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Culture

Leaderboard: How much time do you spend customizing avatar outfits?

Sci-Fi, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Leaderboard

OK, I'm spending entirely too much time customizing my avatar outfits in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I originally re-upped my sub in order to polish off my last couple of class stories, but now I've gotten sucked into crafting and, by extension, the substantial outfit collection minigame. Which is bizarre because in meatspace my fashion sense boils down to the first pair of jeans and corresponding t-shirt/sweatshirt that tumbles out of my closet.

What about you, Leaderboard readers? How much time do you spend customizing your MMO avatar outfits? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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'World's biggest LGBT guild' celebrates FFXIV's same-sex marriage

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Members of the Rough Trade Gaming Community, which bills itself as "the world's biggest LGBT guild," staged an Eorzean parade last weekend to celebrate Final Fantasy XIV's decision to reverse its restrictions on same-sex marriage.

You can watch highlights from the event in the 11-minute video after the cut.

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The Daily Grind: How do you handle the wait for an anticipated game?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

lotro
Time is so frustrating, because sometimes you want it to slow down, sometimes you want to reclaim the past, and many times you wish it would speed up so that you could get to the good stuff. It's especially hard for an MMO gamer who is waiting for the arrival of a much-anticipated title.

Therefore, today I'd like us to discuss how we handle the long wait for upcoming MMOs or expansions. Unless you have a time machine that I don't know about, how do you pass the months? Do you eat up all of the information you can on the game and practically live in the forums? Do you do everything in your power to get into the beta? Or do you try to ignore it while immersing yourself in another game for the time being?

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!

Global Chat: Doom and WAAAGH!

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

war
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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League of Legends unveils A New Dawn cinematic

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends

In this cinematic, people hurt each other, with no attempts to connect any of that to a larger theme.
Did you know that a game of League of Legends involves your team fighting another team? It's true! And you can watch a dramatized version of exactly that in the game's latest cinematic trailer, A New Dawn, embedded just past the cut. Spoiler warning: There is blood, people die, and it would all be very dramatic if not for the fact that most of them will respawn in the not-too-distant future.

Want a peek behind the scenes? You can get more than that; Riot Games has also released a full making-of featurette that shows exactly how the newest cinematic went from concept to completion. And you can also check that out past the cut. Consider it the bonus feature.

[Source: Riot Games press release]

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World of Warships on board for Gamescom 2014

Historical, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, Free-to-Play

World of Warships
Fans of Wargaming's selection of multiplayer military games will be happy to hear that the naval battle MMO World of Warships will be available to play during Gamescom 2014 next month. This will be the game's first public debut as a playable demo for anyone in attendance.

Gamescom will be held from August 13 - 17 in Cologne, Germany, and Wargaming aims to go big again this year with game presentations, talk shows, on-stage giveaways, and more on its 720-square-meter stage in Hall 8.

[Source: Wargaming press release]

League of Legends cracks down on more bad seeds

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, MOBA, League of Legends

LoL
Riot Games has announced its next level of enforcement for problematic players in the wildly popular League of Legends. After working toward player reform over the last few years, the studio is now looking at a more aggressive approach.

In cases of "extreme toxicity" (i.e. racism, death threats, homophobic remarks, etc.), troublesome players can expect a more severe penalty ranging from a 14-day ban to a permanent ban from the game. In the case that an "unfair ban" comes into question, Riot says they will now be fully transparent with chat logs and post the exact log that led to the player's ban.

Intentional leavers/AFKers are also a concern for Riot as they plan to address these problems in the future.

APB shames cheaters, talks usage and purchasing stats

Real-Life, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, All Points Bulletin, Dev Diaries

APB Reloaded's latest dev blog post details the implementation of cheat detector FairFight into the MMO shooter. The update also reveals some pretty interesting stats related to cheaters as well as the game's overall performance. "The number of cheaters who log in to the game stayed pretty constant around 1.2 percent of all players (some of which were re-rolls)," wrote GamersFirst's Bjorn Book-Larsson.

Surprisingly, 60 percent of those cheaters were paying players. Book-Larsson says that only about 10 percent of APB's monthly unique players make new purchases in a given month, while 30 percent of players have made a purchase at some point during their account history.

Book-Larsson goes on to say that APB is the 19th most-played game in the history of Steam, just ahead of Borderlands 2 and just behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Finally, GamersFirst has publicized a list of banned cheaters for the month of July, complete with player and clan names and various other account statistics.

