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Humor

The Daily Grind: What's the most bizarre thing you've ever seen in an MMO?

Classes, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous

Zentia
I loved Zentia before it was shuttered in the West, but it has to be one of the most bizarre games I've ever played. Not only did it mix cartoony graphics and Daoist mythology and conga lines in the streets, but you could play a baby. No, really. An actual baby. I rolled my Vajra Guardian (a tanky character) as a baby in a diaper because why not? You don't get opportunities like that every day.

What's the most bizarre thing you've ever seen in 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!

PAX Prime 2014: Going on a deer hunt in H1Z1

Betas, Horror, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Humor, Events (Massively's Coverage), H1Z1

h1z1
The time was just before dawn, with colors muted by the limited light. I silently roamed through fog banks, looking for a quarry in the woods and finding none. It was my first time playing H1Z1, and I had no other purpose than to find something living (or unliving) and end it with my hefty axe.

Suddenly I spotted it: the flash of a white tail as a deer sprinted away from me through the brush. I pressed down the sprint button and went after it, chewing through my stamina and cursing my lack of four legs or gasoline-powered wheels.

The deer led me on a grim chase through the mostly silent woodland. At one point, a wolf appeared out from behind a tree and sprinted after the doe as well, although it couldn't catch up and eventually became disheartened (or glitched out). Yes, I felt both gruesome and silly spending my moments at the demo booth trying to kill Bambi, but I needed to know if I would be able to survive in this environment.

One wrong move and I was upon the prey, bringing it down with a sickening thud. Continuing to hack away at the carcass with my axe found me rewarded with more crafting materials and a dented conscience. Stricken, I wandered away and roamed up a hill, only to encounter a strange solitary sign with a skull on it.

"That marks the border of the game," a nearby developer told me while another dev professed amazement that he had never seen such signs before. "If you go past here, you'll die," the first dev cautioned.

Maybe I deserve to die. If chopping through a tender critter is what it takes to survive in this new world, is that worth the cost? I put down the controls and walked away, innocent no longer.

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Perfect Ten: How to spend $46,750 on MMO crowdfunding purchases

Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, The Repopulation, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Pathfinder Online, Trove

sota
Do you ever look at your wallet and say, "Ugh, this thing is too full! It's causing a bruise on my tushie every time I sit, and no gas station ever has change for a thousand-dollar bill!" Are you tired of the endless cycle of purchasing luxury sedans to roll them off cliffs only to realize that the auto industry is making them faster than they can be destroyed?

We here at Massively feel your pain, and just as soon as I finished eating a breakfast of scrambled eggs made from endangered birds, I hopped off the company's gold yacht and got to work tracking down ways that you could relieve yourself of the burden of wealth.

So here is my plan, in 10 simple steps, for you to shed $46,750 of your bank account, all by blowing your enormous disposable income on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding options. No, please don't thank me by sending me a gigantic check. I would only shred it to use in my robo-hamster's cage.

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Ask Massively: Emergency soccer practice

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

Today's Ask Massively question comes to us from a reader named Chris, who has had it up to here with you quitters! Yes, you, guy who just AFKed out of Warsong Gulch!
After playing my fifth consecutive round of SMITE with an AFK player, I am fed up. AFKer, quitters, or whatever you want to call them -- they suck. Why is it unreasonable to expect gamers to commit to finishing a simple (even possibly enjoyable) 30-minute activity? Why can't they stay in their seat and just freakin' click some buttons? Leaving doesn't cost the quitter anything, but it certainly sucks for the team you leave short-handed. If this were a little league baseball game, we wouldn't say, "It's just a game, so you go ahead and eat pizza with your buddies instead of playing with us." And why can't game companies find a way to make this problem go away? Reporting systems are just a small step away from absolutely useless!

I know that real-world stuff happens. The doorbell rings, the power goes out, or the kids set the kitchen on fire. But AFK rates seem way too high for just that. Gamers seem to conveniently forget what it really means to finish what they started. And if you can't do it for a simple game, how in the hell will you do it when it is something truly hard?
Unfortunately, I know this problem well. In my guild, we call it "emergency soccer practice," an actual reason someone once gave us for quitting a dungeon group.

