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Culture

The Daily Grind: Do you have a regular gaming group?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

eq
Some of my best experiences with MMOs have involved regular gaming nights with a set group of friends. These days I only have a Monday night The Secret World excursion to look forward to with my cabal, but it's undoubtedly the highlight of my gaming week.

I have friends who have been playing a Monday night LotRO skirmish group for years now, and they often regale us with tales of idiocy, running jokes, and extremely slow leveling. But the point is more to socialize and have fun than progress, which I can respect.

Do you have a regular gaming group for your MMO? If so, how did you get into it? What exciting adventures have you gone on lately?

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!

Riot Games promises to increase diversity in League of Legends

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

Well, it couldn't be a step down.
League of Legends features a lot of diversity among its male champions, but the female champions all feature a fairly uniform body type. That's something the developers at Riot Games are keen on changing. In response to a fan question at SDCC, producer Omar Kendall said that the company has been introducing new ways of looking at body types and shapes, with the end goal of making female champions who don't look like the others.

Kendall went on to specify that the call for more diversity is one that players should see represented soon in a new character coming out. He also noted that diversity is being strongly considered with further character designs and any new champions. Game designer Brian Feeney noted that it would be a net boon to the game as a whole -- as Riot is very concerned with distinctive silhouettes, a more robust selection of body types makes it easier to tell champions apart.

Firefly Online brings the crew back together (for voices)

Culture, Previews, News Items, Mobile, Miscellaneous

Well, the important thing is that Sean Maher is working.
Despite the name, Firefly Online isn't really an MMO. But it does feature online interactions, and perhaps more importantly, it does feature the original cast together again. If you were hoping to hear Captain Malcolm Reynolds growl at you while you played the game -- and let's face it, odds are almost certain you were -- you can be happy to know that the main cast will be reprising their roles for the first time since the movie.

Alan Tudyk will also be voicing multiple roles, and Michael Fairman will be playing Niska, who is apparently hiring if you're none too worried about your conscience bothering you. The game is set to release in 2015 on multiple platforms.

Massively interviews EVE executive producer Andie Nordgren

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Interviews, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Online title image
If you've been following the development of EVE Online lately, chances are you've heard of Andie 'CCP Seagull' Nordgren and her mission to make deep space colonisation and player-built stargates a reality. Andie has spearheaded the direction of EVE's development over the past few expansions and has gathered a considerable following in the EVE community. At EVE Fanfest 2014, we heard her plans to overhaul EVE's outdated sovereignty and corporation management systems, and to eventually introduce new deep space colonisation gameplay.

Today CCP announced that Andie Nordgren has been promoted to the position of Executive Producer on EVE Online. I caught up with her for a chat about development on EVE and to find out what this promotion means for the future the game. I've pulled together the important details from the interview in this article, and if you still have burning questions for Andie Nordgren, she's doing an AMA thread on Reddit right now!

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The Daily Grind: Do you suck at MMOs?

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

WoW
That's a serious question.

Back in February, our sister site WoW Insider published an editorial called You're bad at WoW, and so am I. Author Olivia Grace argued that no one is perfect at any game, that everyone makes mistakes, and that the worst mistake is not admitting those weaknesses because then you'll just keep on sucking. Reading our comments sometimes, you'd think that everyone reading here is a world-class player who's better at ALL OF THE GAMES than professionals and certainly than the developers, when the reality is most of our readers are probably above-average gamers slacking off at work. Ahem.

Personally, I'm pretty good at the psychological warfare of economic PvP and general PvE dungeon-running, but man, jumping puzzles and platforming -- I'm horrible at these things. What about you? Do you suck at MMOs? I promise I won't laugh at you if you won't laugh at me.

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!

Leaderboard: How much time do you spend customizing avatar outfits?

Sci-Fi, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Leaderboard

OK, I'm spending entirely too much time customizing my avatar outfits in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I originally re-upped my sub in order to polish off my last couple of class stories, but now I've gotten sucked into crafting and, by extension, the substantial outfit collection minigame. Which is bizarre because in meatspace my fashion sense boils down to the first pair of jeans and corresponding t-shirt/sweatshirt that tumbles out of my closet.

What about you, Leaderboard readers? How much time do you spend customizing your MMO avatar outfits? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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'World's biggest LGBT guild' celebrates FFXIV's same-sex marriage

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Members of the Rough Trade Gaming Community, which bills itself as "the world's biggest LGBT guild," staged an Eorzean parade last weekend to celebrate Final Fantasy XIV's decision to reverse its restrictions on same-sex marriage.

You can watch highlights from the event in the 11-minute video after the cut.

