Culture & Community Category

The softer, gentler side of MMORPG life. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Star Citizen highlights community rover events, the group system, and atmospheric worlds

Cloud Imperium’s Sandi Gardiner and Chris Roberts are both back in the latest instalment of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse. You’ve probably noticed the shift this summer that ATV is taking; the team is now spending the first chunk of the video showing off just what the community is up, thereby demonstrating what’s actually doable in the game right now and causing would-be players to visualize themselves inside it. This episode does the same, highlighting three player events: the “cyclone challenge” in which people drive rovers over starships, the “rover fun” race, and even a rover cruise. Lotta driving of cars in Star Citizen, in other words.

On the development front, CIG says it’s working on the group system, specifically the chat channel system and the entire suite of notifications and permissions that will govern how players control their communication and friends. The devs further show off ongoing efforts to improve aiming and turret input as well as breathable world environments.

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Warframe’s latest contest will put the winners’ adorable pup and kitteh inside the game

This is why we can have nice things: Digital Extremes is currently running a super adorable contest for Warframe players, and it involves the players’ own pets.

“Would you like to see your favorite fluffball in Warframe? Introducing the Tenno’s Best Friend Contest! Share a picture of your cat or dog that incorporates Warframe, and we’ll bring one pretty kitty and one good boy to life in-game with a Kavat and Kubrow Skin inspired by your pet! These Skins will be available for sale in the Market. so everyone can use your immortalized best friend!”

All you’ve got to do is share your very good boy or girl on social media or in the official thread (and follow all the rules!). Six players will be walking away with varying stacks of platinum, but only the top two – one for a doggie and one for a kitty – will see their critters immortalized inside the game.

Source: Official site. Thanks, Sophiskiai!

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Wisdom of Nym: Hunting the monster in Final Fantasy XIV

Patch 4.36 sure seems as if it’s has been dragged out. Realistically, that’s not what has happened at all; the time between patches has remained pretty consistent, and with the next big Final Fantasy XIV patch planned for September this is just about the right time. But something about 4.36 having big content just makes the whole thing feel overextended, as if we’ve been sitting and spinning our wheels for an extended time however untrue that may be.

My big plan for this week was to try out the Monster Hunter World crossover because I was honestly less interested in Pagos. (Yes, I like the idea behind Eureka, but there are only so many hours in the day.) I honestly found the experience a bit… not bad, necessarily, but just underwhelming. It was neutral. And I think some of it comes down to how the game has been increasingly handling its crossovers and whether or not those are, well, good things or less-good things.

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OrbusVR plans its first major expansion with OrbusVR: Reborn

It’s never too early for an expansion, right? OrbusVR is still in early access, but it’s already planning its first major expansion with the upcoming OrbusVR: Reborn planned for Q1 2019. And it’s as much a reboot as an expansion; the game is updating its visuals across the board as well as doubling its playable classes to eight, including the new Bard and Shaman options.

Players can also explore new dungeons and regions and face off against improved enemy AI, which will use more advanced tactics like dodging projectiles, running for help, and coordinating attacks. There are also plans for more avatar customization, a smoother overall leveling curve, and new community events like racing your dragon pets. In short, it’s going to be a pretty big update for the game as a whole. Current players can take part in testing starting later this year, but you’ll have to wait until 2019 for the whole thing.

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Monster Hunter World breaks its Steam record but now faces a regulation nightmare in China

The record for highest concurrent users on Steam for a game launched in 2018 goes to Monster Hunter World, smashing the record set by… Monster Hunter World. Yes, after hitting around 240,000 concurrent users at launch, the game went on to climb to 340,000 concurrent users over the weekend, which makes this a rather silly record but a significant one. It shows a game not just hotly anticipated but one actually building momentum.

It’s difficult to know exactly how many copies the game has sold thanks to Valve’s new way of handling services like SteamSpy, but estimates place it between 2 million and 5 million copies on the platform, with other data pointing closer to the 2 million figure. For an obscure title that had long been released only in Japan, it’s still an amazing number, and it seems to indicate that the title is doing quite well for itself. Even with the issues that the port has had.

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Bethsoft: Dodgy reseller lawsuits, new media review policies, and Legends crossplay ultimata

Today in why we can’t have nice things, it appears that Bethsoft is using its legal weight to crack down on folks selling fully legitimate boxed copies of its games. Polygon’s report follows one gamer who was attempting to sell his unwanted boxed, sealed copy of The Evil Within 2 through Amazon, but was sent a threatening letter from Bethsoft’s legal team accusing him of not being an “authorized reseller.” Though he wasn’t breaking any laws or agreements, the company appears to be trying to scare games out of selling stuff they legally own by threatening them with lawsuits.

Bethsoft, for its part, told Polygon that the problem was the individual’s use of the word “new” on Amazon rather than “pre-owned,” even though the box was still sealed. “We do not allow non-authorized resellers to represent what they sell as ‘new’ because we can’t verify that the game hasn’t been opened and repackaged,” claims the company.

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The Daily Grind: Do you have an MMO backlog, and if so, what’s on it?

If you follow the mainstream gaming media meta at all, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of sites, spurred on by Polygon, have been mulling over the concept of the backlog – you know, that pile (or digital list) of games you bought and haven’t finished or even tried. Did we even have backlogs before online platforms like Steam? Because I don’t really remember having one back then – I just played what I had. But then again, I’m also primarily an MMORPG gamer. So I don’t fret tooooooo much about the non-MMOs I bought cheap for a rainy day. Occasionally I’ll blast through my non-MMO list and do a sort of 15-minute speed-dating game with some untrieds, but mostly, I’m content with just having some novelty waiting for me when I need it.

