Culture & Community Category

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

Daybreak overrules EverQuest progression server vote

Part of what keeps the community engaged with progression servers like the most recent EverQuest pairing of Ragefire and Lockjaw is the idea that the community determines the pace of updates. If the players don’t want the game’s next expansion available on the server, it’s not there. Unless, of course, a community vote says that it wants another six months before the expansion is added and the developers just decide that another vote won instead.

The justification is that while the six-month option won the vote, the three-month and ASAP options for the next expansion had a majority, meaning that most players wanted things to change sooner rather than later. The compromise is to keep Lockjaw on the six month progression and Ragefire on three months for this expansion. Check out the full justification in the official posting discussing the polls.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic has a resurgence of rakghouls

Well, Star Wars: The Old Republic fans, we’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that another upswing in rakghoul activity is sweeping the galaxy, which means that everyone in said galaxy has to deal with a sudden influx of ravenous cannibal monsters. Of course, video games being what they are, this is also the good news because it means that the Rakghoul Resurgence is here again to offer players pets, mounts, vanity gear, and plenty of enemies to fight.

The current resurgence will run until July 7th, enough time for players to fight off some infections and pick up some rewards in exchange for their dedicated ghoul-hunting. Nothing about the event appears to have changed, so if you already have everything you could dream of having from the reputation and the like, you may as well just shack up in your stronghold and wait the infection out. It’s just a little zombie plague; those things usually handle themselves anyway.

Source: Reddit; thanks to Bob for the tip!

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The Secret World plots its third anniversary

Can you believe that it’s been three years since the release of The Secret World? It’s even more surreal if you’re a developer who has been working on the project for those last few years. The latest update from the development team reveals that the plans are already in place for the game’s third anniversary, starting today and running until July 15th, with the Guardians of Gaia popping up once more. Taking part in the anniversary event will yield a hippie-themed outfit, a lava lamp, and a new motorcycle design.

Issue #12 is also under development, with the basement beneath the Orochi Tower being converted into a dungeon. Not a creepy one, the kind with three minibosses and three bosses for players to fight off. Take a look at the full development update for more peeks behind the scenes!

Source: Official Site; thanks to Nordavind for the tip!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO is aging the best?

While we demand and expect playing perfection from MMOs on launch day, that’s a pretty hilarious stance to take when one looks at all other online games at release. Fortunately, online games tend to get better over time simply due to ongoing development of a live title.

It’s actually pretty neat to return to a game that’s been out for four, five, or more years because while it may not be the hottest trend, you’ll end up finding a title that’s full of content and benefiting from a lot of polish and refinement.

So today’s question is simple: Which MMO is aging the best and why?

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Global Chat: Are fellowship maneuvers due for a comeback?

Lord of the Rings Online hasn’t been en vogue in MMO circles recently, but that doesn’t mean that the game and its systems are all dried up. Kill Ten Rats argues that one of the title’s 2007 innovations, the fellowship maneuver, should be copied and improved by the current generation of online games.

“It is a great mechanic that raises the skill ceiling and rewards group play without punishing soloers,” Zubon posts. “This is a great way to support group play. It takes nothing away from solo players, but it provides a bonus to being in a group, and the bonus scales up with the group size.”

While you’re chewing on that thought, here are some more blog posts for your literary appetite. This week we’ll see how Villagers and Heroes is an undiscovered gem, tackle video game addiction (again), see more World of Warcraft flying drama, and even return to the pixelated world of Anarchy Online!

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Hyperspace Beacon: The SWTOR community divide over Knights of the Fallen Empire

The past couple of weeks have been kind of strange for me. For five years, I’ve written about Star Wars :The Old Republic. I’ve embedded myself in the game and the big news and community discussions. I’ve seen some great websites come, and I’ve seen them go. There was even a point when this column had to take a back seat to another game. And somehow, there always seems to be something to talk about.

Now thanks to the announcement at E3, there has been a resurgence of discussion about what BioWare will do with its next expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire. Circus owner and showman P.T. Barnum is often credited with the quote, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” Hopefully, that is true for SWTOR because it’s certainly been a circus of criticism, zealous excitement, and wailing disappointment. In fact, it’s possible that this next expansion will do more to polarize the followers of the game more than anything that BioWare did or didn’t do at launch.

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Trion shuffles community managers for ArcheAge and its secret project

There’s a new name on the community team for ArcheAge this week. Evan “Scapes” Berman has posted his farewell letter on the game’s official forums, announcing his departure from the game. Taking over for him is Seraphina Brennan, known for handling community relations on Infinite Crisis and various writing duties for some group of weirdos on a site called Massively back in days of yore.

So we’re kind of happy to see it.

Scapes will continue to be taking part in the game’s weekly livestream while Trion’s Austin studio prepares to host livestream events locally, and he stresses that he will still be playing the game as before. “I am joining FireCait on a new, as-of-yet-unannounced project,” he wrote. “You may have seen our teaser for it last week: devilinsideyou.com.” So while it’s sad to say farewell to a community manager who’s been part of the community for a while, he’s leaving for better things, and someone excellent is stepping in to fill his shoes.

