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Opinion

Choose My Adventure: Hunting for trouble (and riches) in ArcheAge

Fantasy, Video, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, ArcheAge, The Stream Team

Bouncing between alpha and beta has hindered progress in ArcheAge for Massively's MJ, but it hasn't diminished the fun. As per last week's vote, she spent the past weekend in beta, checking out life on the other continent as an Elf. Now, with the next beta a whole week away, it's back to alpha life as a Firran. But that doesn't mean it's a lonely life! MJ found a spot for her little farm and has been raising some goslings as she continues her crafting and trade exploits. And there's also this thing about joining a guild... we're sure she could find some more trouble to get into with friends. Perhaps she'll even finally make it to prison! Join us live at 7:00 p.m. for MJ's final two-hour CMA Live adventure.

Game: ArcheAge
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, July 55th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Working As Intended: It's not the journey or the destination

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, MMORPG, Working As Intended

FFXIV
If you play MMORPGs, you've no doubt been told, hundreds of times, "Slow down! Don't rush! Stop to smell the flowers! It's the journey, not the destination!"

Typically, you're being told to slow down in an MMO whose focus is the destination: the endgame. All the good stuff is at the end. The best dungeons are there. The best gear is there. The best PvP content and titles and achievements are there. The players the devs cater to are there. Patches and expansions provide new content there. In fact, the only reason to play the rest of the game is to level up to get there. The midgame is a hindrance, a barrier to the "real" game, and it's usually neglected by developers once most players are through it.

So if games themselves reward you only for arriving at the destination, why on earth should you feel bad for not savoring the journey?

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The Daily Grind: Do you suck at MMOs?

Culture, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

WoW
That's a serious question.

Back in February, our sister site WoW Insider published an editorial called You're bad at WoW, and so am I. Author Olivia Grace argued that no one is perfect at any game, that everyone makes mistakes, and that the worst mistake is not admitting those weaknesses because then you'll just keep on sucking. Reading our comments sometimes, you'd think that everyone reading here is a world-class player who's better at ALL OF THE GAMES than professionals and certainly than the developers, when the reality is most of our readers are probably above-average gamers slacking off at work. Ahem.

Personally, I'm pretty good at the psychological warfare of economic PvP and general PvE dungeon-running, but man, jumping puzzles and platforming -- I'm horrible at these things. What about you? Do you suck at MMOs? I promise I won't laugh at you if you won't laugh at me.

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: Saying farewell to Vanguard

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Vanguard, Massively Meta, The Think Tank, Sunsets

Vanguard is being retired forever next week, and this time there won't be a studio waiting in the wings to rescue it from doom. Today, Massively's staff hopes to give it a fond farewell. Join us in sharing our thoughts about the world of Telon.

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Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs

Horror, Real-Life, Expansions, Patches, Opinion, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

Chaos Theory: The value of The Secret World's DLCs
This question was posed to me recently by a few different readers and stream viewers: Are The Secret World's DLCs a good value? As I pondered the question, I decided that instead of answering each query personally, it would be a good topic to explore here in Chaos Theory. Besides, the answer is definitely not a short one! (It can't even fit in a single column!)

So why can't I just fire off a simple yes or no to this question? The biggest problem is trying to provide an objective answer to a very subjective situation. While the meaning of value itself is clearly defined, said definition emphasizes that the judgment is individual to whoever is involved. How each player defines value is very personal, so I can't really answer for anyone except myself. What I can do, however, is provide as much of the objective information that I can so you can make your own subjective judgment on the value. Are TSW's issues and sidestories packs worth it? Let's look at the value from various viewpoints and you decide!

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The Daily Grind: What MMO company has given you good customer service?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Bugs, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

A couple of Lord of the Rings Online's Inn League deeds are broken, which is unfortunate because the main reason I showed up for this year's Summer Festival was to finish the Inn League stuff on my newest character.

I submitted a customer service ticket, and after having it closed with no action because I was offline (Turbine CSRs can't email, I guess?), I opened another one and remained online for a couple of hours so that I could be told that there is nothing to be done about broken deeds.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I find Turbine's customer service off-putting. It's also a prelude to today's Daily Grind question. What MMO company has given you good customer service, and what was the circumstance?

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!

WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: Questing, mechanics, and concerns

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Previews, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, Subscription

The past is haunting you.
Tell me if this sounds familiar if you've played World of Warcraft: Your faction's forces are unexpectedly trapped in a strange new world with some familiar elements but a large number of unfamiliar ones. You are facing both the other faction and a new almost unknown foe, forcing you to seek allies immediately. Unfortunately for you, the local inhabitants have their own customs and lives, and you're going to need to start forging alliances to deal with this largely alien region.

Yes, that's the Warlords of Draenor starting experience as well as the Mists of Pandaria starting experience. What sets the two apart, aside from MoP's clever use of mini-hubs moving out in a sort of spiderweb fashion, is that MoP approached its story by easing up on the pressure early in the plot. You start settling into a rhythm, putting down the conflict with the enemy a little more, dealing with the inhabitants on their terms. The overarching conflict was there, but it had time to fade into the background. Not so here; the conflict with the Iron Horde squats on your shoulder and screams at you, crow-like, preventing you from thinking even for a second that you might want to explore this strange fantasy world.