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SOE Live 2014 in pictures: H1Z1's Zombie Prom, a costume contest, and attendees galore

Galleries, Free-to-Play, Humor, Events (Massively's Coverage)

Every year there seems to be something different at SOE Live. IN 2013, there was the big reveal of the new EverQuest Next and the surprise announcement of Landmark, complete with sand art and champagne. This year, one popular festivity focused on another new title in development: H1Z1. Attendees got all dolled up and put on their best undead faces for a night of dancing at the Zombie Prom (those who preferred the living enjoyed a pool party). It was quite the evening, complete with a wedding proposal!

But even as some things change, some stay the same. Friends and guildies meet up (or just plain meet!), games are played, tournaments are won, costumes are shown off, swag is collected, and folks have a good time geeking out with devs. There were also plenty of heart-warming moments, from stories of players helping players to actual weddings. If you weren't able to attend the festivities, or you just want a little pick-me-up as you come down from your convention high, here's a quick look at the weekend in pictures.

The Daily Grind: What's the best MMO housing system of all time?

MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous, Housing

SWG
WildStar's floating palaces, Star Wars: The Old Republic's strongholds, World of Warcraft's garrisons, and Landmark's... well, everything... are getting a lot of press lately, maybe because the MMO industry has been starved for such content for so long. Few games implement housing after launch, and fewer still launch with housing ready to go; those that do seldom aspire to the heights reached by RIFT's dimensions, let alone the amazing customizable homes of older games like Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies.

So let's resurrect a Daily Grind topic we haven't tackled since 2010. Which MMO features or featured the best housing of all time?

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!

Perfect Ten: Why MMOs need to give up their dragon addiction

Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

falkorrrrrrr
If a genie ever appeared to grant me three wishes, I would not hesitate. I would not be selfish by asking for more wishes or focus on my own well-being. No, I would think of you all when I said, "Mr. Genie, I want you to eliminate all Elves from MMOs, preferably via boiling acid. I want you to make all online giant spiders obey the cube law. And I want all developers to be stricken with a specific form of amnesia that will make them forget, now and forever, that dragons are a thing."

You're welcome in advance, online gamers. Yes, I will gladly take up the mantle of your king and protector.

Dragons are not cool. Dragons have never been cool. And yet, for some reason unknown to me, MMO developers lose their collective minds over the fire-breathing lizards. They're not just a trope that infests MMOs to the detriment of original storytelling and world building; they're cheesy villainous centerpieces that devs prop up while deluding themselves that the other couple of thousand MMOs aren't doing the same thing.

MMOs need to give up their dragon addiction, and I am not short on reasons why. I am also so dead serious that dragons need to go that I'm contemplating getting a chest tattoo of one just so that I can laser removal it right off the next day.

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The Daily Grind: What constitutes a grind in an MMO?

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous

Photography by Mylius
I can't remember when I first heard the term grind, but I imagine it might have been Ultima Online, when you could grind your way to Glorious Lady status killing a mongbat a minute (or was it five?). Then there was grinding mobs for levels in EverQuest, grinding missions for skill and money in Star Wars Galaxies, and then, finally, deliverance in the form of World of Warcraft, in which we'd level by completing quests! No more grinding! Right?

Well, not really. After a while, quests became grinds. Daily quest grinds. Achievement grinds. Faction grinds. Crafting grinds. Guild grinds. Pretty much everything can be made into a grind if studios infuse enough repetition into a game. We don't know what grind is, but we know it when we see it!

Let's try to define it once and for all. What constitutes a grind in 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!

The Think Tank: Star Citizen and armchair speculation

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, The Think Tank, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Star Citizen pew pew
This week, Star Citizen announced it's now raised a total of $48 million in crowdfunding and revealed its $50 million stretch goal, which is an absurd amount of money (but still not as absurd as how much some other AAA MMOs reportedly spent). "As a professional gamer and armchair developer with several failed armchair projects under my belt," wrote Massively commenter computerhelfer with his tongue firmly in cheek, "I can safely say this project has acquired too much money. This project makes my armchair feel uncomfortable."

