Culture & Community Category

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

The Daily Grind: Does knowing how the MMO sausage is made ruin it for you?

Ever have a day when a confluence of posts and quotes lead you to one big MMO-related question? This post is that question, and this is what led me here:

  • Massively OP’s Jef voiced annoyance for a certain in-dev game that releases frequent behind-the-scenes vids: “It’s a day that ends in y, here’s a video update! Just make the game, dudes; call when it’s done.”
  • A former game dev posted a long explanation on Reddit about how game design looks from from the inside out, likening game studios to stressful, messy “group projects in college” that are governed by marketing execs the less indie they become.
  • And finally, the folks at Extra Credits have been doing a series on MMO reward design, the latest of which is called Advanced Social Curve Design – Empowering the Community and is a must-watch for a student of MMOs.

That last one creeped me out. I mean, it’s not new information at all to any of us here, but to be reminded that a savvy game designer is manipulating your every in-game move from day one — ug! Talk about destroying the magic.

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CCP taps Zendesk for EVE customer support

CCP’s latest dev blog address changes to EVE Online’s customer support. More specifically, New Eden has a new customer support help center courtesy of third-party cloudware firm Zendesk. CCP says the new system benefits customers due to “greatly improved self-help tools, search features, a rating system, social media integration, chat support features, and a much smoother overall experience.” The new system

If you had a ticket filed in CCP’s old home-grown support system, you can still access it via the website, but be aware that going forward all new tickets will exist in the new system.

Source: Announcement


How Neverwinter designs the critters that wreck you

Neverwinter has an advantage in terms of enemy design, since years of Dungeons & Dragons have given it huge amounts of material to work with for new monsters, even if you disregard options like the xorn. That doesn’t mean it’s exactly easy to design new critters for the game, though, just that the hard work shifts away from figuring out what possible new creatures might inhabit the game. A new development blog is about just that, not coincidentally.

Once the team figures out which of the many creatures available it wishes to include in the game, what comes next is a matter of sketching out the possible designs and sculpting details in basic 3-D models. It’s a fairly involved process, the sort you can see in depth on the official site if you want to know how a monster goes from a twinkle in the design team’s eye to that irritating snarling thing you hate fighting.

The game’s Rise of Tiamat expansion landed on Xbox One earlier this week.


Perfect Ten: The 10 dev stages of every new MMO class

Any game with classes adds new classes over time. It’s almost axiomatic. I don’t know why absolutely every game cannot be designed with the classes that the designers want from day one, and I really don’t know why I can’t say that, look at a brand-new game, and still find myself immediately asking about when I get new classes. I was speculating on new classes for Star Wars: The Old Republic when it had been out for two weeks for funk’s sake.

But whatever game you’re playing, there’s a pattern to these new classes being added. It’s an inevitable pattern, one that happens time and again. It’s also a pattern that fits nicely into an article structured around the titular number of bullet points, which is really good for me because I apparently cannot rename the column to “Perfect Seven-And-A-Half” for a week. This is also why I still haven’t gotten a drinking game in here.

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The Daily Grind: Have you been to an MMO fan event?

CCP put EVE Online’s Fanfest 2016 tickets on sale this week, and while I haven’t played the sci-fi sandbox in some time, the annual Icelandic shindig is on my list of events to attend before I retire. I wouldn’t mind checking out Star Citizen’s CitizenCon, either, but I think those two are probably it in terms of MMO fan events that I’d like to experience for personal reasons.

What about you, MOP readers? Have you been to an MMO fan event in meatspace? Did you have fun?

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!


World of Warcraft and RuneScape dare you to become a beach bunny

What’s up with all of the beach studio blogs lately? I guess we know where all of the devs’ minds are at now that we’ve rounded the corner into July!

World of Warcraft is definitely on break if it’s pumping out articles like the six best beaches in Azeroth. Have you seen them all? Do you agree with the list? Does it even matter? Oh well, just grab a friend, a copy of Weekend at Bernie’s, and soak it up!

Of more consequence is an actual beach party that’s going on right now in RuneScape. The team has turned an ugly crater into a sandy wonderland full of fun activities, including sandcastle building. You scoff, but doesn’t building a sandcastle in an MMO sound like a totally rad way to spend a gaming session? The beach party will be ongoing until August 31st.


G.I.R.L. scholarship winners get H1Z1 internship

Daybreak’s eight-year-running Gamers in Real Life (G.I.R.L.) scholarship program is done evaluating applicants and ready to proclaim the winners. That’s right, winners plural; this year, the studio decided to expand G.I.R.L. to include two categories, one for art and design and the other for programming and engineering.

The studio named the 2015 recipients today: Grace Kim and Cherylynn Lima. Both will receive $5,000 toward their higher education as well as the opportunity to intern for 10 weeks at Daybreak. The studio said that it will put both of the women to work on H1Z1.

“Both winners truly embraced our G.I.R.L. program goals through their essays, original concept art, and code base for an original game feature,” Chief Publishing Officer Laura Naviaux said. “We are proud to have them represent this year’s program and provide them with opportunities in the gaming industry.”

Source: Daybreak press release


Leaderboard: What’s your favorite online action RPG?

Online action RPGs aren’t really MMOs per se, but Massively has been covering them for quite a while anyway. I’ve only played one of what I would consider to be the genre giants (well, two, if you count the five minutes that I logged in Path of Exile), so I’m curious as to the feelings of the MOP readership regarding the more popular OARPGs of the moment.

What say you? What’s your favorite OARPG? Vote after the cut!

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Ascent’s new president of the galaxy ruffles feathers, furthers roleplay

Ascent’s president of the galaxy election is in the books, and a player named Prolapser ran away with 77 percent of the popular vote. Developer Fluffy Kitten’s latest press release says that Prolapser’s first action was to “appoint Sithspit UNCA liaison and reassign the UNCA fleet to better defend key warp gates,” which apparently didn’t sit too well with some “de-centralist” senators.

What exactly is the UNCA? It’s “basically the united governments of the central planets and is largely autonomous to the players’ actions,” according to Fluffy Kitten. “However, with the appointment of a UNCA liaison they’ll be able to have regularly scheduled meetings with the UNCA to ask specific, detailed, questions and create news reports about the history of the game as well as current events. This unique method of storytelling will allow Ascent to produce regular news that will further the plot, history, and create many roleplay catalysts for the players.

Source: Fluffy Kitten press release


Massively Opinionated: What’s the next big MMO buzzword?

In this episode of Massively Opinionated, the topic is public relations and communication. Sometimes marketing and consumer relationships in MMOs don’t always go the way game creators plan. So this week, we debate the ways MMOs should and shouldn’t handle their customers. Host Larry Everett invited two individuals who are very familiar with the inner workings of the games industry: From here at Massively OP and Predestination, welcome Brendan Drain and Tina Lauro. Enjoy the show!

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MechWarrior Online talks map design and tree destruction in a new video

Trees are awful. They are the actual worst. MechWarrior Online lets you stomp around in a war machine, but for too long it has denied players the right and ability to really destroy the heck out of those trees. Probably. The point is that the latest development vlog talks about destroyable trees, and boy, that’s a topic that everyone can enjoy.

Said vlog also discusses upcoming River City improvements, which is relevant seeing as how that’s a major map in the game and players will want to know about it, but it’s not tree destruction. You can decide for yourself which is more important by watching the video below; it’s about half an hour long, so do not watch it if you’re short on time.

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