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Culture

One Shots: Nowhere to hide

Screenshots, Age of Conan, Culture, Ultima Online, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

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Generally, I don't like to be pessimistic, but I have to say that things don't look good for reader Brad here. Sooner or later his childish game will fall apart, and when that happens, it will be all teeth and claws and slavering fangs. But at least it's for a good cause, right Brad? Oh, it's just to level up his skills.

"To get your skills up in Ultima Online, you had to use them over and over," Brad explains. "As they got higher, you had to do more difficult things with some skills. This was me trying to up my hiding skill. Lets just say, trying to hide in front of this many Ophidians, was not easy... but I was gaining skill! They could not get to me up here."

Who here feels bad for the Ophidians? Raise your hands please. I thought as much.

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite physical MMO memento?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

I was doing some housecleaning recently and found a box of old game geekery. Most of it was junk since I've gone digital, but there were a couple of odds and ends that I put on the shelf in my office where I keep mementos from titles that made an impression.

In terms of MMO stuff, I found an original Neocron box and a hefty stack of all those EON magazines from EVE Online. What about you, Massively readers? Have you kept or collected any physical MMO-related mementos? Which is your favorite?

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 Game Archaeologist: Perpetual's Star Trek Online

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, Star Trek Online, Legal, The Game Archaeologist

sto
If you're among the legions of Trekkies, then you are almost certainly aware of Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online. Since early 2010, players have boldly gone where no one has gone before in this MMO that blends spaceship battles, ground combat, and faithful tie-ins to the long-running franchise. Star Trek Online appears to be thriving following a free-to-play adaptation and two expansions, and some see it as the only official continuation of the TV series right now.

But what players encounter in Star Trek Online is not what it originally started out as. You may or may not know that STO began development under Perpetual Entertainment, which handled the game for several years until it went bankrupt and passed the license and art assets to Cryptic.

It's another tantalizing historical "what if?" scenario to think about what this game would look like if Perpetual had taken it to launch and beyond. But what did this version of Star Trek Online look like? Let's investigate.

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The Daily Grind: Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

wow
Yeah, we need to sort this out today because it's been bugging me. Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

I mean, I can squint hard and ignore how mounts poof in and out of existence like some sort of incredible magic trick that everyone in these virtual worlds can do. But when they leave, where do they go? Alternate dimension? Shrunk down and stuck inside of your back pocket, where your miniaturized horse can nibble on a carrot that's now the size of its head? Handed to an off-screen assistant who faithfully jogs along just outside of camera range until you need your sweet ride again?

How have you settled this issue internally? I need to know because this is (no pun intended) driving me nuts!

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!

'This is EVE,' and it's pretty slick

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

If you've got even a passing interest in sci-fi sandbox EVE Online, you'll want to take a look at the new trailer just unveiled by developer CCP at today's EVE Down Under player event in Australia.

The clip runs for nearly four minutes and is comprised entirely of in-game footage. It's also underscored by the voice comms of actual EVE players (NSFW!), which CCP has cut together to form a rather scintillating soundtrack that attempts to answer the question "what is EVE."

This is EVE, according to the trailer's title, and you can soak it up just after the cut!

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Raph Koster explains how WoW changed MMOs

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items

There's liable to be a lot of virtual ink spilled over World of Warcraft as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month. You can save yourself some time by just reading famed MMO designer Raph Koster's lengthy and informed analysis, though. He covers a ton of ground, both negative and positive, including WoW's roots in EverQuest and the DikuMUD while also touching on all of the genre features that Blizzard cut in the name of "fun" and accessibility.
Among the things left by the wayside were features that were proven. Gone were the richer pet systems that had driven so much engagement from players in earlier games. Player housing, past and future source of endless devotion (and revenue) in other games, absent. Never mind stuff like towns and politics and the like. Crafting took massive steps backwards from the heights it had been developed into in [Star Wars] Galaxies or even Sims Online, and went back to being more like that in EverQuest. Even the robust character customization that we slaved over in Galaxies, a system which today is in every RPG on earth, was gone.
Koster credits WoW as the true innovator of the quest-led game, but he also points out that the game stifled MMORPG innovation in numerous ways.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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