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]

Massively Overthinking: Forced socializing in MMORPGs

Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.

“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.

There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.

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Global Chat: Why FFXIV is the most newbie-friendly MMO

What’s the most newbie-friendly MMO? According to Pete at Dragonchasers, it’s Final Fantasy XIV. He’s been pretty impressed by the support structure that the game has in place for new and returning players.

“I don’t usually interact with other players in MMOs (ironic, I know) but when I was randomly invited into the Novice Network I accepted,” he wrote. “It’s a pretty active channel and at least for the short time I’ve been in it, quite civil […] This experience drew me out of my shell a bit, and by Sunday afternoon I’d dug out a bluetooth keyboard so I could talk in the Novice Network more easily. Overall the way FFXIV welcomed me as a player kind of re-kindled my love of MMOs.”

In this week’s MMO blogger roundup, we have essays on LOTRO’s attention span, the thought behind soloing in online games, and first impressions of Black Desert. Read on!

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Global Chat: Getting a hit of that EverQuest nostalgia

Ahh… smell that? Smells like a new batch of EverQuest nostalgia, served up to us as a fresh progression server. For some of the faithful, the chance to get a hit of that nostalgia is absolutely irresistible.

“I love EverQuest,” blogger Stargrace writes. “I love the excitement that comes with playing on a progression server. I love how busy they are, and watching chat channels fly by. I love the community and the fuzzy feelings I get when I think about that time in my life.”

Kaozz explained why this server was in such high demand: “My son was baffled how many people want to play on this type of server. I’ve been waiting on one for years and keep up with the requests in the forums I have seen for so many years.”

And The Ancient Gaming Noob finds it baffling that Blizzard isn’t cashing in on these kinds of servers with World of Warcraft. “Nostalgia sells, these servers are popular, they offer something people want and, more importantly, something people are willing to pay for,” he said.

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Global Chat: Freaking out over Destiny 2

Ever since the Destiny 2 reveal, everyone seems to be freaking out about this follow-up MMO shooter. Will it be the new hotness or a repainted product that’s being sold again to the same audience?

The reveal made Dragonchasers change his mind: “I guess I have to applaud Bungie for trying something new. They freely admit that they’re trying to do something about the frequently toxic environments brought about by matchmaking.”

“I have to say I am not disappointed in the least,” Tales of the Aggronaut enthuses. “In fact at this very moment I am feeling inordinate amounts of Destiny love.  There were a few things that were released that gave me all the feels.”

That doesn’t mean everyone’s fully on board yet. “I appreciate the changes the game is making, but I had expected a proper sequel to Destiny to actually be a bigger game with actual new stuff to do, stuff that couldn’t be done in the first game,” said Virtual Bastion.

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Global Chat: Saying goodbye to The Secret World

With the move to put The Secret World in maintenance mode and shift focus to the rebooted Secret World Legends, one MMO blogger decided that it was time to say goodbye to his stable of characters by logging each of them out in meaningful locations.

“It is now clear that The Secret World’s days are numbered,” Tyler of Superior Realities writes. “I have decided to say goodbye to the game while I still can, conducting a final tour of some of my favourite parts of the game and finding thematically appropriate ways to retire my many characters. And taking an unhealthy number of screenshots.”

I’ve seen others do this sort of thing, especially when an MMO ends, and it almost never fails to be touching and profound. These games meant something to us, and when we say farewell, it can be an emotion-laden funeral for time well spent.

Join us today as we tour around other essays from the MMO blogosphere, including an examination of class customization, musings on SWTOR’s road map, and a balloon ride in World of Warcraft.

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Global Chat: Is Ashes of Creation worth backing?

With all of the hullabaloo going on concerning Ashes of Creation and its Kickstarter campaign, a few bloggers are asking themselves whether or not this is an MMO worth backing, especially if they’ve been burned before by grand promises and poor execution.

