Culture & Community Category

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

The Daily Grind: Have you played Pathfinder Online?

I’ve been looking into Pathfinder here lately, though I haven’t taken the early access plunge yet. Goblinworks has a 15-day free trial listed on its website, though, so maybe now is the time. Pathfinder’s got some interesting systems, and lead designer Lee Hammock was also lead designer on the criminally under-appreciated Fallen Earth, so there’s that.

Before I check it out, though, I figured I’d get the opinion of the MOP community. Have you played Pathfinder Online? If so, what did you think of it? If not, why not?

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Guild Chat: What to do when your guildies buy illegal MMO gold

Hello, readers, and welcome along to my cozy little corner where we get together to help a reader in need with a guild-related issue. As ever, I’ll weigh in with my two cents, but the best part is that our submissions for Guild Chat draw upon the whole Massively Overpowered community to get a broad range of opinions on the issue at hand. No matter how big or small your guild issue is, you can be sure that between me and the MOP readership you’ll have some excellent, practical advice.

Let’s hop into this edition’s reader submission! This time, our query comes from Rick, a commander in a 500+ person Final Fantasy XIV Free Company. He suspects that some of his guild members have been buying Gil, the in-game currency, to purchase gear to boost their power in the end-game content. The game’s terms of service forbid gold selling and buying, but Rick doesn’t have solid proof that they have bought their way to full gear. Check out his full submission below, and don’t forget to weigh in on the issue in the comments.

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One Shots: They’ll swallow your soul

Sometimes you can’t help but take a screenshot of what is otherwise nightmare fuel, because perhaps in freezing a scene in its tracks, you eventually rob it of its fear factor. Or you just take the picture so you can freak others out.

Reader Erin is trying to exorcise her own demons with this Final Fantasy XIV submission: “In my aimless travels around Eorzea I decided to start taking profile shots of random critters and enemies. The most memorable though is the creepy undead creature (that I forget the name of name). It might have been the moment, the lighting… or maybe it’s the visual of it’s eyes lighting up when you got too close that haunted me for a while afterwards.”

Have fun sleeping tonight! Let’s see how it looks in full color, shall we?

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The Daily Grind: What MMO would you tell your younger self about?

If I could travel back in time and talk with Past Eliot in the year 2000, I would… well, actually, I would tell him lots of stuff, none of which is particularly relevant to this site. But if I could only tell him about video games for some reason, you’d better believe I would be telling him about Final Fantasy XIV. And he would inform me that MMOs are dumb and boring and that I should go away, and I would laugh bitterly and tell him what he’s been doing for a living for six years.

Past me is in for interesting surprises.

Let’s say you had a similarly limited portal to the past for some reason. What would you tell your past self about? What game would merit a mention? City of Heroes? Guild Wars 2? What sort of game would you have even been interested in when you were that much younger? What game would you tell your younger self about?

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The Daily Grind: Are lifetime subs ever worth it?

Seeing Champions Online’s lifetime subscription go on sale last week — for the “low” price of $200 — made me think once again what an active minefield lifetime subs are.

I mean, if you really knew you were going to be in that MMO for a couple of years at minimum and had the cash to burn, then it could end up being a good deal. I’ve only had one lifetime sub (Lord of the Rings Online), and that actually paid off quite handsomely.

Then again, it’s so easy to get burned by lifetime subs. The game could go under (Hellgate London) or you could lose interest. And that’s not even considering how studios could end up losing money in the long run from its most devoted players who aren’t paying a dime.

What do you think? Are lifetime subs ever worth it?

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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Champions Online overhauls events and offers sales

Events are the real thing to do at this point in Champions Online; there’s not a whole lot of new updates in the pipe for the game, sadly. So it’s a good thing that the game has overhauled the way that events work as a whole with an eye toward making sure every single month has some events running in the game. There’s also an overhaul to the previous hourly events, as those setups were frequently too short for players to take advantage of the bonuses; the game will now host longer special events that allow more time for players to cash in on special things happening.

If that inspires you to spend more time in the game, you could take advantage of the 20% off hideout sale currently running. Or you could just skip the leveling process by directly buying the limited-time Power-Up Pack, which boosts a character above level 5 straight to level 30 and offers a set of starter equipment for the top level. That should provide you with enough to get you moving at the top end, at least.

Source: Event overhaul, Hideout sale, Power-Up Pack; thanks to The_Grand_Nagus for the tip!

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Leaderboard: What’s your favorite Funcom MMO?

Earlier this week, news of Funcom’s dwindling financial fortunes kind of depressed me. And judging by our comments, it depressed a number of you, too. I’ve greatly enjoyed the firm’s MMOs over the years, from my days covering Age of Conan on Massively-that-was to more recent dabblings in The Secret World and all the way back to the early 2000s when I was cutting my genre teeth on Anarchy Online.

What about you, MOP readers and Funcom fans? What’s your favorite Funcom MMO? Vote after the cut!

