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]

Ask Mo: Why MMORPGs still need traditional chat

I dug this intriguing question out of our brimming-over letters-to-the-editor bin, and it’s particularly timely given the recent launch of Wander, notable for its curious glyph-based chat and language system. Massively-that-was reader NerdWithABigStick wrote in to ask about MMO chat, calling back the decision made by the devs of Divinity: Original Sin to shut down global chat within a few minutes of launch.

This resonated with me. The first thing I do when joining a game is seek out general chat and immediately turn it off. It’s only in the last six years or so that I’ve noticed an increase in the amount of “snark” in chat. There was definitely a time when chat was fun, helpful, and yes, even entertaining. People shared their positive excitement, and while the occasional asshole did show up, it was the exception, not the norm. That time is long gone, sadly. After working a full day at the office and signing in to a game that I am loving, the very last thing I want to do is to have that happiness and the joy of the experience ruined by reading negative remarks and armchair designer opinions full of Family Guy-style “humor” and poop-slinging. So I’ve gotten into the habit of turning those channels off, sometimes even hiding the chat window entirely.

So I keep wondering whether more game studios, particularly MMO studios, will ever embrace D:OS’s attitude? Will they ever say, “You know what, this really isn’t helping our game — or our community — at all. It’s not adding anything to the game experience or the social experience. In fact it’s detracting from both. Let’s shut it off.”

Heck, I hope not!

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The Daily Grind: Is truly dynamic content still possible in MMOs?

This morning’s Daily Grind comes to us from a Kickstarter donor at fivefingerdiscount.org (who by the way is still linking to Old Massively! Gasp!). The donor asks one of those lovely simple questions that unravel into intriguing threads of thought:

Why do many MMO players complain about the static nature PvE content in MMOs when they are against PvP and the many non-static, interesting experiences it can bring about?

The donor is right that PvP is one way of adding non-static content to MMOs. But some players really don’t think that seeing their characters murdered is interesting and don’t really want to serve as other people’s “content” under any circumstances, dynamic or not. And frankly, gankbox gameplay has become a bit of a crutch for low-budget games that can’t afford other types of content at all. Even people who like PvP in general don’t want to see it become the only kind of dynamic content in town.

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Sword and Bored: Ranged Class

My favorite classes to play are melee. I don’t know why, but I like to be in the middle of the fray, stabbing the boss with my sword or lightsaber or other pointy object. However, I know as well as any other player the pitfalls of playing a melee class. That just doesn’t stop me from advocating the melee-friendly boss fight.

Our best friend, Mo, is now learning the problems of being a melee class and leveling up around other players who can out-distance him. However, I think Mo might actually be getting used to how this game works now. Let’s check out this week’s comic…

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The Daily Grind: Did you do anything noteworthy in MMOland this weekend?

I didn’t game as much as I would have liked this weekend, but I did manage a smidge of Elite: Dangerous, a bit of Windward, and a tiny bit of Assassin’s Creed: Rogue. Yes, I know I’m terribly late to the party on that last one.

But this Daily Grind isn’t about what I played, it’s about what you accomplished. So, how about it, MOP readers? Did you do anything noteworthy in MMOland this weekend?

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MMO Week in Review: Eyes on EverQuest Next (June 7, 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!

Hey, remember EverQuest Next? Daybreak does too, which is why it announced on Friday that it’s shifting developer attention to the unreleased title. There are caveats, of course; Daybreak won’t commit to a 2015 release, and Landmark is not being abandoned. “You can fully expect updates and hotfixes to Landmark as we continue with this development process; they are simply going to be on a less regular schedule than you guys have been accustomed to over the past year or so,” says Daybreak’s Terry Michaels.

It was a big week for MOBAs as well, with the launch of Heroes of the Storm and the sunset announcement for Infinite Crisis. Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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WRUP: Fallout Seven or whatever edition

Folks, the big video game news this week was confirmation that Fallout Something is going to be released! Through powerful kung fu focusing mostly on kicks powered by guns, I’ve obtained some new information about the game that I somewhat bothered to remember. The game will take place in some part of Rhode Island on an average Saturday and features giant ants, even gianter ants, mutated beasts known as “mutated beasts,” a really mean guy named Steve Somerhausen, and ants so big that the earlier ants are no longer in the game because these ants are, like, so big you guys.

