what are you playing

WRUP. It stands for “what are you playing.” That’s it. Answer the question! [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]

WRUP: Enjoy the smooth flavor of Mrs. Patter’s Bacon-Fried Cookies edition

Guys, we could not be more excited to start getting in on the branded content game, and we’re starting with endorsing Mrs. Patter’s Bacon-Fried Cookies! But we promise you, this won’t really affect our content, which is refreshing and fried in the grease of simmering hog fat just like Mrs. Patter’s delicious cookies! Available in all sorts of wonderful flavors, like Strawberries & Bacon, Vanilla Custard & Bacon, Peanut Butter & Cheese, and of course, Blueberry & Broken Glass & Bacon That Doesn’t Taste Right!

We’ll still be bringing you all of the same great MMO content you’ve come to expect, it’ll just cover a wider spectrum. Like which flavor of Mrs. Patter’s cookies to enjoy with your favorite game, or why Mrs. Patter’s Meth & Bile cookies help you stay focused during intense play sessions, or which games have GMs most willing to call an ambulance because you are eating a kind of cookie the FDA has prohibited from sale in the United States. Let us know what you’re playing down in the comments of What Are You Playing, and the best response gets a free box of Mrs. Patter’s Bacon-Fried Cookies (Now With Less Asbestos, Probably)!

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WRUP: Helpful pointers about the inter-nets edition

Hello, one and all, and welcome to the inter-nets! The inter-nets, or as they are sometimes known the “world wide tubes,” are a fascinating place where you can meet people of many races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations while referring to them with deplorable slurs. Here are some useful tips about the inter-nets to make the most of your time here.

  • The inter-nets are a public place. Please be advised that other people can see what you are saying and respond to it. If you don’t want to discuss it, perhaps you should keep it to yourself.
  • The people you meet on the inter-nets are real people, with real feelings and wishes. Treat them the same way you would treat other people in the real world. Then, treat them better than that.
  • The inter-nets are the real world. If you are a nasty jerk to people on the inter-nets, that is who you are in the real world. If this is not the person you wish to be in the real world, do not act like it elsewhere.

We hope you enjoy your time within the inter-nets! As an associated diversion, please take part in this week’s installment of What Are You Playing, which can be found down below. Thank you, good night, and as always, keep surfing the computer waters!

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WRUP: Is this what I wanted edition

So, for a very long time, I was one of the people crying out for making some of the many racial variants in Azeroth playable. It just makes sense. Now, World of Warcraft has added them… or is going to add them. Some of them. Some of the ones I don’t even particularly want, and some of the ones I’ve wanted for a long while. (And at least one that I never thought I wanted.) They’ve got new class matrices, they have different customization, they have a whole lot of different traits.

Is this what I wanted? I don’t know. It’s not quite what I wanted. But it’s close enough to what I wanted, right? I think I’m getting what I want. This isn’t like Demon Hunters, which I never really wanted until they were right here. But it’s also a weird feeling where I’m pretty sure this is what I wanted, except not entirely sure. I don’t know. Muse about it in What Are You Playing comments, why not?

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WRUP: World of Warcraft: The We Just Want Eliot To Come Back Expansion edition

Well, here’s our World of Warcraft expansion leak. Apparently, it’s titled World Of Warcraft: The We Just Want Eliot To Come Back Expansion. I think they’re courting me. The expansion brings in all of the subraces I want, including Eredar, and it’s introducing Wardens as a hero class? Oh, and they’re apparently like a fusion between Shaman and Paladin. That’s nice. Also, we’re getting player housing, no new levels, and additional artifacts for each spec.

Plus, they’re adding dance studios and a better character creator. Oh, and better lady Worgen models. Level scaling through the world, all content scales down to duos, and totems are back! Also, something called “nightmare druids” and “mechanical warriors.” Sounds pretty good; I’m curious about the “customizable giant robots.” Anyhow, let us know what you’re playing down in the comments because this is What Are You Playing.

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WRUP: Of balls and pins thereof edition

Why are pinball machines so expensive? All right, that one’s obvious, they’re rather elaborate things with lots of moving parts all wired up to sturdy tables. They should be expensive. But it’s insanely frustrating that there’s no real way to get the proper feel of a pinball machine without spending a couple thousand dollars on a large, heavy table that plays one game.

