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MMO Industry

Make My MMO: December 14 - 20, 2014

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Elite: Dangerous launched. Let's hold here for a brief round of applause.

Moving on, Camelot Unchained's Mark Jacobs talked up developmental transparency, and his PvP sandbox closed in on $3 million in total funding. Last but not least, Massively interviewed Shroud of the Avatar gurus Richard Garriott and Starr Long. Click past the cut for more of our weekly crowdfunding roundup.

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The Game Archaeologist: The complete history of classic MMOs

Culture, MMO Industry, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous

uo
Since this is my final Game Archeologist post of 2014, I want to indulge in a personal project that's been pulling at my shirt-tails for a little while now. I've been writing this column for years and have yet to create a proper guide to all of the games and subjects that I've covered. So that's what you're getting today: a "complete" (thus far) history of classic, obscure, and dead MMOs, arranged by decade.

Ever wonder where MMOs began? Wanted to know what online gamers played back in the '90s and '80s? Trying to remember which games never made it to launch? Curious whether I've covered that little-known gem that was your doorway to a larger virtual world? Then take my hand and come with me!

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Betawatch: December 13 - 19, 2014

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

Elite Dangerous
Elite: Dangerous formally launched this week, departing our Betawatch (Gammawatch?) list and flying free into the wilds of the MMO jungle. What else is new in the land of MMO testing?
  • Landmark's closed beta launched PvE combat this week; SOE says it will shift full-time to working on EverQuest Next in early 2015.
  • Shroud of the Avatar's devs spoke to us about its community and development process.
  • Black Desert officially launched into open beta in Korea.
  • Sandvox SkySaga began its alpha phase for UK players.
  • Skyforge launched a beta contest and demoed two classes.
  • Cabal II's closed beta is taking signups; the first focus test is slated for this weekend.
  • Valiance Online kicked off a Steam Greenlight campaign. It's currently in pre-alpha stress testing.
  • Space strategy MMO AD2460 leaves testing and launches on December 29th.
  • MapleStory 2 will begin closed beta signups in Korea next week.
  • Albion Online's winter test begins January 26th.
  • Rainbow Saga softlaunched into open beta.
  • MMORTS Siegelord's closed beta began this week as well.
Read on for the complete Betawatch list.

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Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: MMO of the Year

MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

Massively 2014 Awards
Massively's end-of-the-year awards come to a close today with our 12th and final award, this one the biggun (and usually the most contentious): our MMO of the Year. To be eligible for this award, MMOs must have launched in 2014, full stop. (If you want to know what would win the staff's best-MMO-ever vote, it's Star Wars Galaxies, and now I've saved us all that discussion, and you're welcome.) All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively staff pick for Best MMO of 2014 is...

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Elite: Dangerous scores a HUD color mod and grats from Chris Roberts

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous

If the people making their living this way can be civil, you can do the same in the comments, hmm?
The stage was set for a truly epic battle of words with the launch of Elite: Dangerous. In one corner, David Braben and Elite, a project that's launched and offers a space sandbox experience with the controversy of a removed offline mode. In the other corner, Chris Roberts and Star Citizen, another space sandbox that hasn't actually launched but hasn't managed to irritate its fans yet. The intense rivalry between these two developers is... well... it's nonexistent, actually, as Roberts recently released a letter congratulating Braben and his team on the launch and wishing them the best of luck.

Roberts states in the letter that he's happy to see more games like Elite: Dangerous on the market; he says everyone benefits from having the game on the market, especially since his game and Braben's game both feeling distinct from one another. He also states that he's looking forward to playing the game himself during his time over the holidays. And thus the battle of words never happened because the rivalry doesn't actually exist. Hint, hint.

In other Elite: Dangerous news, an intrepid modder has released a tool to help players change their UI HUD colors. How cool is that?

[Thanks to Oliver, Cardboard, and Carson for the tips!]

The Daily Grind: What MMO do you wish you hadn't waited to try?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Marvel Heroes, Hands-On, Miscellaneous, OARPG

Marvel Heroes
Marvel Heroes is one of those MMOs (OK, pseudo-MMOs) that I reaaaaallly should have given a try a long time ago. Diablo-clone? Check! Superheroes? Check! Picking cars up and slamming them into the pavement? Check! Loot falling outta the sky? Check! When I finally gave it a spin earlier this month, I felt silly for having waited so long, but I kept telling myself it wasn't different enough from the OARPGs I already had to make it worth the download.

Plus, lookit how pretty this part of the UI is. I mean, that is color wheel gamer nirvana right there. I can't even explain how much I want to hug this tab. Happy Christmas to me; now I have a new game with a ton of content stocked up and just waiting for me.

What about you, Massively readers? What MMO are you kicking yourself for not having tried sooner?

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: Massively's MMO industry predictions for 2015

Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

SWTOR
It's that time of year for looking ahead and trying to predict just what will happen in the MMO industry in the year ahead of us. Will we play it safe this year or predict all sorts of wild and crazy things that everyone can quote and laugh about next December? Magic 8 ball says yes. Go big or go home when it comes to predictions!

