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: Who’s your favorite MOBA champion?

I’ve been playing League of Legends quite a bit lately, but I haven’t settled on a favorite champion yet. I’m a MOBA newb, so I’m trying everything in terms of roles to see what sticks and what sucks. I’m having the most fun with marksmen so far, just because last-hitting is strangely addictive and I’ve always been a stand-back-and-fire-guns kind of guy instead of a sword-and-board type.

What about you, MOP MOBA fans? Which champion is your favorite and why?

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EVE Evolved: Bring on the big expansions again!

When EVE Online‘s development switched from two major expansions per year to ten smaller releases, the benefits were pretty difficult to argue with. EVE had garnered a reputation for pushing out new features before they were ready just to make the expansion deadline and then moving swiftly on to the next big idea. Moving to smaller but more frequent releases means a missed deadline is only a delay of a few weeks and completed features don’t sit in limbo for up to six months until the next expansion window. The results in terms of gameplay are pretty hard to argue with too, as EVE has seen more updates and content in the past year than in any previous year.

Dropping expansions hasn’t been a wholly positive change, however, and in the long term I think it may have actually harmed EVE‘s player numbers. The smaller updates don’t make much of a splash in the media and don’t seem to make people excited to play or resubscribe in the way that a big blockbuster expansion does. Some big expansion-worthy features have been deployed in the dozen small patches released over the past year, only to slip silently under the radar of past and prospective players. Executive Producer Andie Nordgren recently announced that EVE is switching back to a standard expansion model next year, but with the twist that expansions will be released when ready rather than forced out the door for an arbitrary six month deadline.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss some of the problems caused by smaller updates and why I think big themed expansions are an integral part of EVE.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has your favorite cosmetic system?

The Secret World is not my game of choice, but I sure did like its system for appearances. Clothing was just… well, clothing. You could wear whatever outfit you liked! Your stats were entirely tied to other parts of your character, and there was lots of stuff to mix-and-match. Skyforge uses a similar trick with its outfits, but there’s less mixing and matching. It’s a bit less appealing.

Of course, I’m very fond of any cosmetic system; there are just better and worse options. City of Heroes has some gold-standard elements to its cosmetic system, naturally, but even in games with more investment in gear, there are better and worse systems. So what MMO has your favorite cosmetic equipment system? Would it work in other games, or not quite so much?

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The Daily Grind: How closely do you follow MMOs prior to launch?

MOP commenter Tandor Shadewalker recently made me think about what the game industry was like prior to widespread use of the internet. If you’ll allow me to paraphrase, he said that gamemakers made games, we bought them in stores, and on occasion we may have discussed them with close friends or family and even less occasionally written a letter concerning them to a gaming magazine.

In 2015 on the other hand, everybody’s a critic, social media gives a megaphone to people with nothing to say, and games are dissected, analyzed, and fought over before they’ve even made it out of alpha. While I can’t fully divorce myself from this silly and toxic climate and continue to do my job, I have begun to draw a very clear line between games I’m obligated to know about for professional reasons and games I choose to know about for personal pleasure. And I’m finding that the less I know about the latter titles prior to launch, the happier I am.

What about you, MOP readers? How closely do you follow pre-launch MMOs or games from your other favorite genres?

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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Leaderboard: Have you played Elite: Dangerous?

I’ve got the space sim bug again. Well, OK, I never really lost it, but work and other hobbies occasionally make immersing myself in something like X or Elite: Dangerous or Wing Commander untenable. I recently reinstalled Elite after playing around with it at launch, and I’m looking forward to jumping back into my life as an intergalactic trucker.

What about you, MOP readers? Have you played Elite? If so, what did you think?

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Choose My MOBA: LoL vs. Dota 2 vs. SMITE

A while back I became a fledgling MOBA fan thanks to Infinite Crisis. Unfortunately for me, Turbine decided to kill its DC universe battler just as I was getting into it. I’m currently looking for my next lane-based addiction, and I’ve boiled my choices down to League of Legends, Dota 2, and SMITE. The easy answer is “play all three,” and I have, to the point that I can talk semi-intelligently about their strengths and weaknesses from a newbish perspective.

I need to pick one, though, because all of them are free time blackholes and I do enough game-hopping as it is in the MMO space. Join me after the cut to discuss some pros and cons, and let me know which you think I should choose!

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The Daily Grind: What kind of physics-based gameplay do you expect in a next-gen superhero MMO?

When I first read Massively OP Kickstarter donor MagmaFist’s Daily Grind submission, I suspected him to be a big fan of Gravity/Force Fields Controllers in a past life. He asks,

What kind of physics-based gameplay should be or do you expect in a next-gen superhero MMO?

