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Opinion

Perfect Ten: My World of Warcraft launch memories

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Perfect Ten, Subscription

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I'm really not a big fan of those constant reminders from the media as to how much time has gone by using pop culture are reference points. I'm really not. So I kind of hate myself for saying this, but friends, next month will be World of Warcraft's 10th anniversary! Ten years! How old are we now!

Back in November of 2004, I was a wide-eyed 28-year-old bachelor who had just met his future wife and was generally leery about MMOs to date. Now I'm a grizzled 38-year-old journalist, father of three, and veteran of more MMOs than I can count (because I cannot count past 22). A decade can contain so much history, especially when looked back all at once.

I played World of Warcraft for many years, and while most of the memories have faded and merged together in a technicolor morass, there are a few vivid recollections of the launch period that stir emotions in me even today. Ten years, 10 launch memories. I think that's appropriate.

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The Daily Grind: What are you doing for MMO Halloween?

Culture, Events (In-Game), Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Ah... don't you just love this time of year: Pumpkin spice pepper spray, eternally uneaten Charlston Chews, and decaying tree dandruff everywhere. And in many of our MMOs, spooky festivities and events have arisen to mark the passage of Halloween.

So what are you doing for Halloween in-game this year? There's a lot going on, but I'm most excited to be jumping back into my favorite haunted berth, The Secret World, and exploring a brand-new seasonal questline with friends. Of course, every day in TSW is Halloween, but this time of year it's more so than ever!

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!

Lost Continent: Living a fisherman's life in ArcheAge

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Guides, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Crafting, Lost Continent

Fifteen years ago, I was floundering around southern Florida in a rudderless post-graduation haze. I rented this dinky apartment across US1 from the University of Miami, and my summers were equally divided between a series of forgettable jobs and a series of lengthy fishing excursions around the Keys and out into the Atlantic.

The fishing was basically something to do; I didn't dislike it, but neither did I wake up thinking wow, I can't wait to get that gooey chum all over my shorts and bake in the sun for 10 hours.

Now, in an odd but enjoyable art-imitating-life moment, I'm revisiting the experience in ArcheAge.

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BioWare on SWTOR's Revan expansion, upcoming species, and class stories

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Interviews, Launches, Patches, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, MMORPG

SWTOR Interview: Capping off the Revan story
Star Wars fans are super excited about the next digital expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic releasing on December 9th. First off, it's Star Wars, and second, it deals with one of the most iconic Star Wars figures outside the movies: Revan.

I recently talked to some key figures at BioWare to ask them about Shadow of Revan. On the phone call and livestream, Charles Boyd, the lead writer for the expansion, not only gave an overview of the story but played a bit live. Producer Bruce Maclean discusssed the production side of the game. And even Game Director James Ohlen popped onto the call to let us know how much this expansion means to him.

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The Think Tank: What will MMOs look like a decade from now?

World of Warcraft, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

WoW
A reader in my Working As Intended column last week penned this thought-provoking gem:
"I have no idea what games will look like say in 10 years time. I am sure some of these current games will still be going and doing well because of the investment of those playing them now. What new stuff will be coming out then, I have no idea, especially as the 'Minecraft generation' gets older."
What will the Minecraft generation make of World of Warcraft? What will MMOs look like in 10 years? These are the questions I asked Massively's writers in today's Think Tank.

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The Daily Grind: What's the best SWTOR class story?

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic's class story leveling promotion is currently underway, and it seems like a good time to focus on the so-called fourth pillar of MMOs for this morning's Daily Grind.

Assuming you've completed all eight arcs, which story is your favorite? If you haven't completed all eight, there will probably be spoilers in the comments, so steer clear if you like to be surprised.

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!

Leaderboard: Which 2014 MMO will be the most financially successful?

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, ArcheAge, Sandbox, WildStar, Leaderboard, The Elder Scrolls Online

2014 is winding down, and when it comes to big triple-A MMO releases, it's basically over already. The Elder Scrolls Online, WildStar, and ArcheAge all debuted this year and apart from their differing premises, mechanics, and reception, they also differed in terms of their business models.

One thing they had in common, though, was expensive production values as well as the pressure of carrying the financial flag for their respective development studios. While it's hard to accurately predict the future, that's exactly what we're going to do in today's Leaderboard. Which of 2014's big three do you think will be the most financially successful in the long run? Vote after the cut and don't forget to explain your vote in the comments!

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: Do you prefer a traditional MMO?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

eq2
Last week in a comment in Global Chat, reader Comradestanimir stated, "I may be the only person alive who still likes the traditional MMO. All these attempts to 'innovate' just end up with contrived crap."

As a player of both newer and older MMOs, I found myself agreeing with this statement to a point. I like the older hotbar, tab-targeting combat versus most of the "action" combat seen today. It is still really enjoyable for me to vacuum up a bunch of quests from a hub and knock them out. I think that we've had a lot of great ideas in the past that could be updated to realize their full potential instead of having to dismiss them outright due to age.

Do you prefer a traditional MMO? Have you felt at odds with the vocal community on this if so?

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!

Enter at Your Own Rift: Which Nightmare Tide edition is right for you?

Fantasy, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Enter at Your Own Rift

rift
I was fully expecting RIFT: Nightmare Tide to be out by the time I sat down to write this, but then the delay happened and I had a little unasked-for breathing room to figure out what I was going to discuss while we waited for the expansion to come out. The good news is that it should be releasing tomorrow, and we'll all be well on our way to enjoying both new high- and low-level content.

