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

One Shots: Winter… is here!

A few weeks ago we put out a call for winter and holiday-themed screenshots. Two readers responded with multiple pictures each, so today’s column is brought to you by Tyler and Stormwaltz. Take a bow, both of you!

Our headlining shot is from Tyler in World of Warcraft. “Here my monk is taking in the sights during a snowstorm in Pandaria’s Kun-Lai Summit zone,” he writes. “Whatever other problems Mists of Pandaria might have had, they sure nailed the world design.”

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The Daily Grind: What’s the ideal reward for an MMO holiday event?

Every time holiday events roll around in Final Fantasy XIV, I feel compelled to do them on my main character if no one else. Here’s the problem: I basically never use the rewards. I just want to have them in the event that I ever want them, but so many of the rewards are cosmetic gear that I would never use for glamours. But every so often it’s a bunch of decorations or chocobo bardings or items I’m happy to use, and then I’m very happy.

I don’t mean to criticize cosmetic armor – I just don’t personally have much use for Christmas-themed outfits on the regular. Some people probably do. Some people have very little use for anything that isn’t an actual mechanical upgrade. So what about you? What do you think is the ideal sort of reward for a holiday event? What are you happy to see, and what would you be happy to never see again?

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WRUP: Just go ahead and spoil the Star Wars movie already edition

Yeah, we give up. Just go ahead and spoil the hell out of the new Star Wars movie in the comments. Talk about how Kyle Wren or whatever his name is supposed to be rides a totally sick motorcycle with rainbows into the Imperial headquarters and then breaks out in a guitar solo. Wait, there are no guitars in the franchise. Whatever is like a guitar without being a guitar, then. Ithorian Guitallmotron or whatever the hell. Or talk about how Grandpa cosplaying Han Solo shoots so first that you don’t find out he did so until the movie ends and you realize he shot ultra-first.

Really, I don’t care any more. Don’t even make proper use of What Are You Playing this week, just spoil the heck out of the movie and then act like you are super special and original for plastering spoilers where everyone can see them because that’s a cool thing to do. I don’t care. But maybe you should just let us know what you’re playing while avoiding spoilers out of consideration for those people who do care. That’s be pretty rad.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best present an MMO ever gave to you?

Let’s be frank: While it certainly is enjoyable to give gifts, very few of us are going to be upset to be on the receiving end of one. The surprise and excitement and unexpected nature of getting a particular gift can be a heady rush indeed.

On occasion, MMOs give us gifts — and not always in the middle of the holiday season. Maybe it’s an extra few days of subscription time, a thank-you bundle for being a loyal customer, a daily login reward, or even compensation for a mistake on the studio’s part.

I’m sure we all have gotten at least one or two gifts from MMOs that were more special than the others. So what’s the best present an MMO ever gave to you?

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Take a tour of Star Citizen’s $10,000 club

Chances are that you and pretty much everyone you know won’t be allowed in one part of Star Citizen: its Million Mile High Club. This special area is reserved for backers who dropped $10,000 on a package back in 2012.

Since you won’t be able to check it out in the game, blog Mystic Worlds has invited curious looky-loos to take a virtual tour of the club in a new video. So what wonders does $10,000 get you? Check it out after the break!

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Valiance Online releases screenshots and a promise of more to come

The team behind Valiance Online has been rather quiet lately, but a long string of silence was broken recently with a quartet of new character creation screenshots. Sure, they’re mostly the same basic character creation shots, but that’s more news than fans have had in a while. There’s also a promise that something big will be coming out this weekend for fans, which means… well, we don’t actually know yet. But something.

A pair of fan questions are also answered in brief: The game will eventually allow players to position emblems wherever the player desires on a costume, and there are plans for beast heads in the future. As soon as more is known about the present of the game, we’ll happily let you know.

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


Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: MMO of the Year

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards conclude today with our award for MMO of the Year.

In 2014, we couldn’t reach consensus on an MMO of the year. In fact, enough of us voted “nothing” that “nothing” is exactly what won, which was a depressing way to end the year. I’m pleased to say that this year, the choices were a bit easier, in part because we took readers’ advice and opened this category up to all MMOs, provided they did something noteworthy this year.

All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end, and congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and winners.

The Massively OP staff pick for MMO of the Year is…

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Stormwind and Orgrimmar guards are excited for Star Wars in World of Warcraft

Being a writer for this particular outlet means getting to work from home, which means that the dress code rules aren’t terrible restrictive. The men and women who guard Stormwind and Orgrimmar in World of Warcraft, by contrast, have a rather stricter dress code, what with armor and everything. But it appears that their bosses have allowed them all to show a bit of a tribute to the big movie release of the weekend.

