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]

One Shots: To new beginnings!

It’s a new year and a new you! Well, probably the old you a few days past the expiration date, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely useless. For example, you probably have enough mental cognition and digital dexterity to log into an MMORPG and create a new character before you dissolve into an unslightly mess of bones and goo.

To celebrate the debut of 2018, the Massively OP legion is out in force to create new characters with all sorts of crazy resolutions!

First up is CapnLan: “My first character creation for the new year is technically an old one. I recovered my old FFXIV character from 1.0 but they had me run him through the new character creator when I logged in for the first time. I touched him up a bit with some new options and went for a stroll around Ul’dah. Here’s a quick shot I took of him with all his hilariously outdated 1.0 gear in front of the New Year decorations on the main street.”

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Global Chat: Love the farm, hate the farm

How do you feel about grinding in MMOs? What about farming? These questions can elicit a wide variety of answers, from shrieks of dismay to enthusiastic head nods. Depending on the situation, grinding and farming can be something to be enjoyed, to be endured, or to be avoided at all cost.

The Game Freak Show says that he has a love/hate affair with grinding and farming, and it presents all sorts of muddled emotions, especially when gated mechanics are thrown into the mix: “While I have forgiven the grind in many RPGs for sucking away my time, this disturbing trend of games that do not have a harsh grind because they’re flawed or made for a different audience, but to force people to drop more cash on the table is something I can’t.”

Continue on for a look at Kritika Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online’s Ravenloft, the best solo MMOs, and more!

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The Game Archaeologist: Neocron

It’s the distant future. The high-tech battle armor you wear sharply contrasts with the ruins of civilization that you traverse. You spot an enemy and raise your pulse rifle, firing off shots as you strafe to cover. Technology hasn’t solved the issue of war; it’s just raised the body count.

PlanetSide 2? Nope — this is Neocron, the quite-forgettable MMOFPS from the way-back era. I like to call it “that game with the most regrettable cover art in the history of video games,” but that isn’t quite as snappy.

Going into this article, I have to admit that I previously knew absolutely nothing about Neocron other than the fact that it was a sci-fi MMO that vaguely reminded me of Anarchy Online. Oh, also the fact that nobody I know or perhaps ever will know played it. Was it just a myth? A practical joke to make us believe in an MMO phantom? Only sifting through layers of dust and grime would produce results, so I rolled up my sleeves and started digging.

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Betawatch: A new year, a new closed beta (January 5, 2018)

Here we are, in the untamed wilderness of 2018! It feels a lot like 2017 so far, except that it’s a year later. Also, at least here, it’s buried under snow. Also, Global Adventures has moved into its closed beta test, which is new. You can get in on that, although you should feel fairly warned that it’s going to have a wipe prior to open beta, so fairly warned be ye.

For the most part, it seems that studios were still remembering that they have to get back to work if they’re going to enjoy the new year. But we still had some movement on the beta front, so that’s all right. Examples of such are listed below.

That’s not a bad way to kick off the year, huh? There’s going to be more this year, we’re sure, but we’ve still got a list past the break of the games we know to be in testing. If something has skipped into launch or seems to have quietly shuttered while evading our notice, do let us know down in the comments. It’s very helpful and we appreciate it.

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WoW Factor: The fate of the class orders post-Legion, part 2

Back before the winter break, I took a look at how the various class orders are going to handle the increased conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. The short version is “in a variety of ways.” Some of them are going to care a lot and it’s going to make a big difference; some of them are just going to continue on or split up. Or, at least, they would if the developers felt like giving them a proper send-off.

They definitely deserve one, mind. The question remains whether or not they will get one.
But regarldess of that, there are still a half-dozen class orders that I didn’t cover before, and they’re just as important as the first batch. So let’s finish up the second part of this particular series looking at the other half of the class order halls, starting with one that really seems like it ought to be renting office space in Dalaran most of the time anyhow.

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Choose My Adventure Year in Review: DC Universe Online, Shroud of the Avatar, Guild Wars 2, and Secret World Legends

As our review of the past year of Choose My Adventure rolls onward (a bit longer than originally planned), we enter what I think of as the trifecta of disappointment. Why? Well, the word “trifecta” is fun to say. Try it a few times. Also, because the were three titles among the back end that were pretty notably disappointing.

There are always going to be titles with Choose My Adventure that don’t connect as much with me; after all, the games that I play on a regular basis are not chosen based on a random number generator. But these titles in particular are disappointments, each for their own reasons. And then, in the middle, there’s a game that is far closer to “not mine, but not bad,” which is a different matter altogether. Life, in short, is a rich tapestry.

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The Daily Grind: Where do you turn for your MMO guidance?

The great part about MMOs is that they’ve embraced one sort of crowdsourcing almost from the moment they first existed, and that’s crowdsourcing information. It’s never been hard to find information about the best builds for an MMO, what abilities work best, and so on. It’s all just waiting out there in handy, easy-to-read guides.

