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The Stream Team: Fright Night sing-a-long edition, October 28 - November 3, 2013

Polls, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

The Stream Team Fright Night singalong edition, October 28  November 3, 2013
Creepy crawlies and ghoulish goblins: Without a doubt, this week harbors the most spooktacular day of the year! So get in on the celebration and join with your favorite streamers in singing this new Halloween carol. (Why should that other holiday get all the fun?)

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With kids trick-or-treating
And everyone scaring you; be full of fear
It's the most wonderful time of the year!

It's the hap, happiest season of all
With those costumes to try on and candy to gorge on
And Stream Team to watch
It's the hap, happiest season of all!

There'll be streamers all hosting
Many streams that are boasting
Halloween events for their shows
There'll be scary ghost stories
told in their full glory on
Massively TV (see below!)

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Choose My Adventure: Off to Never, Neverwinter land

Fantasy, Polls, Classes, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Races, Choose My Adventure, Neverwinter

Choose My Adventure off to Never, Neverwinter land
Twenty-four hours after voting for this round of Choose My Adventure started, I had no idea who was going to win. All the games were neck-and-neck. But on the last day of voting, Neverwinter pulled out ahead of the pack with 40.8% of the vote. A friend of mine who will likely be joining me for my quest suggested that you voted for Neverwinter because I said I would make a Foundry quest with your help. I am interested in why that was your final decision, so let me know in the comments why you voted for Neverwinter too.

Of course, I need to create a character before I actually step into this world. And unlike most MMOs that attempt to be balanced in every possible way, Neverwinter isn't afraid to dole out impactful choices at the very beginning. Even my character's race matters in Neverwinter. Not only does each race have its own set of abilities, but it also has its own stat bonuses. Now, I'm assuming that in the endgame that these bonuses turn into quality-of-life additions, but at the beginning of the game, they are more meaningful. And this is before we even choose my class, which we are also going to do today.

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The Stream Team: Standardized test edition, October 21 - 27, 2013

Polls, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

The Stream Team  Standardized test edition, October 21  27, 2013
Why should public schools have all the fun? We here at Massively know just how important knowledge is, so we are going to be throwing our hat into the standardized testing ring. Are you ready? Of course not because today is the the pre-test to gauge your knowledge before we get into any streaming. So before we go any further, answer each of these questions.

What is The Stream Team?
  • a) A group of highly trained professionals dedicated to your personal entertainment.
  • b) The group that monitors salmon mating habitats.
  • c) The best darn thing next to sliced bread (and a bag of chips, too!).
If one Stream Team member had four coconuts and another had three swallows, how long would it take the editors to sail the yacht to New Zealand backwards?
  • a) African or European?
  • b) Depends on how many solid gold cars they have on board.
  • c) Last week.
OK, got that? Good, now we can move forward into the real lessons. Get ready to study! You can ace Quips and Quotes 101 and the Will This Work?! lab by watching this week's shows on Massively TV. And yes, there will be a test at the end!

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The Stream Team: Celebrating milestones edition, October 14 - 20, 2013

Polls, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

The Stream Team Celebrating milestones edition, October 14  20, 2013
Back on October 1st, The Stream Team column celebrated its very first birthday. One year means 52 weeks of Outtakes and antics. Come January 3rd, Massively TV will celebrate its third birthday. That's 156 weeks of MMO viewing goodness! Wow, when I put it that way, I feel old.

Throughout our gaming lives we have a myriad of milestones, like how long we've ventured through the virtual worlds of MMOs (nine years for me last month), our first max level characters (does Master Dancer count?), and our first rage-quit (OK, so I still have some to reach!). And with Massively TV, you can watch your favorite hosts hit any number of milestones and celebrate yours at the same time.

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The Stream Team: Decisionally challenged weather edition, October 7 - 13, 2013

Polls, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

The Stream Team  Decisionally challenged weather edition, October 7  13, 2013
I don't know about you, but in my neck of the woods Mother Nature is suffering some kind of identity crisis. In the span of a single day we have had bone-chilling cold and frost, sun-scorching heat, and monsoon-inspired rainstorms. Every time we have a season-appropriate cold snap, the second I go to remove my air-conditioner, we have a blistering heat wave. People were pumpkin harvesting in shorts for heaven's sakes! Is it fall? Or is it summer? If the weather is any indication, we need to institute a new season. We could call it Summall. Or maybe Falmer. Then people can just expect to employ heavy coats and shorts within hours. Like they do in Colorado!

Like the weather of late, I'll admit to being decisionally challenged at times (especially when trying to pick what to do in a game with so many options!). Luckily, for any who suffer that same affliction, your favorite Stream Team hosts will never conflict on the Massively TV schedule. So who's playing what when this week? Check out the schedule and see!

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Leaderboard: What changes would bring you back to a previously played MMO?

