age

Champions Online is now officially the longest-running superhero MMO, and the world makes no sense

You are no doubt aware that Champions Online is still running, although the game has been in unofficial maintenance mode for half of forever. What you may not be aware of is the fact that at this point, it is the longest-running superheroic MMO on the market. That’s right, it edged out its closest competitor by just about a month.

If that strikes you as the sort of thing that should not have been permitted to happen, well, you aren’t alone in that. But that’s the world we live in.

You can argue whether it’s the longest-running steadily updated superheroic MMO, but you can’t argue that it’s been in operation longer than anything else. Collectively, it turns out that players have had about 5500 years in-game, which is more than twice the age of the Great Wall of China. Those are your fun statistical factoids for the game, but we’re sure that some other unintentionally depressing fact will come along before too long.

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The Daily Grind: How old were you when you got into MMOs?

When Ultima Online launched, the idea of having a computer capable of running it was a pipe dream for me, much less also having internet in my home and paying for a monthly subscription. Even when I had a more powerful computer once I headed off to college three years later, I still didn’t have a home internet connection and didn’t really want to drop money on a monthly subscription. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I finally actually bought into MMOs at all, mostly because my girlfriend at the time convinced me to buy Final Fantasy XI.

Of course, my story is not necessarily typical; I’m willing to bet very few of our readers were dating my girlfriend at the time. But it may be a typical sort of story. Perhaps MMOs just skew older for players getting into the games with a regular fee; perhaps it’s just coincidence and the difficulty of getting a stable connection in the nascent days of the genre. So how old were you when you first got into MMOs?

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The Daily Grind: What does the MMORPG genre offer younger players?

Earlier this year, a Redditor on the MMORPG sub pondered whether young folks play MMORPGs — not kids, mind you, but teens, high schoolers and early college students, that age sweet spot that many now middle-aged gamers first picked up their first MMOs.

“You used to see guild chat invite spam in MMORPGS that would say ‘only 18+ players, please,'” Alyassus wrote. “Now I see guild invites that say 25+.” Then he posits that younger players aren’t playing MMORPGs, that the demographic is playing other competitive and coop games like MOBAs, and that the MMO market is pandering to a 30+ age bracket that will eventually die out.

I’m not sure I’d go that far personally, but I want to take a different angle with today’s Daily Grind, with that conversation about demographics in mind, because I see a lot of snark from older players about how MMOs target kids these days, what with their fast travel and cutesy graphics and cash shop instant gratification, so I’m not really sold that the older generations are the target audience here as much as people think. Regardless of that, I want to ask this: Why should younger players jump into MMORPGs? What does the MMORPG offer younger players specifically that they can’t get from other types of games that have no nostalgia pull whatsoever?

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The Daily Grind: Who’s your oldest MMO character who still gets played?

My original two characters in World of Warcraft are no longer around; one of them was deleted and the other is never to be played again. I am, however, still playing the same character in Final Fantasy XI whom I played back when the game launched, and my main in Final Fantasy XIV is the same character I created when the first version of the game went live. My Star Wars: The Old Republic mains haven’t changed since the game launched, nor has my Star Trek Online captain of choice. I tend to know what I want and stick with it, in short.

Of course, that’s not to say that failing to do so is wrong or worse, just different. Maybe you’re still tooling around on your first character from the launch of Ultima Online, or maybe you delete a character every six months, need it or not. So who’s your oldest MMO character who still gets played? Not the first one who ever existed, necessarily, but then one approaching an august age but still growing and developing?

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Chronicles of Elyria demos character physique and aging

Wanna spend your morning watching a dude walking around? OK, I’m only half teasing. Chronicles of Elyria has released a tech demo video showing off its male characters’ body dynamics and aging. Watch closely: The character is slowly morphing in physique and age as he moves, demonstrating the range of customization in the game (as well as how you’ll look as your character grows up, which is an actual core convention of the game).

Keep an eye out next week; CoE’s Kickstarter is slated to begin Tuesday.

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Leaderboard: The age range of Massively OP’s core audience

Massively OP reader Nordavind inspired this week’s Leaderboard in the comments of our Daily Grind about the age range of the people in the MMOs we all play. “The real question is, how is the age distribution here on MOP?” Nordavind wrote. “To the pollmobile!”

