Culture & Community Category

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

Guild Chat: Guild size and its effect on cohesion

Welcome along to Guild Chat, my cozy corner of the internet in which we can discuss all things guilds, the place where we all gather to give advice to a reader in need. Come on in and pull up a plush purple couch, everybody! I’ll pop the kettle on while we get settled in, all ready to deal with this month’s issue. This edition of Guild Chat is focused on a question sent in from Massively Overpowered reader Loyheta that asks about balancing the size of a guild’s roster with its inclusiveness and activity levels. As pointed out, the balance can be hard to strike: Many of the largest guilds become somewhat fractured and cliques inevitably form, whereas smaller guilds may be very friendly but often rely on new players suiting the commonality of the existing core members. Read Loyheta’s question in full below to get up to speed, and don’t forget to pop your own two cents on the topic in the comments below.

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One Shots: Every action movie cliché, ever

Everyone needs those epic action moments in MMOs from time to time when everything comes together to deliver a pulse-pounding experience. From the looks of our first picture this week, reader Wonder Llama found exactly that in Firefall.

“So you know that scene in the action movies where the hero is running like hell to stay ahead of the shock-wave of some huge explosion, and it looks really really cool?” he asked. “Yeah… been there, done that! On a side note, I discovered Firefall has this really nice feature that I wish other MMO companies would shamelessly copy: It lets you record the events that took place in the game and then play them back inside the game engine. It’s like recording a video, but a thousand times better because you can pause it, pan around, rotate, and zoom the camera to get some fantastic screen shots!”

Trust me, this picture looks even better in full color!

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The Daily Grind: What character look are you most proud of?

The image above was used as a header elsewhere, but other than the fact that I never fixed her belt (it was a placeholder belt since I knew I’d be replacing the gear there quickly) I’m still proud of how good that set looked on my Blood Elf in World of Warcraft. It feels like an archetypical sort of Blood Knight look, even though it’s assembled from bits and pieces of other sets. Just like my favorite looks in Final Fantasy XIV or Star Wars: The Old Republic, a collection of pieces that works right for the character and possibly no one else.

Obviously, some of you don’t care about this stuff, and that’s fine. But for those of you who do, what character look are you most proud of? What outfit made you stop, take screenshots, and nod in approval?

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: What Star Wars Galaxies life was like before the NGE

A decade after Star Wars Galaxies’ “New Game Enhancements” hit the game, controversy, grumbling, and revelations still pop up about the notorious decision to overhaul the entire game. Some maintain that it ruined the game, while others acknowledge that what came after actually ended up being better.

As the 2003 to 2005 pre-NGE era is quickly vanishing into the distant past, I wanted to preserve some of the history of what the game was like before that fateful patch day. To aid in this project, I asked six Star Wars Galaxies veterans to share some of their memories and stories from that time. Here’s what they had to say about what in-game life was like in those first few years.

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WRUP: What ever happened with that button thing edition

Does anyone remember this? This was a thing that happened. I wrote a news post about it. A thing was done with a button, stuff took place… I mean, I seriously never bothered checking up on it again, what happened when the timer on that ran out? Does anyone know? Was that the button that kept the world turning? Is the world still turning? We might want to get out and check.

The important thing is that I’m curious about what ever wound up happening with the button, but not curious enough to do the five seconds of research on Google to answer the question. Maybe there were kittens involved, who knows.

Anyhow, that was all I had for the week. I’m packing for a trip again, I’m distracted. Listen, just… head on down to the comments and let us know what you’re playing this weekend, like we did up above. It’s What Are You Playing, you know how the deal works. Read more

The Daily Grind: Would you pay for MMO mods?

The entire internet (only a slight exaggeration there) exploded this week over Valve’s decision to work with selected game studios to allow modders to charge for their amateur game plugins on the Steam Workshop, cutting Valve and said studios a huge slice of the profit pie. Regardless of whether you think paid mods are acceptable, most people seem to agree that Valve hasn’t handled it very well at all, given the number of stolen mods and fraudulent DMCA take-downs flying around the Workshop right about now.

I’ve been modding video games a really long time, both creating my own and obsessively downloading, playing, and tweaking mods made by others. Half the reason I still play World of Warcraft is to tinker with UI addons, and I even created some housing retexes for the late great Star Wars Galaxies. I’ve also made money on some of my non-MMO mods — yes, made money on game mods, 15 years ago when it was a broadly accepted thing. Anyone who was gaming back then remembers Sims paysites, the bandwidth bubble, and the Skindex fiasco; in a weird way, this is all just a little bit of history repeatin’.

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Warcraft movie delayed once again

If you were making plans to head to theaters in March of next year to see the Warcraft film as soon as it opened, your plans were apparently rather premature. Not just because that’s 11 months away, but because the film has been delayed again by three months. It’s now slated to come out in June of 2016.