And the fact that often lots of that information disagrees or contradicts itself is just icing on an awful cake! So now instead of being confused, you’re confused and don’t know who to believe.

Of course, we usually tend to find our sources early on and stick with them as long as we can; we all know that there are good sources and worse sources. So our question today is where you turn for your MMO guidance. Official forums? Reddit? Game-specific sites? Your friends in the game? Shrugging and doing your best to work things out on your own? Random number generation?

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Hyperspace Beacon: Three things SWTOR could add in 2018 to turn itself around

Star Wars: The Old Republic did not have a banner year in 2017. It was the first year since the launch year that did not include an expansion. And the expansion that it released in late 2016 didn’t actually live up to its expectations.

Despite this, we did see some good things come out of 2017, like a couple of new PvP maps and some great changes to group finder. But what kinds of things can we see added to or improved upon in 2018 that would make up for this underperformance? Well, I have three of them. And I have done my absolute best make them realistic and doable with the existing team of developers. Let’s talk about that.

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Perfect Ten: The best MMO updates and expansions of 2017

Last year was positively stuffed with updates, expansions, and cool stuff. A lot of years I struggle to remember which major updates happened in the past year, due partly to my own faulty memory but due largely to the simple fact that not a lot of them really stuck out for me. This year? We were awash in updates. Some games literally gave me multiple choices about which update I thought was “the best” just because, well, there were so many.

So the list that follows is, honestly, a fragment of what could be chosen. At least one of them is something you will probably disagree with. And that’s fine, because thankfully, last year (as mentioned) contained tons of great updates for people to enjoy. So without further ado, let’s delve into the best updates of 2017 and gush for a bit about how many cool things got added to games last year.

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Guild Chat: The best MMORPG advice of 2017

There’s no more perfect time to reflect on the last twelve months than when you’re ringing in the new year, so that’s precisely what I plan on doing in this edition of Guild Chat. More readers in need have been helped than ever before by both my musings on the topic at hand and the useful perspectives offered in the comments, and some of the submissions have really stretched my MMO agony aunt credentials! It’s been a whirlwind of officer meltdowns, guild fragmentations, adapting to new content types, and deciding when and how best to leave an unsuitable guild, and I’m very glad I have the MOP community with me to weigh in on these issues too.

In this edition of Guild Chat, I’ll take a look at some of my favourite 2017 entries and will showcase the brilliant ways in which MOP readers have enhanced the article with their insightful comments, adding new perspectives or simply approaching the submitter in a way that makes the advice make sense. Here’s to a wonderful 2018!

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Chaos Theory: 2017 was a big year for the Secret World IP

Well, 2017 was interesting. It’s not often that your favorite game starts off as one game at the beginning of the year and then ends as another game — all while still being the same game. Sure, updates and expansions make changes, but major overhauls aren’t as common. And setting aside the original and remaking it even less so! But that happened with The Secret World, which morphed mid-year into Secret World Legends. It’s the same game, but not. Confused? Even if you’ve been following the game(s) semi-regularly, it’s easy to forget or miss a few details. And if you are new to it all, no one would blame you for not being in the know as to what all has transpired.

In 2016’s year-end retrospective, I noted, “Not going anywhere is better than going away!” We didn’t know how prophetic that statement would be for TSW. For 2017, I can follow that up with, “Going where it did is better than going away!” This past year was obviously a big one for the Secret World IP. It’s also been rough, stressful, and ultimately rewarding. Here’s a look back at it.

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Wisdom of Nym: Actual outdated content in Final Fantasy XIV

As we start down the road through 2018, I feel it’s important and appropriate to look at the content in Final Fantasy XIV that could actually use an update and/or some way to become more relevant in the current environment once more. Surprisingly, that list is not terribly lengthy.

Perhaps it shouldn’t surprising at that; one of the things that the game has consistently done is find ways to make sure that important content this week is still important next week, even as you continually have new content to experience. The addition of the Alliance Roulette seems tailor-made to ensure that one of the older bits of content is still very desirable to players, and it hits that mark nicely with a big chunk of experience and a bounty of tomestones.

But there is still some content that’s languishing somewhat. Not just stuff like exploration missions and Palace of the Dead, either (those both need new installments, but traditional roulettes aren’t even viable there). So let’s look at where we can get some updates, expansion, and improvement to some content that’s just not relevant any more.

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One Shots: Riding the unicorn charge into 2018

That’s it, folks. It’s time to put the wraps on the bumpy, odd year that was 2017 and get ready to flip our calendars to the pristine landscape of 2018. While the future of MMOs always holds uncertainy, one thing we know for sure: We’re going to screenshot the heck out of it.

To put a bow on 2017, I asked Massively OP readers to submit their absolute best screenshot from this past year — and the community took up the task with gusto. We’ll start things off today with Hugmonster showing us what a dignified, serious game Guild Wars 2 can be.

“My best screenshot of the year? Obviously me launching a stampede of rainbow unicorns!” he shared.

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