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WRUP: Best geeky rom-com ever

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 wipe away a tear because the Jedi Guardian who re-sparked Jef's flame for Star Wars actually stumbled into his post and they fell in love and got married because of SWTOR but not really. But wouldn't that make a great geeky rom-com?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best newbie support system?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Everybody's a new player to a particular MMO at some point, even if grizzled vets would like you to believe that they were already at the level cap when the cosmos came into being. I think it's easy to forget how complex and mystifying these games can be to a fresh set of eyes, especially when one is coming into the game long after launch.

That's why I always applaud an MMO that puts an emphasis on supporting newbies with helpful advice and even structured mentorships. Two examples come to mind: Fallen Earth has a terrific help channel that's staffed with volunteers and CMs on a regular basis, and Anarchy Online had a player advisory group that roams the beginner zones looking to help lost players.

So which MMO do you think has the best newbie support system?

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: July 5 - 11, 2014

World of Warcraft, Betas, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Shroud of the Avatar, Pathfinder Online, Landmark

ArcheAge
ArcheAge dazzled MMORPG players this week with the announcement that its closed beta will kick off on July 17th. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup for the week of July 5th to 11th is below.

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Star Wars Galaxies lead designer passes away

Real-Life, MMO Industry, Miscellaneous

SWG
Massively is saddened by the news that veteran MMO designer Ben Hanson has passed away, according to a recent tweet by friend and fellow designer Raph Koster.

Koster and Hanson worked together on Star Wars Galaxies's Jump to Lightspeed expansion, on which Hanson was the lead content designer. In addition to working at SOE, Hanson worked with Simutronics, Origin, ArenaNet, and Digital Anvil during his long career.

Our deepest condolences go out to Ben Hanson's family and friends.

The Daily Grind: Is the term free-to-play intentionally misleading?

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Mobile, Miscellaneous

Earlier this month, Britain's Advertising Standards Authority barred EA from advertising its mobile game Dungeon Keeper as "free-to-play." Why? Because Dungeon Keeper has a countdown timer that blocks progress in the game, a timer that can be bypassed with money. "From the information available in the ad, players would expect the gameplay progression and their ability to advance to be unhindered by unexpected and excessively onerous delays," wrote ASA, "and we therefore considered that the length and frequency of these countdown events was beyond that which would be reasonably expected by players. [...] While we understood that the average consumer would appreciate that free-to-play games were likely to contain monetization functions, we considered that they would also expect the play experience of a game described as 'free' to not be excessively restricted."

Welcome, ASA, to the MMO community's endless debate over what constitutes free-to-play! This "free-to-wait" game mechanic is nothing new to us; it pervades mobile titles as well as many MMORTS titles and indie MMOs (Glitch and Villagers and Heroes come to mind). As a gamer, I find the mechanic not so much exploitative as obnoxious, and I'd rather not see it spread. But I spy a slippery slope here. Do you think the ASA is right? Are MMOs with this mechanic (or similar mechanics) misleading consumers? Which F2P games could be legitimately F2P under the ASA's understanding of the term?

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: Finding the magic in MMOs

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

About a month ago, a Massively reader wrote to our team to ask for help on an issue many of us -- and probably many of you -- struggle with: a genre with lots of games and not enough stickiness (and patience!).
I've been around the MMO block (since EverQuest); I even dabbled in Meridian 59. And I keep seeing game articles that make me want to try or retry lots of MMOs, but between my schedule and investment in other titles already, I cannot bring myself to jump into old or new games for more than a few play sessions. There's so many to play that I just can't bring myself to settle down for a little bit to really get enough of the experience to enjoy it.

For example, I recently played Asheron's Call for a total of three hours after subbing and reading articles that compelled me to try it. But it felt foreign and clunky. I couldn't stick around to really appreciate it. I fear the same results in other games I'd like to try. Can you give me advice on shedding the urge to judge and dismiss a game if it doesn't click with me immediately? Is there a way to not be jaded or lazy with being a newbie (yet again) in older titles? Help me play more MMOs for the sake of experience and new loves!

- MMO junkie seeking help "finding the magic"
I polled the team for advice in this week's Think Tank!

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Raptr's Most Played PC list shows strong start for WildStar

MMO Industry, New Titles, Miscellaneous

Raptr
Raptr has released its Most Played PC Games list for June 2014 and we spot six MMOs gracing the company's list this time around. As no surprise to anyone, World of Warcraft still dominates in the number 3 spot, behind League of Legends and Dota 2, but we also see WildStar's debut at number 6. World of Tanks, Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, and The Elder Scrolls Online finish out the remaining MMOs on the list.

Interestingly enough, The Elder Scrolls Online's hours played were nearly cut in half from May to June, and Star Wars: The Old Republic was bumped from the list entirely. It's important to note that these rankings are only based on hours played by those who use Raptr for each play session. Check out the complete infographic and press release after the cut.

