Opinion Category

Opinion pieces are by definition neither neutral nor subjective. Massively Overpowered’s writers’ editorials reflect their own opinions, not necessarily the opinions of the site or company. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Wisdom of Nym: Speculating on Final Fantasy XIV’s 2016

I have high hopes for 2016. Higher hopes than I did for 2015, at least. 2015 also started out with my being fired for absolutely no good reason and then left to twist in the wind, as you all recall, so it will not take a heck of a lot for this year to turn out better. But you don’t want to know what’s going to happen to me, you want to know what’s going to happen to the game we all know as Final Fantasy XIV.

We know it as that because that’s its title, yes. Work with me.

Oddly, we almost incidentally found out one of the big revelations of next year before the year even arrived, but it’s going to take us most of the year to actually get there. But I’m getting slightly ahead of myself. Let’s start looking at 2016 for the game with a mix of speculation, certainty, and smug certainty that we won’t be eating crow about these predictions in five minutes.

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The Daily Grind: Will you Kickstart any video games in the new year?

A recent piece on Gamesindustry.biz posits that while there the crowdfunding “bubble” hasn’t burst, the crowdfunding scene, at least insofar as video games, is experiencing decline. Author Thomas Bidaux explains,

“2015 has been an excellent year for Kickstarter and video games, with more than $41 million collected by successful projects. This is a significantly better performance than in 2014 where we saw a decline in the total amount accumulated by games on the platform. […But w]hile 2015 was an excellent year for massive projects (the ones that are raising more than $500,000), what we see on all the other ranges is a decline. While we will end the year with more projects funded than in 2012, this year will be the lowest of the past three years. And the decline is seen in all the ranges of projects, except the small projects below $10,000 in funding. This is not a bubble bursting, as there are still more than 350 projects that are already funded this year. There are actually a good number of studios and creators being allowed to take their project further thanks to crowdfunding, but we are definitely entering a decline phase.”

Check out his data and consider whether you agree. Are we watching a “rich get richer” situation in Kickstarter history? And does it affect you — will you be Kickstarting any video games or MMOs in the new year?

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EVE Evolved: 2015 EVE Online year in review

It’s been a busy year for sci-fi MMO EVE Online and developer CCP GamesEVE received more updates throughout 2015 than in any previous year, though it came in many small releases rather than a few big expansions. We got a whole new sovereignty system and new territorial warfare mechanics that have started to break apart many large alliances. We got new ships with the tech 3 tactical destroyers, tech 2 command destroyers, tech 2 logistics frigates, and more. Practically every module was also rebalanced, the graphics have seen a number of serious upgrades, and the NPC storyline began to seriously heat up with the appearance of a new Drifter faction emerging from wormhole space with insanely advanced technology.

We got a good look at the future for EVE‘s gameplay at EVE Fanfest 2015 and again at EVE Vegas 2015, with plans to return to big blockbuster expansions with the Citadels expansion in spring 2016. EVE‘s player activity also showed a slow decline in tandem with global MMO subscriptions in 2015 but appears to have finally stabilised toward the end of the year. As a company, CCP continued to position itself as a leading player in the upcoming VR games market with its immersive dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie and the recently released mobile VR game EVE: Gunjack. We also heard very little from PS3 shooter DUST 514, and the rights to the World of Darkness franchise were sold off to another developer.

In this year-in-review edition of EVE Evolved, I look back at the past year of gameplay updates, lore and news coverage for EVE and CCP.

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The Daily Grind: Do long localization delays make you less likely to play an MMO?

Having written about it recently, I found myself thinking that it might not even matter if Phantasy Star Online 2 even comes out in North America. Seriously, it’s been out for three years now with no sign of localization. If it came out tomorrow, would anyone care any longer? Would people just write it off as yesterday’s jam?

It’s not unique in this department, of course. The same questions were raised when ArcheAge released with no sign of a North American localization for an extended period of time, and people have speculated that the long delay between Blade & Soul‘s native release and its localized release will dampen enthusiasm.

Delays in general can bring a game from The Next Big Thing to A Title You Have Forgotten About. Localization delays can be even worth, because they can mean that the game is out and its flaws are on full display… and you can read about them before you’re having any actual fun in the game. So do long localization delays make you less likely to play games? Or are you excited about the same titles no matter how long they may take to arrive?

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Massively OP’s 2015 Blooper Awards: Most Predictable MMO Delay

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our blooper award for Most Predictable MMO Delay. And the winner is…

The Division

The Division was unveiled at E3 in 2013. In January of 2014, an anonymous Ubisoft employee said the planned 2014 launch date of The Division was “laughable,” so the delay to 2015 wasn’t unexpected. In May 2015, the delay to Q1 2016 wasn’t particularly unexpected either. It began prepping for beta in June, and then the beta was moved to December. And now the beta has been moved to 2016 too. Ubi’s clinging to that March 8th, 2016, release date, but be honest: Would you bet your Steam account on it?

Want to nominate another winner? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out our serious MMO awards while you’re at it.

