The World Health Organization has gone ahead with the inclusion of “gaming disorder” in the publication of its most recent edition of its disease classification manual. It’s expected to be adopted by member nations next year and won’t take effect until 2022. According to WHO,
“Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour, which may be online or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming; 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
The organization announced its proposal for the new classification last year and was met with considerable pushback from a wide cross-section of both industry partisans and independent academics.
When I met Frostkeep Studios’ CEO Jeremy Wood and crew at GDC earlier this year, I walked away impressed. I finally felt like I understood why other MOP staff are so excited about this flying-under-the-radar title. And this year at E3, I not only saw a more finished build of Rend but got some hands-on time with the game. I can’t say the floor demo did the game any justice, but what I heard from Wood and co-founder Solomon Lee sounded like the kind of forward thinking that only comes from developers who know the history of the genre and their playerbase.
Although I think I could start a hype train, I’m going to try to try to reserve judgment for a little longer. Rend may not be an MMO (it’s a moddable survival game with factions), but it has the potential to feed that MMO hunger we know you’re craving.
Victory is Life
is officially live in Star Trek Online
just in time for E3, harkening back to the much-loved run of Deep Space Nine.
“Star Trek Online’s fourth major expansion, Victory is Life, is now available on PC. The update takes Captains on a journey to the Gamma Quadrant, where they will team up with crew members from Deep Space Nine to battle the Hur’q. This includes Quark (Armin Shimerman), Odo (René Auberjonois), Kira (Nana Visitor) and nine other characters voiced by the actors who originated the roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The expansion also introduces a brand new Jem’Hadar playable faction, increased level cap, seven new episodes and an all-new Gamma Quadrant Sector Battlezone.”
To celebrate last week’s launch, PWE has granted Massively OP a bunch of goodies to give away! We’ve got 50 codes for the Gamma Vanguard Starter Pack for our PC readers. Each pack includes a T6 Jem’Hadar Vanguard Dreadnought Cruiser, the playable Jem’Hadar Vanguard Species unlock, a Jem’Hadar Tactical Uniform, the “Victory is Life” title, and the “Plain and Simple” title. Do note that the cruiser can be used by only Dominion captains, and all of it’s for PC accounts only. Read on to enter to win!
Cute? Terrifying? Both at the same time? Chronicles of Elyria continues to experiment with mad science and interspecies breeding by creating an “otterbear” for the game’s store. “If the cub doesn’t make you say squeee, we don’t know what will,” the devs said. And just because they could, they put a saddle on this thing and assumed that it would be all hunky-dory with being ridden.
Catch up with the latest developments in this fantasy MMO with this month’s newsletter. It wasn’t all affronts to God and nature, either. The team talked about readying the world and creating different tribe clothing concepts for its various races.
The team also showed off some of the boats that it’s been creating for the title: “Since ancient times, waterways have been the epicenter of civilization and, to traverse these, Mann has relied on boats. So without further ado, check our the boats that we added to our repertoire of vehicles in Elyria.”
Ludia’s Jurassic World Alive isn’t being marketed as an MMO, but it is an augmented reality game that involves roaming in the real world for virtual dinosaurs so you can battle them against other players. Online. But not near you.
It’s not exactly perfect, kind of like the series, in several ways. It’s not as promising as Maguss seemed in some ways, and suffers from similar design issues, but it also does things differently from Pokemon Go that, with some tweaks, could potentially attract a playerbase, even among our readers.
Just maybe not right now. Let me explain.
Strap on some legacy armor and check out the spiffy new helmet HUDs in Star Citizen, because this week’s Around the Verse episode is all about advancements in the game’s persistent universe. There is also plenty more talk about the lore behind the game world.
Another exciting development for the space sim is talk of the science gameplay. “Science” in this case covers a lot of peaceful activities related to charting systems, scanning objects, and examining alience creatures. The team gave a few new examples of science missions, such as searching for, intercepting, and destroying a rogue asteroid, and giving some first aid to rescued critters.
Catch up on all things Star Citizen with the latest episode of Around the Verse, which is waiting for you below!
MOP reader Oleg suggested today’s Daily Grind in the bowels of the mystified comments under our piece on Entropia Universe on Wednesday. In a nutshell, the Swedish studio MindArk is angling to use the game as a “potential reality where human consciousness can be inserted into virtual characters, making it possible to continue to live on as an Avatar well after their human body has passed” – in other words, to make us immortal, to let us live on in MMO Entropia.
The objection, as Oleg and other commenters noted, is that you might not actually want to live forever in Entropia. It’s a neo-capitalist technotopia where you cash in and out of the game to reality and back again. The game practically pioneered pay-to-win.
