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]

The Daily Grind: What's the best game-within-a-game in the MMO space?

Jef and I were talking this past weekend about something Star Wars Galaxies got really, really right: the Jump to Lightspeed expansion, which brought joystick-driven free-form space exploration and combat to the sandbox. More importantly, it brought multi-person ships to a genre that simply had nothing like it. Imagine bringing your ground-based party to a totally different place where the holy trinity was pilot, gunner, and mechanic and the endboss was a star destroyer. It was awesome.

Jef told me that after JTL launched, he spent almost all his time in space. And that got us debating games-within-games -- not timewastey /gems or card games, mind you, but the kind of large-scale game systems that are so rich and entertaining in their own right that they create entire subcultures dedicated to them and attract players who do little else in the game but that one thing.

We're trying to think of others in today's TDG. What's the best game-within-a-game in the MMO space?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today's Daily Grind!

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EVE Evolved: Exploring EVE's 'new opportunities'

This week saw the first concrete reveal of EVE Online's potentially revolutionary new Opportunities system, which promises to replace the current tutorial with a more sandbox-oriented alternative. Rather than leading players by the hand through a series of steps, the new system will give players looser goals to complete and let them explore the game at their own pace. It doesn't sound like a huge change, but the opportunities system will completely change the way new players interact with the game. If it works as intended, this feature has the potential to solve EVE's notorious learning curve problem once and for all.

At the same time, I find myself excited for new opportunities outside the game as Massively relaunches as an independent site. Just a few weeks after we were informed that Massively was being shut down and we were all being let go, everyone on the team has pulled together and volunteered his or her time for free to create Massively Overpowered. It's really good to be back, and I hope I can continue delivering your regular dose of EVE Online for years to come! Ultimately, though, the long-term viability of this column and all the other coverage at MassivelyOP depends on the success of our Kickstarter campaign and future funding through Patreon and advertising.

In this first edition of the reborn EVE Evolved, I discuss EVE's upcoming Opportunities feature and the effect it might have on the new player experience.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO boasts the best bard?

A player on Reddit recently asked one of the most pressing questions in the MMO genre today: "Where can I find a fun Bard-like class?" Though often posts on the MMORPG Reddit aren't heavily populated, this one elicited dozens of responses and ideas. I'm telling you: Bards are awesome, and everyone knows it.

Naturally, the thread quickly devolved into bragging about just who could twist the most songs as a Bard in classic EverQuest.

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LOTRO Legendarium: What can we expect from Mordor?

Welcome to LOTRO Legendarium, the continuation of my old Road to Mordor column from Massively. Why the name change? First, I never got to name RTM (it was chosen by another author before I came on board as a writer). Second, I wanted to work in Lord of the Rings Online's name into the title. And third, I liked how Tolkien used the term Legendarium to refer to his writings on Arda. And here we are!

As I make my way through Central Gondor on my Captain, my attention and thoughts have increasingly turned to our assumed great destination: Mordor. While 2015 holds large updates for us in Gondor, including Osgiliath and Minas Tirith, it's a reasonable assumption that our next steps will take us through the Black Gate and into the foul lands of the Enemy.

So if and when that happens, what can we expect from a nation that personifies evil with its very essence?

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The Daily Grind: Are you with or behind the player curve?

There's one unfortunate fallout to taking an extended leave from an MMO: You quickly fall behind the curve. As patches and expansions and changes roll in, players in the game adapt and conquer while you'll be playing catch-up if or when you come back.

I'm experiencing this right now in Star Wars: The Old Republic. When I left, my Operative was doing Makeb with the rest of the crowd, but now that I've returned, I'm one of approximately six people on this planet while everyone else is Rishi this and Rishi that. I don't even know what a Rishi is, although I suspect it's some type of midichlorian pasta maker.

In your MMO, are you with or behind the player curve?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today's Daily Grind!

