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]

WoW Factor: The debate over World of Warcraft’s refer-a-friend nerf

Ah, another day and another thing to enrage people in World of Warcraft. Last time, it was that the Allied Race unlocks might (will) require you to actually play the endgame a bit. This time, it’s that the refer-a-friend service no longer allows you to gain huge chunks of experience just for turning in a breadcrumb quest to arrive at a new zone. Or, alternatively, it’s that Blizzard has just noticed that a decade-old service could be used for some unscrupulously fast leveling roundabouts, and now that it’s sort of proud of the 1-100 leveling experience again, we can’t have that.

Much like the bit ages ago with Star Wars: The Old Republic and the pointless controversy over a cash shop lightsaber, this is one of those situations where everyone involved is being either willfully or unintentionally dim. It’s not that the players grousing about this are right, and it’s not that it was the right decision to make. So, just as I did for that, it’s time to sit both sides down and explain why this is dumb across the board.

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Jukebox Heroes: World of Warcraft’s best music, part 1

A week ago, I started to engage in an interesting thought experiment. I started jotting down what I thought were the best World of Warcraft music tracks to see if, I don’t know, I could come up with a top 10 list or something. What would those tracks be, anyway? I drafted good prospects from my own collection, scouted around on various soundtrack sites to see what others said, and even polled Twitter.

The list grew. And it grew. And it grew some more. That top 10 list became a top 20, and before I knew it, it had topped 30 tracks with no signs of slowing down. While World of Warcraft has a surprisingly large number of filler and forgettable music tracks, Blizzard has put so much care and effort into creating the game’s score that dozens of masterpieces have been added to the soundtrack (which is somewhere around 600 pieces, depending on how you count them).

So I drew a hard line and decided to count down from my personal 32 favorite tracks over the next five installments of Jukebox Heroes. Some of these are definitely popular hits while others might only exist as my guilty pleasures. Let’s get started with the countdown — and let me know what you think should be included in the weeks to come!

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Hyperspace Beacon: No, Star Wars The Old Republic isn’t on the verge of sunset

I recently read a wild argument based on unsubstantiated rumor that Star War: The Old Republic is nearing its end of life, that BioWare is tired of it and is considering shutting it down. It’s just one among many I’ve read lately, and I don’t believe they are right. Instead, some appear to be repeating the same tired premise: “I don’t like it, and therefore no one should like it.”

Now, I don’t like many games, but I understand the merits and positive qualities of even some of the oldest, most shop-worn MMORPGs. First-person shooters make me disoriented because of the camera placement, but that doesn’t make them bad. In fact, one of my favorite series of games, Bioshock, was all told in first-person, but that didn’t affect the quality of the game. (Of course, I had to play it in super-easy mode just so that I could get through it without getting sick, but that’s beside the point.)

So in that vein, I would like to present my argument for why I believe the rumormongers are wrong about SWTOR.

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Perfect Ten: Major MMO expansions and updates to expect in 2018

Now that we’re almost 1/12th of the way through 2018, it’s probably about time to stop anticipating the year and start experiencing it. We have already looked at MMOs coming this year, multiplayer titles on the way, the current healthiest MMOs, MMO predictions, and the best value games on the market. So what’s left?

Expansions. Expansions and major content updates are what’s left. It might seem a little presumptuous to try to outline what’s coming this year, since many studios still have their long-range plans under wraps, but when we sat down in the MOP office to talk about it, we ended up with a much larger list than anticipated.

So here’s a look at the major MMO expansions and content updates we are expecting and anticipating over the course of this year. After this? You’re on your own, kid.

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Wisdom of Nym: Reviewing Final Fantasy XIV’s new housing rules

I’ve been leery for a long while now of Final Fantasy XIV’s “you get your details just before patch day” stance vis-a-vis the housing situation. Thankfully, that isn’t quite what happened; we got our information, at least in broad strokes, before the patch notes thanks to the live letter. We’re getting six wards in four districts for a grand total of 1,440 new housing plots, which should put a pretty thorough dent in the game’s current shortage; it’s not a doubling of the existing size, but it’s another half increase again.

The new housing rules, though, are probably going to make some bigger changes. And they’re changes that we can analyze and speculate about, even though some of them have some potential impacts we just won’t know about until later. So let’s start in, piece by piece, with the question marks and the known quantities.

And I will also be laughing at the frustration of people who screwed the system and are now sad about it.

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The greenhorn hunter’s primer: Getting started in Monster Hunter World

As the end of January draws ever closer, so too does the official console release of Monster Hunter: World, the latest entry into Capcom’s venerable series of action-RPGs that began nearly 15 years ago with the release of the original Monster Hunter on the PlayStation 2 in 2004. It’s a momentous occasion for fans of the series, as it marks the first time since 2013’s Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate – itself an enhanced remake of 2010’s Monster Hunter Tri – that a main-series title will get a Western release on a non-handheld console. Although the series has long enjoyed popular success in Japan, where handheld consoles have a much stronger core playerbase, it has remained a largely niche title in the West, where home consoles and PCs reign supreme.

So I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that the imminent release of Monster Hunter: World on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (and the PC release slated for this Autumn) marks the start of a new generation of Monster Hunter. With this new generation of the series, there’s bound to come a new generation of would-be Hunters eager to experience the franchise’s unique brand of skill-based combat and addictive “kill-carve-craft” gameplay cycle. While the Monster Hunter community, in my experience, is far and away one of the friendliest, most helpful communities I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of, and there are already dozens of wonderful resources to help fledgling players find their footing, I thought I’d do my part to put together a quick primer for any greenhorns who may be taking their first steps into the expansive, sometimes-overwhelming realm of Monster Hunter when MHW drops on the 26th.

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Global Chat: Jumping on board the Warframe train

Are you playing Warframe these days? If not, you might be missing out on the growing party of people who seem to be flocking to Digital Extremes’ free-to-play shooter. Plenty of bloggers continue to discover and extol the virtues of this game, even years after it first hit the scene.

“The game’s been around for several years now,” said Nomadic Gamer, “so there’s a lot of maturity in the advice community and when people ask for ‘best builds’ they can be referred to builds created years ago.”

In An Age considers Warframe to be his “‘I don’t know what I feel like doing’ and ‘I only have 30 minutes to play’ game.” And while Superior Realities felt like the game was only “meh,” he did recognize the powerful effect of that word-of-mouth is having with this title.

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One Shots: Poppin’ some bubbly

We are going to kick off this week’s exhibition of player screenshots with a few email submissions (yes, some of you still email them in, and bless you for it!).

It doesn’t take much of an excuse for a celebration to break out in Final Fantasy XIV, as Souseiseki notes: “A certain Miqo’te had a little too much fun celebrating Heavensturn (and too much to drink!). Although, I think she had more fun opening the bottles than actually drinking them! Fortunately, I had the foresight to hide the good stuff. Don’t worry, her chocobo was parked safe in the stables and we confiscated her saddle.”

Postscript: That chocobo was later seen perched high on top of a temple summit, wrapped in toilet paper and spray painted with an incomprehensible slogan.

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The Daily Grind: How often do you check your MMO playtime?

My main character in Final Fantasy XIV is fast approaching a year of total playtime. That isn’t entirely surprising, since she’s been in the game since version 1.0, but that’s still a lot of hours logged into a single character. I fear looking at the playtime stats for some of my older characters in World of Warcraft, to boot. It’s the sort of thing where just looking at it gives me a “holy crap, how long have I played this game” moment.

Most games give you some way of checking how long you’ve played a given character, and of course client services like Steam will often log your overall playtime. That means you can see how long you’ve been farting about. So what about you, readers? How often do you check your MMO playtime? Is it a regular event, or is it just whenever you have a vague curiosity about how many hours have been spent in a particular game?

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Whatever happened to Ascent: the Space Game, Aura Kingdom, and Fragmented?

Ever pause during your day and find yourself wondering, “Whatever happened to that game?” With hundreds upon hundreds of online titles these days, it’s surprisingly easy for MMOs to fall through the cracks and become buried as more aggressive or active games take the spotlight.

Well, every so often we here at Massively Overpowered find ourselves curious what has transpired with certain MMOs that we haven’t heard from in quite a while. Have we missed the action and notices? Has the game gone into stealth maintenance mode? What’s the deal? What has it been up to lately?

That’s when we put on our detective hats and go sleuthing. Today we look at what has been going on with Ascent: the Space Game, Aura Kingdom, and Fragmented.

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Betawatch: Chronicles of Elyria hit with sizable layoffs (January 19, 2018)

So it looks like things are not all roses and light behind the scenes for Chronicles of Elyria, as the studio has apparently let several of its team members go. How many? We don’t have an exact number, just a knowledge that the team had apparently doubled in sized and is now notably reduced. Here’s hoping for the best for the people affected by the layoffs.

Other beta news? Perhaps even happier news? Sure thing. We can do that.

We can’t promise that our list below is all good news. It’s a list. It organizes entries in list format. But you can still take a look at it, and if something on that list is inaccurate, you can let us know and we can fix it. Is that good news? Maybe!

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Choose My Adventure: Yes, Project Gorgon is a weird game

I want to start this column by saying the absolute meanest thing I have to say about Project Gorgon, and that one is probably pretty obvious. This is not a pretty game. I’m reluctant to say that it’s outright ugly because a lot of effort has obviously been put into making the game look as pretty as it possibly can, but there is a hard limit to how much you can do under the circumstances. The result? Even with graphics cranked up as high as they will go, this game is not a looker.

That’s the meanest thing I’ve got. In every other respect, it delivered on what I expected or actually provided me with a little bit more.

Character customization, at this point, is also pretty anemic and terrible, but I managed to make a character who looked at least halfway decent. Then my character got immediately fireballed in the face with several NPCs standing (or hovering) over her body, announcing sadly that her will wasn’t going to break, and so one of them would need to take her on specifically as a pet project. And then I woke up on an island.

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever regretted funding a Kickstarted MMO?

Look, if you want to call me a doomsayer or a pessimist or whatever when it comes to Kickstarter and MMOs, you have every reason to do so. I’ve been saying unflattering things about it since back in 2012, at least. But when you back a Kickstarter, the explicit assumption is that what you are backing is an idea. It’s not an actual thing yet. Hopefully it will become an actual thing, but it is not one at the time you back it. And that means that some of the projects you fund will take your money and then never turn into actual games.

All part of the experience. But have you ever actually regretted funding a Kickstarted MMO?

In my case, I do genuinely regret a game I helped fund on Kickstarter, although it wasn’t an MMO (Mighty No. 9 had a different set of enormous problems). But sometimes I wonder if people might not just be looking at games like TUG or Embers of Caerus; I can understand someone who funded Shroud of the Avatar or Crowfall and now feels like the game is developing in a very different direction, one that makes the previous funding a source of regret. So what about you? Have you ever regretted funding a Kickstarted MMO, either because it didn’t happen or for other reasons?

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