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Revival launches its site, aims to sell houses for cash

Horror, News Items, Miscellaneous, Housing, Crowdfunding

It's like a Kickstarter without the kick or the start.
Revival has just opened the doors to its official site, and it's a sandbox online game with skill-based progression. Or it will be, at least. Contrary to what you would expect from that description in the first sentence, though, there is not a Kickstarter to link to. Instead, the game is planning to help fund itself by selling houses. In-game houses. For real-world cash, right upfront, before the game is out and in the live world.

According to the official site, the rationale is that real estate in the game world is limited, and rather than have generic housing templates, every house has pre-determined architecture and layout to properly fit with the world as a whole. You will also be able to buy ships and take part in sailing, again for real-world money. It's the designer's alternative to ever running any sort of Kickstarter or other crowdfunding campaign; whether or not it seems like a sound investment is up to the potential players.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: How do you feel about flying mounts in MMOs?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

When World of Warcraft introduced flying mounts with The Burning Crusade, I immediately saw it as a mistake, a viewpoint that I maintain until this day. For those that disagree, you have to address why the studio itself kept coming up with reasons to "ground" pilots in subsequent expansions. I think that even the devs know that it was a mistake but Pandora's Box was opened and there was no shutting it.

For the record, I'm not against flying mounts in general, just in games not designed from the ground-up to have them. They tend to trivialize and shrink the game world, since you can just fly over any obstacles and spend your time looking at featureless sky instead of hand-designed landscape. As in real life, I'm OK keeping my feet on the ground in games most of the time.

What's your position on flying mounts? Bonus points if you include examples of both bad and good flight implementation.

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!

Global Chat: Why we blog

World of Warcraft, Culture, Opinion, The Secret World, RIFT, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar

Why an MMO player decides that he or she needs to take up an additional hobby of writing about these games isn't much of a mystery. We may all blog about a huge variety of topics, but the impetus behind it tends to be very common: We have so many thoughts about and so much love for these games that we can't hold it in.

To blog is to open up and share experiences, observations, and hopes. It's to connect with others and to perhaps give another layer of meaning to the time that we spend in-game. We don't blog because we have to; we blog because we simply could not not blog.

So let's see a few examples of what MMO bloggers couldn't keep inside of them! From spooky stories to rapturous tales of exploration, it's a testament to the power of words and goofy rejoinders.

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Massively Speaking Episode 321: From Titan's ashes

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

When an MMO dies and a game is born out of its ashes, wouldn't the appropriate name for that game be Phoenix? On this week's podcast, Bree and Justin talk about BlizzCon's reveals, a really rough week for a recently released game, and an unexpected shutdown notice for a MOBA in the making.

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.
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Listen here on the page:

Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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ZergID, an MMO social network, enters public beta today

Betas, Culture, News Items, Browser, Miscellaneous

It's exactly what someone thought you wanted.
Have you ever found yourself wishing specifically to have a social network meant to support you as an MMO player while also delivering piping-hot pastrami sandwiches right to your front door? Good because that's what ZergID is here for. Except for the pastrami sandwich part; you need to make your own sandwiches. But it is a newly announced social network designed for MMO players, with built-in support for the things that you need whilst playing multiple MMOs.

The site features profile support for multiple characters and guilds across several games, play session scheduling across games (with reminders for those who miss raid night or PvP night or hot dog night or whatever), and all of the usual bits and bobs you'd expect from a social network. If that sounds like just what you want from social networking, you can try it out now, as the site is entering its public beta today.

[Source: ZergID press release]

The Daily Grind: Should MMOs have a 'raid stat'?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Miscellaneous, WildStar

Last week, WildStar dev J-Tal outright apologized for the game's poor solo progression, stating that Carbine is "well aware that solo progression in WildStar is pretty much non-existent" and is working on the problem. But as I was researching that quote, what caught my eye is the post right after J-Tal's mea culpa, a benign little question by a player named Nike Online:
If progression is driven by need, why is there not a budget-hungry 'raid stat' that only provides benefit inside raid instances and keeps those drops more sedate when taken out into the open world? [...] PvP gear has its own stats to protect its environement from outside gear coming in and dominating. PvP power/defense also drain budget from those items so that it's not the optimal open-world gear.
Lots of games have tried PvP stats (for example, World of Warcraft's now-defunct spell penetration and resillience), but I've never seen the equivalent for raid gear. It's definitely a band-aid on a game with innate design and balance issues, but it does seem to solve the problem of overgeared raiders trampling the open world. What do you think: Should MMOs have a "raid stat"?