This is the film’s second delay, with the first delay pushing it back from a December release to avoid competing with some film or another called Star Wars. No word on whether this latest delay is to avoid another film or just because more time is needed in post-production; it’s possible everyone just really liked the marketing phrase “summer of Azeroth.”

[Source: Blizzard Watch]

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Massively Overthinking: Overcoming ‘Barrens chat’ culture

Tonight’s Massively Overthinking aims to address a core problem facing the whole internet, not just games: antisocial behavior. Our question comes from Kickstarter donor Katie MacAlister, who wonders,

What can be done to combat the “anonymity on the Internet breeds douchecravats” mentality that pervades MMOs? Barrens chat, trade chat…for every “good” soul, there’s a handful of twits. What can the MMO world do to fight this?”

I asked our writers about the best ways players and studios can overcome this ever-present problem.

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Massively Opinionated: WoW vs. LOTRO vs. the banker

Welcome to Massively Opinionated, Massively Overpowered’s brand-new vidcast! We’ve all argued and bantered with guildmates and forumgoers over which MMO character is the most powerful or why sub-to-play is better than free-to-play. In Massively Opinionated, we’ll funnel those debates into a fiery and fun video program featuring journalists, bloggers, and community members from around the MMORPG world.

The rules are simple: The arbitrator, Massively OP’s own Larry Everett, invites three internet personalities to the show, asking them four questions that they can research to formulate their arguments and bolster their positions as they try to hold their own during the debate. The most persuasive panelist for each topic will be awarded a point, and at the conclusion of the ‘cast, the panelist with the most points will reign supreme!

This week’s panelists, debating topics that revolve around what makes MMOs special, are Mike Byrne from MMOBomb, Richie Procopio aka Bog Otter, and our very own Tina Lauro. Enjoy!

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The Elder Scrolls Online halts in-game ads

Wasn’t it great when The Elder Scrolls Online put ads in the middle of the screen for cash shop items during a welcome back weekend for beta testers? Players seem to agree that it was awesome, except for all of the many ways that they stated it was the exact opposite of awesome. The good news is that it appears that won’t be done again.

An official response to a comment on the European PlayStation blog states that ZeniMax Online has heard the fan feedback and won’t do the same thing again, although the response stresses that it was just due to the fact that the leopard was only on sale for a very limited time. If you’re looking forward to starting the console beta tomorrow, this is doubtlessly good news.

[Source: Official PlayStation Blog (EU); thanks to Robbie for the tip!]

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EverQuest II explains Rum Cellar pricing

Are you ready to head down into a cellar, get some rum, and become the lord or lady of rum in EverQuest II? Because that’s not really what the Rum Cellar campaign is about, just FYI. Still, you can find out for yourself on April 28th, when the campaign goes on sale for $14.99 as a stand-alone purchase. Players who want to pick this adventure up along with the Altar of Malice expansion – a required component to play through it – will be able to pick up both at a bundle price of $49.99 ($94.99 for the Altar of Malice Collector’s Edition). And, of course, subscribers get a 10% discount. It’s all in keeping with EQII’s new plan to switch to cutting expansions in favor of DLC.

If you’re a little more focused on the community side of things, you’ll want to know that after the latest round of forum and Reddit drama, the community management team over on the official forums asked for player feedback on moderation policies and got… well… lots of feedback. The last post on that thread explains the conclusions and the useful information taken away by the moderation team. Community Manager RadarX writes,

We are going to initiate the edit post policy at minimum on the EQ2 forums.
We cannot re-institute the forum-admin email process based on the resources we have available. We’re discussing what alternatives we can provide. .
We are doing a full review of our moderation process to ensure everyone on our team is fully trained and capable of providing consistent practice across our titles.

[Source: Rum Cellar Highlights, An Open Dialogue Regarding Forum Moderation; thanks to Kinya for the tip!]

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The Daily Grind: What’s the oldest MMO you’ve ever played?

I read yesterday’s news about Meridian 59 with interest because it’s one of the few genre titles that was before my time. My MMO obsession began in Ultima Online circa 1997, which was a year or so after M59’s commercial launch. I’ve always meant to check out the latter, though, and now I’ve got even more motivation to do so since it’s receiving updates from its open source community.

What about you, MOP readers? What’s the oldest MMORPG you’ve ever played?

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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Meridian 59 getting new updates from the open source community

Where will your favorite MMO be in two decades? If it’s Meridian 59, it may be still operating. The title, which originally launched in September of 1996, is now open source and supported by a community of volunteers who are maintaining and updating the project.

The game’s latest patch notes mention “mostly infrastructure changes” but also “some improvements that have been on many players’ wish lists for the last 20 years.” The developers are also planning to bring back some major 1990s-era content.

[Source: Reddit]

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