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Culture

One Shots: Female fashion show

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Vindictus, Miscellaneous, Firefall

firefall
Every once in a while I issue a screenshot challenge that lights a fire under the community here, and my call to show off female armor that wasn't chainmail bikinis did exactly that. So today we're going to have a fashion show, starting with Ralph the Wonder Llama!

"If battleframes were cars, I think recon battleframes would be the hot little sports coupes of the Firefall universe," Mr. Llama writes. "Here my ARES pilot shows off the sleek, bold lines of the Raptor battleframe as she gazes down upon Sunken Harbor. It gets good gas mileage too: sporty, fun to drive, and economical!"

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Shroud of the Avatar unleashes a community update

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar

Enemy mine.
Do you want to venture into a dark mine filled with kobolds? This time it will be different because it will be taking place in Shroud of the Avatar once the game patches Release 13 to a live release. But that's hardly the only point of the game's most recent update for the community, which comes hot on the heels of the game's overall success on Steam's Early Access service.

This most recent update also includes several player-made screenshots and guides as well as the community event schedule running through the weekend for Release 12. A 12-hour telethon is also planned for December 1st, starting at 11:00 a.m. EST; the development team will be live to answer questions and interact with players through the broadcast. Check out the full dispatch here to catch up on community news and get a peek ahead.

The Daily Grind: Is your character religious?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

rift
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like your character's choice of religion (or not) was far more of a feature of pen-and-paper RPGs than in most CRPGs and MMOs. I can't think of many MMOs where you're ever asked to assign a fictional religion or deity to your character, save perhaps for Neverwinter's cosmetic choice and a more beneficial (and optional) selection in EverQuest II. Oh, and I think that some of the Guild Wars 2 races ask you to pick a deity as part of your personal story, so there's that.

But that doesn't mean that your character can't have a deity to worship, if only in your own mind. After all, combat prowess isn't the beginning, middle, and end of character development. Does your character adhere to one of the faiths in the game? Does he or she have a patron saint of the underdark that is prayed to on a regular basis?

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!

Ask Massively: Ridiculing e-sports is bad for MMOs

Culture, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, MOBA, E-sports

LoL
I don't love e-sports. I've never really been a fan. I used to enjoy spectating Guild Wars matches, but only in short bursts. Truth is, I prefer playing in PvP to watching it. I feel that way about real sports too; the ones I like, I'd rather play than watch. (Except tennis. I have no idea why, but I could watch that all day.)

And if the MMORPG community's comments are any judge, I am not alone in my indifference to e-sports. Actually, "indifference" is probably too tame a word; some MMO gamers are outright hostile to e-sports, be those e-sports jammed into proper MMORPGs or waaaaay out on the fringes of the online gamosphere.

That hostile ridicule of e-sports, however, degrades online gaming, our corner of it as much as anyone's.

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Massively's Black Friday MMO sales and deals roundup

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

WoW
Happy Black Friday, everyone! We've been keeping an eye on MMO-related sales and promotional events just for you. Here are a few of the bigguns that might be worth taking advantage of today and through the weekend:
  • Guild Wars 2's digital versions are 50% off through the official website until December 7th.
  • World of Warcraft -- well, the bundle with everything but Warlords of Draenor -- is 75% off through December 2nd.
  • WildStar is on sale for 50% off, so $19.99, for a "limited time" on the official site and at other retailers.
  • ArcheAge has a bunch of marketplace items on sale, along with two new mounts.
  • Today only, SOE is offering double Station Cash, spendable in most of its MMOs.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has hinted that a large (possibly hourly) Cartel Market sale is on the way today.
  • All of Perfect World's MMOs have sales running over the next few days; of note to us are sales in Neverwinter, Champions Online, Swordsman, and Star Trek Online, the last of which is offering not just a cash shop sale but a sale on lifetime subs.
  • Lord of the Rings Online is offering double bonus points in its cash shop and bonus XP in-game.
  • Wargaming has festivities and sales planned for World of Tanks and World of Warplanes.
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online is offering +20% XP through Sunday.
  • RIFT is not only selling the classic collector's editions, character slots, and bag slots at 50% off but making the newest expansion available to buy via credits for the first time.
  • TERA has a slew of cash shop item goodies on sale, including bundles with mounts and character slots.
  • Marvel Heroes' multiple sales extend to Cyber Monday. (Update: MJ tells us that logging in Saturday will grant you a free remote-controlled Blackbird jet pet!)

