Massively OP Podcast Episode 113: Avatar vs. toon

Do you want to date my space avatar? She’s a star and she’s hotter than a supernova by far. Or maybe you’re a loony tooner? What’s the socially acceptable way to reference your character in an MMORPG without coming across like some weirdo from another gaming era? Bree and Justin will devote their lives to figuring out this question.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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28 Comments on "Massively OP Podcast Episode 113: Avatar vs. toon"

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TomTurtle

I clicked the Trove article and considered commenting, but there wasn’t anything really detailed about the sub classes. That and I haven’t been interested in playing with how aggravating the progression system is for me. I’d love to see them shore that up, but that’d rely on Trion stepping back from the heavy focus on the cash shop in that regard.

It’s a shame too because the core gameplay is pretty fun in Trove, but like many MMOs, once I got further in, the grind killed it for me.

Bree, I really like what you have to say about raiding, hardcore and casual content in response to the reader e-mail. It frustrates me when I think of it in relation to GW2, especially with how HoT shifted the focus of the game. While the developers haven’t heavily shafted those who don’t raid, unlike WoW for a long time there, that they turned to raiding so much in the way that they did has left me a bit bitter. In the grand scheme of things, it’s only one of many things the game did to step back from its own path in order to ape the standard themepark MMO design.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m a player who enjoys themepark MMOs, so I can understand that the various changes were a result of players like me who will settle for it. It’s not all the developer’s “fault” so to speak.
However, I still feel that ArenaNet should try harder to find what makes GW2 so compelling for its casual players. I absolutely believe hardcore content can also be done for solo players without feeling unfair. I always think back to the one-on-one fights of the Queen’s Gauntlet where tweaking my character to the fight was part of the challenge and made it feel rewarding.
I feel that so much of the game is trying to excessively string players along in one grind or the other without offering enough content that is fun for the sake of fun. As much of an improvement the latest season of the Living World is, I feel like it’s a stopgap to keep players busy until the next expansion where the “real” fun starts.

And there I go ranting about GW2 alone. Whoops. In a more general sense, I too wish MMOs could treat casual players more seriously in regards to giving content that doesn’t feel like a handout. The jump in, jump out nature you mentioned is really important and the lack thereof can be a huge hurdle for players who are not accustomed to MMOs. And really, even to those who are.

Great podcast. Thanks you two!

Reader
Ryan Allgood

I just call it a character. I’ve never used avatar or toon.

Aaaaaaaand now you got me to download Trove again. Side note: The little plot of land thing they give you can be built on vertically quite a bit, both above and below ground. I just dug mine all the way down and built all the way up to have many, many floors.

django857
Reader
django857

OMG i thought i was the only one that can’t stand Felicia day. I found her so forced and annoying as hell and she was everywhere.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I prefer Avatar, although I use Character as well. Don’t really ever call ‘er a Toon.

flatline4400
Reader
flatline4400

Char, usually. Toon as a fallback.

And hey, that intro music from TERA was rather nice this week!

Side note… Bree, Buffy is for all ages! Go watch it right now!

Reader
Tobasco da Gama

NEVER TOON. NEVER.

(Well, OK, if Warner Brothers ever decides to do an MMO based on its stable of animated characters, maybe then. But otherwise, no.)

Reader
Harry Koala

I hate toon, but that’s at least partly because I used to play a pen and paper rpg back in the 80’s called Toon (http://www.sjgames.com/toon/) in which the characters were called “toons”, so the name is for me locked to that specific game.

I go with character or avatar ( avatar makes sense to me in its meaning of an incarnation of a deity into the world, and a character is essentially my incarnation into the game world).

Reader
Little Bugbear

Thanks for the input on my mailbag. End game MMO content is in a weird place right now. Bree mentioning Diablo 3 and Overwatch was really funny since we do play those a lot. The issue of elitism is my groups biggest problem since we are always geared for the content we try. Heck people in our group are platinum in LOL, so we’re used to hard-core content. “Elitists” tend to get upset when people who don’t devote their life to the game, yet still perform similarly or in some cases better. Nobody wants to put up with Elitists who aren’t even good. Oh and it’s Miss. Little Bugbear =). My dad gave me the nickname when I was a little girl. Bugbears were my favorite creatures from Gary Gygax’s monster manual. My avatar icon is a bugbear.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Eeep, I’m sorry I assumed you were a dude! My fault entirely! Of all people, I ought to know better. <3

Reader
Little Bugbear

No worries Bugbear isn’t a gender specific avatar name. = ) You nailed it on the response to my mailbag though. Elitism is exactly the issue my group is running into in raids and PvE content.

Zulika Mi-Nam
Reader
Zulika Mi-Nam

MMO Accessibility:

I wish devs would start scaling group instanced content just like they have finally started doing to the open world portions of games and scaling rewards along with a challenge level as Bree mentioned. Having to have exactly x number of people sit aside x amount of time is a PITA and dealing with some people in LFR/LFG/PUGs is even more off-putting.

I thought this was going to start happening when LOTRO made their main story instances soloable and gave us some customization with the skirmishes. I thought for sure we would all soon have the ability to go in any game with 1-20 people, have the instance scale accordingly, and even a difficulty/reward variable slider to customize to our desire before long.

I think I remember hearing how a relatively small % of people are actually raiders so I am befuddled at why so many resources are thrown at that producing that type of content when the larger amount of people in the game will never see it. Ass backwards 80/20 rule sumthin ….sumthin…. sumthin….

Reader
Sally Bowls

Bree was searching for a term for people burned out on MMOs and only remember the bad. The term I use for them is “MOP commenter.” :-)

Reader
Bionicall

I may resemble that remark! I have a couple of suggestions resulting from a google search like “black glasses” or “crap-tinted view”

Zulika Mi-Nam
Reader
Zulika Mi-Nam

I have always heard it as poop-colored glasses.

Reader
Bionicall

I wonder if we could use “Granparism”, a bit like vampirism, but more grumpy.

Reader
Sally Bowls

It’s toon. It’s been toon for 29 years.

Jessica-Rabbit-Who-Framed-Roger-Rabbit.png
Zulika Mi-Nam
Reader
Zulika Mi-Nam

I do not think that was from a MMO, but at she is wearing MMO appropriate armor.

Reader
Suikoden

1) Toon

2) In regards to your listener’s email, I think games like For Honor, or Tiger Knight, are probably the types of games for him and his Friends. For example, you can be level 2 in For Honor and still group up, and have fun, and be competitive. But if you want to play when your friends are not, you can still do the other campaigns.

3) How are you going to mention Will and Felicia and not mention that they were both guild leaders of rival guilds in The Guild? Come on, where’s the respect?

Reader
Schlag Sweetleaf

Why don’t we have both?

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Reader
Benjamin Northrup

@bree about the trove stuff: I just can’t vibe with the art style. Some people might really like it but It just turns me off.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Hey is it the whole game or the characters? If it’s just the characters (and I can understand that because I like looking at blocky worlds more than actually being a blocky character), definitely look at Skysaga — their characters aren’t nearly as blocky as Trove’s.

Reader
TomTurtle

I much prefer stylized graphics, but even I feel that Trove’s art style is lacking. It feels off. I suppose it’s too minimalist in regards to detail, especially with character customization, which feels largely uninteresting. There are some “cool” customization options that I’ve seen or I’ve personally come up with, but not to the same level as I’ve experienced in other games.

It feels too easy to blend in I suppose. Usually I’ll spend some time checking out other players in an MMO, but I don’t even bother with that in Trove.

Reader
Yoshi Senpai

I RP so they are always characters.

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Veldan

“toon” is a horrible word, anything but that

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Dean Greenhoe

Toon, toon, toon.

luxundae
Reader
luxundae

Agreed about Star Citizen. This is all the open development we ever asked for! And, imho, it has turned out to be both exactly what we wanted and way too much… Pluses and minuses, I guess.

Cramit
Reader
Cramit

Didn’t need to listen, you answered your own question in the first paragraph. It’s called a “Character”……

Reader
TheDonDude

Dammit, was going to post the same thing.

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