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Culture

The Daily Grind: Do you (still) pre-order MMOs?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

As we reported yesterday, Activision says that pre-orders are declining across the game industry. Here in MMOland, pre-orders are still kind of a thing, but they're also being supplemented/supplanted by early access sales.

What about you, personally, though? Do you (still) pre-order MMOs, whether for the in-game goodies or just out of general excitement? Why or why not?

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!

Activision sees industry-wide pre-order decline

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Activision publishing boss Eric Hirshberg says his company's pre-orders are declining. He made the remarks to investors and media on a conference call yesterday, and he also said that the downturn is an industry-wide trend.

Hirshberg cited digital consumption upticks as well as wide launch-day availability as factors in the declining popularity of pre-orders. He also said that pre-orders are "just one data point that we look at when determining the momentum of a franchise," and that awareness and "purchase intent" on Activision's Destiny is "at an all-time high and climbing when compared to any other new game intellectual property this distance from launch."

The Daily Grind: What do you think about MMO sequels?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

maplestory 2
While sequels to MMOs aren't as prevelant as they are elsewhere in the entertainment industry, we've certainly seen more than a few pop up in this genre's short lifespan. There are pros and cons to making sequels, of course, and while players always seem to clamor to have their favorite older MMOs return with a Roman numeral affixed to the name, I have to wonder if that might be a curse in disguise.

Considering all of the money that it takes to make MMOs, do you think it's a good idea for studios to milk a franchise or to start fresh? And if you are all for sequels being made, which MMO do you think deserves one? Which sequel that's currently in development has your attention?

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: A blast from the past

World of Warcraft, Asheron's Call, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, Vanguard, Guild Wars 2, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge

As many of you know, Massively doesn't really believe in reviews of MMOs, as they are ever-changing and shifting targets. Instead, we've provided impressions and continuing coverage of these games during their lifespans (and even after), which is something that many bloggers also favor.

In this edition of Global Chat, we have several hands-on impressions of MMOs both new and old from the blogosphere. What is it like to head back to Asheron's Call after a long time away? Is Guild Wars 2's and Lord of the Rings Online's new content hitting the mark? And what will we miss most of all now that Vanguard has departed? It's all there and more, right after the break!

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Meet PlanetSide 2's new producer, Directive achievements

Sci-Fi, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2

A solid base for future operations, you know.
It's important to know the development team of your game of choice, isn't it? SOE's David Carey recently took on the role of producer for PlanetSide 2, and he hopped on the forums to introduce himself, explaining to fans who he is, what he hopes to accomplish in the game, and what he hopes to receive from the community.

Carey reveals that he has spent a long time working with Matt Higby and has plenty of experience working on other titles. His primary goal is to have an informed playerbase with a clear picture of why changes are being made, even in the event that the players and devs disagree. He also stresses the importance of constructive criticism over personal attacks and the team's need for open communication with the fans. If you're a regular PlanetSide 2 player, you owe it to yourself to check out the full letter.

In other PS2 news, SOE has implemented a new achievement system called Directives. You can view the full press release after the break.

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EVE Evolved: Capital ships ruined nullsec

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
All throughout EVE Online's lifetime, compelling stories of incredible events, daring heists, and colossal battles with thousands of players have periodically surfaced and spread across the gaming media like wildfire. Most of the recent stories have been about record-breaking battles between huge alliances of players in the lawless depths of null-security space, and each one has been met with an influx of new players who want to participate. The surprising truth behind nullsec warfare, however, is that many of those on the front lines are simply fed up with the political state of the game.

In EVE's early years, the map was split between hundreds of small alliances, each of which slowly expanded its influence by conquering the star systems bordering its space. Skirmishes and pirate incursions were brief and commonplace, while border wars over territory were long and protracted affairs. Today's nullsec is a different animal entirely, with nearly the entire map carved up between two colossal mega-coalitions of alliances (N3/PL and CFC), each one internally held in a state of perpetually monotonous peace. No alliance in a coalition can break away and stand on its own for fear of being demolished by the others, and so all of nullsec is at peace with its neighbours and bored to tears by it.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I examine how nullsec got to the state it's in now and why it's badly in need of an overhaul.

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WoW Archivist: One night of payback in 2006

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvP, Roleplaying, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Theramore
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on August 1st and is included here by permission.

An interesting aspect of the ongoing Ashran faction hub debate is the fear people express that their hubs will be raided by enemy players, since the new hubs are adjacent to a PvP zone. Blizzard pointed out that the hubs will be better defended by NPCs than the Shrines are now, and the Shrines currently see few serious attacks on live realms, despite their close proximity.

On most realms today, little large-scale world PvP occurs, and even fewer faction raids. Faction raids were once a huge part of the game, even on PvE realms. You couldn't kill opposing players on PvE realms if they didn't want to be killed, but you could deny them their questgivers, flightmasters, and other crucial NPCs. And we did that, on both sides, throughout classic WoW.

Easy targets like the Crossroads, Astranaar, Grom'gol, and Refuge Pointe were raided almost daily. If your faction was heavily outnumbered, like mine was on Khadgar-US back then, it could be infuriating. We had our small victories at times, as I covered in my first Archivist column. But many days, all we could do was stand by and watch as the Alliance occupied our towns for hours at a time and took away our ability to level effectively.

On our first anniversary in 2006, my guild set out for some payback. Today I'd like to share that tale of classic world PvP from the era when faction raids were serious business.

