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The Daily Grind: Do you like ordering NPC minions around?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Buried among the announcement of RIFT: Nightmare Tides was the addition of collectible minions to the game. Players will supposedly be able to order minions around on various tasks to benefit their characters, which sounds pretty awesome to me.

It also seems to be the latest entry in a growing movement of player-controlled NPC minions in MMOs. Star Trek Online has the duty officer system, Neverwinter has a cool web game that uses one's companions, SWTOR allows you to boss around crew members, and Warlords of Draenor looks to have something similar with its garrisons.

Do you like this type of feature? Is it enjoyable to send your loyal subjects out to do your bidding even if you're not in the game?

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!

Betawatch: June 28 - July 4, 2014

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

This week, Trion Worlds explained the reasoning behind ArcheAge's closed beta delay; sandbox fans must now wait until mid-July for the anticipated closed beta events. What else is new in the world of MMO betas? The complete Betawatch roundup awaits.

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Massively's Fourth of July weekend MMO event roundup

Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

World of Tanks
It's Independence Day in the U.S., the day when gamers scarf down BBQ and try to flee family events so they can log back into MMOs. What? You know you do it. Here's a few of the events and sales and promotions MMO players can look forward to this weekend. If you know of one we missed, shout it out in the comments!
  • Marvel Heroes is boasting a "Red, White, and Loot" boost to rotating game modes, including increased loot drops.
  • Neverwinter has unleashed the Celebration of Lliira event, complete with fireworks and rewards.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic is granting double experience all weekend.
  • The Guardians of Gaia event returns to The Secret World in honor of its anniversary.
  • EverQuest II features a summer rebate sale on holiday items and more; classic EQ turned on double XP last night.
  • Age of Wushu has 10 different events going on this weekend. TEN.
  • TERA's gone live with a double-drop weekend.
  • World of Tanks celebrates Canada Day and Independence Day with discounts on cash-shop stuff and experience bonuses.
  • Fallen Earth is running sales and a new summer combat patch.
  • Champions Online has introduced Stars Tights and new Liberty Grav Bike. Vrooom.
  • The Brits behind RuneScape are hosting an in-game BBQ and offering Uncle Sam hats.
  • Enjoy a holiday bonus weekend in Dark Age of Camelot.
  • Black Gold Online has dedicated an in-game monument and promises streams and contests.
  • War Thunder offers discounts and RP boosts for USA victories.
  • DUST 514 is running an accelerated SP week.
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online has a double bonus point promotion in the official store.
  • SMITE still has the Ramerica eagle skin we can't stop giggling over. Wheeee.
  • Pirate101 has a Red, White, & Blue sale going on mounts, pets, and teleporters.

The Daily Grind: What's the best loot you've ever scored in an MMO?

News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Everyone's got a a story or two about the time she scored that one really great piece of game-changing loot in an MMORPG. There was the time I won the piece I needed for my World of Warcraft Priest's Benediction/Anathema staff (still have it, too!). There was the time I landed a 120-skill powerscroll for my Disco-Archer in Ultima Online. And there was the time I lucked out on my first Guild Wars birthday and received a bone dragon, a minipet whose sale for a virtual fortune helped me bankroll my characters' gear and my obsessive trading habit for years to come.

Even if we wouldn't call ourselves lootmongers, we still love getting a new shiny -- the rarer, the better. What's the best loot you've ever scored in an MMO? Let's hear some juicy tales!

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!

Rob Pardo leaves Blizzard

MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

No, that's not Pardo, that's Magtheridon.  He was a pit lord.  Jeez, you think everything is an allegory, huh?
In a rather surprising move, Blizzard's Executive Producer Rob Pardo announced today that he is leaving the company. At this time he has announced no immediate career plans or subsequent goals, although he mentions a desire to spend the summer with his family and consider his next move. Pardo's forum announcement thanks the design teams for all of their hard work and notes that he has immensely enjoyed his time with the company; he expresses great satisfaction at the growth of the company and all of the changes that have come about during his tenure there.

Pardo mentions that he began working with the studio during development of the original StarCraft, having since worked on titles including Diablo III, World of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm. He has promised fans that he will attempt to be communicative about his next move via Twitter.

[Thanks to Dystopiq for the tip!]

IeSF changes its mind, opens all tournaments to women

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Legal, Miscellaneous, Hearthstone

Following the enormous outcry of gamers angry that International eSports Federation had forbidden women from some of its tournaments, including Hearthstone, the organization decided to open up the playing field to both genders.

"Upon hearing these concerns, the IeSF convoked an emergency session of the IeSF Board to respond," the Federation posted on the official site. "As a result, IeSF shall have two event categories: 'Open for All' events and events that are reserved for women. The events which were initially set aside as the male division will now be open to all genders, and the events which were initially set as the female division will remain as they were."

The IeSF defended its former rationale for segregating men and women in the event, saying that it did so to encourage female players to engage in the tournaments: "The IeSF's female-only competitions aim to bring more diversity to competitive play by improving the representation of women at these events. Without efforts to improve representation, e-sports can't achieve true gender equality."

[To clarify since there's some confusion in the comments: Men can now participate in all five games. Women can now participate in all five games on the same teams as the men. Women can additionally play in women-only brackets for SC2 and Tekken Tag. Those two games are included in the games men can play in the mixed gender lineup (Tekken Tag wasn't available to men originally, just as Hearthstone was blocked from women, but this has been rectified). Neither men nor women are now barred from any game in the tourney.]

