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Humor

FlapMMO brings non-combat gameplay to new heights

Culture, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Humor, Sandbox

No, we are not good at this game.  Nor are most people.
For years, players have sought MMOs that truly offered a combat-free experience. FlapMMO, a massively multiplayer version of the sadly defunct Flappy Bird (not officially sanctioned), is that rare gem that delivers precisely that. In fact, it delivers everything you could ask for in the genre -- no combat, no levels, and a wide-open world to simply explore. It even offers exclusively horizontal progression (since that's the way the screen scrolls, you can't go backward).

If all this sounds too good to be true, you should consider also the fact that the game is entirely free-to-play without so much as a cash shop. Chat functions are currently limited, as is character customization, but there's no word from the developer on whether or not this is part of the design or something that will be addressed in the first expansion. You might want to consider giving this wide-open combat-free exploration simulator a try if you've got some free time on your hands.

MMO Mechanics: Three old mechanics I want back

World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Humor, Neverwinter, MMORPG, MMO Mechanics

MMO Mechanics title image
My column has typically heralded modern MMOs as superior advancements of the genre we all adore, but in this week's MMO Mechanics I want to share a small list of some old mechanics I still mourn today. Many older MMOs featured gameplay that could simultaneously exasperate and impress players, especially when the mechanics in question supported a real sense of immersion or realism in otherwise virtual worlds. Recent titles have aimed to open up the in-game world by making it more accessible and much less infuriating, but this has put some of my favourite mechanics and little touches on the development chopping block.

I'm particularly fond of game mechanics that make real-world sense. Real life would not reward you for falling off cliffs, running headlong into a crowded room of enemies, or stumbling off the well-beaten track into the untamed wilderness. Consequences in real life can feel rather scary, so I really enjoyed the fear factor of some older MMOs because this allowed for a much more thrilling -- and ultimately rewarding -- gaming experience. I am going to talk about just three older mechanics I particularly enjoy that have fallen out of fashion, but feel free to lengthen my list by adding your favourites in the comments below.

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Massively Rewind: EQN Landmark's alpha, SWTOR's new content, and Smedley's tease

Video, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous, MMORPG, Massively Rewind

Massively Rewind
The weeks are jam-packed with MMO news, and if you missed the top stories, watching Massively Rewind is a great way to catch up. It's like a DVR that automatically records your favorite shows except you don't have to worry about your kids accidentally taping over everything with episodes of Spongebob.

In this week's episode, we discuss EverQuest Next Landmark's short NDA, the roadmap for Star Wars: The Old Republic's new content, and John Smedley's Twitter teases about the spiritual sequel to Star Wars Galaxies. Elder Scrolls fans, there might be a little something extra here for you today as well!

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Starting out in The Elder Scrolls Online: Bleakrock Isle and Khenarthi's Roost

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Lore, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, Races, Humor, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), The Elder Scrolls Online

ESO
Everyone knows that first impressions matter, and this is especially true for MMOs. The Elder Scrolls Online starts all players in Molag Bal's realm of Coldharbour, but after their escape, they're sent to a faction-specific starting zone, each with its own questline and flavor. While Massively's Matthew has Coldharbour and the Daggerfall Covenant's starting area covered in his own piece, I had the opportunity to make my way through the starter zones of the Ebonheart Pact and the Aldmeri Dominion.

The difference between the two is borderline comical. The Aldmeri Dominion is treated to a sunny tropical paradise, while the Ebonheart Pact fights its way through the frozen mountains of Skyrim. On top of that, they seem to be designed almost completely independently from one another.

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EVE Online, now in text adventure form

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Humor, Sandbox, Subscription

EVE Online: The Text Adventure
While it came out last July, EVE Online: The Text Adventure has only now come to our attention and so we bring it to yours.

This satirical fan project attempts to "look at a day in the life of a grounded pod pilot, poking fun at CCP Games and some of their developmental missteps whilst celebrating the community and the people involved with EVE Online."

The adventure takes a few spirited jabs at CCP's "walking in stations" concept while challenging players to explore and perhaps escape their officer's quarters. If you're a fan of the MMO or need a quick diversion from the mundanities of life, give it a whirl and see if you can't beat it.