Valve scrapped an MMORPG at the dawn of the genre

Video, Culture, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

Prospero
Did you know that Valve was once hard at work on a third-person MMORPG called Prospero? Alas, the studio scrapped the project around 1997 in favor of a little tiny game called Half-Life, which "absorbed" the developers working on the MMO.

Website Valve Time has dipped into the mysterious history of the game, said to be a "moody, literary" science-fantasy epic influenced by Myst with its focus on story and exploration. Though Prospero was canceled, some of its groundbreaking social and map features were eventually realized in Steam and Portal.

The video also includes some wonderfully dated screenshots and quotes from developers who worked on the title.

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EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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One Shots: Life isn't fair

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

ff14
Today, this boss mob woke up to the harsh realization that life just is not fair. Even with his impressive stature and the rather expensive sword that his grandma gave him for Christmas, he's unable to hold down any full-time job. What's worse is that every would-be "hero" in the world keeps ganging up on him. Even if he emerges victorious, everyone sneers and jeers at him. He just can't win.

So let's meet our first antagonist, reader William, who documented this shameful moment from Final Fantasy XIV. "The new hunts are incredibly fun and have added a lot of variety to the game!" he chirped. "My friends and I recently tackled this S-Rank Hunt, Agrippa the Mighty, along with some additional help from people in the zone. Don't worry; I healed that poor Black Mage lalafell after taking this screenshot."

But did you heal Agrippa and try to make friends with him? That's what would lead to a true storybook ending!

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The Daily Grind: Should old MMOs retire gracefully while they still can?

EverQuest, Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

eq
You can't deny that certain MMOs from the dawn of the genre are getting a bit long in the tooth. Heck, some of them lost their teeth a while ago and replaced them with wooden dentures of power. Take EverQuest, for example. Even with a free-to-play transition, numerous updates, and a dev team that's pushed that game engine as far as it can go, it's still an old title with a high-water mark that peaked before most current players started on their first MMO.

So here's a contentious question for the day: Should games like EverQuest retire? Should they go out with some dignity right now rather than face future humiliation by becoming increasingly obsolete? Wouldn't studios be better off focusing resources on new additions to their franchises? What do you think?

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!

Trove: 'Let everything in the game be made by the community'

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Culture, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Trove

trove
User-generated content isn't just a pipe dream of the Trove team; it's the central tenet of its design philosophy. In a new video, the devs talk about why allowing players to design the world, both inside the game and outside of it, is vital to drawing the community into it.

One of the results of listening to player feedback is the creation of a new biome called Dragonfire Peaks, which is full of canyons, lava, and most likely heartburn.

"We've taken the development cycle and pried it open for everyone to see," says Art Lead Brian Clarke. The team goes on to show off several player-made dungeons and talk about how the community has made better content than the dev team thought possible. We've got the video after the break, so check it out and see if you've got the Trove stuff!

[Source: Trion Worlds press release]

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Dota 2's 10 million dollar e-sports tourney will stream on ESPN

Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), PvP, News Items, Promotions, Miscellaneous, MOBA

Whether or not you believe e-sports are real sports, Dota 2 is at least big enough for sports TV.

Valve today publicized a deal that will bring streaming coverage of its MOBA's The International tournament to ESPN. Well, ESPN3, which is sort of like ESPN in the same way Dota 2 is like a sport. We're kidding. ESPN3 will broadcast matches live, and come Sunday, "viewers can tune in to ESPN2 for an exclusive preview of the tournament's final match, featuring highlights from the games, expert analysis, plus interviews with the players and Valve's Gabe Newell."

The International championships begin tomorrow in Seattle with a prize pool worth over $10 million. It turns out your mom was wrong: You can get rich and famous playing video games.

[With thanks to tipster Mike!]

Yogscast's TUG partnership comes alongside a cancelled game

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

What never was and never will be.
If you're a fan of Yogscast and TUG, you're probably happy to learn that Yogscast is going to be working closely with Nerd Kingdom to promote the game. Of course, you might not be such a fan if you were originally a backer of Yogventures!, the Yogscast-inspired game that very recently announced it was cancelled despite reaching double its Kickstarter goal in 2012. All of the Yogventures! assets and code are being transferred over as well, allowing TUG to reap the benefits of what had been done on the cancelled game.

According to the Yogscast crew, the partnership with TUG and the distribution of serial codes are meant as an effort to make things right, although the official communication makes it clear that they are not on the hook for the game's cancellation (which might be legally debatable). Many of the Yogventures! backers are still very unhappy with the situation, though, as TUG is not the game they backed in the first place. Time will tell how this shakes out in the long run, as very few Kickstarter backers are likely to be fully mollified by receiving a copy of a game they never wanted.

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