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Opinion

Leaderboard: Will you be trying ArcheAge?

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Leaderboard

ArcheAge's closed beta is coming in a couple of weeks, and if Trion stays on schedule, the long-awaited sandpark's western launch will happen some time prior to year's end. The only real question, then, is will you be playing.

There's clearly a lot to like about the game in terms of features, but there's also the specter of open PvP, which has traditionally hamstrung MMO sales and retention figures in the West. So, how about it, Massively readers? Will you be trying ArcheAge despite (or perhaps because of) its PvP?

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 there be a statute of limitations on dev statements?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Like elephants, gamers have wrinkled, grey hides and freely poop all over the savannah. Oh! And like elephants, gamers never forget. They especially never forget anything a developer has said in the past if it ended up being contradicted by the studio or a prelude to a momentous mistake.

I've been guilty of slingshotting these statements back to the point of origin from time to time, and judging by our comments section, there are quite a few of you who get a special thrill out of being able to bludgeon devs with their own words. But lately I've been wondering if there should be a point where we, y'know, just let these quotes go. Time moves on, situations change, and devs are as fallible as the rest of us. Should there be a statute of limitations on dev statements, and if so, how long should that be?

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!

Jukebox Heroes: Dungeons & Dragons Online's soundtrack

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Jukebox Heroes

I've never liked the Dungeons & Dragons Online soundtrack very much.

Now that I've given you no reason to keep reading, please keep reading. It's an unsettling score that's heavy on discordant tracks and murky atmosphere but lacks a lot of memorable, earworm-worthy tunes. Plenty of it is done with a heavy-handed synthesizer in the mode of scoring a Saturday night B-movie. The Dungeons & Dragons moniker deserves better than this, I've always believed.

But I'm not one to throw out an entire score when there are a few redemptive pieces within. And amid the minefield of moody music, there are a few tracks that rise to being quite listenable indeed. In fact, much of the recent work done for the game's two expansions have clearly done away with slam-dancing on the keys in exchange for an honest attempt at a good score.

Listen for yourself; the studio's made 16 tracks available for free downloads. So let's see what makes it to the top of the DDO pile, shall we?

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League of Legends public chat rooms disabled by Riot

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends

Life Hack: Just give up.
What's the fastest and easiest way to deal with the problems in League of Legends chat channels? Apparently, just shutting them down completely. Riot Games has removed several of the public chat rooms until the company finds a way to turn them into something "useful and accessible." The company is aware that there are great communities in the game, but it's too easy for toxic individuals to mask that.

Not only were the public chat channels problematic, but even the private channels lacked effective moderation tools outside of an ignore button. The development team is starting over from a new foundation, hoping to make the chat rooms a place to hang out with friends and more easily organize matches instead of being... well, what they were before. Feedback is welcome, so chime in on the official forums if you know what you want to see when the chats finally return.

The Daily Grind: Do you like to tank in MMOs?

Classes, Game Mechanics, PvE, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

No, the other kind of tank.
The very first serious MMO tank I ever played was my day-one Warrior in World of Warcraft. I'd had dozens of characters in MMOs before that, but I was too chicken to step up and actually tank endgame fights. After all, as Massively commenters pointed out, there's a lot more to tanking than just taunting the boss and knowing when to hit your specials. Tanks need leadership and game knowledge far exceeding what's expected of other party archetypes. They're expected to lead the party, to know how the fights work, and to keep everyone else in line. Tanking is setting yourself up for a world of stress and the judgment of strangers. Depending on your temperament, it can become unfun in a hurry.

I still play that Warrior when I resub, Protection-specced for all the days I've played her (minus an hour back in 2006 when I foolishly thought Fury might be nice for a change). But I'm always leery of dungeon-queueing with that character even though I love the actual mechanics of being the meatshield. What about you folks? Do you actually like tanking in MMOs? How do you overcome the stress?

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 Nexus Telegraph: WildStar's first dose of Strain

Sci-Fi, Patches, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Not that I can't think of some people who will totally want this one.
The funny thing about launches is that they're like every other aspect of the game industry: They're based on momentum. Create the feel that you're coming out with new content on a quick basis and you get points from players, even if it's inevitable that some of this content is stuff that was almost-but-not-quite ready for launch and just had to be trimmed back a little before we first got to dip our toes in the official swimming pool. You can see the zones on your map in WildStar right now, even.

Does it matter to me? Nope. I have to admit it doesn't. I'm satisfied.

The bulk of the news this month has been about the game's first major patch, which is due for "early July" without a harder date. I have not yet gotten to go hands-on in this content; I've been too busy focusing on the live game and advancing there (up to 50 on one character, at least!), but let's talk a little bit about what's being added in the patch. Fair warning: Spoilers may ensue.

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The Daily Grind: Are you a RuneScape vet?

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Opinion, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

The other day Justin asked how many of you were playing TERA, based on the fact that it doesn't get a lot of press or MMO blog coverage. Today I'd like to pose a similar question about RuneScape. The game has been out forever, but in my MMO travels, I've talked to very few people who have played it.

Obviously someone's playing it, though, and probably a lot of someones judging by Jagex's consistent update pace and its fan conventions. So how about it, Massively readers? Are you a RuneScape vet?

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!

Stick and Rudder: How complex is too complex for Star Citizen?

