The Daily Grind: Which F2P MMO has the best community?

Some of our commenters — and maybe other gamers who’ve been part of the MMO genre for a long time — are convinced that free-to-play and community don’t mix. Free-to-play games encourage gamehoppers, they say, those MMO “locusts,” cheapskates, antisocial types, guild hobos, and people who wander in and wander back out with nary a care, leaving no footprint and contributing nothing to the community in the game.

For my part, I was never all that impressed with the bulk of MMO communities back in the day, either, when everyone paid some sort of entry fee, so I’m unconvinced that things were all that better back then for most people playing — maybe for every server’s top few guilds, things were great, but for everyone else? Eh, people always came and went and got left in the dust. Besides, I’ve played F2P games with good communities and sub games with horrible ones, so I know they exist.

But for today’s Daily Grind, let’s judge them all. Which F2P MMO has the very best community and why?

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The Stream Team: Mindless mayhem in Marvel Heroes

Sometimes you’ve just got to let loose. Random mindless mayhem and destruction with multiple explosions is just what the doctor ordered for Massively OP’s MJ, and Marvel Heroes offers that in droves. It doesn’t even matter which hero — or villain — she chooses, as they all pack a wallop. So join us live at 9:00 p.m. as MJ wrecks as much havoc as she can all in the name of defeating the bad guys. We’ve also got some Ant-Man, She-Hulk, and Vision codes to give away!

What: Marvel Heroes
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 10th, 2015

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Not So Massively: NSM at Gamescom 2015; Splatoon’s Octoling hack

It’s been a fantastic week for online gaming with dozens of MOBAs and competitive shooters on the show floor at Gamescom 2015. Hi-Rez Studios was showing off the first playable build of its new shooter Paladins and announced a new map for SMITE. League of Legends brought champion Gangplank back from the dead with a new look and announced that its refer-a-friend system will be retired next month. The Dota 2 world championship down to an extremely tense final game over the $6 million top prize and almost had a surprise upset (spoilers ahead).

RUST fixed a number of server problems that were causing some servers to get stuck running at four frames per second, and plans are in the works for custom skins via the Steam Workshop. The Path of Exile devs took a look at the development process behind player-designed Divination Cards. Elite: Dangerous sparked some controversy with the announcement of its new expansion and associated pricing, but managed to patch out several major cheats being used online. And Splatoon players have datamined secrets from the August patch game files, including several unreleased weapons and the possibility of playing as an Octoling instead of a squid.

Read on for roundup of all the Gamescom 2015 online gaming news from MassivelyOP and a detailed breakdowns of the stories above in this week’s Not So Massively, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!

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Strategy space sim Pixel Starships starts early access alpha this month

If you’re anything like some of us and you’re a sucker for cutaway management games like FTL, Fallout Shelter, and Star Command, then you might be interested in the upcoming Pixel Starships.

Sporting the retro 8-bit design that’s all the rage on mobile these days, Pixel Starships puts players in the role of a captain who has to micromanage a (cute) crew, go on missions, and gradually upgrade his or her ship. What’s even better is that the devs are skewing the title toward the MMO side of the spectrum: “We want to invest in a persistent world similar to World of Warcraft with fresh content and new players making the game alive and exciting for decades.”

Pixel Starships recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to finish the game’s development. It goes into early access alpha on August 20th, with an iPhone and iPad launch later in 2015. A PC version is slated for next year.

You can check out a couple of Pixel Starships’ videos after the break to get a better feel for this stellar title.

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Rockstar bans GTA’s FiveM modders [Updated]

Rockstar has banned the accounts of the Grand Theft Auto V modders responsible for popular multiplayer project FiveM, according to Eurogamer. FiveM allows GTAV users to play on custom multiplayer servers apart from Rockstar’s GTA Online service, and it has been used to import maps from previous GTA titles into the GTA V engine, as you can see in the video after the cut.

FiveM’s creators say that their service doesn’t interact with GTA Online at all, which should have prevented the banhammer since Rockstar has previously stated that all mods that steer clear of GTA Online are OK. FiveM does connect to Rockstar’s Social Club service, but ironically this was done to prevent piracy and ensure that the mod’s users had purchased GTAV rather than simply pirating it.

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Player-scripted MMORTS Screeps is launching on August 12

Billing itself as “The world’s first strategy sandbox MMO game for programmers,” Screeps is heading out of beta next week when it officially releases on August 12th.

