| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Culture

The Soapbox: In praise of SWTOR's 12X experience

Sci-Fi, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Roleplaying, Star Wars: The Old Republic

It's taken 12 times the normal XP rate, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally my main MMO (at least for another week or so). Well, OK, it's also taken a series of spectacularly ill-considered decisions by XLGAMES and Trion, but that's a rant for another day.

I've been playing SWTOR quite a lot over the past month since BioWare's subscriber-only pre-expansion boost has cut all of the godawful grindpark garbage right out of a galaxy far, far away. Too bad it's just a temporary fix, though -- here's hoping that the devs give veterans the option of keeping the XP bonus long after December 1st.

Continue Reading

The Daily Grind: Would you play a historical MMORPG?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

One of these days I'd like to play a historical MMORPG with triple-A production values. Maybe something set in the American old west, or the Renaissance, or maybe even something prehistoric (and preferably sandboxy). Some of gaming's most successful franchises have certainly mined historical periods with great success, whether we're talking about Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, or Red Dead Redemption.

Why not MMORPGs, then? Why does almost every title have to be fantasy or sci-fi? What about you, Massively readers? Would you play a a game without wizards or ray-guns? Would you play a historical MMORPG?

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: Are you still playing WildStar?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

wildstar
My name is Justin, and I have a confession: I still play WildStar. I even... like it. I know! Stop spitting on me already!

It seems as though 2014 is the year of new games getting tarred and feathered (usually justly) after their much-anticipated releases, and WildStar is no different. I won't deny that the studio has a lot of work to be done on the game, but my feelings for the game haven't changed. I still really dig this weird sci-fi romp, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Maybe it's the housing system (the best I've seen, period), the memorable world, the quirky humor, or the variety of activities, but I haven't grown bored of it yet.

Are you still playing WildStar? Have you been hesitant to say so after reading so much negativity around the internet? Speak up and let me know that I'm not alone!

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!

Catch a glimpse of Wander in Wednesday's live machinima

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Lore, Previews, News Items, Roleplaying, Livestream, Sandbox

Wander
We've been keeping an eye on no-combat, exploration-driven sandbox Wander since its debut at PAX over a year ago. This week, you can keep an eye on it too. Creator Loki Davison says that his studio will be livestreaming the game tomorrow, but it won't be just any ol' gameplay walkthrough; it'll be a "pioneering live streamed drama" set in the gameworld, a piece of live machinima rarely seen in the genre. "Join Sylvania as she explores her dream of flying and realizes that what she is, isn't all she can be," Davison hints. "Azar however, might not approve."

The stream begins at 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 19th, on the official Wander Twitch channel.

The Daily Grind: Do you read gaming-related novels?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Stewart Butterfield
No, not the novels posted in our comments. Actual novels. Literary and pulp fiction!

Gamasutra recently ran an article chronicling an author's attempt to publish and market a book aimed squarely at gamers. The writer ran into difficulties, however, because of the publishing industry's insistence that "gamers don't read books." He got his book published, but when marketing fell to him, he couldn't convince gaming outlets to cover it, and even though reviews were positive, sales were poor.

Major MMOs like The Elder Scrolls Online, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, and Star Wars: The Old Republic all released lore-oriented novels, but my suspicion is that such books are made to sell games, not to sell books. What do you think -- do you actually buy and read gaming-related novels?

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!

WoW's Dark Portal has reopened in a Shanghai subway

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Lore, News Items, Subscription

WoWA Shanghai subway station now boasts its very own World of Warcraft-flavored Dark Portal, and all we got was this lousy beat-up taxi.

Polygon reports that in honor of the Warlords of Draenor launch, the Xujiahui subway station in Shanghai has been decorated with WoW promotional materials, including a scaled-down but still swanky replica of the Dark Portal with a flat screen positioned in the center where the portal ought to go. Cameras embedded in the structure teleport subwaygoers into the action.

In WoW lore, the Dark Portal was once the gateway between Azeroth and Outland but now links Draenor to the core gameworld. Plus, it looks pretty badass as a real-life simulacrum.

We've included the promo video below.

Continue Reading

League of Legends rewards positive behavior

Fantasy, Culture, Free-to-Play, Giveaways, League of Legends

lol
Just how toxic is League of Legends' community? According to Riot Games, it may not be as bad as it once was.

The team posted a letter praising "positive behavior" in the community, saying that 95% of players have never received punishment. Furthermore, only 1% of the crowd have caused issues that resulted in lengthy bans or chat restrictions. Riot says that it is trying out new ideas to further combat bad behavior: "We've recently been focused on addressing extreme cases of verbal toxicity, and will soon be testing additional systems that address gameplay toxicity like leavers, AFKs, and intentional feeders."

To players who haven't received any punishments in the 2014 season, Riot will be granting four-win IP boosts next week.

One Shots: Mutant masochists

Screenshots, Guild Wars, Culture, One Shots, Mabinogi, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

auto assault
One of the quickest ways to my heart -- and to the top of a weekly One Shots column -- is to send me in something that I haven't seen before or an MMO that hardly ever makes it to my inbox. That's why I'm kicking off with this submission from Zulika featuring Auto Assault, the post-apocalyptic vehicle game that lived but for a brief time.

"Notice the faint quest marker above the head of the lady suspended by chains and hooks. If I remember correctly, this was taken in some quest hub full of mutant masochists. Even though it was just in a game, it still felt odd," wrote Zulika.

Odd in most situations, true, but for MMO players it's just the latest in a long calvacade of weirdness that we witness every day. Let's get this parade going!