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The Game Archaeologist: Asheron’s Call 2

MMO sequels are funny animals. Sequels (along with prequels and “reimaginings”) are ingrained into the entertainment industry so deep that it makes sense that MMO studios would follow suit. And yet these types of games — with their ever-growing nature and heavy involvement with loyal playerbases — are not always conducive to such projects. More often than not, a sequel to an online game becomes its predecessor’s main competition, which is not a desirable outcome for the studio.

Perhaps back in the early 2000s, studios simply didn’t know better. There’s good evidence that the typical “hit video games need a sequel” mindset ran rampant across the industry, from the multiple attempts at Ultima Online 2 to the release of the don’t-call-it-a-sequel sequel of EverQuest II. Perhaps developers didn’t realize that MMO players didn’t necessarily want to be uprooted and moved to a new game every few years.

While sequels, spin-offs and remakes are still present, the genre learned a hard lesson with Asheron’s Call 2: Fallen Kings in the first half of the decade. Asheron’s Call was a minor success for Microsoft and Turbine, and a sequel — with vastly improved graphics and deeper gameplay — seemed like a logical next step. Unfortunately, it was a Greek tragedy in the making, destined for a short but memorable life in our world.

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The Daily Grind: Would you play an animal in an MMO?

It’s not every MMO that straight-up gives you the option to play as a run-of-the-mill animal (albeit one with human intelligence). Sure, there are plenty of anthropomorphized critters who take on enough people-like looks and characteristics as to not be off-putting to geek sensitivities. I’m not even talking about furries (or Furbies), but instead MMOs that give you the option to run around, fight, and even quest as an animal.

Lord of the Rings Online has the self-explanatory “chicken play.” Project Gorgon can transform you into a cow, pig, or some other beast with its own leveling track. Horizons had the whole “playable dragon” thing, although that might be stretching this topic a tad. And there are a half-dozen or so smaller projects that take on this approach as the core of the game.

So what do you think: If given a choice, would you play an animal in an MMO? Is that an interesting concept for you? For bonus points, what animal would you be?

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Massively OP’s 2015 Blooper Awards: Longest MMO Newsletter

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our blooper award for Longest MMO Newsletter. And the winner is…

Camelot Unchained

You guys. These things are epic. I gave up counting when one approached 11,000 words. Teach us to ask for design transparency!

Want to nominate another winner? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out our serious MMO awards while you’re at it.

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Jukebox Heroes: The 2015 Online VGM Awards

With another year coming to a close, I thought it would be an opportune time to go back and give out flippant awards to some of the MMO and MOBA soundtracks that released in 2015. Not every game gets an official album release, of course, but if there was a new game on the scene, rest assured that I was all over its music.

So read on for six awards that celebrate the highs and, yes, lows of the video game scores this year!

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The best MMORPG polls of 2015

Every week for the last few years, we’ve expanded on our “Daily Grind” theme with a Leaderboard poll. On the one hand, seeing the numbers and bar graphs is a quantitative sort of magic that we don’t often get from our other articles. On the other hand, it’s really obvious when a certain game’s community is swarming and brigading a vote.

Let’s take a look back at the best MMO polls of 2015.

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The Daily Grind: Are you playing MMOs on Christmas today?

Christmas means different things to different people. Some folks imbue it with family-oriented festivities, others consider it a religious day, and others just think of it as a free day off work (or a quick way to make some overtime pay!).

Before I had kids, I sometimes gamed on Christmas. For many years, my husband and I lived far from family and didn’t always go home for holidays, so it was just us, and we drank eggnog and played the hell out of MMOs. I was actually there for that first Christmas in Ultima Online when Santa came and gave out the special green ranger armor, back when nobody had any idea that “holiday events in MMOs” were someday going to be serious business. Sometimes I log into World of Warcraft and watch the griefers in Ironforge trying to block the presents under the tree. Memories!

Other years, we’ve made the trip to family and missed out on sweet MMO events. I think I missed Guild Wars’ winter events like four years in a row, and I was ticked! This year, I’m in that boat, and while I’m grateful to be spending today with family, my gaming time will probably be limited to what I can sneak in on my phone during the 12-hour drives.

How about you folks? Are you playing MMOs on Christmas today?

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Massively Overthinking: One MMO wish for 2016

We gave out a lot of awards this month for things games did in 2015, and we talked about what we think will happen in 2016. But what about what we wish would happen next year? Do you have hopes and dreams about our genre’s upcoming year? If you could make one single wish about the coming year of MMOs, what would it be?

I posed these questions to the Massively OP team for this week’s Massively Overthinking, and we’d love for you to join in.
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Massively OP’s 2015 Blooper Awards: Best MMO Milking Sim

Massively OP’s end-of-the-year awards continue today with our blooper award for Best MMO Milking Sim. And the winner is…

Project Gorgon

What, did you think this award was just an excuse to pick on early access or crowdfunding “milking”? Not this time! Project Gorgon is the best MMO in which you can milk animals. In fact, Justin tells me you can milk other players too. Now that’s a sandbox.

Want to nominate another winner? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to check out our serious MMO awards while you’re at it.

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