Massively OP’s Perfect Ten column, helmed since the days of Old Massively by Justin and now by both Justin and Eliot, is one of my favorites on the site. Sure, it’s a listicle, but there’s something about that format that forces the writer to really trim down and focus and clarify his points. Plus, both Eliot and Justin take the opportunity to use the platform to crack me up.
So in honor of those of you stuck at family gatherings today where you’re super bored, I’ve picked out 10 of my favorite Perfect Tens (OK, it’s really 14 because I had a hard time choosing!) and rounded them up for you below so you don’t even have to hunt for something fun to read. These should entertain ya! Perfect Tenception!
Ever since becoming an MMORPG player and especially since covering these games professionally, I've realized one of my greatest pet peeves is the attitude the broader video games media maintain toward our genre. I don't want to accuse with too broad of a brush or construct a strawman here, but too often I've read articles covering MMOs as if the author were either worried about contracting some sort of horrible disease by even mentioning the game or suffering from a superiority complex about how much better other types of games were. Somehow worse are the sites that employ a "token" MMO… Continue Reading
Your favorite game is going to die. I wrote about that. Some games are never even going to get to launching in the first place, unfortunately. But then there are these titles: games that went the distance when it came to development, marketing, promotion, testing... but somehow didn't quite manage to stick the landing past that. These are the games that, in Transformers terms, are the hi-then-die cast of the MMO space. That doesn't always mean the games are bad, mind you. Some of these games were great fun. But through a combination of business model issues, publisher issues, player… Continue Reading
One thing that I strive for in my professional career is basing things on sources more robust than my own biases. That's not to say I believe I can remain entirely dispassionate and objective at all times; it just means that while I might have my biases, I need more than just that bias to say something is good or bad. I may not like gender-locked classes, for example, but if a game with gender-locked classes does well for itself, there's more going on there and it's worth examining. But sometimes you just need to rant about stuff. Hence, this… Continue Reading
Every so often, a man needs to have a conversation with some anthropomorphized concepts. I do that every few years. In the past, I've usually focused on more philosophical concepts. I had a great conversation with Insight and really learned a lot about myself in the process, for example, and I can't stop thinking about my talk with Contemplation. My dinner with Indulgence was fun, too, even if I would up spending far too much money on it; I feel like scheduling a chat with Regret the morning after was a bad idea. Most recently, though, I decided to have… Continue Reading
MMOs, like any other hobby, have their own terminology. We have the term "newb" for new players, "noob" for players who aren't actually new but still make new player mistakes, and "n00b" if you want to sound like an insufferable weirdo from the aughts. But we also have a lot of terminology that just plain doesn't work any more for a variety of reasons, like "pay-to-win" and "hardcore" and so forth. That does not, however, mean that we do not need our specialized terminology. Indeed, while some of our older vocabulary is not up to the tasks of modern games,… Continue Reading
I am not a big fan of Kickstarter in general, but I like to think that I'm not a big fan for actual reasons rather than spurious ones. Every time I see someone referring to Star Citizen as a scam, I get annoyed; the game is very clearly not a scam. It's already delivered too much of an actual game to be a scam. A scam is something that's never going to happen at all; most Kickstarter games are, at the very least, going to provide a good-faith effort to try making a game. Not that this necessarily works out… Continue Reading
Today, City of Heroes turns 12 years old. Except it doesn't; the game shut down three years ago, it never lived until it reached twelve, and any and all adventures in the game were cut short. Like the ending of Bruce Sterling's short story Dori Bangs, anything we write about the game is just a paper dream to cover the holes that are left. No more adventures will be had in Paragon City. You don't need me to tell you about it, though. I wrote about it when it happened. That was then and this is now, and amidst everything else… Continue Reading
As with mainstream movies, it seems that the MMORPG industry has settled comfortably into the PG-13 zone for its approach and themes. Sure, there's a bit of blood, skin, and the occasional foray into adult themes, but for the most part these games are playing it safe by not pushing too many boundaries. After all, why limit the potential size of your audience when you're trying to draw in as large of a group of gamers as possible? Of course, not every MMO out there deigns to appeal to the family market. Every once in a while we get a… Continue Reading
Every MMO has character classes. Every single one. You might rail against this by pointing out that there are several games out there with open skill systems, and this is undeniably true, but it's the rare MMORPG that allows you to really mix and match from totally opposite ends of the skill spectrum. You might have plenty of freedom in building your character, but in most MMOs, you're not wielding Ranged Spell of Doom alongside the Great Armor and Smashy Hammer of Destiny. Unless you're playing Darkfall, at least, and then everyone is playing "teleporting death wizard" anyhow, so who cares? The… Continue Reading
No MMO can be in the spotlight eternally. Even some of the biggest names out there -- your World of Warcrafts, your Guild Wars 2s, your Star Stables -- wax and wane in the amount of press and attention they get depending on what they're doing and how well their PR department is functioning. It doesn't take much for a title to fall off of practically everyone's radar. In some cases it's merely a matter of passing time and slipping popularity, but in others it's just that the game or its marketing team hasn't done anything of note in a… Continue Reading
Here I go, here I go, here I go again. Girls, what's my weakness? Non-human races. But oh, so many MMOs let me down in that department. Now, let's be fair: I greatly enjoy the usual array of races present in most fantasy stories, which consists of five reliable stalwarts (humans, humans with pointy ears, short humans, short humans that are different from the other short humans, and big humans). And there are games that have done great things with the usual suspects. Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV have both done great work in making sure that the… Continue Reading
One of the things I spend a lot of time thinking about is Operation Unthinkable. For those of you who don't feel like clicking the link, it was essentially Winston Churchill's plan to start World War III right as World War II ended, except this time with the Allies against the Soviet Union and with re-armed German soldiers as shock troops. I'm glossing quite a bit, but the point is that the whole plan was always nuts and weird, and it would have made for a very different world than the one we actually live in. But then, that's just… Continue Reading
Every MMO represents a journey, starting with an idea, progressing to a fledgling beta, launching as a production title, and growing thereafter. All of the games we know now aren't exactly the same as they were one, two, or more years ago by virtue of change. Thus, it's often easy to remember that many MMOs launched without what we would consider fairly important features, particularly those specific to the game's vision or name. I list these today not to make fun of the games (well, not just to make fun of them) but to illustrate how features are often sacrificed in… Continue Reading
Back in my World of Warcraft and RIFT days, I spent an awful lot of time in dungeon runs as a healer. I even still function as a flashpoint medic in Star Wars: The Old Republic when our healer isn't pulling his or her weight. It wasn't that I sought out healing roles to begin with, but that my class selection (Shaman, Druid, Cleric, Operative) just so happened to include heals, and I guess that curiosity and peer pressure gradually convinced me to give it a try. I won't say that I was the all-time best healer you've ever seen,… Continue Reading