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I have sad news for the Massively staff and community today, news most of you already knew was coming. This week, we learned our AOL overlords have decided that they no longer wish to be in the enthusiast blog business and are shutting all of them down. This mass-sunset includes decade-old gaming...

January 30th 2015 at 2:10pm 0 Comments
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Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about how Vanguard's early stumbles foreshadowed the changing MMORPG industry. In January 2007, when Vanguard lurched its way to launch, the genre was barely a decade old; it was booming, and it had never suffered hardship on a massive scale. In the west, we'd see...

January 23rd 2015 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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I mulled being positive about the MMO industry as a new year's resolution. Then I remembered that new year's resolutions are silly because if it takes an arbitrary date and a contrived occasion to do something, that something is probably not worth doing! With that in mind, let's kick off the 2015...

January 11th 2015 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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On its Early Access page, Steam posts a manifesto of sorts praising this radical new type of development in which players get in on the alpha or pre-alpha stage, saying, "This is the way that games should be made." Is it? I'm not so sure. Early access -- and all of the other similar names for the...

January 8th 2015 at 2:00pm 0 Comments
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Today marks the last entry in my better models for MMO endgame progression series, the follow-up to my series on why MMO studios should abandon raiding. And that means providing two more possible models along with something of a thesis statement. But it also means that at this point I'm far more wi...

December 24th 2014 at 2:00pm 0 Comments
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If you read yesterday's Soapbox, the first in my Better models for MMO endgame progression series, with a fair bit of awareness, you probably noticed that the models I presented were, well... safe. Normal. Not too far outside of the realm of what we already have in some games, in other words. Oh, s...

December 23rd 2014 at 2:00pm 0 Comments
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Last month, my three-part Soapbox series on reasons studios should abandon raiding as the core mechanic of their MMOs produced no shortage of comments. One of the persistent refrains from the pro-raid side was, as expected, "if you're so smart, why aren't you proposing alternatives?!" The obvious...

December 22nd 2014 at 2:00pm 0 Comments
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In parts one and two of this Soapbox miniseries, I tackled four of the reasons the MMO genre should abandon raiding as a central gameplay element, but one key argument has been left out until now: The social aspect of raiding. Whatever else is true of raiding, it is definitely social. Communities...

November 26th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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In yesterday's Soapbox, I had some things to say about why it's time to dump raiding. I'm writing this before I've seen the comment responses, but I'm willing to bet that a fair amount of angry shouting was involved in the comments because that's what I usually expect. But I wasn't done, as suggest...

November 25th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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Raiding is no longer doing MMOs any favors. I've compared raiding to open PvP in the past, and the comparison still holds up. It's something that a lot of games developed in response to a specific genre-defining game have featured. But it's not doing those games any favors, and it might be time to...

November 24th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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It's taken 12 times the normal XP rate, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally my main MMO (at least for another week or so). Well, OK, it's also taken a series of spectacularly ill-considered decisions by XLGAMES and Trion, but that's a rant for another day. I've been playing SWTOR quite a lo...

November 21st 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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The MMO industry has lately focused on niche titles, niche communities, niche gameplay. It's not one particular niche, mind you. It's lots of different niches, all being catered to in different titles: PvPers, sadistic gankers, raiders, dungeoners, roleplayers, crafters, explorers, achievers, soloe...

November 14th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments