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See: City of Heroes

The PAX West City of Heroes and Ashes of Creation panels are a go

A few weeks back, we reported on the City of Heroes-themed panel coming to PAX West in Seattle at the beginning of September. With the release of the PAX schedule on Friday, we can confirm that it is indeed happening on Sunday, September 3rd, at 8 p.m. in the Cat theater, with reps from City of Titans and Ship of Heroes [update: and Valiance Online] in attendance.

“When the venerable MMORPG City of Heroes shut down in 2012, it gave rise to several projects often called spiritual successors. Each of these efforts took the same inspiration, yet have developed very different titles. Join Casey McGeever of Heroic Games, Chad Dulac of Silver Helm and Nathaniel Downes of Missing Worlds Media for a conversation a conversation about the challenges in making the game, the progress so far, and how these games will build on and stand apart from City of Heroes as something different and new while serving the great gameplay and positive gaming community that has been looking for a home.”

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMORPG for gamers who are sick of raiding?

In the middle of the conversation spawned by yesterday’s financial news that Guild Wars 2 had seen its worst revenue quarter since launch, several of our commenters sidetracked into discussion about raiding in Guild Wars 2 compared to the rest of the genre. One commenter suggested Guild Wars 2 treated non-raiders as second-class citizens (especially given that GW2 was originally sold as a game that eschewed traditional raiding). But the way I see it, pretty much every MMO with raiding treats non-raiders this way, and it’s a huge problem for that whole raid-centric segment of the genre. And Guild Wars 2 is no exception.

Some gamers suggested games without raiding (like Trove), older games with NPC aid (like classic Guild Wars), games with solo raiding (RIFT), and games with difficulty sliders (like City of Heroes). Several commenters offered up MMOs like World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy XIV because they offer plenty of raiding (or raiding-adjacent) content for casuals, which is something GW2 still strangely doesn’t do.

So today’s Daily Grind is two-fold: What’s the best MMORPG for gamers who are sick of raiding period, and which MMORPG-that-has-raiding treats non-raiders the best?

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Choose My Adventure: Get out of here, DC Universe Online

So this is an unusual situation for me: I’ve never actually played a game for Choose My Adventure that I’ve disliked this much.

Those of you who have followed my writing for a while know that I’ve played some games I didn’t much like before, but that’s different. Lord of the Rings Online and Black Desert, for example, are games that were not my cup of tea but still had obvious merits I could praise. I’ve played games that I dislike or ones that deserved more criticism than praise when I played them (Ryzom, TERA, the beta period of The Elder Scrolls Online), but still had positive sides. (And in the last case, ESO turned itself around quite well and earned plenty of kudos from me.) Heck, I played Scarlet Blade with as open a mind as I could possibly have.

But not so DC Universe Online. No, this game deserves a pretty thorough drubbing. I can understand why it has fans, but it’s still just not a good game. I can only hope it’s an outlier rather than the norm on Daybreak’s overall catalog, because… wow. This is not fun.

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The Daily Grind: Are you a fan of character-obscuring morphs and modes in MMOs?

When ArenaNet went through Guild Wars 2’s upcoming Path of Fire specs on Tuesday, I was super bummed about the Ranger, the class I’d been toying with switching to as my main this time around. During the stream, ANet made it sound as if the Ranger’s Soulbeast spec would literally be a polymorph. Fortunately, as details came out this week, it became clear that the player will retain his or her own look and weaponry while joined with a pet, so I heaved a sigh of relief.

See, being transformed into something else is one of my huge pet peeves in MMORPGs, pun intended. I don’t want to be a bear and fight as a bear with bear moves. I don’t want to be a dragon, or a turret, or a vehicle, or a glowy blur, or anything other than the character I’ve spent gazillions of hours leveling, building, and designing exactly as I want her. Trying to keep me interested? Great! Give me more customization options for my appearance and my skills’ appearance, City of Heroes-style. Do no negate all the work or time or money I put into my chosen spec, my collected gear, or — especially! — the cosmetic stuff I’ve spent my cash on.

Am I alone here? Are you a fan of character-obscuring morphs and modes in MMOs, or does it drive you as mad as it does me?

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City of Titans and Ship of Heroes team up for City of Heroes successor panel at PAX West

There will be a City of Heroes panel at PAX West… after a fashion. The game may be gone, but the City of Titans development team will be there to talk about carrying on after the game’s closure and making a spiritual successor. They’ll be joined by representatives of the teams behind Valiance Online and Ship of Heroes, as well, talking about keeping a strong community going between divergent teams with similar goals.

This panel will be in the Werecat theater in the evening of Sunday, September 3rd, so it’s going to require you to stick out most of the convention if you want to see it. On the other hand, it also features three community-led movements to resurrect the spirit of a beloved game, so that may be motivation enough right there.

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One Shots: Hail to the victor!

Have you ever been able to capture a truly victorious moment in your MMORPG journeys? Rees Racer did, and he is not above showing off (fortunately for us!).

“No spoilers, so I’ll just pass along a TERA cutscene shot from a meeting with Priestess Ciebel after the defeat of a traitorous threat to the Alliance,” Rees writes. “Of course, my Gunner is issued new orders almost immediately as there are seemingly always other harbingers of doom to confront…”

You save the world once, everyone wants you to keep on doing it, over and over again. My advice? Start charging per apocalypse and put aside a portion for retirement in another dimension.

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Choose My Adventure: Two approaches to whining about DC Universe Online

Dear readers, today I am going to try something different for all of you. And it’s predicated on the fact that I’m not just fond of video games; I’m also fond of comic books. This means that when I sat down for my most recent play session in DC Universe Online, I found myself of two minds about why I wasn’t super-duper happy with the content I was experiencing… and both of them could easily fill in a good chunk of words by themselves.

