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The Think Tank: Digging out of MMO doom

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

This year, we've been watching multiple MMO companies dig themselves into deep holes with mistake after mistake, some seemingly preventable. Do you think there's a hole so deep that an MMO studio can never dig out? Do you think that serial goof-ups like WildStar and ArcheAge can pull a SWTOR and actually be making trucktons of money three years from now? Or is everything DOOM, etc.?

That's precisely what I asked the Massively writers in this week's Think Tank.

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The Daily Grind: Does a studio's home country impact your faith in an MMO?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

skyforge
I've been cautiously excited about the development of Skyforge, although something's really been holding me back from gushing too strongly about it: the fact that its dev team (well, one of them at least) is located in Russia. Maybe it's silly and even a bit nationalist, but I am somewhat less trusting of MMOs that hail from other regions than my own.

Maybe it's a fear of making payments to studios in countries across the world. Maybe it's a fear that the studio won't have my own best interests in mind in operating that product. Maybe I've been let down by too many titles that were developed overseas but never made the transition to my home shores.

Does a studio's home country or region impact your faith in an MMO? A reminder: Let's keep the discussion free of nation-bashing, 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!

Massively Speaking Episode 323: Fun buddies!

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

When Bree's away, the kids will play! This week, Justin invites his fun buddies, MJ and Larry, to come on the show and jaw about recent MMO expansions. And also the Star Wars trailer. And also we're just goofy. This is professional podcasting, peoples!

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:
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Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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The Daily Grind: Do you prefer 'action-combat' in MMORPGs?

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

AoC
"Action-combat" has been one of those stock gameplay tropes that MMO developers have been shoving into their games since at least Age of Conan. But is it actually wanted by the core MMO audience?

Massively reader theodorus321 commented last week that he prefers the old-school TAB-targeting combat systems of older MMOs. "I don't want a challenge to my leet gaming skillz," he wrote. "I want to explore an interesting and immersive world while building up my character in the conventional way and finding some cool stuff." He got 16 likes, so clearly, he's not alone. I agree with him too! I'm happier with slower, more tactical RPG combat or hybrid systems than I am with purely twitchy stuff.

What do you think? Would you rather have "action-combat" or old-school tab targeting or something else entirely in your MMOs?

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: A new take on playing internet spaceships

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

Elite
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.

Time to brush up on your Greek! Elite: Dangerous' gamma phase launched last week, marking the last test phase before launch on December 16th. Backers can jump in and play now, but for those who are late to the buying party, there's a solo mode to check out in the meantime. Massively's Mike Foster, who toured the game in September, returned this weekend for hands-on time with and a stream of the final build.

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

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The Stream Team: Bashing it up in Final Fantasy XIV

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Final Fantasy XIV, Livestream, Dungeons, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

FFXIV
This month's Final Fantasy XIV Choose My Adventure is almost at an end, leaving Massively's Mike Foster with just a few more hours to punch monsters in the face and perform adorable emote dances. Tune in tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST as Mike runs his first dungeon and tries extremely hard to remember all of the positional requirements of his Pugilist's abilities. Spoiler alert: It's not going to go great.

Game: Final Fantasy XIV
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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WRUP: The WRUP awakens

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

At least there's no chance anyone will let us play Uncle Owen and then take it away again. Because he's dead.
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 which MMO studio is going to be the first to turn Episode VII into a F2P themepark WoW clone.

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Betawatch: November 22 - 28, 2014

Betas, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

Elite
Elite: Dangerous launched its final gamma build for backers this week; official launch for everyone else is December 16th. Latecomers can still play the single-player version through the Mercenary edition. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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The Stream Team: Elite Dangerous returns

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite
Frontier Developments' Elite: Dangerous has just entered Beta 3 or Gamma 1 or some other pre-launch version of itself, and Massively's Mike Foster is all set to fire up his Sidewinder and fling himself into parts unknown to see exactly what's new. Tune in tonight as he explores Elite's open play mode and tries desperately not to crash his ship in front of a live viewing audience (again).

The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, November 28th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Ask Massively: Ridiculing e-sports is bad for MMOs

Culture, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, MOBA, E-sports

LoL
I don't love e-sports. I've never really been a fan. I used to enjoy spectating Guild Wars matches, but only in short bursts. Truth is, I prefer playing in PvP to watching it. I feel that way about real sports too; the ones I like, I'd rather play than watch. (Except tennis. I have no idea why, but I could watch that all day.)

And if the MMORPG community's comments are any judge, I am not alone in my indifference to e-sports. Actually, "indifference" is probably too tame a word; some MMO gamers are outright hostile to e-sports, be those e-sports jammed into proper MMORPGs or waaaaay out on the fringes of the online gamosphere.

That hostile ridicule of e-sports, however, degrades online gaming, our corner of it as much as anyone's.

