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MMO Week in Review: Blizzard goes all-in on WoW nostalgia

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

WoW
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.

World of Warcraft stole the pre-Gamescom show this week by both dropping 800k subscriptions over the past quarter and promising to reveal on August 14th the Warlords of Draenor expansion's intended release date. Taking into account Blizzard's announcement of nostalgia-laced anniversary content, the Massively staffers and readers speculated on just when Draenor's launch might be.

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

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The Daily Grind: What tabletop RPG mechanics should MMOs adopt?

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

Neverwinter
Massively reader Couillon recently wrote in to the Massively Speaking podcast to ask us about tabletop games and their influence on the MMO genre. He proposed that MMORPGs could benefit from a tabletop-inspired "roleplay bonus" for actually -- gasp -- roleplaying a character. "I realize this might require more thought during character creation than most players are willing to spend," Couillon wrote dryly, but I think it's a topic worth considering as MMOs are looking for ways to redefine themselves in a post-WoW era.

Justin and I discussed several P&P RPG systems that we'd love to see more widely implemented in our favorite MMOs, like advantage/disadvantage mechanics and non-combat skills like persuasion and knowledge. What do you folks think? What classic or creative features from tabletop games should MMOs adopt?

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!

WRUP: I'll take 'Things Only Blizzard Can Get Away With' for $500, Alex

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 that you will reveal what you'll be playing this weekend... next week. Because that is how you and Blizzard roll.

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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!

Massively Speaking Episode 308: Telon mourned

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

vanguard
Even as two high-profile MMOs launched this week, another two were shuttered. Out of those, Vanguard will be the most missed among fans, an ambitious yet troubled fantasy title that struggled for years. In this episode of Massively Speaking, the hosts raise a glass to the memories of a world gone, cheer on the crackdown on cheaters, and shed nary a tear for ignored Blood Elves.

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: Do you hate minigames in MMOs?

Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

LOTRO
A reader in my last Working As Intended column made an off-hand comment about minigames that struck me as interesting. "I loathe how [minigames] have invaded MMOs in the last few years," Zuji wrote. And he's right: Minigames have become a huge part of MMOs. Upon reflection, I find I half agree with Zuji in that I could do without approximately half of them.

Farming? Check. I always like farming. Hacking? OK. Tag? Sure. Card games? Those too. Vehicle combat? Ug, yeah. Pokemon? I guess so, but if I never heard the word Polymock ever again, I'd be delighted. Chicken hockey? Wait. Chicken hockey?

So here's the question of the day: Do you hate minigames in MMOs? Are they a plague on the industry or a clever way of adding creative non-combat content to a genre that desperately needs it?

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: Hello to Firefall and Swordsman; goodbye to Vanguard and Wizardry Online

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

VG
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.

The MMO world said goodbye to Vanguard and Wizardry Online this week and learned of the impending closure of heavily criticized mobile MMO Ultima Forever. Bringing balance to the universe were shiny new MMOs Swordsman and Firefall, both of which formally launched.

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

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WRUP: Every MMO needs a theme restaurant

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 which MMO needs a theme cafe more than Final Fantasy XIV. I'm thinking an EVE Online greasy spoon would be a hoot.

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Betawatch: July 26 - August 1, 2014

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

Firefall
Both Firefall and Swordsman officially launched this week, ending their tenures on the Betawatch list and landing on hard drives everywhere. What else is new in the land of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup follows.

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The Daily Grind: Does world PvP have to be spontaneous to be fun?

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind

I love big battleground PvP. I admit it. I may have cut my teeth in the FFA ganker land of classic Ultima Online, but I didn't enjoy it nearly so much as I enjoy two (or three!) huge swarms of people crashing into each other Pelennor Fields style. That's why World of Warcraft's attempt to recreate world PvP in upcoming expansion zone Ashran intrigues me. Yet Massively commenters have criticized Blizzard, suggesting that it's impossible to bottle up the fun of old Southshore and pour it back out into Ashran because Southshore's magic was in its spontaneity.

At least that was the fun if you weren't on a server where your faction just got rolled repeatedly. Or if you weren't a newbie trying to quest in Southshore while the level 60s farmed each other for points. It didn't feel all that spontaneous on my server, come to think of it, since both sides would line up outside the village automatically every day; the vast majority of spontaneous PvP I see on my PvP server is just ganking lowbies or soloers, not the epic GvG sort you tell stories about later. And I'm pretty sure I'd trade the cheap thrill of spontaneity for a fair fight with some real objectives, the bigger the better.

How about you? Must world PvP be spontaneous to be fun?

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: Building an MMO without levels

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

Welcome back to another Think Tank! This week, I charged the Massively team with a single task: Elevator-pitch an MMO without levels. What should an MMO without levels look like? Can it even be done in this modern MMO era? Here's what we came up with -- we'd love to hear your take too.

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Massively Speaking Episode 307: Oh to be a dragon

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

Dragons are great and all, but why can't we be one? The podcasters make a wish on a falling star and then -- poof! -- they find out that they can, indeed, become one of the dragon people. MMOs: Making little boys' and girls' wishes come true since 1981. Other topics on today's show include a new business model for an old MMO, an imminent launch, and the continuation of a story in a galaxy far, far away.

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: 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!

MMO Week in Review: It is your Destiny

Massively Meta, Week in Review, Miscellaneous

Destiny
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.

Console fans were treated to a hefty dose of sci-fi pseudo-MMO Destiny this week as the beta opened up for PS3, PS4, and XBone and developers showered trinkets on players. In spite of the game's lack of cross-platform play, at least one analyst predicts Bungie could sell as many as 20 million units.

Meanwhile, we finished up our trio of articles previewing the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor beta.
WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: A disappointing start
WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: The disappointment of garrisons
WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: Questing, mechanics, and concerns

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

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WRUP: This is why we can't have nice things

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

Spacecobra
Welcome back to Massively's What Are You Playing, the game in which we tell you what we're playing this weekend and you giggle at all the lore purists who demand in-game lore-friendly holidays and events instead of Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day because here it is. This is our punishment for hating on Ewoks with cupid wings. This is why we can't have nice things.

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