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Miscellaneous

WRUP: The WRUP awakens

Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

At least there's no chance anyone will let us play Uncle Owen and then take it away again. Because he's dead.
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 studio is going to be the first to turn Episode VII into a F2P themepark WoW clone.

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The Daily Grind: Is your character religious?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

rift
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like your character's choice of religion (or not) was far more of a feature of pen-and-paper RPGs than in most CRPGs and MMOs. I can't think of many MMOs where you're ever asked to assign a fictional religion or deity to your character, save perhaps for Neverwinter's cosmetic choice and a more beneficial (and optional) selection in EverQuest II. Oh, and I think that some of the Guild Wars 2 races ask you to pick a deity as part of your personal story, so there's that.

But that doesn't mean that your character can't have a deity to worship, if only in your own mind. After all, combat prowess isn't the beginning, middle, and end of character development. Does your character adhere to one of the faiths in the game? Does he or she have a patron saint of the underdark that is prayed to on a regular basis?

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 22 - 28, 2014

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

Elite
Elite: Dangerous launched its final gamma build for backers this week; official launch for everyone else is December 16th. Latecomers can still play the single-player version through the Mercenary edition. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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Ask Massively: Ridiculing e-sports is bad for MMOs

Culture, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, MOBA, E-sports

LoL
I don't love e-sports. I've never really been a fan. I used to enjoy spectating Guild Wars matches, but only in short bursts. Truth is, I prefer playing in PvP to watching it. I feel that way about real sports too; the ones I like, I'd rather play than watch. (Except tennis. I have no idea why, but I could watch that all day.)

And if the MMORPG community's comments are any judge, I am not alone in my indifference to e-sports. Actually, "indifference" is probably too tame a word; some MMO gamers are outright hostile to e-sports, be those e-sports jammed into proper MMORPGs or waaaaay out on the fringes of the online gamosphere.

That hostile ridicule of e-sports, however, degrades online gaming, our corner of it as much as anyone's.

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Massively's Black Friday MMO sales and deals roundup

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

WoW
Happy Black Friday, everyone! We've been keeping an eye on MMO-related sales and promotional events just for you. Here are a few of the bigguns that might be worth taking advantage of today and through the weekend:
  • Guild Wars 2's digital versions are 50% off through the official website until December 7th.
  • World of Warcraft -- well, the bundle with everything but Warlords of Draenor -- is 75% off through December 2nd.
  • WildStar is on sale for 50% off, so $19.99, for a "limited time" on the official site and at other retailers.
  • ArcheAge has a bunch of marketplace items on sale, along with two new mounts.
  • Today only, SOE is offering double Station Cash, spendable in most of its MMOs.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has hinted that a large (possibly hourly) Cartel Market sale is on the way today.
  • All of Perfect World's MMOs have sales running over the next few days; of note to us are sales in Neverwinter, Champions Online, Swordsman, and Star Trek Online, the last of which is offering not just a cash shop sale but a sale on lifetime subs.
  • Lord of the Rings Online is offering double bonus points in its cash shop and bonus XP in-game.
  • Wargaming has festivities and sales planned for World of Tanks and World of Warplanes.
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online is offering +20% XP through Sunday.
  • RIFT is not only selling the classic collector's editions, character slots, and bag slots at 50% off but making the newest expansion available to buy via credits for the first time.
  • TERA has a slew of cash shop item goodies on sale, including bundles with mounts and character slots.
  • Marvel Heroes' multiple sales extend to Cyber Monday. (Update: MJ tells us that logging in Saturday will grant you a free remote-controlled Blackbird jet pet!)

And don't forget all the MMOs and MMO bundles/DLC on sale on Steam for the fall sale, as well. Elder Scrolls Online and The Secret World are among them!

If you know of others -- and we're sure there are several -- sound off in the comments!

The Daily Grind: Are superhero MMOs doomed to be niche?

