It’s been a good week for interesting MMO-related article, about all topics and all games.
So good, in fact, that we’re having to hit you with another link roundup to get ’em all in!
From hidden bits in Pandaria to the closure of a much-beloved site, here we go:
A Casual Stroll To Mordor is closing its doors after 200 episodes of the podcast and countless blog articles. They’ve long been a fascinating, passionate and thoughtful addition to the community, and will be missed.
Read “CSM To End With Episode 200″ »
Syl takes a look at the exploration promised in upcoming “we want the WoW audience” MMO Wildstar, and explains why she feels like their exploration focus rather misses the point.
Read “Wildstar and why I don’t like the Explorer path” »
Syrco gives us a great tour of all the pop-culture easter eggs in Pandaria, from Game Of Thrones references to the Yellow Brick Road.
Read “Secrets Of Pandaria” »
Rixx Javix muses on why EVE players – or some EVE players, at least – feel the need to apologise so much for having lives outside of the game.
Read “A Culture Of Apologists” »
And Ophelie gives us a very straightforward, easy-to-follow introduction to stalking. Stalking top players on World Of Logs to improve your own play style in WoW, that is!
Read “How To Use World Of Logs To Spy On Pros” »
Enjoy the weekend!
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DUST 514 is still one of the most interesting experiments going on in the MMORPG sphere at the moment – a free-to-play MMO shooter that exists in the same world as, and theoretically interacts directly with, the long-running player-led space game EVE Online.
But Jester thinks that its future is much, much brighter. In a really interesting and frankly exciting post he looks at the ways that EVE and DUST could grow together, from trans-atmosphere fighters to entire EVE ships descending into the DUST sphere…
“Now even the possibility of what I’m thinking of is several years down the road. But suppose one of the DUST fighter types was trans-atmospheric, able to climb into low planetary orbit. And let’s further suppose that that’s where the eventual war barge is going to park. It’s logical: ships in space, MCC close to ground level, war barge in between. And over time, EVE players could be given the ability to pilot carrier-based fighters. I think this one is coming, too. Star Citizen is going to have it, and it makes enough sense that this was the basis of EVR, the game that CCP demoed at Fanfest.
If both games were developed in this direction, then it would be perfectly logical and possible for there to be EVE v. DUST player battles over the war barges, each player in the fighter type appropriate to their game.”
Read the rest of Fighter vs Fighter >>
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Last week was the annual EVE Fanfest, and as usual, there’s been no shortage of interesting news – including some rumours about the World of Darkness MMO that sadly I’ve not been able to verify.
But perhaps the most interesting news comes from Jester, who has been reporting on the apparent imbalance at the Fanfest between EVE content and that of DUST, EVE’s new FPS sister title…
“I’m already hearing from lots of players that CCP Presents was nothing more than a second DUST 514 keynote. No. Not true.
But you could be forgiven for thinking it was.
Now part of this is EVE players becoming more and more wary of DUST in its tail that wags the dog role. In talking about the PCU count, David Reid made it pretty clear that CCP expects the combined count of EVE and DUST concurrent players to pass 100k sometime this year. That means that it’s taken DUST eight months to find an audience equal to the size of EVE. And they seem to be holding on to that audience in a shooter for coming up on a year (a life-age of the earth in shooter ages). Let me clear my throat and say that again so that you hear it:
In less than a year, DUST has gained an audience equal that to the size of EVE Online.”
Read the rest of Fanfest Day Five: Sales Pitch
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We finish off the week with a short, fun, interesting piece from Bravetank, as she delves once again into the cold, unforgiving space of EVE Online.
Ever wondered what might possess someone to jump into something that’s famously one of the least friendly and least forgiving game environments available? Well, Bravetank’s not only done it once – she did it once, and now she’s gotten the craving to do it again…
“So I picked up a Level 1 Distribution mission from a Duvolle Lab agent. It all looked straight forward, but the mission details did say I would be passing through a low sec area if I used the automatic route. Ok I thought, never seen that before, but surely they wouldn’t really put me in danger for a Level 1 mission, would they? Surely it’s just an overly dramatic piece of text to give the mission some edge. Of course. That’s what it is.
So I accepted the mission, set destination, undocked & went on Automatic pilot, and picked up my book to read while I traveled through LOW SEC space.
Yes there are names for people like me. Don’t put them in the comments. You’ll hurt my feelings.”
Read the rest of EVE And The Pre-Noob State
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Three quick links for excellent articles I found last week – or in one case the announcement of a really cool new project that I hope does really well!
- Keen argues that MMOs desperately need a counter-revolution – a move backward in game design – “MMOs were once achieving certain things, progressing (EQ/AC to DAoC to SWG, etc) but MMOs today are going down a path which leads them in a direction where it’s impossible to become better.”
- Stabs gives us a description of what life in an EVE Online corporation is like – “Pretty much every large nullsec entity in Eve has some pretty appalling characteristics including hazing of newbies, casual use of hate speech and an appetite for griefing outsiders, especially those in high sec. There’s also a lot of fun to be had there if you don’t let that bother you. “
- And Syl and Syp have teamed up for a great new project – a podcast called “Battle Bards” that focuses on MMO music
And a quick reminder – I’m still crazy busy with other work, so if you see a great article that you think we should feature, let us know! You can email me at mmomeltingpot AT gmail or use our Twitter Feed
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EVE Online is more “real” than many MMOs in a lot of ways – but one of the most innovative is its “player council”, which actually acts as a form of government, directly reporting to and advising the game developers.