So let’s say MindArk actually pulls off the kind of sci-fi AI it’s saying it’s working on. Would you actually want to do it, and more importantly, which MMORPG would you want to live in – forever?
If you’re a fan of Altered Carbon or Westworld, you’re going to love what MindArk says it’s working on: The Entropia Universe
studio aims to use the game as a “potential reality where human consciousness can be inserted into virtual characters, making it possible to continue to live on as an Avatar well after their human body has passed.” I am not making this up.
“Although full realization of transplanted artificial intelligence is still some time away, MindArk is preparing to use advanced artificial intelligence data to create virtual avatars based on the consciousness of real people. MindArk is closely following the work of pioneering scientists within the field of ‘Mind Uploading’ which includes research from Princeton University, Oxford University and other institutions. The company is already testing new technology to create more realistic gaming experiences, and is establishing itself as a leader in the virtual space where digital consciousness can be paired with artificial intelligence. This will open new possibilities for what it means to live on after life is over.”
Long-running science-fiction MMORPG Neocron is revving up for another patch cycle, as the team announced this past week that it has begun to test various features and changes on the PTS.
The May update is the first since the one that came back in February and contains a balancing pass for various mobs, a nerf to vehicle projectile and laser damage, new Hacknet CityCom missions, more low-level mobs, more high-level mobs, and various fixes to mobs, scripting, and quests.
Hey, we have an extra paragraph to fill? How about a shameless plug for this author’s retrospective on Neocron’s history? That should fit the bill nicely.
When it arrived, my administrative assistant in my day job — who just so happens to be a die-hard Star Trek fan — brought a Next Generation-era shuttlecraft-shaped box into my office with wide eyes. “What is this?” she said. “I’m dying to rip it open!”
And so we did. The box in question was a Star Trek Mission Crate from one of those services where you sign up, pay a monthly fee, and receive a box full of themed swag every 30 days. Massively OP was sent one for promotional consideration because Cryptic had just signed a deal to team up with Loot Crate and include Star Trek Online codes.
It was pretty neat, all things considered. I’ve never opened a loot crate before, but I do love convention swag, and this box ended up being a low-stress version of collecting goodies from cons.
Are you hyped for Deep Space Nine in Star Trek Online
? Victory is Life
is hitting PC in June, complete with a journey to the Gamma Quadrant, the Deep Space Nine crew, the Jem’Hadar playable faction, bumped level cap, seven new episodes, and more goodies.
Ahead of the launch, PWE has granted Massively OP a bunch of goodies to raffle to our PC readers! We’ve got 25 codes for the T5 Defiant Tactical Escort Retrofit and 100 codes for the Stalker Stealth Fighter.
Read on to enter to win!
Last week, the Extra Credits crew did a feature on hostile architecture aka unpleasant design – a way of papering over a problem in design instead of actually fixing it. In urban planning, the tactic is used to (for example) oust homeless people from an area in such a way that the general population doesn’t even realize it’s being done. The lead example in the video is Seattle’s move to erect bike racks under a bridge destined for demolition, not because the city wanted to help cyclists but because it wanted to get rid of the homeless folks camping there. Similarly, Heathrow Airport is designed with too few public seats for all the people moving through the terminal; instead of solving the problem by building enough seats, the city just built high-priced restaurants with plenty of tables, basically to make some extra money off its own (intentionally) bad design.
The video apologizes for not being expressly about gaming, but I bet you folks can immediately summon some examples in MMORPGs of this very trick. Designing excessive grinds and then “solving” the problem by putting grind-speeder-uppers in the cash shop is one.
Can you ante up more? Which MMORPG features the most “hostile design,” and what is it?
A blog post on The Psychology of Video Games blog a few weeks ago seems relevant to our interests: It explores the “pleasure paradox,” which basically suggests that humans crave certainty, but once we get it, we’re bored. Experiments showed that subjects “said they would prefer to be less uncertain, but the results show that their happiness would have been diminished” if they actually were. We like a good mystery!
Consequently, author Jamie Madigan argues, games should take advantage of this human quirk – say, by rewarding us based on some hidden modifier but not telling us what we did to earn it.
In a weird way, that’s something ancient MMORPGs did by accident: Information was so obfuscated that playing was as much trial and error as anything, and game mechanics were an unintentional mystery. And something like, oh, websites publishing every single mage spell combo in Asheron’s Call? It killed the magic. So does every elitist in your group spamming DPS meters in chat in the modern era.
How much MMO game info should be hidden from the players? And is the “pleasure paradox” the reason?