However, there's one big question that each RIFT player needs to answer for her or himself, which is, "Which edition of the expansion is right for me?" Unlike some other MMOs, RIFT is not charging for its expansion at all. Trion Worlds did announce a trio of collector's editions as optional purchases, and since each of these editions has an impact on how we experience the new content, I thought it well worth examining the qualities of each as well as the benefit of not paying for it at all.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR and the transparency dilemma

Sci-Fi, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Community Q&A, Hyperspace Beacon, MMORPG

Hyperspace Beacon
This past week on The Republic, I talked to prominent community members about transparency and broken promises in regard to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Both Heather from Corellian Run Radio and Redna from Ootinicast agreed that BioWare's community team has communicated too little and too infrequently with the players and has actually driven people away from the game because of that lack of dialogue.

Also this past week, former Operative Class Representative Snave interviewed Community Manager Eric Musco, asking why the community team has been so quiet as of late and why it promised to deliver information by the end of September but it didn't. Snave also asked why there hasn't been more transparency from community team, especially when Musco specifically said that one of the things that he wanted from the community team was more transparency. Snave accused Musco of speaking out of both sides of his mouth when he said that he wanted more transparency but then wouldn't reveal what was going on with the announcement.

Compounding recent events was a kerfuffle over the ongoing Cantina Tours. Players became upset when the Cantina Tour date for Las Vegas was moved from November 7th to November 15th, even though back in February, Community Coordinator Courtney Woods posted the planned dates of the Community Cantina Tour with the caveat that they were "subject to change."

As a community, SWTOR players don't seem to be happy with or without transparency. The SWTOR community team cannot, as the saying goes, win for losing. What is the solution here? Let's discuss the details and maybe a solution or two.

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The Daily Grind: Would you spend money in an MMO for your guild?

Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Image courtesy of Joystiq
A recent Gamasutra piece chronicled a monetization design consultant's journey into what he calls a "social elder game." Author Ethan Levy participated in multiple high-end, time-limited guild-vs.-guild events in an unnamed online game to see just how much guild members would need to pay out to keep their guild competitive. Hundreds of dollars later, he was able to push his guild into the top 100 to receive what he called "B tier" gear. In fact, he estimated that the top 100 guilds spent between $85,000 and $100,000 -- just on that one event.

I'm willing to give my guildies a lot of things -- Steam games, a spot on my couch, my old video card, thesis proofreading -- but I wouldn't drop that kind of money just to make us competitive in a video game, especially if I felt a studio was being exploitative with its "social elder game." Would you? Would you spend money in an MMO for your guild? How much?

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 Mog Log: Final Fantasy XIV's post-fanfest shakedown

Fantasy, Business Models, Classes, Expansions, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Honestly, if the existence of the cash shop is the only rude surprise awaiting us, I'll be happy.
So Final Fantasy XIV players like yours truly have a mouthful of fanfest information to chew on. How did it all shake down, in the final assessment?

Well, I'm not going to lie: My aim was mixed at best. A minority of demo stations covering content I hadn't anticipated, patch 2.4 a week after my prediction, and mentions of 2.5 in brief. But we did get gear details and an expansion announcement. I'd call it a mix and a wash, at the end of the day. You tried, gold star, etc.

But enough about what I did and didn't get right; there's plenty more to talk about from the various panels, the Live Letter, and other revelations. So let's start in on it, kicking off with the elephant in the room that I've already been hearing about for the entirety of the past day for obvious reasons. Yes, it's a cash shop.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best fishing?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

I've always liked fishing in MMOs. Funnily enough I don't care for meatspace fishing all that much, but sitting on a virtual dock reeling in catch after catch never gets old.

ArcheAge has taken my appreciation for MMO fishing to a whole other level, though. I'm still fairly newbish at it, but I did land my first successful sport catch the other day, and it's a ton of fun to go cruising around the ocean looking for telltale flocks of birds before chumming up the water and settling in for a lengthy battle with a sturgeon.

What about you, MMO fishing connoisseurs? Which game does it best?

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!

One Shots: Hello, autumn

Culture, Opinion, One Shots, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Landmark

rift
House Stark once told me that "pumpkin spice is coming," and lo and behold, it is here. Autumn is in full swing, at least in the northern hemisphere, and with it come colorful leaves, scary decorations, and trips to the apple orchard.

Today we have several great fall-themed pictures from players to share, starting with this seasonal shot from reader Becca. "Here my character Tendryl in RIFT gets in the spooky spirit. Falling orange leaves, a storm on the horizon, creepy mask... oh, and a FREAKING SCYTHE! I think she nailed it," she writes.

Do you agree? Join us as we go crunching through the leaves in the rest of this week's player-submitted screenshots!

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite SWTOR class ship?

Sci-Fi, Classes, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

I've been dabbling in Star Wars: The Old Republic lately. I know, I know, but 12x experience plus Star Wars equals a re-sub. Anyway, I've gotten another couple of class stories out of the way, and thus have been exposed to another couple of class spaceships.

Thus far the Bounty Hunter's craft is my favorite, but I've still got the Inquisitor's to see before I can crown the best SWTOR spaceship. What about you, Massively readers? What's your favorite SWTOR ride?

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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