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]

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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Massively OP Podcast Episode 165: Step into the Morninglight

On this week’s show, MJ and Justin get giddy over Secret World Legends’ season two, discuss what World of Warcraft’s launch date means for players, and cover a whole host of major updates that have arrived for the MMO community.

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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Leaderboard: Are you still playing Secret World Legends?

I’ve always been curious about you folks who forgave Funcom for 2017. I’m not sure that, were I a hardcore old-school Secret World player, I could so easily let slide that whole “yeah so we’re gonna reboot the game and you can’t bring the toons you spent the last five years building” thing. But given the reboot’s apparent success last year and the ongoing attention on the game by the MMORPG community, a lot of you did forgive the studio and jumped right back in, including our own Secret World vets here on staff. Wherever their breaking point is, that wasn’t it.

Massively OP reader Pepperzine is wondering about that breaking point too and where the game stands in the community since the relaunch nine months ago and the new content that’s finally launched. “Now that around nine months have passed since The Secret World Legends has launched, I think it would be interesting to do a follow-up poll on if the community here at MOP is playing it, quit playing it, or returning for the Africa content!”

Great idea! Let’s do it.

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The Daily Grind: Do you get grumpy over MMO events on repeat?

I’m a huge fan of Guild Wars 2’s Super Adventure Box, even if I am not the best jumper in the world. My kid loves it, I love the graphics, the rewards are fun – really, it’s something we look forward to every year since it became a permanent event fixture. On the other hand, when the update doesn’t change much from year to year aside from QOL fixes, some of the shine does wear off. I definitely felt that way in World of Warcraft in the years when Blizzard just put the annual events on repeat (it’s gotten better about giving those events refreshes in recent years, I’ve noticed!).

Still, I hate to look a gift sparklepony in the mouth. It could be worse: I could be one of those Secret World players who are practically begging for the return of some of the events they miss from the old game in the new game because they’ve been cut off while Funcom slowly rolls them back out.

Do you get grumpy over MMO events on repeat? Would you prefer them to see a refresh every year, or are you just glad to see any annual events at all in your MMO of choice?

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The Daily Grind: What do you consider ‘meaningful’ MMO content?

Massively OP commenter DK went on a Twitter tear last week that caught my eye. He was criticizing the way some MMORPG players use the word “meaningful” as a sort of a dog whistle for hardcore or elite.

“Meaningful progression” – from these gamers – “means being able to play more hours and day and make everyone who pays less have no chance against you in PvP or PvE or economically,” he wrote. “Meaningful PvP is being able to loot the corpses of the people you facerolled due to meaningful progression leaving them with nothing at all – no gear/weapons/anything. Meaningful PvE means WoW-style raiding.”

I thought it was a good observation. It’s not what I mean by meaningful, but in retrospect, I realize that it’s what many of the people I’ve argued with over the years sure meant, and the disconnect between visions for the genre suddenly became clear to me. It’s also made me a lot less eager to use the word.

Do you agree with DK? What do you consider “meaningful” MMO content?

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WRUP: Advertising products we will not sell you edition

Friends, this week’s What Are You Playing must highlight the most baffling marketing move I’ve ever seen. PAX East has often featured some baffling decisions, but this year I have to give the gold cup of What In The Hell Happened to Cygames and their huge booth, which half-features Granblue Fantasy. (The other half is taken up by their mobile card game Shadowverse.)

“Well, why is that weird?” Because, dear reader, you cannot download the game. Not “it hasn’t been released yet,” the game was released back in 2014. But it still doesn’t have an official local release, despite having been localized fully for ages and completely playable right now. You have to go through an insane rigamarole to get the game onto your mobile devices, which means that half of this booth is advertising a game you are not actually being sold.

I suppose maybe it’ll inspire some people to go through that rigamarole? It’s a fun game and fully translated and all. But it’s just… baffling. Leave your weekend plans down in the comments, I’ll be boggling over here.

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Massively Overthinking: How do you maintain your health while binging MMORPGs?

Kotaku put out a piece this week on how to game without wrecking your body, something that’s probably bound to come up in the average MMORPG player’s life. It’s filled with basic tips like “drink water, ya moron” and “sit up straight” and “don’t eat garbage” and “look at stuff other than the screen” but there are also some useful tips in there like “stretch before you binge” – including your hips and wrists, which you might otherwise overlook.

For this week’s Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to expound on two things: first, the most unhealthy video gaming moment or habit they’ve ever had, and second, one specific thing they do to keep themselves from completely destroying their bodies when their hobby has become their career.

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The Daily Grind: How do you deal with muscle memory when playing multiple MMORPGs?

I’ve been playing two games that focus a lot on jumping lately: Trove and Guild Wars 2, specifically Guild Wars 2’s Super Adventure Box content. And it’s been the hardest time I’ve had playing multiple MMOs at a time specifically because of jumping. Jumping in Guild Wars 2 is a one-click, last-second leap into the void, right? You take off and hold your breath that you land, especially in SAB or jumping puzzles, where the visible landing area is actually smaller than the real landing area.

But in Trove, double-jumping is life, and you can even boost your jump skill. You’re pretty much jumping all the time. And I’m seriously struggling moving between the games. Ask me how many times I’ve fallen in SAB this week because my brain wants me to double- or triple- or duodecuple-jump as if I’m in Trove. It’s not pretty!

How do you balance muscle memory for playing multiple MMORPGs? Do you drag around the same keymaps to help out? Is there a particular pair of games that you find butt heads more often than not?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 164: Shroud of the Heroes

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin have a hearty laugh over April Fools Day in MMOs, celebrate the launch of a couple of titles, talk about MMO body shape options, and more!

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 offers the best ‘spiral’ gameplay?

Last week, in his Ready Player One piece from GDC, MOP’s Andrew paraphrased something from Darewise’s Randy Smith that stuck out to me.

“[T]hemepark development is also more segregated. While it’s good for spreading players out into the world, it also tends to make your content linear, sending people into different zones that you’re constantly having to create. Instead, [Smith] suggested a focus on more ‘spiral’ style gameplay, where you revisit and redo things in a different way. Think of sandbox games where all your supplies are scattered around the game world. You start off with what you need, have a reason to go out and explore, but also a reason to come back.”

I loved this phrase – spiral gameplay – and was thinking about the MMOs that do this best. The one that popped immediately to mind was actually classic Guild Wars, even though it’s not a sandbox. I was always a big fan of how the game would send you through a map on an instanced mission, and then set you free in an explorable version of the same map with a much looser goal, giving you a chance to experience the same area with slightly different content.

Where else have you seen this philosophy in play? Which MMORPG offers the best “spiral” gameplay?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG has the best April Fools’ Day prank this year?

April Fools’ Day this year has been pretty weird, given that MMO studios started rolling out their pranks and events in the middle of last week, and here we are on a holiday and a Sunday too. We’ve seen everything from Guild Wars 2’s sitting in chairs to the real-life theme park teased Black Desert. Pokemon teamed up with a noodle company. Elder Scrolls Online’s been running its Jester’s Festival for four days already!

I’m pretty fond of Path of Exile: Royale myself.

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