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The Guild Counsel: What EverQuest Next Landmark means to guilds

Fantasy, Guilds, Opinion, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

With the arrival of EverQuest Next Landmark's alpha, the buzz is all about how the game is a fresh change from what we've been used to in MMOs. And actually, in some ways, it's a return to the roots of the MMO industry. But EQ Next Landmark is also redefining the whole concept of guilds, perhaps in the process raising the question of what guilds will look like in the future.

In this week's Guild Counsel, let's look at how Landmark could drastically change the way we think about guilds in MMOs.

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The Stream Team: SWTOR masters of dread

Sci-Fi, Video, Guilds, Endgame, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG

The Stream Team: SWTOR masters of dread
There it sits, like a beacon of evil. The Dread Fortress and home to some of the most powerful Sith, the Dread Masters, towers over the moon of Oricon. They must be defeated for the good of the galaxy! Join Massively's Larry Everett and the guild Nefarious Intent at 9:00 p.m. EST as they tackle some of the hardest endgame content in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Game: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Host: Larry Everett
Date: Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Nether adds crafting, creature mode, and tribes

Betas, Horror, Video, Guilds, Patches, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Crafting

The mean streets of Nether are easing up a bit on players, as Phosphor Games has patched in a slew of helpful systems for its February update.

The trio of new features includes crafting, a creature mode, and tribes. Crafting encourages players to scavenge from their adventures and fashion gear and weapons to use and trade. If being a bad guy is your thing, then the new creature mode allows users to step into the twisted role of a nether to stalk victims. And tribes, Nether's version of guilds, are now in the game with bases, a skill tree, and special objectives to be patched in later in the month. Players who join a tribe from now through February 15th will earn special bonuses including currency and a free uniform.

We've got a video showing some of the February update features after the jump, so get a move on, little doggy!

[Source: Phosphor Games press release]

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EVE Evolved: The Bloodbath of B-R5RB

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Guilds, PvP, Endgame, News Items, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
To the vast majority of gamers, EVE Online is an unforgiving sci-fi dystopia that's one part epic sandbox stories and nine parts spreadsheet. Once or twice per year, the gaming masses get a glimpse of the game's true depth when stories of incredible wars, political corruption, and record-breaking heists spread across the internet like wildfire. From the 2005 Guiding Hand Social Club heist that was plastered over the pages of gaming magazines to last year's infamous Battle of Asakai, tales of big events from EVE have always managed to grab the gaming media's attention.

This week saw the largest record-breaking battle to date as a total of 7,548 players belonging to EVE's two largest megacoalitions fought for control of an innocuous dead-end solar system in the Immensea region. A total of 11 trillion ISK in damage worth over $310,000 USD was inflicted during what has now become known as The Bloodbath of B-R5RB and is allegedly the largest PvP battle in gaming history. The odd story of how the fight started and its record-breaking destructive scale are both big news, but the unsung heroes of B-R5RB are the people who work behind the scenes to ensure that the server can remain online during major battles.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at how one player forgetting to check a box on a form sparked this immense battle and how technologies like Time Dilation help to keep the server online when the ship hits the fan.

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The Guild Counsel: Guild-friendly Vanguard features I know I'll miss

Fantasy, Guilds, Opinion, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, The Guild Counsel

When the news of Vanguard's sunsetting broke, I got thinking about what best describes the Vanguard experience to those who didn't play it. And the one feature that sums it up best is the /rope command. When the game launched, it came with more than a few bugs, and one nagging problem was that players would get stuck in the terrain or even fall through the world. To help solve the problem, players could target the stuck player and use the /rope command to summon him out and up to their spot. Much of Vanguard was like that: moments of frustration from bugged content, but also moments of teamwork and community pulling together to make it work.

Vanguard was the diamond in the rough that never got polished. It was a gorgeous world, with some hints of truly innovative gameplay, but it was often overshadowed by intrinsic problems at the core of the game. Despite it all, Vanguard has one of the best communities around, and there were many ways in which the game brought players and guilds together. Let's look at what will be missed in this week's Guild Counsel.

