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The Stream Team: Firefall's farewell

Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, Firefall, The Stream Team, MMORPG

Firefall
Massively's Mike Foster is prepping for one last go-round with Firefall, the subject of this month's Choose My Adventure. According to the results from last week's poll, readers are hoping to catch a glimpse of Firefall's newly-implemented campaign in action. So, with guns blazing and rocket boots flaming, Mike steps once more unto the breach. Join him live at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Firefall
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Massively Speaking Episode 311: Interior decorating

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

Rid yourself of gender-baised notions, for boys love interior decorating too! This week, Eliot and Justin share tips on couch placement, pleasing contrasts between wall trim and carpet colors, and where to put mutated eyeballs so that they're not always freaking out the guests. Also, they talk about MMOs, because that's what we sometimes do on this show.

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.
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
[Stitcher] Follow the podcast on Stitcher Radio.
Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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The Daily Grind: Are kids poor MMO consumers?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Kids, Family, Miscellaneous

LMFO
Earlier this year after announcing sunsets for the apparently popular Free Realms and three other titles, SOE's John Smedley declared that his studio was done with MMOs aimed at children. "No more kid's games," he said on Reddit. "Kids don't spend well and it's very difficult to run a kids game. Turns out kids do mean stuff to each other a lot."

The last comment is no doubt true and manifests primarily in unfettered chat, as former Massively writer Karen Bryan explored a few years ago. But is it likewise true that "kids don't spend well"? Kid-friendly games like Wizard101 and Super Hero Squad Online seem to be doing just fine. Funcom sure thought the market was ripe for another go at a LEGO MMO. And I suspect that tweens are heavily responsible for some of the crazy IAP spending going on in the mobile space. If I were a kid now instead of in the '90s, I would have blown my allowance on Guild Wars 2 microtrans instead of comic books and trading cards.

What do you think? Are kids truly as terrible an MMO audience as SOE believes?

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 Stream Team: It's so hard to choose just one in Marvel Heroes

Super-hero, Video, Classes, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Marvel Heroes, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team

The indecision is getting worse with this one! Marvel Heroes has so many cool superheroes -- from Guardians of the Galaxy to X-Men to the Fantastic Four, and more -- and Massively's MJ is having a harder and harder time picking which to play! But soon that indecision may come to an end, as her all-time favorite is on her way: Rogue. Until then, MJ still has time to play around with the rest of the lineup. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for more XP-explosive adventures during Operation Omega as either Storm, or Rocket Raccoon, or Silver Surfer, or Psylocke, or...

Game: Marvel Heroes
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, August 25th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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MMO Week in Review: At home in a galaxy far, far away

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

SWTOR
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 may not be able to play Uncle Owen on your very own moisture farm in Star Wars: The Old Republic, but you can come pretty darn close in the Galactic Strongholds expansion, which added housing to the game when it launched for subscribers earlier this week.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories, including more of our SOE Live coverage.

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WRUP: Limited-time reunion show edition

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

Left to right, for those who have forgotten: Arnold Pinchwhistle, The Magnificent Zorb, G.M. Hatpants, Phineas 'Two-Time' Kacynski, and of course Donna Eckleburg the Fourth (the third).
That's right, ladies and gentlemen! Because you demanded it, or because we were pressed for time and needed something to show for our efforts, Eliot is back on WRUP for one week only! Featuring all of your favorite acts, such as flying whales that hate pizza, ducks, animal photos, and repeating a single word multiple times in a truly baffling display of what can sometimes be done in this format! This is only available for this week, so act now!

But wait, there's more! If you click past the link right now, you can also find out what the Massively staff is up to over the weekend, which is ostensibly the point of this feature in the first place! You can also let us know what you'll be up to in the comments. And now, the part you've been waiting for, the return performance, which is...

Ah, never mind, out of space. Sorry! Same time next year?

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The Stream Team: Shooting all the things in Firefall

Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, Firefall, The Stream Team, MMORPG

Red 5's Firefall
If there's one thing you can say about Firefall, it's that there's never a shortage of things to shoot. Join Massively's Mike Foster as he continues his adventures in Firefall by exploring the world, checking our ARES jobs, and shooting everything silly enough to come within his field of vision. There's only one week left of Choose My Adventure for Firefall, so now's the time to come along for the jet boot-powered ride. The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

Game: Firefall
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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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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The Daily Grind: Are MMO mods and emulators on their way out?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Legal, Miscellaneous

E&B
We don't talk about emulators on Massively often because we're forbidden to encourage illegal activities or link or name specific emulators save those rare few publicly sanctioned by studios (so please don't). In fact, we've written before that emulators are a frustrating topic for many of our writers since gamers pour boatloads of creativity and technical skill into both legal and illegal emulators for games dead and alive, creativity that we can't write about even when we'd like to.

