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]

Leaderboard: What’s the most vulnerable Daybreak MMO in 2018?

It’s tradition around here to take stock of Daybreak’s MMO offerings every year, thanks to the fact that one of the first big stories we did after moving from Massively-that-was to MOP centered on Daybreak’s massive transition from SOE and then round upon round of layoffs, way back in 2015. Last year, we counted it out: Daybreak has now shut down approximately 16 games, most of them in the last few years – more than most studios will ever launch.

In 2015, you all thought Dragon’s Prophet was the most vulnerable game in the stable. You were right; it shut down, at least on this side of the pond, that same year. Last year, however, you suspected PlanetSide 2 was most likely to crumble, but instead, the game is still going and picked up a largish patch toward the end of the year. How about this year? Has anything changed with the company that once won best studio four years in a row thanks to its one-time reputation for keeping beloved MMORPGs going? Which Daybreak MMO do you think is most vulnerable now?

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The Daily Grind: Which game made the biggest contribution to killing the MMORPG genre in 2017?

Last year, Massively OP commenter deekay_zero proposed this topic as a joke award, but when we ran it as a Daily Grind, it prompted really great responses (in spite of the obvious trolls). As we observed at the time, how you answer depends on what you think actually ails MMORPGs (assuming you think the MMO genre is in trouble to begin with) – whether it’s business model shenanigans or bad design pushing people and companies away, or other genres pulling MMO players out, or something else entirely.

So we wanted to pull the topic out again to see whether the answer has changed. 2017 was a big year for gaming, after all, as we saw the (re)birth of an entire spinoff genre. Did that influence our home genre in a good way or bad? Which game, MMO or otherwise, made the biggest contribution toward killing the MMORPG genre specifically in 2017?

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WRUP: Introducing our cast of characters for 2018 edition

As always, a new year means a new cast of characters, because I hate resolving plotlines and we’re not going to be having a bunch of uppity actors hold this feature hostage like The Simpsons. If you want closure, assume everyone died except that guy you liked. Now, let’s meet our new cast for 2018:

  • Happy Walkin’ Steven Steven, a convicted drug dealer who is currently coaching seven different children’s sports teams to learn the true meaning of friendship, Christmas, teamwork, and IRS form 1040-A.
  • Camilla the Snail, who is a snail.
  • Jacktron, defender of Earth, the heroic robot who repeatedly insists to people that it is a CPA named “Jacktron, defender of Earth,” not an actual defender of Earth in any way. That is not a title.
  • Sandstorm Jones, your father. Or mother. Whichever.
  • Catfood Collectin’ Steven Steven, who is played by a meth addict prone to reckless driving and will be quietly retired after he tries to make an entire episode about how you should eat squirrels right off of the trees. (He calls them “squeaklemons.”)
  • Wolverine But Not The Marvel Comics Wolverine, A Totally Original Character Who We Made Up. This one speaks for itself.
  • And last but not least, Obnoxious Catchphrasia, the objectively worst character and therefore the comedic sociopath everyone will idolize.

So, let’s enjoy this band of whatevers on their adventures until we kill them off next year! Until then, feel free to let us know which character’s merchandise you would like to purchase in the comments of What Are You Playing. Or let us know what you’re playing this weekend. Honestly, whichever.

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Massively OP’s 2017 awards debrief and annual recap

As we did in 20142015, and 2016, today I’m going to recap our annual awards and other meta articles from the end of 2017. We gave out 19 formal awards this past year, all in addition to dozens of other recaps, roundups, listicles, predictions, bloopers, oddities, polls, provocations, and retrospectives. It was by far our biggest content dump to date, even bigger than last year!

Following our deep-dive into our awards and the attached reader polls, I’ll be recapping all of the end-year articles in one convenient place in case you missed something over the holidays – enjoy!

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Massively Overthinking: Our MMO hopes and wishes for 2018

One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.

But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2018 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.

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A look back at the MMO industry’s law dramas of 2017

In all our many roundups at the turn of the year, we’ve never done one on the legal dramas that have affected the MMO genre. That changes today!

Of note, there’s…

  • the lockbox scuffle as various countries turn their watchful gaze on the industry and self-regulation collapses in a puddle of shrugs;
  • the Crytek lawsuit against Star Citizen studio Cloud Imperium;
  • the potential for dead online games to skirt DMCA laws;
  • multiple Pokemon Go-inspired lawsuits and criminal trials;
  • the end of the Warner Bros. and Tolkien estate lawsuit;
  • the continuation of the Oculus/ZeniMax Media lawsuit;
  • the cease-and-desist filed against Asheron’s Call emulators;
  • and a whole ton of Blizzard lawsuits, including the capsizing of the Bossland cheaters following multiple Blizz victories.

My favorite, however, is Andrew’s research into whether lockboxes legally constitute gambling – from last January. Enjoy!

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MMO Year in Review: Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 finally arrives (December 2017)

We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey as we head into 2018!

Far from being a slow month for MMOs and the site, December has been hopping these last few years, spurred on partly by of our massive awards and end-of-the-year content rollout. But plenty of MMOs added fuel to the fire: Star Citizen pushed its alpha 3.0 out the door at the very last minute, under siege from the Crytek lawsuit, Squadron 42 doubts, and criticism over its latest concept ship tank saleWild West Online delayed into the new year following the gutting of its open PvP system; and RIFT studio Trion stepped into quite a mess – twice – when it posted a pay-to-win currency pack and a $100 random mount lockbox up for sale (and later backtracked on both).

Read on for the whole list and have a happy new year!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 151: New year staff roundtable

On this week’s show, the whole gang is here! To kick off the new year, Bree, Eliot, MJ, Tina, Brendan, Andrew, Larry, and Justin come together to talk about the past year, the Massively OP Awards, and yet more questions that listeners have for the crew!

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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A look back at the MMO and gaming science topics of 2017

Over the last couple of years, we’ve redoubled our efforts on our science-related articles, as you may have noticed from our roundups in 2016 and 2015. Last year, we even hired on a staff writer specifically to cover gaming science, especially as it relates to MMORPGs, and we’ve been collecting all of his work along with our other science posts in their very own category.

Read on for a recap of our best science-related MMO articles from 2017, from EVE Online’s real-life hunt for exoplanets and the economics of MMO monetization to how lockboxes use psychology to manipulate us and the math behind the gamblebox phenom. Dr Richard Bartle even announced a new gamer matrix this year. Don’t worry; there won’t be a quiz at the end!

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The Daily Grind: What MMO has the brightest future looking into 2018?

One of the most popular annual roundups we do is on the healthiest MMORPGs in the genre, both because it reminds us that the genre really does boast a pretty deep bench and because it brings no end of commenters pointing out the games that didn’t make the top 10 – which actually means the bench is even deeper than that.

And now here we are at the beginning of another year, wondering which one is the absolutely healthiest – and whether that prognosis has changed since last year. What do you think: Which MMORPG is most likely to keep on landing on the “healthiest” list for years and years to come? Is it the obvious answer or have the tides finally turned? Which MMORPG has the brightest future looking into 2018?

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