It’s a very big deal in the EVE world – and a fascinating experiment for anyone who plays another MMO to watch.
Right now, election time has come round for the CSM – the Council of Stellar Management, aka the player council – and the EVESphere’s alight with fascinating articles about and around the entire process:
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- Roc Wieler, aka Marcus, writes a fascinating post about the problems he has getting votes for the CSM – entirely because of the personality he role-plays in his EVE Online character – ” To me, I am Roc Wieler in EVE Online. I don’t walk around as Marcus. I don’t talk in chat as Marcus. Nobody knows Marcus. People know Roc Wieler. But this isn’t ingame. This is a player based election.”
- Nosy Gamer gives us a rundown of key non-obvious facts about the CSM – ” A good idea will generate momentum all on its own, and it is the task of the CSM to not only track these discussions, but to engage the populace as much as possible in the interest of sustaining that momentum until the issue is brought to closure.”
- Jester analyses the proclamation about the CSM elections by the infamous Goonswarm (led by The Mittani and birthed from the website Something Awful) – “Essentially, this entire section of the GSF CEO Update can be summarized as “The CSM doesn’t matter in the slightest (so we want to utterly control it).” “
- And making the entire thing feel more like a real-life election, Random Average offers thoughts on the CSM election along with a get-out-the-vote message! – “What matters is that the mere existence of the CSM is an unprecedented thing in the MMO industry. “
EVE Online’s universe is split largely by degree of safety. There’s the wilds of Nullsec, where the only safety is belonging to a large player corporation. There’s lowsec, which has some NPC support, but not much. And then there’s Highsec, which is – in theory at least – patrolled by NPC peacekeepers.
But is Highsec too safe? Should it be made riskier to make EVE more fun? That’s what a lot of commentators on EVE Online have been claiming – but veteran EVE blogger Jester doesn’t agree, and he explains why in a fascinating discussion of how high-sec PvP has evolved. It’s a little EVE-jargon heavy, but if you’re at all familiar with the world of EVE, you’ll be able to follow it:
“Is high-sec “too safe”? In my opinion, no. People who do dumb things with their expensive or even not-so-expensive toys are getting themselves killed with no war-dec in evidence and CONCORD reduced to a foot-note in the affair. If you leave an expensive Antonov AN-12 cargo plane unguarded in the plains of New Eden, you’ll soon find it reduced to metal scraps. And this is particularly true if you choose to go AFK with your ship in space or use auto-pilot. The system, in short, is working as designed… again, in my opinion.
While I understand the desire to make high-sec less safe, the problem with doing so is that the advantage right now is still in the hands of the gankers. And even if all other factors were eliminated, the reason for this is that they get to choose the terms of the engagement.”
Read “How Safe Is Too Safe” here
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This year’s “under a rock” MMO news is that uber-hardcore PvP game EVE Online now has a sister game – and it’s a shooter, set in the same universe, connected to the same economy.
That sounds hella neat. But how will that work? WILL it work at all? Veteran blogger Stabs has been looking at the details, and he’s, frankly, a little concerned:
“DUST currently has a fixed price market for goods. Bringing in the Eve players could see a price hike that makes it hard for DUST players, especially late adopters to buy gear effectively meaning that they would need to spend AUR for blueprints (or simply stop playing once they’ve run out of money). There are crappy free suits you can use but then you really are cannon fodder, even more so once the DUST population ages a bit and the new guys are up against maxxed out opponents.
There really needs to be the equivalent of Eve’s rifter heros – low skill new players who can be extremely useful in a fight between the big boys and there’s simply no role for rubbish players. Worse, as DUST battles are decided on kills that “blueberry” (as they call new people in DUST) who has got 0 kills and 10 deaths is costing the veterans victory and money. We’ll probably see players starting to get hostile towards the new and under-powered because of this design.”
Read The Rest Here…
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EVE Online-universe shooter DUST 514 is getting closer and closer to release, and beta reports are starting to surface in profusion. And what we’re hearing is – well, it’s either fascinating, deeply concerning for the game, or both. This ain’t your regular shooter – instead, it’s a kind of EVE-FPS hybrid.
Will it blaze a brave new trail, or burn down, fall over and sink into the swamp?
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- Jester explains why [he won’t be playing DUST]() – “Yeahno. Not interested. I’m already playing one game where it takes a half-decade before I feel like I’m being successful.”
- Warp Drive Active gives us a very in-depth look at the game, coming out with some less than optimistic conclusions – “I have very little faith the game can and will be brought to a state that it needs to be in order to worth a long term investment of your time.”
- And Chris at Game By Night gives us a summary of his experience as a non-EVE Online player – “So what do we have? A game connected to an MMO its audience doesn’t care about, with an extremely steep learning curve, that makes players feel underpowered and overwhelmed right off the bat, and with little other than an auction house and skill system to call unique. “
Nozy Gamer’s been told that EVE is a bad, bad place full of bad, bad people one too many times, it seems. So he’s gone on a rampage – a rampage of collation of all the incidents of griefing, exploitation and general villainy in other MMOs. Interesting reading, particularly if you tend to think your MMO is whiter than white by comparison to EVE –
“Many players are upset with the permanent bans issued by ArenaNet but this is not the first big exploit encountered in the game. Back in August over 3,000 players were permanently banned for using an exploit for crafting high-level weapons “one thousandth of their normal price.” ArenaNet relented and reduced many of the bans down to 72 hours but apparently the event did not deter many from taking similar actions over the holidays.”
Read more here
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