So this week, you get to choose the column you want to read. There are two spoiler warnings below: one covering my thoughts of playing the game from a strictly game-based perspective, the other one being my thoughts of playing the game from a comic book fan’s perspective. Read one! Read the other! Read both! Theoretically you could read neither, I suppose, but then you would have clocked out before you were done with this introduction.

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How to find the right MMORPG as a couple

People seemed to quite like my piece last week about how my wife and I wound up married in no small part due to World of Warcraft. Of course, I also alluded in the column to the fact that World of Warcraft was hardly our final destination, and we’re currently playing Final Fantasy XIV quite happily together. We’ve also gone into Final Fantasy XI, City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Fallen Earth, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic… a lot of different games, in other words. And I’m just counting the ones we’ve tried together.

I don’t think that there’s any one surefire way to always find the right game for a couple to enjoy, but I have had a fair amount of experience with it now, and it’s helped that we’ve both spent a lot of time working on finding what works and what doesn’t in this field. So here’s some (hopefully) helpful tips about finding a game that you and your romantic partner of choice can enjoy together.

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The Game Archaeologist: Where are all of the open-source MMOs?

Recently we had an interesting question come in from reader and Patron Rasmus Praestholm, who asked me to do a little investigating: “What (if anything of substance) exists in the MMO field that’s not only free, but open source? The topic of open source came up briefly in a recent column, where Ryzom was noted to have gone open source at some point. But have any serious efforts actually gotten anywhere starting out as open source?”

As some graphical MMORPGs pass the two-decade mark in video game history and are being either cancelled or retired to maintenance mode, it’s an increasingly important topic when it comes to keeping these games alive. Not only that, the question of open source MMOs involves the community in continued development, with the studio handing over the keys to an aging car to see what can be done by resourceful fans.

But has anything much been done with open source projects in the realm of MMORPGs? Is this something that we should be demanding more of as online gaming starts using more accessible platforms such as SpatialOS? Let’s dig a bit into this topic and see what we turn up.

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How I got married through World of Warcraft

I’ve mentioned a lot of times, in passing, how my wife and I connected in part through World of Warcraft. But I’ve never actually gone into any depth on the subject, and it didn’t actually happen because I wanted to be involved with her.

It happened because I needed a healer.

At the time, I had a collection of friends in the game who were all happy to play with me, but we also were all DPS. In the days before the dungeon finder, this meant that forming a party was more or less just something that was not going to happen. So I recruited my best friend at the time with the explicit statement that I wanted her to be our healer.

We’re now many years on from that, and pretty much 90% of the time she plays a tank. So from one perspective, that plan was an enormous failure.

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Massively Overthinking: Do MMORPGs aspire to pro-social mechanics?

Massively OP reader and Patron Avaera has a thoughtful question for the team and readers this week. “I wish more virtual world games thought deeply about what impact they can have for the better,” he writes.

“It seems to me we are living in a time when tribalism, intolerance, and lack of empathy are increasing, with online trolling, harassment and simple nastiness on the rise even before considering where real-world politics seems to be heading. Yet research continues to show that immersive virtual worlds (including MMOs) have significant potential to change us through the type of experiences they offer, with recent examples being that a VR out-of-body experience can reduce fear of death and that social exclusion in a game environment carries a negative effect on real-world emotions. Do you think any MMOs are already using this incredible power to change us as people through pro-social mechanics, activities or narratives? Can you think of any examples where you have been moved or changed by game experiences, for better or worse, and do you think this was a deliberate act by developers? As our genre continues on a trajectory away from massively social roleplay towards cliquish competitive skirmishing, are there any signs that there are still companies willing to test whether virtual world games can be more than just moment-to-moment fun or entertainment?”

I posed Avaera’s question to the whole team for an intriguing Overthinking.

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Ghost Widow gets a spotlight on her Master x Master incarnation

While very few veteran City of Heroes fans were happy about the inclusion of Statesman in Master x Master for a variety of reasons, the inclusion of Ghost Widow should be less controversial. Partly because that outrage has already passed, but also partly because it’s Ghost Widow, who is just pretty darn cool. It’s not Penelope Yin or War Witch or Scirocco, but it’s still one of the game’s cooler characters.

“But how does Ghost Widow actually play?” you ask, and that’s actually a very good question! You can find out in the video just below, but the short version is that she’s a nuker capable of stripping buffs and savagely hurting enemies suffering from other debuffs. It may be a bit unusual to see her on the side of the angels, but it does mean you can bring a bit of that psychic undead fun into your game.

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Choose My Adventure: Launching new in DC Universe Online

Looking at the the three big triple-A superhero titles, DC Universe Online has always felt like the odd one out. City of Heroes was the first, of course, but it was also the one that wound up delivering and then some, a game people still talk about even when many of them (myself included) have gotten over the loss. Champions Online, meanwhile, is the disappointment, the Icarus, the one that never quite made it before crashing and burning appreciably.

And then there’s DC Universe Online, which is a game I just don’t think about all that much. Which is odd, as it may very well be the most successful MMO Daybreak is managing at the moment.

Some of this, of course, is down to the fact that it’s a game that seemed to launch almost by accident, with little to no fanfare and remarkably little promotion. But it’s also a game very different from many of its predecessors; where many superhero MMOs seem to be derived, on some level, from the archetypes put forth by CoH, DCUO does its own thing. And that alone makes it worthy of a closer look.

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