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]

EVE Evolved: Seven years of EVE Evolved

When I started writing about EVE Online for Massively back in 2008, the MMO genre was really hitting its stride, and emerging sites like Massively were starting to attract quite a bit of traffic. I was a young Computer Science student and massive EVE fanatic with just a few magazine articles and an amateur blog under my belt, equal parts excited to expose my favourite game to a wider audience and apprehensive about screwing it up. I cautiously penned my first EVE Evolved piece on April 27th 2008, a critical think-piece that set the tone for much of the column’s tenure. Now seven years and over 320 articles later, I’m very glad that EVE Evolved is still here to dish out a regular dose of insight into the often impenetrable world of EVE Online.

I think it’s safe to say that this has been one of the most interesting years in the column’s lifetime, especially with Massively shutting down back in February and the staff striking out on our own as independent MMO news site MassivelyOP. It’s been an equally interesting year for the MMO genre, with indications of paid subscriptions dropping across the board and EVE Online showing its first year of non-consecutive growth. As EVE approaches its 12th birthday next week, it’s worth looking back on some of the year’s highlights. We’ve seen the impact of EVE switching from two major expansions per year to ten smaller releases, a ton of improvements for new players, the exciting resurgence of the 2009 Sleeper storyline, and there’s the promise of a complete nullsec overhaul just around the corner.

In this anniversary edition of EVE Evolved, I look back at the past year of the EVE Evolved column and highlights from EVE‘s 12th year!

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The Daily Grind: What MMO has benefited the most from free-to-play?

Back in the day, it used to be a running joke among the staff about which game would go free-to-play next. We don’t make that joke any more, chiefly because it’s no longer a joke and there are barely any candidates left anyhow. Buy-to-play, free-to-play, anything other than the old standby of box and subscription prices. That business model just isn’t working for more than a handful of titles.

But here’s an interesting question on that same theme: What game has gotten the most out of the shift? We talk a lot about the idea that most games are not using subscriptions as the only options any longer, but which out of the many titles with a business shift has gotten something good out of it? Are titles that converted like Star Trek Online the big winners, or does that honor go to other MMOs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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WRUP: Throw hams at hyenas edition

Folks, do you find yourself with too much ham in your house? If not, go buy some ham, then throw it at some vicious hyenas. Note that I said “at” and not “to,” in case that was unclear. I am advocating spending like $200 on ham and then hurling it, at high velocity, toward the nearest hyena. Even if that means getting in your car and going to the zoo, jumping the fence, and beaning some stupid hyena with a glazed ham.

You have to admit, those stupid not-dog losers deserve to be hit in the face with processed pig meat.

Before you get on with throwing ham, though, you should probably check out this week’s installment of What Are You Playing. Not because it has vital information regarding hams and hyenas, no; because we want to tell you what we’re up to over the weekend and we’re curious about your weekend plans. Or at least what they would have been before you flung a ham at a vicious predator that can chase you down and bite off your legs. Read more

The Daily Grind: Are you an obsessive MMO screenshotter?

I can’t help myself. I’m sorry, but I can’t. I have folders stuffed with screenshots that attest to my habit of always stopping to photo-document my journey. And, on occasion, to take a picture that proves that The Secret World contains a restaurant called Pam the Clam.

I know I’m not alone; I’ve met many gamers, including some who work here at Massively Overpowered, who jam on that screenshot key as if it delivered donuts and dollars to their front door. It’s a good thing that such players exist, because they keep One Shots in business.

Are you a fellow obsessive screenshotter? If so, what’s your reason for doing it?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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The Daily Grind: When should MMO devs just stop tweaking?

Yesterday’s reveal of Lord of the Rings Online’s legendary item imbuing system struck me as a promising show of faith from the devs but nevertheless a truly terrible idea because they’re just building a new house on top of a shaky foundation (LIs, not the game). It reminded me of something I once read from a very clever Ultima Online player a few years ago on the news that the veteran game was getting yet another item-fussing system intended to balance the last one:

“Why stop with Enhancing, Imbuing, Reforging, and Refining? They should add Improving, Spiffing, Refracting, Adjusting, Tweaking, and Twerking too, each with one or two hundred random items and math problems to solve. Just keep piling on crap until the system collapses under its own weight and we all end up in GM-crafted armor again because no one knows what’s good anymore.”

I am glad Turbine is doing something about LIs, I really am. But if LOTRO’s legendary item system is so broken, why not just gut it or delete it? Why create yet another potentially flawed system to patch its problems? Why do MMO devs, especially the ones working on older games, keep falling into that trap — why can’t they just stop touching it?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Massively Overthinking: Are boutique MMOs the future?

This week’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Kickstarter donor Taemys, who just so happens to be a guildie of mine. He’s clever, and so is his concern:

“Are all the smaller, ’boutique’ MMO’s the future? To put it another way, do you think we’ll see anything as big as World of Warcraft or EverQuest again?”

