leaderboard

Leaderboard is a weekly feature in which the Massively Overpowered staff pitch a poll to the readership. [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]

Leaderboard: Will you be trying Guild Wars 2 for free this weekend?

As part of its marketing push ahead of Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion launch in September, ArenaNet is plotting a freebie weekend for the game. The base game is already free-to-play, of course, but this weekend, all players will be treated to a preview of the paid and unlaunched Path of Fire content, even if you’ve never put a dime into the game. Existing players and newbies alike can basically tour the first zone (Amnoon Oasis) before deciding whether or not to pick up the expack. If you’re a total newbie, all you have to do is register a free account and you’re good to go starting Friday through Sunday. The weekend after that, the expansion’s elite specs will be available in PvP and WvW, so you’ll get to sample those too.

The question is — will this work? Are you actually going to give it a go? To the pollmobile!

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Leaderboard: Did you go back to LOTRO for Mordor?

Before we begin, let’s just get the trailer thing out of our systems. It was bad. Really bad. OK? Good. That’s done.

Lord of the Rings Online launched Mordor yesterday, its first major expansion since the transfer of the game from Turbine to Standing Stone Games last year.

And while Justin’s busy diving in and cooking up some impressions of the expansion for us, I thought I’d open it up to the readers in a poll: Was Mordor enough to make you go back LOTRO or even pick it up for the first time?

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Leaderboard: Is our future in virtual reality or augmented reality?

MOP reader Sally recently pointed us to a series of articles on virtual reality and augmented reality tech that when taken together make for an interesting discussion on two terms most laypeople seem to use interchangeably.

  • In January following this year’s CES, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue rolled his eyes at “gushing” over VR and argued that augmented reality was far more interesting.
  • In April, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave a speech suggesting that the future of VR is bright but that the equipment was a hindrance to socializing — that augmented reality, with transparent glasses, is the future.
  • Electronic Arts said basically the same exact thing just four days ago — that VR is still years away from mass-market consumers but that the company is focusing on AR in the shorter term.
  • And finally AltspaceVR, a startup that was offering a social VR chat aimed at businesses, is closing up shop, having run out of funding. Its userbase was only 35,000 people monthly, and it’s not even the only VR company to close down this year.

I have to say that I see much more utility and promise in a Shadowrun-like tech future of augmented glasses than in cumbersome game devices, but am I wrong — and are the money men wrong? Is our future in virtual reality or augmented reality?

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Leaderboard: Do you play Star Wars Galaxies’ emulator?

Welp, here we are: Star Wars Galaxies would be turning 14 years old today, had it been allowed to live.

SWG is much beloved around here, among our staff and many of our commenters, and the good news is that the existing emulators for the game have seemed pretty safe from the wrath of the copyright gods, which means you can put your mouse where your heart is and still play. But do you? And if not, why not?

That’s what today’s Leaderboard poll is meant to find out. (You can choose multiple answers on this one.)

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Leaderboard: Is Steam Direct’s developer fee too high?

Back in February, Valve announced that it would be sunsetting Steam Greenlight and replacing it with a new platform called Steam Direct, which would require fees from developers in order to “decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.” At the time, fees from $100-$5000 were floated by the company, causing significant consternation among game developers concerned that indies, students, and developing countries would be shut out of the program.

Last week, Valve posted an update on the program, announcing that it will be sticking with the $100 fee and working on other ways to fix the submission process — namely, with an expanded curator system that continues to offload de facto vetting work onto volunteers.

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World of Tanks pushes out Update 9.19 with improved equipment and directives

The new hotness in World of Tanks these days is ranked battles, which is getting ready to kick off a beta season to iron out the kinks. Along with these increasingly challenging battles comes new types of rewards: improved equipment and directives.

Improved equipment comes in six types, each offering permanent boosts to various tank and crew systems when they are equipped. The only downside is that normal and improved equipment of the same type cannot be stacked. Directives are far more temporary, offering single battle boosts and crew skill unlocks to give an advantage during a fight.

So how do you get all of these new toys? You collect bonds: “Bonds are rewarded at the end of each stage, with the amount you earn tied directly to the rank you’re at, as well as by the end of the Season, with the amount depending on your final standing in the leaderboard. If you finish a stage at, let’s say, Rank IV, you gain 400 Bonds. Rank III brings in 300, Rank II gives you 200, Rank V earns you 500, and finally, if you don’t make it past Rank I, you get 100 Bonds.”

Update 9.19 is now live, and you can get a brief overview of its salient details after the break.

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PWE posts summer event schedule for Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, Champions Online

“Sun’s out, guns out,” a PWE press blast quipped today — all because the MMO studio is kicking off a ton of summer events across its range of games, including some of the more relatively obscure ones.

