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For science! The relationship between shyness and online game friendships

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

It's a common stereotype that shy people flock to the internet to socialize without fear of rejection. But is it true?

German researchers from the University of Münster have tackled that question. In a paper published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking this past summer, the scientists sought to determine the relationship between online video games and friendship. They surveyed German video game enthusiasts to measure their involvement with online games, their web of friendships online and off, and their emotional sensitivity -- a behavioral marker for shyness.

After controlling for confounders like age and gender, they found that those subjects with high emotional sensitivity reported more online friends than offline when compared to those with low emotional sensitivity. High emotional sensitivity also correlated with online friendships that transformed into offline friendships.

In other words, the shier you are, the more likely you are to make more of your friends in cyberspace than meatspace, at least if you're a self-identified gamer. As Gamasutra put it, "emotionally sensitive users are using the online gaming environment differently from their counterparts. As they are shy in face-to-face interactions which translated to fewer friends, but they were able to make more friends through online videogames which its affordances (i.e., asynchronicity, visual anonymity, etc.) paved a way for them to compensate or overcome their shyness."

The full paper is behind an academic paywall, but the Gamasutra summary is worth a read.

Lost Continent: It's getting harder to like ArcheAge

Fantasy, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Lost Continent

ArcheAge fandom is hard. It was initially hard because of the waiting. Consider that we've known of the game's existence since 2010 and that some of us have been playing it in various incarnations since 2011, which is a full three years -- and dozens of gameplay changes -- prior to its official North American launch.

Now that we're past said launch, the difficulty has shifted to watching Trion (or is it XLGAMES?) do its best to destroy a promising title via a series of clownshoes decisions.

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The Think Tank: Did Star Wars Galaxies' NGE poison the MMO development well?

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

Sad Stormtrooper
The MMO community's favorite hyperbole must surely be "that's such-and-such-a-game's NGE." Star Wars: The Old Republic redoes talent trees? SWTOR's NGE! Guild Wars 2 revamps its noob game? GW2's NGE! World of Warcraft adds a panda race? WoW's NGE!

This bugs me for several reasons. It distorts and devalues the very real impact the NGE had on Star Wars Galaxies, which if nothing else is annoying from a historical perspective. The NGE was a lot more than a talent tree revamp or goofy race, and it also changed over time. But more importantly, lazy use of the term might make MMO developers change-averse, even when changes are desperately needed.

Do people overuse the term? Has there ever been an MMO trainwreck as big as the NGE? And above all else, did NGE poison the well -- are developers afraid of making sweeping changes, however much they are needed, lest they be unfavorably compared to one of the worst disasters in MMO history? These are the questions I asked the Massively team in today's Think Tank.

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The Division's PC experience won't suffer because of consoles

Video, Culture, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

Ubisoft Massive says that PC gamers looking forward to its Division shooter won't be sacrificing any presentation quality because of their console counterparts. "Obviously we want to make a game that looks the best it can on its respective format, so Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC," Massive's Martin Hulberg told Open World Games.

"We address every console, every platform as its own version, so we try to stay away from the thing where you go for the least common denominator and everybody suffers for it," Hulberg explained.

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The BlizzCon line has already been started by one dedicated player

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, Subscription

Well, you've got to have a hobby.
BlizzCon 2014 starts tomorrow, and if you're already in California for the event, you've got a whole day of ambling about ahead of you. You might think there's no reason to even think about the lines or the waiting that will come around tomorrow. But you'd be wrong: There is already a line to get into the convention that starts tomorrow, a line started by one dedicated fan waiting patiently at the front gate.

Massively's sister site WoW Insider reports that the fan is Brendan "Tibs" Thibodeau, a Navy veteran who has been playing World of Warcraft since 2005 and has racked up 29 level-capped characters with five legendary cloaks among them. Tibs has attended six BlizzCons and been at the front of the line for four of those, due in no small part to the dedication necessary to get in line a day before most people even think about queueing up. At last update, however, the second spot in line is still available.

BlizzCon returns to Anaheim during the weekend of November 7th and 8th, 2014! Whether you're anticipating World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion or the latest news from Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm, we aim to have it covered!

The Daily Grind: What fallen MMO would you like to remember today?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

city of heroes
Thanks for coming to the Daily Grind today. My name is Justin, and today I'd like to raise a glass in memory of City of Heroes. It wasn't a perfect MMO by a long stretch, although my therapist says that one day I'll be able to sleep an entire night without suffering night terrors of being lost in an endless warehouse. But it allowed us to create an infinite variety of superheroes both in look and in powers, and I genuinely miss that. Also, the punny names were awesome. Cheers.

What fallen MMO would you like to remember today?

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!

EFF wants to legalize tinkering with shuttered online games

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Legal

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is seeking six exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, one of which may affect your enjoyment of video games and possibly MMOs at some point in the future. In a nutshell, the EFF wants to legalize tinkering with titles which have had their online functions terminated.

"The fair use doctrine enables the manipulation and copying of software code in order to gain access to the ideas and functions embedded within it that are not protected by copyright, including server communication protocols," the EFF says.

Unfortunately for MMO emulator fans, the petition doesn't apply to "persistent world" titles at present.

