Culture & Community Category

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

WRUP: The first rule of Punch Club edition

The first rule of Punch Club is that you do not talk about Punch Club. The second rule of Punch Club is that you do not talk about Punch Club. Third rule is seriously, do not talk about Punch Club; I will punch you in the mouth. Fourth rule is that I will punch you in the mouth no matter what happens. Rule number five is that no one else can punch anyone in the mouth. Rule number six is a lot of physics equations about how much harder I will punch you in the mouth if you talk about Punch Club compared to a normal mouth punching. The difference, I assure you, is substantial.

The seventh rule of Punch Club is that hamburgers are awesome. That one… I mean, I just feel like everyone idolizes pizza and tacos and bacon all the time; hamburgers are pretty great too. Eighth rule is that no one gets to quote any overused Monty Python sketches at Punch Club; there’s a pamphlet about the disallowed one. Ninth rule is actually just a list of shirts I don’t like. Let’s just forget about the ninth rule. I was getting tired by that point.

You know what? Let’s just forget punch club and do What Are You Playing. Punching is dumb.

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The Daily Grind: What MMOs do you admire from afar?

Ain’t nobody got time to play every interesting-looking MMORPG out there (unless, of course, you are of the persuasion that none of them is worth playing, in which case we have a support group for you). There’s just too much out there, with older games getting better with time and newer ones vying for attention.

So it’s natural that while you play one or two titles, you might have a passing interest in other MMOs. It’s not that you’re cheating or even flirting, right? You’re just looking. Maybe you don’t have the time to take on that game, but it doesn’t mean you can’t admire what it is and is doing.

I’ve always appreciated RuneScape from afar. That game has been going strong for so many years, boasts a passionate dev team, and has such a huge fanbase (hey, they even get together for a yearly convention). And I know that if this was the only MMO in the world, then I’d probably be more than happy to dive fully into it. It’s just that I can’t right now.

Are there any MMOs that you admire from afar without playing?

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Master x Master spotlights the support abilities of Demenos

Do you ever wonder about how characters in MOBAs go to the bathroom? The newest video highlighting Master x Master‘s support caster Demenos makes it a relevant question. Sure, form-fitting bodysuits raise questions, but at least the people wearing them have roughly human anatomy. Demenos is just a floating idealized torso from the waist up. What happens if he’s out drinking all evening and really needs a stop in the restroom? Does he just slink behind an alley and do something that you don’t want to watch happen?

If you would rather not consider these questions, you can focus instead upon what Demenos does in battle, which is support people. And he’s good at it, too; depending on his build and abilities, he can act as a healer, crowd control, or straight-up damage. Check him out in action in the full video just past the break, which does nothing to answer any burning questions you might have about how the heck his digestive system works as just a floating torso.

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Star Citizen’s Around on Verse on 2.4, animations, events, and shopping

Star Citizen’s Around the Verse this week sees the return of Ben Lesnick just in time for the 2.4 patch to land on the public test server and drop its NDA. Of note is the check-in from Austin producer Jake Ross, who discusses the updated 2.4 weapon animations in 2.4, shopping experience, temporary events, and more shopping stuff:

“Lastly, and looking ahead to future releases, we’re looking at some more shops. Not for ArcCorp and not for Port Olisar but for a new space station that will be sort of a pirate based space station. So this space station will be more for the outlaws and things like that. But even outlaws like to buy things so we have shops there in the works for this new station. And it will have different shops that’ll be able to sell different things. You’ll probably see some more outlaw armour types, and some pirate clothing, and more weapons, and things like that. So we’re trying to get you guys to travel to different areas and give you incentives to go hang out at different places and we’ll have a wide variety of things in the PU so the first steps is getting shoping out to you guys, first release, and then after that we’ll look to put even more content out there to get you guys flying around the ‘verse.”

There’s also a lore piece on the Tamsa system and black holes, plus a tease for the second part of the piping system. Watch the whole show down below.