Super-hero, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Comics, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Valiance Online
When Valiance Online launched its Kickstarter a few weeks ago, Massively's commenters posed an interesting debate over the viability of the superhero MMO market in general, not just the workability of a genre with three competing City of Heroes spin-offs. Some readers are convinced that the superhero genre is too risky and niche for MMORPGs, noting that the existing superhero MMOs have been more or less solid but small, nowhere near World of Warcraft huge. Fantasy, and to a lesser extent sci-fi, just dominates this scene. (Although we had a moment of hope when Blizzard first revealed Overwatch, it turned out to not really be much of an MMO.)

And yet superheroes are killing it in movie theaters; the comic genre has transcended geek culture to become thoroughly mainstream. There should be a huge audience for such games, and superhero MMOs just plain make sense: They're an ideal setting for fun skills and powers, beating up bad guys, and dressing up in costumes.

So what's the deal? Why haven't we seen a staggeringly huge superhero MMO? Are they in fact too niche after all?

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: Giving thanks for MMOs

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

WoW
Indulge us a little today, won't you? In our Think Tank today, we the Massively writers gather 'round the virtual feasting table on our virtual golden yacht to express thanks for those MMO-related things we're grateful for. Won't you share yours down in the comments also? We can get back to arguing over raidmills and gankboxes tomorrow -- I promise.

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Hear the Glitch soundtrack in concert

Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Miscellaneous, Music

Whether Glitch was brilliant or not is a debate I am not interested in having.  Ever.  Yes, I heard you, you miss it.  Please do not flood my inbox.
How many of you like to talk about Glitch? Wow, that many? That's great, but please quiet down for right now; there's time to talk in the comments. It's not a question you need to answer out loud. Besides, if you're super enthusiastic about the memory of the game, you have an opportunity to experience a slice of it for yourself in concert.

To celebrate the release of Glitch's soundtrack, a concert is being held on January 24th, 2015, in Toronto. Tickets are $20, and all proceeds go directly to the musicians taking part in the concert. As of this writing, the planned attendance isn't high, but we're pretty sure that will change as more people get wind of the concert.

Can't make it to Canada in the middle of January? The Glitch website still offers free downloads for many of its music tracks.

The Soapbox: Six reasons MMOs should abandon raiding, part 3

Culture, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

Sometimes you just need to cut away the disease.
In parts one and two of this Soapbox miniseries, I tackled four of the reasons the MMO genre should abandon raiding as a central gameplay element, but one key argument has been left out until now: The social aspect of raiding.

Whatever else is true of raiding, it is definitely social. Communities spring up and keep going largely based on that raiding community, to the point that it's easy to assume that everyone in a game's population raids. There are lengthy discussions about raiding, about how to raid, about tips and tricks for clearing raids. The social aspect of raids is what I think has kept them around so long; it's easy for a designer to look at that sort of engagement and see it as vital.

Yet there's more to the story than might be available at a glance, and the social aspect is not without steep costs. Those social elements do not carry the weight of everything else... mostly because they aren't as strong as they appear.

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The Daily Grind: Does nostalgia impact your gameplay?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

swtor
The MMO industry has been kicking around long enough now that we have ample opportunity to opine about the "good old days" (March 22nd through the 26th, 2003) and get nostalgic about practically everything.

We've got MMO sequels that reference their ancestors. We've got MMOs that have several Easter eggs pointing to their single-player title origins. We've got game designs that are coming back into style after being left out in the cold for many years. We have MMOs that use every marketing trick in the book to get old veterans to come on back for another romp. And we have a plethora of crowdfunded games that rely on plucking that nostalgic nerve to get you to open your wallet.

So in the MMO genre, does nostalgia impact your gameplay at all? If so, how?

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: Gamers Secret Santa

EverQuest II, Culture, Events (Real-World), Dragon Nest, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Neverwinter

rift
One of the yearly traditions in the blogosphere that I always look forward to is Stargrace's Annual Gamers Secret Santa. Currently in its sixth year, Gamers Secret Santa accepts any and all who want to sign up to be a part of a gift exchange. You'll end up sending a gift ($20 maximum) to someone and will receive a gift from another person during the month of December. There's even a digital exchange for more remote locations.