So what is this unusual game? Screeps is an open-world MMORTS sandbox in which players control a colony of “creeps” by programming actions for them in Javascript. Creeps will continue to follow their scripts whether or not a player is online, offering a round-the-clock persistent world of action. Screeps was partially funded by Indiegogo and will charge for “CPU credits” to power scripts.

You can watch Screeps’ game trailer after the break.

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The Stream Team: Lollygagging at local Landmark resorts

After the very stressful weekend MassivelyOP’s MJ has had with an evil computer, she needs some serious rest and relaxation. So instead of building anything in Landmark, she’s going to hit all the beaches, pools, and waterfront resorts she can find! Tune in live at 5:00 p.m. for a tour of these vacation destinations, and maybe win some codes to come visit them yourself.

What: Landmark
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 10th, 2015

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Bethesda is focused on Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online will be the Elder Scrolls title of record for the next little while, according to Dualshockers. The publication interviewed Bethesda VP of Marketing Pete Hines at last week’s Gamescom, and Hines intimated that the studio is completely focused on Fallout 4 and ESO, even though the previous installment of its tentpole franchise, 2011’s Skyrim, is nearly four years old.

Since ESO recently launched on consoles and is prepping for a major DLC at the end of August, Dualshockers concludes that it will be “the Elder Scrolls game Bethesda will be talking about for a while.” Hines told the website that it will be a “very long time” before Bethesda will discuss its post-Fallout 4 projects.

Source: Dualshockers

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Das Tal blog details overhauls of skills, enemies, and further blogs

Development on Das Tal is moving right along, but from here on out fans will be hearing about it every other week rather than every week. The most recent development blog states that the development updates are moving to the new schedule both to accommodate the developer streams every other week and to provide lengthier updates when the blogs do go live.

Rather than just being a development blog about development blogs, though, this entry also covers the game’s development on enemy spawns and patrols as well as the skill system. The former is being designed with an eye toward unpredictability and keeping players unsure of where their enemies lay, while the latter is an overhaul of the skill and crafting systems to have more depth and complexity. Take a look at the full entry for more details.

Source: Weekly blog

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Pathfinder publishes early enrollment version 10.1

GoblinWorks has released version 10.1 of Pathfinder Online’s early enrollment, according to a company tweet this afternoon. The patch updates the fantasy sandbox’s area-of-effect attacks, and it also lowers stamina costs for attacks in general. These reduced stamina costs make it much more likely that you can use the attack that’s most appropriate when a situation presents itself rather than having to wait for stamina regeneration and then missing your moment, Goblinworks explains.

10.1 also activates holding and outpost warfare, so when you get done perusing the blog entry for combat changes linked above, you should probably have a look at the holding blog entry as well.

Source: Twitter

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Guild Wars 2 teases the Revenant elite specialization without much subtlety

The upcoming Revenant will have an elite specialization in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns just like the other professions in the game. What will it be? It’s been teased on Twitter today… or at least, it’s technically a teaser, since pretty much anyone with even passing familiarity with the game’s lore will be able to identify the legend on display in half an instant.

It’s Glint, if you weren’t aware.

What sort of playstyle the venerated dragon Glint might lend herself to is a bit more ambiguous, but it certainly does narrow down the possible options. Some players will probably just be happy that they get to imitate the style of a dragon regardless.

Source: Twitter

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Sword and Bored: Pub roleplay

I’ve been inspired to jump back into some more roleplay in my MMOs. I realized that I have the most fun in games when I can immerse myself in a character and live out some of the joys and frustrations of living in the world he lives in.

As readers of this comic know, one of Mo’s friends is a roleplayer, too. One of the common hangouts for roleplayers across the MMOscape is the local pub, but unfortunately, that often means the dreaded Pub Roleplay. So let’s follow Amilya up to the bar in this week’s comic…

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Project Gorgon unveils the Fae and answers community questions

Another player race has been unveiled on the Project Gorgon Kickstarter page, the Fae. If you like playing a magical race that flits around while mastering magical combat techniques that other races can’t, it’s exactly the sort of race you want. Fae are both more receptive to the effects of potions and food and more susceptible to injury, so you may not want to put them on the front lines of a given battle.

The project also hosted a community Q&A session via Teamspeak, with a transcript available on the official forums. The team is currently balancing the dungeon rewards and the dungeon sizes, with most dungeons aiming for three-person groups and a handful of larger or smaller options on the side. There’s plenty of information for fans who have taken part in testing or just onlookers curious about the game, so take a look at the full transcript for more details; an audio file should be along soon.

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