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Culture

Another university is adding League of Legends scholarships

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

Robert Morris University made waves last summer when it announced its intention to add e-sports -- and more specifically, League of Legends scholarships -- to its athletic department.

This week Kentucky's University of Pikeville followed suit when it publicized its offering of "at least 20 scholarships" to LoL players who will be treated like the school's other student-athletes. "There will be practice time and video time when they have to study other teams for upcoming competitions," said the university's new media director Bruce Parsons.

Pathfinder Online's Ryan Dancey on early adopter experience bonuses

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, Endgame, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Subscription, Pathfinder Online, MMORPG

Pathfinder Online
On yesterday's Massively Speaking podcast, Justin and I discussed Pathfinder Online's plans for granting its earliest and most loyal players what seems to be the ultimate character bonus: an experience edge over everyone else, forever. I'll let the Pathfinder Online dev post Hard is Fun! explain verbatim:
Our game uses a unique real-time based XP system. Characters gain XP through the passage of time, not through being logged in. So the characters that are created in the first month will be the characters with the most XP for all time. A special perk will be in effect that backdates XP to the start of Early Enrollment for the first month so no matter when you purchase an account, if you create a character in Month 1, you'll have that maximum XP.
Usually games with offline experience systems also have either a hard cap or a diminishing returns mechanic to avoid the core "sandbox problem" -- that those who get to the sandbox first perpetually have the most power because they claim all the best toys (and so on). But as written, the Pathfinder Online system seems to exacerbate rather than fix that problem by promising "pioneers" more power in the form of permanently more experience.

Suspecting there was more to the plan, we asked Goblinworks' Ryan Scott Dancey to explain just how it plans to balance its concessions to early backers with its presumed desire to attract newbie players in the more distant future. He's done so, in detail, for us today.

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Elite: Dangerous players aim to chart out the whole galaxy

Sci-Fi, Culture, News Items, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous

No space battles for you, son.
Over a thousand players in Elite: Dangerous are already unified by a single mission. It's not warfare; it's not economic dominance; it's exploration. The Great Expedition has brought together a huge number of players to start plotting the whole of the game's 400 billion stars, or at least as much as possible. That means coordinating logistics, figuring out routes, sending out pathfinders, and heading off into the great unknown.

While the eponymous expedition hasn't started quite yet, players are already dipping their toes into the process and figuring out how to handle the sort of extended effort required to chart the game's full galaxy. The group counts among its numbers an ex-NASA scientist and several astrophysicists. While it's taking a little time to get up to speed, there's reason to be excited about what the group might find in the future... and what waits out in the depths of virtual space.

The Daily Grind: Does your WoW garrison feel like home?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Housing

wow
I've been a fascinated outside observer in regard to World of Warcraft's recent expansion and its much-touted garrison feature. I have no doubt that garrisons have filled a lot of purposes and gone all-out on functionality. It's certainly been a powerful carrot for Blizzard to wave in front of players.

But what I've been wondering is whether garrisons are so functional that they forgot to be personal. In other words, do garrisons feel like "home" in-game even if you can't decorate and customize them the way that you can in other MMO housing systems? Has your character finally set down roots or does this feel like just another mission hub?

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: The 2014 MMO blogosphere in review

Culture, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous

wildstar
The end of the year is a traditional time of reflection, especially among writers and gamers who want to put a pretty bow on progress and journeys made before the next chapter is explored. So it is with bloggers, as practically everyone is using the last days of 2014 to look back at the year and its MMOs.

So today we'll be going on a trip to see what the blogging community members thought of this year, what they did in it, and whether their January 2014 predictions came true. My summary of each article will be shorter than usual simply because there are so many of them!

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The Daily Grind: Does your MMO guild use social networking tools?

Culture, Guilds, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

zergid
The apparent popularity of ZergID, the most recent social network and online gathering spot for MMO players and guilds, made me wonder just how many gamers actively use these types of tools. I can remember them at least as far back as the early 2000s, when ezBoard was king (remember ezBoard?!). More modern versions, like Enjin, expanded on the message board format to include profiles and calendars and even DKP.