One Shots: Gnometizers

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, The Secret World, Humor, Champions Online, Miscellaneous

As a former, fully recovered World of Warcraft player, I always welcome the colorful yet chunky images from Azeroth in my inbox. But reader Jon crossed a line when he decided to serve up, and I quote, "a delicious side of Gnome" in this particular picture.

I, and many like me, have been lifelong Gnomes and choose such avatars in-game to show solidarity and to deliver the comeuppance that "tallies" deserve. This screenshot is just a sad reminder that we are often portrayed as the butt of jokes and thoughtlessly killed every single day just to amuse those who had a stronger growth spurt than we.

Oh, how I do hope that Troll choked on his first bite of Gnome pie and suffered through explosive intestinal distress shortly thereafter. That's the only way they'll learn.

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Massively Rewind: SOE's shutdowns, ESO's pre-orders, and Funcom's raided offices

Video, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous, MMORPG, Massively Rewind

Massively Rewind
There was no shortage of juicy MMO news this week, so it's a good thing Massively Rewind is here to make sure you don't miss the good stuff. We're kind of like a devoted parent pointing out landmarks to gawk at during a cross-country family road trip... except you don't have to play the license plate game.

Grab a Pop-Tart, watch the show, and if you're interested in the finer details, click these conveniently located links to learn more about each story. While SOE is putting down a smattering of struggling MMOs, Riot Games is boasting insane numbers of League of Legends players. Elder Scrolls Online makes waves with its pre-order bonuses and extended cinematic trailer. And finally, Funcom gets raided, but not in the fun kind of way.

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Defining sandparks within the MMORPG space

Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Humor, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

MMO screenshots
One of the most common subjects of debate and conversation on Massively focuses on sub-genres. While I think we can all agree on what the letters in "MMORPG" superficially mean, things become a little muddier when we talk about the different types of MMOs and what falls where on the MMO spectrum. There are MMORTS titles, MMOs that offer city-building and massive strategy, and MMOFPS titles, shooters that host thousands of players, for example. We even talk about MMO-like games, or games that are multiplayer but not massively concurrently multiplayer, like MOBAs.

And what about games that toe the line between sandbox and themepark, games that offer a bit of sand in their parks or linear questing in their virtual, open worlds? Themeboxes? Sandparks? Let's talk about what makes these MMO mutts so important and so fun to play. I'll list some examples of games that could fit the hybrid definition, but feel free to chime in with more.

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Perfect Ten: Lessons from three months in Neverwinter

Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Humor, Perfect Ten, Neverwinter, Player-Generated Content

D&D
Recently I decided to end a good run in Neverwinter, my second time back to the game that went well over three months. It was a strange period, no doubt, mostly because of the conversations I'd get into people about it.

"You're playing Neverwinter? Are you, like, trying to be ironic?" they'd ask, with internet eyebrows all quizzical.

"I know! I don't understand it either!" I'd invariably respond. "But... it's fun. It is!" That last bit always dribbled off my lips.

Then our friendship would be terminated and I'd have to rely on my fallback companion, a pen pal from Austria who sends me notes in an archaic form of German. I guess Neverwinter isn't a super-serious MMO for super-serious players, but there's something very Pringles about it: Once you start playing, you can't stop. Well, at least not for three months. So since my time in it is through (for now), I thought I'd share with you 10 lessons I picked up in three months.

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Why I Play: Defiance

Screenshots, Culture, Game Mechanics, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Casual, MMOFPS, Humor, Sandbox, Why I Play, Defiance, Buy-to-Play

Defiance screenshot
As I did with RIFT when it was announced, sent to beta, and released, I gave Defiance a bit of a hard time. Sure, I dug the shooter aspect of it, but its attachment to the television show and (what I took as) promises of interactions between both the game and show had me giving the game the side-eye. Yeah right, I thought, this will be some sort of "revolutionary" game. Well, I was half right. That means I was also half wrong.

The game is not really revolutionary in many ways, but it does do many things that have never been done before. The more I play it, the more I see that the game developers and producers of the show sold the entire thing the wrong way from the start, but "the show will grow on ya, don't worry" would not make for a good tagline, and "the game is damn fun and does away with all of that level-based stuff that plagues RIFT" would probably not look too great on the game's website.

