Where was I? Oh, right, WRUP. This week's edition has our usual bonus-round question asking whether or not our staff members like cross-server matching tools a la dungeon finders, with a second special bonus question on whether or not we're going to be playing RIFT during its current head-start period. So skip on past the break to see what we'll be up to, and let us know in the comments what you'll be doing.
Brandon Felczer (@bfelczer): I will be playing Star Trek Online all weekend (when I am not working or being with Family), including leading a 5-man raid (The Cure) on Saturday! I will also be working on my Fleet's (Star Trek Online's version of guilds) monthly newsletter, getting some events prepared for March, and helping out some new fleet-mates with builds for their toons.
Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Having had a tough week, I'm looking forward to sitting down to some long sessions of EVE Online. The Massively Mob corporation is being restructured a little to provide better PvE and PvP goals to its members, so it's an exciting time for me. I'll be trying to get some groups together to blast through any highsec Sansha incursions we find.
Personally, I think cross-server services like World of Warcraft's dungeon finder and RuneScape's Grand Exchange are bandages placed on a fundamentally flawed server model. Restricting people to one server is an archaic way of doing things. Not every MMO could manage an EVE Online style single-server supercluster, but RuneScape's model of allowing any player to log into any server should be given serious consideration by developers of upcoming titles.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): RIFT for me! My guildies abandoned Cataclysm like a sack of spoiled taters, so now I'm Barding it up as an adorable Dwarf. Almost as cute as Hobbits!
I'm all for cross-server linkups. I've never met an MMO community, on small servers or large, that was amazing enough to make me willing to give up instant and voluntary grouping for PvE or PvP.
Eliot Lefebvre: As I mentioned in the header, I've got a Dragon Age II demo to get through. (The fact that the game seems unlikely to feature the Deep Roads at all makes me hopeful.) I'm also going to be leveling my newest Dominator in City of Heroes and try to get in some good leveling in Final Fantasy XI. No RIFT for me; I've got enough games on my plate, but I do hope the people getting into it have fun!
Cross-server matchups are a bit of an inelegant kludge, but they're a functional one. I like being able to make use of them to cut down on delays before getting into the fun parts of a game, so I overlook the more obnoxious portions.
Jeremy Stratton (@Jeremy_Stratton): I'm not playing RIFT! There, I said it. Although, it's mostly a matter of time. I'm hoping to get a lot of time to play Runes of Magic this weekend. Lately, I have been hooked on raising my pet's crafting levels and want to start some relationships. I doubt I'll have time for anything else. Cross-server-matching seems like a bonus to me as long as it promotes socializing. If it's just more AIs to own, I'm not so sure that's really adding anything.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster): Well, I'll be playing RIFT if the horrendous queues lighten up -- I mean, the game is fun, but a three-hour wait to enter? There's no Disney ride that compelling, methinks! My fallback is to continue my journey in Lord of the Rings Online through the Misty Mountains and into Goblin Town. Bilbo so desperately needs his buttons, dontcha know?
As for cross-server whosits, I'm all for them if -- IF -- the devs would create a cross-server friends list as well. It's hard to believe that in this day and age, MMOs can't foster cross-server communities with better tools than outside resources.
Karen Bryan (@JayeRnH): I'll be playing RIFT and EverQuest II, plus some Free Realms with the kids.
Regarding the bonus question, I think it depends on the game, but personally I would a prefer a dungeon finder that's server-only. I'm a big fan of tight-knight communities, so unless server populations in a game are too low to sustain it, I'd rather be grouped with people that I'm probably going to recognize (for better or worse).
Krystalle Voecks (@Krystalle): No RIFT for me. I'll be spending the weekend between EverQuest and DC Universe Online. I'm having tons of fun stomping around Norrath again, and I've got a couple of characters near endgame in DC Universe Online that need some attention.
As for the bonus question, I prefer single-shard servers and wish more developers would go that way. Since they don't, yes -- cross-server matching should be an option available to players. Sure, you get trolls who won't behave. However, when your other option may be to never get to experience content at all because there aren't enough people around? I'll take my chances with the occasional troll, personally.
Patrick Mackey (@mackeypb): Definitely not playing RIFT. Maybe in a year or two when it gets better. Gonna be playing some Champions Online and some World of Tanks. I'm about a third of the way into the crafted travel grind (about 250 of 750 components gathered), so I'm making good progress. It does take a really long time for Arms and Mysticism crafters to get the first steps done.
As for cross-server instancing, my main beef is with the idea of separate servers at all. Games should be single-shard, or rather, players should be able to easily switch between instances of the world and connect to whichever one they want at any time. I hate multi-shard games as a general rule.
At the start of every weekend, we catch up with the Massively staff members and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" (Otherwise known as: WRUP!) Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game -- and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!