The Daily Grind: Should there be a statute of limitations on dev statements?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Like elephants, gamers have wrinkled, grey hides and freely poop all over the savannah. Oh! And like elephants, gamers never forget. They especially never forget anything a developer has said in the past if it ended up being contradicted by the studio or a prelude to a momentous mistake.

I've been guilty of slingshotting these statements back to the point of origin from time to time, and judging by our comments section, there are quite a few of you who get a special thrill out of being able to bludgeon devs with their own words. But lately I've been wondering if there should be a point where we, y'know, just let these quotes go. Time moves on, situations change, and devs are as fallible as the rest of us. Should there be a statute of limitations on dev statements, and if so, how long should that be?

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!

Siege Online gets new expansion, does not take itself too seriously

Fantasy, Historical, Video, Culture, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Patches, PvP, News Items, Humor, Miscellaneous

Siege Online
Ever heard of Siege Online? Neither had we, but we're suckers for "medieval" combat MMOs with hot air balloons, teepees, Moai statues, stone pyramids, and dune buggies, never mind totally anachronistic and anatopistic things like running water. Today, this crazy cat of a game has a new expansion.

Developed by Russian studio Quant Games and published by Mousee Games, Siege Online boasts a tactical battlefield combat system, castle construction, a functional economy, guilds, and PvP zones. The update, dubbed The New Edge, improves some graphical landscaping, adds a newbie tutorial, includes special mounts, adjusts starting zone difficulty, and simplifies building modes.

We've tucked the game's original trailer behind the break. Enjoy!

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Massively Speaking Episode 303: Back to normal

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

Justin's back from his trip and Bree's back from the baby convention (she got hecka swag), which means that Massively Speaking returns to its old patterns: slap fights, yo mama jokes, and keen critical insight into the online gaming industry. The summer's heating up and the podcast crew has a lot to say, so give it a listen!

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: Do you like to tank in MMOs?

Classes, Game Mechanics, PvE, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

No, the other kind of tank.
The very first serious MMO tank I ever played was my day-one Warrior in World of Warcraft. I'd had dozens of characters in MMOs before that, but I was too chicken to step up and actually tank endgame fights. After all, as Massively commenters pointed out, there's a lot more to tanking than just taunting the boss and knowing when to hit your specials. Tanks need leadership and game knowledge far exceeding what's expected of other party archetypes. They're expected to lead the party, to know how the fights work, and to keep everyone else in line. Tanking is setting yourself up for a world of stress and the judgment of strangers. Depending on your temperament, it can become unfun in a hurry.

I still play that Warrior when I resub, Protection-specced for all the days I've played her (minus an hour back in 2006 when I foolishly thought Fury might be nice for a change). But I'm always leery of dungeon-queueing with that character even though I love the actual mechanics of being the meatshield. What about you folks? Do you actually like tanking in MMOs? How do you overcome the stress?

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: Hearthstone's expansion, God of Destiny's greenlighting, and Dead Island's MOBA

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Age of Wushu, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Hearthstone

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.

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H1Z1 releases E3 gameplay demo

Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, H1Z1

Unless you were personally at E3, you didn't get to see the H1Z1 gameplay demo shown to the media, but SOE rectifies that injustice today with a new video in which Senior Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt walks viewers through a version of the same demo shown at the con. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, the video demonstrates resource acquisition, crafting, driving, scavenging, archery, dynamic weather, and more gameplay elements. You know -- killin' baddies, choppin' trees, just a day in the life of a dude with a rusty jeep and a zombie plague chasing him down.

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SOE Live schedule has been posted

EverQuest II, Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, Landmark

It's happening at times!
Today's the last day for SOE Live 2014 early bird registration. Still on the fence about attending? Not sure if there will be enough awesome events there to justify your presence? Good news, then; the official schedule has been posted, so you can figure out exactly what's going down and when. Fan site EQ2Wire has highlighted the general events as well as the material specific to EverQuest Next, EverQuest II, and Landmark.

Landmark players will enjoy the largest number of events, including a special mega-build event on Thursday and a panel explaining how the game will interact with EverQuest Next. There will also be details about the next EverQuest II expansion, previews of combat for EQN and Landmark, and plenty of community Q&A sessions. Take a gander at the full schedule if you need a little more information to justify your attendance.

MMO Week in Review: Draenor drops

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.

Blizzard has frustrated players with its penchant for wide content gaps between World of Warcraft expansions, but this week, the Warlords of Draenor closed beta finally got underway, suggesting it might make its December deadline after all. The studio also slashed prices on the current version of WoW, revealed new character models, previewed a new zone, and was helped along by a friendly Pandaren player.

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

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Neojac is looking to put Atavism MMO creator on Steam

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

Raise your hand if you've ever thought you could do better than a professional MMO dev. Good, now, all of you go and click the link at the bottom of this article that leads to something called Atavism Online. Atavism is billed as an "MMO creator" on its preliminary Steam Greenlight page, and it's essentially a Unity game development environment that handles all the pesky programming, networking, and server administration tasks while enabling creative types to jump in and start developing the actual game.

You might recognize the company behind Atavism, as Neojac is also building an MMO called Neo's Land using this very toolset.

[Thanks omedon666!]

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