Meta Category

The category collects all of our more meta features and posts, like The Daily Grind, letters to the editor, and posts about the state-of-the-site. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Massively OP Podcast Episode 166: Russia breaks the internet

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin dive into the Russia gaming crisis, tackle a trio of significant MMO patches, and celebrate the coming of a cute-looking title. Plus there’s always those challenging community podcast questions to keep them occupied!

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.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG features the most ‘hostile design’?

Last week, the Extra Credits crew did a feature on hostile architecture aka unpleasant design – a way of papering over a problem in design instead of actually fixing it. In urban planning, the tactic is used to (for example) oust homeless people from an area in such a way that the general population doesn’t even realize it’s being done. The lead example in the video is Seattle’s move to erect bike racks under a bridge destined for demolition, not because the city wanted to help cyclists but because it wanted to get rid of the homeless folks camping there. Similarly, Heathrow Airport is designed with too few public seats for all the people moving through the terminal; instead of solving the problem by building enough seats, the city just built high-priced restaurants with plenty of tables, basically to make some extra money off its own (intentionally) bad design.

The video apologizes for not being expressly about gaming, but I bet you folks can immediately summon some examples in MMORPGs of this very trick. Designing excessive grinds and then “solving” the problem by putting grind-speeder-uppers in the cash shop is one.

Can you ante up more? Which MMORPG features the most “hostile design,” and what is it?

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Enter to win a copy of Wild Terra from Juvty and MOP!

B2P MMORPG sandbox Wild Terra isn’t resting on its laurels: Developer Juvty Worlds patched up for the faux-holiday at the beginning of April, adding “crystal” equipment and letting players vote on gear. Want to give it a go? Juvty has issued Massively OP a bundle of keys for the B2P game, worth $14.99 apiece on Steam, to distribute to our readers. There are no regional restrictions, other than the caveat that the game must be available to you on Steam for you to use the key. Read on to enter to win!

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WRUP: I overslept and my office is filled with firewood edition

Ah, Saturday, you noble day when I basically forget about time. Nothing I have to do today. Nothing much, anyway. I should check out the comments to What Are You Playing when I get up.

What did I do for What Are You Playing this week, anyhow? What sort of joke did I…

Oh no. No, no, no, all right, up we go, excuse me cat, out of the way, I have to pretend to be on time. Oh, no, people are going to think this was a thing about Friday but that isn’t it, that wouldn’t even give me a hangover, how is it now? All right, upstairs, I’m here, I…

Why is my office filled with firewood? No. No, we’re not doing this. I don’t need all this firewood. Someone else can figure this out [Bree, let me finish this joke or change it before Saturday -E]

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The Daily Grind: What keeps you logging into MMORPGs over a long period of time?

Earlier this month, Pantheon’s community team tweeted out a question that keeps coming back to me: “What motivates you to play an MMORPG for long periods of time, as in months, sometimes, years?” My first reaction was a pretty common one I bed and was true for me for a long time: friends and guildies! I certainly played some games far longer than I would have otherwise because I wanted to hang out with friends (EverQuest in particular is coming to mind).

But in recent years, when I already “see” my friends and guildies every day in external chats, I’d found games need some other draw too. Housing is probably the biggest one. I don’t usually get sucked in for dailies or anything like that, but give me a house that I love and want to keep up – that I’ll not only log in for but pay for, as my continuing Ultima Online fees prove.

What keeps you logging into MMORPGs over a long period of time?

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Massively Overthinking: What we really mean when we talk about ‘difficulty’ in MMORPGs

Massively OP reader Steve wants us to revisit the Daily Grind on making death more meaningful without making it more annoying. His letter was long, so let me paraphrase a bit:

“It feels to me like underlying point was, ‘MMOs are too easy, so how do we make them harder?’ The question of video game difficulty is something that is seldom ever tackled head-on, as it tends to draw out a somewhat vocal minority. There are so many worthy topics about how people define difficulty, twitch skills vs. depth, easy vs. hard, difficulty vs. accessibility, easy vs. engaging, shallowness vs. depth, and so on. These are things I’d love to really see discussed more online, and very few sites will actually touch it. But I think that MOP’s community is overall mature enough to actually have some discussions about this without it devolving into a fist fight.”

I’m sure you’ll prove him right! Right, guys? Guys? So let’s talk about MMO difficulty in this week’s Massively Overthinking. What do we really mean when we talk about “difficulty” in MMORPGs? Are games easier than they used to be, and if so, is there something studios should do to change that?
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Grab a Mu Online, Mu Legend, Flyff, C9, or Rappelz key in honor of Webzen’s 9th anniversary

Webzen is celebrating 9 years of MMOs today, and in honor of that anniversary, the studio has granted Massively OP 1000 keys that can be applied to one of Webzen’s online games (Mu Online, My LegendFlyff, C9, or Rappelz) so you get to pick what you’re getting!

Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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Giveaway: Snag a Stronghold Kingdoms loot code from Firefly and MOP!

MMORTS Stronghold Kingdoms is counting seven million players across all platforms this week as well as preparing for the launch of a brand-new European map tomorrow, and it’s celebrating with – you guessed it – a giveaway!

“Join thousands of players online on PC, Mac, and Mobile as you expand your medieval village and construct a mighty castle to protect it: farm peacefully, engage in political mind games, seek vengeance on your sworn enemies or lead your armies to glory across the country, Europe or the entire World. Rule as you desire and become a feudal Lord! Siege other players, battle AI opponents, research new weaponry, forge alliances in player Factions and fight for the eternal glory of your House.”

Firefly Studios has granted Massively OP a stack of promotional codes that will unlock a ton of goodies for your account: 5 Random packs, 1 Super Random Pack, 1 Ultimate Random Pack, 5 Army Packs, 200 Card Points, and 2 7-day Premium Tokens.

Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to take home one of these keys!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the dumbest armor?

Back in February, PC Gamer put out a piece on the absolute dumbest character armor in gaming history. There’s more than one MMORPG in the list, including World of Warcraft (Arthas’ Lich King armor) and Lineage 2 (Dark Elf string armor). Bizarrely, City of Heroes made the roster too for that one dude from The Lost faction with a TV helmet. The best part is the commentary from an actual real-life armorer (they’re basically all the equivalent of “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid”).

I thought it would be fun to dig further into MMOs for even more dumb armor. Me, I’ll vote for anything where the shoulders would poke me in the eye, anything I would legit wear clubbing, and anything that proves definitively that the designer has no idea how actual boobs work.

Which MMO has the dumbest armor? Post pics if you have them!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the biggest scandal the MMORPG genre has ever seen?

Over the weekend in the Guild Wars 2 spyware article comments, a commenter remarked that Blizzard’s Warden spyware was “the biggest scandal in MMOs” over the last 10 years. I was pretty surprised to see that claim; I was aware of Warden, but it probably wouldn’t even make my top 10 list of scandals across the industry. The first one that pops to mind is Blizzard’s RealID, probably followed by Monoclegate, the Funcom insider trading case, the EVE jumpgate scandal, the Sigil Games parking lot firing fiasco, and the NCsoft/Bluehole lawsuit.

I’m positive I’m forgetting some juicy ones. What’s the biggest scandal – scandal, mind you, not just drama – the MMORPG genre has ever seen? Lay ’em on me!

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WRUP: How to speak to a cat edition

When the cat is doing nothing: [Cat’s name], hello! Hello, [cat’s name]!

When the cat needs to be fed: [Cat’s name], nummers! Nummy-nums! Kitty, num-nums, here kitty.

When the cat is sitting curled up and looks cute: Sir.

When the cat does not respond to being called sir: Excuse me, sir.

When the cat is being particularly ridiculous: Sir!

When the cat is walking on you: Sir, really? Really, sir? Is this necessary, sir? Do you [pause briefly to allow cat to step on your chest] require assistance, sir? Your call is very important to us, sir. What do you need, sir? Sir? Sir?

When it is time to write in this week’s What Are You Playing but the cat is preventing you from reaching the keyboard: Really, sir? Sir?

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Massively Overthinking: The best of PAX East and GDC in 2018

The past couple of weeks has been wild as we dispatched writers to GDC in San Francisco and PAX East in Boston to gather up and bring back everything they could on the MMORPGs large and small on the spring convention circuit. In fact, as I type this, we’ve got Brendan in Reykjavik for EVE Fanfest too! So for this week’s Overthinking, we’re rounding up our coverage and then reflecting on the best and worst as we pick out what most excites, surprises, and disappoints us: First the roundups, then our thoughts. Read on!

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The Daily Grind: Do you have a ‘guilty pleasure’ MMO?

As comments and tweets and nastygrams in my inbox have repeatedly demonstrated over the years, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve put in years of play in brutal gankboxes and done more than your fair share of time in endgame raiding and PvP: An hour in a guilty pleasure MMO renders you irreversibly contaminated in the eyes of a certain segment of the gaming population. You’re a filthy casual (or worse!). I don’t actually buy that idea for a second, but I can’t help but find it colors my ability to enjoy and willingness to gush over cutesy games, silly MMOs, and retro titles.

Case in point? Trove. I’m consistently surprised by the depth I’ve found in Trove (in fact, the overall gameplay loop reminds me more of City of Heroes than Minecraft or Cube World), but the fact that people see neon voxel graphics and smirk it away as a kiddie game both irritates and squelches me. And yet it’s the MMORPG that’s got me logging in every day the last month or so, something I haven’t felt like doing anywhere else for quite a while.

Do you have a “guilty pleasure” MMO? Do you keep a secret any of the MMOs you play? Don’t worry; we won’t tell!

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