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The Daily Grind: How do you handle the wait for an anticipated game?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

lotro
Time is so frustrating, because sometimes you want it to slow down, sometimes you want to reclaim the past, and many times you wish it would speed up so that you could get to the good stuff. It's especially hard for an MMO gamer who is waiting for the arrival of a much-anticipated title.

Therefore, today I'd like us to discuss how we handle the long wait for upcoming MMOs or expansions. Unless you have a time machine that I don't know about, how do you pass the months? Do you eat up all of the information you can on the game and practically live in the forums? Do you do everything in your power to get into the beta? Or do you try to ignore it while immersing yourself in another game for the time being?

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: Doom and WAAAGH!

Culture, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Guild Wars 2, Global Chat, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, WildStar, Neverwinter

war
It's time for our second edition of Global Chat, the column that scours the blogosphere (or blogorama if you prefer) for engaging insights, intelligent essays, and whoopie cushion goofiness. We had a good response to our first column, so I'm glad you all want to hear more about what bloggers are saying regarding MMOs!

In this week's edition, we'll look at Warhammer Online's fatal flaw, adventure through Neverwinter's foundry missions, and speculate on the status of a certain Norrathian sandpark. Remember that it's not all doom and WAAAGH! in this community; it's excitement and cherished outings as well!

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League of Legends unveils A New Dawn cinematic

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

In this cinematic, people hurt each other, with no attempts to connect any of that to a larger theme.
Did you know that a game of League of Legends involves your team fighting another team? It's true! And you can watch a dramatized version of exactly that in the game's latest cinematic trailer, A New Dawn, embedded just past the cut. Spoiler warning: There is blood, people die, and it would all be very dramatic if not for the fact that most of them will respawn in the not-too-distant future.

Want a peek behind the scenes? You can get more than that; Riot Games has also released a full making-of featurette that shows exactly how the newest cinematic went from concept to completion. And you can also check that out past the cut. Consider it the bonus feature.

[Source: Riot Games press release]

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World of Warships on board for Gamescom 2014

Historical, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, Free-to-Play

World of Warships
Fans of Wargaming's selection of multiplayer military games will be happy to hear that the naval battle MMO World of Warships will be available to play during Gamescom 2014 next month. This will be the game's first public debut as a playable demo for anyone in attendance.

Gamescom will be held from August 13 - 17 in Cologne, Germany, and Wargaming aims to go big again this year with game presentations, talk shows, on-stage giveaways, and more on its 720-square-meter stage in Hall 8.

[Source: Wargaming press release]

League of Legends cracks down on more bad seeds

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, MOBA, League of Legends

LoL
Riot Games has announced its next level of enforcement for problematic players in the wildly popular League of Legends. After working toward player reform over the last few years, the studio is now looking at a more aggressive approach.

In cases of "extreme toxicity" (i.e. racism, death threats, homophobic remarks, etc.), troublesome players can expect a more severe penalty ranging from a 14-day ban to a permanent ban from the game. In the case that an "unfair ban" comes into question, Riot says they will now be fully transparent with chat logs and post the exact log that led to the player's ban.

Intentional leavers/AFKers are also a concern for Riot as they plan to address these problems in the future.

APB shames cheaters, talks usage and purchasing stats

Real-Life, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, All Points Bulletin, Dev Diaries

APB Reloaded's latest dev blog post details the implementation of cheat detector FairFight into the MMO shooter. The update also reveals some pretty interesting stats related to cheaters as well as the game's overall performance. "The number of cheaters who log in to the game stayed pretty constant around 1.2 percent of all players (some of which were re-rolls)," wrote GamersFirst's Bjorn Book-Larsson.

Surprisingly, 60 percent of those cheaters were paying players. Book-Larsson says that only about 10 percent of APB's monthly unique players make new purchases in a given month, while 30 percent of players have made a purchase at some point during their account history.

Book-Larsson goes on to say that APB is the 19th most-played game in the history of Steam, just ahead of Borderlands 2 and just behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Finally, GamersFirst has publicized a list of banned cheaters for the month of July, complete with player and clan names and various other account statistics.

Valve scrapped an MMORPG at the dawn of the genre

Video, Culture, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

Prospero
Did you know that Valve was once hard at work on a third-person MMORPG called Prospero? Alas, the studio scrapped the project around 1997 in favor of a little tiny game called Half-Life, which "absorbed" the developers working on the MMO.

Website Valve Time has dipped into the mysterious history of the game, said to be a "moody, literary" science-fantasy epic influenced by Myst with its focus on story and exploration. Though Prospero was canceled, some of its groundbreaking social and map features were eventually realized in Steam and Portal.

The video also includes some wonderfully dated screenshots and quotes from developers who worked on the title.

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EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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