Global Chat: Through a monitor, darkly


No matter who you are, and even if you are independently rich and can game all day, it's impossible to get around to playing all of the MMOs out there -- even all of the major ones. This is why I love MMO blogs, since they allow me to vicariously visit many of the games that I lack time to play. Even if they're silly observations or dutiful reporting on last night's activities, these posts are my window into a universe of virtual worlds.

In today's edition of Global Chat, we'll hear from a gamer visiting an older MMO for the first time, a rant about Guild Wars 2's new player experience, a tribute to the late Rusty Hearts, and why "entitlement" is overused as an attack in our community.

1. Casual Aggro: Rusty Hearts in memoriam

There wasn't a lot of buzz or tears when Rusty Hearts went into that good night, which is perhaps a prime example of why the title was shuttered. Still, this action MMO meant something to a few players, including one blogger who piped up on behalf of its closure.

"[Rusty Hearts] was a game that stayed installed on my hard drive because it was just fun," Ocho wrote. "It was different. It refused to follow western tropes that felt like staples of the industry. It was a game that I played periodically, a game that, at the time, was unlike any other. In an age where 'MMO action combat' was a rare sight and tab targeting and skillbars-for-miles was still the order of the day, Rusty Hearts bucked the trends."

2. Under the Pale Tree: The new player experience

Not every Guild Wars 2 player was cool with the changes to the new player experience, and franchise fan Verene had some hard words to say about the September update. She claims that instead of improving the experience for newbies, Guild Wars 2 actually made it harder.

"I just can't understand why most of this was done," Verene writes. "If it was being noted that new players were struggling with certain things, then more effort should have been put in to explain these things -– not delaying when they come into play, which I just see being even more confusing for newer players. If new players were having trouble with dodging, teach them how to dodge. Teach them what downed state is and how to rally. Teaching people how to do things is much more effective than simply... dumbing it down early on and delaying the bigger, more important mechanics until a later level."

3. Gaming Conjecture: Leaving Kingsmouth

The Secret World might be two years old already, but Seanxxp is still relatively new to it. He's so new, in fact, that he only recently finished up with the game's first zone (it took him six weeks) and is looking forward to seeing what is to come.

"Some investigation missions have taken me hours to finish, but I never find them a slog and I usually don't look up any walkthroughs unless I'm totally stumped and even then I just try and find a clue. So, some people may blast through Kingsmouth, but for me and the way I approach the game, it's taken a while!" Seanxxp says.

4. In An Age: Parity as entitlement

I have become increasingly disturbed by how quickly the "E" word -- entitlement -- is thrown around whenever a gamer offers a critique or suggests a change to an MMO. That's why I wholeheartedly endorse this post by Azuriel, who sees "entitlement" as an abused term.

His key argument? "Desiring parity in the games you play is not entitlement. Desiring that fewer companies tether their business model to the rules of the games they make is not entitlement. Desiring to play games you are good at is not entitlement. Desire is not entitlement. When you use the word "entitlement" as a pejorative, all you are doing is asserting that someone has unreasonable expectations about something without actually bothering to offer an argument or explanation as to why it is unreasonable."

5. Superior Realities: Heroes of the Storm alpha thoughts

"For the most part, I'm enjoying it a lot, and it has met or exceeded nearly all of my expectations. It is exactly what Blizzard wanted it to be: a simple, casual brawler with a fast pace and no shortage of action," writes Tyler in his initial impressions of Heroes of the Storm.

I've been keeping an eye on this title just because I'm curious whether it will appeal to the casual player or draw the min-max hardcore crowd that will repulse a larger community. It's good to see both pros and cons presented in an honest light here.

6. Mystic Worlds: ArcheAge -- Getting started guide

Entertaining and informative blog posts are always welcome in my book, but every once in a while, a writer will take a huge amount of time to put together a guide that's of far more use to the community. This particular post is one of those, with a whopping 27 sections of advice for those venturing into ArcheAge for the first time.

One useful tip? "A very strange mechanic gives you more space around your house if you place it diagonally. This is a big deal, something I wasn't aware of until after I'd placed mine."

Awesome MMO blog opinions abound all over the internet -- and Justin "Syp" Olivetti reads them all (or skims really, really fast)! Global Chat seeks to round up the most interesting and zany posts from the MMORPG blogosphere. Who knows? You might discover a new favorite blog this week!