Meta Category

The category collects all of our more meta features and posts, like The Daily Grind, letters to the editor, and posts about the state-of-the-site. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

WRUP: What to do if you want to attract a lot of ghosts to your house for some reason edition

So you want to attract a whole lot of ghosts to your house for some reason. Well, far be it from us to stop you! Here are some important tips to consider for this goal.

  • Make sure you live in a reality where ghosts are real. This one probably isn’t one, based on lots of evidence, but if you’re really gung-ho about it don’t let that stop you.
  • Location is important. If your house is located on an ancient burial ground, so much the better. If your house is located on an ancient burial ground which was itself located on a burial ground, great. If not, just go dig up some burial grounds and dump them in your front yard, that should anger up the spirits just fine.
  • Provide a welcoming atmosphere. A bright, airy, well-lit living space is great for human beings, but it’s like living in a tin room full of dog farts for ghosts. Make sure the place is dank, full of mildew, and covered in cobwebs.
  • Offer all the accoutrements of home. Considerate haunted homeowners make sure to provide lots of chains to rattle, old paintings to possess, and suits of armor to pose in hallways. If these things are beyond your humble means, use plastic chains and pose discount action figures in the hallway.
  • Write down why you thought this was a good idea. It’s a really awful idea, and writing down why it seemed like a good idea will help you when you are later asking why you thought otherwise.

We hope all of these things help you with your goal. Let us know how things are going in the comments of What Are You Playing. Or let us know about your gaming plans, that works too.

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Massively Overthinking: How much money spent makes you an MMO whale?

Several conversations I saw after our report on the new RMT mounts in Guild Wars 2 got me thinking about how the MMO community uses the word whale. I had used the word to refer to the kind of person who buys a ton of RNG-based lockboxes to get every last one of the shiny bits and bobs within, but the reality is that anyone who pays a respectable flat fee for a purely cosmetic upgrade has also been hooked on some sort of fishing rod or other, even if it’s not a harpoon.

So let’s consider the numbers behind the terminology in this week’s Massively Overthinking. How much money spent makes you an MMO whale? Does it apply only to cosmetics or lockboxes? When does the “whale” term kick in for people who buy early access, collector editions, or 10 expansion boxes over the course of an MMO’s life? Are most gamers more properly dolphins or something in 2018?

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The Daily Grind: How do you deal with your anger in MMORPGs?

Earlier this month, Overwatch made headlines when a player posted up a behavioral therapy chart his wife – who happens to be a therapist – made him fill out after he complained about his game losses. The idea is that you write down your “negative thoughts” about the game experience, then reflect on that to see how your temporary emotion has distorted your opinions, then craft a positive frame instead. It’s funny – but also pretty useful, and even Overwatch Redditors were asking for a blank sheet so they could try it themselves.

That brings us to today’s Daily Grind: How do you deal with your anger in an MMO? Do you complain to guildies, log out, bang your desk, go work out to burn off some steam? Are you handling it as well as the Overwatch Redditor and trying to learn from what went wrong? What do you do, exactly, when your teammates turn out to be “hot garbage”?

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Perfect Ten: More anthropomorphic MMO studio conversations

A while back, you may recall that I posted some of my conversations with anthropomorphized concepts of MMO studios. If you don’t remember this, you will not be eligible for this year’s Remembering Championship, but considering the fact that said championship is mostly determined by who remembers to show up, odds of that were always low. It’s a memory championship, after all. You can’t judge that like, say, curling.

What were we talking about? Oh, right, MMO studios. Despite that single column, I have continued to have other conversations with various studios, most of which have gone about as well as the first batch. So if you’ve long awaited to know more about the concepts I speak with, your wishes have come true.

If you wish to know about my conversations with my neighbor, I cannot help you.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 163: Expansions ‘Я’ Us

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin recover from an avalanche of expansion news, including announcements from Elder Scrolls Online and Star Trek Online. Also, did you hear that Bless Online is coming this May? Oh, they did, and they have many words to say on the matter!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Grab a freebie Survarium co-op mission key from Vostok and Massively OP!

Early access post-apoc online shooter Survarium is having a good year: Not only is it working on its 0.52 update, which is set to update graphics and the weapons module system, but last fall it pumped out something brand-new to the game: PvE. Co-op mission Dangerous Knowledge is a story-based three-man team mission that explores

“a conflict between Black Market and The Renaissance Army, and also unveils the mystery about secret experiments which lead to creation of the Forest. Specifically for this mission developers created a new map with lots of both open and indoors locations. Developers tried to add an element of exploration into the game, and also let players interact with the world of Survarium.”

Want to check it out? Vostok Games has granted us a bunch of keys for to allow our readers to do just that. The codes each grant three “access keys” to play the new mission, one per account, whether your account is old or new. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the most creative way MMOs thwart toxicity?

Forget group-kicks: If you’re a tool in Sea of Thieves, your own shipmates might just opt to stuff you in the brig – “a holding cell located on the bottom of the ship that disruptive players can be sent to after a democratic vote is held by their shipmates,” explains Polygon in a piece last week. The idea is to give toxic or obnoxious players a chance to apologize or shape up, even roleplay their way out of the situation they created.

This kind of penalty isn’t entirely new to MMOs, whether we’re talking jail in Ultima Online or Age of Wushu, but it’s certainly creative, right? At least as long as the majority of your ship isn’t toxic and you’re the one being shoved into a cell.

What’s the most creative in-game way you’ve seen an online game studio thwart toxicity?

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WRUP: Viva owls edition

¡Búhos vivos! Sí, señoras y señores, como transcrito por este idiota estadounidense que no habla una palabra de español en Google Translate, ¡tenemos búhos en vivo! ¡Búhos de todos los colores del arcoiris! “Pero señor”, dices, “los búhos no vienen en muchos colores”. ¡Lo hacen ahora! ¡Pintamos una gran cantidad de búhos! ¿Sabes lo que piensan sobre eso? ¡No les gusta para nada! Están muy enojados!

¿Qué es eso que dices? ¿No deseas ser atacado por búhos enojados? Eso es muy malo. Todavía tenemos todo el dinero que pagó para ver a los búhos, y suponemos que solo sonreirá y asentirá porque usted tampoco habla una palabra de español. Si desea un reembolso, no recibirá uno, pero puede dejar un comentario en What Are You Playing de esta semana.

¡Larga vida a los búhos!

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Massively Overthinking: Paying for MMORPG emulators, legal or otherwise

MassivelyOp reader Bryan recently wrote to us with a fun question about emulators, a topic that will simply never die as long as MMORPGs do.

“I recently viewed some comments claiming that official era servers wouldn’t acquire much of the player base from private servers, due the benefit of private servers typically being free to play. After thinking about it though, I actually know many people who have donated money or purchased cash shop items on private servers. And I have been in guilds that paid for guild website hosting and guild voice chat hosting for their private server guild. Free stuff is always nice, of course, but it seems as though while the benefit of free to play private servers is there, there’s still a decent amount of people willing to pay out of their pockets for them. I am wondering, how many MOP readers have donated or would be willing to spend real money on a private server?”

So let’s tackle the emulator question in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Have you ever played on an emulator? Under what circumstances? Which ones are you OK with, and which ones do you stay far away from? Are you OK with emulators raising money, and for what purpose? And have you ever donated money to or spent money on an MMO emulator?

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Vivendi has sold its stock in Ubisoft, giving up on its hostile takeover

Winners never quit, we’re told. So what does that mean in light of Vivendi divesting itself of Ubisoft shares? The investment in Ubisoft (well-known for The Crew, The Division, and other titles we don’t really cover here) was long seen as the start of a hostile takeover attempt, which means that selling the 27 percent that Vivdeni (well-known for formerly owning Blizzard) owned represents the company, well, giving up on that plan.

It’s not entirely clear why Vivendi abandoned the hostile takeover attempt, but as part of the sales agreement Vivendi cannot buy any stock in Ubisoft for the next five years, which means that it appears to be well and truly ended. So, good news if you don’t want Vivendi to be in charge of Ubisoft, bad news if… you did want that? Corporate antics are always a thrill a minute.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 162: The Morninglight wants you

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin infiltrate Secret World Legends’ Morninglight, dig into yet another progression server, wonder how many allied races World of Warcraft is going to introduce, and get all nostalgic over the original Guild Wars.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: Are you playing Sea of Thieves?

It’s officially Sea of Thieves day; the game launched here in the US in the wee hours of this morning. During our awards rollout at the end of 2017, I called Sea of Thieves one of my most anticipated multiplayer games for 2018. At the time, I could easily imagine my MMORPG guildies, already fond of playing pirates, rolling into the game to crew a ship on the high seas.

But last year’s hype seems to have faded away over the last few months as a critical mass of gamers checked out the pre-launch version of the game and came away with more questions than answers about the game’s PvE content, its unchecked PvP, and maybe above all else, its downsized character creation system. It never was an MMO, but these revelations made it seem even less an MMO than a lot of folks had been led to believe after the E3 demos, subduing the buzz.

How about you? Are you playing Sea of Thieves? Are you waiting to see how it develops? Or have you given it a hard pass?

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MMO designer Raph Koster reveals ‘Trust Spectrum’ research for online games

If you’ll be at GDC this week (we will!), you’re in for a treat, as research from MMORPG designer Raph Koster will be on tap.

It’s new design framework aimed at co-op multiplayer game designers, conducted as part of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group under Aaron Cammarata. The team is calling it the Trust Spectrum, and as Koster explains on his blog, the idea was to study how trust impacts games and vice versa, specifically for the purpose of building games that make sense for the level of trust players have for each other – and then building games that actually push people along the trust spectrum in a way that makes sense.

What they found in digging through games and gamers of all stripes was that “virtually all games are actually played at all levels of this spectrum; meaning, you can play competitive games with friends or strangers, a bidding system or supply chain system may exist at any point on the spectrum.” Ultimately, the investigators were able to map features across a trust range to make predictions on everything from audience size to retention.

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