City of Heroes’ infamous combo leaped to mind because as annoying as some people found those powersets, their physics and animations made the game feel real. When you’re throwing around cars and watching them bounce off walls, or using force powers to propel thugs across the road, you master and immerse yourself in the space as much as the mechanics. Superhero games in particular take advantage of that, and I’d like to imagine that next-gen games can do so much better.

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Massively Overthinking: Graceful MMO free-to-play transitions

In honor of WildStar’s free-to-play transition this week, Massively Overthinking is about to overthink the very best F2P transitions ever. Even if you don’t like F2P, you probably can still name one that was pulled off well, one that was done particularly gracefully. I’m pretty sure you can think of some terrible ones too!

Intriguingly, after I posed this question to our team, Justin reminded me that technically, the last major subscription MMO to go F2P was RIFT in 2013. Everything else is either B2P or a minor game — or F2P or hybrid F2P from the start. Puts the question into perspective, doesn’t it?

Follow along to hear some of our writers’ thoughts and propose your own most graceful MMO F2P transition.

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Perfect Ten: Why big MMO expansions are a good thing

I’m not really on board with the trend of saying that big expansions are back. They never left. Sure, we have one coming out for Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2, but World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, and Final Fantasy XIV have all been keeping the faith for a long while now. Their format shifted for a while as game distribution formats shifted, but the idea of a big expansion has never gone away, just taken a drubbing from the popular adage of “let’s launch lots of little expansions over and over.”

Me, I’ve never been a fan of that approach. I wasn’t a fan of it with Guild Wars 2 when the game first made that a selling point, and I haven’t been fond of the games jumping on the bandwagon since then. And there are a lot of reasons why I’m in favor of slower patches and expansion with more content versus faster and smaller.

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Massively OP’s first impressions of Devilian

Call my stance on Trion World’s upcoming Devilian “oh-so-cautiously interested.”

Personally, I think Trion invited more grief than it wanted with the importation of ArcheAge to its portfolio, and with many MMO players still stinging from the disappointments that ensued with that title, I almost cringed when I heard that Trion was bringing in yet another game from Korea.

Almost cringed. Because for some ArcheAge is a blast, and even failures can benefit the future. Also, why shouldn’t an MMO studio be scouting good games wherever it can get them? So I attempted to shoulder off any meta bias in favor of approaching my first few days in Devilian’s alpha program, discovering for myself a game that’s a mixed bag in its present state — yet compulsively consumable even so.

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The Daily Grind: Give a shout-out to your favorite retired MMO characters

We all have them: MMO characters we invested time, love, and no small amount of effort in making them all they could be… after which we put them in mothballs as we moved on to a new game or alt.

They’re our fleet of retired characters, each one of them either sitting patiently at a selection screen somewhere or having been long since obliterated. Each of them meant something to us once upon a time. So today I’m asking you to give a shout-out to your favorite retired characters and a fact or memory about each.

I’ll always remember Syp, my madcap Asuran Engineer in Guild Wars 2 who toasted the entire landscape with her awesome flamethrower. She suffered many jumping puzzles in the pursuit of finding new places to burn, and I hope she enjoys retirement.

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Exploring ‘The Video Game Debate’: Modern online game research

Late last year, I published on Massively-that-was a set of articles addressing current research on the relationship between shyness and online game friendships, including a detailed interview with Dr. Rachel Kowert, a lead researcher on the related paper. Kowert and University of Münster colleague Thorsten Quandt have now collected and published their work and work by other academics into a new book now available called The Video Game Debate: Unravelling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Video Games.

Kowert generously provided me with an early draft of the book to discuss here. Her goal, she says, was to make an accessible book about modern game research for the public, but the results are a little depressing, even though the work and research done make me wish I had enough money to buy a copy and send it to everyone in the professional games and media businesses.

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Choose My Adventure: Freeloading in WildStar

Hello once again, friends, and welcome to a brand-new edition of Choose My Adventure. As you have probably already surmised, assuming that you read this post’s title, I’ve decided to do things a little bit differently this month by bypassing the game-selection process altogether. I know y’all like to have choices, and I like to provide them, but WildStar‘s much-discussed and long-awaited free-to-play transition seemed like a good enough reason to skip the formalities and just jump right in. I mean, let’s be real: The chances are pretty good that WildStar would have won the vote anyway.

On the plus side, however, since we’re not spending an entire post on choosing a game, that means that we get to spend a little more time with the game itself. As is tradition, however, this first post in the series is dedicated to choosing the character I’ll be playing for the duration of my time with WildStar. Unlike the previous two games we’ve visited in CMA, WildStar doesn’t provide any method of changing a character’s class after creation, so choose wisely! Now then, I think this introduction has reached the necessary state of being long enough to look substantial while not appearing overwhelmingly dense, so let’s cut to the chase.

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