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MMO Mechanics: Encouraging the daily grind

World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Economy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Runes of Magic, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG, MMO Mechanics

MMO Mechanics title image
I've written before about how developers use clever mechanics to lower the barrier to entry in order to encourage more people to play MMOs, but how do they keep players interested after they have rolled a new character? More often than not, MMOs greatly benefit from hanging onto players for as long as possible, so encouraging regular play is a massive priority for development teams. As a genre that thrives on creating a connected and dynamic community, MMOs are strengthened by keeping up the number of players that log in daily. This also encourages longevity since players make meaningful connections with the people they are linked to through daily play.

Utilising daily quests, creating an ongoing need for crafted equipment, and necessitating the farming of materials for the good of the collective are all very accessible ways to encourage players to log into their favourite MMO world on a regular basis. As useful as developers may find them, though, the appeal of repeatable daily content is hotly debated by MMO players. For some, low-octane daily content is a brilliant way to unwind that doesn't require a regimented schedule to complete, but many others find the repetition inherent in some daily content tiresome and uninspired.

In this week's MMO Mechanics, I'm going to look at the various applications of daily content in today's MMOs while weighing up the pros and cons of several of these techniques.

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EVE Evolved: EVE needs real colonisation now

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
MMOs have absolutely exploded in popularity over the past decade, with online gaming growing from a niche hobby to a global market worth billions of dollars each year. Once dominated by subscription games like EverQuest and World of Warcraft, recent years have seen free-to-play games take centre stage. Global MMO subscriptions have been reportedly shrinking since 2010, and EVE doesn't appear to be immune to this industry-wide trend. Though February 2013's figures showed EVE subscriptions have technically grown year-on-year, those numbers were published just after the Chinese server relaunch, and CCP hasn't released any new figures since.

Developers have done a good job of catering to current subscribers and polishing existing gameplay with the past few expansions, but the average daily login numbers are still the same as they were over four years ago. EVE will undoubtedly hook in plenty of new and returning subscribers when its deep space colonisation gameplay with player-built stargates and new hidden solar systems is implemented, but time could be running out on these features. Hefty competition is due in the next few years from upcoming sandbox games such as Star Citizen, EverQuest Next, Camelot Unchained, and Elite: Dangerous, and CCP will have to release something big soon to bring in some fresh blood.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I ask whether CCP should focus on new players and suggest plans for two relatively simple colonisation-based expansions that could get EVE a significant part of the way toward its five-year goal in just one year.

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Stick and Rudder: It's the Massively Star Citizen guild

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Stick and Rudder - Your Star Citizen source
I love me some guild management tools, which is strange since I don't manage guilds all that often. It's a bit of work, see, as one look through the titles and topics in our Guild Counsel category will make clear.

At any rate, I can't stop playing around with Star Citizen's recently launched Organization stuff.

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Looking for Guild: WildStar

Guilds, Miscellaneous, Looking for Guild

In this week's Looking for Guild column, we have a WildStar beta player looking for a home. The game may not be officially launched yet, but the videos and guides from other beta players are getting many fans excited for what's to come.

Are you looking for a guild in a new game? Even if you're just looking to try a different guild in an old game, the Looking for Guild column can help. Follow along after the jump to read more on how to get listed.

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The Guild Counsel: Seeking a guild? Watch for these red flags

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

Each week in this column, we explore common issues in guild management, with a focus on tips to be a successful guild leader. But this week, let's turn the tables a bit and look at things from the perspective of an unguilded player. With the rise of free-to-play in many MMOs, there's a larger pool of players from which guilds recruit. But before you take that guild invite, there are a few red flags to be wary of when joining a guild. For every good guild, there's a guild out there that makes you regret clicking that "join" button and leaves you wishing you had those misspent hours back after you leave.

In this week's Guild Counsel, let's look at what to avoid when you're considering joining a guild.

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The Daily Grind: How much thought do you put into guild creation?