The Daily Grind: What's the best MMO for a true newbie?

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

As big as the MMO genre is, I bet every single person reading this knows a gamer who doesn't yet play an MMO, and that person, my friends, is a convert waiting to happen!

But how should you proceed? Do you start your coworker on an easily digestible MMO like World of Warcraft? Torture her with a classic like EverQuest? Drag him in through a mobile MMOTCG like Hearthstone? Target her penchant for meticulous spreadsheets with a sandbox like EVE Online? Or just make your buddy play whatever you're playing so you can be the guide and the glue that keeps him playing?

What would you pick -- what's the best MMO to introduce a true newbie to the genre?

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 an MMO jerk?

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

I've been doing some auto-fishing in ArcheAge recently, and not an hour goes by without a passing player trying to bump my avatar and disrupt his casting motion. On the one hand it's kind of funny since I'm not AFK and thus am able to immediately continue fishing. On the other hand, I have to wonder about people who go out of their way to screw with someone, especially when there's no benefit to the screwer and there's -- at worst -- a minor inconvenience for the screwee.

What say you, Massively readers, are you a jerk in MMOs that allow jerkish behavior?

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!

A dragon hourglass commemorates Guild Wars 2's Echoes of the Past

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

We aren't sure why the skeleton is there. He just kind of showed up, and it would have been awkward to ask him to leave.
In advance of the next chapter of Guild Wars 2's living world story, Echoes of the Past, ArenaNet sent us a totally rad hourglass with dragons on it. While this thoughtful gesture may seem straightforward, there's a mystery afoot: A few days earlier, we had received a box that contained a shattered hourglass, as well as a very heavy marble base inscribed with a quote from the Pale Tree: "I've known since the moment we heard the roar."

Is it a coincidence that the coda of the Echoes of the Past trailer shows an hourglass shattering? Was this perhaps some kind of warning? Is the hourglass a time-traveling device that warped reality, allowing the present and past versions of the item to co-exist? Or was it just the tragic natural consequence of a five-pound marble base versus a delicate glass item in the same box? Whatever it is, we've been using the hourglass to count down the minutes until GW2's story starts again on November 4th. As of this writing, we've turned it over 4,329 times.

One Shots: Jolly pumpkins

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, City of Heroes, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, The Secret World, Humor, Miscellaneous

Halloween may be over, but its spirit remains alive in MMOs! Alive, that is, as long as there are spooky locales to explore and a population that's more than willing to dress up in costume and face down the terrors that slip between the shadows.

Our friend David here may be taking Halloween at face value in World of Warcraft, but can you really blame him? He and his demonic minion look to be having a heck of a time. Plus, there's a whole-hearted embrace of a pumpkin motif that will be all but extict come December. Enjoy it while it lasts!

The rest of this week's player-submitted screenshots may not be creepy in the least, but they do all share the same jolly attitude that exists in this moment. In a world that brought back One Shots, really anything is possible!

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The Daily Grind: Should all MMOs have a sidekick system?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

One of the best features of RIFT's recent Nightmare Tide expansion is, in my opinion, the sidekicking system. For a while now, the game's allowed you to artifically "mentor" down to a level, but with the expansion you can now artificially sidekick up to quest, run dungeons, or fight rifts with friends. After trying this out to my delight the other night and remembering how much I liked it in City of Heroes, I have to really wonder why more level-based MMOs don't include such a system.

Do you think this should be a standard feature? To me, it seems to solve so many problems when it comes to level-heavy games that separate friends from each other. Instead, sidekicking allows for people to play together whenever they want while still preserving the progression that comes with leveling and XP. What do you think?

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!

Massively's MMO guide to Halloween 2014

Horror, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

MMORPG fans love to play dress-up. Admit it! We do it every day with our characters, even if we pretend we're just "checking out our stats" when we're rifling through the hundreds of pieces of cosmetic gear in our banks. That's what makes Halloween our magic holiday!

Following what is now epic tradition, we've rounded up all the big MMORPG Halloween events and sales for 2014 as well as a few little ones and some from our favorite MOBAs and OARPGs too. The list isn't exhaustive, so feel free to chime in with any we've missed that you love!

Now, furbish up your pumpkin heads and get in there. That virtual candy isn't gonna eat itself.

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The Daily Grind: Do you defend your favorite MMO?

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online

I think I'm getting old, because there was a time when I'd wade into a forum discussion about my favorite MMO and defend it to the death against all comers. I still catch myself doing that on occasion, but said occasions are getting rarer. The passion hasn't gone anywhere, but I'd rather just go play it than argue about it, you know?

What about you, Massively readers? Do you defend your favorite MMOs?

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: Wrongs and rights

EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Trove

So often, bloggers are struggling to succinctly answer the same question in a variety of formats: What is right with this game and what is wrong with it? It gets complicated fast when biases, comparisons, and general drama enters into it, although I wouldn't have it any other way. MMOs should be filtered through our various viewpoints to gain broader understanding and (hopefully) provide better feedback.

This week in our journey around the blogosphere, we'll take a second look at Trove, see where ArcheAge messed up, and attempt to understand why PvP sandboxes will wither and die if they're not welcoming to carebears. What's wrong? What's right? That's up to them -- and you -- to decide!

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