I have a pretty good idea how this poll is going to go thanks to analytics, but then again, there’s a difference between the people who read and click… and the people who actually comment and vote, especially on the weekends. Plus I know how easy it is to confuse Google on age and gender (the Goog had me pegged as a 20-year-old male for a long time since, you know, women don’t play video games.).

So howsabout it? How old are you? Do we skew old or young or somewhere in between?

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The Daily Grind: What’s the age range of the people in the MMORPGs you play?

This morning’s Daily Grind arrives from Massively OP reader camelotcrusade, who asks you to take a long look at the ages of the people around you in the MMORPG community:

MMOs provide a place for age-diverse groups to play together who would not normally interact as peers (or interact at all). When has this changed the way you play — or do you play the same way (and expect the same things) regardless of whether you run into someone who is 13, 30, or 74? And based on your experiences, do you think it’s better or worse to have significant age diversity in your MMO?

I think the youngest person my guild ever recruited who wasn’t a member’s kid was 15 at the time. The oldest person is surely in his 60s or 70s now. I remember when the 30-year-olds in my circle of friends were the old farts, and now the guild “babies” are well out of college. It’s pretty crazy! I’ve always enjoyed having a wide age range myself, and I’d like to think our older folks were a good influence on the younger ones — and vice versa!

But even though I know the stats on MMOs shows that ages skew well into their 30s, I always get the impression that a lot of people churning through are much younger.

How about you? Do you see much age diversity in your favorite MMOs? Do you change how you play and interact based on the supposed age of the players around you?

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The Daily Grind: What makes an MMO old?

MMOs have a longer shelf life than other games do. We talked about this not so long ago, even, and you can see it when you think of the big online games out there. World of Warcraft is over a decade old, Star Wars: The Old Republic is four years old, Final Fantasy XIV is five years old, and League of Legends has been around for six years. I rarely see any of those titles brought up as “old” games, yet contemporary single-player titles are often listed as being “old” titles.

What’s even more amusing is that titles seem to age at different rates in matters of perception. I’ve seen people talking in World of Warcraft about how EverQuest II is an “old” title, despite the fact that the two games launched in the same month of the same year. Some titles just feel older or newer than others regardless of actual dates. So what do you think, dear readers? What makes a game move over the threshold from “new” or “contemporary” to “old”? Is it a matter of time, of active design, of communities, or some combination of all three?

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EVE Online adds in dirt and kill marks to ships

A factory-fresh ship in EVE Online should not look exactly the same as one that’s been through countless corporate wars. There should be some distinguishing characteristics. That’s why the game’s next update on December 8th is adding in new surface details to ship hulls with dirt and kill marks. Dirt, as it currently stands, is a simple system: All ships accumulate dirt slowly over time, although the effects can be cleaned off manually. Future updates are meant to include specific markers on ships from specific events, but for the time being it’s simply a matter of time since the last cleaning.

Kill marks, on the other hand, add a running tally of how many ships have been blown away by the ship in question. The marker counts kill shots on player-piloted ships and only for ships that are actual targets; blowing away rookie ships won’t help you earn a high kill tally. You can see the marks in action in a video embedded just below.

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Chronicles of Elyria dev blog: Permadeath in MMORPGs

Announced earlier this year, Chronicles of Elyria is a startup sandbox in a sea of such sandboxes, but some of its features are rare even within the MMORPG genre.

Massively OP has been hosting a series of exclusive dev diaries from the CoE team at Soulbound Studios over the last few weeks to further explore the game and solicit feedback and questions, and today we have the next installment. This third such blog, written by the devs themselves, is presented below and focuses on the p-word: permadeath. Soulbound argues that permadeath isn’t over; it’s actually the next step for the genre and even ties into alting and the game’s business model. Enjoy!
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Chronicles of Elyria dev blog: Character aging in MMORPGs

Announced earlier this year, Chronicles of Elyria is a startup sandbox in a sea of such sandboxes, but some of its features are rare even within the MMORPG genre.

Massively OP will be hosting a series of exclusive dev diaries from the CoE team at Soulbound Studios over the next few weeks to further explore the game and solicit feedback and questions. The second such blog written by the devs themselves is presented below and homes in on character aging, a game mechanic that is central not just to the game’s atmosphere but to its business model as we learned last week. Enjoy!
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