I can't be the only one who's wondered whether legit modders and underworld emulator coders are abandoning their craft in favor of more legal ventures, however. There might be more sunsetted MMOs, moddable UIs, and calls for "classic" game versions than ever, but the rise of low-risk crowdfunding, easy Steam greenlighting, and modular multiplayer titles that encourage customization makes me suspect that people who once modded shady MMO emulators or built interfaces for the masses are being lured away to work on something more legitimate or profitable or resume-worthy.

What do you think? Are emulators and modding going out of fashion? (Please don't link to anything illegal!)

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: The desirability of world-changing game events

Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

GW2
World-changing events can have a huge impact on MMORPGs, both positive and negative. Guild Wars 2's living story, which laid waste to Lion's Arch and face-lifted several other areas in the game, is well-known for its permanent plot-based world changes, but EverQuest II, World of Warcraft, and many older games have also dabbled with brazen alterations to the landscape... and players aren't always happy about it. For today's Think Tank, I asked the Massively writers what they think about such content: Are we fans of permanent, comfortable, unchanging worlds, or do we prefer game worlds to change over time and in our absence, even if that means virtual places we once loved can no longer be visited?

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The Stream Team: Exploring Firefall's campaign

Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, Firefall, The Stream Team, MMORPG

Firefall's rocket boots in action.
Firefall's second Choose My Adventure is in full swing, and Massively's Mike Foster is leaping headlong into the game's recently added campaign to see if Red 5 has finally delivered the epic experience it has been promising players since 2012. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch a glimpse of Firefall's PvE content; if you're interested in grouping up, Mike's Firefall character is named GiantButt, which he swears came from the random name generator.

Game: Firefall
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Massively Speaking Episode 310: SOE Live 2014

Podcasts, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

eqn
MJ is back from this year's SOE Live, and boy does she have news for us! From sandbox combat to expansions out the wazoo to zombie proms, we've got the best coverage from this recent convention to fill up a great podcast. That isn't to say that there wasn't any other news this week... like a certain release date of a certain long-awaited Orc road trip.

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.
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
[Stitcher] Follow the podcast on Stitcher Radio.
Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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MMO Week in Review: SOE Live 2014

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

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.

This week, the MMO world has been preoccupied with SOE Live, Gamescom, and Blizzard's Warlords of Draenor shindig. Massively's MJ Guthrie has been reporting from SOE Live in Las Vegas, delivering fresh info on Landmark's and EverQuest Next's combat systems.
SOE Live 2014: Details on EverQuest Next combat, classes, and races
SOE Live 2014: Combat comes to Landmark August 27th
SOE Live 2014: EverQuest will release The Darkened Sea expansion October 28th
SOE Live 2014: EverQuest II's Altar of Malice expansion includes new playable race
SOE Live 2014: Thursday keynote liveblog announces EQ and EQII expansions, more

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WRUP: Standardized commenter clones

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

GW2
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 how what we should really do is enhance our comment section with "model standardization," replacing our commenters with standardized human models in order to help us predict the tropes, memes, and cat gifs being used.

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The Daily Grind: What makes an MMO a 'WoW clone'?

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

Star Wars
Eminent MMO designer Raph Koster inspired today's Daily Grind with his recent article titled When is a Clone, in which he discusses the difference between clones, reskins, variants, families, genres, and other words that gamers often use interchangeably when debating the merits of their favorite games. Specifically, he lays out a "recipe" for inventing a new game as opposed to just cloning one; for example, he suggests that developers might model a new scenario mathematically or alter the physical dimensions or major goals of an existing ruleset.

But the truth is that gamers, especially MMO players, will probably never stop using the word clone when we mean iteration. We wield the word as a curse, knowing that a game isn't a literal clone but choosing to employ hyperbole to make a point about the sameyness of so many MMOs that slap a fresh coat of paint on World of Warcraft and expect praise.

Today, we're asking you: What, exactly, makes an MMO a WoW clone?

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!

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