But my guild has shied away from most such tools. We've always had a custom-built website with our own tools, some purchased software and some handcrafted just for us. I wouldn't want to risk losing data on another network, and truthfully, most of my guild's communication is done through other outlets anyway, like Steam, voice chat, and text-based chat channels.

What about you folks? Do you use ZergID, Enjin, or other sites to organize or track your friends and guildmates online?

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!

Guild Wars 2 hosts a Wintersday twitter contest this week

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

If you still have this up in your house, congratulations!  You're now officially lazy as hell.
The holiday season is over. It's over. We're done. But you could still win some stuff from Guild Wars 2 if you're willing to slap some stencils up on your window. The team behind the game is hosting a Twitter-based contest this week, starting today and running until January 9th, with one lucky winner each day receiving a Griffon Mail Carrier.

How can you win? Put some Guild Wars 2-themed stencils up on your window of choice, take a picture, and tweet it to the main Twitter account for the game this week with the hashtags #GW2 and #Wintersday. For those not feeling terribly creative, there are pre-made stencils available to fulfill the requirements. Sure, maybe you're happy to have the holiday decorations taken down, but if you want that mail carrier, you'll get to it. There's still time to enter the other Wintersday contests as well, although those are a little more elaborate; you can read the full details on the contests page.

RuneScape player raises over $1200 for a pizza delivery tip

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser

Hey, good news is good news.
Charlie McCormick wasn't having a particularly good holiday season. For starters, he was a pizza delivery driver, which isn't a grand ball of fun at any point of the year. His mother had also recently passed away after a prolonged illness, meaning that even if he had somehow felt festive, there wasn't money to be festive with. At least, not until he made a delivery to Joey DeGrandis and was given a $1,230 tip for his service.

DeGrandis is an avid RuneScape streamer who wanted to do something nice for a deserving delivery driver, as he feels the job isn't particularly respected for its hard work. Over the course of an 18-hour streaming marathon, his viewers raised the money for McCormick's tip while DeGrandis played, with more donations coming in even after McCormick got his initial tip. Sure, it plays into the stereotype that MMO players all sit at home and eat delivered pizza constantly, but if that stereotype includes being exceptionally charitable tippers, we can probably live with it.

One Shots: Shadow play

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Culture, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, The Elder Scrolls Online

eso
Welcome to a new year -- and the best year of One Shots you'll ever see. I know this because I've been to the future (December 31st, 2015) and spent those precious time-bending moments flipping through all of the One Shots column this year. Amazing stuff, people. Really well done.

Well, we might as well get started with your glorious photo journeys! Our very first pic of the year is from reader Becca, who sends us this groovy bit of shadow play in Elder Scrolls Online: "While waiting for a boss to spawn in a public dungeon, my friend Arkslan and my character Rozyn had some fun with lighting."

Great. Now I know what will be lurking under my bed tonight: a sing-songy bard. Terror knows no name, but it does sing harmony.

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One Shots: Midnight sun

Screenshots, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

eso
Reader Sid is out for a midnight fishing expedition in this ArcheAge screenshot, and I have to envy him of the breathtaking view. Although, why not fish during the day? Less kraken that way, my granny always said.

So this wraps up our two-week series of daily One Shots! Tomorrow we'll be back to normal with the weekly column. I hope you got inspired to send in your own screenshots and stories to oneshots@massively.com, because I'd love to feature them!

Want to be featured in a future edition of One Shots? Send your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, and don't forget to include your name, the name of the game, and a description of the scene. Large, colorful, UI-free shots that tell a story and really show off the game make for the best images. Look ma, we brought back One Shots!

The Daily Grind: What would you like Massively to cover in 2015?

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

gw2
Ahh, did you get a whiff of that new year smell? Mmm. Wish I could bottle that up. There's so much to do, so many lands to visit, and so many virtual boars to kill for their valuable livers.

