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Turbine: Raiders make up the smallest player group in LotRO

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Lore, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

If you've wondered why Turbine has decided to forgo developing new raids for Lord of the Rings Online (at least for the time being), it all comes down to numbers. According to CM Rick Heaton, raiders make up the smallest portion of the playerbase even if they are quite vocal on the forums:
Raiders comprise the smallest, by far, group in our game. PvMP players are far larger and even they are small. in fact together the two groups wouldn't comprise 10% of the total player base and never have (this is important. it's not a new thing, it's a long standing historical fact).

Forum posters comprise a slightly larger group than the combined group of PvMP and Raiders. However, Raiders and PvMP players make up the overwhelming majority of forum posters (More than half. Though raiders are the smaller group of the two (PvMP/Raiders)). So you have a tiny group, inside a small group that is grossly disproportionately represented on the forums.
[Thanks to Dan for the tip!]

SMITE announces world championships for 2015

Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA

Because what we really need in gaming is more chest-pounding machismo.
Are you the best SMITE player in the world? Are you sure about that? If so, maybe you should go ahead and take part in the SMITE World Championships. The company has just announced that the championship tournament will take place January 9th to 11th, 2015, along with qualifier dates for North America and Europe, all of which can be found just past the break.

Players will be competing for a grand prize of $600,000, a pool which is expected to grow over the next half-year in the lead-in to the event. You can check out the official e-sports site for the game to find out how to register your team and try to make it into the big leagues, or just check out the trailer below. Maybe you just like to spectate, after all. It's cool.

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No girls allowed in IeSF-sanctioned Hearthstone tourney

Fantasy, Culture, Hearthstone

If you're female and you're interested in competing in a Finnish Hearthstone tournament called the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier, you're currently out of luck.

PCGamer reports that the IeSF, a global e-sports organization headquartered in South Korea, stipulates male-only participants "in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-sports as legitimate sports."

Assembly Summer 2014 administrator Markus Koskivirta says that the event's other tourneys are open to all genders. "We would also like to point out that the Finnish eSports Federation is currently lobbying for the equal rights of male and female players in the IeSF tournaments," he said.

[Commenters have pointed out that women are barred from four games in this tournament, including Hearthstone and Dota, while male players are barred from two, including Tekken Tag, in the IeSF's attempt to create gendered brackets for e-sports. Both genders can compete in StarCraft II, but only in gender-segregated divisions. Thanks to CrowingOne especially for the extra details.]

The Daily Grind: Should there be a statute of limitations on dev statements?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Like elephants, gamers have wrinkled, grey hides and freely poop all over the savannah. Oh! And like elephants, gamers never forget. They especially never forget anything a developer has said in the past if it ended up being contradicted by the studio or a prelude to a momentous mistake.

I've been guilty of slingshotting these statements back to the point of origin from time to time, and judging by our comments section, there are quite a few of you who get a special thrill out of being able to bludgeon devs with their own words. But lately I've been wondering if there should be a point where we, y'know, just let these quotes go. Time moves on, situations change, and devs are as fallible as the rest of us. Should there be a statute of limitations on dev statements, and if so, how long should that be?

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!

Siege Online gets new expansion, does not take itself too seriously

Fantasy, Historical, Video, Culture, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Patches, PvP, News Items, Humor, Miscellaneous

Siege Online
Ever heard of Siege Online? Neither had we, but we're suckers for "medieval" combat MMOs with hot air balloons, teepees, Moai statues, stone pyramids, and dune buggies, never mind totally anachronistic and anatopistic things like running water. Today, this crazy cat of a game has a new expansion.

Developed by Russian studio Quant Games and published by Mousee Games, Siege Online boasts a tactical battlefield combat system, castle construction, a functional economy, guilds, and PvP zones. The update, dubbed The New Edge, improves some graphical landscaping, adds a newbie tutorial, includes special mounts, adjusts starting zone difficulty, and simplifies building modes.

We've tucked the game's original trailer behind the break. Enjoy!

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League of Legends public chat rooms disabled by Riot

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

Life Hack: Just give up.
What's the fastest and easiest way to deal with the problems in League of Legends chat channels? Apparently, just shutting them down completely. Riot Games has removed several of the public chat rooms until the company finds a way to turn them into something "useful and accessible." The company is aware that there are great communities in the game, but it's too easy for toxic individuals to mask that.

Not only were the public chat channels problematic, but even the private channels lacked effective moderation tools outside of an ignore button. The development team is starting over from a new foundation, hoping to make the chat rooms a place to hang out with friends and more easily organize matches instead of being... well, what they were before. Feedback is welcome, so chime in on the official forums if you know what you want to see when the chats finally return.

SOE Live schedule has been posted

EverQuest II, Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, Landmark

It's happening at times!
Today's the last day for SOE Live 2014 early bird registration. Still on the fence about attending? Not sure if there will be enough awesome events there to justify your presence? Good news, then; the official schedule has been posted, so you can figure out exactly what's going down and when. Fan site EQ2Wire has highlighted the general events as well as the material specific to EverQuest Next, EverQuest II, and Landmark.