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: Overwatch's reveal, Hearthstone's expansion, and Dawngate's sunset

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Lore, New Titles, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Consoles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, HEX, Hearthstone, The Division, OARPG, Overwatch

NSM - Overwatch
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.
  • Blizzard announced online team-shooter Overwatch at BlizzCon. Chris Metzen says Blizzard is trying to build a more representative game with less hypersexualization.
  • Hearthstone is launching in December and getting a new expansion: Goblins vs. Gnomes.
  • EA's MOBA Dawngate is shutting down in three months.
  • League of Legends introduced Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance.
  • MMOTCG HEX dropped its beta key requirement but denied that it is in open beta.
  • Heroes of the Storm's closed beta starts January 13th. It's also getting a sweet Diablo III-themed map.
  • Diablo III previewed its upcoming season. According to content designer Kevin Martens, Diablo was once considered for an MMO, but no longer.
  • David Braben says Elite: Dangerous' December 16th launch date is "sensible."
  • Star Citizen passed $60 million in fundraising.
  • Quirky indie MMOFPS Hunternet boasts 700-player battles.
  • World of Tanks' 9.4 patch added Stalingrad map and tweaked strongholds.
  • The Crew hinted at a new "PvP mode" and season passes.
  • MechWarrior Online's latest dev vlog covered inner sphere quirks and faction switching.
  • Ubisoft said that The Division's PC experience won't suffer because of consoles.
  • Some jerk swatted a Bungie/Destiny exec; the internet demands prison time for said jerk.
  • The latest World of Speed vid features nearly four minutes of gameplay.
  • Bigpoint's Shards of War introduced a new sentinel, Vox.
  • Undead Labs discussed balance in Moonrise.
  • Dota is now the subject of a course at Chongqing Energy College in China.

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Diablo was once considered for an MMO, but no longer

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Consoles, Miscellaneous, Diablo III

At this point it would be shocking enough to have Diablo mentioned consistently.  Again.
In many ways Diablo III seemed like the sort of game that would lead naturally into an MMO for the franchise. The online functionality is there, the options are there, and it's not as if Blizzard's big MMO didn't derive quite a bit from the framework of Diablo II, after all. But according to content designer Kevin Martens, there are no current plans to take the franchise into an MMO space, even though there were plans to do exactly that not too long ago.

The original thinking was that Diablo III would be the sort of game that could evolve its setting to a point where an MMO felt organic, natural, and appropriate. However, a shift in corporate culture and overall development focus cut those plans short before they went much further than discussion. Seeing how players enjoy Diablo III and what they like about the game has resulted in a shift in focus with more future content for the game... but no MMO exploration.

MMO Week in Review: BlizzCon 2014

Events (Real-World), News Items, Massively Meta, Events (Massively's Coverage), 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.

BlizzCon 2014 dominated the weekend in all corners of the Joystiq network, Massively included. Blizzard not only announced OFPS Overwatch but spilled details on Hearthstone's upcoming expansion, Diablo III, Heroes of the Storm, the Warcraft movie, and the World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor expansion launching this coming Thursday. We've rounded up all the best bits from Massively and WoW Insider right here!
Liveblogging the opening ceremonies of BlizzCon 2014
World of Warcraft Q&A liveblog
World of Warcraft items, class changes liveblog
Blizzard announces new charity pet for ebola relief efforts
Warcraft movie panel liveblog
Blizzard takes on superheroes with Overwatch
Live blogging the Overwatch panel
Overwatch hands-on gameplay impressions
The heroes of Overwatch
Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion announced
Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes cards and mechanics
Diablo III previews Season 2
Heroes of the Storm panel

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

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One Shots: Snowblind

Screenshots, Culture, Star Trek Online, One Shots, Champions Online, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

Water comes in many forms: gas, liquid, squirt gun, and cheaper beverage option to Olive Garden's wine menu. It can also be frozen in a variety of ways, which makes it perfect for an aquatic-themed expansion as seen in our first screenshot for the week.

