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

Ascent updates its interface amidst a galactic smuggling crisis

Did you vote for Galactic President Prolapser in Ascent? Possibly not, but everyone has to deal with what’s happened as a result of his administration. Said president has instituted sweeping price reforms, making the prices of things like meat much lower and the price of raw materials much higher. Planetary mayors are also now able to ban certain goods from their colonies. The result of all these changes? Smuggling operations, naturally. Why would you think otherwise?

Players also get to take on all of these issues with the help of a new interface, which looks a bit slimmer and more attractive. You can check out some of the changes in the screenshot gallery just below, or just pop into the game in Early Access now.

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Perfect Ten: Why big MMO expansions are a good thing

I’m not really on board with the trend of saying that big expansions are back. They never left. Sure, we have one coming out for Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2, but World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, and Final Fantasy XIV have all been keeping the faith for a long while now. Their format shifted for a while as game distribution formats shifted, but the idea of a big expansion has never gone away, just taken a drubbing from the popular adage of “let’s launch lots of little expansions over and over.”

Me, I’ve never been a fan of that approach. I wasn’t a fan of it with Guild Wars 2 when the game first made that a selling point, and I haven’t been fond of the games jumping on the bandwagon since then. And there are a lot of reasons why I’m in favor of slower patches and expansion with more content versus faster and smaller.

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The Secret World discusses bags and its next dungeon

As we enter October, people are inevitably going to be asking for hoverboards because a movie once posited that October 21st, 2015, would include readily available hoverboards for purchase. If anyone asks you, however, you can just point the questioner toward The Secret World, which has multiple styles of hoverboard available, as well as new World War II-themed vehicles via the game’s first Lucky bag. So there’s your hoverboard. You’re welcome.

The latest development update isn’t really about said hoverboard, really; it’s more about the Lucky bags and future themes thereof, as well as the next major dungeon coming to the game. Said dungeon will contain new Aegis tactics that players have not seen before. It’ll be available in Nightmare and Elite difficulty when it gets patched into the game. The next update to the game will also feature new loot to upgrade to 10.8, as well; you can read a bit more about it in said development update.

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


The Daily Grind: Give a shout-out to your favorite retired MMO characters

We all have them: MMO characters we invested time, love, and no small amount of effort in making them all they could be… after which we put them in mothballs as we moved on to a new game or alt.

They’re our fleet of retired characters, each one of them either sitting patiently at a selection screen somewhere or having been long since obliterated. Each of them meant something to us once upon a time. So today I’m asking you to give a shout-out to your favorite retired characters and a fact or memory about each.

I’ll always remember Syp, my madcap Asuran Engineer in Guild Wars 2 who toasted the entire landscape with her awesome flamethrower. She suffered many jumping puzzles in the pursuit of finding new places to burn, and I hope she enjoys retirement.

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Glitch art book makes digital edition available for purchase

If you’re a Glitch fan and you missed out on buying The Art of Glitch through its Indiegogo campaign back in 2013, you now have a second chance to snag a copy of this 160-page, full-color book in digital form.

“This entirely unique game demanded over 10,000 assets including hundreds of pages of concepts, millions of pixels of game art, and thousands of frames of custom animations from some of the most creative and talented artists from the industry,” the makers wrote. “This book seeks not to catalog the game in its entirety, but to merely pay tribute to the uniqueness of Glitch.”

The Art of Glitch is $15 and is downloadable as a PDF. The makers say that they are looking into creating a softcover physical edition in the future.


Wakfu launches its Island Moon update

Wakfu is flying players to the moon with its latest update. However, it’s important to note that the patch is not lining up with a Frank Sinatra song beyond that initial conceit because it isn’t allowing you to play among the stars. Instead, you’ll be playing among your other characters with the introduction of the game’s Hero System, which allows you to bring several characters together into one play group for maximum combat efficiency.

You do get to explore the new Moon Island zone with this update, which includes new monster families, resources, and a level 200 unlock. That’s in addition to a new installment in the Quest of Nations series and a number of quality-of-life improvements. Check out the full patch notes on the official site, or just glance below for the update trailer.

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Exploring ‘The Video Game Debate’: Modern online game research

Late last year, I published on Massively-that-was a set of articles addressing current research on the relationship between shyness and online game friendships, including a detailed interview with Dr. Rachel Kowert, a lead researcher on the related paper. Kowert and University of Münster colleague Thorsten Quandt have now collected and published their work and work by other academics into a new book now available called The Video Game Debate: Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Video Games.

Kowert generously provided me with an early draft of the book to discuss here. Her goal, she says, was to make an accessible book about modern game research for the public, but the results are a little depressing, even though the work and research done make me wish I had enough money to buy a copy and send it to everyone in the professional games and media businesses.

