Wisdom of Nym: Gauging predictions after the Final Fantasy XIV fanfests

It finally happened, folks; we're done with the fan festivals until next year. (Yes, I fully expect to hear about the next set when we're getting about halfway through 2018. This is not an unpredictable development team.) We know the big elements of what Final Fantasy XIV will be seeing with its next expansion. So I find myself sitting here and asking, more or less for my own edification, how was my aim?

I made my guesses about what we were going to see, after all. I did them publicly, so everyone could read them. And I think I did pretty well overall. You can read my predictions before the Las Vegas festival and this past weekend's Frankfurt festival; I didn't have a specific prediction for Tokyo, although the aftermath gave me the chance for some speculation.

So how did I do? And how cool was what we actually saw? Let's go over it.

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite part of MMO gaming conventions?

The last of the pre-Stormblood fan festivals for Final Fantasy XIV has come to a close, and as with the prior two fan festivals, the bulk of my interest was satisfied after the keynote. There were a lot of other things happening, of course, lots of cool cosplay contests and interviews with the developers about what leads to creating the world... but the reality is that I'm mostly just interested in the actual information about the game. You could say that it's because of my job, but it's been the case as long as I can recall; once we're done with the information, my interest goes down, despite my respect for cosplayers and the developers.

I know some of you are the same way, doing your best Joe Friday impression and asking for just the facts. But I also know that's not universal; there are people for whom seeing cosplay contests or developer interviews are the main draw. Heck, there are people who mostly go for social interactions, and that's just as valid. So where do you stand, dear readers? What interests you about conventions for MMOs? Is it information about upcoming patches and expansions? Celebrating your fandom? Finding out what went into making the game? Something else altogether?

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EVE Evolved: What do we want from Drilling Platforms?

If you followed our EVE Fanfest coverage last year, you might remember CCP announcing plans to add a whole series of new deployable structures to EVE in the form of Engineering Complexes and Drilling Platforms. The Citadel expansion added new deployable space stations that players can put anywhere in space, with medium-sized Astrahus citadels for small corporations all the way up to the colossal Keepstars designed for massive military alliances. This was expanded on in the second half of 2016 with the release of Engineering Complexes as specialised citadels with bonuses to industry and research, but what ever happened to the Drilling Platforms?

Drilling Platforms were touted as an upcoming revolution in the way we collect resources in EVE Online, but the feature was still firmly in the early design stage when we discussed it with CCP at last year's Fanfest. There were general ideas floating around about automated mining structures that require different levels of player interaction and disrupting enemy resources by attacking their drills, but nothing concrete at the time. We've now been promised a solid development roadmap update at this year's Fanfest on April 6th and more information on Drilling Platforms in devblogs before then, and it's got me wondering what EVE's upcoming resource-gathering revolution might look like.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I speculate about what Drilling Platforms might be like, discuss the kinds of gameplay I'd like to see from them, and lay out a few of my dream features.

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One Shots: I am no man!

The big screenshot challenge last week was to capture action, not just still shots, in MMORPGs. This is tricker than it sounds, because you have to be quick with the screenshot key and manipulate the camera just right to get the perfect picture. It is easier to do this with other characters, obviously, including those in cutscenes.

Borghive gets headlining honors with his "final showdown" between the Witch King and Éowyn from Lord of the Rings Online. She looks a little outmatched, what with being smaller and having an actual head, but I think she's going to come out just fine. After all, she is no man.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Checking out LOTRO's housing improvements

Like probably most of the population of Lord of the Rings Online, I was initially interested in player housing when it first came out, gave it the ol' college try for the first year or so to work within its limitations, and mostly forgot about it after that.

It was a sore point with the community, a subpar housing experience in a game that screamed for a robust feature on par with some of the genre's best. Year after year, a housing revamp was the top most-requested desire from players, and year after year, Turbine either ignored it, delayed it, or promised and then abandoned it.

Yet over the past year we've actually seen some movement on this front with two important changes: the addition of premium housing in Gondor and, most recently, Update 19.3's expansion of housing hook functionality. With these in mind, I turned my attention back to housing for the first time in so very long -- and found myself actually enraptured with creating a new home for myself. It's not the complete overhaul that we want and the game still needs, but it's far better than nothing and has actually revitalized the housing scene somewhat.

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Betawatch: Open season in sight for Revelation Online (February 17, 2016)

Those of you who have waited eagerly for the day when everyone can jump into Revelation Online won't have to wait much longer, as the game's open beta is starting up March 6th. Players who purchased one of the game's founder's packs will be able to get in a little bit earlier, to boot. The game also showed off its special skills, which is "break the rules" special rather than "riding a different bus to school" special.

Shall we cover other beta news this week? Yes! Why not? You may join us in a chortle.

Yes, that's all a bit quiet, but the list down below can be raucous despite our best efforts to silence it. You can let us know if parts of the list deserve more consideration down in the comments, like if a title has slipped into launch without us catching it. We keep putting up nets but some titles slip through. I suspect there's a hive.

