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The Think Tank

The Think Tank: The importance of auction halls in MMORPGs

Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

GW2 BMTP
Diablo III's gold and RMT auction houses shut down this week. Final Fantasy XI is getting auction house upgrades. Ultima Online launched vendor searching today after 16.5 years of operation. This calls for an auction house-themed Think Tank! I polled the Massively staffers about whether or not MMORPGs should have auction houses, and specifically, whether they enhance or detract from the economic experience of a game. Chime in!

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The Think Tank: Housing or bust! Right?

Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, Housing, The Think Tank, Player-Generated Content

SOTA
With Star Wars: The Old Republic's new player apartment system apparently on the way and several other major MMOs set to launch with or receive housing this year, what better time than now to debate whether housing belongs in MMOs? Sandbox fans are probably choking on the idea that it might not, raised as they were on the idea that housing is such an obvious hub for social interaction and creativity, but a lot of gamers can take it or leave it, figuring that they don't really need another resource-intensive place to stash loot in between raids or PvP matches.

I polled the Massively team members to see whether they consider player housing a vital component of MMORPGs. Feel free to chime in!

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The Think Tank: The things that keep us coming back to MMOs

Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

SWG
Last weekend, Massively columnist Beau Hindman penned a Free for All article titled Five reasons to continue loving MMORPGs, a tribute to the heart and soul of games in what can sometimes seem like a snark-filled, cynical industry. He mentions value, variety, accessibility, and sociability as being among those reasons he still adores the genre. I wanted to find out what the rest of our team members thought, so I posed the question to them: What one thing keeps you coming back to MMORPGs above all else?

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The Think Tank: Are unofficial MMO fansites and forums important to you?

Opinion, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

GW2Guru.com
With the often unpleasant turnaround rate of fansites and unofficial forums, one can't help but wonder about the viability of such websites in relation to the bigger picture. Often times these sites are created and maintained purely from player passion, even when official support is nowhere to be found. But that passion is not always consistent.

I polled the Massively team members for their own thoughts on fansites and unofficial forums. Do they trust these player sites more than official lines of communication on a game's community status, or are they often too sporadic or unprofessional to bother with? Read along after the jump for our answers.

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The Think Tank: How do you feel about press-only beta coverage?

Opinion, Massively Meta, The Elder Scrolls Online, The Think Tank

Elder Scrolls Online
Here's a thing that happens sometimes: A high-budget MMO has a tiered beta with an NDA that is lifted in parts. Sometimes those parts include early access for press, and sometimes that NDA lifts for press before anyone else. This has only happened a handful of times, and it never really works as intended. Almost everyone thinks that everyone should be able to talk about what he or she is playing and that games press is wrong.

After going through one of these episodes just last week, we figured it would be a good time to share our (wrong) opinions on how these press-only beta NDA lifts play out.

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Looking for Guild: WildStar needs you!

Guilds, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, WildStar, The Think Tank

Wildstar
I'm happy to say that we have another large list of players looking for a guild this week, and almost every one of them is (or will be) playing Carbine's Wildstar.

An MMO like this (triple-A publisher, currently in beta) is perfect for this this LFG column as it allows players to get themselves ready for the game on launch day.

Read on past the jump below for our full list of players looking for a guild.

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The Think Tank: What's your favorite game genre (other than MMOs)?

Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

Call of Duty: Ghosts
You'd think that a bunch of MMO bloggers would pick the MMO genre as their favorite, but that's not necessarily true. But that's precisely why we have such a great team here!

So many game genres come together to form the MMO genre, so it only makes sense that we like other games too. So I picked the brains of our staff members to see what other types of games they enjoy when they'e not playing the latest MMO. Read along after the jump for their picks.

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The Think Tank: Do you pay attention to developer livestreams?

Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

Wildstar Livestream
Along with Reddit AMAs, developer livestreams are turning out to be all the rage these days. Studios are turning to the live format to show off upcoming game features, tease new content, and just show the players what the development team is like behind the scenes -- but with pants (sometimes).