Apparently, large sums of money and large-scale projects make a lot of people uncomfortable, at least judging by the huge and sometimes nonsensical debates that sprawl across our Star Citizen posts. In today's Think Tank, I've asked some of the Massively writers to speculate on the future of the game, its impact on the genre, and how much higher that crowdfund number might go before all of the core pieces of the game have launched.

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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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WildStar's Strain update promises something for everyone

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Humor, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar
There's something for everyone in the Strain ultra drop, promises the latest WildStar Devspeak video, "no matter how you love to play." Except if you love to play PvP; for that, you'll have to wait until the next drop.

The just-released video follows the exploits of an obsessive lorehound, a spazzy explorer, a creepy homebody, and a hardcore lootmonger as the narrator wisecracks about how each of their playstyles will benefit from the upcoming patch. Even if you don't fall neatly into one of those categories, you'll no doubt pick up some clues about the new content or at least be impressed by the visuals.

Enjoy the new vid below. Skinny-dipping sold separately.

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Perfect Ten: Annoying things you hear in general chat

Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

General chat, sometimes called "Barrens chat" or "zone chat" or "the party line," is both the bane and the secret fixation of my existence. It's like a text-based reality show that plays out in real-time whenever I log into an MMO. If -- for some rare reason -- I'm bored of playing the game or talking with friends, at least I have the jibber-jabber of screeching opinions to fill my eye sockets.

It's safe to say that general chat earns its bad reputation, but have you ever stopped to analyze exactly why that is? I have. I have traveled that long, terrible path, and at the end I peered over the edge into the abyss, and the abyss told me that I was a carebear who needed to L2P. Here are my findings.

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SMITE virtually incarnates Rama and updates Ra for the 4th of July

Trailers, Video, Classes, Culture, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Humor, MOBA

SMITE
Hi-Rez Studios has today revealed the latest playable deity in its MOBA SMITE: Rama, The 7th Avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. True to legend, Rama is an archer whose magical bow and arrows combine for skills like Astral Quiver, Astral Strike, Pick Me Up, Rolling Assault, and Astral Barrage.

But that isn't why you clicked on this article. You clicked because of the eagle. Yes, the team has also implemented new skins for characters, including one for Ra, who can now be skinned as the patriotic, firework-wielding bald eagle Ra'merica because why not? "For each sale of this skin, $2 will be donated to the American Red Cross," noted Hi-Rez blandly, as if that obviated the insanity.

We've included Rama's and Ra's videos below.

[With thanks to tipster Sorenthaz!]

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EverQuest Next's vampires will not sparkle

Fantasy, Video, Lore, News Items, Free-to-Play, Humor, EverQuest Next

SOE
In the latest EverQuest Next roundtable video, SOE Senior Brand Manager Omeed Dariani and Lead Content Designer Steve Danuser team up to offer a counterpart to the villain vote from earlier in June, when players voted Ambassador D'Vinn into the game. This week, the studio focuses on other iconic franchise characters. While Danuser and Dariani note that all the characters mentioned will be present in the game or at least its lore, some will find themselves in new roles since EverQuest Next is a reboot of the franchise, not a chronological continuation of past storytelling.

Lucan D'Lere, for example, will still be associated with Freeport, but he might make different life choices this time around. But it was the Dark Elf vampire Leone who won the poll because, well, EverQuest players. Danuser promises that the rebooted version of Leone and his friends will not sparkle.

Finally, this is apparently the last edition of these roundtable videos. Future episodes, SOE says, will be rolled into the team's Workshop Show livestreams.

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Destiny's alpha testers have played 6,461,871 games

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Guilds, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Humor, Destiny

Destiny
"A lot of our friends asked us if this was a real Alpha," Bungie wrote today of its recently begun PlayStation 4 alpha test for Destiny. "It was. [...] You'll see the fruits of [our] labor as early as next month, assuming we're lucky enough to have you in our Public Beta."

The studio just released a new blog post chronicling player achievements from the first few days of the alpha, among them 149,522,313 primary weapon kills, 667,966 public events joined, 60,491,944 fallen dregs dispatched with extreme prejudice, and 6,461,871 player games played. There are also new screenshots from the alpha and handful of Q&A responses, in which Bungie teases more tidbits about the upcoming beta and explains the purpose of clans within the game.

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