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Rise and Shiny: Inferno Legend

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Previews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Hands-On, Casual, Humor, Rise and Shiny, Livestream

Inferno Legend screenshot
This week's game was a giant gamble, one that I should have known would not have worked out at all. The problem is that I have this crazy inborn optimism that tells me that even though many MMOs look and play the same way, you never know how they truly play until you actually play them. I've literally played hundreds of MMOs for this job and probably a hundred or so before that, so I've seen my share of games that look one way and play the other.

So this week I decided to go ahead and roll in Inferno Legend, a new MMO by GameBox, even though it appeared to be an auto-player like League of Angels from a few weeks ago and other titles before that. I picked my character from five different classes: the Cyclops, Vampire, Samurai, Faerie, and Mummy. I barely got past the incredibly bad voice-acting that was presumably supposed to add life to the characters and popped into the game.

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Massively Rewind: WildStar's adventure time, GW2's Lion's Arch destruction, and ESO's Oculus Rift prospects

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

Massively Rewind
Can you think of a better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than by watching Massively Rewind to catch up on this week's top MMO stories? We can too. Fortunately, this will eat up only a few minutes of your day, and then you can go back to cuddling on the couch in a Snuggie and watching zombie movies.

This week, Smedley's tweets once again make headlines, while Elder Scrolls Online gets unofficial Oculus Rift support. And both WildStar and Guild Wars 2 pumped out new trailers this week to discuss instanced adventures and the attack on Lion's Arch respectively. Check out the full episode after the cut.

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Happy Valentine's Day from ArenaNet! Here's the corpse of your vanquished foe

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

Lovely assistant displays hideous jungle wurm
Remember when you were in third grade and some other little kid put worms in your desk, and your teacher said he did it because he liked you? Or maybe you were the one expressing the depths of your feelings by delivering creepy crawlies. Either way, giving worms to people has long been associated with affection, and tradition mandates the trading of worms between friends and paramours alike on Valentine's Day.

ArenaNet, the developer of Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2, has set the bar a little higher this year. We didn't receive just a worm from ArenaNet: It's a giant jungle wurm, one of the terrors of the Bloodtide Coast. Its terrorizing days are over, according to the text on the thoughtful card, which reads, "We pulled this wurm fresh from Tyria just for you! This one won't be bothering Bloodtide Coast any more!" Looking at its bright blue innards, we here at Massively are overcome with emotion. We're also a little bit hungry, and that's causing some mixed feelings. Thank you, ArenaNet.

If you're looking at the tub of nightcrawlers you planned to present your special someone with tomorrow and feeling a little inadequate, it's OK. The bait store is probably still open.

Perfect Ten: MMO features that were hyped but never delivered

World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, City of Heroes, EVE Online, Guild Wars, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Ultima Online, Vanguard, Humor, Champions Online, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Developers like to talk a big game. It's expected, it's encouraged by all parties, and it's part of the fun. When a game or big expansion is coming up, the spokespeople for studios like to hop on stage, grab that mic, and start proselytizing for all they're worth. And while some promises come to fruition, others are various shades of white lies, and still others never come to be at all.

These are the features that studios would much rather you forget were mentioned in the first place, although this is the internet and the internet never forgets. Well, players who latch on to everything devs say as absolute truth never forget.

Sometimes things happen along the way in development. Studios run out of time to get in all of the features and have to prioritize which make the cut and which do not. Features end up not testing as well as hoped and the studio quietly drops them because the PR hit for the features not going in is much less than the disaster that they might cause. And some developers like to flap their gums and spout brainstorm ideas that send the actual programmers and designers back at the company into spasms of agony when they try to figure out how to make them work.

Today let's go through 10 features that were talked up but never delivered in MMOs!

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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

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

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

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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