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Game Mechanics

Stick and Rudder: This is not an Elite: Dangerous review

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, First Impressions, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Stick and Rudder, Elite: Dangerous

One of these days I'll get back to writing Star Citizen-flavored words in this space. Right now, though, Elite: Dangerous is a thing that I've been playing, and please ya'll, put down your pitchforks.

It is possible -- and even healthy -- to like and support both of these titles. This is not space Capulets vs. space Montagues but rather the beginnings of a new sci-fi sandbox age. Elite's not quite where I would like it to be at this early hour, but it's still a fine piece of work that's salvaged a thoroughly regrettable MMO year.

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Make My MMO: December 21 - 27, 2014

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, The Repopulation, Make My MMO

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, The Repopulation dropped its NDA and thrust itself firmly into the middle of Steam's Early Access conga line. This was a pretty big deal, given how the game is channeling a certain late great sci-fi sandbox and given how many people responded with their alpha tester opinions in the announcement thread.

Some other stuff happened, too. Christmas, for one thing. But, really, this week was all about TR when it comes to crowdfund happenings. If you simply must know what else was up, click past the cut for our roundup.

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The Daily Grind: What's the ideal crafting style for an MMO?

Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Crafting

Ultima Online
There's a lot of hate for "clicky" crafting in MMOs -- you know, the old "click a button, crafted item pops into your bag" trope. I'd call it the World of Warcraft style, but MMOs all the way back to Ultima Online did crafting that way. And this might sound crazy, but even as a hardcore crafter, I don't actually mind it. Everything in a video game comes down to clicking or mousing or typing. What matters to me is whether the crafting itself matters in the game. Even though the final combine in Star Wars Galaxies amounted to clicking a button and having something pop into my bag, there was a whole chain of resource collecting and experimentation and component creation and luck along the way, and since the economy was player-driven, most of what I was making had relevance to other players.

Personally, I'll take that plus simple clicking over a time-wasting, irritating minigame-style of crafting any day, but I'd love to see innovation in how we craft too. What do you think -- what's the ideal crafting style for an MMO?

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!

Latest EVE dev blog charts module rebalancing

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

EVE's forthcoming Proteus release will feature the second round of rebalancing work that CCP has termed Module Tiericide. Today's dev blog explains some of the changes courtesy of a sizable chart that shows stats like CPU usage, optimal range, powergrid usage, and more.


There are a lot of numbers to parse, but if you're into that sort of thing, CCP says that it will be collecting player feedback and acting on it prior to Proteus' January 13th launch date.

Camelot Unchained's latest newsletter tackles player-built structures

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, Player-Generated Content

Camelot's Unchained's latest newsletter is hot off the virtual presses. It's a lengthy read, too, so grab yourself a snack and a beverage before perusing the community Q&A section, a state of the build update, an art update, and a design discussion on the RvR sandbox's building system.

"The world of CU, while it will have some important pre-built structures, leaves the dynamic creation, capture, and destruction of keeps and castles firmly in the hands of our players," City State says.

The Soapbox: Better models for MMO endgame progression, part three

Game Mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous

There's a climb we can make, if we try.
Today marks the last entry in my better models for MMO endgame progression series, the follow-up to my series on why MMO studios should abandon raiding. And that means providing two more possible models along with something of a thesis statement. But it also means that at this point I'm far more willing to wander off into the woods with these ideas. The first part had slight twists on standard formulas, the second had ideas that was a bit further afield, and this one features two ideas that are still almost entirely unrefined.

More specifically, today's concepts are more about tackling the very principle that progress has to be tied past a certain point to things that you get. You earn a thing and then you're better. But there's no reason that progress can't be oriented the other way, with the gear (etc.) just being a gating mechanism for your actual forward motion.

The funny part is that a lot of these systems aren't really at odds with one another; they can coexist without too much trouble. But then, that's the nature of the beast.

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The Soapbox: Better models for MMO endgame progression, part two

Game Mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Crafting

Yes, there must be a better way.  And there are better ways.
If you read yesterday's Soapbox, the first in my Better models for MMO endgame progression series, with a fair bit of awareness, you probably noticed that the models I presented were, well... safe. Normal. Not too far outside of the realm of what we already have in some games, in other words. Oh, sure, they were functional and expanded compared to what you normally see in games, and they weren't reliant on high-end raiding, but they were still derived from the same space, which is part of the point.

But that's not nearly as far as the rabbit hole goes. So let's start moving further beyond what's already common. Let's start heading into stranger territory.

As before, the models presented here are not super-refined balanced labyrinths of systems; they're the outline, the skeletons, the fundamentals of how these concepts could work. And even at this stage, they're able to go in directions you don't find in numerous MMO endgames. So let's jump right into it, shall we?

