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The Daily Grind: What's the ideal guild size in an MMO?

Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Last week, a Massively commenter mentioned that he was in a 700-person guild in The Elder Scrolls Online. Yep, you read that number right! He inspired an impromptu discussion about the problems inherent in a guild of that size, such as the difficulties of managing it, the potential for dozens of smaller cliques, and the frequently negative impact a big mob of people can have on a server community and a game's development.

Personally, I found that a 50-person guild was a real challenge to lead well; I prefer a much smaller group, 20 members or so, just enough that I feel I know everyone well and there aren't competing cliques of people creating drama. Conveniently, that's the kind of guild I'm in, too. How about you? What's the ideal guild size 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 Daily Grind: Are there any MMO dailies that don't make you cringe?

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

GTA Online
You know what I don't think MMOs need more of? Dailies. I think most core MMO gamers are tired of a mechanic that exists, transparently and unashamedly, to keep us completing repetitive tasks on a daily basis and keep us logging in, and in some cases, paying our subs. Even a well-constructed daily achievement system and totally benign daily login rewards can be irritating.

But out on the fringes of the MMO space, gamers are just discovering the allure of the daily. VG247 pubbed an editorial last week arguing that GTA Online ought to copy -- wait for it -- Destiny's "intrinsic" dailies and rewards; without them, the writer opined, players are "reminded that the grind is most certainly real."

Call me jaded, but I say themepark dailies are usually just as grindy as whatever formless grind they're meant to replace, and I suspect the players who need something to do at the "end" of online co-op shooters would probably be happier with a sandboxier MMORPG to begin with. But surely there's some sort of dailies that we do like. Are there any MMO dailies that don't make you cringe? Which game can boast the best? (And can we tell GTA Online to copy those, please?)

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!

Not So Massively: The pseudo-MMOs of PAX South 2015

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Trading Card Games, Consoles, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warships, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

NSM - Gigantic
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

This past weekend was PAX South 2015, the first PAX held in San Antonio, and our reporters covered not-so-massive online games in addition to MMORPGs, including Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Shroud of the Avatar, Gigantic, Moonrise and State of Decay, Pox Nora, and TUG. Here's what else the week brought not-so-massive fans.

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MMO Week in Review: Expansion or riot

Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

GW2
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

You gotta love a week with tons of huge MMO news! Guild Wars 2 avoided a riot by announcing its first expansion, The Elder Scrolls Online revealed it's going buy-to-play ahead of its June console launch, and Star Citizen declared that its persistent MMO portion will roll out to testers this year. Meanwhile, PAX South has wrapped up; here's a look at what we've published so far:
PAX South 2015: O'Brien and Johanson on Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns
PAX South 2015: Garriott and Long talk Shroud of the Avatar
PAX South 2015: Camelot Unchained's proactive community management
PAX South 2015: Hangin' with Frontier, playin' Elite on the Oculus Rift
PAX South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plans for this year
PAX South 2015: Notes from a Star Citizen town hall
PAX South 2015: Slaying giants in Motiga's Gigantic
PAX South 2015: The Untitled Game is whatever you want it to be
PAX South 2015: The Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns experience
Read on for the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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WRUP: Dropping all the subs

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

ESO
Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game in which we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you guess, to the day, when WildStar will join ESO in dropping its sub. Winner gets the admiration of his peers!

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Betawatch: January 17 - 23, 2015

Betas, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

Star Citizen
This week, crowdfund legend Star Citizen laid out a testing timeline for the next two years; it plans to publish the "planetside/social" and FPS betas this spring, while alpha for the persistent universe portion of the game is expected before the end of 2015. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? Read on for the full Betawatch list.

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The Think Tank: Analyzing Elder Scrolls Online's B2P model

Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Think Tank, Buy-to-Play

Yesterday's reveal that The Elder Scrolls Online will go buy-to-play in March has prompted much speculation about the nature of the cash shop, the ethics of the switchover, the continued viability of the game, and the quality, cost, and frequency of the promised DLC. In today's Think Tank, the Massively staff will discuss the decision. Is B2P the right call for ESO? Was the exceedingly long delay of the console launch a huge mistake? What do we expect from the DLC? And is "Tamriel Unlimited" in fact the worst rebrand ever?

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The Daily Grind: Will you play Elder Scrolls Online once it's B2P?

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online, Buy-to-Play

Yesterday's news that The Elder Scrolls Online is going buy-to-play in time for its console launch surprised... well, not many of Massively's readers. You pretty much saw it coming. Some folks around here said this move was a certainty even before launch and consequently refused to buy it, deciding that patience would pay off. (And it did!)

But what about now? I admit I'm much more tempted by a game that isn't charging an unwarranted fee and isn't abusing a cash shop. B2P is a great model for gamers, especially when they avoid lockbox crap (yay!). How about you? If you didn't play ESO when it launched last April, will you give it a try in March when it's down to just a box fee, a mild cash shop, and more traditional DLC?