And don't forget all the MMOs and MMO bundles/DLC on sale on Steam for the fall sale, as well. Elder Scrolls Online and The Secret World are among them!

If you know of others -- and we're sure there are several -- sound off in the comments!

The Daily Grind: Are superhero MMOs doomed to be niche?

Super-hero, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Comics, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Valiance Online
When Valiance Online launched its Kickstarter a few weeks ago, Massively's commenters posed an interesting debate over the viability of the superhero MMO market in general, not just the workability of a genre with three competing City of Heroes spin-offs. Some readers are convinced that the superhero genre is too risky and niche for MMORPGs, noting that the existing superhero MMOs have been more or less solid but small, nowhere near World of Warcraft huge. Fantasy, and to a lesser extent sci-fi, just dominates this scene. (Although we had a moment of hope when Blizzard first revealed Overwatch, it turned out to not really be much of an MMO.)

And yet superheroes are killing it in movie theaters; the comic genre has transcended geek culture to become thoroughly mainstream. There should be a huge audience for such games, and superhero MMOs just plain make sense: They're an ideal setting for fun skills and powers, beating up bad guys, and dressing up in costumes.

So what's the deal? Why haven't we seen a staggeringly huge superhero MMO? Are they in fact too niche after all?

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: Giving thanks for MMOs

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

WoW
Indulge us a little today, won't you? In our Think Tank today, we the Massively writers gather 'round the virtual feasting table on our virtual golden yacht to express thanks for those MMO-related things we're grateful for. Won't you share yours down in the comments also? We can get back to arguing over raidmills and gankboxes tomorrow -- I promise.

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The Daily Grind: Are you gaming on Thanksgiving?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

It's Thanksgiving in the States, which means that no one's manning the Massively yacht! Ahhhhh! Just kidding. It mostly means that I'm eating too much stuffing and mashed potatoes and hopefully gorging myself on some uninterrupted MMO time after dinner.

What about you, Massively readers? If you're celebrating today, will the festivities include any game time?

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!

Bungie's COO thinks Destiny and games like it are hard to review

Sci-Fi, Culture, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Destiny

Bungie continues to hype its Destiny shooter post-launch, with the latest bit of messenging courtesy of COO Pete Parsons and an interview at GamesIndustry.biz.

"The launch of Destiny was the starting line," Parsons says, before going on to explain how Bungie's Destiny operations center "looks like a NASA control room" and how "it's very difficult to sit down for nine hours, 11 hours, and write up a review of game like Destiny."

Parsons takes that notion a step further and asks how similar titles will be reviewed in the future when game journos face "a nearly impossible challenge" due to an inability to experience PvP, the campaign, and endgame activities on a deadline.

Leaderboard: Can you co-exist with players who don't share your preferences?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Leaderboard

Do you ever feel like the MMO genre has gotten too big for its britches? Take Eliot's soapbox series on raiding that we're publishing this week as an example. It's generated an enormous amount of conversation, but when you cut through the noise in the comments, you're left with two (or more) groups of people who can't seem to co-exist.

They don't want the same things out of MMOs, they don't share the same MMO backgrounds or experiences, and in many cases the happiness of one group equals the unhappiness of another.

Some people feel that MMOs should cater to as many different groups as possible, but can they? And should they really? Personally I don't enjoy going to Rush concerts with people who hate progressive rock, nor do I enjoy going to Georgia Tech football games with people who hate football and/or my Yellow Jackets. So why would I want to play MMOs with people who hate sandbox mechanics, crafting, or any of the other genre conventions that I prefer?

What do you think, Leaderboard readers? Can you co-exist with MMO neighbors who don't like what you like? Vote after the cut!