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Chaos Theory: The Secret World predictions 2016 vs 2017

It's no secret that The Secret World had a rough year in 2016. I just really wish I could say differently. And it's especially sad because I had such hopes for my favorite game. Granted, I knew it wasn't going to miraculously get the funding and staff to give me all the story and things my heart so desired, but I did anticipate a bit more than what we actually got. When 2016 dawned, I pieced together our available clues to try and draw a map of where the year was going. A cartographer I apparently am not, and Google maps won't be hiring me anytime soon. Perhaps for this year I shall consult with the Magic Eight ball? Here's a look at the scorecard for my 2016 predictions, and a modest list of 2017 hopes, dreams, and predicted happenings. (We'll just have to wait to see how those ultimately pan out!).

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Perfect Ten: Terminology the MMORPG genre needs

MMOs, like any other hobby, have their own terminology. We have the term "newb" for new players, "noob" for players who aren't actually new but still make new player mistakes, and "n00b" if you want to sound like an insufferable weirdo from the aughts. But we also have a lot of terminology that just plain doesn't work any more for a variety of reasons, like "pay-to-win" and "hardcore" and so forth.

That does not, however, mean that we do not need our specialized terminology. Indeed, while some of our older vocabulary is not up to the tasks of modern games, I think a great deal could be accomplished just by adding some new words to our lexicon. So let's create some brand-new terms (or codify existing ones) so that we can, in fact, have shared words to describe scenarios that we encounter on a regular basis.

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The Daily Grind: Which games will be the big winners (and losers) from more MMOs on consoles?

I don't think that being one of the only fully featured MMOs on a console is what has made Final Fantasy XIV successful. I think there are a lot of other factors that have attracted and kept people playing. So I don't get worried for the title when, say, I see that Skyforge is heading to consoles. But for games like DC Universe Online, I do start worrying a little, because one of that particular title's biggest draws is "action-based combat MMO on a console," and every other title that checks those same boxes gives it a stiffer competition.

That's something we don't think about much, but as we're noticing more and more games moving to consoles in addition to their PC clients, I think it's worth considering. Which games will be the big winners (and losers) from more MMOs on consoles? We're no longer in the days when playing an MMO on a console meant you had two options at most, but which games will benefit from the console port and which ones will suffer when they are no longer one of only two options?

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Guild Chat: Pro tips for incentivising active MMO guild membership

Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which Massively Overpowered readers can have their guild-related questions or concerns addressed through both the articles themselves and the comments section from other readers, allowing for a broad basis of supportive advice to help the reader in need. In this edition, Wakfu guild leader Aio asks if setting up a schedule for high-level players to encourage them to run with low-level characters regularly is a good idea and wishes to find dome help with how to plan and populate such a schedule. At this point in time, Aio is almost solely responsible for looking after low-level players in the guild and would love to hear ideas of some fun activities that could help entice others into naturally interacting with lower level players.

See Aio's full submission below and don't forget to head on down to the comments section to leave your advice on guild scheduling and multi-level event planning.

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Choose My Adventure: Reconsidering WildStar, from pre-launch to now

In order to talk about WildStar, we kind of have to talk about Firefly. And no, not in the obvious way where we talk about how dearly the game wants to be able to claim the heritage of Firefly for its own.

There's a thing dubbed the Firefly Effect (I'm not linking TV Tropes here; y'all know where it is, look it up if you want to) that describes a kind of vicious cycle. You see something new and interesting previewed. However, you also see that it's on a network that is unlikely to allow that interesting thing enough run time to really finish working itself out. So, to spare yourself any heartache when it gets cancelled, you don't watch it. Later, it gets cancelled... because no one was watching it because everyone expected it would be cancelled.

The reason I bring that up is that WildStar is currently waist-deep in the Firefly Effect. Sure, it's not a show, but the same operating principles are at work. People are afraid to commit for fear that it'll be canned, and that makes any forward momentum for the game incredibly difficult.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR's latest raid might be a too little too late

When Star Wars: The Old Republic launched, I was champing at the bit for raids. Then when I heard about the launch bugs from friends, I really didn't want to have anything to do with that. But thanks to the Darth Hater crew and eventually my raiding guild in Nefarious Intent, I came to really enjoy raiding. I started raiding in SWTOR when Karragga's Palace was the top-tier raid. I raided every week for three years. We were never the best raiders on the server, and I don't think that we ever really tried to be because it was about having fun in a team-based PvE.

After a two-year gap, the developers at BioWare decided that it was time to introduce a new raid. With Update 5.2, players will see additional story, dailies, and the first boss of the new raid on the planet of Iokath. Although I am very excited to see all of this hit the game again, I can't help but wonder if the interest in raids is strong enough to make that kind of gameplay viable again.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tackle the questions: What is coming with Update 5.2: War for Iokath, what does the existing community think of it, and will it be enough to draw people back in?

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Jukebox Heroes: Vote for your favorite MMORPG theme songs of all time!

On a couple of past occasions, I've amused myself by posting countdown lists of my favorite MMORPG theme songs in this column. I was coming back around to the notion of doing that again when I decided that I should flip things over and have the readers create the countdown instead of me. After all, everyone seems to have an opinion as to which are the best MMO themes out there any time we've ever posted a Daily Grind about it, so why not hash it out?

So here's the plan: Over the next two weeks, I will be accepting your votes for favorite MMORPG themes. I'll then compile them and create a countdown list based on the most popular ones mentioned, which will be posted in upcoming Jukebox Heroes. If you ever thought that a particular theme didn't get enough credit or simply want to share the theme tracks that get you revved up or make you nostalgic, here's your chance!

Let's go over some ground rules after the jump and then get to voting!

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