Join the Massively staffers for this next-to-last Think Tank of the year and share your own predictions in the comments.

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Claims that MMOs are a 'threat to public health' are 'exaggerated' says new study

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

Dr. Rachel Kowert, lead author on the relationship between shyness and online gaming paper that we covered back in October, has just released another study relating to MMOs, this one investigating the psychosocial causes and consequences of online video gameplay.

Due to be published in the science journal Computers in Human Behavior in April 2015, the paper seeks to improve on past research that links online video gaming to loneliness, depression, social anxiety, poor self-esteem, and social incompetence. Kowert and her colleagues from the Universities of Muenster and Hohenheim studied 4500 gamers over 1- and 2-year periods to determine whether negative psychological traits are a consequence of engaging in online games like MMOs or simply act to draw people to online games that help them compensate for those negative traits (the "social compensation hypothesis").

MMORPG gamers will be happy to know that the findings suggest that the latter is true; no, your MMOs won't make you depressed or suddenly unable to manage interpersonal communications:
The results uncovered here do not support the claims that exposure to, or prolonged engagement within, OVG [online video game] spaces negatively impacts players' psychosocial well-being. In that respect, concerns regarding OVGs being a threat to public health seem to be exaggerated. These findings do, however, provide the empirical evidence for a social compensation model among young adult participants, indicating that OVGs have likely become alternative social outlets for young adult players with [low] social and psychosocial resources, as reflected by lower reported life satisfaction and social competence.
In fact, the effect was strongest for young gamers: "For adolescent players, being a member of the online game playing community was found to bolster their reported life-satisfaction."

Stay tuned later this month for a full Massively report on Kowert's MMO-related research.

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Steam discounts lots of MMOs for the holidays

Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

Steam
Steam's winter sale is upon us, which means it's time to celebrate the season the way gamers do: by opening up our wallets. Here are just some of the MMOs running sales through Steam: Anybody spot anything else?

Massively's Best of 2014 Awards: Most Anticipated for 2015 and Beyond

MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous

Massively 2014 Awards
Massively's end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for the Most Anticipated MMO for 2015 and Beyond. Pretty much every MMO that isn't out yet or is planning a major content update in 2015 was eligible for this award. All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively staff pick for Most Anticipated MMO for 2015 and Beyond is...

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WildStar eyes Chinese release

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, WildStar, Subscription

WildStar
WildStar may have a new audience for its sci-fi western ways, as 2P.com reports that the game will be headed to China somewhere between late 2015 and early 2016.

The MMO will be operated by Giant Interactive, which also handles ZT Online. However, NCsoft and Carbine have yet to officially announce the partnership.

A new market for WildStar may be just what the beleaguered title needs to shore up its financials. The Q3 2014 earnings report from NCsoft showed that the new MMO had dropped sales dramatically compared to the previous quarter.

[Thanks to Mason for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: Do single-player games give you a craving for MMOs?

MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Secret World

I made a dent in my Steam backlog this month, and one of the older titles that I finally got around to beating was Alan Wake. This has nothing to do with MMOs, really, except for the fact that the game's creepy atmospherics and its focus on the supernatural made me want to fire up The Secret World.

What about you, Massively readers? Do your single-player adventures ever give you a craving for a particular MMO?

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!

City of Steam is merging EU servers on December 22nd

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, City of Steam, Subscription

And then everyone just burns forever.  I think.  I don't know how merges work.
If you've played City of Steam in the EU and thought to yourself, "Man, there are just too many servers for this game right now," the developers agree with you, which is why the server list is being consolidated down to a single server as of December 22nd. Characters will be automatically transferred, with character names getting server tags to make sure naming issues sorted out before they arise.

Players on the current EU3 server will be receiving a compensation package that includes a 90-day subscription and a variety of other materials for character advancement. The five-characters-per-server limit will be enforced with prejudice; the staff is simply deleting the oldest or least-played characters on an account if the merge puts someone over five characters on the final server. So take care of that issue before it arises on the 22nd.

Leaderboard: Are you playing Elite: Dangerous this week?

Sci-Fi, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Sandbox, Leaderboard, Elite: Dangerous

I'm vacationing from Massively this week, but I'm not vacationing from MMOs. Unless Elite: Dangerous isn't technically an MMO. Maybe it isn't, I dunno, because I haven't played long enough to form an opinion just yet. Anyway, Elite! Launched yesterday! Yay! Maybe after my vacation I'll manage to write something more in depth, but for now that will have to suffice.

What about you, Massively readers? Are you playing Elite this week? If so, what do you think?

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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Camelot Unchained's Mark Jacobs on the warrior class and development transparency

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained

Camelot Unchained
City State Entertainment -- an indie studio that's becoming better known to our readers, I imagine, after it ran away with our poll for best studio last week -- has today posted its first class concept reveal. The tentatively named Drengr is the Viking warrior class, and in its long design document, the studio has outlined just how the archetype fits into the proposed Path system that will govern character development in the crowdfunded RvR MMORPG.

We spoke to CSE's Mark Jacobs about the Path system, warrior reveal, and the impact of transparency on the game development process. Enjoy the interview below!

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