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Crafting up a storm in Guild Wars 2

Game Mechanics, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Crafting, Buy-to-Play

Happy Batursday! Oh, wrong holiday. Wow, I'm sorry. This is why nobody invites me to the nice parties.
Merry Wintersday! Guild Wars 2's non-denominational twinkly winter celebration is in full swing. Despite earlier reports from ArenaNet that we'd get pure repeats of both Halloween and Wintersday, this year has added some new quests and a thematically appropriate relocation to Divinity's Reach. I was wrong last week about the sad Dickensian atmosphere of ruined Lion's Arch decorated with snowflakes, but there are still plenty of unfortunate children, so it all evens out.

As your resident Scrooge, I'm going to skirt around the topic of candy canes and jumping puzzles to talk about a game feature that's much closer to my heart: crafting. However, I come to lob snowballs at GW2's crafting system, not to praise it.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the most content?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

WoW
A Massively commenter weeks ago wrote that World of Warcraft has the most content out of any MMO, full-stop, and everyone around him seemed to take that at face value, which astonished me. Look, I'm subbing to WoW even as I type this, and I think WoW has gobs more systems than some people give it credit for, but the most content of any MMO? Not a chance!

Even if we discount wide-open, pure sandboxes -- which, depending on whom you ask, have either no content or infinite content -- we'd still have to factor in sandparks and classic MMOs that have 20 expansions, more updates than WoW per year, multiple expansions per year, and so many systems and zones that it's just flat out overwhelming. There are a dozen MMOs that intimidate people with how much stuff they pack in. You'd never finish them. By comparison, WoW is a mere snack -- an awesome, polished snack, but a snack all the same.

I don't know which MMO has the "most" content, but I'm pretty sure WoW wouldn't make even the inevitable top 10 list. What about you other folks who've been around the MMO block a time or two? Which MMO has the most content?

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!

Not So Massively: Elite's launch, Transformers' sunset, and SMITE's $2M prize pool

Betas, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Classes, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Launches, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Mobile, Consoles, Crime, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MechWarrior Online, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

Transformers
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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Aion EU starts a new Q&A vidcast

Fantasy, Video, Aion, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Community Q&A

Aion's EU dev team has released the first episode of a new vidcast called Ask Aion. It follows a pretty familiar Q&A format, with the questions pulled from fans via Twitter.

They include bits about player events, possible server merges, and even an angry rant directed at publisher GameForge which prompts Aion's EU product director to strangle a plushie on camera. See for yourself after the cut.

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World of Tanks' 9.5 update detailed in new trailer, review vid

Historical, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, World of Tanks

Wargaming has released a new trailer for World of Tanks version 9.5. The patch adds three new maps, a host of British war machines, an overhauled minimap, and much more. The trailer is kind of a quickie, so we've also embedded the 9.5 review video just beyond the break

WoT 9.5 is now available for download via the game's official website.

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The Repopulation drops NDA, comes to Steam

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, The Repopulation

The Repopulation is spreading a bit of early Christmas cheer according to the latest news blurb on the sci-fi sandbox's website. In short, the final alpha phase begins this weekend, and you can also pick up the game via Steam's Early Access program. The Steam launch has done away with the NDA, too, so feel free to share your experiences in the comments. Oh, and don't forget to watch the Alpha 4 trailer after the break!

[Thanks Crow!]

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The Soapbox: Better models for MMO endgame progression, part one

Game Mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous

I don't think the all-bear model is sustainable, though.
Last month, my three-part Soapbox series on reasons studios should abandon raiding as the core mechanic of their MMOs produced no shortage of comments. One of the persistent refrains from the pro-raid side was, as expected, "if you're so smart, why aren't you proposing alternatives?!"

The obvious answer would be that it wasn't the point of the articles. The series was about reasons to drop raiding, after all. But it's also not as simple as "here's what games should be doing" because there are countless alternatives. Tons of alternatives. I can think of at least six off the top of my head.

So for this new series, let's consider models that don't rely upon raiding as an endgame progression model. Some of these are close cousins to endgame models found in games currently on the market, some of them are not, and none of them has been designed with fine details or lore or what-not in mind. They're drag-and-drop, as it were. The point here is explaining the multitude of options available for an MMO's endgame that don't rely upon raiding for their focus. Today's article will cover the first two of six I have in mind.

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Massively's MMO guide to the 2014 winter holidays

Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, News Items, Massively Meta, Humor, Promotions, Miscellaneous

creepy snowman gonna get you. i... might be the wrong person to do this roundup, being not-a-fan of holiday mmo events. ah well.
Winter break: that time of year when I think woohoo time to sit around all day in my jammies and play video games but instead I have to work and bake junk food and wrap presents and go to family gatherings. First world MMO problems, right? Those of you who get to game this week better bank some experience points for me, and maybe check out some of the MMORPG genre's winter holiday events and promotions, conveniently rounded up for you in our guide below. The list isn't exhaustive, so feel free to chime in with any we've missed that you love.

Happy holidays from the Massively crew!

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