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Star Trek Online discusses graphical upgrades for its console launch

The graphics could be better in Star Trek Online. That’s not really a value judgement; the game has been out for six years now, graphical technology marches on, and so forth. But with the game’s console launch just around the corner, the developers have taken the opportunity to make the game a fair bit prettier, with more advanced options for lighting creating a significant graphical upgrade for the game as a whole.

The latest development diary explains that the game’s materials and geometry are solid and get regularly updated with new patches, but the lighting model was outdated and frequently led to too much contrast between light and dark spaces. The new model allows for far more lights to be used and more organic lighting displays, with the hopes that it won’t have an adverse effect upon players using older PCs. Check out all the details if you want to have a bit more light shone on the particulars.

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Beta testers actually used Overwatch’s commendation system for good

Still feeling bereft of Overwatch in this period between the beta and the launch? Can’t help you there, but Blizzard has expounded on its 9.7-million-people-played-the-beta statistic from last week with a new infographic. The studio says there were nearly 40 million matches played with average lengths between 6 and 9 minutes apiece. Solider 76, Widowmaker, Reinhardt, and Mercy were the most popular toons. And hey, you know that feature that lets you commend people on your team and the other team? Beta players chose to commend their enemies’ skills 72 million times. Nifty.

Meanwhile, Blizzard has released its latest gorgeously drawn Overwatch comic, this one titled Mission Statement and focusing on Pharah.

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Age of Conan celebrates its eighth anniversary

Age of Conan has turned eight years old, which means that if it were human it would be about time for it to start sending off applications to college. (That’s eight years old, right? I think that one is eight.) That means it’s time to celebrate, and the game is doing just that, starting with a new Zingarian Swamp Beast pet offered to all players who log on between May 20th through May 29th. If you need a white lizard to follow you around as you adventure in the game, this should solve all of your needs.

Players can also purchase a Hoard that is itself a Hoard of Hoards, which combines all of the Hoards into a single cheaper Hoard that you can buy at once. There’s also the promise of a membership revamp coming soon, along with a new subscription reward system, although it didn’t quite make it for the anniversary. Or you could just complain about the festivities on the forums. That’s almost as much fun, right?

So here’s to eight years of Age of Conan, and may it have an even better year once it turns nine and would be legally allowed to name pets. (That’s nine years old, right?)

Source: Official Site; thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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Defiance now has a game-wide auction house

Don’t you hate when a new gun drops in Defiance and you don’t need it? If the developers would implement a gun that shot other guns, it’d still have a use, but no such luck. Instead, the game has patched in another solution: Selling stuff to other players with the use of the Wasteland-wide Exchange network. Yes, it’s an auction block, and it’s one you can access from anywhere thanks to the wonders of an EGO implant.

This comes hand-in-hand with a significant adjustment to the way that the game handles leveling, with EGO level no longer requiring Pursuits past a certain point. All 6000 EGO levels may now be earned via experience alone, and Pursuits will remain to help with progression; they just aren’t mandatory any longer. Players who have already reached the 6000 cap before the change will be granted a gift to recognize their dedication, while players who have not can look forward to a slightly more straightforward experience on a whole.

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Trion CM Celestrata has big plans to clean up ArcheAge’s ‘toxic community’ image

ArcheAge Senior Community Manager Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan has this week unveiled serious plans to clean up her game’s community image. In the first of what she says will be her dedicated series of letters from the CM, she is frank about how folks around the internet are convinced the ArcheAge community is “a toxic community that should be avoided.”

“Statements like that rip me apart. As a community, we are creative, passionate, intelligent, and bold. We have players from all walks of life who enjoy a variety of extremely disparate activities. We should not be judged by the actions of a disruptive minority in our game. […] We need to move beyond the ‘ArcheAge is a toxic community’ perception, and we need to make some positive changes to get there. We are more than that. You are more than that.”

