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Culture

Global Chat: Blaugust triumphant

World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Humor, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Elite: Dangerous

blaugust
Last month, Tales of the Aggronaut issued a community-wide challenge for MMO bloggers to commit to posting (at least) once a day for all 31 days. This challenge was called Blaugust, and it caused a tidal wave of additional posts, top 10 lists, and random cat pictures as writers struggled to keep up with the rate of output.

While not everyone who signed up succeeded in sticking out the entire month, it certainly injected some life into summer doldrums and got people talking. The 2014 Blaugust Wrap-up does a great job giving an overview of the challenge and a list of all of the blogs involved. If you're looking for outspoken opinions put forth at a prodigious rate, I'd suggest checking these out.

Speaking of outspoken opinions, we've also got plenty of them in the form of the most interesting posts from the past two weeks! Global Chat... away!

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Raptr shows MMOs and MOBAs dominating the top 20 in August

Culture, MMO Industry, Miscellaneous

raptr
Raptr's tracking of play choices among the service's gamers in August paints a picture of a wide love for MMOs and MOBAs. World of Warcraft holds a respectable #2 spot, followed by Final Fantasy XIV (#10), Warframe (#11), Guild Wars 2 (#12), Star Wars: The Old Republic (#14), and Firefall (#20). However, former Raptr #6 holder, WildStar, has dropped out of Raptr's top 20 entirely.

"With a late July release, Firefall made a 40-spot jump into the top 20 for August. Not too surprisingly, Firefall is converting more players from fellow F2P shooter Warframe than any other game, with Dota 2 coming in second," Raptr posted.

Other online titles fleshed out the list, such as League of Legends (#1), Dota 2 (#3), SMITE (#5), and World of Tanks (#13). Card battler Hearthstone is still hanging onto the top 10 at #8.

Farewell to Rusty Hearts

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Sunsets

Rusty Hearts
Back in August, Perfect World Entertainment announced that it planned to shut down story-driven action MMO Rusty Hearts come mid-September, and that date has now come and gone. Last night was the game's final evening, and players gathered to say farewell without much fanfare from PWE, which has not yet updated the website or forums to indicate that the game is now closed.

One forum-goer was kind enough to provide screenshots of the game's last 10 minutes, which another poster said featured "more people than the average population of the servers these days."

Farewell to you, Rusty Hearts.

[Thanks, Fakepants.]

Hearthstone boasts 20 million registered players

Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Casual, Miscellaneous, Hearthstone

Ironically, this would be far better than Warcraft is doing lately.
Does it ever seem like there's an endless flow of players in Hearthstone? There's not. But there are quite a lot of players, with Blizzard Entertainment announcing today that the game has broken 20 million registered accounts. If those were all people with real cards, that would be... a lot of cards. Like, at least a dozen.

The game launched on the iPad in April and is aiming at an Android tablet release in the near future, as well as expanding to iOS/Android phones. Hearthstone will also have its first world championship at Blizzcon this year, with contestants fighting for a $250,000 prize pool.

[Source: Blizzard Entertainment press release]

Captain's Log Supplemental: A look at Star Trek Online's history with lead designer Al Rivera

Sci-Fi, Culture, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Subscription

You can amost hear the cries for coffee now.
Star Trek Online is a game that's got some history, not just by virtue of the franchise that's been running for half of forever but because the game itself has a rather madcap development history. Cryptic Studios got the license to develop the game at the eleventh hour, and the caveat was that the game needed to be shipped in the same timeframe as the original developer had promised -- leaving almost no time for development.

I sat down and talked with lead designer Al Rivera about the game's history, its development ethos, and where the game is going with the upcoming release of the second expansion, Delta Rising. It's been a long process, but Rivera shed some light on how the game is designed by its modern team, why things launched the way they did, and what players can expect as the game continues toward its five-year anniversary.

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One Shots: Avian servitude

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, Humor, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Miscellaneous, WildStar

rift
Birds? I don't hate them, but I don't trust them either. Anything that can travel passportless with impunity is something to be wary of, especially if it has access to flight without clearing it with the FAA. And ever since the bird flu scare, I'm quite sure that our feathered "friends" are out to eradicate our entire race.

That said, I'm happy for reader Bill because he's finally putting birds where they belong: under us in full service of their land-masters. "Luck has found me again on RIFT patch day when this 'Lovely Budgie" popped out of a box. I can't help but think there is evil hidden beneath pink feathers and those big black eyes!" Bill wrote.

Oh, but there is evil, Bill. No doubt about it. Hopefully the rest of this week's player-submitted screenshots will not reek of foul intent the way that this cute birdie does.

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The Daily Grind: Are you playing RIFT?

Fantasy, Culture, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, RIFT

RIFT
RIFT's upcoming expansion, Nightmare Tide, got me really amped to get back into the game after I previewed it at PAX Prime. I've always had a soft spot for this game, loving its ease of use, multiple content paths, and flexible mix-and-match class system. I've almost never quit under duress, which has made returning pretty simple every time.

Are you playing RIFT right now? Have you been playing it for a good long while or did you come back as I have, for next month's expansion? For a bonus discussion topic this morning, what do you like about this 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!

The Think Tank: Consoles and the future of MMOs

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

Destiny might not be a pure MMO, but its huge launch on the fringes of the MMO space this week has prompted us to ponder whether the future of core MMOs lies in the console market. In this week's Think Tank, I polled the Massively writers about just that.

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ArenaNet responds to Guild Wars 2 feature pack complaints

Fantasy, Culture, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

This is an allegory.
The second feature pack for Guild Wars 2 has received a somewhat cooler reception than the first one; the changes to leveling and unlocking abilities, for example, have irritated several players rolling up new characters in a stable of alts. Director Colin Johanson recently took the opportunity to address player feedback on the game's official forums, starting by noting that both bugs and misinformation are known issues that are being fixed as quickly as possible.

Johanson goes on to explain that the changes have been aimed at making the leveling experience feel more rewarding for players at all skill and experience levels, and testing supports the altered model. Despite that, the team is keeping a close eye on feedback and metrics, and if it turns out that the changes are harmful, they can be iterated upon and changed. If you're one of the people less than thrilled with these alterations, it's probably a welcome sign that the director is paying attention.

The Daily Grind: What's your favorite MMO forest?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

ddo
I love me a good forest in an MMO: One that's not too dense, not too annoying to navigate, and not too full of shrieking spiders jumping on me from above. Give me a quiet, gorgeous, lush grove to wander through and I could easily lose myself in the game.

Some of my favorite forests include LotRO's Lothlorien, World of Warcraft's Elwynn Forest, and Dungeons and Dragons Online's King's Forest. Each has its own personality and absolutely beckons to be screenshotted as I softly wander through its flora.

So what is your favorite MMO forest and what do you like about it?

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!

Riot Games kicks off e-sports documentary

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

I guess no eSports player has ever savagely beaten another human being or started a dog-fighting ring.  That's something.
Want to know more about e-sports without all of the "watching e-sports" that it would otherwise entail? That's the purpose behind a new documentary being assembled by Riot Games. Road to Worlds is all about tracking the path of professional League of Legends players as they fight through the championships, culminating in a shot at the top prize at Worlds.

The first episode is available past the cut and runs for about 25 minutes, exploring the origins of several competitive teams and how players first broke into the industry. If you want a deeper look at the culture, or if you're already a big fan of e-sports and want to watch more about them, jump on past the break. The remaining portions of the documentary will be posted later this month, on September 12th and 15th.

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Adopt a Guild Wars 2 developer for WvW this fall

Fantasy, Culture, PvP, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

gw2
With the fall World vs. World tournament coming up in Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet is pushing its team outside of its comfort zones by encouraging guilds to "adopt" a developer for the season.

"We want to fight by your side, experience the ups and downs, have fun and learn together with you how to make a better WvW experience," the studio posted. "We are going to be looking for guilds in different leagues who wish to host a dev. They will participate in your activities and fight for the honor of your world and guild!"

There are, of course, several rules for this sort of thing that boil down to "please don't abuse our devs and make them your slave monkeys." Interested guilds can apply for adoption by sending in a PM to John Corpening.

[Thanks to Zander for the tip!]

ESPN boss: E-sports aren't sports

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items

Sports journalism Death Star ESPN has weighed in on the argument about whether or not e-sports are sports. ESPN president John Skipper, speaking at the recent Code/Media Series: New York conference, was asked to comment on Amazon's $1 billion Twitch deal and associated e-sports programming.

"It's not a sport, it's a competition," Skipper said. "Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly I'm interested in doing real sports." Which is probably why ESPN covers real sports like poker.

Darkfall gives players a day to log in and purchase D.U.E.L.

Fantasy, Darkfall, Culture, News Items

Come back for a day and buy a thing!
What is D.U.E.L.? It's Darkfall Unholy Wars' equivalent to EVE Online's PLEX, a way to extend your subscription to the game while allowing you to trade for in-game currency. And if that's what's kept you away from the game, your inability to pay for your subscription by earning more currency in the game? You're in luck, as the game is offering a special one-day reactivation on September 11th for lapsed subscribers to log in, purchase D.U.E.L., and possibly get back into the game.

Players have expressed some consternation over this decision, arguing that a single day in the middle of the week is an odd time to reinstall, log back in, and try to purchase an item. Official statements by Aventurine staff have clarified that this is only a single flash promotion, and it does not rule out the possibility of other similar promotions in the future.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

Destiny's launch-day roundup

Betas, Sci-Fi, Culture, Events (Real-World), Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Destiny is officially live today around the world. While it may never arrive on the platform most of us MMO players prefer and it's not squarely an MMORPG, we can still cheer the arrival of a worthy mainstream crossover. Welcome to the fringes of our genre!

We've rounded up our Destiny coverage from announcement to launch to celebrate today's official release. Enjoy! (And if you want to see it live, our sister site Joystiq is streaming it right now!)

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