Either way, I'm glad I've stuck with the game and the show. The game, especially, has provided me with hours of entertainment. In order to illustrate how I enjoy the game, I think it would be easiest to detail a typical evening of play.

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DayZ griefers force victims to sing

Video, Culture, MMOFPS, Humor, Post-Apocalyptic

DayZ
It may be the most genial stick-em-up of all time. A group of DayZ bandits are ambushing players in game for a truly sinister purpose: to make them sing.

In the following video, you can see and hear players sneak up on unprepared foes, force them to their knees at gunpoint, and then offer them a choice. Either they sing their national anthem or they get shot. The bandits don't make their victims sing the entire thing and are recorded saying that they'll help them out with in-game supplies if they go along with it.

You can preview the spectacle after the jump.

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Massively Rewind: New DCUO DLC, Aion gets mech suits, and WildStar's news frenzy

Video, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous, MMORPG, Massively Rewind

Massively Rewind
It's time once again for the Massively Rewind, where we round up this week's top MMO stories and deliver them to you in bite-sized chunks. It's kind of like a mother bird regurgitating a meal into its chick's mouth... except a lot less gross.

For those of you who prefer the written word, don't fret; we conveniently provide links to all of the stories mentioned in the show. For example, did you know DC Universe Online has a new DLC? What about the new patch for Aion coming out next week? Or perhaps you'd just like to know all things large and small happening with WildStar right now?

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Free for All: My three favorite MMOFPS games have a shoot-out

Sci-Fi, Video, Culture, Game Mechanics, PvP, PvE, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Casual, MMOFPS, Humor, Free for All, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Defiance, Firefall, Buy-to-Play

MMOFPS screenshots
I love a good MMOFPS or MMOTPS. A good one. Currently, I have three favorites: PlanetSide 2, Defiance, and Firefall. I have enjoyed other shooters in the past, games like Mechwarrior Online and APB: Reloaded and even a handful of standalone titles. There's something in a shooter that satisfies on a primitive level, some sort of textural quality that when done right can generate a good gaming session of zoned-out, open-mouthed pleasure. There's something even cooler about a multiplayer version of the same genre. I don't mind killing baddies alone, but blasting the face off of a monster is a lot more fun with dozens of other players around.

As you can see, I have a problem. Let's forget the fact that I play way too many MMOs as it is because between these three games I can easily kill a weekend and leave no room for games that I need to write about. That means I need to pick a favorite. Let this be a shootout to determine which MMOFPS will be my home. My awesome, loud, deadly home.

I've nominated three categories and will pick a winner for each. May the best shooter win!

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One Shots: Over the moon and back

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Warhammer Online, One Shots, Humor, Mabinogi, RIFT, Miscellaneous

Mabinogi
Welcome back to One Shots! I've missed you! I've missed you so much! It's been so long -- how long has it been, really? A week? That's far too long. Let's catch up: What have you been up to? Me? Well, I've been collecting the very best player-submitted screenshots for all to enjoy. But I guess binging on Breaking Bad is a valid use for your time too.

Reader Derrick sent in our first picture of the day from Mabinogi, and this might well be one of my favorites. Just looking at it makes me want to live a better life so that one day I might be invited to sit up there with them. "Here I am sitting in my personal homestead on Ladeca, one of the two moons of Erinn," Derrick explains.

It only gets more whimsical from here, folks! Join us as we swing on a star and see what our fellow gamers are up to in MMOs.

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Norrathian Notebook: Preparing yourself for EQN Landmark

Opinion, Free-to-Play, Humor, The Tattered Notebook, Family, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Norrathian Notebook

Whether you are a Founder who will access alpha or not, EverQuest Next Landmark is coming up on us like a bullet train; it will be here before you know it. As opposed to most games that stretch your anticipation out for years, this one is going from announcement to playable in less than six months -- if alpha does indeed make it out in January. Those who are opting for closed and open betas or even launch shouldn't have much longer to wait, either. I expect that those stages will maintain the same speed we've already seen, putting players into the game proper well before the next SOE Live.

So with the ultimate build-it-yourself sandbox on the horizon, the question is this: Are you ready? Have you got all your ducks in a row in order to best experience Landmark? Can you say you are all set to take advantage of those first minutes logged in? If not, I've got a few strategies, tips, and tricks to help you prepare for when the game goes live.

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