Polls, Age of Conan, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Leaderboard

Leaderboard - What changes would bring you back to a previously played MMO?
I just realized something. The original concept for this Leaderboard column hinged on two competing MMO philosophies duking it out. In recent months, though, it's sort of expanded into a more general feature and an excuse to make sure our criminally underused polling software still works.

Eh, whatever. Random thoughts of an MMO blogger, I guess.

Anyway and on topic, I've been thinking about going back to Age of Conan lately. So far I've managed to talk myself out of it, but yesterday's dev letter and its crafting tidbits piqued my interest. It also got me wondering what exactly the criteria is for returning to a game you've cast aside before. I imagine it's different for everyone, so for today's Leaderboard, tell us what changes -- if any -- would bring you back to an MMO you've heretofore abandoned. 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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Choose My Adventure: Learning and seeking revenge in Age of Wushu

Polls, Video, Game Mechanics, Interviews, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, Sandbox, Dungeons, Age of Wushu

Age of Wushu screenshot
Age of Wushu continues to impress and confuse me at the same time, but I can see much of the appeal behind many of the systems. As a reader noticed last week, many sandbox MMOs have the same in-depth systems and mechanics that Age of Wushu does, but as I have said many times before it is not only the specific systems that make a great game, but how the game has taken those systems and combined them in a package. Age of Wushu takes much of the appeal of many of my favorite games and wraps it in a beautiful package that can run on lower-end systems. I crank it all the way up, turn up the music, and enjoy exploring and trying to slowly figure out some of the harder-to-understand mechanics.

This week I wanted to try out the two options that were put up for polls, and once again Age of Wushu Community Manager Earthquake and Massively columnist Patrick Mackey joined me to explain, hand out tips, and to help me remember how much of a newb I still am.

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Choose My Adventure: I believe I can die in Age of Wushu

Fantasy, Polls, Video, Game Mechanics, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

Age of Wushu screenshot
Wow. What a game, Age of Wushu. I mean, I have played many, many open-world, free-for-all PvP sandboxes in my time before this one, but Age of Wushu places all of those cool systems in a world that the West generally doesn't play in and then adds in little systems so that there is always something to do. Always. In fact the most common complaint I hear about the MMO is that there is too much to do but not enough explanation to cover all of the activities.

I think the real frustration comes not from the lack of guides and pop-ups but from the fact that many of these "helpful" guides are localized for English-speaking audiences enough for them to make some sense, just not enough. I mean no offense here; this is just the truth: Broken English inside a game can make already complex gameplay much harder to understand. There are many small anomalies as well. For example, an NPC referred to me as a man although my character is a woman, and when a small icon indicated that I was hungry, I ate some food, but then an icon told me, "Hungry and Thirsty. HP and internal Energy Recovery speed increases slightly, but you will need some food." Huh? I just ate... I think?

Now I can see why Patrick's Age of Wushu guides are so popular!

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The Stream Team: Hoarder no more edition, September 16 - 22, 2013

Polls, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

The Stream Team  Reformed hoarders edition, September 16  22, 2013
Thank you, thank you all for your intervention! I think I can safely avoid checking myself into some virtual support group for MMO hoarders now that's I've gone through and given my hard drive a good scrubbing out. I know most people equate big deep cleaning projects with spring, but what better way to get ready for the holiday season (and possibly new games) than with a nice fall cleaning? And from the looks of the other poll, it appears more of of you could benefit from the same!

Taking your advice (and a few other things into account as well), I have stripped a hefty chunk of games off my system and found a quite a cache of gigabytes left in their place. Oh, those glorious shiny free GBs; they shall come in handy soon, I just know it! Until I they do, I will entertain myself with the variety of shows put on by The Stream Team this week on Massively TV. Who knows, maybe something will pique my interest enough to install it myself...

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The Tattered Notebook: EverQuest Next Round Table roundup

Fantasy, Polls, Classes, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Races, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content

The Tattered Notebook  EverQuest Next round table roundup
Back when EverQuest Next and EverQuest Landmark were announced, SOE President John Smedley made it clear that the two games were henceforth in "open development." That meant that the company would be soliciting feedback and opinions from players about myriad design decisions for the two games.

Since then, EQ Next devs have thrown out new questions each week for players to vote on and discuss. Utilizing polls and forum discussions in a special section of the main site labeled Round Table, important topics like bearded female dwarves and armor appearance customization are delved into and player desires and feedback are gathered. After collecting the data, the devs respond, sometimes in video form.

Today, The Tattered Notebook is going to round up all those roundtables, giving you a summary of which way the community is leaning on these different topics as well as the dev input. I'll even throw in snippets of their opinions as well! Of course, if you haven't added your thoughts to the mix and you'd like to, you still have time to do so as all the polls are still active.

