Culture & Community Category

The softer, gentler side of MMORPG life. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Ultima Online says it has ‘no plans to introduce legacy rulesets’

Seems as if everyone wants to talk legacy servers lately, what with RIFT and World of Warcraft getting on board the vanilla train. Even the 20-year-old Ultima Online has apparently been fielding questions about a potential legacy server, but as Broadsword Producer Bonnie “Mesanna” Armstrong explains in the classic MMO’s latest newsletter, the team currently has no plans for such a ruleset. Why? Three big reasons.

For starters, Ultima Online is freakin’ ancient, and getting everyone to agree on which version of the game from the last 20 years constitutes “legacy” would likely be as hard as it’s going to be for the WoW team. I sure wouldn’t want to go back to one of the 1997 builds, when houses didn’t have keys, guilds didn’t exist, and recalling consumed runes. No thanks! (Armstrong doesn’t mention it, but there are already hundreds of UO emulators on the internet proving this reality; all of them have their own version of what “legacy” means. It’s not just a hypothesis she’s floating here!)

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Riot partners with the Peach Belt Conference, Blizzard takes OWL toxicity seriously with suspension and fine

E-sports is continuing its rise in respectability: ESPN reports that Riot Games has partnered with the Peach Belt Conference, known to “real” sports fans as a creditable NCAA division II lineup. Teams from the dozen universities in the conference will compete in to play in the Peach Belt League of Legends championship in March and ultimately the League of Legends College Championship in June. You’ll recall that schools from multiple division II conferences do already participate in the latter championship, but those conferences aren’t full partners with Riot.

While you’re still reeling from ESPN covering e-sports, this Overwatch League bit will pop your eyebrows up again. Dallas Fuel player Félix “xQc” Lengyel got into an internet spat with the Houston Outlaws’ Austin “Muma” Wilmot during which the former made a homophobic remark to the latter (who is in fact openly gay). Though the pair made up on Twitter, Blizzard suspended Lengyel for four matches and fined him $2000, while his team will bench him for additional matches and reportedly give him additional support and training. We’re assuming that’s training on how to shut the fudge up son as you will not be screwing this bajillion-dollar thing Acti-Blizz has going with your trash mouth. Yes, this is real life.

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ArenaNet donates $3500 to Guild Wars fan whose game copy survived a deadly housefire

Howasabout another feel-good story? Let’s do it! This one comes from Kotaku, which covered a large donation Guild Wars 2 studio ArenaNet recently made to a fan.

According to the GoFundMe, which is still live and has surpassed its original $5000 goal, the family of Georgia resident Frances Hunsucker was devastated by a house fire; while all the humans escaped the blaze, two pets did not, and everything they owned was destroyed. Well, almost everything. Hunsucker uploaded a video of her classic Guild Wars Nightfall DVD case, which didn’t seem much affected by the flames.

“The local Game Stop people know me as the ‘crazy Guild Wars lady,'” she reportedly told Kotaku.

ArenaNet chipped in $3,595 toward the “crazy Guild Wars lady’s” fundraiser along with a swag bag, propelling the donations over the top and hopefully helping the fam through the first steps of rebuilding. Next time you say Thanks, ArenaNet, you should really, truly mean it.

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VR Chat players aid seizure victim, shame trolls

Last year, we wrote about the extreme potential for griefing in virtual reality spaces as it’s one of MMORPG developer Raph Koster’s favorite talking points. “People who think ‘anonymity’ is ‘more authentic’ forget that we are social creatures; we are less human when masked and isolate,” he wrote last year in response to the rather idealistic outlooks on human nature pushed by start-up VR companies.

But of course, that’s not to say that nobody behaves well in virtual spaces. To wit: Kotaku has a piece out today on an incident that took place in VR Chat, an extremely popular virtual world akin to Second Life. A group of its players apparently put down their memes to help out a fellow human who appeared to have collapsed with a seizure. In the video provided by YouTuber Rogue Shadow VR, VR gamers broke character to offer medical advice and shame a handful of griefers in diapers and meme costumes.

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Wisdom of Nym: Does Final Fantasy XIV have too many content subdivisions?

Here’s a fun question for you about Final Fantasy XIV: What’s the difference between a trial and a raid in the endgame?

At first glance that’s the sort of obvious question to prompt eye-rolling and derisive smirks. That’s obvious: A trial is just a contained boss fight in a specific arena, while a raid is a mini-dungeon followed by a boss fight! And then you remember that a whole lot of raids, such as all of Deltascape and the last fight of each Alexander wing, don’t actually have any sort of dungeon attachment. So maybe a raid just means that they’re thematically linked… oh, wait, except that we’ve had sequences of trials linked like that with the Warring Triad.

Two difficulty modes? Well, yes, that means they have different names, but not different structures. Oh, let’s also remember that Extreme Primals, much like Alexander and onward, have a largely token-based loot system! Figured out the difference yet? It gets more fun when you remember that raids are technically different from alliance raids. Or that technically, Praetorium might qualify as a raid!

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Leaderboard: Will you be playing RIFT’s new server?

Last week, Trion Worlds announced a bold move for its MMORPG RIFT: Debuting this spring will be a brand-new server for the game with a business model that differs from the base game’s. The so-called RIFT Prime server will be a fresh start progression server with a subscription model that doesn’t have lockboxes and has only a minimal cash shop “with more of the current store-based items obtained through gameplay (or removed entirely).” The server has a few other perks that borrow from other games with such servers, including scaling content/loot and participation rewards usable back on “home” servers.