It's always a blast to see what gifts I end up getting (and they are always geeky), and I wanted to encourage others to be a part of this. You'll need to sign up by December 1st if you do, however! It's grown every year, but this year I'm giving a bit of Massively publicity, so let's see if we can make this the biggest year ever!

Another blogger-driven Christmas initiative is Syl's Blogosphere Xmas Countdown, during which she's assigning various blogs a day to write about the theme of positive gaming and community. Keep an eye on MMO Gypsy to see this advent countdown progress!

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The Soapbox: Six reasons MMOs should abandon raiding, part 2

Game Mechanics, Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

Time to take on the stock.
In yesterday's Soapbox, I had some things to say about why it's time to dump raiding. I'm writing this before I've seen the comment responses, but I'm willing to bet that a fair amount of angry shouting was involved in the comments because that's what I usually expect. But I wasn't done, as suggested by the whole "part 1" thing in the title header.

For those don't feel like reading the whole thing, the short version is that raiding is too expensive to develop for too small a portion of the players. This is a solid argument, but it's standard: You hear it every time this debate comes up. In some ways, it's the foundation of the argument against raiding beyond the reality that most people say they just don't like raiding.

There's more to be said, though, and there are more serious issues up for discussion. Raiding isn't just expensive in terms of development. It's expensive in lots of ways.

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SKIES opens up its Kickstarter campaign

Sci-Fi, New Titles, News Items, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

Seven hundredth verse, basically the same as the first.
It's Tuesday, so that means it's time for another MMO to launch on Kickstarter, and here we are with SKIES. But to the great surprise of any and all reading this, instead of an open PvP fantasy sandbox, it's a post-apocalyptic pseudo-sandbox. That's novel, at least. The campaign is running until December 23rd; developer Eforb LLC set a target of $350,000 for development and several stretch goals..

SKIES is being pitched as a sort of hybrid between FPS, MMORPG, and single-player RPG; it includes dialogue options while dealing with NPCs and a number of economic and supply options. Take a look at the page if it sounds like an interesting prospect (and you can tolerate some iffy translations on the project page).

A glance at Civilization Online's robust character creator

Video, Previews, News Items, MMORTS, Miscellaneous

Could we just get the character creator even if we don't get the game?
Let's cut to the chase: Past the break, we have two videos embedded showing off Civilization Online's character creator, which you can use the next time anyone starts talking about the challenges of body sliders with stylized art. It doesn't take much to see that the characters here are pretty heavily stylized, but despite that, the character creator features a huge array of options, sliders, and details.

Many of the creation options are controlled by a grab-and-pull system similar to the one seen in The Sims 4, making adjustments to body dimensions more instinctive. There's no official timeline for when Civilization Online will come to the US, so you'll have to either wait or get familiar with Korean if you want to try this out for yourself.

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The Daily Grind: What's the ideal subscription rate for an MMO?

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Subscription

Massively reader BlackArmsAkimbo recently opined that WildStar wasn't worth a $15 monthly sub but he'd seriously consider paying $5. On the surface, it might seem silly -- why quibble over $10? You can barely buy a burger and fries for that in a big city. But maybe we don't think of subs in terms of money at all -- subs are being compared not to the value of fast food but to the value of other MMOs that charge the same price.

The traditional MMO sub sat at $10 for several years before jumping up to $15, a number that World of Warcraft adopted and cemented as The Standard for the industry, which means that nearly every sub MMO that's launched in the last 10 years also charges $15. Every MMO is ultimately compared to WoW in terms of value for that sub. And every game that does charge less is assumed to be lesser, which is hardly fair -- consider how much content RuneScape's £4.95 a month gets a sandbox gamer.

I know I'd be more likely to keep up a bunch of subs if they were cheaper, but that's because I've mentally moved on to comparing an MMO's value to Guild Wars 2's, not WoW's, and I get a lot for my box fee from GW2. What about you? What do you think is the ideal subscription rate for an MMO?

[Edit: In a complete but ironic coincidence as this post was written last week, RuneScape just announced a subscription hike today.]

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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