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Choose My Adventure: Freeloading in WildStar

Hello once again, friends, and welcome to a brand-new edition of Choose My Adventure. As you have probably already surmised, assuming that you read this post’s title, I’ve decided to do things a little bit differently this month by bypassing the game-selection process altogether. I know y’all like to have choices, and I like to provide them, but WildStar‘s much-discussed and long-awaited free-to-play transition seemed like a good enough reason to skip the formalities and just jump right in. I mean, let’s be real: The chances are pretty good that WildStar would have won the vote anyway.

On the plus side, however, since we’re not spending an entire post on choosing a game, that means that we get to spend a little more time with the game itself. As is tradition, however, this first post in the series is dedicated to choosing the character I’ll be playing for the duration of my time with WildStar. Unlike the previous two games we’ve visited in CMA, WildStar doesn’t provide any method of changing a character’s class after creation, so choose wisely! Now then, I think this introduction has reached the necessary state of being long enough to look substantial while not appearing overwhelmingly dense, so let’s cut to the chase.

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RIFT is upping its subscription price slightly with its next patch

If you’re considering taking a break from RIFT and dropping your subscription for a month, you may not wish to do that. With the launch of patch 3.4, the game’s prices are going up a bit across the board, for everything from subscriptions to credits and REX. A preliminary price structure has been posted on the game’s official forums, with credits and REX receiving the biggest price hike. Monthly subscriptions remain unchanged, but multi-month subscriptions are becoming slightly more expensive (albeit cheaper than monthly subscription).

The good news is that if you’re already subscribed, your existing subscription price will be grandfathered in and will not increase, hence why you might not want to drop your subscription. The official reasoning is to standardize prices across all regions and make sure that all currencies provide the same value for the same exchange rate. So the game is getting a wee bit more expensive, although it’s hardly the sort of increase that will break the bank.


The Daily Grind: What do you think of WildStar Reloaded so far?

It’s been a day since the free-to-play update came out for WildStar, giving veteran, returning, and new players a chance to check out the business model and all of the changes.

So, what do you think?

There’s certainly a lot to digest, from the stat overhaul to the Alpha Sanctum instance to the cash shop offerings to loyalty rewards to housing improvements. Are all of the changes plus the new business model giving WildStar the do-over it needed? What are the highlights and lowlights for you who are playing it?

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Jukebox Heroes: Your top 20 favorite MMO soundtracks

I’ve been a sneaky columnist, my friends. Oh yes I have. In my last Jukebox Heroes I posted my top six favorite MMO soundtracks, partially because I wanted to share, but also partially because I wanted to see the responses. I judged — correctly — that music fans would come out of the woodwork to champion their own favorite scores.

Quietly, I began collecting your comments and even favorite tracks, extending this secretive poll to include a Daily Grind I proposed on this subject. Compiling all of the information between the two, I came up with a list of not my, but your favorite MMO soundtracks without opening it up to vote manipulation.

So do you want to know what the collective Massively Overpowered audience thinks are the best MMO soundtracks to date? Read on as I list the the top 20 (in order) that you nominated!

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Star Trek Online outlines the basics of the Admirality system

Veterans of Star Trek Online have inevitably made use of many, many different ships over the course of the game’s lifespan. You get ships as you level, often more than you necessarily need. You get access to ships as rewards. You even occasionally find ships just lying around because the game got another year older. So what will you use all of those ships for? Why, you’ll make use of them in the game’s upcoming Admirality system, a way of keeping your ships active in the universe even when you’re not actively helming them.

The Admirality system ranks your various ships by capability and allows you to send the ships you’ve unlocked on various missions. Higher-tier ships have better stat totals, but every ship also has an associated maintenance time needed after a given confrontation, meaning that higher-tier ships also have to sit in dock longer. There are also lengthy tours of duties available for the ships that allow players to pursue ongoing storylines. Check out the full dispatch for a clearer picture of what players can do when the Admirality system goes live.

Source: Official Site; thanks to The Grand Nagus for the tip!


Hi-Rez Studios felt bad about abandoning Tribes: Ascend

Letting Tribes: Ascend lie untouched for a long while was a smart business decision for Hi-Rez Studios, but it wasn’t one that the developers were happy about making. Studio president Stewart Chisam said that the decision was one made purely from financial necessity, and no one in the development teams liked leaving the title where it was. The success of SMITE frees up enough money that the game can be patched and developed again.

Chisam also stated that there’s no intention or expectation that the game will suddenly become profitable again; the hope is simply that the game can remain as a passion project for the studio. More patches are expected for the game in the coming months, so players and fans who had given up hope of ever seeing forward movement on the title still have plenty of reason to be happy about the game’s future. The game’s next patch is available for testing now.

Source: PC Gamer


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