Guild Chat: Guild size and its effect on cohesion

Welcome along to Guild Chat, my cozy corner of the internet in which we can discuss all things guilds, the place where we all gather to give advice to a reader in need. Come on in and pull up a plush purple couch, everybody! I’ll pop the kettle on while we get settled in, all ready to deal with this month’s issue. This edition of Guild Chat is focused on a question sent in from Massively Overpowered reader Loyheta that asks about balancing the size of a guild’s roster with its inclusiveness and activity levels. As pointed out, the balance can be hard to strike: Many of the largest guilds become somewhat fractured and cliques inevitably form, whereas smaller guilds may be very friendly but often rely on new players suiting the commonality of the existing core members. Read Loyheta’s question in full below to get up to speed, and don’t forget to pop your own two cents on the topic in the comments below.

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One Shots: Every action movie cliché, ever

Everyone needs those epic action moments in MMOs from time to time when everything comes together to deliver a pulse-pounding experience. From the looks of our first picture this week, reader Wonder Llama found exactly that in Firefall.

“So you know that scene in the action movies where the hero is running like hell to stay ahead of the shock-wave of some huge explosion, and it looks really really cool?” he asked. “Yeah… been there, done that! On a side note, I discovered Firefall has this really nice feature that I wish other MMO companies would shamelessly copy: It lets you record the events that took place in the game and then play them back inside the game engine. It’s like recording a video, but a thousand times better because you can pause it, pan around, rotate, and zoom the camera to get some fantastic screen shots!”

Trust me, this picture looks even better in full color!

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The Daily Grind: What character look are you most proud of?

The image above was used as a header elsewhere, but other than the fact that I never fixed her belt (it was a placeholder belt since I knew I’d be replacing the gear there quickly) I’m still proud of how good that set looked on my Blood Elf in World of Warcraft. It feels like an archetypical sort of Blood Knight look, even though it’s assembled from bits and pieces of other sets. Just like my favorite looks in Final Fantasy XIV or Star Wars: The Old Republic, a collection of pieces that works right for the character and possibly no one else.

Obviously, some of you don’t care about this stuff, and that’s fine. But for those of you who do, what character look are you most proud of? What outfit made you stop, take screenshots, and nod in approval?

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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Make My MMO: April 25, 2015

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, a couple of high profile projects met stretch goals. Crowfall will be hiring a dedicated graphics programmer, while Camelot Unchained plans to add pet classes of a spiritual nature. Spirit pets are part of something called an Extender Pack, though, as they won’t be worked on until after the game’s initial release.

You can read the rest of our crowdfunding roundup just past the break!

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EVE Online is scrapping its old tutorial on April 28

Say your goodbyes to EVE Online’s current tutorial, because it’s being completely removed from the game on April 28th in favor of a new system called Opportunities. CCP has been splitting newbs into two groups since February, with one group going through the old tutorial system and the other group being exposed to Opportunities. The firm reports that Opportunities users are 10 percent more likely to become EVE subscribers.

The system will continue to expand, with feature-adds scheduled to include missions, exploration, manufacturing, and player corps, among others.

[Source: Dev blog]

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WildStar’s Zero to Fifty livestream goes on hiatus

Carbine is closing down WildStar’s Zero to Fifty livestream show, at least temporarily. Community and creative content manager Tony Rey posted briefly on the forums and said that Carbine will “re-evaluate and improve our current content plan and show format.”

The firm isn’t sharing specifics yet in terms of a replacement show, but Rey seems adamant that higher quality programming is in the works. He also asks for livestream-related feedback, so head to the WildStar boards and make your voice heard.

[Source: Forums]

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Star Citizen’s cargo system sounds quite amazing

If your gaming preferences begin and end with combat, you might find the latest Star Citizen design blog pretty boring. If, on the other hand, you value non-combat gameplay and wish that the MMO industry valued it, too, Star Citizen’s cargo system may pique your interest.

Cloud Imperium’s virtual world will allow players “to more fully interact with their environment than any previous space game.” Cargo will be used both to customize your surroundings and to build a shipping empire or work the black market. The blog outlines how previous genre games have separated the pilot from the cargo with icons and menus, whereas Star Citizen will allow “maximum interaction directly with in-game objects.”

