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Miscellaneous

One Shots: Mutant masochists

Screenshots, Guild Wars, Culture, One Shots, Mabinogi, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

auto assault
One of the quickest ways to my heart -- and to the top of a weekly One Shots column -- is to send me in something that I haven't seen before or an MMO that hardly ever makes it to my inbox. That's why I'm kicking off with this submission from Zulika featuring Auto Assault, the post-apocalyptic vehicle game that lived but for a brief time.

"Notice the faint quest marker above the head of the lady suspended by chains and hooks. If I remember correctly, this was taken in some quest hub full of mutant masochists. Even though it was just in a game, it still felt odd," wrote Zulika.

Odd in most situations, true, but for MMO players it's just the latest in a long calvacade of weirdness that we witness every day. Let's get this parade going!

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Perfect Ten: Lessons I've learned from working at Massively

Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

wildstar
In spring of 2010, I was asked to come on board Massively primarily as a feature writer who would also do a little news on the side. This opportunity was incredible since I was already blogging multiple times a day about online gaming, so why not be a part of the professional side of writing?

Over four years and nearly two million words written since, I've witnessed a lot here at Massively. I've gotten to interview some big industry names, been allowed to take on fun pet projects, gone to conventions as a member of the press corps, and made a lot of good friends. I've also learned several lessons that have helped me to grow as a person and a writer, and I thought I'd jot a few of those down for one of these lists.

Fun Perfect Ten factoid: When I proposed this column to the editors, I had done extensive research on lists that other sites had done (as to not cover similar territory) and drew up about 40 new topic ideas. In retrospect, it might have been overkill. I could have just written in an email, "People like lists."

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WRUP: Epic-quality tinfoil hats

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

WoW
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 Blizzard totes lied about those DDoS attacks because that doesn't make you sound crazy at all.

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The Daily Grind: Are giant bosses getting ridiculous?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

tsw
While this problem isn't confined solely to MMOs, the enlargening of bosses feels like it's getting out of hand in our genre. Practically every villain is the size of an Airbus while retaining nimble, kinetic posturing more akin to a mongoose. Is it that when these beings got so big they had no other employment options than to be the target of do-gooders?

It simply could be a sign of developer practicality. After all, larger mobs are easier for parties and raids to target and watch over the heads of other players. Also, some people might get a constant kick out of beating up something 50 times their size. "I might not have gotten that job promotion," you think, "But at least I downed Godzilla's broodling and cut off his head to put over my virtual mantle!"

What do you think? Are giant bosses getting ridiculous?

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 8 - 14, 2014

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

EverQuest
World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor launched this week, departing the halls of Betawatch. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? Our complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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Working As Intended: Niche MMOs vs. the everything box

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, MMORPG, Working As Intended

Umzugskarton by HornM201
The MMO industry has lately focused on niche titles, niche communities, niche gameplay. It's not one particular niche, mind you. It's lots of different niches, all being catered to in different titles: PvPers, sadistic gankers, raiders, dungeoners, roleplayers, crafters, explorers, achievers, soloers, storygoers, casuals, hardcores, builders, destroyers, the I'm-skipping-class-for-a-week-to-play-games kids, the I've-got-five-minutes-what-can-I-play parents. There's an MMO or two out there for pretty much every one of us -- and for almost no one else.

So we dutifully buy the one that beckons directly to us, one of these small-minded "MMOs" that offer rewards for a certain playstyle or two but wilfully disregard every other imaginable playstyle. We applaud these games for having the guts to embrace being "niche" because we are convinced that having lots of little niche games is diversity.

And then we wonder where all the players are.

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The Think Tank: Keeping in touch with the friends in the magic box

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

Earlier this week in the comments of the article about MMO social network ZergID, readers went off on a tear about how MMO players keep in touch and communicate with guildies and friends beyond the game -- as my mom used to say, the people in the magic box. What quickly became obvious is that there's no one accepted method. Social media, forums, chats, IMs, Steam, and this crazy invention called a telephone were all mentioned. I thought we could use a more formal discussion, so in today's Think Tank, I asked the Massively writers how they keep in touch with guildies and MMO friends when they're not playing or when they're between games... if they keep in touch at all.

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Blizzard issues thousands (more) Hearthstone bot bans

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Casual, Miscellaneous, Hearthstone

Not just for using bots.  The first expansion is all about goblins and gnomes.  Come on.
Good news, Hearthstone players. If you've been using a bot to automate your gameplay, you'll log in today to find a shiny new prize! Specifically, that shiny new prize is not being able to log in because you've been banned. Your prize was being banned. Blizzard has awarded this prize to "several thousand" Hearthstone accounts using third-party tools to automate gameplay; the bans are permanent, so no need to worry about losing them at the end of the season.

Players who have not been botting and violating the game's TOS will also log in to find a shiny new prize, which is a play environment with far fewer bots. Isn't that nice? The official post reminds players to report suspicious behavior by emailing the development team so that in the future another group of cheaters can wake up to find a brand-new lifetime ban locking them out of the game.

Those of you who can still log in may also want to take the opportunity to vote on the next teaser for the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

NCsoft's third quarter report is glowing; WildStar's revenues are not

Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, WildStar

NCsoft
NCsoft's unaudited third quarter 2014 financial report is in. Do you want the good news first or the bad?

Let's get the bad out of the way. WildStar's revenues plummeted between the second and third quarters, down 42.9% (the sales units in the table above, please note, are in millions of Korean Won). Variable expense, NCsoft wrote, also fell "largely due to decreased box sales of WildStar." Guild Wars 2's revenues also fell slightly over the quarter, down 8.5%.

But the good news is that global sales and operating profit are very much up, up, up in total quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, thanks primarily to the continuing popularity of Aion and classic Lineage.

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

swtor
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

tsw
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.
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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!

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