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

I've taken a little while to let Chris Roberts' recent flight model manifesto marinate. In that time, my opinion has run the gamut from "funk yeah, simulation!" to "hmm, I hope I'm able to enjoy this title" and back again.

I waffled because as much as I'm salivating over Star Citizen and everything it represents, it's still one game out of dozens that I'm following. And as much as I'd like to, I can't realistically devote all of my free time to a single title!

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The Daily Grind: What are you doing in your pre-launch MMO?

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

So I'm in ArcheAge's alpha. Woo, I guess.

It's not that the game sucks. On the contrary it's pretty solid fun. But I'm treading carefully so as not to spoil it all for myself come release. See, this isn't beta, so none of the progression matters. From my perspective, the only reason to be here this early is to learn the systems and scope out some land for the inevitable launch-week land rush.

What about you, alpha and beta buyers? Whether it's ArcheAge, Landmark, or one of those Kickstarter MMOs that's starting to let people in, what exactly are you doing in your pre-launch game of choice? Are you actually testing or are you looking to get a leg up on launch newbs?

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!

Perfect Ten: Annoying things you hear in general chat

Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

General chat, sometimes called "Barrens chat" or "zone chat" or "the party line," is both the bane and the secret fixation of my existence. It's like a text-based reality show that plays out in real-time whenever I log into an MMO. If -- for some rare reason -- I'm bored of playing the game or talking with friends, at least I have the jibber-jabber of screeching opinions to fill my eye sockets.

It's safe to say that general chat earns its bad reputation, but have you ever stopped to analyze exactly why that is? I have. I have traveled that long, terrible path, and at the end I peered over the edge into the abyss, and the abyss told me that I was a carebear who needed to L2P. Here are my findings.

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The Daily Grind: Are you still playing TERA?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

tera
You know what's one MMO that I haven't heard much about lately? TERA. I guess it's doing fine following its free-to-play switch, but it seems like there's been zero chatter about it in the comments or on blogs, so I'm wondering if anyone's still playing it.

Are you? Maybe you are still playing and enjoying TERA. Maybe you have good things to share about the new Reaper class. If so, pipe up for this game today! Why are you playing it and why should others check it out?

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!

Captain's Log: A year of Star Trek Online: Legacy of Romulus

Sci-Fi, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Subscription

I don't know how Remans got to be so popular when no one actually liked Nemesis, but that's where we are.
The first expansion to Star Trek Online was the expansion everyone expected and yet one that no one really expected. Romulans were the obvious choice, the big gap in the game's factional lineup, the third major power that had been floating around in the darkness like some vast, predatory bird since the original series. But the idea of seeing a new faction after the Klingons had languished for so long seemed like a pipe dream. When it actually happened, I know I was sort of left just staring and disbelieving.

Of course, now we've had the Romulan Republic as a playable sort-of-faction for a year now, and that prompts all sorts of reactions. In many ways, this expansion is better than we could have hoped for, and in other ways it feels as if it kind of falls short. I come here not to praise or to bury Legacy of Romulus but to look at it a year out from launch and perhaps see what lessons could be gleaned for the expansion we're due to receive late this year.

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The Daily Grind: Is PLEX/APEX/C.R.E.D.D. risky for developers?

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox, WildStar

Trion announced ArcheAge's APEX system recently, and while I'm sure it has its own wrinkles, my first instinct was to compare it to EVE Online's PLEX. It's a fascinating idea, allowing players with knowledge of an in-game economy to leverage said knowledge into enough currency to buy tradeable items that can be redeemed for subscription time.

It's always struck me as a bit risky, though. We can only guess at the number of EVE fans who play the game for free thanks to PLEX, but I imagine it's a pretty significant slice of the game's old money crowd. And while newer games like ArcheAge and even WildStar are aping the system in some fashion, it's too early to tell what sort of effect APEX and C.R.E.D.D. will have on developers' bottom lines.

What do you think, Massively readers? Do these sorts of systems seem risky to you if you put yourself in a dev's shoes, or do you think the number of players taking advantage of these systems is relatively small?

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: Happy birthday, Star Wars Galaxies

Sci-Fi, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Anniversaries, The Think Tank

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the launch of Star Wars Galaxies, an MMO whose untimely sunset at the end of 2011 continues to make sandbox fans sigh mournfully. This week, in honor of the anniversary, I asked the Massively writers whether they think we'll ever see another new Star Wars MMORPG (other than those we still have, of course), let alone another epic Star Wars sandbox. It's time to speculate!

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World's Tokyo barrier

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

Chaos Theory: The Tokyo barrier
Blue Mountain: On the road through The Secret World adventures, this was the zone that would make or break many players. It's the point when you had to really start crafting your decks more carefully and applying synergies. Not all who felt the blow of this particular skill check powered through, making it a barrier to continuing on to Egypt and Transylvania as well as completing the story mission.

Well, now there's a new barrier in town: Tokyo.

As much as I had looked forward to the Issue #9 content, and as much as I am enjoying the content now that it is here, I have to admit that Tokyo is the granddaddy of barriers. Not only are there barriers to getting to the content, but there are some to enjoying it once you get there too. And any one of them might cause players to give up on Tokyo and The Secret World before experiencing the whole update. So to help folks avoid smashing into any barriers unexpectedly and leaving bruises, let me give you the scoop on what lies ahead.

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