The developers have created a system called Grabby Hands — detailed in four separate videos — that enables extensive interaction without the need to create unique animations for each object in the game.

[Source: Design blog; thanks Cardboard, Cotic, Rioinsignia, fastcart, and Darkwalker75]

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The Game Archaeologist: What Star Wars Galaxies life was like before the NGE

A decade after Star Wars Galaxies’ “New Game Enhancements” hit the game, controversy, grumbling, and revelations still pop up about the notorious decision to overhaul the entire game. Some maintain that it ruined the game, while others acknowledge that what came after actually ended up being better.

As the 2003 to 2005 pre-NGE era is quickly vanishing into the distant past, I wanted to preserve some of the history of what the game was like before that fateful patch day. To aid in this project, I asked six Star Wars Galaxies veterans to share some of their memories and stories from that time. Here’s what they had to say about what in-game life was like in those first few years.

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The Stream Team: A life of GTA Online crime

You might have always thought of MassivelyOP’s MJ as a nicer, gentler sort of person… but that all changes when you toss her into the streets of Grand Theft Auto Online! She’s waist-deep in car thefts, guns, drug deals, and other unlawful mischief. Join us live at 12:00 p.m. to watch her spin wildly into a deeper life of crime.

What: Grand Theft Auto Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 12:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, April 24th, 2015

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WRUP: What ever happened with that button thing edition

Does anyone remember this? This was a thing that happened. I wrote a news post about it. A thing was done with a button, stuff took place… I mean, I seriously never bothered checking up on it again, what happened when the timer on that ran out? Does anyone know? Was that the button that kept the world turning? Is the world still turning? We might want to get out and check.

The important thing is that I’m curious about what ever wound up happening with the button, but not curious enough to do the five seconds of research on Google to answer the question. Maybe there were kittens involved, who knows.

Anyhow, that was all I had for the week. I’m packing for a trip again, I’m distracted. Listen, just… head on down to the comments and let us know what you’re playing this weekend, like we did up above. It’s What Are You Playing, you know how the deal works. Read more

The Daily Grind: Would you pay for MMO mods?

The entire internet (only a slight exaggeration there) exploded this week over Valve’s decision to work with selected game studios to allow modders to charge for their amateur game plugins on the Steam Workshop, cutting Valve and said studios a huge slice of the profit pie. Regardless of whether you think paid mods are acceptable, most people seem to agree that Valve hasn’t handled it very well at all, given the number of stolen mods and fraudulent DMCA take-downs flying around the Workshop right about now.

I’ve been modding video games a really long time, both creating my own and obsessively downloading, playing, and tweaking mods made by others. Half the reason I still play World of Warcraft is to tinker with UI addons, and I even created some housing retexes for the late great Star Wars Galaxies. I’ve also made money on some of my non-MMO mods — yes, made money on game mods, 15 years ago when it was a broadly accepted thing. Anyone who was gaming back then remembers Sims paysites, the bandwidth bubble, and the Skindex fiasco; in a weird way, this is all just a little bit of history repeatin’.

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Betawatch: April 24th, 2015

Rather than languishing in beta for all eternity, Heroes of the Storm is launching on June 2nd! Sure, there will be no further wipes and the game goes into open testing on May 19th, but that’s not the same as launching. Why? I’m glad you asked!

Here are other testing news stories.

Oh, hey, we never did explain how an open test with no wipes and a cash shop is different from launch, did we? Check out our full testing list just past the break!

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Echo of Soul offers several different flavors of founder’s packs

So Echo of Soul is an upcoming free-to-play title. You probably already knew that it was going to feature founder packs which include instant access to the beta, because of course it would. But did you think it would feature a variety of different styles of founder’s pack based on what you want out of the packs? Quite possibly not!

While there are several games that offer tiered founder’s packs, aside from the base “starter pack” pegged at $20 each of the different Echo of Soul packs offers different items not found in the other packs at the unified $50 price point. It’s up to you whether you consider this a nice opportunity to only buy the features that you want for $50 or a cynical cash grab forcing you to drop $150 for all three if you want all the items. Heck, it could even be both.

[Source: Echo of Soul Founder’s Packs; thanks to Dystopiq and Kyle for the tip!]

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