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One Shots: A horse and his girl

Screenshots, Culture, One Shots, Mabinogi, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar

I have a strong suspicion that ArcheAge is about to become one of the most screenshotted games when it launches in the West. Until that fateful day on which my inbox will explode with pics, here's reader Balsbigbrother to tease a little of what is to come.

"Here's a quick screen shot of my character Celosia and her faithful horsey companion Chapp taken during the first closed beta weekend," Balsbigbrother writes. "It's a really gorgeous-looking game, and I also really appreciate the fact that the female characters have sensible, functional-looking armour for the most part rather than the usual bikini armour nonsense."

But what about bikini horse armor? For shame, that beast is practically nude! For more shocking and lurid photos, click on the button below and make sure your mom isn't standing over your shoulder.

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The Daily Grind: What do you think of ArcheAge's beta community?

Betas, Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

I've seen a lot of forum rhetoric decrying ArcheAge's "bad community" of late. I used quotes there because I'm not entirely convinced that it is a bad community or, if it is, how much of it is bad. I'm not even sure what "bad" means, but I'm fairly certain it's subjective.

So I'm going to ask Massively readers with ArcheAge beta experience. Do you feel like ArcheAge's community is bad? Why or why not? If it is bad, what do you think should be done about it, if anything?

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: What's your favorite instant skill?

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

wildstar
I am not always a patient man, especially when I'm in the middle of combat. If given a choice, I will avoid channeled and long-cast skills even if the payoff is massive, like shooting a pocket nuke down that mutant frog's throat. I want my skill and I want it now, not four seconds and a progress bar from now.

So today let's praise and ponder the instant-cast skills, especially your favorite. In WildStar, I love how every class (at least that I've played) has an instant-stun ability that's incredibly useful to stop a big enemy attack in its tracks. I've also been a huge fan of instant-cast DoTs, which is kind of like channeling on the skill's own time instead of mine.

What's yours?

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!

Final Fantasy XIV gets a real-world theme cafe in Tokyo

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Like this, but slightly less armor.
Have you ever looked at the vistas of Eorzea in Final Fantasy XIV and thought that they looked like a place you want to be in real life? Good news: You can. A new real-world themed restaurant in Tokyo called the Eorzea Cafe is opening soon, and it's based on the Carline Canopy in Gridania, complete with Eorzean dishes, beverages, and decorations. If you ever wanted to see a bladed lantern shield on the wall whilst you have your dinner, this is the place.

Opening on July 31st, the cafe features drinks inspired by the jobs, moogle-themed desserts, and what appears to be a burger based on the Lord of the Crags himself, Titan. There are also PCs set up for people to play the game at their leisure. It's going to be a bit of a hike out to the Akihibara district, but where else are you going to find a Titan Burger while drinking a Dragoon cocktail?

[Thanks to Kythas for the tip!]

Leaderboard: Which dead MMO is your favorite?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Leaderboard

Since Vanguard is closing down this week, I'm in sort of a morbid mood.

Sorry.

Anyhow, today's Leaderboard poll will tread some unfamiliar territory when it comes to pitting MMOs against one another, mainly because all of these MMOs are dead. Vote for your favorite past the cut!

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The Daily Grind: Do you prize MMO stability?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

wow
Will your MMO be there tomorrow? How about next year? How about in five years?

As often as we consult the Massively office oracle about such matters, the answer is always, "Outlook hazy, ask later." Predicting whether or not a game is going to be around for a while yet to come isn't as easy to do, especially considering that we've witnessed a few surprise shutdowns over the past couple of years. But I've seen many gamers accept or reject the notion of playing an MMO based on how long those gamers perceives it lasting. In other words, they're trying to play the odds if they're going to sink time into a game.

I can sympathize and certainly relate. Do you do this? Is it a dealbreaker if you think an MMO is likely to go under within a few years? Is it an added incentive if a game's been around a while and probably will be around for a while yet?

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!

SDCC reveals new details about the Warcraft movie

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Miscellaneous

You are officially allowed to request a refund if the name Leeroy Jenkins is uttered during the film's runtime.
Are you excited for a movie about World of Warcraft? Because the Warcraft movie won't be about that, exactly; it's focused on the backstory of World of Warcraft, specifically how the First War got started before the first Warcraft game. At SDCC, some new details were revealed about the title, which is currently set for release in theaters in March of 2016.

The story will focus on both sides of the conflict, with Durotan being the central character of the orcish side and Anduin Lothar taking up the protagonist mantle on the human side. A teaser trailer was also shown with a blend of both CGI and live effects, although the trailer has not yet been released to the general public. Director Duncan Jones stressed that he wants the film to be accessible to everyone and not just existing fans of the fanchise; it'll be a couple more years until fans can see how well that goal was accomplished.

One Shots: The green marble

Screenshots, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, One Shots, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, WildStar

wildstar
Man, Bunglerm00se is so lost right now, you can't even imagine it. At least he's getting a great view as he contemplates having to trudge back. If you haven't heard, space is, like, really really big. Costco-family-packages-of-goldfish-crackers big.

"WildStar is shaping up to be one of the most immersive, interesting, and (above all) fun MMORPGs I've played in over a decade of mMm-Mor-Pu-Guhing, and I'd recommend it to just about anyone!" Bunglerm00se enthuses. "This is from the first shiphand mission your character can run. In this case, my character was asked to liberate a moonbase from a deadly menace. Is there any other kind of menace, you ask? On and around Nexus, the answer is 'no.' But the scenery sure is pretty."

You know what else is pretty? Everything after the break. Just you wait and see, my friends.

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