Culture & Community Category

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

Elite: Dangerous names space station after Terry Pratchett

Fantasy comedy writer Terry Pratchett, who passed away last week at the age of 66, will be honored with a place among the stars in Elite: Dangerous.

Today’s 1.2.05 patch for the MMO adds a starport named Pratchett’s Disc. Terry Pratchett was best-known for his long-running Discworld series and now joins Leonard Nimoy in having a stellar structure named after him in the new space sim.

[Source: Patch notes]

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The Daily Grind: Were you playing MMOs 16 years ago?

This week, EverQuest is celebrating its 16th anniversary. That’s right: It was all the way back on March 16th, 1999, that the seminal title first came blinking into the world.

Like any birthday of a long-running MMO, it’s made me think about how much has happened between then and now. It’s also made me realize just how off my radar MMOs were in 1999. Back then, I was keen on The Matrix and just about ready to graduate college, but I had no regular internet connection in my apartment. So instead of being part of the old guard of MMO gamers, I was merely gaming on my PlayStation.

But that’s me; maybe you were different. Were you playing MMOs 16 years ago? Were you aware of them at the time? Were you even alive?

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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WildStar tells the tale of the Ravaging of Arboria

Ever wonder why WildStar’s floppy-eared Aurin are galaxy-hopping instead of staying at home and gnawing on carrots? It’s because of an event called the Ravaging of Arboria, and you can learn more about it by reading a new story update (which includes pictures for those who have a hard time with words).

Heck, you might even feel bad for the nature-loving race after finding out that their home was targeted by the Dominion to be churned up into fuel and other resources. However, both sides appeared to be wounded in the event, which is significant to setting the stage of what happens on Nexus in the game.

[Source: Lore post]

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Tamriel Infinium: Five reasons to return to Elder Scrolls Online

Gamers rarely give an MMO a second chance. Far too often, a game bears forever the impression it earned the first time we played it. When I first played the Elder Scrolls Online in beta, I saw its potential, but the game was far from anything resembling the single-player Elder Scrolls games that I’d played before. Still, the storytelling was there, and the character models didn’t require any mods to make them look halfway decent, so I was willing to give it a shot. In the end, the reason it turned me away had nothing to do with the game itself; it was the people making the financial decisions for the game. It seemed to me as it did to many people that ZeniMax was using its subscription fee to subsidize the final year of development.

I had to eventually ask myself whether the purpose of the subscription was enough to justify not playing the game. In the end, my answer was “yes.” My subscription fee wasn’t paid by the studio or the site; it was on me, and that’s the way it should be. If a writer doesn’t think the game is worth paying for, then it’s probably not going to be worth it for the reader either.

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An Ingress convention could happen in 2015

Augmented reality MMO Ingress could be heading for its own official convention this year, thanks to the mobile game’s popularity and growth.

Google’s Niantic Labs recently said that a 2015 convention is “likely.” The studio has already been holding player meet-ups in various cities, with a Tokyo gathering drawing 5,000 people. Ingress has been downloaded 10 million times since its launch in late 2013.

The game requires players to go to physical locations in the real world and claim portals in order to control territory. If you’d like a good overview of Ingress, check out the video after the jump.

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Sword and Bored: Health buff

Mo is off to a good start in his MMO. He’s picked his class; he has some sick armor. But before heading out into battle he’s got to buff himself up. What better way to do that than a good hearty breakfast?

This week, Jef and I would like to give a shout out to our editor-in-chief, Bree Royce, for lending her handwriting to the comic strip. As any graphic artist knows, the perfect lettering is really hard to find. Usually, we end up settling on the closest one to what we envision, but it’s rarely perfect. This week, I asked Bree to write out some words and letters on paper, scan them, and send them to me. It turned out perfectly. So the font that you see in Sword and Bored is based off Bree’s own handwriting, and Jef and I love it. Thanks, Bree.

Now on to the comic strip…

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO was better than you expected?

I’ve been dabbling in Ascent: The Space Game here lately, even though I keep telling myself that I’m done with early access titles. It’s definitely indie in terms of visuals, but the gameplay is strangely compelling, and I love the fact that it already lets you land on planets and fly through seamless atmospheric transitions unlike its high-budget genre brethren.

What about you, Massively readers? Which MMO was better than you expected?

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: A clear commute

Sometimes simple can be beautiful. I don’t know what it is, exactly, that attracts me to this week’s title pic, but I think its simplicity is a huge draw. If you’ll pardon the expression, it is what it is, and even though I don’t much care for dragons, I like the setup of this shot.

This comes to us courtesy of Evan, who took it while airborn in World of Warcraft. “During the end of an expansion lull, I usually wind up flying through old zones reminiscing with about three pairs of rose-colored glasses layered on top of one another,” he said. “Caught this at one such moment.”

Well it’s clear flying through our weekly screenshot commute, although someone may have spilled a truckload of reptiles on the expressway. Be warned!

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The Daily Grind: What’s Funcom’s secret project?

When Funcom‘s Joel Bylos casually announced this week that he was moving on from his role as game director of The Secret World to a “new initiative within the company,” I got worried, especially once it became clear that he also wasn’t being directly replaced. But when he told Age of Conan players that he’d “been asked to work on something that is super exciting and totally not something [he is] allowed to talk about,” my worry turned to curiosity.

I didn’t have the impression that Funcom was doing spectacularly well after its recent quarterly report, so it hadn’t occurred to me that the studio might be working on something shiny and new. Speculation that Anarchy Online 2 might be in the works is running rampant.

What do you think? What’s Funcom’s secret project?

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: Ten more facts of EverQuest life circa 1999

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you several stories from EverQuest veterans about what life in the game was like back then. Since the EverQuest we have now would be near-unrecognizable to 1999-era players, I felt it was important to preserve these tales for future generations of MMO gamers.

But EverQuest being EverQuest, players couldn’t just stop with a mere handful of accounts! Thus, I saved several of those submitted to share with you today. What were more facts of life that Norrathians had to deal with back then? Find out!

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The Secret World begins its epic forum game with a plea for help

A new forum game is afoot over at The Secret World, as one of the in-game characters, the Stationmaster, posted a cry for help with a mysterious MP3 attachment.

“This message came through today,” he wrote. “Garbled. Can’t make much sense of it. There was a number attached: 122635. Put on your best pondering hats. Give us a help. Yes?”

Funcom announced last week that it had been preparing an epic forum game for its fans. The community is already hard at work trying to figure out the meaning behind the number and the sound file. Listen to the message after the break and see if you can lend a hand!

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The Daily Grind: When’s the last time an MMO made you laugh?

There are few things that I love more in gaming than to have a genuine laugh-out-loud moment. Maybe something silly and stupid happens in a game (such as a Guild Wars 2 glitch that made dead sharks float above land), maybe it’s clever or weird quest writing, or maybe it’s just the game’s cheekiness coming through.

Kingdom of Loathing got more than a few chuckles from me for its absurdist grammarian humor, but I am equally fond of the black humor of Fallen Earth and The Secret World.

So cynicism aside, when’s the last time an MMO made you laugh?

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 ditches lore and general discussion forums

Assuming that there will be a wealth of lore and backstory in EverQuest Next, you won’t be finding out about it on the official forums.

Daybreak announced yesterday that it is shutting down both the lore and general discussion forums for EverQuest Next as part of its “corporate realignment.” This leaves the upcoming fantasy title with only three sub-forums on the official site: News, Style Guides, and Workshop, only the last of which allows players to start threads. Threads in the other forums have been temporarily archived until March 31st for players to copy if so desired. Two forums now reroute players directly to Twitch and Reddit.

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