arenanet

Seattle-based studio responsible for Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2.

Massively OP Podcast Episode 178: #womenarecosmetic

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin mull over how necessary it is to actually provide MMOs with those icky, wonderful girlie-types. They deliberately deliver a light-hearted episode after last week, full of funky fresh frivolity. Will gaming ever be fun again? It has to be!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Guild Wars 2 is bringing back the Festival of the Four Winds next week – it’s the next best thing to Cantha

You know what Guild Wars 2 could use right about now? How about a festival? Yeah! How about the return of a festival that’s been dormant for years? Yassss! How about the Festival of the Four Winds? Bringit!

“On July 24, a big summer celebration is blowing in—the Festival of the Four Winds! A collaborative effort by Her Royal Majesty Queen Jennah of Kryta, the Zephyrites, the Lionguard, and even the Black Lion Trading Company, this annual festival brings back popular summertime activities in both Divinity’s Reach and the Labyrinthine Cliffs.”

As it did way back in 2014, the Festival offers numerous minigames; the wiki lists dolyak flying, the Sanctum Spring race, and the Aspect Arena battle, and it’s a good bet we’ll see some of those brought up to date with the game’s current mechanics (like mounts). ArenaNet’s official blurb this year also mentions hot air balloons (wheee) and the Boss Blitz, whose “vicious villains and their contemptable compatriots are represented by the new, improved, and entirely secure Watchknight Mk II system.” Definitely updated for 2018!

And the best part is that everything looks like Cantha. Which is in my estimation exactly as it should be. The launch is on July 24th.

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The Daily Grind: How can we solve Reddit’s gaming ‘tragedy of the commons’ problem?

In dealing with the ArenaNet fallout over the last couple of weeks, I started giving serious thought to the Reddit problem in gaming, and I’m not just talking about the overt hate groups allowed to fester there. You know how one of the rules of thumb for MMORPG communities for the longest time was never go to the official forums because you’d come away feeling depressed and dejected, believing the game community was a hot mess and your class was most assuredly the most broken? Reddit is like that, only nobody there cares enough about fixing it to see it through, and so we’ve got a tragedy of the commons problem playing out in cyberspace.

When game companies owned their own discussion spaces, most of them at least made some modicum of effort to keep them respectable. Oh, sure, some took that way too far and deleted criticism, but most, barring the very biggest, tamped down on toxicity because that space reflected on them. They cared. This is how I feel about our own comment section, incidentally, because our team owns this site and cares about the conversations we have here, unlike many other sites owned by corporate groups that don’t even care if comments exist at all.

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Global Chat: Looking back at World of Warcraft’s Legion

Now that the next World of Warcraft expansion is almost upon us, it’s time to say farewell to Legion and all that that entails. MMO blog Leo’s Life took some time for a retrospective that examines the highs, lows, and patch rollout over the past two years.

“Aside from the penalties to alts, I think Legion delivered an amazing package,” he said. “The timing of content release was good, the content was relatively bug-free, the lore was solid, the flows inside each zone worked… it was all rather seamless.”

We’ve got plenty of additional MMO essays for you after the break, covering topics such as player housing, grouping, events, ageless MMO thrills, and more!

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Battle Bards Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music

It’s a catch-all, catch-up episode for the Battle Bards as they dig through new soundtrack releases from MMORPGs that they’ve covered in the past! You may be prepared for an eclectic and enjoyable mix of music — but there is no way that you can steel yourself for the raw and heartfelt confessions that take place on this show.

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:

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Former Guild Wars 2 developer criticizes ArenaNet boss for ‘solicitation of harassment’ and minimization of her work

Former ArenaNet developer Jessica Price has just made a string of new statements on Twitter discussing some of the issues surrounding the ongoing Guild Wars 2 PR nightmare, in which she and fellow developer Peter Fries were booted from ArenaNet following a Twitter altercation that mobilized a Reddit mob. Her primary complaint seems to be her allegation that ArenaNet – especially Mike O’Brien – “escalated” her (and Peter Fries’) firing, knowing what the mob’s response would be.

“The announcement was an escalation. The company could have chosen to say ‘their remarks don’t represent the company, we don’t agree with what they said, and they’re no longer with the company,'” she writes. “That’s not what they did. They framed an interaction on my personal social media in which I told a few individuals who (I thought) were being assholes that I wasn’t on the clock and wasn’t going to feign affection for people who are being assholes as ‘attacks on the community.'”

Consequently, she argues, O’Brien effectively provoked the mob, knowing what harassment would follow after she and Fries had been painted as “enemies of the community”; she calls it “active solicitation of harassment,” using the mob as punishment and then maintaining “silence in condemning the harassment,” which she says is “profoundly telling.”

