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Choose My Adventure: Map-based antics in Guild Wars 2

One of the points of the polls and discussions for Guild Wars 2 the other week was that while I could focus on either map antics or storyline progression, I wouldn’t be doing just one or the other. Some of this is just practicality – if a story mission is bringing me close to a waypoint anyway, it would be silly for me to just shrug and not pick it up, and it’s kind of important that I use whatever means available to me to pick up more Hero points. But some of it was the fact that the game has, in many ways, an organic flow.

The game’s story doesn’t always bring you to the important places, but it usually at least strives to push players into spaces where they’re going to brush up against points of interest. (By which I mean “all the various map icons” rather than the game-specific definition of “point of interest.”) The intent, then, is not that you spend all of your time doing one thing or the other; you spend your time doing both, running through story instances and then hopping back out as it becomes relevant.

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The Daily Grind: Are you a fan of ‘automatic helping behaviors’ in MMORPGs?

We’ve been complaining about lockboxes a lot lately as an unwelcome psychological trick in gaming, so this morning, I wanted to talk about a welcome one. To do so, let me invoke the wisdom of blog The Psychology of Video Games. Author Jamie Madigan discusses “automatic helping behaviors” that studios can take advantage of to combat toxicity; he notes that researchers have found your attitude doesn’t always control your actions – you can often be tricked into an attitude based on your actions.

So if a game like Guild Wars 2 finds a way to incentivize you into resurrecting other players and helping them in combat, you begin to perceive yourself as the kind of person who helps – and you might just begin reflexively helping elsewhere, even when you don’t have to. That leads to situations, at least in GW2, where people will actually stop fighting to rush over to res a stranger, perpetuating that warm fuzzy feeling.

In a game like Overwatch, it’s even more automatic, as your character fires off compliments when characters nearby perform well. See and hear “yourself” do that enough and suddenly, that’s the kind of player you are.

Are you a fan of MMOs that employ this “trick” to encourage cooperation and community building? Where else have you seen it used to good effect?

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Perfect Ten: Why no one should recommend World of Warcraft ever

Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.

One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 139: Catching up with Legends of Aria

On this week’s show, Legends of Aria’s Derek Brinkmann returns for another interview about how the indie MMORPG is shaping up as it goes through its “final” alpha and heads toward beta and launch. We also dig deep into the mailbag to gripe about gambling!

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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Guild Wars 2’s Shadow of the Mad King Halloween events return October 17

Who’s ready for another round of Mad King Says? We hear his jokes always… slay the audience.

ArenaNet announced this afternoon that Halloween returns to Guild Wars 2 this year in just one week, on October 17th. Expect the usual: access to the Mad King’s Labyrinth, the Clock Tower jumping puzzle updated since its original debut, the return of the Ascent of Madness dungeon, achievements, and loot. And no doubt a themey cash shop update too. It ought to help stave off the boredom of the rushers already done with Path of Fire, anyway. Are ya ready?

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Guild Wars 2’s AMA covers mounts, raids, maps, and the state of class balance

The ArenaNet devs descended on the Guild Wars 2 over the weekend for what looks like one of the game’s biggest AMAs to date (but one with surprisingly thin info, at least if you were hoping for a huge revelation). Here are the highlights:

  • No details on raid wing 5 yet. The team reiterates it’s not working on difficulty tiers for raids. “We’re hard at work on the next raid and development is going well.”
  • There’s apparently nobody working on guilds (so no current plans to develop further) and no dungeon team attached to the expansion.
  • The studio said among its chief story goals were tighter integration and not all cinematic moments happen in cutscenes. The choice to go darker and use fewer characters was also intentional.
  • Map-wide metas weren’t an intended part of the expansion, but maybe in the future. They’re watching to see what we do and will go from there.
  • Anet says it did indeed modify all the old maps in Tyria and Maguuma in order to add mounts.

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One Shots: Counting sheep

I might not pick one of Final Fantasy XIV’s Lalafell as an ideal combat companion, but when it comes to staging adorable photogenic moments? I would say that they are ideal.

Reader Vexia nodded off to a bunch of fluffy sheep in today’s headlining pic: “It’s totally worth it ’cause then you can count them all to fall asleep. I guess this qualifies as being ‘in my element’ too: surrounded by fluffy cuteness.”

Ack. We need a palette cleanser! Truck in some gratuitous gore and oversized spiders!

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Choose My Adventure: Following a god in Guild Wars 2

To my absolute lack of a surprise, the fact that your abilities are so aggressively limited once you pick an Elite Specialization in Guild Wars 2 came back to make this week a bit harder than it needed to be. But not, perhaps, as hard as it could have been. That’s something to discuss further on, though; for the moment, what’s more important is progressing along with the story of Path of Fire and figuring out who to support, who to ally with, and what Balthazar really wants.

Let me get my one complaint about the story thus far out of the way immediately: the game is bad about filling you in on what’s going on. I hit this a little bit last week when dealing with what I called the second reel of a film, but this week I actually had an easier time following along… because of existing knowledge about the world. Which is nice, certainly, but you should not need to functionally be a Tyrian historian just to understand the events taking place. The full weight? Sure. The meaning? No.

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Guild Wars 2 developers take players along for a Path of Fire trek

It’s a unique experience to be able to sit down and watch developers play the very game they made. Even if it gives you only a different perspective, sometimes it is worth the time to watch and learn a few new tricks.

Guild Wars 2’s development team recently took an hour out of its schedule to send a few members on a trek through Path of Fire and record the proceedings. Community Manager Rubi Bayer, Lead Designer Mike Zadorojny, and Game Designer Clayton Kisko sit down in front of the camera to get a little silly and subsequently explore the gorgeous new lands of the expansion.

Check it out after the break, and then get caught up on our own impressions a week in!

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Exclusive Guild Wars 2 interview on Path of Fire’s launch and philosophy

Spurred on by my excitement for Guild Wars 2‘s second expansion, Path of Fire, I reached out to ArenaNet shortly before release to secure a post-launch interview to ensure all my most burning questions could be answered. I drafted my questions not long after launch, and while I most definitely wished to discover whether the initial launch hiccups affected the immediate uptake of the expansion, beyond that I sought more information on the development of such a decisively different expansion than Heart of Thorns was.

This launch diary installment will share ArenaNet’s responses to my PoF questions: Mounts, elite specializations, and the new maps were huge topics of discussion aside from the more general launch and development questions I had. Read on!

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Connect with other online gamers via MMO Book Club’s Guild Wars 2 romp and MMOCircles

Feeling a little isolated? Having a hard time making friends? Does your mother have to validate how special you are? Here are a couple of ways that you can plug into the wider MMO community this week!

After a furious round of voting, the MMO Book Club has voted on Guild Wars 2 for its next grand adventure. Jump in and join this nomadic community as it learns the ropes in Tyria during the month of October. The fastest way to hook up with this group? Head over to Discord and see what’s up.

Another option is a brand-new social network designed specifically for MMORPG players. MMOCircles is designed to connect players to others who are interested in the same games. The platform says that it has 500 people signed up already and features titles such as Neverwinter and Vindictus.

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Perfect Ten: The 10 live MMORPGs everybody should try

If you have ever visited the MMORPG subreddit, you probably know that one of the most frequent posts that pop up are ones asking the community for recommendations. These are players who have left a full-time game and are now fishing around for a substitute, or those who have “played them all” and are hoping that some undiscovered gem exists, or are having a difficult time finding a good game match for their preferred playstyle.

I am often leery about tossing out blanket recommendations because it’s far better to get to know a player, his or her game history, and the type of game sought before giving my opinion. But if you were to put a fish cannon to my head and threatened me with rapid-codding, I think I would be generally OK promoting the following 10 MMORPGs to most players, sight unseen.

These are MMOs that have earned my personal recommendation and are the titles that I tend to promote the most. Here we go!

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Global Chat: The MMO community’s Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire impressions

It is kind of impossible to stroll around the MMO blogging community as of late and not trip and fall into a pool of Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire impressions and opinions. So why not dive in and see what lies under the surface of these experiences?

GamingSF suffered from technical issues that kept him from getting into the expansion initially, but when he did, he recognized that it had some “really nice features.” Why I Game concurs with this sentiment, noting that there are “a lot more nods to exploration this time around.”

“Story is okay, nothing amazing, some funny bits help, and I find it gets better as it progresses onward,” ECTmmo.com wrote. “The actual places you get to travel to and explore in this expansion are what makes it shine, well, that and the mounts.”

We’ve got even more Path of Fire impressions after the break, as well as a look at Star Trek Online, Elite Dangerous, and Ultima Online!

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