Sci-Fi, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen organization ranks
Star Citizen's Organizations rollout caught me a bit unprepared this week. I knew it was coming, but I hadn't set aside any time to come up with a guild concept, a set of goals, or even a name. Heck, I don't even know if I want to lead a guild when Cloud Imperium's sci-fi spacesim sandbox launches, but it's nonetheless neat to get in on the ground floor and play around with some of the Organization admin tools.

What about you, Massively readers? Assuming you lead MMO guilds, how much thought goes into your guild creation process? Do you make the same guild in every MMO? Do you come up with different concepts for different games, or are you just looking for people to help you clear 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!

WildStar offers straight talk on its guild mechanics

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Guilds, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

We want YOU!  To tank for us.  Seriously.  No tanks in this guild somehow.
So it's come to this. Your adventures in WildStar have left your character backed into a cave with a broken weapon and a desperate urge to escape from the monsters prowling outside but no means to do so. What do you do? Well, hopefully you already made some friends and can put a call in to your guild because the monsters outside probably won't decide to let you go. So it's a good thing that guilds in WildStar offer a variety of benefits, as detailed in the latest development blog.

Aside from a customizable holo-display for guild insignias that can go wherever you'd like and access to guild vaults, guilds also provide a variety of perks and abilities. These perks are purchased with Influence, which is earned just by grouping up with your guildmates and doing pretty much whatever. The idea is that a small guild that plays together will always be more effective than a big guild formed from people shouting in general chat. Take a look at the full article for more details about guilding up in the game, hopefully when you aren't tucked away in Monster Cave.

Discussing guild functionality with Star Citizen's Benoit Beausejour

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen organization screen
Today Cloud Imperium publicly unveiled Star Citizen's organization functionality, and Massively managed to snag a quick interview with developer Benoit Beausejour from Turbulent, a Montreal-based studio that is developing SC's web tech.

Head past the break for the full organization press release as well as Beausejour's answers to our questions.

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The Soapbox: The Raid Finder ruined raiding

World of Warcraft, Game Mechanics, Guilds, PvE, Opinion, The Soapbox, Dungeons

The Soapbox title image
I don't typically limit myself to ranting about only one game at a time, but I decided to make an exception this week and speak out against World of Warcraft's Raid Finder mechanic. I was running a small and modestly successful raiding guild when this system was introduced, and my team definitely felt the onslaught of this guild-destroying game mechanic first hand. Raid Finder, commonly dubbed LFR by the cool kids in Orgrimmar, is a system that demolishes the competency barrier that stands in the way of freshly level-capped characters and normal raiding content. The system allows players to join a random raiding group in order to tackle a nerfed version of a normal raid and exists mainly to maximise inclusion in the game's best PvE endgame content.

LFR was quite popular among casual players that were usually passed up when it came to raiding group formation, but it didn't offer much progress to seasoned raiders. The gear gained had lower stats than its corresponding normal raid counterpart, but the LFR tier simply didn't need the co-ordination required of a group tackling regular raids. A void was created somewhere in between the casual masses who could benefit from the LFR mechanic and the hardcore raiders that simply did not need help with progression. My casual raiding guild was caught in the middle and ultimately met its demise at the hands of LFR, which simultaneously depleted the PUG pool and gave our members another way to see the endgame content they wanted without putting in virtual blood, sweat, and tears.

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The Guild Counsel: There are no bad players, only bad guild matches

Guilds, Opinion, The Guild Counsel, Miscellaneous

If you had to pinpoint the source of what causes most guild drama, it almost always comes down to the guild's screening process. We've certainly looked at recruiting before and how important it is to create a system that effectively matches up your guild with like-minded players, but all too often, when there is a problem with a new member, the frustration boils over and the finger pointing begins.

Is it the player's fault for being a bad seed, or the guild's fault for poor management and vision? Guild leaders and players often hold long-standing resentment, and you can see it in the comments section here at Massively as well, but it's time for a change. In this week's Guild Counsel, we'll look at why even the "worst" player has a good guild match out there and why popular thinking needs to change when it comes to judging who is "bad" and who is "good."

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