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: Do MMORPGs aspire to pro-social mechanics?

Massively OP reader and Patron Avaera has a thoughtful question for the team and readers this week. “I wish more virtual world games thought deeply about what impact they can have for the better,” he writes.

“It seems to me we are living in a time when tribalism, intolerance, and lack of empathy are increasing, with online trolling, harassment and simple nastiness on the rise even before considering where real-world politics seems to be heading. Yet research continues to show that immersive virtual worlds (including MMOs) have significant potential to change us through the type of experiences they offer, with recent examples being that a VR out-of-body experience can reduce fear of death and that social exclusion in a game environment carries a negative effect on real-world emotions. Do you think any MMOs are already using this incredible power to change us as people through pro-social mechanics, activities or narratives? Can you think of any examples where you have been moved or changed by game experiences, for better or worse, and do you think this was a deliberate act by developers? As our genre continues on a trajectory away from massively social roleplay towards cliquish competitive skirmishing, are there any signs that there are still companies willing to test whether virtual world games can be more than just moment-to-moment fun or entertainment?”

I posed Avaera’s question to the whole team for an intriguing Overthinking.

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The Daily Grind: Do you want to see a Guild Wars 3?

At this point, everybody who cares even a little about Guild Wars 2 knows that it’s getting an expansion later this year; even most of the details have leaked out. But every time we talk about Guild Wars 2 — and indeed, earlier this year when I commemorated Guild Wars 1 — people come out of the woodwork to talk about the franchise in a way most games will never know. Most MMORPGs never get a sequel, after all, and a sequel is often seen as a way for a good game to become even better, a chance to start over and fix mistakes.

I think Guild Wars 2 did that, truthfully — the auction hall, the wardrobe UI, the dye system, and the open world are all huge improvements over classic Guild Wars. But there will always be areas where I think Guild Wars 2 dropped the ball, like cosmetics, heroes, guilds, and endgame. There’s room for improvement, the kind an expansion may or may not ever tackle.

So that leaves me dreaming about a possible Guild Wars 3. Do you think the franchise deserves it? What would you want to see in a third installment?

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Ragnarok RE:START progression server closed beta giveaway

Progression servers are the thing to do these days, and old-school MMORPG Ragnarok is getting on board with a new classic experience dubbed Ragnarok RE:START.

“Experience the nostalgia of the classic MMORPG Ragnarok Online with Ragnarok RE:START! iRO takes us back in time to 2003 on their first Progression Server. Experience new content and updates just like the first time! Craft your character as the world evolves by returning to Rune Midgard to party with friends and explore the world with new eyes.”

Want to give it a try? In celebration of the launch, so-and-so has granted Massively OP a truckload of keys for the new server’s headstart. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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Enter to win a copy of Wild Terra from Juvty and Massively OP

Indie sandbox MMORPG Wild Terra (official site, Steam) has been in early access since December, a nostalgia-driven medieval sim that allows players to build up settlements (and then tear them down!). Most recently, the game has released its 8.3 update, which introduces vendor stands and allows players to put loot up for sale in exchange for spice currency.

Developer Juvty Worlds has issued Massively OP 200 keys for the game, worth $15 apiece on Steam, to distribute to our readers. The only caveat is 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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The Daily Grind: Do you appreciate timed content in MMOs?

The last thing you want to worry about when you’re playing a video game, especially an immersive one like an MMORPG, is a damn clock, right? Massively OP reader Rick thinks so — he’s not a fan of time limits (or even timer lockouts) on completing dungeons, boss fights, or other content.

“Are timers a challenge or simply a lazy dev device to make existing content re-usable?” he asks. “I personally HATE them but I know that people enjoy beating the odds and working under pressure.”

In pondering this reader mail, MOP’s Andrew pointed out that passive timers can be just as bad — like timers encountered when sending minions out to tackle away missions you never even see. That’s not even content — it’s nothing but juggling timers!

So let’s talk about the many (annoying) ways MMOs try to tie us to clocks. Do you appreciate timed content in MMOs? Is there one type you do or don’t like versus the others?

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Leaderboard: Do you play Star Wars Galaxies’ emulator?

Welp, here we are: Star Wars Galaxies would be turning 14 years old today, had it been allowed to live.

SWG is much beloved around here, among our staff and many of our commenters, and the good news is that the existing emulators for the game have seemed pretty safe from the wrath of the copyright gods, which means you can put your mouse where your heart is and still play. But do you? And if not, why not?