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The Soapbox: Why I’m hopeful for the future of MMOs

Earlier this week, Justin asked what gives you hope for the future of the MMOs. As you might expect, the responses were many and varied, with some people naming a far off game or two while a few said that current titles are all they need from MMOs. Still others said — and I quote — abandon hope all ye who enter here because the genre has strayed so far from its original identity that it now serves an entirely different playerbase.

If you’d asked me this question a year or so ago, I’d have fallen firmly into that last camp. The genre has inarguably changed, and arguably for the worse, especially if you are a fan of sandboxes, grouping, virtual world gameplay in general and non-combat gameplay in particular. But as I said in my own comment, better days are ahead, thanks in my opinion to a handful of independent MMOs.

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Skyforge wants to see your guild tearing up the dance floor

How would you rate your dance skills in Skyforge? What about the rest of your pantheon? If the lot of you have the moves, you could win something in the game’s latest community contest, which asks players to submit videos of their pantheons dancing and generally showing why they’re fun pantheons to be part of. Winners receive the Heavy Metal Fan costume before it’s available to purchase and the knowledge that the winning pantheon contains the best video game dancers possible.

But where will you hold this dance off? Perhaps on Naori Island, the latest zone in Skyforge to get both a lore description and a panoramic view to scroll around. It’s a tropical paradise, assuming you can overlook the army invading it from beneath the sea. But hey, maybe those amphibious invaders don’t just want to destroy; maybe they’ll join you in your dance hall ambitions.

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RuneScape convention sells out, fans post 324-page history of the game

If you ever thought that RuneScape was a piddly title beneath your notice, then here’s a wake-up call for you today. The game’s upcoming October 3rd convention in London, RuneFest, has completely sold out since ticket sales began in mid-July. “The demand for tickets to RuneFest 2015 has been astounding, and we’ve sold out in record time — bonds and money sales alike,” Jagex posted.

Fortunately, there will be a way to attend digitally, as the convention will be livestreamed on Twitch. RuneFest will feature reveals and panels for the hybrid free-to-play MMO.

Meanwhile, a passionate team of players have been working on the RuneScape History Project to catalogue the entire backstory of the game’s development and events. As a result, the team released a 324-page online book this past week detailing the past decade-and-half of RuneScape’s history. If only all MMOs had such devoted fans.

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The Daily Grind: Do you play on private servers for dead MMOs?

Massively OP Kickstarter donor Igor aka Slaith proposes we debate private servers for dead MMOs for today’s Daily Grind — specifically, he mentions Warhammer Online.

This is always a difficult topic on website such as ours. Many of our writers and readers feel very strongly about sunsetted MMORPGs and don’t feel any moral pangs when playing and writing about them aside from the worry that any publicity we generate for them might do more harm than good. While emulators for living games are usually clearly illegal and frequently contested by the studios whose work is being stolen (notable exceptions notwithstanding), sunsetted games pose more ambiguity. A number of studios tacitly allow emus, admitting they’re aware of them but putting up no fuss. Some even chip in and give the go-ahead.

How about you? Do you play on private servers for dead MMOs?

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Massively Overthinking: How seriously do you take MMO lore?

Kickstarter donor Alien Legion has proposed an intriguing question about lore in MMORPGs.

“Back in my World of Warcraft days, I mentioned to a friend that I would love a Worgen Monk. My friend, being a WoW fanatic, rambled on about how Worgen Monks were not in the game because Pandaria was discovered after the Worgen intro story takes place, so there are no Monk trainers in Gilneas. I made the offhand remark that if Gilneas was behind the Greymane Wall for years, maybe a Pandaren explorer landed there long ago and was just hidden from the rest of the races and Worgen have had access to Monk trainers all along. It was fiction, and the devs can decide anything they want to fill the narrative. This touched off a geek-rage rebuttal from my self-avowed WoW historian friend that still hovers over Lake Michigan to this day. And I see this same thing in forums all the time: people who take a games lore so seriously that they will defend it to the end. I like getting into the story of a game, especially an MMO, but some take it really, really, REALLY seriously. So how much does a game’s lore matter to you?”

How seriously do you take MMORPG lore? I posed Alien Legion’s question to the Massively OP writers for this edition of Massively Overthinking.

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Riot may reconsider a sandbox mode for League of Legends

When players asked for a sandbox mode for League of Legends, Riot Games said no. This made a large number of players very vocally angry and may generally be regarded as a bad move. So when Riot was asked to reconsider based upon player feedback, the answer is a definite yes, meaning that sandbox mode may or may not come to the game but is at least back on the table for discussion again. That’s like a victory.

If you’re entertaining visions in your head of player-owned structures or absurd crafting systems, it’s important to note here that “sandbox mode” simply means an option to set up specific practice scenarios. The positive side effect for players at all levels is that you don’t need to wait for a few dozen matches to go just right for you to practice your skill at aiming a skillshot or killing the right targets. It’s a boon for players trying to get better, and while we can’t say it is happening, it’s back on the table for discussion.

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