Diablo III and SMITE both released this week, Landmark made a break for closed beta, and The Elder Scrolls Online, the first major MMORPG of the year, will become a reality next week. So how do you prepare for these launches in an era of digital downloads? That's exactly what this week's Think Tank asks the Massively team members, who cleverly pretended that they don't call in sick from Massively itself on launch days. Ahem.
@ceruleangrey: I'm one of those nerdlords who takes time off from his day job for a launch he's really looking forward to. That's happened a handful of times in 10 years, and mostly for expansions of games I was already deeply invested in, but staying up until the wee hours absorbing video games directly into my bloodstream is about as rebellious as I get. My master snack list: veggies, popcorn, enough bottled water to float on, and iced coffee.
@Beau_Hindman: I don't prepare for much, except maybe for trying to guarantee a block of time to play. Back in the day we would literally take off a day or two for work in order to get plenty of time in. These days, MMOs are so varied that I don't feel that same urgency to play immediately. I will sometimes buy a cash-shop card or something similar so I can load up on goodies at the beginning.
@nbrianna: There's usually a mad scramble to make sure my European guildies all have boxes, then we meet in IRC (yeah, shut up) to coordinate server choices and class balance and guild-creation plans. The day-of, my husband and I will tag-team to claim all the names we want (and I have to pick those way in advance and have backups else there's a character creation bottleneck!). I don't think we've ever taken off work for a launch, but that's only because most launches are clusterfudges anyway and because a game launch also usually means more work around these virtual offices. A girl can dream, though. I did stand in line for the midnight release of Burning Crusade!
@jefreahard: I've been known to take off work for launches that meant something to me (Star Wars Galaxies, Lord of the Rings Online), and I'll probably do that again for Star Citizen in like 2016 or whatever. I'm an incurable Elder Scrolls fan, too, so despite my misgivings about MMOifying the franchise, I'll be there this Sunday at 7:00 a.m. EDT with Diet Mountain Dew in hand.
@Sypster: I don't have any grand rituals, but there is an internal checklist I run down to make sure I'm ready. Get in a guild and figure out where they're rolling. Have my list of character names ready. Clear out a chunk of my schedule if possible. Pre-download the game and have it patched up. Update drivers. Obsessively read forums and blog posts. Then I try to forget about it by distracting myself until the time is right.
@Shaddoe: Most game launches don't faze me because I've usually played the hell out of them before they officially hit the shelves, but some of them deserve extra special care. For instance, I'm using this week to make sure that I have all of next week's work done before Sunday. That will allow me to clear off my desk, get the coffee and Mountain Dew (not a sponsor but should be) ready, and play some Elder Scrolls Online until I collapse.
What do you get when you throw the Massively writers' opinions together in one big pot to stew? You get The Think Tank, a column dedicated to ruminating on the MMO genre. We range from hardcore PvPers to sandbox lovers to the most caring of the carebears, so expect more than a little disagreement! Join Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce and the team for a new edition right here every Thursday.
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