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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
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Back in 2001, I desperately wanted out of EverQuest. I hated the gameplay. I hated the community. I loved my guildies, but I hated what our guild was becoming, consumed by a grindy rat race so different from our roots in Ultima Online. When Dark Age of Camelot offered a way out, I took it, dragging...

October 17th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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Once upon a time, a subscription MMORPG sandbox had open-world housing, only there wasn't quite enough for everyone. Well, there was, but there wasn't enough of it in safe lands, so a lot of the people who wanted a place to live had to live in dangerous places they didn't like, places where they co...

September 19th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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A certain perplexing belief about sandboxes pervades the blog comments, forums, and general chats of MMOs: All MMO sandboxes are free-for-all PvP games. If it doesn't have free-for-all PvP, it's by definition not a sandbox because sandboxes let the players make all the rules and decisions. Free-fo...

August 8th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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If you play MMORPGs, you've no doubt been told, hundreds of times, "Slow down! Don't rush! Stop to smell the flowers! It's the journey, not the destination!" Typically, you're being told to slow down in an MMO whose focus is the destination: the endgame. All the good stuff is at the end. The best...

July 25th 2014 at 1:00pm 0 Comments
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Welcome back to the Soapbox, folks. Actually, let's call this a mini-Soapbox, since it's just a wee thing compared to some of the walls-of-text we've previously published in this space. Anyhow, let's talk about reviews, bias, and subjectivity. Whether it be film criticism, concert recaps, book revi...

June 25th 2014 at 9:00am 0 Comments
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My first trip to Ultima Online's Green Acres was in 1998. The first guild I'd ever joined had just split up into a bunch of... let's call them "philosophically incompatible" groups, and I was still hanging out with some of the shadier types because I was a clueless teenager in my first MMO and want...

June 13th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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Back in March, I spent an entire Working As Intended column discussing the game mechanics that Guild Wars 2 got right. But that's just one side of the story. In order to be completely fair to the game and to myself, I want to grump about the things it got wrong. Don't take this as utter condemnatio...

May 9th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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MMORPGs struggle to meet two contradictory goals: They want to provide stability, permanence, a world you feel you can always come home to, and they want to provide dynamism, change, a world that always has something fresh and new. Lean too hard to one side -- change too much or too little -- and t...

April 25th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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A Massively community member recently wrote into the podcast to tell us that he prefers to solo, to craft for himself, to avoid group quests, and to skip guilds. Still, he told us, he loves MMOs and doesn't want to leave them to play single-player RPGs. "What the hell is wrong with me?" he asked....

April 11th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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Over the past several years, Blizzard has been very attentive when it comes to making it easier for players to raid. Raid sizes have gone down, then they've moved over to a flex structure. The raid finder was added to the game. Mechanics were toned down, while getting drops has been made even easie...

March 27th 2014 at 12:00pm 0 Comments
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Can I share how nervous I am about the fact that ArcheAge is finally heading West? Thanks because I really need someone to talk to about this stuff. I'm going to skip over the F2P hand-wringing, both because I covered it nine months ago and because there's nothing anyone can do about it. And there...

March 19th 2014 at 1:00pm 0 Comments