social media

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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EVE Evolved: How much toxic, antisocial behaviour should MMOs tolerate?

The EVE Online community is aflame this week after alliance leader gigX was permanently banned for making threats of real-life violence against another player following possibly the biggest betrayal in EVE history. Some players don’t want to accept that gigX crossed a serious line and deserves his ban, and others have been asking why The Mittani’s similar actions in 2012 resulted in only a temporary ban. CCP’s official stance is that its policies have become stricter since 2012, but it’s still not entirely clear exactly where the line is drawn.

Another side to the debate is that the internet itself has evolved over EVE‘s 14-year lifespan, and a lot of toxic behaviour that was accepted or commonly overlooked on the early internet is now considered totally unacceptable. Many of us have grown from a bunch of anonymous actors playing roles in fantasy game worlds to real people sharing our lives and an online hobby with each other, and antisocial behaviour is an issue that all online games now need to take seriously. The lawless wild west of EVE‘s early years is gone, and I don’t think it’s ever coming back.

So what’s the deal? Does EVE Online tolerate less toxic behaviour today, has the internet started to outgrow its lawless roots, and what does it mean for the future of sandboxes?

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Why you should care that Nintendo’s social network Miiverse sunsets in November

We’ve known for a while that social network Miiverse would eventually be closing, but Nintendo confirmed the news and the official death date yesterday on its Japanese site. For those hoping it may only affect Miiverse in its home country, a second shot has since been fired on Nintendo’s North American site: Miiverse shuts down at 1 a.m. EDT on November 8th (10 p.m. PDT on November 7).

Miiverse wasn’t an MMO, but social-minded MMO players might care about the sunset all the same because of the MMO-like games it effectively serviced and the multiplayer future it could have heralded. While Nintendo cites the reality that users have migrated to other social media platforms as the reason to shut the service down, the fact remains that Miiverse integration made a lot of Nintendo games more multiplayer. Nintendo’s clumsy code system could often be circumvented through Miiverse, allowing people to add new friends by seeing who was active on a game’s Miiverse page, looking through profiles, and requesting to add buddies to friend lists. Miiverse profiles allowed not just text and mentioning of favorite games or personal interests but also custom art, something we still infrequently see in MMOs.

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EVE Evolved: Five EVE video shows to watch in 2017

Over the past several years, the way in which we receive gaming news and the types of gaming media we follow has changed pretty fundamentally. Today’s MMO gamers belong to dozens of micro-communities inside and outside their game, following multiple gaming channels and personalities on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch that have practically exploded in popularity.

Even a game as historically impenetrable as EVE Online has been swept up in this sea of change, with a huge number of video channels and livestreamers joining the game’s rich media history of live radio, blogs, and podcasts. New shows start up and close down every year, but a few have gathered impressive audiences and really stood the test of time.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at five notable EVE Online YouTube shows and Twitch streamers you might want to keep an eye on going into 2017.

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Everything is probably fine behind the scenes of No Man’s Sky

No one could blame you for being just a little bit… apprehensive about the radio silence around No Man’s Sky. After a rather controversial launch wherein the whole multiplayer aspect of the game either didn’t work or was never really there (along with various other hullabaloo, but it’s the online part that we’re worried about), the game’s official communication channels have gone from “eagerly vociferous” to “completely silent.” But all is fine, according to a tweet by Hello Games sound engineer Paul Weir:

Whether or not this instills a deep sense of tranquility and resolution in your heart is doubtlessly predicated on how much you trust the statement; there’s no way that the sudden silence isn’t a bit unsettling. Of course, it’s quite possible that all is exactly as it seems and the team is just hard at work on the game’s next patch. Here’s hoping.

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Blizzard and Facebook team up for streaming

Blizzard’s just announced a new partnership with Facebook that will allow players to livestream their games on the social media platform and give Facebook some much-needed street cred amongst core gamers. Says the press release,

“Adding Facebook Login will pave the way for new social functionality in Blizzard games while highlighting Facebook’s capabilities as a platform for sharing, viewing, and discussing AAA game content. As an example, Blizzard is in the process of incorporating Facebook’s Live API in order to create its own “Go Live” streaming functionality for its games. When this functionality is implemented, players will for the first time be able to livestream their Blizzard-gaming sessions directly to their Facebook timelines, and friends will be able to subscribe and be notified when new streams are available.”

If you watched Jeff Kaplan’s Overwatch Q&A stream the day before launch, then you’ve already had a glimpse of what the platform can do.

Source: Press release

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Perfect World’s Arc platform now offers its own daily quests

Perfect World’s Arc platform is getting a big facelift, which is good news for anyone confused by the old layout and navigation, but the intriguing bit is that the platform is getting a daily quest system with rewards that can apply to any MMORPG under PWE’s umbrella.

“When you log into the Arc client, you will be presented with an option to view your daily quests by clicking the Arc Quests button on the bottom of the client. Each day, a fresh new set of quests will be available for you to complete. These can be anything from playing a game for a certain amount of days to visiting the blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages for one of the games on the Arc platform. If you aren’t planning on finishing one of the quests, you can replace one quest immediately per day by canceling the quest on the top-right of the quest card.”

Finishing quests in the Arc login screen grants you experience along your Arc Quests level; every level up will grant you 500 Arc points you can convert into ZEN or other game currencies.

Now that’s meta.

Source: PWE

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The Daily Grind: Do MMO players actually want social media integration?

World of Warcraft‘s upcoming publish, we learned this week, will boast Twitter integration. Welcome, WoW, to the year 2011 when we were already complaining about the rise of embedded social media in MMOs from Champions Online to RIFT. Hooray!

I kinda like social media. I particularly like following interesting people and gaming personalities on Twitter. I use it for work and play. And yet I still don’t think I’d want to Tweet to my followers from inside an MMO. It’d be an immersion-breaker, a distraction, and possibly even an etiquette faux pas. I can see it now: “Why didn’t you get out of the fire?” “I was trying to attach a pic of our raid for my Twitters!”

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WoW adds Twitter integration, racing minigame

Are you doing big things in World of Warcraft that the whole world urgently needs to know about? Maybe not. Do you want to let everyone know about it anyway? Of course! That’s why the new Twitter integration feature (with a preview video just past the break) will allow you to tweet about whatever’s going on for you in the game. The integration is account-wide and allows support to immediately tweet achievements, drops, and screenshots, but you can also just tweet out from the game whenever you feel like it.

But maybe you’re not the tweeting sort and would rather have more stuff to do in-game to theoretically tweet about. In that case, you’ll be happy to take a gander at the new racing minigame being rolled out to the Darkmoon Faire event. The race is currently on the test realm and involves special racing mounts along a course filled with hazards, speed boosts, and the like. You can trot along in style! And maybe tweet about winning afterward.

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