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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Adventure Time: Legends of Ooo

Posted by garrett Monday June 25 2012 at 12:43PM
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One of my favorite things lately has been watching Adventure Time on Cartoon Network. Seriously if you have not watched this show, go check it out. It is a home run for gamers all over. The references to old school Dungeons & Dragons, MMOs, and classic arcade games make for a cartoon with tons of jokes. Finn and Jake rock and now we can play them on iOS with Adventure Time: Legends of Ooo. Finally the guys are entering into the game market and as Finn would say “It is Awesome!”
With villians like the Ice King constantly trying to kidnap any Princess he can get his hands on, the guys have to travel around Ooo to rescue three of the Princesses and trick the Ice King with a fake garbage can Princes they make, imagine the Trojan horse in a weird way. That is just a touch of the humor that Adventure Time brings to the game. Constantly trying to negotiate obstacles and work out puzzles the Legends of Ooo game is great fun. It is also voiced by the actors with some hilarious dialogue.
One thing that is great about the game is my son is a huge Adventure Time fan. The game is helping him learn to read and work out puzzles with his favorite characters. It is great to see him solve problems as Finn with Jake cheering him on. The game is not fully voiced so it even gets him reading to find out answers to the puzzles. If he gets stuck just press the sneaking waving snail and you can get a clue as to what to do next. Some of the humor is a little older, but nothing offends and it is all in good fun. The game is simple fun and has plenty for younger and older players.
Hopefully this is the first of what Cartoon Network will do with Adventure Time in the game space. The show pays tribute to so many classic games that it will be awesome to enter the land of Ooo and adventure with Finn and Jake on more quests. If you are not a fan yet, you will be after watching Adventure Time and Legends of Ooo is the perfect game to pass the time on your iPhone. Check out information on the game here.

Community Spotlight: Movie or RL Event as an MMORPG?

Posted by MikeB Sunday June 24 2012 at 7:00PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "If you coul take a Movie,Book or RL event and make an MMORPG, what would it be?" by Wakygreek. In the thread, Wakygreek puts the exercise to our users as such:

Are there any books, movies or rl events that you think could ever be a good MMO?

Please list what you feel would be a major success as a MMORPG if you could chose the companies to produce it.

The only rule is that you have to chose between Books,Movies or a RL event.

I think the world of Terry Goodlkind, from the Sword of Truth book series would be one of the best worlds to create an MMORPG in. You can have factions, pvp, sieges. I mean you could really go nuts.

What'd the community come up with? Read on to find out!

Loke666 feels that Britain (in the period of 1066) would make for a great MMO:

Real life event: Britain and the land around it 1066. It could make an awesome gameworld with vikings, normans, celts, saxons, angles, scots, picts and cunrus fighting for supremacy against eachother.

Think it rather sandboxy were guilds and alliances could build towns and forts, and crafters could plant crops and herbs, raise cattle and mine. 

As for transports players and guilds should own ships (horses should be more for battle). Imagine a longship piloted by 1 player and getting speed by having players rowing it. 

Mix in some themepark PvE, mainly DEs of the type GW2 have but a bit more random in placement.

No levels, no magic, no healing (but auto-healing after each combat to cut out downtime), no friggin fantasy whatsoever and a rather bloody combat system that is based on your weapon with a dynamic skill bar that differs depending on what attack you did last and whatever attack the opponent last hit you with if any, all based on actual melee combat.

For advancement something close to Everquest 1 & 2s AAs, points you get for certain achivements which can buy you certain things, and a seperate AA point system for crafting(which mean you get points for crafting a rare item but just once for it, for discovering a material and other craft related things).

And of course high customization on crafting so real mastersmiths using rare materials actually can craft items them theyselves name (like Attilas meteorite iron blade "Mars" IRL) and decide how they look based on the mats they use and skins they unlocked with crafting AA.

I have plenty of more ideas for that but it would turn into a wall of text. I also have an idea for CIV styled games which have tiers depending on technology so your character starts in the early stone age and moved to the early 19th century by crafting or defeating challenges. That one would be rather gear based though.

I am tired of fantasy MMO and some historical games without magic and healing but with a kick@ss combat system would liven up the genre. :)

Wolvards feels the film '300' would make a solid MMO:

I'm thinking like a 300 mmo would be bad ass. Location is Mediterranean Sea/ surrounding area's.

classes, not sure but something like..

Spartan, priest, assasin, archer. Maybe another "special class". This could be your greeks or something.

then Persians! Immortals! Another form of an archer, don't know about priest type class, but something similar, maybe like a song player or something? Chants more than direct spells? Then a Messenger? (rogue type class) and the bomb throwers!

Then you could have.... Crap who would a third faction be? Arcadians? Hmm might need to re-think this one...

Anireth offers up a couple of suggestions:


The IP doesn't change the game, but that's true for everything, whether fiction or textbook. This whole thing is pointless if you assume the same old mechanics. I believe no one here would want a Firefly or Naruto or Terry Goodkind based MMO with the mechanics of SWTOR or WoW.

Personally, i would love to see:

.hack - The perfect candidate, it's already set in an MMO (mostly) after all. And they even made a single player game that simulates an MMO..especially funny when many people solo MMOs. We'll see how the next best candidate, Otherland, which is also partly MMO, will turn out soon enough..

Dune - compared to Dune, even LotR is only child's play.

Babylon 5 - One of the best sci-fi series ever.

The Foundation Trilogy of Isaac Asimov and related works, like the second trilogy by Greg Bear etc.

I'd love to see 'The Thirteenth Floor' come to life as an MMO. This film is fairly similar to The Matrix (and came out around the same time) but is a bit more generic and doesn't have the same stigma as The Matrix series did. It's a simple idea of people jacking into a convincing virtual reality and living out their fantasies. You don't have superpowers, you simply get to be someone else and experience life in a different time period or setting. I won't spoil the amusing twist of the film itself, but everyone should check it out if they haven't already!

Runner-up: Dark City. Need I say more? :)

What about you? What RL event, book, or film do you feel would make a great MMO and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: The MMOFPS

Posted by MikeB Sunday June 17 2012 at 6:26PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "Do FPS players really want an MMO?" by Bigbadwlf. In the thread, Bigbadwlf notes the many MMOFPS games on the horizon but wonders whether or not there is actually a market for these sorts of games:

So there's a lot of new MMOFPSes coming out, Dust 514, Defiance, Planetside 2 and they all look exciting to me.  But my question is this:  Is there an actual demands for these sort of games? I can see why an MMOFPS would be a good idea:  new PvP maps, more weapons and more frequent balance patches are necessary for most fps games to sustain a community. However this has been covered pretty well with DLC.

MMORPGs make a lot more sense. Huge titles like Final Fantasy, KOTOR, and Elder Scrolls series traditionally take a very long time to release their next iteration. Also these are largely single player experiences.  An MMO version with persistent characters, online multiplayer, and frequent content updates of their favorite IP are what gamers dreamed of. 

FPS players however seem to be less interested in persistent characters and multiplayer updates, and more towards a standardized competitive format or E-Sports.  CoD and BF3 communities would probably value a year long PvP tournament with a million dollar prize pool then a MMOFPS version of the same game that would take 20+ million dollars to produce. 

What do you think? Do you think big budget MMOFPS are the future of the FPS genre and these new mmos will capture the hearts of the FPS communities? Or do you feel that clans will stick to the regular games + DLC + more E-Sports tournaments?

So, what is the community saying? Read on to find out!

TruthXHurts makes a strong point regarding the interest level of MMO-esque FPS mods and games released lately:

I think DayZ and the Arma 2 RP life mods show that FPS players do appreciate a persistent world. City Life 2 mod has been a more rewarding MMO experience than 99% of the actual mmo's I have played in recent years.

agriffin85 offers a different angle on the topic:

Honestly, I feel you are all looking at this from the wrong perspective.  I keep seein posts like "A persisent world brings nothing to the FPS genre."

In my mind it's not what a MMO world brings to FPS's, it's what FPS's bring to an MMO world.  As an MMO player I love the idea of variation, and I'm very good at FPS games but I don't stay interested in them long because of their shallow nature.  I for one am happy to see an MMO with FPS elements because I can still be in a persistent world and enjoy twitch based gameplay.

I think most of the demand comes from people like me.  People who shy away from FPS's not because they're bad at them or don't like twitch gaming but because they offer little in prolonged gameplay.  I played and enjoyed cs1.6, battlefield 2 (mostly for the pioloting, halo (mostly for the co-op campain, Quake (for the multiplayer), Doom (for the atmosphere) but they would not hold my interest as long as UO,EQ,EQ2,WoW,etc.

Mixing the genre's is perfect for me because as an MMO minded player who enjoys twitch gaming, it will hopefully encourage me to play more having the best of both worlds in one game.

Inf666 is definitely looking forward to more MMOFPS games:

A lot of you seem to be biased against FPS players. As one of them (long time counter-strike player) I have to protest. I am looking forward to any MMOFPS that gets released and am playing TERA right now (kinda FPS like). FPS players are not really solo players as many think. For FPS players the social interaction occurs inside their team just in the same way as it is in a MMO guild. Unluckily the common FPS gaming platform does not enable much of visible inter-team communication in-game. This happens in forums outside of the game. FPS players can be very reliable guild mates especially if they have a goal they want to reach together with their team / guild.

As for the FPS view: I feel far more comfortable in this view. The game allowing me to move, strafe, jump, dodge and aim in the usual FPS style increases my immersion far more than a third person view ever could. I also think that the FPS view allows for more difficult PvE as the FPS style is more exact and promotes player skill far more. For me the TERA FPS mechanism is very entertaining. I can hardly understand why it is rejected by so many common MMO players. Even GW2 is moving in that direction though not as much as I would like.

So as an FPS player I say: YES, we want more MMOFPS games. We want to compete in a persistent world using our FPS skills. We want to overcome the difficult PvE obstacles the game provides just like anyone else. We want to achieve goals together with our team just as much as you want to with your guild. Trust me, once you have gotten used to the FPS view it will be hard to go back.

I disagree with some of the generalizations raised by the OP, but I do think the natural evolution for FPS games might be the MMO route. It really depends on the type of FPS game. Games like Call of Duty are inherently focused on tight maps and fast rounds. I don't think Call of Duty makes sense as an MMO. However, games along the vein of the Battlefield or ARMA series certainly do, and I think this direction would appeal to gamers who prefer those types of FPS games.

Battlefield, for example, has been leading the push towards driving persistence in FPS games, going all the way back to Battlefield 2's unlock system. Taking Battlefield gameplay and creating a persistent conflict around it seems like a great fit for that type of game. As a long time fan of the Battlefield series myself, this is why I'm looking forward to PlanetSide 2. It basically merges what I love about Battlefield with what I love about MMOs.

In short: I'm an FPS fan, and I definitely want a solid MMOFPS.

How about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: Cash Shops in P2P MMOs

Posted by MikeB Sunday June 10 2012 at 7:01PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread "Why are 'cash shops' in subscription based games acceptable?" by Fadedbomb. In the thread, Fadedbomb argues against cash shops in P2P games and opens up the topic to the community:

Just wondering why people readily accept games that have "Cash Shops" in products that already require a monthly fee AND paid expansions?

Do people not realize that you're paying the developers to create content with your monthly sub only to resell that content you ALREADY PAID FOR via the cash shop? I shouldn't have to buy the box, pay a monthly fee, pay for expansions, AND pay for extra "fluff" content that i've already paid for to begin with!!!

It's like paying to see a movie, and once you're inside they ask you to buy a seat to watch the movie. Sure, you could stand in the back and watch it, but by the time the movie is over your legs are jelly and your face is stuck to that disgusting floor because the movie dragged on for 2hrs.

Don't get me wrong. CCP are one of the best companies running an MMO nowadays. Their product may not be very popular, but they certainly know how to run an MMO. $20 "digital box" price (that's been on sale recently down to $6), $15/month fee, with FREE expansions & they even doubled-back on their planned cash shop for "fluff" avatar clothing because they listened to the players who said "NO!". 

I'm also an advocate for monthly fees over "Free to Play", however that's another box of chocolates :]!

So what are your fellow community members saying on the topic? Read on to find out!

s1fu71 is indifferent, but offers his take on why some accept these cash shops:

I think people "readily accept" a cash shop in a subscription model if they perceive that nothing in the cash shop gives an unfair advantage. In other words, if the cash shop offers fluff, or if it offers things  you can get in game with enough play.

I'm not defending cash shops at all. But, I often see people accept them if this is their perception. Mostly I see casuals say things like, "I don't have the time to raid and get this gear. But, I can pay for it or something similar."

don't particularly care. The only cash shop I used was for DCUO. I'm on their F2P model. I spent a few bucks on getting more character slots. Perhaps that wasn't the best example since I don't sub. But, it's the only example I have. I don't see people in game really complaining or praising the cash shop in game.

udon is decidedly against this recent (and growing) trend:

I could care less if you want to spend a extra 5, 10, or 100 dollars each month on game, however what I do care about is that I can't play the entire game without doing the same.  And yes having access to mounts, apperance gear, potions, etc. is still a part of the game that sub players who don't use the cash shop are cut off from.  I'm paying once for a sub to support the game and get access than a second time for the right to purchase items from a cash shop that the developers used my orginal sub money to create.

I know why the MMO companies do it but you know what I don't own stock in any of the game companies nor do I get bonuses from them for meeting sales goals so I don't care.  I'm the consumer not the company and as such I want the best possible service for the least amount of money.  And in my book that's a sub game without a cash shop.  The only ones left are Rift and SWTOR off the top of my head.

Searias offers an economics-focused take on the issue:

I am fine with cash shops + sub fees. It cost a lot more money to develop an mmo now a days compared to what it did back in the day and also with all the competition in the market and the limited amount of consumers, it's hard to predict if they would make enough money to cover costs. Plus, sub fees has not changed in a very long time, but wages have increased and resources cost a lot more money now than they did back in the day, the money has to come from somewhere to cover that also.

I don't really have an issue with cash shops in MMOs as long as I don't feel like I need their wares to enjoy the game. This is especially true for a subscription-based MMO that doesn't offer a F2P option (such as The Secret World). As long as it's fluff stuff or simple things like XP boosters, that's fine. Items of convenience don't bother me, regardless of the game's business model. However, if the game is balanced around these 'convenience' items then that becomes a problem. An XP booster should let me get ahead of a curve that is still reasonable without it. If the game is balanced such that I feel like I need to purchase these items or face a grindfest then that becomes problematic for sure.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: Does League of Legends Fill the MMO Void?

Posted by MikeB Sunday June 3 2012 at 5:32PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "Do you know why everyone plays LoL right now?" by Lonzo. In the thread, Lonzo asserts that LoL's popularity with MMO players has much to do with the general sense of dissatisfaction many fans of the genre have had for MMOs released over the past couple of years:

There is no alternative for us MMO-Fans out there. LoL is the perfect thing to play between MMO releases and right now there is really no MMORPG out there that is really worth to play.

Does the community agree? Read on to find out!

gaeanprayer feels LoL is a great in-between game, but doesn't hold a candle to even the most basic MMOs:

LoL is actually a good game. I played long enough to get Sona and long enough afterward to piss everyone off with her :3 But ultimately it's very shallow, and I don't see how it compares to even the most KTx quest-driven MMO where my characters advance and grow and do more than just lane-then-kill.

I agree though, it's a great game between in, something to play while an MMO is downloading.

InfinityD completely agrees:

You are absolutely correct in my case, at any rate.

Quit WoW. Started playing LoL. Nothing else has held my interest since. Rift is bland, SWTOR was fun for the one month, Diablo 3 was fun through normal and nightmare and then meh. Tera got dull before the beta was over.

At this point im inclined to think that perhaps I just enjoy MOBA gameplay more than MMO gameplay now. Maybe my MMO days are over. Or maybe Guild Wars 2 will do the trick. But i've hyped over way too many games to do it again. I'd rather not care, and be pleasantly suprised later.

Banegrivm weighs in:

My two cents.

I prefer the original old school MMO's to the "modern MMO's" which well, just bore me to tears. I miss the days when people actually RP'ed in games. I miss the days when there was permadeth (NWN on AOL), I miss the days when games had actual purpose and an actual point to playing (MPBT on GEnie), I miss the days when MMO's were just fun and not a loot grind and level treadmill. By those comparisons, all MMO's right now are just not fun at all for me. I am looking forward to Guild Wars 2 to a degree because it's alot different. I am most excited about Mechwarrior Online because for the most part it's going to be a reincarnation of the original Multi-Player Battletech from GEnie which was one of the first MMO's. I'm all over that like white on rice. That all being said however...

I loves me some LoL. I love it because I can just play it and have fun. I think alot of game devs miss the point nowadays. Games should be about fun and not about a work ethic. I don't enjoy any game because I need to "level up" or "grind away" gear. I play a game based on whether or not it is fun, not on how much I have to work at it. I love LOL because it's so laid back. I can pick it up at any point in time and just play. It's FUN, and that's something most modern MMO's just don't seem to really get which I think is very very sad.

I don't know why 'everyone' plays League of Legends, but I can personally attest to the fact that I end up playing the game more often when I'm in-between or not actively playing an MMO. Sometimes I take a break from my 'active' MMO and just play League whenever I have time. However, when I am actively playing an MMO I tend to avoid League. I just have to be in a certain mindset, I suppose.

I don't necessarily agree that the game's popularity hinges at all on what's going on in the MMO genre, but I'm sure there are many MMO fans like myself who get tons of play out of the game. It's just fun and addicting once you break the ice and get comfortable with the fundamentals.

What do you think? If you play League of Legends, does it have to do with the fact you're in-between MMOs? Or is League something you'd enjoy even if you were actively playing an MMO? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

SMITE: Closed Beta of Godly Proportions

Posted by BillMurphy Friday June 1 2012 at 1:58PM
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I spent two hours or so last night in SMITE, the new third-person MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) from Hi-Rez (Global Agenda, Tribes: Ascend).  If you’re familiar with League of Legends, imagine that but with MMO-styled combat, without tab-targeting and relying more on skill-shots.  Each match is on the same massive map with three lanes to the other five-person team’s base.  You fight AI creeps that march in a continuous stream throughout, while taking out the enemy towers, other team’s players, and ultimately the enemy’s Minotaur Guardian (think of him like dungeon boss). 

Downing the Minotaur wins the match, but your opponents can surrender if they’re feeling the pressure, and similarly you can just give up as well if you’re getting killed and see no sense in continuing.  I wouldn’t ever surrender, but I’m a little proud.  I see why the option’s there, regardless.  All throughout the match, your chosen god will level from 1 to upwards of 20, gaining new skills, earning gold to buy gear, and generally getting more and more powerful.  SMITE, as you can probably guess is pretty much the MMORPG experience in thirty minute chunks.  It’s fast, uproariously fun, and absolutely addictive.  I’m not great at ARTS like League or Heroes of Newerth, and therefore SMITE is definitely the MOBA I’ve been waiting for to bring me into the genre and show me why people get so amped over these games. Simply put: SMITE is awesome.
I didn't want to stop.  I had to wake up at 5am this morning, but kept watching Kasey and Grak stream the damn thing after Mike and I stopped playing. Watching it was fun, people.  I played solely as Ymir, the Norse frost giant god of awesome tankery.  That's what I'm calling him.  Mike played as Artemis, the pew-pew making goddess of the hunt. We were a team of death, that's for sure.  We lost the first match due to some mid-lane woes, but our second match we forced the other team to surrender so stalwart were our defenses.
I'll admit this right here: I'm a MOBA noob. I never got into them. I appreciate the hell out of the art-form people much better than I have mastered, but I suck too much at RTS to play them competitively like that.  I prefer city-builders.  But SMITE? Well it takes everything awesome about the competitive lust found in LoL and DOTA and smacks it into an MMO-styled arena.  And it simply works with a pure unadulterated zest and vigor.  The visuals are crisp, clean, and smooth.  Like a good IPA... yes, I compared SMITE to beer.  That means I like it a lot, people.
I could gush for hours about this, but really I'm still learning the intricacies of SMITE.  I learned quickly not to be too aggressive, to press B to go back to base and heal/purchase items, and to use the Jungle to surprise people frequently.  I also learned that a giant wall of ice can trap speedy ranged Gods quite well, letting me make them go squish quite easily.  
Overall, I can't speak highly enough of the game. Go spend the measly $20 and get in there this weekend.  If you've ever even had a passing interest in MOBAs, but were turned off by the mechanics like me, this is your game. It's the best parts of an MMORPG condensed into little juicy nuggets of awesome. Eat 'em up, yum.