My MMO and online game backlog, though, eats at me. I bought Project Gorgon this summer, for example, and haven’t tried it. Staxel and No Man’s Sky too. These kinds of games have a time limit, and yet they require a certain presence of mind and concentration to dig into properly that I haven’t had this season.

Do you have an MMO backlog, and if so, what’s on it?

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One Shots: Selfie school

I certainly did not have to twist readers’ arms to get them to bring out a mountain of MMORPG character selfies set against interesting backdrops. Of course, everyone had their own definition of what that should mean…

“When it comes to character selfies the backdrop becomes less important if there is an important lore character in your picture,” said Ryuen. “Case in point: My humble Monk managed to snare Firiona Vie herself in EverQuest II for a quick pic before she had to attend to more pressing matters.”

She had more box art modeling to do. It’s exhausting, being one of the last of the Midriff Elves in the game.

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The Daily Grind: Do you consider yourself an expert on your favorite MMOs?

Expertise is a funny thing; it’s the sort of thing usually best demonstrated by never claiming it but simply showing it. Most people confronted by someone claiming to be an expert at a given game like World of Warcraft are going to respond with eye-rolling and no small amount of exasperation, especially if that self-proclaimed expert immediately screws something up. For that matter, it’s almost always accompanying a blatantly incorrect statement. “You should listen to me, I’m an expert at this game, Enhancement Shaman is for healing.”

That isn’t to say that you necessarily aren’t an expert, even if you wouldn’t claim it. Sure, you might not happily shout about how you’re an expert at Star Trek Online, but you know most of the game’s traits cold and can figure out a ship build in three minutes flat; that’s pretty clearly expertise. So share with us, dear readers. Do you consider yourself an expert on your favorite MMOs? And, as a perhaps important corollary, do you generally inform strangers of that fact?

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Global Chat: Is it worth your time to alpha test MMOs?

Taugrim raises a very interesting question this week on his blog. Namely, is it really worth your time to alpha test MMOs these days? For him, at least, fickle players and unresponsive developers don’t make it a beneficial activity.

“A decade ago, I used to get super excited about upcoming MMORPGs,” he said. “And then I experienced those games losing their playerbase in droves while the developers/publishers failed to meaningfully address the concerns of the community.”

If you’ve been burned one too many times by alpha, beta, and early access testing, perhaps you can relate. Read on for more essays from the MMO blogosphere, and don’t forget to check out this month’s exciting Blaugust Reborn event that’s raging across blogs!

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WRUP: Reviews of some movies I saw recently whilst paying attention to Granblue Fantasy edition

Some Disney thing or another: A young kid goes on a life-changing journey and gets home in time for dinner. This was one of the cel-animated ones no one likes. Which one was it? I don’t remember, I was farming Warrior Creeds. The villain was more entertaining than the heroes, that’s probably not narrowing it down much. Was it Hercules? It might have been Hercules.

Loud Shooty Men: A bunch of guys scream at one another for a few minutes and then the screen was covered in explosions. It was super boring.

Transformers: The Last Knight: I remembered the name of this one but it was also indescribably boring. It was Loud Shooty Men but with lots of robots whose namesakes I have strong feelings about, but the movie itself forgot about half of its cast every few minutes to the point that I had to remind myself that Hound was in this movie at all. Also the plot hates science.

Some Marvel movie or another: I clicked on this one by accident and actually forgot to pause it when I got up to get some water. It didn’t affect the plot much. At least it wasn’t Batman v. Superman.

YouTube videos about how Sherlock is a bad series: These are movie-length, right? So they count. It was interesting.

What Are You Playing: This isn’t a movie, it’s where you are now. Obviously I’ll be farming more Warrior Creeds.

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The Daily Grind: Where have you gotten bogged down in MMO play?

Probably one of my biggest bugaboos (that’s a technical term) in MMO play is when I get bogged down trying to progress through a certain point in the game. Maybe it’s a difficult to navigate zone or a frustratingly tough area, but there’s nothing that kills my enthusiasm to log in than when I’m making slow-to-no progress in my gaming sessions.

Recently I had to make a concerted effort to push myself through Northern Mirkwood in Lord of the Rings Online. While it was spot-on with its dark, eerie atmosphere, the visual difficulties coupled with the challenging terrain made questing a plodding affair. At least I got out and saw the daylight again!

Where have you gotten bogged down in MMO play? Have you ever hit a wall that was difficult to pass? Did you make it through or just give up?

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Crowfall shows off the behind-the-scenes magic of the Clusterizer

As cool as it may sound, unless you’re actually working on developing Crowfall, the odds are you will never see the Clusterizer in action. You will only ever see what it’s done, and you won’t even know that it was the work of the Clusterizer. But what does the Clusterizer actually do? It helps link zones together, according to the latest article on the official site showing off the intentionally somewhat ugly interface and the mechanics behind this map-linking tool.

Yes, the Clusterizer is a way to put multiple zones into a coherent whole and keep track of each specially developed map, so players can explore, have multiple areas to visit, and avoid retreading the same ground. So it’s pretty technical, but it should be fascinating for anyone excited about seeing the technical side of making the game’s areas in a given campaign fit together. It’s also just fun to say. The Clusterizer.

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