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Culture

Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: Most Improved MMO

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

Massively 2014 Awards
Massively's end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the Most Improved MMO of the year. Pretty much all MMOs were eligible for this particular award, even if they didn't launch in 2014, as long as they improved significantly in 2014. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the reader poll at the very end.

The Massively staff pick for Most Improved MMO of 2014 is...

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Eleven (the Glitch resurrection project) is moving into alpha

Betas, Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Miscellaneous

Glitch
It's been two years since Glitch shut down, and there are two possible responses to that. The first is to be sad that the MMO landscape lost an attractive, quirky, interesting little game. The second is to be quite happy because Eleven, the project that seeks to restore the original functionality of Glitch with a new team as a labor of love, is entering its alpha test phase. How awesome is that?

The first phase of testing is not a particularly large one: The amount of functional stuff in the game is tiny, and only 13 people are getting let in for test purposes. But it does mean that the project is moving along, and those lucky 13 people are going to get to play a game whose fans have been mourning ever since its shutdown. It's also a project done with Tiny Speck's blessing, ensuring that a successful alpha test now is the first step toward opening the doors of this world once more.

The Daily Grind: Could a non-combat MMO be compelling?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

brain
As much as I like being the action hero in MMOs, even I must admit that the ratio of combat to non-combat activities is lopsided to the extreme. Some days I feel like I'm playing an endless kill simulator that doesn't allow me to live in these virtual worlds so much as attempt to murder most of what is in them.

So sometimes I think about MMOs where combat isn't just marginalized but non-existent. Could it work? Sure, we have seen titles like A Tale in the Desert and Myst Online replace combat with community crafting, but such games are so few in number and under-populated.

What do you think? Could a non-combat MMO be compelling? Would you play a game that was heavy on sandbox elements but had no fighting?

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!

Final Fantasy XIV adds weddings with Patch 2.45

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Culture, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

As always, this has made several people very angry.
Whether you're a roleplayer or just someone who likes planning weddings, you'll be happy to know that Final Fantasy XIV's patch 2.45 has added the option for everyone to get married to a partner of his or her choosing. The Ceremony of Eternal Bond is now available in the game, complete with special outfits, rings, and premium options for those who want a bit more spice to their ceremonies. Because who wouldn't want a moogle officiating the ceremony?

Patch 2.45 also includes further developments in the Zoidac Weapon quest chain and a new set of postmoogle quests. Dragoons have also been buffed with the removal of most positional requirements and several shorter recast timers, while Ninjas have slightly increased TP costs and a reduction to damage buffs from poisons. The patch is available now, but for those of you who can't download and start playing right this moment, we've included the Eternal Bond trailer just after the break.

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Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: Biggest Story of the Year

Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

Massively 2014 Awards
Massively's end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the Biggest MMO Story of the year. We're not talking about a single article or a game's plot here; we're looking for dominant, ongoing news arcs in the MMO space that had a big impact on the genre. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively staff pick for Biggest MMO Story of 2014 is...

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EVE Evolved: The Sleepers are coming!

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, Roleplaying, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Ever since the announcement of 100 new wormhole systems and the unique Thera wormhole hub system, some interesting things have been going on in EVE Online. A new star appeared in the night sky and began rapidly growing in brightness like a supernova, and curiously, the light from that star was able to be seen from every star system in New Eden simultaneously in clear violation of the laws of physics. Two days prior to the event, Sansha's Nation were seen scattering from an Incursion site and leaving the area without using wormholes, hinting that something big was happening in their home system. Combined with the intruiging story of Thera, this has had even non-roleplayers scrambling through the EVE lore to come up with theories about what's to come.

Players slowly set apart picking the mystery to pieces, conducting a galaxy-wide search to find the origin of the bright star and sending people into the test server to get clues. The mystery intensified when players discovered that the star was likely near or within restricted Jove space, and soon after they began finding strange cloaked structures throughout known space. While observing these structures, players even found that an all-new form of Sleeper NPC called the Circadian Seeker was periodically warping into the site and using some kind of scanning beam on the cloaked structure. All of this comes in anticipation of the public release of the Rhea patch on Tuesday 9th, which will introduce hidden Sleeper sites in known space and kick off the arms race to discover tech 3 destroyers.

In this lore-heavy edition of EVE Evolved, I look at everything we know of EVE's new Sleeper storyline event and try to figure out how it all fits together.

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One Shots: Cult worship

Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, The Secret World, Humor, RIFT, Miscellaneous, WildStar

tsw
Have you ever been running along in an MMO and come screeching to a halt because other players are doing something inexplicably weird? Then perhaps you'd sympathize with reader Tyler in this situation.

"There are times in games -- especially games like The Secret World -- when one stumbles across something they simply can't explain," he submitted. "But nothing I have seen is as surreal as the sight that greeted me when I stepped into Agartha during the recent Halloween event: a circle of Atenists worshipping a girl in a bikini whilst chanting "ATEN! ATEN! ATEN!' I asked around in general. No one had any explanation for what in God's name was happening. It is a mystery for the ages."