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Perfect Ten: Best MMO debuts by year, 2007-2017

Continuing from my previous column, I’m going to be running through the second decade of graphical MMORPG launches and picking the best title to debut in any given year. From doing the first decade, I know that this thought exercise isn’t always fair; some years have several great contenders, while others see one mediocre one rise due to a lack of competition.

Still, it’s kind of fun to look back at MMO history and to see which game was really the best of that year. And if you ever felt sore that a particular title got overlooked, well, consider this a retroactive awards ceremony of some sort.

Let’s dive right in where we left off with 2007!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 177: ArenaNet A-bomb

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cleans up after Guild Wars 2’s PR disaster, chew over the survivability of Shroud of the Avatar, and commiserate about Camelot Unchained’s delay. It’s not all downer news — there’s some really great stuff happening in the MMO industry, and that makes an appearance on this extra-long episode!

Special note: If you want to skip the ArenaNet discussion for the rest of the news, go to the 50-minute mark (yeah, we talk about it a lot!). Also, please note that this was recorded before the Polygon article that came out Monday night, so it’s missing some the additional commentary on Mike O’Brien’s second formal statement.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Game Workers Unite condemns ArenaNet for Guild Wars 2 developer firings

Grassroots advocacy group Game Workers Unite posted a statement on Pricegate today, “emphatically denouncing” ArenaNet for firing Guild Wars 2’s Jessica Price and Peter Fries over last week’s Twitter/Reddit meltdown.

“Regardless of how one feels about Price’s actions and regardless of where one draws the line between rudeness and exasperation in Price’s tweets, the fact of the matter is that there is an entire spectrum of responses ArenaNet could have taken, but chose not to,” the statement said.

The group labeled Mike O’Brien as a “clearly inadequate” leader who “made the knee-jerk reaction” last week to fire the two developers.

“ArenaNet has signaled to the entire industry that our job security can be, and almost certainly will be, imperiled by the most vitriolic and volatile players,” the group wrote. “This event carries echoes of Gamergate, and will only embolden harassers further.”

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Guild Wars 2’s roller beetle gets an armadillo upgrade

Roller beetles are still the latest hotness in Guild Wars 2, but now players have a greater choice of style while ripping up the landscape at unsafe speeds.

Enter the Tremor Armadillo: “Roller beetles are adorable, but if you feel like they’re missing something — say, floppy ears and a big pink nose — you’ll want to befriend this scaly scamp. You can use this skin on roller beetle mounts across your entire account.”

This latest store offering comes alongside today’s balance patch. The notes are up with all of the changes, including a buff/fix for invulnerability, lots of tweaks to Deepstone, and a huge number of adjustments to various classes. In fact, all of the game’s classes have seen numerous skill changes, so definitely make sure you read up on the patch notes to see how your avatar’s been affected and what the developers were thinking about those alterations. Good luck!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Unpacking Guild Wars 2’s PR nightmare

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that two Guild Wars 2 developers were cut loose last week after a heated Twitter exchange that was initiated by narrative lead Jessica Price. What started off as welcome insight into the problems with player-character narrative development in MMOs turned into a PR horror show when the dev felt slighted by a comment received in response to her musing.

The internet is alight with opinions on the drama and ArenaNet’s response to the comments made by Price and her coworker, so in this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I just had to address it myself.

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IGDA calls for transparent guidelines on game studio social media and harassment following Guild Wars 2 dust-up

Regardless of who you believe had the right and wrong of the ArenaNet Twitter fiasco last week, game developers have expressed concern over the way it was handled and the potential impact on the greater industry. As Gamasutra noted, the International Game Developers Association has put out a blog post urging developers to demand that companies “clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts,” specifically referencing the recent Guild Wars 2 firings. Moreover, IGDA says, companies should be transparent about how they will “protect [their] talent from internet harassment mobs.”

“Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities,” IGDA Executive Director Jen MacLean writes. “Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles.”

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Guild Wars 2 pushes out underwater balance patch while players cross over 119,431 years /played

Just a heads up that Guild Wars 2 is putting out a small patch today to balance a few issues in the game: “Since the last update targeted underwater balance and the deadeye in particular, we’ve been listening to your feedback and are addressing some of the issues raised about each of those. There has also been a broad effort to target outliers traits and abilities on each profession.”

While you patch up, you might as well check out some interesting game stats from Analytics Lead Chris Cleary, who answered some specific player queries on the game. Among the stats, Cleary confirmed that 58,349 legendary weapons have been crafted since Heart of Thorns, players collectively have put in over 119,431 years of play so far, and only 11 confetti infusions have dropped over the course of Living World season 4.

Of course, if you showed up to this post looking for the Twitter/firing fracas, then you’re in the wrong place. We’ve compiled all of the news for this past week’s mega-story in the original post.

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