Free for All: How a smaller workload affects my MMO playstyle

Genia Brain Storm screenshot

As I’m sure you have all heard, we recently went through some budget and workflow changes here at Massively. For me, the revamp meant that I went from three columns, several livestreams, and the occasional news post down to a single column and an occasional stream or feature.

A strange thing has happened, but I can’t say that it’s uncommon in the industry: Once my workload decreased, my gaming MMO habits changed. I have been sort of reset to the position I was in before I worked so much for this site, back to when I was a silly blogger who wrote and played just for fun.

Allow me to explain.

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Source: Engadget

The Stream Team: Breaking a world record with Age of Ascent

Age of Ascent screenshot

If you’ve ever wanted to be part of gaming history, check out this livestream with Massively’s Beau Hindman and members of the Age of Ascent developer team. They’ll be attempting to literally break a Guinness World Record for the largest videogame PvP battle, currently standing at 4,075 players! Age of Ascent launched its Kickstarter yesterday and is offering pledge rewards from special in-game ships to dinner with the devs. Join us live at 3 p.m. EDT.

Game: Age of Ascent
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Friday, March 14th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Source: Engadget

Free for All: Why developers need to stop apologizing

RuneScape screenshot

Remember the old saying “confidence is attractive”? Well, it is. It’s possible that we’ve all been the victim of a confident person at one time or another, whether we’re buying that extra add-on for our cable package or “investing” money into a Kickstarter. This is exactly why an MMO developer needs to be confident and keep the apologizing to a minimum.

Apologies come in many different forms. Over the course of our lives, we spend a lot of time giving and receiving apologies. It’s not as sinister as it sounds; saying “sorry” helps cut down on confrontation and can even help to form new relationships. Unfortunately it’s also very easy to apologize too much. In this age of indie development and crowd-funding, developers need to be aware of when they are saying sorry too much, and players need to watch out for overly apologetic people.

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Source: Engadget

Free for All: Five reasons to continue loving MMORPGs

RuneScape screenshot

It’s been all gloomy around here lately, hasn’t it? Well there’s a good reason for that, as you might know. Luckily I have survived the cuts that affected much of the AOL Tech network, although that means that Rise and Shiny and MMObility, my two other regular columns, will be consolidated into this one. While it might seem like less work for me, in actuality it means that I have less room to tell you, fair reader, about all of the fantastic MMOs that continue to come out.

Yes, I said continue to come out. It’s easy to become a Seymour (“I hate my interests!”) in these days of non-stop hype, but the truth is that the MMO genre has continuously pumped out content for many, many years and will keep doing so for some time. So to celebrate the fact that three of my columns are now coming to you in one megacolumn, I thought it’d be fun to remind ourselves just why we enjoy this hobby.

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Source: Engadget

Rise and Shiny revisit: Stronghold Kingdoms

Stronghold Kingdoms screenshot

Stronghold Kingdoms is probably one of my top favorite MMORTS titles out there. There are many reasons it holds a special place in my slightly crumpled gamer heart, and I will be sure to get to those, but there are also many gameplay elements that could use some improvement. It’s a pretty typical MMORTS in most ways; players build up a town, trade goods, fight each other, and swear loyalty to others. In fact, the genre is quite bloated with games that perform in largely the same way, many of them being delivered to us within the browser.

For many players, these defining characteristics are exactly why they are attracted to the genre. In the same way, shooter fans appreciate many of the same basic mechanics from game to game, and trading card players need specific systems in place in order to feel satisfaction. So the existence of these repeated designs is not a problem for me.

It’s especially not a problem in Stronghold Kingdoms.

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Source: Engadget

MMObility: A newbie's look at the fantastic Therian Saga

The Therian Saga screenshot

I’m tired today. I was up too late playing The Therian Saga, a new browser-based MMO by Studio Virtys. It’s a seemingly simple game and might even appear to be easier than it is, but I have found these last several hours of play to be more immersive and satisfying than much of what I have played over the last several months. Essentially, the game is an in-depth representational game, meaning that most of the time you will spend your time giving commands and watching — or waiting for long periods — for the commands to work out. Think of the gameplay sort of like Words With Friends with some real-time combat. No, you won’t be spelling against your enemies, but the pace is definitely casual with optional, faster combat.

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Source: Engadget

February will be a big month for PlanetSide 2

PlanetSide 2 screenshot

PlanetSide 2 continues to gain updates and new content. It’s still pushing itself to be the best place to find massive battles with the most players, and a recent host of tweaks, fixes, updates and changes have made many MMOFPS fans very excited for the rest of the year. So what’s happening to the MMOFPS in the month of February?

We asked Matt Higby, Creative Director for PlanetSide 2, to explain just that.

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Source: Engadget

Free for All: What my Raptr stats say about my gaming style

Raptr stats screenshot

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Raptr, the free game tracking service and social network. I used it much of the time when it first came out but then fell out of love with it when it stopped detecting many of the indie and browser-based MMOs that I played. I picked it up again recently and have been attempting to keep it going any time I game. I like being able to communicate with people through the network, but I mainly enjoy looking over my stats as a gamer to see just how flighty I can be.

The system isn’t perfect, of course. Either I need to set the app to start when my PC does, or I just need to get better at remembering to start it when I begin a gaming session. And even though I play many, many different types of games and MMOs, the network still doesn’t automatically recognize many of the smaller titles I like to play.

So even though there are some gaps in my wall, I thought it’d be interesting to look at the info there to see just how much gaming I am doing.

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Source: Engadget

The Stream Team: Revisiting Stronghold Kingdoms

Stronghold Kingdoms screenshot

Beau is revisiting Stronghold Kingdoms, a game that he really liked before. Will he like it again, even with all of its changes? Come check out this stream if you like MMORTS games and strategy!

Game: Stronghold Kingdoms
Host: Beau Hindman
Date: Monday, February 17th, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Source: Engadget

Rise and Shiny: Inferno Legend

Inferno Legend screenshot

This week’s game was a giant gamble, one that I should have known would not have worked out at all. The problem is that I have this crazy inborn optimism that tells me that even though many MMOs look and play the same way, you never know how they truly play until you actually play them. I’ve literally played hundreds of MMOs for this job and probably a hundred or so before that, so I’ve seen my share of games that look one way and play the other.

So this week I decided to go ahead and roll in Inferno Legend, a new MMO by GameBox, even though it appeared to be an auto-player like League of Angels from a few weeks ago and other titles before that. I picked my character from five different classes: the Cyclops, Vampire, Samurai, Faerie, and Mummy. I barely got past the incredibly bad voice-acting that was presumably supposed to add life to the characters and popped into the game.

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Source: Engadget