That’s what today’s Leaderboard poll is meant to find out. (You can choose multiple answers on this one.)

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMO daily quest you’ve ever done?

My husband and I are in the process of introducing the concept of household chores to our five-year-old son. Not yet having realized life is basically a never-ending sequence of mundane and tedious chores, the kiddo thinks these chores are amazeballs. He loves running through his little checklist of making his bed and cleaning up his clothes, he loves marking off his accomplishments, and he especially likes getting his reward at the end of the week.

In short, we’ve given him daily quests. And he’s thrilled.

I can’t really recall the first daily quest I ever did in an MMORPG — it was probably Star Wars Galaxies mission terminals back when they were on the 10-per-day-bonus-exp daily timers, but of course it was World of Warcraft that truly made them a thing every online game adds and then repeats and exploits ad nauseam. And I can’t say I’ve ever truly found them entertaining, not the way my son seems to find his new to-do list. I do them sometimes for the shiny at the end, but I kinda wish I could get that “dailies refreshed, yay!” feeling back.

Help a girl out here: What’s the best MMO daily quest you’ve ever done?

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MMO Week in Review: Secret World Legends’ soft launch (June 25, 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!

Ready or not, The Secret World has become Secret World Legends this weekend as Funcom game soft-launched into the headstart of its reimagined MMORPG. The launch hasn’t been without its issues, however, including today’s downtime and patcher problems, though the weekend revelation that vets will get more than they expected has been welcome.

Meanwhile, Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood formally launched, racking up praise from our veteran players.

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

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Massively Overthinking: Forced socializing in MMORPGs

Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.

“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.

There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.

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WRUP: This is the train to your backyard edition

This is the through train to your backyard, making stops at your neighbor’s backyard, the creepy alley behind the convenience store, the old field where you think someone got murdered, and the doctor’s office. The next stop will be at that Mexican place you call Los Tacos for some reason. Please stand clear of the closing doors.

Oh, God. What have you done? You didn’t stand clear of the closing doors. You’re being dragged along beside the train now. That looks painful and entirely pointless. We told you to stand clear of the closing doors. Run fast, hopefully you can catch up.

Unfortunately, doors open at the other side at that Mexican place you call Los Tacos for some reason. Please allow people to exit the train before getting on, and please leave your weekend pans in the comments for this week’s installment of What Are You Playing. This is the through train to your backyard…

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 122: This Stormblood’s for you

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree talk about FFXIV: Stormblood’s early access launch, Destiny 2’s PC delay, Elder Scrolls Online’s next DLC drops, breaking up the trinity 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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Enter to win a SMITE Cu Chulainn or Camazotz skin from Hi-Rez and MOP

Live in SMITE today are both the previously revealed mana-based god Cu Chulainn and the unique Code of Chivalry event, which introduces a morality bar to the MOBA and allows players to complete quests — for good and for evil — to become either a Noble Knight or a Black one.

To celebrate the update, Hi-Rez has granted us a bundle of keys for Cu Chulainn and his Hound of Ulster skin as well as Camazotz and his Xibalba’s Shadow skin. As always, skin codes can be redeemed in-game across all platforms and in all regions as long as you’re playing on Hi-Rez SMITE servers (Tencent runs the Chinese servers, and LevelUp runs the Latin American and Brazilian servers, so the codes won’t work there).

Read on to enter to win!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the ideal group size for an MMORPG?

During this week’s Massively OP podcast (live this afternoon!), Justin and I tackled a detailed question about MMO group makeup, the trinity, and combat, and we took the opportunity to tangent a bit into praising City of Heroes, which not only managed to smash the trinity but did so in a way that increased the number of combat roles in a group over the standard, provided flexible difficulty modes at a time when that was unheard of, and scaled content to group size, meaning that you didn’t really need to take a full group of eight into most of the instanced content. You took what you had and that was enough. It was brilliant.

And while I’m not much of a fan of huge, methodical raids anymore, that’s more because I dislike them as the Only Thing To Do At Endgame. I do love massive group sizes, however, which is why I lamented the loss of the 20-man group in Star Wars Galaxies and adore the casual swarms of Guild Wars 2. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the formal group size is four or five or six; my guildies always seem to be one body short of what we need, and I constantly find myself wishing for City of Heroes’ ruleset.

What do you think is the ideal group size in an MMORPG? And do you base that on social balance or typical class configurations or something else entirely?

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