Yes, the guards in both cities are toting around swords that look an awful lot like lightsabers in honor of The Force Awakens. For the guards who can’t wait to see the movie, this is great news. For players who are hoping to get away from the movie… well, really, general chat in every game was always going to be filled with spoilers. The point is that it’s a cute tribute.


EVE Online’s winter events are all about players fighting… with snowballs

You’ve been playing EVE Online long enough to know that it’s rarely good news when another ship arrives nearby and starts heading toward you with murder in its (metaphorical) eyes. There’s not much you can do at that point, and you start trying to evade, but your ship is helpless as it aims and fires off a full volley of… snowballs. Yes, the winter event has come to the game, and that brings with it two drops of seasonal awards to all active EVE accounts on December 24th and December 31st. The first drop is all snowballs, while the second is fireworks.

Players who can’t wait to pepper their opponents with snowballs can also receive these items from Operation Frostline loot drops or purchase them from the New Eden store. There are also special collectibles and commodities available on December 24th to celebrate the year’s events and a snowball fight on December 20th, so players will have plenty of opportunity to target one another with frozen ice instead of weapons. Or possibly frozen ice followed almost immediately by weapons.


Darkfall developers considering freemium model

When Darkfall opened up its doors to community discussion, one of the major points mentioned by the developers was that free-to-play was completely off of the table. The developers are now discussing the possibility of a free-to-play shift. The difference, as the post explains, is that free-to-play means there are no optional subscription models, but an optional free playstyle makes for a freemium game model.

Depending on your level of interest in the fine details of MMO business model terminology, you’re either nodding enthusiastically, rolling your eyes, or just whispering “what?” at your monitor.

The practical upshot of all of this is that the developers are actively exploring a free-to-play model with optional subscriptions, which is far from the impression given when it was said that free-to-play was completely off of the table. The major impediment to this is apparently working out backend settings for account, so players should keep their eyes peeled for further developments.


Massively OP’s Best of 2015 Awards: Most Anticipated for 2016 and Beyond

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our award for most anticipated MMO for 2016 and beyond.

In 2013 and 2014, EverQuest Next and Landmark took home this award. In fact, it was a bit of an upset in 2013, as WildStar had won it several years running before that. This year, our future is filled with more well-funded indies than AAA-budget games, and choosing a most anticipated from that field proved extremely hard, one that we continued debating long after the votes were cast (and changed and cast again). Best expansion was close. This was even closer.

All of our writers were invited to cast a vote, but not all of them chose to do so for this category. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end.

The Massively OP staff pick for Most Anticipated MMO for 2016 and Beyond is…

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The Daily Grind: When is an MMORPG rare drop too rare?

The new Anima Weapon quests have me started on that process over in Final Fantasy XIV. It’s a slow process toward the high end, and frankly that’s fine with me – it’s all based on time rather than upon lucky drops. But the initial portion is a bit luck-based, yet initial testing shows a low but reasonable drop rate on the rare items in question. (About 20-25%, it seems, based on unscientific testing.)

That got me thinking about rare drops in general. Rare mounts and pets, rare crafting materials, rare anything. We all know that rare means, well, rare, but how rare is too rare in an MMORPG? Is a 5% drop rate too rare? What if it’s something you can try for every five minutes? Once per day? When is something moving beyond just being rare and into the realm of being annoying?

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Global Chat: Being thankful in MMOs

Last month’s Thanksgiving holiday in the US prompted several MMO bloggers to share their thanks for gaming and other geeky goodness. Stars of the Spiral had an entire list of thanksgiving, including a shoutout to CMs: “I give thanks to the community managers of Pirate101 and Wizard101 as well as #JuliaFromKI. Without them, the KingsIsle community would not be the same.”

Braxwolf is thankful for the discovery of personal creation: “Writing blog posts, producing podcasts, dabbling in video, designing wordpress pages, even organizing communities…these are all things that have tapped into a deep-seeded desire that I didn’t even realize was there. I prefer creating content to actually playing the games!”

Belghast shared a desire to be more thankful on a regular basis: “I should have more childlike joy about the things I am doing, rather talking about how this or that is a portent of a big coming failure.  I am tired of seeing the bad in my hobby, and I am tired of feeling like everything is going to s**t… and quickly.”

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