Culture & Community Category

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

How Star Trek Online constructs its new pilot ships

The newest ships in Star Trek Online are all based around making players feel like that piloting specialization was a good expenditure of time and effort. Also being cool ships in their own rights, obviously. So how do you design a new pilot ship? We’re not going to speculate because we don’t have to; the latest development diary on the official site outlines how pilot ships went from a concept to a reality.

One of the biggest issues was deciding the ship classes for each of the ships to fall into. Obviously, the Federation ship needed to be an Escort and the Romulans had the advantage of the anything-goes Warbirds, but it wasn’t immediately obvious whether the Klingon ship should be a Raptor or a Bird-of-Prey. For more details on the design process and the cross-faction differences for all three ships, check out the full diary.

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Not So Massively: Heroes of Newerth changes owners; LoL subreddit drama continues

Path of Exile announced a potentially revolutionary and futuristic sounding new Deterministic Lockstep mode that promises sharper gameplay and zero desync for those on fast internet connections. Blizzard announced an upcoming balance patch for Heroes of the Storm and revealed that the Chinese release of Diablo III‘s expansion has sold over a million units sales in just two over weeks. Online RTS Grey Goo delayed its upcoming match replay feature in favour of new symmetrical maps aimed at the competitive gaming scene. And the official team list for Dota 2‘s upcoming world championship tournament was revealed this week as the tournament’s prize pool blasted past the $7.5 million mark.

The recent League of Legends subreddit controversy continued this week as moderators were accused of trying to suppress a popular story broken by banned esports journalist Richard Lewis. Heroes of Newerth may be set to make a comeback as the game and its entire development team have now moved to publisher Garena. And Bungie revealed all the details of Destiny‘s upcoming House of Wolves expansion, which increases the level cap to 34 and introduces new PvP and co-op game modes.

Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week’s Not So Massively.

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League of Legends community forms rival subreddit in response to heavy moderation

In response to the heated debate over alleged heavy-handed moderation and undue studio influence on the League of Legends subreddit, a group of players have protested by forming the so-called Riot Free sub. The new sub states that it is “an alternative subreddit for League of Legends where there are no conflicts of interest and no ethical dilemmas.”

Part of the catalyst for this new sub came about by the content banning of e-sports journalist Richard Lewis on the main subreddit, who wrote articles critical of the studio and the subreddit’s moderators as well as covered a third-party app that was considered controversial.

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An all-Death Knight party downs the current apex of World of Warcraft raiding

So, what’s the best group composition for endgame raiding in World of Warcraft? It looks like it’s Death Knights. Just a bunch of Blood-spec Death Knights. Sure, you have no healing or DPS, but a group consisting of 10 such Death Knights was able to down Blackhand in Heroic Blackrock Foundry without needing any of those other roles. Have you managed to do that with nine other people mirroring your spec?

According to the players behind the victory, the fight became a great deal more hectic due to the lack of specific tanks, but the group pulled out the win despite the madness of the mechanics. Next plan: taking on Mythic Highmaul with twice as many Death Knights. Form your own conclusion.

Incidentally, it’s also the decade anniversary of that intensely stupid Leeroy Jenkins video, so feel free to pepper your words today with references to it.

[Source: Kotaku, Polygon]

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s cross-class actions

This past week, I did what I needed to do before Final Fantasy XIV’s expansion Heavensward launches: I finished the main scenario questline on my second character. Considering that she needed to be Dark Knight more or less a month ago, I think this was very necessary and am glad to be done with it. For those of you wondering about the future, my Au Ra will be leveling and going through stuff after the expansion launch, in no small part to see how viable things are when trying to clear that big gap between level 50 and the first steps into Ishgard… but that’s another discussion altogether.

All of this talk and thought about new jobs naturally raises the question of what people should be leveling going into the new expansion, though, and that’s a tough question to ask. It’s almost impossible to know right now what the cross-class landscape is going to look like, if indeed it looks like anything. With three new jobs and enough levels for another cross-class action, it increasingly looks to me as if that cross-class landscape has eroded into nothing.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO do you wish had turned out differently?

Back in the day I was a big fan of Darkfall. I remember waiting an eternity for the game’s 2009 launch, and then I remember not being able to play it at launch due to Aventurine’s clusterfunk of a billing system. Nonetheless, Darkfall 1.0 remains one of my favorite MMO experiences to date, which is saying something since I’m not normally into PvP.

