newerth published its first community-driven balance patch, and Rise of Immortals announced details on upcoming melee mage Kreed.

Diablo III faced its worst week of server stability yet, with sporadic auction house availability and frequent unscheduled maintenance periods lasting several hours each. Some players have been reporting success in getting a refund for the game, and Blizzard's Korean office was even raided by officials when the company declined to give refunds in that country.

The Path of Exile team announced that the game will be entering open beta in mid-August and that once the game is in open beta, characters will not be wiped. Red 5 Studios unveiled a new Firefall manga, written by Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card, which the company will be releasing online completely free.

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Make My MMO: December 14 - 20, 2014

Posted on Dec 20th 2014 7:00PM

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