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Hear the Glitch soundtrack in concert

Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Miscellaneous, Music

Whether Glitch was brilliant or not is a debate I am not interested in having.  Ever.  Yes, I heard you, you miss it.  Please do not flood my inbox.
How many of you like to talk about Glitch? Wow, that many? That's great, but please quiet down for right now; there's time to talk in the comments. It's not a question you need to answer out loud. Besides, if you're super enthusiastic about the memory of the game, you have an opportunity to experience a slice of it for yourself in concert.

To celebrate the release of Glitch's soundtrack, a concert is being held on January 24th, 2015, in Toronto. Tickets are $20, and all proceeds go directly to the musicians taking part in the concert. As of this writing, the planned attendance isn't high, but we're pretty sure that will change as more people get wind of the concert.

Can't make it to Canada in the middle of January? The Glitch website still offers free downloads for many of its music tracks.

The Soapbox: Six reasons MMOs should abandon raiding, part 3

Culture, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

Sometimes you just need to cut away the disease.
In parts one and two of this Soapbox miniseries, I tackled four of the reasons the MMO genre should abandon raiding as a central gameplay element, but one key argument has been left out until now: The social aspect of raiding.

Whatever else is true of raiding, it is definitely social. Communities spring up and keep going largely based on that raiding community, to the point that it's easy to assume that everyone in a game's population raids. There are lengthy discussions about raiding, about how to raid, about tips and tricks for clearing raids. The social aspect of raids is what I think has kept them around so long; it's easy for a designer to look at that sort of engagement and see it as vital.

Yet there's more to the story than might be available at a glance, and the social aspect is not without steep costs. Those social elements do not carry the weight of everything else... mostly because they aren't as strong as they appear.

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Turbine's customer support department spreads holiday cheer

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions

The players that the team disliked were mailed images of rats being dropped from the tops of stairwells.
Working customer support for an MMO means that even the best times of your job are still spent dealing with upset players. Sure, the player might recognize that whatever went wrong was just an accident or a bug, but you've still got player issues to manage. It's the sort of work that can make you bitter or cynical, but not so with the customer support team at Turbine Entertainment, which decided to reach out to fans in a slightly happier fashion with holiday cards. Seriously. Real ones.

Players on the Lord of the Rings Online forums have reported receiving physical holiday cards from the game's customer service department with hand-written messages and gift cards for 500 Turbine points inside. The community team has stated that this is exactly what it seems to be: a random gesture of kindness and appreciation for the game's playerbase. That message also reminded players to keep their mailing addresses up to date, as this is unlikely to be the only such event.

[Thanks to Fredelas for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: Does nostalgia impact your gameplay?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

swtor
The MMO industry has been kicking around long enough now that we have ample opportunity to opine about the "good old days" (March 22nd through the 26th, 2003) and get nostalgic about practically everything.

We've got MMO sequels that reference their ancestors. We've got MMOs that have several Easter eggs pointing to their single-player title origins. We've got game designs that are coming back into style after being left out in the cold for many years. We have MMOs that use every marketing trick in the book to get old veterans to come on back for another romp. And we have a plethora of crowdfunded games that rely on plucking that nostalgic nerve to get you to open your wallet.

So in the MMO genre, does nostalgia impact your gameplay at all? If so, how?

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: Gamers Secret Santa

EverQuest II, Culture, Events (Real-World), Dragon Nest, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Neverwinter

rift
One of the yearly traditions in the blogosphere that I always look forward to is Stargrace's Annual Gamers Secret Santa. Currently in its sixth year, Gamers Secret Santa accepts any and all who want to sign up to be a part of a gift exchange. You'll end up sending a gift ($20 maximum) to someone and will receive a gift from another person during the month of December. There's even a digital exchange for more remote locations.

It's always a blast to see what gifts I end up getting (and they are always geeky), and I wanted to encourage others to be a part of this. You'll need to sign up by December 1st if you do, however! It's grown every year, but this year I'm giving a bit of Massively publicity, so let's see if we can make this the biggest year ever!

Another blogger-driven Christmas initiative is Syl's Blogosphere Xmas Countdown, during which she's assigning various blogs a day to write about the theme of positive gaming and community. Keep an eye on MMO Gypsy to see this advent countdown progress!

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