Darkfall Unholy Wars was fun for a while, but it was never quite the same, and nowadays the game wanders in and out of my peripheral vision. I’m tempted to go back on occasion, but Darkfall is one of those could-have-been games, at least in my opinion. What about you, MOP readers? What MMO do you wish had turned out differently?

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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One Shots: Bugs Bunny 2099

What would Bugs Bunny look like if he were a futuristic space mercenary who chomped on freeze-dried carrots and spat out, “What’s UP, doc?” right before he unloaded his plasma minigun on an enemy soldier? I imagine he’d look something like this.

Our headline picture is from reader Enikuo, who hails from the land of Warframe. “Warframe added bunny ears for Easter, so I took some screenshots,” he said. “Here, my Tenno is selecting a mission from the mission console. It’s not the most user-friendly menu ever, but what it lacks in usability it makes up with coolness.”

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The Daily Grind: Have you bought real-world memorabilia for an MMO?

I don’t think it’s going to surprise anyone that I’m a pretty big fan of Final Fantasy XIV. Despite that fact, it may surprise readers to know that my home is not only not covered in various FFXIV merchandise, but I don’t actually own much of what does exist in the first place. I just don’t feel the need to pay the money and buy more merch for the game.

Then again, maybe it wouldn’t surprise you. I know there are people out there who will happily have a logo from a favored game on every piece of clothing and/or furniture; I also know there are extremely dedicated fans out there who don’t own a single collector’s edition. So what about you? Have you bought real-world memorabilia for an MMO, either for associated in-game bonuses or just because you really like the game?

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WRUP: Chroma Squad is a thing of joy edition

If you had told me when I was 17 that I wanted to play a pixelated turn-based strategy game in which I got to manage my own team of sentai characters, I would have responded with an eye-roll and a loud “duh.” Because of course I did. I still want that now! Only now I can actually play that, and it’s called Chroma Squad, and I literally care about nothing else except that it exists and it works and it’s beautiful.

Balance concerns? Difficulty curves? Options available? I do not care about any of that. All I wanted was to get me some turn-based custom sentai creation, and look, I have it.

So you can probably guess part of my entry for this week’s installment of What Are You Playing, but can you guess the rest of the staff? Oh, you can? Well, aren’t you smart. Why don’t you share what you’ll be playing down in the comments, smart guy? I mean that. Totally serious.

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The Daily Grind: When do you know it’s time to evacuate from your game?

This right here is your friendly neighborhood evacuation droid. If you will but calm down and follow his directions, he will lead you away from disillusionment and toward a brighter future. Please mind the flame wars and “I Quit” posts on your way out.

Sooner or later, the time comes for us to leave an MMO. Maybe it’s the studio shoving us out of the door due to a premature closure, but often we simply get bored, frustrated, or interested in something else. I find that it’s important to listen to my own internal warning signs to knowing when to evacuate from a game before I fall in danger of hard burnout. Usually those signs will be logging in less, feeling as though I “have” to play instead of want to, and bursts of irrational anger toward the game and/or studio.

So when do you know that it’s time to evacuate an MMO?

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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EverQuest Next invites players to the Elf workshop competition

The games aren’t explicitly linked quite the same way any longer, but there’s still plenty of space for Landmark players to strut their stuff in EverQuest Next style. Hence the new forum posting that gives players a style guide for the elves of the setting as well as the architecture found in the now-ruined Takish empire. While the elves had once traveled the stars, the fall of the once glorious empire means that they simply look up at the stars at night… and, you know, incorporate those designs into their clothes, buildings, and so forth whenever they can.

Why would you care about any of this beyond the lore? Because Daybreak is beginning another building competition, this one asking players to submit Elf- and Takish Empire-style builds in Landmark for consideration in EQN.

More details on the competition are forthcoming, but in the meantime, you can check out the pictures of structures, materials, and layouts on the full style guide.

[Source: EverQuest Next forums, competition]

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E-sports, permadeath, and completionist are now in the dictionary.com

Dictionary.com has granted a bit of legitimacy to a trio of gaming terms. E-sports, permadeath, and completionist were among the latest batch of words enshrined in the online reference site’s ever-growing lexicon.

The site relies on “research in traditional publications, as well as technology like corpus research. In our case, we are currently using a corpus that has over 19 billion words. The corpus contains a massive collection of sources, from literature to news articles to television and interview transcripts, balanced to reflect actual usage of language.”

[Via: IGN; Source: Dictionary.com]

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