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Humor

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.

TUG team releases behind-the-scenes video for Playtest Fridays

Video, MMO Industry, Humor, Sandbox

TUG
Ahh, making video games. It's all about just playing games all day, right? Well, actually, for Nerd Kingdom, that is true for Playtest Fridays.

A brand-new video was released by the TUG developer today showing off a bit of light-hearted behind-the-scenes fun during the sandbox MMO's development. The indie dev team dedicates every Friday to playtesting the game to squash bugs and focus on player feedback. The video shows a glimpse inside the studio during meetings, play sessions, and more. So if you're into secret whiteboard scratchings and hidden codes on colored sticky notes, check out the video after the cut in slow-mo.

[Source: Kickstarter]

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Working As Intended: The forgotten fields of Green Acres

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Humor, Sandbox, Housing, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG, Working As Intended

Paolo Neo
My first trip to Ultima Online's Green Acres was in 1998. The first guild I'd ever joined had just split up into a bunch of... let's call them "philosophically incompatible" groups, and I was still hanging out with some of the shadier types because I was a clueless teenager in my first MMO and wanted desperately to fit in and hadn't yet figured out where I belonged.

"Hit this rune," my new guild leader commanded. His favorite murderin' weapon was a poisoned warfork. He was not a nice man. "I'm being evicted from my safehouse in Green Acres. Help me move my crap."

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EverQuest Next will feature Ambassador D'Vinn and Fippy Darkpaw

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

EQN
EverQuest Next's 39th round table video is now live, and in it, SOE Senior Brand Manager Omeed Dariani and Senior Game Designer Bill Trost pair up to discuss the EverQuest franchise's nemesis characters and which ones players want to see in EverQuest Next. Ambassador D'Vinn, the Dark Elf NPC who terrorized newbs as the deadly caboose of pretty much every train to the Crushbone zone line in classic EverQuest, won the player poll and will be featured in the upcoming MMO.

As to Fippy Darkpaw, Trost promises he, too, will be present in EQN. "I believe in his mission, and I hope someday he succeeds!" Trost joked.

The devs also highlighted the alignment of the Dark Elves and the curious nature of NPCs who have agendas independent of the players. Enjoy the full video on YouTube.

Guild Wars 2 teases Crown Pavilion bosses

Fantasy, Screenshots, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Humor, Buy-to-Play

GW2
The Guild Wars 2 team has just posted a new primer for the baddies entering the game with tomorrow's patch. "Learn more about the bosses from the Crown Pavilion before you meet them on the battlefield tomorrow," reads the tweet. We think you'll grok the theme; the NPCs include Sparcus Firesplash, whose fighting style involves "flame and fire lying and flying around," and Pyroxis, who prefers "lava and flames, front and left." And then there's good old Boom-Boom Baines (seriously; we are not making this up) with her "fiery and clever" personality.

Enjoy the full image with all six bosses via Guild Wars 2's Twitter.

Azeroth Choppers episode four dives into... arenas

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Contests, Culture, PvP, News Items, Humor, Promotions, Miscellaneous

Azeroth Choppers
Just over eight minutes of motorcycle talk and worrying over deadlines and setbacks await you in today's edition of Azeroth Choppers, the World of Warcraft reality show in which two teams square off to build faction-themed motorcycles, or probably will, at some point. Bonus points for the Stormwind music floating behind the massive machine shop and for making the gearheads enter an in-game WoW arena to murder each other, which is totally how you get motorcycles designed and made.

The video's after the cut.

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