“All of this adds up to an enticing package and ought to spark the embers of hope that maybe there will be something new under the sun when it comes to the fantasy MMORPG genre,” The Ancient Gaming Noob wrote. “So why am I not excited about this? Why isn’t this helping me shake off the MMO malaise?”

“I’m not on the hype train by a long shot. Not that I see anything particularly wrong with the game, it’s just way, way too early to even think about commenting on it,” Endgame Viable said.

“Am I going to pony up? Mmmm. Maybe,” mulls Inventory Full. “I’m still thinking about it, although, after reading the Kickstarter page, I’m actually less interested in the game than I was.”

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Global Chat: Die inventory management die!

Do you have inventory management with the passion of a thousand burning suns? Have you lost most of the vision in your left eye from squinting at rows and columns of tiny icons and their descriptive text? Do you feel like you’ve wasted a month of your life doing nothing more than shuffling around fictional items in your fictional backpack?

MMO Gypsy wants you to know that you’re not alone: “After 15 years of MMOing, I do not know a single MMO player who enjoys spending time sorting and moving around inventory; limited storage, tedious micro-management of too many (useless) items and having to move around inventory that’s bound to location, are decidedly unfun activities after a short time. This is not the kind of mini-game I want to spend my precious time on while playing games!”

That rant kicks off a great string of MMO blogger posts today, including a check-in with World of Warcraft clones, a look at pet classes, and the birthdays of two long-running games.

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Global Chat: Happy 10th birthday, LOTRO!

With Lord of the Rings Online hitting its 10th anniversary this past week, plenty of bloggers are enjoying the festivities and recalling some of their favorite memories of this beloved MMO.

Lina looked back at her earliest beta impressions of LOTRO and laughed at how she saw the game as “rather stiff, lifeless, and drab” (she since changed her mind). Wilhelm went through the game’s history and noted that the MMO was “a leader in the conversion to a free-to-play model, citing a huge boost in players and revenue to accompany the change.” And Roger recalls the changes: “Looking back now at these early days of LOTRO, the most pronounced difference was the fact that much of the game was designed to be completed in a group or fellowship.”

Is it still a game worth playing? Syl recently returned to LOTRO after a long absence and found it welcoming: “I’ve only been back a few days and already had more friendly encounters and met more silly helpful people on Laurelin than I otherwise would in years.”

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Global Chat: Which MMO developer do you most appreciate?

Recently, Ravalation carried on an annual blogger tradition called Developer Appreciation Week. During this week, gamers would put aside their usual vitriol and criticism for devs to pen posts about the appreciated side of studios. It was certainly nice to see a bloom of positivity and praise, that’s for sure.

“If there’s something I’ve learned from my fellow participants during this year’s DAW it’s that 1) game developers work extremely hard purely because they love their games, 2) bugs frequently appear in complicated coding, and 3) devs are usually aware that bugs exist when content goes live and feel terrible about it,” she wrote.

Join us after the break for more MMO blog essays, including a tour of Star Citizen’s luxury ship, more thoughts on Secret World Legends, and the enduring love of a World of Warcraft fan.

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Global Chat: The fallout over Secret World Legends

The fallout over The Secret World’s reboot into Secret World Legends has spread far and wide over the MMO blogging community, with many expressing dismay while others signal intrigue.

“This is bad in pretty much every way that it possibly could be,” laments Superior Realities, while Through Wolfy’s Eyes said that the reboot “seems like a solution that isn’t doing a great job of communicating its intent too well, which makes me feel a tiny bit worried.” GamingSF doesn’t know if he has it in him to repeat all of the content, saying that it is “too big of an ask at the moment.” And Inventory Full calls the move “an act of desperation” on the part of the studio.

“I am also really hoping that stripped of MMO shackles that this title can truly excel,” I Has PC notes on the other hand, and Endgame Viable comments that Legends “sounds like a good thing.”

We’ve got more MMO blogger essays to share with you this week, including a requiem for Club Penguin, a judgment on SWTOR’s galactic command, and a summation of the average LOTRO player.

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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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