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The Daily Grind: Who's your favorite child NPC?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

gw2
This might be a difficult topic because in truth we have not seen an over-abundance of children NPCs in MMOs, nevermind ones that speak or are part of missions. I'm mostly reminded of the tag-along I had in World of Warcraft's Children Week when I think of young characters.

However, I'm most impressed with the handling of Taimi in Guild Wars 2's storyline. She's easily the best character of the group, and somewhat unique in being very young and also partially disabled. I love that those two characteristics don't define who she is, but instead her vivacious and sometimes reckless genius does.

So who is your favorite child NPC in an MMO?

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!

Lost Continent: Yep, F2P sucks for ArcheAge

Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Lost Continent

Thus far I've put up with quite a lot of crap in my quest to like ArcheAge. There was the launch debacle in which no one realized that many millions of people will show up and expect a working service if you yell "come play for free!" Then there was the Auroria debacle, in which no one cared about server accessibility during a competitive launch event.

And of course there's ArcheAge's easily exploitable code, the ramifications of which include hacks, cheats, and bot-related problems that continue to be visible to anyone taking Trion's really-guys-it's-only-a-tiny-minority spin with a grain of salt.

Finally, there's the grossly intrusive monetization plan that prevents subscribers from playing certain parts of the game unless they spend additional money in the cash shop. ArcheAge has a comically long list of problems, but it's this last one that's finally wearing me down.

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The Daily Grind: What's the worst character name you've ever seen in an MMO?

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Roleplaying, Humor, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

In writing his article about Final Fantasy XIV's character rename service, Massively's Eliot rattled off a few silly names he's seen in-game that could really use a rename token. What you didn't see was the list of awful names he passed along to the writers behind the scenes: Combyo Beard, Carfullof Whiteboys, Sharing Needles, Stupid Name, Popular Character, Avengers Assemble. And here I was thinking Ffxiv Blows and Mycat Isanimro were pretty wretched, but I should have known better. There's always something more wretched to reset the wretchedness scale.

How about you, Massively peeps? What's the worst character name you've ever seen in an MMO? Bonus points if it makes me laugh. Bonus-bonus points to the first person to call me out for the joke name I used for my Second Wind Torchlight II character. Names are serious business.

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: Digging out of MMO doom

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

This year, we've been watching multiple MMO companies dig themselves into deep holes with mistake after mistake, some seemingly preventable. Do you think there's a hole so deep that an MMO studio can never dig out? Do you think that serial goof-ups like WildStar and ArcheAge can pull a SWTOR and actually be making trucktons of money three years from now? Or is everything DOOM, etc.?

That's precisely what I asked the Massively writers in this week's Think Tank.

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The Daily Grind: Does a studio's home country impact your faith in an MMO?

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

skyforge
I've been cautiously excited about the development of Skyforge, although something's really been holding me back from gushing too strongly about it: the fact that its dev team (well, one of them at least) is located in Russia. Maybe it's silly and even a bit nationalist, but I am somewhat less trusting of MMOs that hail from other regions than my own.

Maybe it's a fear of making payments to studios in countries across the world. Maybe it's a fear that the studio won't have my own best interests in mind in operating that product. Maybe I've been let down by too many titles that were developed overseas but never made the transition to my home shores.

Does a studio's home country or region impact your faith in an MMO? A reminder: Let's keep the discussion free of nation-bashing, please!

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!

27 million people watched League of Legends' world finals

Culture, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, MOBA, League of Legends

Riot has posted the viewership numbers from League of Legends' 2014 world championship, and they're pretty impressive. That said, the total unique viewer count for the finals (27 million) dipped by five million from the 2013. Riot says that this year's viewers tended to watch for longer periods of time for an average of 67 minutes as opposed to 42 minutes the previous year.

You can soak up the rest of the numbers at Riot's official website.

The Mog Log: The two-way community street in Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Culture, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

It's not one-sided.  So few things are.
If there's one thing that hit me after the live letter this weekend, it's that the Final Fantasy XIV community is kind of a mess.

I've been working around this game since before it launched, and there have always been weird issues going on with the way the community has worked. Part of this is because the game's community has a weird sort of isolationist streak, as if the online installments of this particular series are the only online games in existence, but part of this is also a matter of dealing with a community team that reports to bosses who aren't speaking the same language as the US playerbase.

Community management is a two-way street, and this weekend's antics served to remind me of how many elements of this really need to be addressed. So let's talk about how both the players and the community team can improve our overall culture from both sides.

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Lost Continent: Why so impatient with ArcheAge?

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Lost Continent

It's kinda silly, but I feel like giving up on ArcheAge. It's silly because the game launched in mid-September and we're currently in November. The fantasy sandpark does have more than it's share of problems, but logically I know that it's way, way too early to start piling dirt on its imaginary corpse.

That said, there are so many MMOs clamoring for my attention nowadays that the idea of being patient with one of them is almost laughable. I'm not alone here, either, as many gamers I know look for the first available reason to leave an MMO and cross it off their to-do list, simply because they're wired to complete tasks and the ginormous glut of games long ago passed the point of overwhelming.

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