And even “plays” feels a bit overly generous, because this isn’t, like, a similarly expensive arcade cabinet. A pinball machine is a matter of frantically mashing flippers and hoping for rain as various things happen with only moderate control. It’s incredibly frustrating and it’s pricey and I want one, because all of the digital solutions don’t have the tactile feel that is literally half of the fun of these things.

In summary, someone needs to make an MMO variant on pinball. Let us know why that’s stupid in this week’s installment of What Are You Playing.

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WRUP: Names I have used for MMO zones other than their proper names edition

Boregrimmar. Dorkshore. Strangle-me Vale. Dun Moron. Ironfudge. The Kvetchlands. Hillsbad Footfails. Poorgrimmar. Zangrymarsh. More Donuts. Fishguard. Palaran. Nar Shady. Lomsa Lemonsa. L.A. Nausea. Goopstaberg. Winderps. Valkurm Dooms. Fort Smellsba. Rolanberry the Headless Thompson Fields. Castle Ooze Troy. Snoregrimmar. Nar Shut Up.

Lizardtown. Camp Steaky-place. Tython, land of pythons. Ord Mantelpiece. Sith Seattle. Invincible Turtle River. The Lich King Summer Camp. The Boyz II Men Tree. Gay Planet. Shadowlord Fun Time Activity Zone. Kitty Jungle. Pirate Jungle. Crackton. The Alliance Lives in a Closet. Stormwind Red Light District. Cat Gas Park. Earth Space Duck. “Oops I Crapped My Pants” City.

And those are just the ones where my wife and I didn’t just add obscenities to the name for no reason, or referring to a zone in one game with the name of a zone from a completely different game. Let us know what you’re playing in the comments, this is What Are You Playing. Theoretically.

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WRUP: Pacing issues edition

The series is 52 episodes long, and it promises to be the world-shattering story of giant robots fueled by ghosts. The first nine episodes deal solely with the protagonist going through his daily routine and occasionally seeing ghosts. The next five episodes are about setting up the project to build ghost-powered robots. In the 15th episode, an enormous ghost lays waste to the protagonist’s home town and kills every single character that had been built up through now, making the previous episodes a complete waste of time.

Eight episodes are then spent hiding in the woods from the enormous ghost, followed by seven episodes journeying to a place where the ghost-powered robots had been assembled while meeting up with a handful of other characters. For no adequately explained reason, episodes 31-38 then feature a completely irrelevant deviation to a town holding a Japanese festival with the main character’s uncle. No one mentions those events at all as the cast spends another four episodes getting to the robot facility.

Once the team gets to the robot facility, four more episodes are spent arguing over who gets to pilot the biggest robot. The next episode is all about trying to power up the robot for its first launch. Episodes 47-52 finally involve using the ghost robots to fight evil ghosts while also discussing 10,000 years of history and cramming in so much exposition and lore that one episode features eight separate fight scenes with history narration in the background. The last episode ends on a cliffhanger. Let us know what you’re up to in What Are You Playing!

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Massively Overthinking: Epic Tavern-style player-generated content in MMORPGs

Ever played Epic Tavern? Massively OP reader Uli though it would make an interesting point of comparison for MMO content. “Epic Tavern is a single player game where you run a fantasy tavern frequented by heroes for a drink, food, bed for the night, and you can try to persuade those NPC heroes to go on a quest for you, sharing the spoils,” he explains.

“A comment I read suggested that would be great for MMO taverns: player running a tavern being able to give quests in the game to players frequenting the tavern. I know there are options for player run quests, but this would be different: pre-existing or otherwise player-made and engine-supported quests that are bestowed on player to match their group or skill level. And of course it would mean that visiting a tavern and meeting other players would finally have a point beyond mere chatting/RP. Ensuring people spent time in taverns to interact with would really help the socializing/third-space-in-virtual-rooms issue. But could it work in a MMO? Would that be abused for loot/rewards, biased quest assignment/withholding based on favors? Or what other problems could that cause?”

A lot of our writers and readers have experience with player-generated content, so I thought it would be fun to build on the ideas of Epic Tavern for Uli in this week’s Overthinking. Which MMOs have (or desperately need) great PGC, and when have you seen it go wrong? Could a formal, mechanical system for quest-giving like Epic Tavern’s work in an MMO, or is it something best left to the roleplayers?