To that end, she tells players that she is hard at work revising in-game public chat rules and forum moderation rules so that Trion is “tougher on chat violations.” The official forums will be renovated with new feedback and social boards, and Trion is kicking off new events too, including town halls with the studio.

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The Daily Grind: Is MMO ‘open’ development really good for the genre?

Massively OP’s Andrew Ross and I were recently discussing how to approach an opinion piece on Chronicles of Elyria when he reminded me that the game’s forumgoers won’t take any criticism of the proposed game lightly. That provoked an impromptu discussion on the way certain vocal subcultures flock to new, in-development games and shout down even well-intentioned criticism from would-be allies. They sort of pitch their tents on the forums in an attempt to steer the game and vocally make no room for anyone who disagrees with even the most glaringly problematic, pie-in-the-sky game features — meanwhile, the vast majority of the MMORPG market has no time for camping out (or doesn’t even know it’s happening).

It happens with sandboxes, especially PvP-driven sandboxes, certainly — look at the small but distinctive and persistent PvP crowds dogging Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, and Revival, for example. And that’s not to say that PvE themeparks or formally produced, non-Kickstarter games are immune, either; we saw some of the same behavior from hardcore raiders during WildStar’s early testing periods, markedly changing the tenor of the game.

These are relatively small groups of people, but they are getting a very big say in how MMOs are being made in 2016. Are you among them? How involved are you in the new wave of “open” development for MMORPGs? And do you think it’s becoming a problem, or is it a good thing for the genre?

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Monster Hunter Online’s unofficial English patch is due for release on May 30th

The good news for fans of the Monster Hunter franchise is that the Chinese version of Monster Hunter Online is pretty much totally accessible to American players. The bad news is that it’s in Chinese. (This is actually good news for Chinese fans, obviously, but English-speaking fans, not so much.) Fortunately for said fans, it looks like the unofficial English patch will be ready for use on May 30th, allowing you to enjoy the game without having to randomly guess at what things say.

Fans are promised that the new patch will translate the game in “great depth,” which should be interesting to see at the very least. Players should keep their eyes open for the patch on the release date as well as a guide to installing and using the game. It’s not as easy as just playing a localized release of the game, but that doesn’t seem to be happening with any urgency.

Source: Steparu

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Fragmented’s next patch introduces Engagements and server registering

How do you feel about fighting wave after wave of enemies until either they’re all dead or you are? If your feelings on this rate as “Positive” or “Strongly Positive,” you’ll be quite happy with the Engagements being introduced to Fragmented with the game’s next major patch. That’s exactly what it involves, you see. You kill a bunch of Setlangs, and then a boss spawns, and then you kill the boss, and then you win and all problems are solved forever. Or something along those lines.

The next patch will also give players the option of registering third-party servers with preferred play environments, which isn’t as exciting from a gameplay standpoint but should do wonders for atmosphere. Gravity improvements and mechanics for housing are also included, allowing your homes to collapse in a more realistic fashion when everything has gone wrong. That’s the sort of thing that would make you want to just kill enemies until there are no more enemies left to kill, and… oh, wait, those actually tie together very nicely. Right on.

Source: Patch notes

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Albion Online on hardcore-vs.-casual player sandbox synergy

Just a day after launching its massive Darian patch, Albion Online has posted up a Q&A video and roadmap summary for its summer goals. Darian itself will be the last update before the big beta wipe, and then beta 2 will kick off in July for a few months. Launch, presumably, will land in the fall.

On the Q&A video, Game Director Robin Henkys reiterates that Albion is intending to appeal to hardcore PvP sandbox players as well as a wider audience of “players who are not immediately aligned with the idea of risking everything they’ve played for a long time to someone just killing them.” Henkys says that the two groups synergize, create goods for each other, and become targets and allies. He also doesn’t dismiss the idea of future “seasonality,” suggesting that it could be fun to pop an Atlantis-style island out of the sea for a month and let players exploit the heck out of it. Check out the whole video below.

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