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 South 2015: Massively's Larry Everett to guest on MMO community panel

Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, News Items, Massively Meta, Roleplaying, Events (Massively's Coverage), Community Q&A, Miscellaneous, Player-Generated Content

PAX South
For MMO fans headed to Penny Arcade's inaugural PAX South in San Antonio, Texas, this weekend, there's one panel not to miss: Where Did Multiplayer in MMOs Go?. Massively's Larry Everett will guest on the community-oriented panel, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. local time on Friday in the Bobcat Theater. You can probably figure out the topic from the title, but here's the official blurb:
In early MMORPGs, interacting with other community members in places like taverns and main cities were a necessity for advancement and survival. Today, interacting with random players has become a rare event instead of the tools for survival. Is this what we all wanted to happen? Join Alex Albrecht alongside Larry Everett and Patrick Mulhern to discuss the future of communities in MMORPGs.
Larry will join Zerg ID Co-Founder Alex Albrecht, Lorehound Editor-in-Chief Patrick Mulhern, YouTube Gaming Strategic Partner Manager Meg Campbell, and Camelot Unchained Community Manager Jenesee Grey for the panel.

Massively's big sister Joystiq will also be represented at the show; Joystiq Editor in Chief Ludwig Kietzmann and Community Manager Anthony John Agnello will host the In(s)ane Joystiq Quiz on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. local time in the Falcon Theater.

Massively Speaking Episode 330: Ehtch won zee won

Podcasts, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Massively Speaking

h1z1
No matter where you looked this week, something big was going on. Whether it was the early release of a certain zombie MMO, strong rumors of a thorny expansion, or hints that other titles may be offering free versions in the future, the news kept our team hopping and will keep our podcasters today talkin'!

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
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Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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The Daily Grind: What constitutes a 'niche' MMO feature?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

In the wake of WildStar's rocky first half year, some players have defended the game's self-destructive gameplay decisions by declaring traditional gameplay tropes "niche." It's meant to be a niche game for that tiny niche of hardcore raiders, defenders argue, and therefore criticism is unwarranted. And in the sense that apparently a very small proportion of MMORPG fans actually participate in raiding (unless forced?), they're right. But that hasn't stopped most themepark MMOs since EverQuest from brandishing raids as a mostly inadequate talisman to ward off playerbase churn. Even if we outright refuse to raid, most of the MMOs we play are designed around raiders and raiding. It's easy to not raid, but raiding is hard to ignore because it's not being treated as niche by so many of the biggest titles and studios.

The disconnect between development plans and playerbase desires is reflected in this same disconnect between what we think of as a niche MMO feature and what actually is niche by the numbers. How would you sort it out? If raids, one of the core and defining features of so many themeparks, are niche, then what isn't niche? What exactly constitutes a niche MMO feature?

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!

MMO Week in Review: Hizzy in a tizzy

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

H1Z1
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

SOE's H1Z1, affectionately called "hizzy" by gamers generally opposed to syllables, lurched into Steam early access this week. The really-still-in-alpha survival-flavored zombiebox, which boasts hundreds of PvE and PvP mini-servers, provoked outrage from fans who consider the game's airdrop mechanic "pay-to-win," which led SOE to offer refunds and apologies.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top stories.

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WRUP: MMO refunds

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game in which we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you tell us whether you've ever managed to successfully get a refund for a video game.

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Betawatch: January 10 - 16, 2015

Betas, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

H1Z1
SOE's zombiebox H1Z1 vaulted into early access on Steam this week against a backdrop of controversy surrounding its PvE servers, launch issues, and potentially pay-to-win game mechanics. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? Our complete Betawatch roundup awaits.

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The Think Tank: The MMO server merge stigma

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

LOTRO
Last week, Turbine announced that it plans to address Lord of the Rings Online's ongoing population problems. New executive producer Athena "Vyvyanne" Peters wrote, "We're taking measures to get everyone onto the more populous servers" and "working on [...] improved server transfer tools." And later, she clarified, "We are still working through the details, but part of our efforts here are to make the transition as seamless as possible for Kinship leaders to keep the players together. The idea is to bring you together, not spread further apart."

In our post, we called this process "server merges of a sort," but some loyal LotRO fans went ballistic at the idea that mass server transfers to, you know, merge players onto populous servers might be called "server merges." The term has such negative connotations and implications for a game's health that neither studios nor fans will dare use it even when it's a reasonable term to use and when it heralds good things for an aging game. The stigma might even make some studios leery of doing merges at all.

What do you think -- is there a better term for these sorts of faux-merges? Have you been through a merge and found it a worthwhile experience? Can we be done with the merge stigma already? We're talking server merges in today's Think Tank.

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