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 Overthinking: Alone together vs. forced grouping in MMORPGs

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that everyone has at some point seen the xkcd called Isolation, but if not, there it is. No matter what the age and era, someone’s always preaching that people were more sociable in the long long ago. In this comic, however, Randall Munroe isn’t even contesting that. His point is basically no duh and so what. Yes, we become less sociable with random people in our immediate vicinity as we gain more and more access to ideas, entertainment, and people not in our immediate vicinity thanks to technology. Ultimately, replacing impromptu stranger interaction with the amusements of our choice appears to be what a lot of people wanted all along.

MMORPG players surely see where I’m going with this because we have the same eternal struggle when it comes to in-game socializing, grouping, community, and stickiness, the tug-of-war between the people who want to play alone together and the people who think that forced grouping is the only true path to enlightenment.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to reflect on the alone together vs. forced grouping spectrum, to talk about where they stand on it, whether that position’s changed through the years, which games are addressing the divide the best, and how the two sides can move forward in a dynamic MMO genre.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 131: Just surviving

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree break down the big Guild Wars 2 news, celebrate FFXIV’s momentous milestone, muse about Dual Universe, and more! We also have a special interview with H1Z1: Just Survive Creative Director Ben Jones about the massive overhaul to this survival sandbox.

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: Have you ever felt the need to cut back on your MMORPG playtime?

A couple of months ago, Lifehacker ran an article that might just save somebody: It’s titled How to Cut Back on Playing Video Games, presuming, of course, that you play so much that you’re finding your real life affected. Lifehacker recommends a bunch of methods for assessing whether you overplay and how to check it, including tracking your game time, picking less time-consuming or addicting games, ditching your hardcore gamer ego, and just watching other people play rather than engaging yourself.

Personally, I figured out I was spending too much time playing MMOs a long time ago when I started literally falling asleep on my keyboard and ultimately decided I liked sleep (and health and money, but honestly, mostly the sleep) better than raiding Sebilis for the hundredth time. I took a break for a while and came back to MMO gaming refreshed and with a new perspective on why I was playing, what I wanted to get out of it, and what I would and wouldn’t do during my precious free time.

Have you ever felt the need to cut back on your MMORPG playtime? How did you go about it, and did it work?

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WRUP: Welcome to Boring Monsters Online edition

Thank you for signing up to play Boring Monsters Online, where we have diligently made sure that all of our monsters seem like they could come directly off of someone’s high school notebook. Our pledge to our players is that we will never present you with a new sort of monster that might be even slightly unfamiliar, just as we will assume you have lived in a hole and have no idea about what any sort of fantasy monsters look like. Does the idea of differently colored dragons with all sorts of elemental breath weapons make you faint with excitement? Then you’ll love this.

We’ve got minotaurs, griffons, chimera, even those weirder ones like beholders. And they’re all exactly like they’ve been in every other fantasy game ever, and we’re still going to act like no one has ever had the idea to put a minotaur in a video game before. Enjoy hearing us wax poetic about how special stock-standard cow-people are. Let us know how creative we are in the comments to this week’s What Are You Playing, while we’re at it.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 130: Flame and Fire

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree dive into the Guild Wars 2 expansion reveal, the first steps into Mordor, an alt-friendly World of Warcraft, the problem with raiding in MMOs, 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: What’s the most important feature of MMO inventory systems?

A couple of weeks ago, we ran a story on ARK Park that included the image above, which just cracked me up. I mean, I get that VR games have an extra challenge when it comes to how they’re going to display your inventory in a believable and immersive way, but I was figuring that would manifest as a bag you can virtually rifle through, or store shelves at the merchant. I didn’t figure on a 3-D view on a panel within your field of view — it seems like a step backward for immersion.

That got me thinking about what I want out of MMO inventories in general. I’m playing Guild Wars 2 right now, and I have to say that the basic inventory right out of the box with even just a few option tweaks is one of the best in the genre, full stop, thanks to good color coding, a wallet, sorting bags, a “one bag” feature, the automatic compact option, and above all else, that “deposit all materials” clicky. I have to use several mods in top-end MMOs like World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online to get my character inventory to this level, and even then this is just slicker. And that’s before I get to the shared bank and crafting — for me, the ability to craft without hauling crap out of my bank or bag is the number one thing I look for when it comes to MMO inventories (and I’m so glad to see it becoming more and more common!).

How about you? What’s the most important feature of MMO inventory systems?

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MMO Week in Review: To Elona via bunnies in Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire (August 6, 2017)

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, Guild Wars 2 took the lid off its next expansion: Path of Fire, a nostalgia-driven, story-oriented trip back to the deserts of Elona. With bunnies.

Meanwhile, Lord of the Rings Online successfully launched us all into Mordor — read our recap here! — and Funcom successfully ported Secret World Legends over to Steam.

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

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WRUP: Horrible movies edition

The hush calls over the movie theater, but even before then, you all have that feeling. It hangs in the air like the scent of ozone, a faint urgency to every whispered conversation. Then the screen lights up, the theater goes dark. The previews go through. And the screen is… text, that dreaded opening of any film which does not start with the words “Star Wars.” Things are exposited, then the movie cold-opens in a place you don’t know.

You clench your teeth. It’s happened. You’re watching a horrible movie.

You know now that the rest of the run time will be filled with aborted arcs, unclear plots, idiotic decisions, and no characters whom you can identify with. At this point, your question becomes enjoying the rest of your popcorn or cutting your losses and just bringing the popcorn home, at which point it gets weird. Let us know what you’re playing in this week’s What Are You Playing, or just let us know about horrible movies you’ve seen or will see soon. We are all trapped together.

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The Daily Grind: Are you a fan of character-obscuring morphs and modes in MMOs?

When ArenaNet went through Guild Wars 2’s upcoming Path of Fire specs on Tuesday, I was super bummed about the Ranger, the class I’d been toying with switching to as my main this time around. During the stream, ANet made it sound as if the Ranger’s Soulbeast spec would literally be a polymorph. Fortunately, as details came out this week, it became clear that the player will retain his or her own look and weaponry while joined with a pet, so I heaved a sigh of relief.

See, being transformed into something else is one of my huge pet peeves in MMORPGs, pun intended. I don’t want to be a bear and fight as a bear with bear moves. I don’t want to be a dragon, or a turret, or a vehicle, or a glowy blur, or anything other than the character I’ve spent gazillions of hours leveling, building, and designing exactly as I want her. Trying to keep me interested? Great! Give me more customization options for my appearance and my skills’ appearance, City of Heroes-style. Do no negate all the work or time or money I put into my chosen spec, my collected gear, or — especially! — the cosmetic stuff I’ve spent my cash on.

Am I alone here? Are you a fan of character-obscuring morphs and modes in MMOs, or does it drive you as mad as it does me?

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Enter to win a Neverwinter Ash Lion mount for PC from PWE and Massively OP

To celebrate the arrival of Tomb of Annihilation for Neverwinter on PC last week, PWE has kindly given Massively OP 50 Ash Lion mount keys to give away to our readers. The Ash Tribal Lion Mount grants +80 Movement Speed and offers three Insignia slots. And he’s a beauty!

The codes can be redeemed only once per account and expire at the end of 2017, and the mounts are bind-on-pickup. Critically, these codes are redeemable on PC only, so if you’re a console person, you can skip this one! The keys should work for all PC players except those located in China, Korea, Egypt, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Read on to enter to win!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 129: Treasure Trove

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree talk about Trove’s underdog status, the impact of server merges on open world housing, playing as a deer, gender stereotypes in MMOs 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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Grab a Continent of the Ninth Seal goodie bag from Webzen and MOP!

Live in Webzen’s Continent of the Ninth Seal today is the Light and Darkness update, which bumps the level cap in the MMO to 75 as well as adds new dungeons and methods for yoinking loot.

“Introducing the mysterious Shadow World, Light and Darkness brings Shadow Dungeons, enormous rewards and other brand-new features that are sure to provide players with their biggest challenge yet. Players will find new items that can be used for crafting brand-new Legendary weapons in Shadow Dungeons, which can be entered from Raebin continent. The update also introduces Akene’s Oracle System, which will grant players special rewards for their heroic adventures.”

In celebration of the launch, Webzen has granted Massively OP 2000 keys for a goodie bundle, which includes and assortment of tokens and access: Extreme Training [100%][1 hr] x5, Town Travel +Lv.1 [7 days], PC Café Premium Item [7 days], Class Changer [15 days], Immortal Medics Gear Set [7 days], Soul Set: Prelude to the Storm [7 days], and Resurrection Count Reset Scroll x3.

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

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The Daily Grind: Is lore super important to you in MMORPGs?

So the other day, the Massively OP staff is hanging out in Slack while we work, and Justin says, “Bree, you know Guild Wars 2 a lot, so I have a question: Orr was submerged for a while and all of the zombified animals and people were too, right? Well my question is, if that’s the case, why didn’t the chickens float away? They’re pretty light and all.”

And I roll my eyes at Justin because that’s just what we do and I tell him I’m totally going to email ArenaNet with his Very Important and Serious lore question. And then Tina comes in like, “The post-cataclysm chickens were missed by Zhaitan when he culled creatures from the unsunken peripheries to join his Risen, lol. Who wants a Risen chicken?”

All of this silliness reminded me that I am not a lore person in MMORPGs. It’s not that I dislike lore; it’s that I like very specific chunks of lore that contribute to my immersion and the feel of the game. Most lore doesn’t do that, so it kinda goes in one ear and out the other. The Elder Scrolls series, for example, always manages to take root in my brain, but World of Warcraft? I don’t remember much or even feel I need to.

Is lore super important to you in MMORPGs? Or is it something you could do entirely without?

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