"Here's a picture from RIFT's expansion, Nightmare Tide," reader Bill sent in. "This is from the glacier area above the main city. The main city is deep underwater and is protected by a blue 'bubble' that extends just above the water line. To reach the upper areas, you use a bouncer (near portals) that shoots you up and into the water."

Caution: Do not look at this screenshot for too long, lest you be robbed of your sight by the blinding glare.

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The Game Archaeologist: Four online sci-fi titles no one remembers

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous

In the MMO industry, science fiction has always taken the role of the overlooked little brother to big sister fantasy's popularity. Sure, there have been several online games that eschewed dungeons and dragons for spaceships and solar radiation poisoning, but even today the fantasy genre continues to be the dominant one in the genre.

So not only have we had fewer online sci-fi games, but the ones that have attempted to make in-roads are all too soon forgotten. Over the years that I've been researching and writing The Game Archaeologist, I continue to come across these little games that have been all but forgotten by modern gamers, and many of these titles are indeed of a sci-fi bent. This week I'll be taking a look at four such games, including one that never even made it to launch, in an attempt to acknowledge their place at the family dinner table.

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WRUP: Blizz Fortress

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 at least Titan's assets didn't go to waste.

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The Daily Grind: What's holding you back from playing indie MMOs?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Ascent passed its Kickstarter campaign goal last week, for which I say, "Jolly good for it!" It's an ambitious little space sandbox that I'd really like to see succeed, if only for the size of the sole developer's eyes as he sits down to program an entire universe. Yet I doubt that I'll ever play it, and that bothers me.

Smaller MMOs may have really cool ideas, but I have a hard time getting over the tiny populations and the increased potential for such titles to go belly-up if they can't make ends meet. Plus, indie MMOs tend to be more rough around the edges, and I've grown lazy and fat on far more polished titles.

Perhaps that's really wrong of me. What about you? What's holding you back from playing indie 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!

Betawatch: November 1 - 7, 2014

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

Trove departs the Betawatch list this week, having soft-launched with an open beta destined to go unwiped. Heroes of the Storm will head to closed beta on January 13th. And Blizzard announced Overwatch, a team-based online shooter that'll hit beta in 2015. What else is new in the world of MMO testing?
  • The Repopulation lowered its alpha access pledge prices from $100 to $25.
  • Elite: Dangerous will be emerging from beta and launching on December 16th.
  • Skyforge's first technical beta weekend begins November 13th.
  • MMOTCG HEX dropped its beta key requirement, so it's in open beta, but the studio says it's not in open beta. So yeah.
  • Dawngate announced a sunset while it was still in beta.
  • Korean MMO Echo of Soul immigrates to North America and Europe next year. Beta signups are live.
  • Gigantic will greatly expand its alpha test this fall.
  • Star Citizen passed $60 million in fundraising.
  • Watch two hours of in-beta Civilization Online unfold.
  • Indie MMOFPS Hunternet was revealed; it's currently in alpha.
  • The international version of Journey to the West enters closed beta tomorrow on November 8th.
  • Kingdom Rift began open alpha on November 3rd.
The complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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BlizzCon 2014: Liveblogging the Overwatch panel

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Overwatch

At least square-jawed stubble guy isn't in the existing roster, so thanks for that!
If you wanted to sit down and watch the opening panel for BlizzCon 2014, you could without any need for a virtual ticket. If you wanted to watch the Overwatch panel announced shortly after they announced Overwatch itself... well, you can't do that. But if you have the ticket, you can, and you can always just catch up as I blog information about the game down in the comments.

As before, important information will be revealed past the break as I post things. So, is Overwatch the redone version of Titan? (Almost certainly.) Is it more than just Blizzard's version of Team Fortress 2? (Um.) Find out down there in the comments and find the collected information past the break!

BlizzCon returns to Anaheim during the weekend of November 7th and 8th, 2014! Whether you're anticipating World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion or the latest news from Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm, we aim to have it covered!

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