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Leaderboard: How much time do you spend customizing avatar outfits?

Sci-Fi, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Leaderboard

OK, I'm spending entirely too much time customizing my avatar outfits in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I originally re-upped my sub in order to polish off my last couple of class stories, but now I've gotten sucked into crafting and, by extension, the substantial outfit collection minigame. Which is bizarre because in meatspace my fashion sense boils down to the first pair of jeans and corresponding t-shirt/sweatshirt that tumbles out of my closet.

What about you, Leaderboard readers? How much time do you spend customizing your MMO avatar outfits? Vote after the cut!

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: How do you handle the wait for an anticipated game?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

lotro
Time is so frustrating, because sometimes you want it to slow down, sometimes you want to reclaim the past, and many times you wish it would speed up so that you could get to the good stuff. It's especially hard for an MMO gamer who is waiting for the arrival of a much-anticipated title.

Therefore, today I'd like us to discuss how we handle the long wait for upcoming MMOs or expansions. Unless you have a time machine that I don't know about, how do you pass the months? Do you eat up all of the information you can on the game and practically live in the forums? Do you do everything in your power to get into the beta? Or do you try to ignore it while immersing yourself in another game for the time being?

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!

Flameseeker Chronicles: Introducing Guild Wars 2's Dragon's Reach

Fantasy, Interviews, Lore, Patches, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

Can this sharktoothed flopears gnaw through Mordremoth's vines?! Stay tuned!
Today's edition of the Flameseeker Chronicles is a little bit special. We've got the teaser trailer for Guild Wars 2's next living world release, The Dragon's Reach: Part One. We've got some sweet screenshots provided by ArenaNet to feast your peepers on: aw, yeah. And if that's not enough, I got the chance to chat with Associate Game Director Steven Waller about next week's episode. Check out the video, and then read on!

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The Daily Grind: Do you play MOBAs?

Game Mechanics, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, MOBA

Demigod
We joke a lot on Massively about how there's a new MOBA released every day, but let's be fair: It's more like every other day. The first MOBA I ever played was Demigod, and that was back before the term had really become popular, before League of Legends had launched, and long before the deluge of MOBA clones had hit us. I had fun, but I pretty much knew the genre wasn't for me. I like a bit more persistence to my PvP, and I really prefer larger-scale battles and worlds. This is why I play MMOs.

But the MOBA genre is young and evolving. Some MOBAs even seem to be trying to attract MMORPG players with cosmetic gear and first-person perspectives and even something that still looks a bit like personal housing. So here's the question for today: Do you, as an MMORPG gamer, play MOBAs? What would it take to get you to play them?

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 Hunts are broken

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Useful data!
It's been nearly two weeks since Final Fantasy XIV's patch went live, and I'm at once surprised and not surprised that we haven't seen anything really addressing the problem with Hunts. I'm not surprised because Square has a bad history of reacting to broken elements about as quickly as a narcoleptic sloth with poor motivation, and I'm surprised because players have been screaming about it for... about two weeks now? Yes, that sounds right.

And not just screaming in the usual disorganized fashion. This is pretty targeted and logical screaming, helped substantially by the fact that Hunts are currently very, very broken and need fixing. So let's explain the mess that the game has made for itself and the numerous simple solutions that can be implemented really any time now. Not that I'm saying they're all easy, just simple. Straightforward. And no, increasing mark HP is not one of those solutions.

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WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: The disappointment of garrisons

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, Housing, Subscription

This house is not a home.
Once a player finishes the introductory quests for Warlords of Draenor, the Horde and Alliance gangs go in separate directions, and I had slightly higher hopes for the rest of my beta experience. The introduction was kind of a wash, a climactic third act delivered we'd been left out of the first two acts unless we'd read novels and participated in an event that's not yet live. But Shadowmoon Valley was where I could start seeing the pure promise of this expansion realized, the beautiful idea of a Draenor still filled with Draenei before the corruption and assault of the Horde, an alien landscape far from what was familiar on Azeroth. Not too far, of course, but just far enough to feel like we'd really come to a strange new place. And, of course, the first thing you do is unlock your Garrison.

If my first impression of the WoD beta, which I posted last week, was negative, then this is where it took a sharp nosedive into something resembling rage. But let me start off with a statement that might seem to make no sense, in this context: I've always been fine with housing never being a part of World of Warcraft.

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The Daily Grind: Do you craft for fun?

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

Yesterday I spent an hour or so crafting a full set of gear and mods for one of my Star Wars: The Old Republic alts. I guess I could have farmed slightly better equipment in the lowbie flashpoints, but it would have taken longer and relied on the RNG gods, so it seemed more satisfying to hop on my main(s) and trick out the new guy with homemade armor mods, enhancements, stims, and weapons. Plus, I just like to make stuff, you know?

What about you, Massively readers? Do you like MMO crafting enough to do it for fun?

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!

EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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