Landmark players will enjoy the largest number of events, including a special mega-build event on Thursday and a panel explaining how the game will interact with EverQuest Next. There will also be details about the next EverQuest II expansion, previews of combat for EQN and Landmark, and plenty of community Q&A sessions. Take a gander at the full schedule if you need a little more information to justify your attendance.

Guild Wars 2 composer talks live orchestras and season two sounds

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Music, Buy-to-Play

If you're into MMO music, Guild Wars 2, or both, you'll want to have a look at the latest ArenaNet video that goes behind the scenes on the music production for season two of the game's "living world." The clip is hosted by composer Maclaine Diemer, who explains how working with a live orchestra enhances both the music and the gameplay experience.

"When you hear live music while you're playing, you feel it on a much more visceral level," Diemer says. "What we recorded matches the aesthetic already set in Guild Wars 2, and I also think that it stands on its own as something unique and fresh."

Click past the cut to watch the vid.

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One Shots: Regrets, I've had a few

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Anarchy Online, Culture, Warhammer Online, One Shots, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

Staring at a sunset is a perfectly legitimate time to look back at one's day (and one's life) to muse upon victories won and defeats suffered. The regrets are then cast upon the sinking sun to be taken into the void of yesterday. Tomorrow? Tomorrow is a clean slate of possibilities.

Reader Dynatos submitted this warm and fuzzy Final Fantasy XIV picture. "Here's another sunset, this time in Thanalan with my tanky Carbuncle. I kinda miss him after he was replaced."

Regrets? We've all had a few. And if you don't read the rest of this column, you will regret it. That's friendly advice, not a threat.

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The Daily Grind: Are you still playing TERA?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

You know what's one MMO that I haven't heard much about lately? TERA. I guess it's doing fine following its free-to-play switch, but it seems like there's been zero chatter about it in the comments or on blogs, so I'm wondering if anyone's still playing it.

Are you? Maybe you are still playing and enjoying TERA. Maybe you have good things to share about the new Reaper class. If so, pipe up for this game today! Why are you playing it and why should others check it out?

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!

Captain's Log: A year of Star Trek Online: Legacy of Romulus

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

I don't know how Remans got to be so popular when no one actually liked Nemesis, but that's where we are.
The first expansion to Star Trek Online was the expansion everyone expected and yet one that no one really expected. Romulans were the obvious choice, the big gap in the game's factional lineup, the third major power that had been floating around in the darkness like some vast, predatory bird since the original series. But the idea of seeing a new faction after the Klingons had languished for so long seemed like a pipe dream. When it actually happened, I know I was sort of left just staring and disbelieving.

Of course, now we've had the Romulan Republic as a playable sort-of-faction for a year now, and that prompts all sorts of reactions. In many ways, this expansion is better than we could have hoped for, and in other ways it feels as if it kind of falls short. I come here not to praise or to bury Legacy of Romulus but to look at it a year out from launch and perhaps see what lessons could be gleaned for the expansion we're due to receive late this year.

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Ask Massively: Misconceptions about game criticism, free-to-play, and lazy scrubs

Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

I like this vision of Anatoli and his rifle protecting our comment section from trolls.
In previous editions of Ask Massively, we've covered misconceptions about new, old, and sunsetted MMOs as well as misconceptions about jerk players, Kickstarters, and untrustworthy studios. Let's tackle a few more this week: who gets to dish out criticism, what F2P portends for a game, and which MMO generation really has the most lazy scrubs (answer: all of them).

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The Think Tank: Happy birthday, Star Wars Galaxies

Sci-Fi, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Anniversaries, The Think Tank

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the launch of Star Wars Galaxies, an MMO whose untimely sunset at the end of 2011 continues to make sandbox fans sigh mournfully. This week, in honor of the anniversary, I asked the Massively writers whether they think we'll ever see another new Star Wars MMORPG (other than those we still have, of course), let alone another epic Star Wars sandbox. It's time to speculate!

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The Daily Grind: Does your guild stay together between MMOs?

Culture, Events (Real-World), Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

I can't remember the exact moment that my MMO guildies collectively realized, hey, we are pretty good friends and we like each other enough to play other games together so maybe let's do that, but that's more or less what happened. After a few years of trying to figure out our place in the MMO world, we settled down into a pattern: The same core folks migrate to new and old games together and check them out as a cohesive unit. This year has been a bit different, though, as the big releases haven't enticed enough of us or have made it so difficult for our international group to play on the same server that it's not been worth the trouble.

What about you folks -- does your guild stick together from MMO to MMO? Or do you join a new guild for a fresh game?

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 Soapbox: This is how reviews actually work

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Soapbox

Welcome back to the Soapbox, folks. Actually, let's call this a mini-Soapbox, since it's just a wee thing compared to some of the walls-of-text we've previously published in this space. Anyhow, let's talk about reviews, bias, and subjectivity. Whether it be film criticism, concert recaps, book reviews, or game reviews, there's an illogical expectation out there regarding "unbiased" work and -- to directly quote a recent Massively commenter -- "correct and honest" reviews.

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