Are you going to be flinging yourself into the bathtub while fully clothed over this news? Let us know about that in the comments because it’s time for What Are You Playing! And it’s also the first time that we’ve got some of our marvelous Patreon backers in the mix for this week’s writeup, so let’s find out what people are playing for the weekend.

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The Daily Grind: Should mature MMOs consider crowdfunding?

Massively OP commenter The_Grand_Nagus recently pointed us to a conversation on the Star Trek Online forum where a Cryptic Studios employee discussed the studio’s games’ revenues and staffing:

Game Development is directly proportional to revenue generated.

So long as a game is making more money than it costs to run, it will continue to run. And luckily, the costs to run a game are very scalable. The Dev team is most of the cost of running a game, and we can have more or fewer devs depending on the money coming in.

STO has a dev team proportional to its revenue.
NW has a dev team proportional to its revenue.
Champs has a dev team proportional to its revenue.

For the most part, there are very few scenarios where a game will simply shut down out of the blue.

It’s a dirt-simple declaration, of course, one that should give comfort to people concerned about Champions Online’s health in particular. And it made The_Grand_Nagus wonder whether the games wouldn’t be better off if players were more directly involved in directing that revenue.

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Snag a SMITE Xbox One closed beta key from Massively OP [All gone now!]

The Summer of SMITE is upon us! New playable character Ratatoskr, the Sly Messenger, went live with yesterday’s patch, and the formerly PC-only MOBA dived into closed beta for the Xbox One just a few weeks ago. We’ve got a bundle of keys to that very beta just for you courtesy of Hi-Rez, plus a little something extra for the early birds. Head onward to the giveaways!

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Massively Opinionated: How long will SWTOR remain relevant?

Star Wars: The Old Republic has been a controversial game since its launch late in 2011. Many fans felt burned after that first rocky year. But here it is 2015, and the game is still going strong… for now.

In this week’s Massively Opinionated vidcast, our host Larry Everett invited three prominent members of the SWTOR community to debate just how well the game is doing and how long it will continue to be relevant. Joining Larry is Heather from Corellian Run Radio, Alexander Kostadinov aka Vulkk, and Redna from It’s a Trap! Podcast.
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The Daily Grind: Are MMOs in a cultural decline?

An editorial over at Rock Paper Shotgun attempts to tie two topics together as one: why there will never be a World of Warcraft killer and how MMOs have been in a cultural decline ever since Azeroth opened for business.

World of Warcraft was a hit for many reasons,” the author postulates. “Its chunky graphics that still hold up. Its focus on a personal quest. Its generally welcoming attitude and approachability. But what made it the game that it was was being the first to bring the magic of MMOs to the wider world. […] But the trouble with magic is that the same trick rarely works more than once.”

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Massively OP Podcast: Episode 16

Free-to-play: Is it the albatross around the neck of the doomed or the ray of salvation that could spell years of bounty to come? That’s but one of many exciting topics that the podcast crew tackles today! Want more previews of today’s subjects? Here are two: ham and milk! Seriously!

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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Win a Wizard101 Aztecan Builder’s Bundle from Massively OP

Kid-friendly MMO Wizard101 is debuting a brand-new bundle pack this week for denizens of the Spiral. The $39 Aztecan Builder’s Bundle includes 5000 crowns or a month of membership, plus the Serpentine Estate build-a-castle plot and pieces, Feathered Raptor mount, Toucan’t pet, and a themed outfit, axe, and shield.

Want a chance to win one? The first 10 folks who click the giveaway button below will snag a digital key for the bundle all for themselves, courtesy of KingsIsle Entertainment. Onward to the keys!

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The Daily Grind: How would you run an ethical MMO cash shop?

Today’s Daily Grind topic comes to us in a roundabout way from Kickstarter donor Le Entrepreneur, who asks,

Why do MMOs use cash shops they know hurt players?

There’s an easy answer to this — because money — but it’s worth exploring in more detail, I think. Cash shops in general, after all, don’t hurt players, but cash shops that exploit players’ desire to win or that tinker with lockboxes are deliberately preying on games’ weakest customers. On the one hand, it’s just business, but on the other, it makes me uncomfortable that whales — some of whom are just terrible with money, not actually wealthy — are subsidizing many of the MMOs we play.

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