global chat

The MMO blogosphere is bigger than Massively Overpowered. Join Justin Olivetti on his epic quest to find and elevate the best MMO blog posts of the week. [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]

Global Chat: Fare thee well, Landmark

Believe it or not, there were actually people who played and enjoyed Landmark -- and were saddened to see it taken offline. To kick off this week's roundup of interesting MMO blog posts, we turn to those who knew and remembered Landmark with their words.

"The game, once just a bullet point on the EverQuest Next announcement at SOE Live, has been shut down," The Ancient Gaming Noob said. "The web site and forums have been hidden away and the domain resolves to the Daybreak main page. The few remaining fans have had their final look at the lands of… erm… <does Google search>… Lumeria! That was the name of the place."

Superior Realities took a tour on its last day: "That, really, is what was special about Landmark. You could go to any map, walk in any direction, and in no time flat you’d be sure to find something beautiful, fascinating, or awe-inspiring. The traditional wisdom is that if you give players the tools to make their own content, the vast majority of it will be utter crap, but Landmark was stunning refutation of that notion."

Continue our roundup as bloggers dissect problems with The Secret World's combat system, share tips on how to grind LOTRO points, mull over why it's hard to go back to the "olden days," deliver an early access review of Revelation Online, and pontificate on why theme park MMOs simply work.

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Global Chat: What powerful memories come from playing MMOs?

Upon seeing how a friend was becoming disenchanted with MMOs, blogger Ravalation hypothesized it was because he was shying away from other players too much and thus failing to form the powerful experiences that elevate these games to a whole new level. She took it upon herself to conduct a community-wide survey that asked other writers to share their favorite memories from MMOs in order to try to nail down the "essence" of playing these games.

"I'm not saying it's all sunshine and rainbows," she wrote. "I'm sure we can all recall encounters with trolls, guild drama and misunderstandings. But there are also good times, and I would argue that these have the potential to transform into powerful positive memories, which in their turn make us want to login and expect us to have fun."

We've got plenty of other interesting essays and articles on MMORPGs, including a look at Elder Scrolls Online's housing, preparing for the worst in WildStar, and changing specs in World of Warcraft!

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The Daily Grind: Is an MMO still an MMO if it lacks chat?

In the comments of Andrew's last Soapbox on whether or not Pokemon Go properly constitutes an MMO, veteran MMORPG designer Raph Koster argued provocatively against our writer's statement that an MMO without a communication system (text, symbolic, or gestural) is no MMO at all.

"I don't think an in-game communication system is a requirement for an MMO, or a virtual world either," Koster wrote. "Consider an MMO where no one has chat because The Silence has fallen across the world. But everything else you are used to is the same... you'd still call it an MMO, wouldn't you?"

I'm not sure. I am sure that the very first thing we'd all do is pile into chat and voice channels and Kickstart a chat plugin, not unlike the way everyone piled into ICQ and IRC back in the '90s when confronted with online games sans global chat. People complain endlessly about not being able to chat even with enemies in faction-based games like WoW. Communication seems pretty critical to me, more than any other feature, miles ahead of combat, trade, or graphical avatars. Maybe it'd still be an MMO, but a very broken, incomplete one.

What do you think? Is an MMO still an MMO if it lacks chat?

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Global Chat: Get over the lockbox debate already

One of the largest and most enduring arguments of the MMO genre is the purpose, legality, and profitability of so-called lockboxes in games. We've certainly railed against them pretty hard here on the site.

MMO Bro takes an interesting position this week by saying that, yes, lockboxes are annoying, but we need to move on from grousing about them: "If I may play devil’s advocate here for a moment, I think the time may have come for us to take a step back and examine whether all the furor over lockboxes is really productive. It’s clear that lockboxes are here to stay, so perhaps it’s time for us to learn how to live with them."

Agree? Disagree? That's why we have the comments section. Now that you're fully awake, why not check out the rest of our roundup from the MMO blogosphere, including essays on early access stumbles, costumes, multiplayer mounts, and -- everyone's favorite -- geography!

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LOTRO's housing changes arrive on Monday

One of the biggest changes to Lord of the Rings Online's housing system in years is arriving on Monday, giving Hobbit interior decorators something new to do.

Update 19.3 will allow players to adjust housing decor on all dimensions inside of its hook box, allowing for items to be moved around on all axis and grouped together to look more natural instead of being artificially spaced out. Players will also be able to buy premium houses via writs, which do double duty in securing home ownership if a player transfers servers or gives up the house.

Other changes with the update include three new global chat channels, four additional user-defined chat channels, a fix for the /say bug, and a 9,999 gold cap for currency. It should also be noted that starting on Monday, VIP players can get a free mount and warsteed cosmetics by logging into the game.

Source: Patch notes

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Global Chat: Interior decorating in MMORPGs

With Elder Scrolls Online's new housing system coming early next month and LOTRO testing out some much-needed housing improvements, homemaking seems to be a subject on the mind of many players these days.

Contains Moderate Peril says that MMO housing has yet to live up to potential: "What you can do with housing is a far more interesting talking point. At present housing mainly offers in the MMO genre additional storage, an opportunity for aesthetic customisation, and convenient support services [...] What housing across most MMOs fails to do is offer any additional social facilities or unique group content."

Meanwhile, Dimension Gallery featured one house designer that came up with some impressive dimensions (my favorite is the Spongebob Squarepants!).