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Sword and Bored: Troll bridge

Over the last 16 comics, Jef and I have created a crazy bunch of characters. And although Mo is clearly the mascot, we thought it would be fun to fund out what some of these characters do when Mo isn’t around.

KaptainKuddles and DrL0v3 made their first appearance in the third comic, but what do they do when they aren’t terrorizing the newbie zone? To answer that question, we will have to read this week’s comic…

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Wisdom of Nym: The 60 climb in Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

As of this writing, I’m not quite 60 yet in Final Fantasy XIV. Thanks to real life, I’m a bit behind the curve, to the extent that you can be behind the curve when “the curve” has not actually been in release for a full week. All the same, there’s an interesting pair of phenomena at play within Heavensward. On the one hand, even more so than in the core game, the game encourages you to revisit areas and providing you with new quests to do as you return to the Sea of Clouds, the Western Highlands, and the Dravanian Forelands multiple times. (And never actually leave the Churning Mists.) On the other hand, there’s definitely a sense that these quests aren’t just optional sidequests but are in fact necessary if you don’t want to be forced into a huge grind as you approach the level cap.

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Player analyst believes EVE Online concurrency is at its lowest point since 2008

It’s really difficult to be sure about how EVE Online is doing, since CCP Games has stopped releasing subscription numbers on a regular basis. But there are still statistics available, albeit ones that are often presented in such a way as to obscure understanding by the average player. Former CSM member Jestertrek took it upon himself to analyze and present that data in a straightforward and comprehensible form, which leads to a stark and obvious display that the game’s player concurrency is currently at a seven-year low.

Jestertrek has posted several different graphs along with a supplementary post to explain what other peaks and valleys represent, and while he admits freely that the analysis is not perfect, it’s as official as you can get without an actual announcement from CCP. He also goes on to state that none of this means that the game is dying, simply that its entrenched base is shrinking and new arrivals are becoming less common. Whether you’re an EVE player or just a fascinated onlooker, it’s worth checking out the full post.

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Skyforge introduces the new Aelinet Portal on June 30th

Nowhere is Skyforge‘s sci-fi/fantasy setting blend more evident than with the in-game access to a specialized network meant for other aspiring deities. The portal is a thing in-universe, but it also serves as a tool for players, and on June 30th it’ll become an even more powerful tool. The game’s official forums are being rolled into the Aelinet Portal, which will allow players to post messages, share images, and communicate both from within the game and while they’re unable to log into the game proper.

The initial launch of this feature will allow gamers to communicate and message other players and fellow members of their Pantheon; in the future, even players logged in via the web client will be able to use this portal to manage things like Pantheon leadership functions. It’s a fantastic tool for keeping strong communication and community from both inside and outside the game. Check out the full rundown for all of the details.

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The Daily Grind: Would you play a dinosaur MMO?

Our ARK: Survival Evolved server seems to be going over well, and as such I got to thinking about dinosaurs in a more traditional MMO context. Sure, ARK has a bit of progression, plenty of crafting, and of course pets galore thanks to the fact that you can tame as many dinos as you can feed, but it’s not really an MMO in my book, since the servers support a small number of players.

What about you, MOP readers and dinosaur fans? Would you play a more traditional dino-based MMO, or does ARK scratch your itch just fine as it is?

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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EVE Evolved: Is EVE becoming less emergent?

I’ve often heard it said that EVE Online is more fun to read about than to actually play, and for the vast majority of gamers I’m sure that statement would hold true. Some truly incredible stories of theft and politics have come out of EVE over the years, but most players will never get to be an integral part of events such as those. For every player who pulls off a massive scam or accidentally kick-starts a battle that makes its way into the record books, there are thousands just going about the everyday business of manufacturing, mining, and smashing spaceships together for fun and profit. The huge stories that hit the news are often months or years in the making, and represent EVE‘s highlight reel rather than its everyday reality. Nevertheless, the possibility of becoming part of one of those emergent stories is a huge part of the reason people sign up to the game.

When EVE launched back in 2003, a lot of players were hooked by the potential of a massive sandbox universe that was largely under player control. With barely any content to speak of and only a handful of ships and modules, EVE quickly became a game where motivated players could make a name for themselves. Corporations became known for particular strategies, pirates gained infamy, and certain star systems specialised into manufacturing centres, marketplaces, or pirate hotspots to be avoided. This was all completely emergent gameplay, unscripted and often unexpected by the game’s developers, and it’s what made EVE special. The past few years have introduced a ton of content and improved gameplay, but I’m beginning to think that it’s come at the cost of the game’s core emergent gameplay.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at why emergence is such a big deal in EVE and ask whether the game has actually become less supportive of emergent gameplay over the years.

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