Continue Reading

The Daily Grind: Are giant bosses getting ridiculous?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

tsw
While this problem isn't confined solely to MMOs, the enlargening of bosses feels like it's getting out of hand in our genre. Practically every villain is the size of an Airbus while retaining nimble, kinetic posturing more akin to a mongoose. Is it that when these beings got so big they had no other employment options than to be the target of do-gooders?

It simply could be a sign of developer practicality. After all, larger mobs are easier for parties and raids to target and watch over the heads of other players. Also, some people might get a constant kick out of beating up something 50 times their size. "I might not have gotten that job promotion," you think, "But at least I downed Godzilla's broodling and cut off his head to put over my virtual mantle!"

What do you think? Are giant bosses getting ridiculous?

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!

Working As Intended: Niche MMOs vs. the everything box

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, MMORPG, Working As Intended

Umzugskarton by HornM201
The MMO industry has lately focused on niche titles, niche communities, niche gameplay. It's not one particular niche, mind you. It's lots of different niches, all being catered to in different titles: PvPers, sadistic gankers, raiders, dungeoners, roleplayers, crafters, explorers, achievers, soloers, storygoers, casuals, hardcores, builders, destroyers, the I'm-skipping-class-for-a-week-to-play-games kids, the I've-got-five-minutes-what-can-I-play parents. There's an MMO or two out there for pretty much every one of us -- and for almost no one else.

So we dutifully buy the one that beckons directly to us, one of these small-minded "MMOs" that offer rewards for a certain playstyle or two but wilfully disregard every other imaginable playstyle. We applaud these games for having the guts to embrace being "niche" because we are convinced that having lots of little niche games is diversity.

And then we wonder where all the players are.

Continue Reading

The Daily Grind: Have you made use of an advanced character in an MMO?

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind

WoW
World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion launched yesterday, and if you managed to preorder in time, you now have a shiny new level 90 character upgrade awaiting you. WoW isn't the first or only game to offer advanced characters, of course; RIFT, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online, among others, all sell boosted characters so that players can skip over the early game and jump right to the new stuff. This feature has been tremendously helpful to some of my guildies who haven't played WoW in a while and wanted to join us in the new content without catching up an old toon. Without the feature, I'm not sure some of them would have returned at all.

I've taken advantage of the feature in UO especially to avoid the tedium of skill grind. On the other hand, I've still never had the urge to seriously play the cute Gnome Mage I rolled the last time Blizzard offered free character boosts. I just have too many characters with history already (plus my husband mains a Gnome Mage!).

What about you, Massively readers? Have you ever made use of an advanced character in an MMO? What did you think of the experience?

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!

WildStar gold exploiters may get lifetime bans

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, WildStar

Carbine is working on a hotfix for a WildStar gold exploit that many players have mentioned via social media and the game's forums. Community manager Tony Rey says a rollback isn't necessary because "the current scope of abuse is not outside of our ability to manually correct where necessary."

Rey goes on to mention the possibility of lifetime bans, though he does note that players who have used the exploit have until tomorrow to contact customer support for a reduced punishment to include the removal of ill-gotten gains.

The Think Tank: Keeping in touch with the friends in the magic box

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

Earlier this week in the comments of the article about MMO social network ZergID, readers went off on a tear about how MMO players keep in touch and communicate with guildies and friends beyond the game -- as my mom used to say, the people in the magic box. What quickly became obvious is that there's no one accepted method. Social media, forums, chats, IMs, Steam, and this crazy invention called a telephone were all mentioned. I thought we could use a more formal discussion, so in today's Think Tank, I asked the Massively writers how they keep in touch with guildies and MMO friends when they're not playing or when they're between games... if they keep in touch at all.

Continue Reading

Blizzard issues thousands (more) Hearthstone bot bans

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Casual, Miscellaneous, Hearthstone

Not just for using bots.  The first expansion is all about goblins and gnomes.  Come on.
Good news, Hearthstone players. If you've been using a bot to automate your gameplay, you'll log in today to find a shiny new prize! Specifically, that shiny new prize is not being able to log in because you've been banned. Your prize was being banned. Blizzard has awarded this prize to "several thousand" Hearthstone accounts using third-party tools to automate gameplay; the bans are permanent, so no need to worry about losing them at the end of the season.

Players who have not been botting and violating the game's TOS will also log in to find a shiny new prize, which is a play environment with far fewer bots. Isn't that nice? The official post reminds players to report suspicious behavior by emailing the development team so that in the future another group of cheaters can wake up to find a brand-new lifetime ban locking them out of the game.

Those of you who can still log in may also want to take the opportunity to vote on the next teaser for the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

You're too late: People are already 100 in WoW

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Subscription

WoW
Too bad for those of us stuck working today instead of playing video games: There are already folks at the level cap in World of Warcraft.

The Warlords of Draenor expansion launched early this morning amid complaints of lag, queues, and horrifically bottlenecked quests, but that hasn't been enough to stop the truly dedicated. On my home server, which my guildies affectionately refer to as Crashridge, there appear to be no 100s roaming the world yet, but Eurogamer reports that European servers have several dozen apiece thanks to the earlier launch there. The level-capped rushers took advantage of legitimate garrison-related experience bonuses and dailies but also repeatable turn-in quests deemed exploits by Blizzard, which temp-banned and de-leveled at least one Polish player for using them as seen in this colorful video.

So much for that world first!

Featured Stories

Global Chat: Gamers Secret Santa

Posted on Nov 25th 2014 8:00PM

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW