Columns Category

Enjoy a run-down of our recent long-form pieces, both game-specific and more general. You might also be interested in our list of all of our columns and recurring articles. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Choose My Adventure: Right-Click Sampler Platter Edition

It’s been a crazy month. Since writing my farewell Choose My Adventure on Massively-X-Joy-Gadget–vs-Capcom-Turbo, I’ve sent a few hundred emails, helped raise a huge pile of money, and participated in launching an entirely new website. I’ve been tweeting, streaming, and commenting like crazy. And I’ve been hanging in MassivelyOP’s chat channel making jokes, sharing ideas, and collaborating with some of the coolest and most passionate people on the planet.

I’ve done lots of things over the last 30 days or so, but diving into a new CMA wasn’t one of them. I opted to put the column on hold for the month so I could recharge my batteries, play with my dogs, and focus efforts wherever a team need might arise.

But CMA waits for no man/woman/catperson. So let’s get this party re-started.

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Jukebox Heroes: Glitch’s soundtrack

As we continue to discover in the years after Glitch’s closure, this was one underappreciated, unusual, and quirky MMO that deserved a lot better than it got. However, its post-demise career has been astounding as fans and former devs have made efforts to reconstruct the game, preserve the art, and (most germane to this column) remaster and release the soundtrack.

Composer Daniel Simmons ran an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a proper OST release, and his $8,000 request quickly bloomed into almost $57,000. Fans appreciated the bizarre mix of musical genres and the fun personality that this soundtrack exuded, and I was really excited to see that it recently released for all to enjoy.

So whether or not you played Glitch, join me on a journey through one of the strangest and most endearing scores in the MMO space.

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR took its first step into competitive gaming and fell on its face

Just when you think that Star Wars: The Old Republic will change things around and actually do something that will appeal to the Killer-type of MMO player, it shoots itself in the foot time and time again.

I was caught completely off guard last week when I read that SWTOR had partnered with the Electronic Sports League. Competitive gaming was one of the last things that I thought SWTOR would get into. I thought that perhaps this was finally BioWare‘s appeal to that kind of player. But then, in typical BioWare fashion, it fumbled at the one-yard line.

In the past, I have been hypercritical of the way BioWare treats the competitive player. It has always seemed that the developer hasn’t paid anying attention to what’s worked and not worked in the past. It appeared that it copied what games like World of Warcraft would do not because it was highly successful but because WoW had done it.

This time, however, things seemed to be different. Although the proposed jump into competitive gaming isn’t completely original, it was a step outside the box.

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Wisdom of Nym: Gold Saucer impressions in Final Fantasy XIV

After a madcap week, I got to come home to the Gold Saucer. Traveling to Seattle on short notice was a mixture of the good and the bad, and I was certainly happy to be back home, but I was all the happier when I had Final Fantasy XIV‘s den of gambling-but-not-really to look forward to upon arrival. What could be better?

Well, a system that was actually ready to account for the vast influx of people who wanted to take part in the minigames would have been a good idea, but let’s not get crazy, hmm?

Thematically, the Gold Saucer comes at a highly inappropriate time, since Eorzea is kind of tearing itself apart at the seams while people gamble ceaselessly. But it’s also something that’s both fun and almost infinitely expandable, a feature that will fit well into the game after the initial rush has worn off. So let’s take a look at the Saucer, the many games therein, and how everything shakes down on the average.

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One Shots: Riding railroad

Superhero MMOs really make for some spectacular screenshots, you have to agree. And if you don’t agree, you might be on the receiving end of Massively OP reader Russell’s verdant vengeance.

“This is my Green Lantern, Pinball, from DCUO,” Russell submitted. “He’s taking to the skies in the blackest of night where no evil shall escape his sight, and those who worship evil’s might are about to get their asses kicked by his Green Lantern’s Light!”

I got goosebumps. Seriously. Now let’s see what the community has for us in this full-color edition of One Shots!

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Make My MMO: February 28, 2015

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Crowfall basically blotted out the sun. The “throne war simulator” surpassed its $800,000 goal in a couple of days, and apart from that it also generated a ton of discussion both here on MassivelyOP and throughout the MMO blogosphere.

We’ve also entered the homestretch on our own Kickstarter. With six days to go, we’ve met our initial goal and secured a couple of months’ funding for our new web presence, so thank you for your support!

Click past the cut for rest of this week’s MMO crowdfunding roundup.

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The Game Archaeologist: Ten facts of EverQuest life circa 1999

MMOs change. We know that, but we also tend to forget it as well. The games that we play today can often be light-years distant from how they used to be when they launched, especially if they’ve been around for well over a decade.

I was never part of the EverQuest scene back in the day (or even now), but I’ve always been fascinated with random tales and tidbits of how the game used to be versus how it is now. With that in mind, I put out a call to player vets who were there back in ’99 to share some of the facts of EQ life. The deluge of stories that I got in return was staggering, and I’m excited to share them with you.

How was the game different? What mechanics and obstacles did players have to deal with that are unheard of today? Check out what those who were on the scene in 1999 had to say!

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Lost Continent: Is it worth returning to ArcheAge?

Last time out I said some pretty mean things about ArcheAge. And let’s face it: The game earned every one of them. It’s inarguably pay-to-win, the comically intrusive cash shop is the bane of both immersion and economy-based sandbox play, and Trion made a lot of anti-consumer decisions in 2014 (hello “normalization,” Auroria launch, and so on and so forth).

Regardless, I’m back in ArcheAge because the rest of the MMO space sucks worse if you crave non-linear virtual worlds.

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Massively Overthinking: Impressions of Crowfall

We’ve got crows on the brain this week since Crowfall launched its Kickstarter. As of this afternoon, the game is just about 100k shy of its goal, a goal it will surely reach with 27 days to go, and confident of that, ArtCraft is already releasing stretch goals. The first promises an FX upgrade and female centaurs, while the second is a push for mounts and caravans.

For today’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve polled our writers to ask them what they think about the PvP-centric title. Did they back it? Will they play it? Or are they running for the hills?

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EverQuesting: Is EverQuest Next in trouble?

You know me: I’ve been quite the supporter of EverQuest Next and Landmark for a good long while. Even before writing about EQN these past few years, I was following its development, and I got to be one of the first ever to find out about and actually get my hands on Landmark. I’ve been at the SOE Live reveals, I’ve talked with the devs on numerous occasions, and I’ve seen their great passion and dedication to the games — and I’ve been relaying all that info to you. It’s no secret that I believe in this franchise. So when I say that all these recent developments give me pause, you can understand the gravity of my feelings. I certainly don’t make this statement lightly.

Is EverQuest Next in trouble? I think it is. At the same time, cries of doom and gloom are unwarranted.

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Global Chat: Business model first, game construction second

Welcome back to Global Chat, the column where we reach out and give props to interesting and well-written articles from the MMO blogosphere. Today we’re going to kick off with a positive piece about Crowfall, as Kill Ten Rats’ Ravious is particularly pleased with the decision to announce its business model up front.

“One of my favorite devs, Jeff Strain, wrote way back in 2007 some of the most important words for MMO creators,” Ravious posted. “He said, ‘Decide on your business model first, and then build your game around it.’ So simple.”

Was this a good move for Crowfall? Read the rest of this week’s entries and then debate it in the comments!

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Wisdom of Nym: Continuing new in Final Fantasy XIV

All right. The end of last week’s column did not, in fact, finish starting new in Final Fantasy XIV. It brought you up to the point where you could no longer really be considered starting, but there’s so much more to do. So while I could leave it there, I think we should at least learn how to unlock Jobs before the expansion.

So let’s keep rolling on, assuming that you’ve been progressing along in the main story to unlock the other two “intro” dungeons. These three dungeons are all a bit on the tedious and tutorial side, but they at least unlock your low-level roulette (immensely valuable) and start you down the road to understanding the game’s dungeon mechanics. It’s a game of easy enemies and hard bosses, and the next leg of the journey demonstrates exactly how much emphasis is placed upon the boss battles.

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