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WRUP: So crazy and random edition

Hey, folks, I’d like to announce for the record that I am just so crazy and random! I surprise people with my completely insane behavior, like… putting two unrelated nouns together in sequence! Or laughing at something mildly transgressive and largely hateful! Garbage pizza! Explosion soda! Wow, you just can’t keep up with my crazy behavior! Sometimes I even do something spontaneously silly!

And sometimes I sit in my neighbor’s yard for four hours at a stretch, a blue tarp draped over my shoulders, mumbling things like “the flesh is silent beneath the waves” until said neighbors draw their curtains. I squat there, and I know in my head that it doesn’t matter, nothing really matters, everything is a yawning abyss of pointlessness and it matters so little, sometimes you just want the brick and mortar and tar of this tangible world to swallow you up because then everything will be silent and you can finally rest content in your own irrelevance.

Oh, and there’s a “You Don’t Have To Be Crazy To Work Here, But It Helps” sign over my desk. So random! Let me know what you’re up to in this week’s What Are You Playing comments.

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One Shots: Drop. Your. Sword.

“It’s possible, pig, I might be bluffing. It’s conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass, that I’m only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. But, then again… perhaps I have the strength after all. DROP… YOUR… SWORD!”

Can’t imagine why this screenshot of Secret World Legends from Winterskorn has me thinking of The Princess Bride. It’s inconceivable. Also, that sword doesn’t look like it can cut very well, just saying!

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WRUP: Can talk, Path of Fire edition

Welcome to another installment of What Are You Playing and… oh, jeez. Where are all of you? See, this is what I was worried about. There’s no one here this weekend, you’re all off playing Guild Wars 2. Me, I’m stuck here just… talking to myself.

See, I already had my big expansion launch this year. That was the one I was looking forward to like the birth of a child. It’s not as if I’m not going to play Guild Wars 2 with the expansion, that’s already a plan, but now I’m totally free to talk and no one wants to listen. You’re all just playing with new elite specializations and I’m… left over here. Wishing and hoping, and so forth. And if I just show up to join in, then I’ll look like the tagalong.

Sigh. Well, those of you who are here can let me know about your weekend plans down in the comments, that’s something. Meanwhile, I will… well, probably jump into the expansion myself, but later. I have standards. No bandwagons for me.

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WRUP: A review of Titans Return Magnus Prime with every noun replaced with moth edition

I had no real use for Moths Return Powermaster Moth when the moth was first announced, because while I liked the previous version of the moth… well, there are about a dozen moths of that moth sitting in my moth. However, the Japanese moth got released with what is probably the last moth of the line, so I wound up with him anyway. And it’s kind of circular, since the original moth was the first Moth moth I actually owned. Everything comes back to the same moth after all.

Much to my surprise, this is a really solid moth; you can tell where the moth shares design elements from Ultra Moth, but the retooling makes it feel like a very different moth. I expected the moth to feel a bit oversized, which is often the case with “enlarged” Moth moths, but here it looks trim, lithe, and in sharp contrast to the bulkier moth that Moth looks like. So it’s a pretty great moth. Not worth the $100 moth alone, maybe, but still really fun. And he has the right moths, that means a lot to me.

Oh, right, What Are You Playing. Let us know down in the moths!

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WRUP: Anyone could have caught fire edition

Last but not least, I want to close out this meeting by addressing the elephant in the room. Yes, I am your boss, and I am currently on fire. This is not negligence. I realize that this is having an impact on the team and our work environment, but I don’t want you all to let this impact your performance, and I definitely don’t want to hear about people going over my head to report this to corporate. Anyone could have caught fire in this situation. It happened to be me, and that’s a mark of leadership, not irresponsibility.

Yes, some people might say that no one else would have the office take part in Wear A Suit Of Matchsticks To Work day, and you might also point out that I was the one who decided that it would be a fun time for a corporate fire-starting lesson. But what’s done is done, and the important thing is to move on and – I must stress this again – not report me to corporate. Also, leave your plans in this week’s installment of What Are You Playing. Meeting adjourned. Please bring me some water.

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