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Choose My Adventure: Age of Wushu charms and confuses

Polls, Video, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Choose My Adventure, Livestream, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

Age of Wushu screenshot
So here we are in the second week of the Age of Wushu Choose My Adventure coverage. There's no way that even a dozen weeks would cover everything there is to know about this awesome MMO, but luckily the point of this column is to show what it's like to jump into game not only while I'm blind but also when a crowd is directing my every major decision. That means that I get to act like myself and enjoy getting lost in a game that is truly a living world. Age of Wushu is fantastic for certain newbies just as it seems it is for vets.

Of course, it's not all that rosy. In almost every article I have read about the game, and even in the chat room while I streamed the game live (it's embedded after the cut), I saw players who expressed their disappointment in how confusing the game is. Massively's own Patrick Mackey has been helping me along the way, and he said on the stream that the best thing to do to alleviate confusion is to "join a guild." I agree, so that's going to be one of the questions I put up for a vote. Having access to Patrick, the readers and players, and the developers themselves does put me at an advantage over typical newbies.

Click past the cut and lets get to what I thought about the choices that were made last time, and be sure to vote on this week's poll questions!

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Choose My Adventure: And the winner is...

Polls, Game Mechanics, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Virtual Worlds, Choose My Adventure, Community Q&A, Sandbox

Choose My Adventure winner censored
Choose My Adventure is a funny column to write. At some point, you as the author know which game will likely win, but you also know that at some point everything can go wonky. I've seen games that seemed to be the sure thing get knocked off by a lone wolf or underdog. I like to poke the developers who are running the games that are in the polls in the hopes that they let their community know about the column and get the polls heating up. There's nothing like a good vote to get people excited about MMO games, and that's the way things should be.

Even though I watched the poll go a few different ways, it was relatively obvious what title was going to pull it off. I started to prepare by updating the top titles and reading up on some of their systems. Choose My Adventure is not a light undertaking; it's a real adventure -- hopefully -- through an unfamiliar world. I knew I would need the community's help in deciphering the winner.

And what a winner!

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Choose My Adventure: The loser's circle

Polls, Aion, Contests, Culture, Opinion, Champions Online, DC Universe Online, Choose My Adventure, Allods Online, Defiance, Neverwinter, Age of Wushu

Loser definition
None of the games you are about to read about is a bad game. Don't let the title of the article fool you; these are all great games, but so far none of them has won a poll during a Choose My Adventure run. What is Choose My Adventure? Well, you wonderful readers will pick the MMORPG for me. and over the next several weeks you will also vote on what I will do in the game, which faction I will pick, which class I will have to roll, and so on. It all depends on the game -- and you.

So you and I have some work to do. It will be a long road but hopefully a scenic one. With your help, I will be able to keep up the tradition of putting a Massively writer through six weeks of joy, frustration, pain, and loot. A lot of loot.The list of losers is potentially long, but I decided to keep it relatively short and sweet. If you see your favorite game on the list, go tell the game's community. Get out the vote! Or have some fun torturing me! I normally go with indie or games that do not normally get much coverage, but these losers just begged me for a chance at winning CMA.

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The Stream Team: Summer lovin' edition, August 26 - September 1, 2013

Polls, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

The Stream Team Summer lovin' edition, Aug 26  September 1, 2013
Ahh, summer love. With the vacations, the longer days, and the elevated moods brought on by all that additional sunshine, it's no wonder that romantic interludes are known to crop up before and after the vernal equinox. Between the extra time and the good feelings, the summer season is an optimal time for a dalliance or two.

We know you've had your eye on that special one for a while now, so why not just dive on in? Take a chance -- you don't have to worry about long-term commitment. Just lose yourself in a summer fling; go grab that game you've been waiting to play and throw yourself into its loving content! Still a bit hesitant? Then take a peek at what you're missing by tuning in to Massively TV this week and watch The Stream Team members as they romp about their favorite games.

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The Stream Team: Sleep is for the weak edition, August 12 - 18, 2013

Polls, Massively Meta, Livestream, Miscellaneous, The Stream Team

The Stream Team  Sleep is for the weak edition, August 12  18, 2013
Ever hit that point in life when sleep just gets in the way of all you want to do? Maybe it's a gaming marathon worthy of the record books or just a late-night raid you absolutely HAVE to be there for (you know if you aren't, your piece will drop and some PUG person will get it!). Or maybe it is an awesome con you're attending. No matter the reason, sleep seems to be the nemesis to our gaming, especially if we have to fit other real life stuff in the equation too.

So what can we do about it? No, an IV drip of pure caffeine is not the answer. Neither is the old toothpicks-and-tape bit. How about just add more stuff so you are too busy to think about sleeping? There are plenty of Stream Team adventures on Massively TV to keep you occupied so you don't even thing the "n" word. Now, up and at 'em, and make your plan of attack using the following schedule.

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