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Working As Intended: 'Multiplex monotony' and the death of the mid-budget MMORPG

Back in December, film editor and author Jason Bailey wrote a piece on Flavorwire called How the Death of Mid-Budget Cinema Left a Generation of Iconic Filmmakers MIA. He spins a tale of the booming movie industry of the '80s and '90s, when mid-budget films were commercially feasible and commonplace. By the turn of the century, however, the movie industry had bisected itself; studios stopped committing resources to mid-budget films, "betting big on would-be blockbusters" instead and generating a hard-scrabble indie scene in their wake. As Bailey's title suggests, that dramatic shift uprooted a generation of brilliant filmmakers and cheapened the art of films and filmmaking for everyone.

It's no stretch to say we're witnessing the same phenomenon in the world of MMORPGs.

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The Daily Grind: Are you optimistic about WildStar's future?

I'm sure this won't serve as a grand surprise to anyone reading this, but I've been thinking a lot about the future of WildStar ever since we saw NCsoft's financials last week. While it's all well and good to try and cast the news as a positive by pointing out that it's nearing the range of City of Heroes in terms of revenue, it behooves us to remember that CoH was unceremoniously shut down. Considering the hostile takeover NCsoft is facing, I think it's enough to start one seriously thinking about the future.

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Massively Overthinking: The best MMOs for duoing

A Massively Overpowered reader by the name of DaBruuzer posed a great question to the team, one I thought we'd have a better time answering as a group since many of us play with spouses, significant others, or dear friends in duos.

"I would love to see some coverage about MMOs that are couple-friendly. My wife and I have been playing MMOs as a couple for many years now, always trying out new games that make duoing fun. Since the sunset of City of Heroes/Villains, we just haven't found a new home. I have seen lots of stuff about soloing and grouping, hence my 'couples' angle. I don't necessarily mean about a game's marriage features -- more like MMOs that complement a two-person group set-up."

For this first installment of the reincarnation of our old Think Tank, I asked the MOP crew about the very best MMOs for duoing.

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The Daily Grind: How do you rate Guild Wars 2's season 2?

As I write this, I'm almost finished with the second season of Guild Wars 2's vaunted living story. Without any specific spoilers, I have to say that the season was a step up from the first, with a tighter delivery of narrative and the ability to replay episodes at one's leisure. However, I never felt truly drawn into what felt like a drawn-out prologue to a boss fight that has yet to come, and none of the characters save Taimi had any interesting character development happen.

So now that the season is over, let's hear some reviews from those who have played it through. What do you think of season two? What could the devs do better in the third season, assuming that it will come after the expansion pack?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today's Daily Grind!

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Jukebox Heroes: World of Warcraft's tavern tunes

One of my favorite aspects of World of Warcraft's soundtrack is its devotion to giving the in-game taverns catchy and cozy tunes. I always loved swinging into an inn between adventures just to soak up the ambience and take in the score that was more relaxing than any tankard of virtual ale.

You can imagine how glad I was to see Blizzard devoting a full soundtrack release to WoW's tavern tunes in 2007. Along with the hard-to-find Mosaic album, Taverns of Azeroth is the only non-expansion (or core game) soundtrack the studio has released. I really appreciated how Composer David Arkenstone layered in atmospheric sounds and used them to transition between the tracks.

So let's listen to selections from that album and see if we can't dredge up memories of our favorite watering holes!

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Leaderboard: Which Daybreak MMO is most vulnerable?

Are you over the Daybreak Game Company layoffs shock yet? Nope, neither am I. But my shock is compounded by dread over the fate of the studio's games. While Daybreak has reassured players that it's still got teams working on most of its MMOs (and I myself argued yesterday that most of the games are probably safe), some of the studio's titles seem more vulnerable than others, especially given last year's infamous purge. Of course, getting H1Z1, PlanetSide 2, and Landmark players to agree on who's in the most trouble is a daunting task. Let's put it to a vote in our shiny new poll: Which Daybreak title's future seems the most in jeopardy to you?

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The Daily Grind: Do you have more time or money for games?

I'm told that time is money, but the exchange rate is not universal. There are people whose time is, apparently, worth more than my time. But we can agree that the exchange rate is there, and it's one of those aspects used to sell convenience in almost every game going. You can spend a whole lot of time leveling a character to the level cap in World of Warcraft, or you can just pick up a level 90 boost and save yourself a pile of time. Experience boosts, travel speed boosts, crafting time boosts, they're all functionally ways of trading money for time.

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