But does it work? Obviously it's working well enough to make it a growing trend, but I was curious about how the Massively staff members felt about this. Do they pay attention to developer livestreams?

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The Think Tank: What past or future MMO do you wish you could play right now?

Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

SWG
If you listen to our podcast at all, you probably know that Bree and Jef miss Star Wars Galaxies. If you've read anything by me in the past five years, you probably know that I miss Tabula Rasa. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and many of us spend a lot of time reminiscing about the good old games. But there's also the other side of that coin. The yet-to-be-launched games we're looking forward to seem as if they could be the greatest thing ever.

So I asked the Massively team members to tell us what currently unplayable games they want to play the most. Be it closed down or upcoming, there's bound to be something. Read along after the jump for our thoughts!

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The Think Tank: What change do you fear in the future of MMOs?

MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

TESO
MMO vets have a reputation. No, I don't mean the basement thing, I mean we're often seen as being afraid of change. Back in our day, we had to wait an hour for a raid boss to spawn, and we liked it!

But ironically, the free-to-play push has turned MMO gamers against anything said to be releasing with a sub, as seen with the recent backlash against The Elder Scrolls Online.

So I polled the Massively staff members for their opinions on the changes we see in our favorite genre. Is there anything they're particularly afraid to see as they glare into the crystal ball?

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The Think Tank: Name your MMO dev dream team

MMO Industry, Opinion, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

The original Dream Team
While playing our favorite MMOs, we rarely sit down to think about the people who poured their blood, sweat, and tears into granting us these gaming experiences. Well, at least until we come across something we don't like. Then the blame game begins. But the truth is, it usually takes a large team to assemble a proper MMO, and no one or two people should be held accountable. Well, unless you're literally making an MMO entirely by yourself.

So I asked the Massively team members whom they would have on their MMO dream team. Would they pick out talented individuals or talented groups of designers? Check out the complete list just after the jump.

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The Think Tank: What components make up your ideal MMO?

Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

Guild Wars 2
We received a reader tip last week from Aislinn asking us what our ideal MMO components would be. She wrote, "Seeing your picks for Best of 2013, reading your opinions especially on subscription models, and reading the comments of those replying in the article, I wonder: What are the staff's opinions on what makes an ideal MMORPG? With sub? No sub? Buy-to-play with cash shop? I'm curious now what you guys think is an ideal MMORPG."

Well, Aislinn, that's a good question. We've covered similar topics before, even dedicating a column to it for a while (until we ran out of ways to stretch Star Wars Galaxies to a thousand words), but it's a good topic to frequently revisit. So I asked the team members to give me their ideal MMO components, and a few of them went to town.

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The Think Tank: Massively's 2014 MMO predictions

MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

via: futuresobright.com
The end of the year is our time to not only reflect on the last 12 months but also look forward to what's to come. Since some of the more anticipated MMOs like Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar have missed their anticipated 2013 launches, we now have that to look forward to in 2014. But what else?

Follow along after the jump for the Massively staff's 2014 predictions, and for an added laugh, take a look back at our 2013 predictions to see how close (or far off) we were.

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The Think Tank: Do government spies scare you away from your favorite MMO?

Culture, Opinion, Legal, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

The Agency
The NSA is listening to our MMO chat logs, and I feel fine. Monday's news has sparked outrage among some gamers, while others yawn and carry on, knowing that they have nothing to fear.

So I polled the Massively staff members to gather everyone's thoughts on the topic. Would any of us stop playing our MMOs of choice, knowing that there are government spies all around watching our every move? Or does that just mean more noobs to bash in PvP?

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The Think Tank: Which MMOs are you looking forward to the most in 2014?

MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

EQN
Can you believe it's already December? This is the time of year when we reflect back on what we've played over the last 12 months and try to remember what's coming out in the next 12.

We have some great titles to look forward to in 2014, including The Elder Scrolls Online, EQN Landmark, WildStar, and more. Since we've got a diverse team of MMO fans here on staff, I was curious about each writer's anticipated picks for the new year. Check out the answers just after the cut! And don't forget we'll do our official most-anticipated vote later on this month.

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