Culture & Community Category

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

The Daily Grind: Should all MMOs come with player music systems?

While developing player music systems might seem like a superfluous effort, in my opinion it is a feature that should come standard in most all MMOs. Why? For starters, it's a terrific outlet for player creativity, as it allows the community to generate entertainment for each other in infinite varieties. It adds to the feel of the world, is hard to twist into obscenity, and allows for the formation of groups to form bands and throw concerts.

But the real argument topper for the inclusion of such systems is that players go absolutely bananas for them. It's one of the most-cited favorites of Lord of the Rings Online, even from haters of the game, and player concerts there have drawn so many listeners that it's nearly crashed the server.

What do you think? Should all MMOs come with player music systems?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today's Daily Grind!

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The factionless WoW player dings level 100

World of Warcraft Shaman Doubleagent made headlines a year ago for leveling his Pandaren up to 80 and then 90 without ever choosing a faction. Now he's pulled it off again post-Warlords of Draenor, this time barrelling up to 100, still factionless. Kotaku reports that he has been grinding away at the project by harvesting herbs and collecting exp through his other characters' pet battles.

In other WoW news, Blizzard has posted up last week's raid-and-dungeon Q&A video with Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas and Community Manager Josh "Lore" Allen Friday; we've embedded it below. Among the highlights? "NO troll dungeon next patch. No trolls in Draenor." They also address the content gap: "Our focus is on reducing the gap in content between final tier and next expack. We know that Siege was too long -- unacceptably long. We are committed to reducing that. [...] Six to seven months is good for a large raid tier; 13 months is too long."

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The Daily Grind: Are you prompt about unsubscribing from MMOs?

I am going to make a confession: I am terrible about remembering to unsubscribe from games I am no longer playing. Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World are nice for not asking me to subscribe in the first place, but odds are good that it'll be at least a month or two between the date when I know I'm not going back to the game and when I actually remember to cancel my subscription. I vote with my wallet, but not always in a timely fashion.

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Former SWTOR bigwig dislikes the term 'whale'

The latest salvo in the ongoing free-to-play culture war comes courtesy of former Star Wars: The Old Republic lead systems designer Damion Schubert. In a GDC talk titled "Embracing the Paradigm Shift: Converting a Premium Team to an (Enthusiastic!) Freemium Team," Schubert advocates for a terminology shift from the word "whale" to the word "patron."

"These people are very important, and we can start by treating them with some fucking respect," Schubert told his audience.

GameIndustry.biz summarizes the presentation, which saw Schubert advance the narrative that F2P is the future. "Imagine if you will that EA and DICE manage to figure out how to make a true Battlefield 5 experience that is actually a good free-to-play experience," he said. "They'll have an increase in profits, they'll claim the free-to-play first-person shooter experience, Call of Duty will have to flip, and then the whole genre will flip."

[Source: GI.biz]

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Camelot Unchained preps for its alpha unveiling

[Update: Alpha is now live as of this evening! Thanks to Amber for the heads-up! More in the morning.]

Camelot Unchained had to delay the start of its alpha testing for everyone over the weekend, but it doesn't seem as if it's going to be pushing back very far. An update from yesterday evening announced that today will see a full-day stream running from the City State Entertainment crew, with the staff working hard to break the game during the display. If everything's stable, the alpha will be left on overnight.

Compensation is still planned for the delay in testing, with the particulars to be determined once the decision is made to turn on access or wait a little bit longer. For those who want to watch the antics of the team trying to break the servers in any possible way, the stream will start today at 10 a.m. EST. A surprise is also promised for backers in the near future, although details haven't yet been made available.

[Source: Evening Update for March 2nd, Twitch. Thanks, Will.]

 

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The Daily Grind: What are the minimum criteria for an online game?

It's pretty definite that Second Life is not a game in the strictest sense of the word, and by "the strictest" I of course mean "basically any." It's more of a toolbox in which you can make a game, sort of. But then, so is Landmark, and I don't think anyone would argue that isn't a game. You might argue whether it succeeds at its goals as a game, but that's a different discussion.