Housing not your thing? After the break we have blog essays on Final Fantasy XIV, welfare epics, and the true endgame activity of MMORPGs!

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Global Chat: Elder Scrolls Online renaissance

As I peruse a hundred or so community blog posts every day, it's fascinating to me to see what games the MMO blogosphere as a whole is playing and discussing. We sometimes end up flocking to certain titles based on recent announcements or because others are talking them up pretty heavily.

One game that's been getting a lot of mentions on blogs lately is Elder Scrolls Online, with players generally enthusiastic about how it's shaped up into a pretty decent MMO. "It's a really solid game that’s much better than the game that launched," writes Occasional Hero. "Visually, I would probably rank it second behind Black Desert Online for the best-looking MMORPG out there," touts Endgame Variable.

Elder Scrolls Online not your thing? No worries; we have articles covering The Secret World, LOTRO, RIFT, and more in today's community blog roundup!

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Global Chat Extra: In remembrance of Landmark

Obviously, the reverberations of the news of Landmark's closure continue to be seen across the MMO community, including in our own comments sections. The MMO blogosphere was alight with discussion and opinions about this event, with many using this as an opportunity to get in a last word about the lamentable EverQuest Next.

In today's special edition of Global Chat, we'll take a survey of gaming blogs to see what they have to say about the Landmark sunset and what it means for Daybreak, MMOs, and the community it affects.

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Global Chat: The Standing Stone standoff

Following the announcement of LOTRO and DDO's new studio and the subsequent cancellation of the Asheron's Call games, you can better believe that the MMO blogosphere was alight with conversations and opinions on the subject.

Aywren said that the move is a "win-win" for the two MMOs, while Contains Moderate Peril thought that it "raises a lot of questions." GamingSF is "optimistic," Endgame Viable thinks that updates will slow down going forward, The Ancient Gaming Noob considers it "momentous news," and Ravalation doesn't see the point in "doom-and-glooming."

Battle Priestess has some advice for Standing Stone: "Stay true to the Lord of the Rings source and lore and write amazing storylines and engaging quests. Keep developing beautiful landscapes. For the love of all that is holy, please update the character models and hairstyles. Be more transparent with your players and listen to the community."

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Global Chat: Boobs and wrinkles edition

Is the infamous "chainmail bikini" slowly disappearing from western RPGs and MMOs? Pete at Dragonchasers thinks that it is... and he kind of laments the change.

"I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who likes them but I’m not going to out anyone," he writes. "Instead I’m wondering if there’s a way to save sexy outfits without continuing to offend the folks who are not fans. I want everyone to be happy gaming and if that means more conservative clothing, so be it. But maybe we can find a way for everyone to be happy."

We've got a special year-end edition of MMO blog posts for you to enjoy today, including an examination of facial wrinkles in SWTOR, the top five problems of EVE Online, and socialism in MMOs!

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Global Chat: Knights of the Eternal Throne debate

With the arrival of SWTOR: Knights of the Eternal Throne, the MMO blogosphere lit up in lively discussion about the expansion, its story, and its design. As expected, opinions were all over the place.

Xam Xam was glowing in praise for what it called a "wonderfully paced, intense, heartbreaking masterpiece." Superior Realities was a bit more mixed but ultimately positive about the expansion: "Despite pursuing several plot threads at once, KotET is a very tight, very focused experience, and for the most part it’s an epic thrill-ride from beginning to end."

As for the controversial galactic command system, Galactic Antics didn't know what to think: "I don't think I've come across a system such as this which has a direct negative counter to virtually every positive aspect about it before [...] SWTOR has gone from a game which benefits both casuals and hardcore players to being a game which largely only benefits those who are willing and able to just grind."

From RIFT to Elder Scrolls Online to disliked archetypes, we've got an interesting assortment of articles for you to peruse after the jump!

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Global Chat: Evaluating the latest MMORPG expansions

This week in our tour through MMO blog posts, we're going to witness a lot of evaluations of recent update and expansion launches that have been gracing our corner of the world.

So let's begin with a look at RIFT: Starfall Prophecy, shall we? "This expansion is gorgeous," ECTmmo.com gushes. "I have to say logging in and heading to the new outpost in Starfall Prophecy was enchanting. The sky is full of stars, the whole place had that mysterious and cool vibe I have only seen in Guild War 2's Rata Sum, which is one of my all time favorite MMO cities in any game. Starting off it gave a sense of wonder and excitement of what is yet to come."

Tales of the Aggronaut has a lot of complimentary things to share as well: "I have to say this expansion is charming as hell so far, namely because of the two companions that follow you around at times… but also because it is a great example of environmental storytelling."

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Global Chat: Recapturing the MMO magic

I suspect that much of the willingness of players to pour money into MMO Kickstarters is out of a strong desire to see games emerge that recapture the spirit of the games that originally caused us to fall in love. But can that be done?

Former EverQuest II designer Ryan Shwayder said that while the desire may be simple, the execution is hellishly complex: "So, there’s quite a bit you can do to reproduce elements of the magic of old school MMOs. But, the truth is, there is that nostalgia element there still that is impossible to reproduce for people who have played other massively multiplayer games. After they’ve played one, they are no longer an MMO virgin, and you’ll never make an MMO the same as their first love. What you can do is make your MMO their great love; the one they will marry."

Join us as we take a tour of some of the most interesting MMO blog posts from the past two weeks, including an analysis of BlizzCon, trying Star Citizen for the first time, how to utilize life skills in Black Desert, and more!

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