Based on our comments from last week, quite a lot of people are intrigued by the game, having been turned off in the past because of its business model, so this is a good chance to put your sub money where your mouth is, so to speak. Other people are done with the game and nothing’s gonna bring them back.

Let’s poll it out: Will you be playing RIFT’s new server?

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Wild West Online polls fanbase on maps, quickdraw, coaches, and crafts

Wild West Online’s devs are digging around for player opinions on what it should work on next. “Over the last few months you’ve given us tons of suggestions and ideas on what you want to see in the game,” 612 Games wrote on its forums yesterday. “Looking at the roadmap we posted, you can see some of what we’re already working on based on your prior feedback. Below is a list of other feature ideas we’ve collated from additional recent feedback.”

Among the options? Quickdraw dueling, bar games, better RP uses for taverns, rideable trains and stage coaches (in place of fast travel), farming crops, mining and smelting, and forts “for defense against Native American or bandit attacks.” What’s winning right now is a bigger, more varied map with weather effects.

Unfortunately, the poll is inexplicably closed after just half a day, otherwise we’d tell you to go make your voice heard; this game literally dropped free-for-all PvP in favor of a faction-based PvP system as a result of overwhelming player feedback, which contributed to the game’s delays last fall. Still, it ought to give a tease as to what’s likely coming next in development.

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EVE Online community donates 3.7 million PLEX to family of fallen developer

Last fall, one of EVE Online’s senior software engieers passed away at the age of 35, leaving a hole in the team’s heart. While the studio created a special ship SKIN to memorialize CCP Blaze, there was more that the company and community felt that could be done.

Funds were raised to support his fiancée and one-year-old daughter which resulted in an “astonishing, unparalleled” success. The community donated over 3.7 million PLEX — $119,828.50 — to the family, making it the second-largest fundraiser ever to happen in CCP’s history.

“It’s honestly not possible for us to find words that would accurately convey the gratitude we feel to our pilots,” CCP said. “Once again, the EVE community has shown that despite differences in game, our pilots are a formidable, and indestructible force for good.”

Source: EVE Online

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The Daily Grind: Is ‘naming-and-shaming’ MMO cheaters a good idea?

Last week on Reddit, an EVE Online player begged CCP to organize a wall of shame for botters – essentially an online list of those caught cheating, with character names and corps to boot. This, he argued, would not only prove to the community that cheaters were being banned but allow players to “self-police” those corps “actively harbouring bots.”

You’re probably making a face right now imagining just what EVE players might do with such a list, but then again, we’re talking about botters here. I’m more curious whether you folks actually believe those are effective or a good idea in general. Several EVE players said it’d never happen because of European laws, but in fact we’ve written articles about multiple MMO studios naming-and-shaming cheaters: Guild Wars 2, Riders of Icarus, H1Z1, Tree of Savior, and Mechwarrior Online, just to name the first five I found by searching the last three years of our own site.

Is “naming-and-shaming” MMO cheaters with a “wall of shame” a good idea, or should studios that famously ban the wrong people maybe stay away from painting targets on customers’ backs?

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Global Chat: Jumping on board the Warframe train

Are you playing Warframe these days? If not, you might be missing out on the growing party of people who seem to be flocking to Digital Extremes’ free-to-play shooter. Plenty of bloggers continue to discover and extol the virtues of this game, even years after it first hit the scene.

“The game’s been around for several years now,” said Nomadic Gamer, “so there’s a lot of maturity in the advice community and when people ask for ‘best builds’ they can be referred to builds created years ago.”

In An Age considers Warframe to be his “‘I don’t know what I feel like doing’ and ‘I only have 30 minutes to play’ game.” And while Superior Realities felt like the game was only “meh,” he did recognize the powerful effect of that word-of-mouth is having with this title.

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One Shots: Poppin’ some bubbly

We are going to kick off this week’s exhibition of player screenshots with a few email submissions (yes, some of you still email them in, and bless you for it!).

It doesn’t take much of an excuse for a celebration to break out in Final Fantasy XIV, as Souseiseki notes: “A certain Miqo’te had a little too much fun celebrating Heavensturn (and too much to drink!). Although, I think she had more fun opening the bottles than actually drinking them! Fortunately, I had the foresight to hide the good stuff. Don’t worry, her chocobo was parked safe in the stables and we confiscated her saddle.”

Postscript: That chocobo was later seen perched high on top of a temple summit, wrapped in toilet paper and spray painted with an incomprehensible slogan.

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The Daily Grind: How often do you check your MMO playtime?

My main character in Final Fantasy XIV is fast approaching a year of total playtime. That isn’t entirely surprising, since she’s been in the game since version 1.0, but that’s still a lot of hours logged into a single character. I fear looking at the playtime stats for some of my older characters in World of Warcraft, to boot. It’s the sort of thing where just looking at it gives me a “holy crap, how long have I played this game” moment.

Most games give you some way of checking how long you’ve played a given character, and of course client services like Steam will often log your overall playtime. That means you can see how long you’ve been farting about. So what about you, readers? How often do you check your MMO playtime? Is it a regular event, or is it just whenever you have a vague curiosity about how many hours have been spent in a particular game?

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WRUP: This sentence is about horses edition

This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses horses horses. This horse is about sentences. This sentence is about horses. Horse sentence horse horse horses. Sentence horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This horse is about sentences. This sentence is about sentient horses. Bones. This sentence is about horses.

This sentence, sentence, sentence, sentence, horse horse horse horse horse. Horse sentence. Sentence horse. This sentence is about horses. Gamblebox. This sentence is about horses. I want to cry and never stop. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about horses. This sentence is about bees. What are you playing. This sentence is about horses.

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