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Global Chat: Gamers Secret Santa

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One of the yearly traditions in the blogosphere that I always look forward to is Stargrace's Annual Gamers Secret Santa. Currently in its sixth year, Gamers Secret Santa accepts any and all who want to sign up to be a part of a gift exchange. You'll end up sending a gift ($20 maximum) to someone and will receive a gift from another person during the month of December. There's even a digital exchange for more remote locations.

It's always a blast to see what gifts I end up getting (and they are always geeky), and I wanted to encourage others to be a part of this. You'll need to sign up by December 1st if you do, however! It's grown every year, but this year I'm giving a bit of Massively publicity, so let's see if we can make this the biggest year ever!

Another blogger-driven Christmas initiative is Syl's Blogosphere Xmas Countdown, during which she's assigning various blogs a day to write about the theme of positive gaming and community. Keep an eye on MMO Gypsy to see this advent countdown progress!


1. In An Age: Unfair Impressions: Dragon Nest and Neverwinter

One of the beautiful things about blogging is that you don't always have to be fair, balanced, and objective as a stone-faced judge. Sometimes you can unload a few off-the-cuff impressions based on far too few hours played and be totally free in doing so. Azuriel does so for two titles, including his following mini-rant about Dragon Nest:

"I just couldn't shake the feeling that if the game was going for kinetic Devil May Cry or God of War-ish style, that they missed the mark. Movement wasn't as fluid as I would have liked. And then there is the sort of goofy things like quest interface, inability to zoom out very far (which is a limitation of any crosshair-targeting game, I suppose), and general sense of second-rate-ness."

2. Clean Casuals: Breaking ties with ArcheAge

Aywren is in anguish over a decision to leave ArcheAge even though she has strong feelings for it. However, she lists 12 issues that combined to break her spirit, and that is that.

"The main reason there isn't land is because hackers swipe any lot that is demolished almost instantly," she writes. "This is well known by players and by Trion. You can literally walk around and see the same name on multiple houses and you know it's gotta be a hacker. Not cool."

3. The Mystical Mesmer: Home is where the heart is

If you play or have played multiple MMOs, how do you compare them to each other? The Mystical Mesmer pits her four current games against each other, weighing the pros and cons until she ended up declaring WildStar as the one game that has an edge over the rest.

"Where WildStar was clearly superior was in the personal domain, and this is what ended up mattering most for me. It's basically WoW in space with all the trappings of questing that's designed to be a darkly whimsical space-romp through the zones."

4. Why I Game: It's just a game -- or why we can't all just get along

Comments section, listen up! This is a long, meandering, and quite opinionated post that contains a thoughtful analysis and recommendation of how players deal with conflict over beliefs. Jeromai says that players arguing a point can either wage war over it, engage in a fact-based showdown, avoid it, or (as he champions) come up with mutally agreeable solutions.

"You may, or may not, share this same belief or think it's a worthy goal," he states. "But I'll make an appeal to your self-interest and suggest that it is only the third solution that can actually expand the pool of people you can play with, that increases the number of people interested in playing the game you like."

5. Inventory Full: Sidetracked: EQII

I do not know much about the EverQuest II community these days, which is why I'll eat up posts like this that boast acute observations about what's going on in Norrath's neck of the woods. Bhagpuss has several cheeky comments to make, starting with the state of that game's general chat.

"One thing I've noticed on my return to Norrath is that EQII players complain a lot. Listening to the general chat, auction, or crafting channels reminds me of overhearing conversations in a tea-room somewhere in the Cotswolds as gentlemen and ladies of a certain age and class bemoan the way the world has changed and how much better things were in their day," he writes.

6. Weekly Wizardry: Making housing meaningful

Open world versus instanced housing? Waxwind chimes in on this subject but comes at it from the angle of asking the question, "Does implementing this make this feature meaningful to players?" While I personally don't agree with his conclusions, it's a good read that urges devs to push player housing even further.

"All in all, housing could be made very meaningful and it has been done, but the majority of games that feature it don't utilize it to the extent they could," Waxwind says. "Yes, maybe they don't need to, but I think it's fair to say that when all housing exists for is furnishing and maybe for awkward instant travel in a game that already features very fast travel speeds, it's a waste of the potential of a very versatile feature."

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!

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