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Massively's MMO guide to Halloween 2014

Horror, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

Defiance
MMORPG fans love to play dress-up. Admit it! We do it every day with our characters, even if we pretend we're just "checking out our stats" when we're rifling through the hundreds of pieces of cosmetic gear in our banks. That's what makes Halloween our magic holiday!

Following what is now epic tradition, we've rounded up all the big MMORPG Halloween events and sales for 2014 as well as a few little ones and some from our favorite MOBAs and OARPGs too. The list isn't exhaustive, so feel free to chime in with any we've missed that you love!

Now, furbish up your pumpkin heads and get in there. That virtual candy isn't gonna eat itself.

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The Daily Grind: Do you defend your favorite MMO?

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online

I think I'm getting old, because there was a time when I'd wade into a forum discussion about my favorite MMO and defend it to the death against all comers. I still catch myself doing that on occasion, but said occasions are getting rarer. The passion hasn't gone anywhere, but I'd rather just go play it than argue about it, you know?

What about you, Massively readers? Do you defend your favorite MMOs?

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: Wrongs and rights

EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Trove

trove
So often, bloggers are struggling to succinctly answer the same question in a variety of formats: What is right with this game and what is wrong with it? It gets complicated fast when biases, comparisons, and general drama enters into it, although I wouldn't have it any other way. MMOs should be filtered through our various viewpoints to gain broader understanding and (hopefully) provide better feedback.

This week in our journey around the blogosphere, we'll take a second look at Trove, see where ArcheAge messed up, and attempt to understand why PvP sandboxes will wither and die if they're not welcoming to carebears. What's wrong? What's right? That's up to them -- and you -- to decide!

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WildStar opens up free, indefinite megaserver transfers

Culture, PvP, News Items, PvE, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

It's generally seen as discouraging if your fix for a problem still leaves it broken.
How's your server's population in WildStar since the switch to megaservers? Does it still feel a little empty? Community manager Tony Rey says that the team has heard the complaints that the PvP servers are quiet, and the team is responding by opening up indefinite free transfers between the PvE and PvP megaservers in both directions. You can move your PvE character to the PvP megaserver as you wish, and vice versa.

Rey says that while the team was initially happy with the stats on the PvP realms, the EU PvP megaserver in particular had certain difficulties with player numbers after PvP-to-PvE transfers were opened up but before the megaservers went live. Having free transfers in place does carry the risk of allowing people to level on a PvE server only to transfer over at the level cap, but players are assured that the team is watching for shenanigans and will shut down untoward transfers. These transfers are currently open for an indefinite period of time; Carbine will decide whether or not these free transfers will remain in place after monitoring the health of the server system.

The Daily Grind: What's the creepiest MMO locale?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

tsw
Sorry, Halloween's heavy on the mind this week, and as I await the Great Pumpkin's return, I have been seeking out the scariest and most unsettling places in MMOs. Naturally, I found most of them in The Secret World.

Probably one of the most creepy places in TSW is the kindergarten in Savage Coast. You can't go into it and there's no explanation given about it, but when you're near it you hear garbled children's voices and off-key kid music playing. Plus, there are dead zombies draped all over its front yard. Nothing good could have happened there. And I don't want to know what did.

In the spirit of the season, what do you think is the most creepy MMO locale and why?

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!

Not So Massively: LoL's billion, SOTA's Steam debut, and Hearthstone's smartphone plans

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Classes, Culture, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Consoles, Casual, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

NSM - Infinite Crisis
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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The Daily Grind: Do you like beefcake avatars?

Super-hero, Classes, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Marvel Heroes

Marvel Heroes' new Juggernaut character sounded intriguing. Then I got a look at him and he went from probable purchase to lol-no-way!

Despite the intriguing momentum mechanic and the appeal of smashing everything in sight, I really can't stand beefcake character models. It's not just an MMO thing either. I find Gears of War unintentionally funny due to how absurd its cast looks, and Batvillain Bane is one of the silliest comic book baddies I've ever seen.

What about you, Massively readers? Do you like beefcake avatars, or do you laugh and steer clear like I do?

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!

EVE Evolved: Could permadeath work in EVE?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Permadeath has been one of the most contentuous features in online gaming since as far back as I can remember. The feeling of permanently losing a character you've spent months training up and playing with because of a single mistake or lag spike would be horrifying to most people, yet the idea continues to intrigue both players and developers. Diablo II's Hardcore mode is probably the most successful permadeath mechanic in an online game to date, separating the hardcore players onto a different server so that they develop their own game economy and leaderboard. Several MMOs have experimented with permadeath servers or mechanics over the years, but they're almost always reverted as failures.

In a recent presentation at EVE Vegas 2014, EVE Online developer CCP Rise discussed the idea of permadeath characters as something he's wanted to add to the game for the past few years. This is particularly problematic for EVE as the game uses passive time-based skill training and the whole game takes place on one massive shard. The hardcore players would need to have enough incentive to risk their characters' lives on a daily basis, their abilities would have to be balanced with non-hardcore players, and abuse of the system to suicide gank players would need to be handled. But if those problems are tackled, is it possible that there's a place for permadeath in EVE?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how permadeath could be added to EVE Online without disrupting the rest of the game.

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WoW Archivist: Patch 3.0, Echoes of Doom

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Patch 3.0.2 official poster
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on October 23rd, 2014, and is included here by permission.

Patch 6.0 is finally upon us. Like all pre-expansion patches, it has been both invigorating and chaotic. Almost exactly six years ago, a similar patch went live to begin a new era in WoW. Blizzard called Wrath of the Lich King's pre-expansion patch "Echoes of Doom." On October 14, 2008, this third version of the game gave us the brand-new achievement system, inscription and glyphs, 51-point talent trees, the zombie plague event, and TO THE GROUND, BABY. Read on to see what WoW was like for those turbulent few weeks before Wrath of the Lich King's launch.

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One Shots: Foot-in-Chest disease

Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, The Secret World, Humor, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

tsw
I don't think a lot of us fantasize about the way that we're going to die. My philosophy is, if it must happen, it should be as cool as possible. I think that getting kicked off of the top of a speeding train after a penultimate boss fight would fit the bill. Of course, I'd probably rather be the one kicking than being kicked, especially if the kickee is a supernatural terrorist like this jerk.

Reader Jonathan shares our first screenshot of the week: "This is from the cutscene as I was finishing the Last Train to Cairo in The Secret World. I think it's a great action shot, even if you can't see my character's face."

Don't forget to do a proper Wilhelm scream, my friend! So what other gruesome fates await us in this collection of deadly images?

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The Daily Grind: What are you doing for MMO Halloween?

Culture, Events (In-Game), Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Ah... don't you just love this time of year: Pumpkin spice pepper spray, eternally uneaten Charlston Chews, and decaying tree dandruff everywhere. And in many of our MMOs, spooky festivities and events have arisen to mark the passage of Halloween.

So what are you doing for Halloween in-game this year? There's a lot going on, but I'm most excited to be jumping back into my favorite haunted berth, The Secret World, and exploring a brand-new seasonal questline with friends. Of course, every day in TSW is Halloween, but this time of year it's more so than ever!

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 Daily Grind: Where did all the MMO bars go?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Roleplaying, Miscellaneous

SWTOR
No, not those bars. The fun kind of bars.

Massively reader Serrenity recently posted a provocative comment lamenting the loss of gathering places in MMORPGs: "Why aren't there many bars in games anymore? There's virtually no communal space. In capital cities everything has a numbers-related function -- learn to craft, spend money, repair your gear, auction, etc. [...] Everything is purely functional in games, without any 'flavor,' to the point of being the digital equivalent of getting socks for Christmas."

And Serrenity is right. Many MMOs don't have bars or taverns or cantinas anymore, and those that do usually fail to imbue them with a purpose, but it wasn't always that way, so why and how did it happen? Where did all the bars go, and do we need them back?

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 Think Tank: What will MMOs look like a decade from now?

World of Warcraft, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

WoW
A reader in my Working As Intended column last week penned this thought-provoking gem:
"I have no idea what games will look like say in 10 years time. I am sure some of these current games will still be going and doing well because of the investment of those playing them now. What new stuff will be coming out then, I have no idea, especially as the 'Minecraft generation' gets older."
What will the Minecraft generation make of World of Warcraft? What will MMOs look like in 10 years? These are the questions I asked Massively's writers in today's Think Tank.

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The Daily Grind: Do you prefer a traditional MMO?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

eq2
Last week in a comment in Global Chat, reader Comradestanimir stated, "I may be the only person alive who still likes the traditional MMO. All these attempts to 'innovate' just end up with contrived crap."

As a player of both newer and older MMOs, I found myself agreeing with this statement to a point. I like the older hotbar, tab-targeting combat versus most of the "action" combat seen today. It is still really enjoyable for me to vacuum up a bunch of quests from a hub and knock them out. I think that we've had a lot of great ideas in the past that could be updated to realize their full potential instead of having to dismiss them outright due to age.

Do you prefer a traditional MMO? Have you felt at odds with the vocal community on this if so?

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!

Metallica will rock out at BlizzCon 2014

World of Warcraft, Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, Promotions, Miscellaneous

MetallicaImagine that you're a big-name game developer with a pile of money and millions of fans to impress at your yearly convention. Would you hire your favorite band from your youth to play a custom gig? Hell yeah you would! And so would Blizzard, which is why the studio's just announced that Metallica will be performing at BlizzCon next month. It's the perfect band to listen to while riding around on your Azeroth Chopper and playing your Orc.

"We're thrilled to announce that Metallica will be performing the closing concert at BlizzCon 2014, playing before a sold-out convention crowd on the night of November 8!" Blizzard gushed in its announcement post earlier today. "If you didn't score tickets to the show, don't worry -- you can still get a front-row seat from home with the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket."

Hey, at least it's not Blink-182.

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