Since it's still early in 2015, I'll toss out an interesting question for our readership: What do you want Massively to cover this year? Is there a game, a topic, or a focus that you'd love to see get some extra attention? Do you have the most awesome idea ever for an article? Hit us up in the comments below!

As a post-script, don't forget that you can always contribute to the site by sending in news tips, podcast emails, or One Shots submissons!

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!

One Shots: Pumpkin rider

Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous

lotro
What better way to usher in the new year than to take a look back at Halloween? OK, so I'm still catching up on all of the terrific player-submitted screenshots in our email, but we're getting closer than ever! In any case, I would not want to let this gourd-headed hero go unnoticed.

Reader JohnD is the man behind the mask: "Here is Frani, my level 29 Hunter celebrating the Harvest Festival in Lord of the Rings Online. She got the mount, clothes, and pumpkin mask all this season. Fun time was had by all."

Want to be featured in a future edition of One Shots? Send your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, and don't forget to include your name, the name of the game, and a description of the scene. Large, colorful, UI-free shots that tell a story and really show off the game make for the best images. Look ma, we brought back One Shots!

The Think Tank: One MMO wish for 2015

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

Bonus points if you know what game this is from
Every year when we roll out our prediction articles with anything negative (because of course something negative is likely to happen in this industry over the span of a year), a commenter invariably accuses us of wishing for the negative thing to occur. It just ain't so. Predictions aren't wishes. In many cases, we're hoping to be wrong about our suspicions and hunches and dread. We're crossing our fingers that the wind turns and statistical likelihoods are flukily wrong. Can't bet the ranch on hopes and dreams.

But wishes can be fun too. That's what we're doing in this first Think Tank of the new year. This, my friends, is what wishes look like.

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One Shots: Water-walker

Screenshots, Culture, One Shots, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous

blade and soul
What MMOs will be releasing this year in the west? It's hard to say, exactly, although there are those who hold out hope that Blade & Soul might finally make the leap to the Americas and Europe. If pictures like this are any indication, we are missing out.

"I've recently stepped back into the game with the Chinese release and while I'm not very far along into the game (it's a little tough when I don't understand the language!) I'm completely in love with the art style and combat mechanics," reader Dynatos said. "I don't usually go the cute fluffy look, but I wanted to create a Summoner character to play with the mechanics of the class. Here he is gliding gracefully through the air after learning the first Qing Gong. Next up -- running on water!"

Want to be featured in a future edition of One Shots? Send your favorite MMO screenshots to oneshots@massively.com, and don't forget to include your name, the name of the game, and a description of the scene. Large, colorful, UI-free shots that tell a story and really show off the game make for the best images. Look ma, we brought back One Shots!

The Daily Grind: Where are all the mobile MMOs?

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

So here we are in 2015, several years after the mobile rush that was going to lay waste to all genres everywhere. Everyone's going to mobile! they all said. Desktops are doomed! Angry Birds is the future! Flee your traditional gaming studios; all the money is on phones and tablets! Some of us bemoaned a future in which our favorite MMORPG platform might be supplanted by tiny screens that fit into our jeans' butt pockets. Others embraced the idea of being able to escape to an MMORPG paradise while stuck on grimy public transport. And then...

Well, nothing. Pocket Legends and its spinoffs were a thing, true. There was Vendetta Online and Chaos Heroes and Order and Chaos Online, the last of which even had a subscription for a while. A lot of MMORPGs promised mobile integration, at the very least, though most of them haven't yet delivered. But most of the MMORPGs that actually work on mobile are small in either population or scope. They're not really what MMORPG fans would call a core or AAA MMORPG. We're mostly offered online ARPG, TCG, MOBA, ARG, and RTS titles.

All of this led our former mobile columnist to declare a year ago that mobile MMOs were at a standstill in the West. So what happened? Is it technically impossible or financial infeasible to run a "real" MMORPG on mobile? Is PC elitism partly to blame? Is the revolution yet to come? Where are all the mobile MMOs? Because I kinda want one.

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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