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Massively's Black Friday MMO sales and deals roundup

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

WoW
Happy Black Friday, everyone! We've been keeping an eye on MMO-related sales and promotional events just for you. Here are a few of the bigguns that might be worth taking advantage of today and through the weekend:
  • Guild Wars 2's digital versions are 50% off through the official website until December 7th.
  • World of Warcraft -- well, the bundle with everything but Warlords of Draenor -- is 75% off through December 2nd.
  • WildStar is on sale for 50% off, so $19.99, for a "limited time" on the official site and at other retailers.
  • ArcheAge has a bunch of marketplace items on sale, along with two new mounts.
  • Today only, SOE is offering double Station Cash, spendable in most of its MMOs.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has hinted that a large (possibly hourly) Cartel Market sale is on the way today.
  • All of Perfect World's MMOs have sales running over the next few days; of note to us are sales in Neverwinter, Champions Online, Swordsman, and Star Trek Online, the last of which is offering not just a cash shop sale but a sale on lifetime subs.
  • Lord of the Rings Online is offering double bonus points in its cash shop and bonus XP in-game.
  • Wargaming has festivities and sales planned for World of Tanks and World of Warplanes.
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online is offering +20% XP through Sunday.
  • RIFT is not only selling the classic collector's editions, character slots, and bag slots at 50% off but making the newest expansion available to buy via credits for the first time.
  • TERA has a slew of cash shop item goodies on sale, including bundles with mounts and character slots.
  • Marvel Heroes' multiple sales extend to Cyber Monday. (Update: MJ tells us that logging in Saturday will grant you a free remote-controlled Blackbird jet pet!)

And don't forget all the MMOs and MMO bundles/DLC on sale on Steam for the fall sale, as well. Elder Scrolls Online and The Secret World are among them!

If you know of others -- and we're sure there are several -- sound off in the comments!

The Daily Grind: Are superhero MMOs doomed to be niche?

Super-hero, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Comics, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Valiance Online
When Valiance Online launched its Kickstarter a few weeks ago, Massively's commenters posed an interesting debate over the viability of the superhero MMO market in general, not just the workability of a genre with three competing City of Heroes spin-offs. Some readers are convinced that the superhero genre is too risky and niche for MMORPGs, noting that the existing superhero MMOs have been more or less solid but small, nowhere near World of Warcraft huge. Fantasy, and to a lesser extent sci-fi, just dominates this scene. (Although we had a moment of hope when Blizzard first revealed Overwatch, it turned out to not really be much of an MMO.)

And yet superheroes are killing it in movie theaters; the comic genre has transcended geek culture to become thoroughly mainstream. There should be a huge audience for such games, and superhero MMOs just plain make sense: They're an ideal setting for fun skills and powers, beating up bad guys, and dressing up in costumes.

So what's the deal? Why haven't we seen a staggeringly huge superhero MMO? Are they in fact too niche after all?

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: Giving thanks for MMOs

Culture, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

WoW
Indulge us a little today, won't you? In our Think Tank today, we the Massively writers gather 'round the virtual feasting table on our virtual golden yacht to express thanks for those MMO-related things we're grateful for. Won't you share yours down in the comments also? We can get back to arguing over raidmills and gankboxes tomorrow -- I promise.

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The Daily Grind: What's the ideal subscription rate for an MMO?

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

Massively reader BlackArmsAkimbo recently opined that WildStar wasn't worth a $15 monthly sub but he'd seriously consider paying $5. On the surface, it might seem silly -- why quibble over $10? You can barely buy a burger and fries for that in a big city. But maybe we don't think of subs in terms of money at all -- subs are being compared not to the value of fast food but to the value of other MMOs that charge the same price.

The traditional MMO sub sat at $10 for several years before jumping up to $15, a number that World of Warcraft adopted and cemented as The Standard for the industry, which means that nearly every sub MMO that's launched in the last 10 years also charges $15. Every MMO is ultimately compared to WoW in terms of value for that sub. And every game that does charge less is assumed to be lesser, which is hardly fair -- consider how much content RuneScape's £4.95 a month gets a sandbox gamer.

I know I'd be more likely to keep up a bunch of subs if they were cheaper, but that's because I've mentally moved on to comparing an MMO's value to Guild Wars 2's, not WoW's, and I get a lot for my box fee from GW2. What about you? What do you think is the ideal subscription rate for an MMO?

[Edit: In a complete but ironic coincidence as this post was written last week, RuneScape just announced a subscription hike today.]

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: Through Warlords of Draenor's Dark Portal

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Now that the server carnage has died down and everyone's off running dungeons and farming loot, Massively's Mike Foster is ready to pick up the Warlords of Draenor story line to see where it takes him. Tune in tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST as Mike ghost-wolfs his way through Draenor and catch a glimpse of the World of Warcraft expansion responsible for bringing over three million players back to Blizzard's content buffet.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Monday, November 24th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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