In Neverwinter, for example, the titular city will be festooned in glitter for the 4th anniversary Protector’s Jubilee. Jubilee unicorns were mentioned. That’s June 20-27, while July will see the summer festival with feasts, contests, and snail mounts.

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Leaderboard: What’s the most important part of MMORPG character customization?

Valiance Online has a dev thread up this week asking backers and devs to propose hairstyles for the game’s characters, something that immediately yoinked my attention since I am notoriously picky about hair. As I’ve written before, I’m not against mohawks. Mohawks are cool. But when we open up a character creator and see 50 different types of mohawks and little else? Drives me bonkers. I’m exaggerating a little, but the variety in most MMOs isn’t so hot, and that’s partly down to clipping issues, I realize. Still, hair specifically is super important to me when I’m rolling a character. It’s definitely in my top three, probably right after gender.

How about you? What’s the most important part of MMORPG character customization to you? You can pick three!

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Leaderboard: Almost half of e-sports viewers don’t even play the games they’re spectating

It may sound crazy, but a huge number of people who pour eyeball time and money into e-sports don’t even play the games they’re watching. That’s according to gaming analytics firm Newzoo, which last week broke down its stats on the major e-sports franchises and who exactly is watching them in the U.S., Canada, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. Key takeaways?

  • 70% of viewers stick to one game.
  • 69% of gamers play only League of Legends, CS:GO, or DOTA 2 (the overlap of all three is 8%).
  • 42% of e-sports watchers of the big three games do not play any of them
  • 191 million people will tune in to e-sports “frequently” this year; an additional 194 million will do so “occasionally.”

Howsabout you? Do you watch, play, both, or neither?

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Leaderboard: What do you do with your stuff when you quit an MMORPG?

On today’s podcast, Justin teased me for running a virtual yard sale as I attempt to clean out my house in Ultima Online. I’m not quitting the game, mind you, but I did feel the urge to purge my hoard a bit to give myself some options, since right now, I’m obligated to sub every few months to hang on to that digital house lest I lose everything in it. If I were going to leave for a longer period of time, as I’ve done before, I’d need to get rid of most of my loot in a hurry and figure out whom to bequeath my house — if anyone.

Totally coincidentally, this morning I ran across a post on the Marvel Heroes sub whose author says he’s quitting and was looking for a “tasteful” way of giving away all his stuff.

Both incidents prompted me to wonder what other people do — does it depend on the game? What do you do with your stuff when you quit an MMORPG?

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Massively Overthinking: Competitive PvE in MMORPGs

During last week’s podcast, Justin and I bumped into a tangential topic about competitive PvE and how relatively rare it is in MMORPGs, which seems weird, right? It was once the nature of MMOs to make us scuffle with other guilds in open-world dungeons, but with the dawn of instanced PvE content, devs didn’t replace that type of content the same way they’ve embraced raiding and PvP. You’ve got achievements, sure, and gear show-offs, but outside of Guild Wars-esque challenge missions and WildStar PvE leaderboards, it’s just not something most MMOs bother with.

Why is that? Should they? And how do you want to see it done? I posed all these questions to the Massively OP team this week for Massively Overthinking!

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Wakfu adds leaderboard rewards, ventures further up Mount Zinit

An unexpected environment and a shocking revelation about a key character lays in wait for adventurers who continue to scale Wakfu’s Mount Zinit.

The team posted a dev blog about the next stage of ascent up the monumental mountain. “In Mount Zinit part two, we decided to finish one aspect of the narrative before you even had time to explore the whole mountain,” the devs said. “Acting as if this is all totally normal, we arrive at the end of the main quest!”

To finish their ascent, players will need to explore other zones and gear up even further. In other news, a small patch yesterday added rewards for Wakfu’s leaderboard. So what are you waiting for? Go earn, son!

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Leaderboard: Where do you draw the line between griefing and roleplaying?

On the Morrowind subreddit a few days ago, a player was recounting a particular roleplay-slash-griefing episode on a hardcore-roleplay Ultima Online emulator. The player explains that he spent months roleplaying as a bartender serving drinks to the adventurers he befriended. But he was actually planning something far more nefarious:

“For over a year I roleplayed with these people as a simple barman, pretended to be their friend and confidant, and then during a harvest festival where every player on our server was in attendance and I was [paid] to provide the food and drink… I poisoned every last morsel of food, every drop of drink, and after the [regent] delivered his speech and all of these fools raised their goblets for the toast and took that deadly sip, I stepped onto the stage and revealed what had happened. They [were] all going to die, and die they did. Now this was a permanent death server (hardcore RPers, mind you), and some had been playing those characters for 8 years, and there they all were, collapsed and dying. Soon they were all unconscious, as you could only die if you went unconscious three times in one day or if a certain psychotic bartender came and cut off your head… which I did to every player in our group of 38. They were all there, and unfortunately so was I.”

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