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Couple gets married in Shroud of the Avatar's first wedding

Shroud of the Avatar isn't even in proper alpha testing yet, but the fantasy title has already been host to its first in-game wedding.

Players Roper and Keira tied the virtual knot in an action-packed proceedings that included intense vow-making, fiery battles, and a knighting ceremony. Lord British and several members of the dev team also made appearances to bestow blessings on the newlyweds.

You can watch the highlights of the ceremony after the jump!

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The Daily Grind: What's one MMO wish you deeply regret?

It's jumping.

Guild Wars players whined and moaned about not being able to jump in the classic game ad nauseam. Jumping increases our immersions and gives us something to do with our spacebar key binding, they said, plus we need jumping in PvP because of reasons. Give us the jumping!

Well, I hope you're happy, Guild Wars players, because you got your wish in Guild Wars 2. In fact, you got your wish so well that not only can you spaz-jump in PvP and climb over hills, but every freaking corner of the game has a jumping puzzle waiting there to show you how terrible you always were at jumping. We have jumping for holiday events, jumping for dailies, entire game modes like SAB that are basically nothing but a test of jumping ability.

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One Shots: Riding railroad

Superhero MMOs really make for some spectacular screenshots, you have to agree. And if you don't agree, you might be on the receiving end of Massively OP reader Russell's verdant vengeance.

"This is my Green Lantern, Pinball, from DCUO," Russell submitted. "He's taking to the skies in the blackest of night where no evil shall escape his sight, and those who worship evil's might are about to get their asses kicked by his Green Lantern's Light!"

I got goosebumps. Seriously. Now let's see what the community has for us in this full-color edition of One Shots!

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Star Trek Online, Star Citizen, and Elite plan Leonard Nimoy tributes

While players hold solemn vigils for the late, great Leonard Nimoy, MMO developers are working quickly to place tributes in-game to the actor who played Star Trek's Spock.

"Everyone at Cryptic Studios was saddened to hear of his passing and we want to make sure we never forget the cultural impact of the man or the character he played," posted Executive Producer Steve Ricossa. "To that end, the Star Trek Online team will implement a standing in-game memorial to Spock and Leonard Nimoy this Thursday March 5th with our regular weekly maintenance."

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The Daily Grind: Do you have a good grasp of your MMO's history?

As someone who's played his fair share of both Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 over the years, I have to confess that I've had a poor track record of picking up and understanding Tyria's history. I actually had to end up watching a few nicely done YouTube videos in which a knowledgable fan took all of the fragments of the game's history and lore and then put it into an accessible presentation. Even with that, I am frequently clueless.

For MMOs that you've been playing for a while, do you have a good grasp on the world's backstory? Are you a loremaster of reknown or an adventurer who flunked out of history?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today's Daily Grind!

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The Game Archaeologist: Ten facts of EverQuest life circa 1999

MMOs change. We know that, but we also tend to forget it as well. The games that we play today can often be light-years distant from how they used to be when they launched, especially if they've been around for well over a decade.

I was never part of the EverQuest scene back in the day (or even now), but I've always been fascinated with random tales and tidbits of how the game used to be versus how it is now. With that in mind, I put out a call to player vets who were there back in '99 to share some of the facts of EQ life. The deluge of stories that I got in return was staggering, and I'm excited to share them with you.

How was the game different? What mechanics and obstacles did players have to deal with that are unheard of today? Check out what those who were on the scene in 1999 had to say!

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Star Trek Online players request in-game Spock memorial

Saddened by the passing of Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy this morning, players of Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online MMORPG have petitioned the game's creators for a memorial to Spock.

Amidst threads grieving for the loss of an actor dear to the franchise, player horseshoestables posted,

Today I hope [Nimoy's] family finds condolence in knowing how much [he] touched so many across many generations with the love of Star Trek. [...] I am asking that Star Trek Online create a new mission for all characters across all factions that is dedicated to Mr. Nimoy and, sadly, brings a close to Spock's life in the Trek Universe. I know that it is a costly endeavor, but believe it is only fitting and respectful, given that the man did a great deal of voice overs for this great game and has been a source of inspiration from youth to philosophers. Please consider this request and may Mr. Spock find peace in the ending of his long life.

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