[Source: Raptr press release]

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PAX South tickets go on sale

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Miscellaneous

PAX South
The newest PAX has finally opened its virtual doors to registration! PAX South tickets are now on sale on the official website, although at the time of this writing there was a queue to purchase them.

Attendees can buy one-day passes for $30 or a three-day pass for $65. PAX South is limiting purchases to four badges per person, with children six and under admitted free with a paying adult. There are no refunds.

The convention will take place in San Antonio, Texas, from January 23rd through the 25th, 2015.

Leaderboard: What should I play for fun?

MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Miscellaneous, Leaderboard

The world's smallest violin, playing just for the waitresses
Holy cow, folks, I have a problem! Admittedly it's a first-world problem, but it's a problem nonetheless. See, I have limited time. And there are just too many interesting games either out right now or coming out later this year or releasing meaty updates in the near future, etc.

Even if I retired tomorrow, I wouldn't have time to scarf up all of this awesome gaming goodness. Maybe you can feel my pain in this regard and maybe you can't. Regardless, you can click past the cut and boss me around narrow my focus for the remainder of 2014. Care to help a brother out?

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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The Daily Grind: Should devs give up on raid content?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

wildstar
It's certainly not a new concept that raids make up one of the smallest player populations in MMOs while sucking up a considerable amount of development time. Turbine's essentially given up on them for Lord of the Rings Online, while WildStar is double-downing on them from the get-go.

In the interest of allocating resources -- money, time, and manpower -- to impact the game the most, should developers stop making raid content for MMOs? I'm not saying to give up on small-group content, as that's far more popular, but the giant raids that seem to appeal only to the most hardcore guilds. Would those resources be better spent developing content that the majority of the playerbase will experience?

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: Being the bad guy

Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Guild Wars 2, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, Destiny

gw2
As an MMO enthusiast blog, Massively has always had a special appreciation of the dedicated (and unpaid!) writing that gamers put out on their own blogs every day. Every week there are dozens if not hundreds of terrific posts on MMOs out there, and since I'm the resident loon here who reads pretty much all of them, I decided to start up a biweekly column to point you in the direction of some of the best discussions going on in the blogosphere. We'll see posts on specific games and general topics, geeky gushings and zany rantings.

For our inagural edition of Global Chat (yes, I'm recycling the name from a long-dormant feature on this site), we'll take a look at how outfits tie into identity, surviving MMOs as a chicken, a requiem for a gold farmer, and so much more!

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Massively Speaking Episode 304: On the hook!

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

lotro
Industry news clashes with game news this week, so whether you're interested in the meta or simply the beta, we've got a bit from both columns! In this episode, Bree and Justin discuss gooey monsters, why raiding is the most awesomest thing ever, and decorating houses on Tatooine.

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!

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Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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A preview of the third closed beta for wuxia MMO Moonlight Blade

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Miscellaneous

If you wanted to see more things you may or may not ever have, well, here you go.  (Image via Steparu.)
Would you say there's a distinct lack of wuxia MMORPGs in your life at the moment? Then you might be interested in learning more about Moonlight Blade, a wuxia game published by Tencent and currently in the midst of its third beta test in China. Steparu recently discussed the beta test, covering everything from missions and quests to character customization, with the caveat that the author doesn't speak a word of Chinese and has muddled through much of the game with the help of friends.

Moonlight Blade features three different combat modes based on player preference, ranging from traditional point-and-click gameplay to fully active combat. While the game looks gorgeous, according to the beta review it's still very buggy and the combat lacks some satisfying impact. Check out the full piece if it seems like something you'd be interested in; there's no word on a Western release, but showing interest can't hurt.

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The Daily Grind: Are MMO class consumables due for a revival?

Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

GW2
While most MMO players are probably familiar with consumables in MMOs like food and drinks or even enchantments and gems, class consumables like spell reagents and ammo are now fairly rare but used to be a lot more common. Ultima Online, EverQuest, and Asheron's Call, for example, all included a reagent mechanic. For many years, Ultima Online's mages carried sacks of such reagents required and consumed by each spell they hoped to cast. High-end raid-related spells in EQ ate expensive gems, and AC1's reagents had a chance to go up in a puff of smoke each time your cast fizzled.

Themeparks like Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft have veered away from this design path. In fact, WoW itself started life requiring reagents for special spells and ammunition for bow- and gun-wielding classes, but Blizzard removed them several years ago in the pursuit of both simplicity and class balance. After all, it wasn't very fair to require only some classes to spend extra gold and take up weight or inventory space on consumables.

Still, such mechanics added a level of immersion as well as annoyance. What do you think -- do class consumables deserve to make a comeback in MMORPGs?

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: Destiny's beta, The Witcher's MOBA, and the IeSF's gender ban fiasco

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Lore, Previews, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, Transformers Universe, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Hearthstone

NSM
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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