I put his questions to the Massively OP writers, who as usual were happy to overthink them!

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Massively Opinionated: FFXIV vs. FFXIV vs. CoH

Welcome to the second episode of Massively Opinionated! We were blown away by some of the comments you left here on the site and on YouTube. So we decided that we should keep the show around for a little bit longer. And it looks like you want to keep the show around, too. Edany (AmberACurtis) found the show a perfect fit: “This is fantastic! Great idea for fun new content. Right up my alley.” PJ Northbay on YouTube can now be at peace: “Yay! I’ve been wanting something like this from Massively for a long time.” And Age Nightroad got a laugh and had a good time watching the show: “This show is amazing! Had some great laughs and good debates, can’t wait for more!”

We love you guys too! The rules of the Massively Opinionated debate are simple: Our arbitrator, Larry Everett, invites three internet personalities to the show, asking them four questions that they can research ahead of time. The most persuasive panelist with be awarded a point after each argument, and at the end of the show, only one will reign supreme.

Our guests this week come from a wide variety of gaming niches. First, there’s writer at Massively OP and BlizzardWatch Eliot Lefebvre, cosplayer and raider Laura Williams, and writer and roleplayer Matt Daniel. And appropriately, this week we are talking about immersion. Let’s begin.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO biomes do you love and hate?

Environment is super-important to me, both in real life and in video games. My surroundings have a large impact on my mood, with my favorite places lifting my spirits and oppressive ones turning me into Oscar the Grouch.

Thus, I find myself gravitating to certain zones in MMOs. Pastoral settings such as Lord of the Rings Online’s Shire or welcoming woods like World of Warcraft’s Elwynn Forest are safe bets for a dose of Justin happiness, as are Christmasy-type winter wonderlands. But I find jungle zones irritating, lava zones tired, and anything with a sand motif to be only useful as a highway to better places.

Which biomes do you love and hate?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Massively OP Podcast: Episode 11

After a short one-week hiatus, the Massively OP Podcast is back and has brought another guest co-host along for the ride! We spend a lot of time this week looking at older games, including shocking (sort of) revelations about a certain spacey MMO. We’re sure you can guess which one.

Join us on the podcast as we talk about what we’ve been playing in MMOs, the top news stories from the past week, and topics that listeners have submitted!

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The Daily Grind: Should MMOs eliminate ‘soulbound’ mechanics?

This morning’s Daily Grind arrives from Kickstarter donor jackfrost, who phrases his question in the form of a rant:

Why do almost all rewards in current gen MMOs have to be some form of soulbound? I hate it.

Me too, frankly. I suppose it got started back in EverQuest with the advent of “no-drop” items, but over the years, themeparks especially (but some sandboxes too) have adopted the mechanic as a way to stifle player trading and keep us returning to the well better known as the dungeon-and-loot-drop-grind (and in recent years, to the well known as the cash shop). It makes the economy easier to manage for the developers, but it also makes it far less fulfilling for the players. Plus it makes no sense! Not being able to pass down old gear to alts and newbies is beyond irritating.

What do you think? Do “soulbound” items and mechanics annoy you too? Should MMOs dump them post haste and return to more engaging and realistic ways of churning old gear out of MMO economies?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Sword and Bored: Behind the scenes

At this point, it’s probably not overly obvious, but we have created Sword and Bored in story arcs. And this comic represents the ending of the second arc.

This also represents the first comic that doesn’t really include Mo. I feels a bit weird to have a comic without him, but I thought it appropriate to experiment. We want Mo to be the main protagonist in the comic, but we believe that the actual funny parts aren’t necessarily him but the things that happen around and to him.

At any rate, Mo will be back next week. Until then, here’s this week’s comic…

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MMO Week in Review: Guild Wars 2 specs and traits – April 26, 2015

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

This week, ArenaNet finally unveiled just how Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns’ revamped specialization and trait system will work. Massively OP’s own Tina Lauro posted her experiences with the game’s Stronghold PvP, and the studio further promoted its ongoing e-sports efforts.

Fancy classic Guild Wars instead? It’s in the midst of its 10th anniversary celebrations. Happy birthday!

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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WRUP: What ever happened with that button thing edition

Does anyone remember this? This was a thing that happened. I wrote a news post about it. A thing was done with a button, stuff took place… I mean, I seriously never bothered checking up on it again, what happened when the timer on that ran out? Does anyone know? Was that the button that kept the world turning? Is the world still turning? We might want to get out and check.

The important thing is that I’m curious about what ever wound up happening with the button, but not curious enough to do the five seconds of research on Google to answer the question. Maybe there were kittens involved, who knows.

Anyhow, that was all I had for the week. I’m packing for a trip again, I’m distracted. Listen, just… head on down to the comments and let us know what you’re playing this weekend, like we did up above. It’s What Are You Playing, you know how the deal works. Read more

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