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]

Tamriel Infinium: Six features Elder Scrolls Online’s level-scaling system needs

I have a terrible confession to make: I was about to write off Elder Scrolls Online. I was going to consider it dead to me. The game has made major steps in the right direction, but as my report card indicated at the end of last year, it’s really just an average game from an MMORPG player perspective. In the latest update, however, Creative Director Matt Firor described a few things that gave me pause, and I think you should be considering the implications, too.

It would be silly for me not to mention player housing and what’s currently being called the barbershop. I’ve said for a long time that housing gives players a sense of ownership in the game, and every MMO should have some sort of player-ownership. And the barbershop’s features of name change, race change, and even gender change certainly makes me sit up and pay attention. But the biggest upcoming change for me is level-scaling across the whole game.

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The Daily Grind: Should MMORPGs use Kickstarter as a promotional option?

One of Tuesday’s big bits of news was that Hero’s SongJohn Smedley‘s big post-Daybreak project – was cancelling its Kickstarter. The announcement was not that the game was stopping production or would not get finished, but the Kickstarter simply wasn’t going to hit its targets and thus was cancelled. The investors were still there, and there was no real question of whether or not the game would keep going, with Smedley saying even in our initial interview that the Kickstarter wasn’t absolutely necessary.

This makes a certain amount of sense, of course. It makes more sense to get people hyped for something that’s actually going to happen regardless of funding, and there’s certainly some appeal to having that money provided by fans rather than by investors who want to be paid back. At the same time, it does feel as if “support” is a bit perfunctory when the game is getting made regardless. Why put down money when it’s going to happen without your money? Why not pay for the game when it’s actually out at that point?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 48: Blade & Soul runner

The big news this week is Blade & Soul’s long-awaited western release, and you can bet that Bree and Justin are going to be talking about jiggle physics, wuxia movement, and awesome character creators on today’s show. Does this mark the beginning of a promising 2016?

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.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Hands-on with Guild Wars 2’s Shatterer Unleashed

In the last edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I discussed the Guild Wars 2 Winter 2016 update that releases today in great detail, so I’m really excited to follow that up with my initial impressions of the revamped Shatterer fight in this edition! I was invited to play through the encounter for myself in advance of its release today: I played alongside some of the ArenaNet gang, including Game Designer Andrew Gray, and other members of the press on the staging client, so you won’t be seeing my usual characters in the screenshots. During two playthroughs we were able to ask our questions and get some answers while we attempted to down the new-and-improved baddie, who is now considerably more challenging. To find out how I fared, what I thought of the iteration, and how the fight shapes up to other Heart of Thorns content, keep on reading!

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The Daily Grind: How much will you pay for a VR headset, and which one will it be?

New analysis published on GamesIndustry.biz last week suggests that the virtual reality headset war is only going to heat up from here on out. Eedar’s Patrick Walker researched “consumer awareness” of different VR headset brands in the wake of the Oculus RIFT preorder announcement, arguing that PlayStation VR, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and SteamVR/HTC Vive all trail Oculus considerably when it comes to whether people even know they exist. Oculus is currently considered the luxury brand of the market, too, convincing more than half of those polled that it will provide a headset with the highest quality.

Most intriguing to me is the split between those who think a VR headset should run under $200 vs. over $300 — it shows more than half of the market last year wasn’t willing to pay even a third what the Oculus is asking, and a quarter still isn’t.

So today’s Daily Grind questions are two-fold and aimed at MMORPG players specifically. How much would/will you pay for a VR headset, and which one will it be — which VR system is best for an MMO player?

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How Star Wars: The Old Republic won me over with its endgame

I walked away from last week’s Star Wars: The Old Republic livestream pretty happy. Considering that I repeatedly say how much I absolutely loathe information presented as a video rather than just a nice solid block of text, that says something.

When I returned to SWTOR, it was after a two-year break from the game that followed reasonably close on the heels of Rise of the Hutt Cartel. I enjoyed that expansion, but what kind of dragged me to a halt with the game was my general disinterest about Star Wars combined with the fact that the endgame was the same unpleasant mire that wasn’t doing World of Warcraft any favors then or now. It’s important to note that when I left, the game had been my main go-to game for quite some time.

Now, of course, The Force Awakens managed to kindle a heretofore unprecedented affection for the franchise in me (a discussion of that would be outside of this particular article’s wheelhouse) and my wife and I couldn’t help but go back. And that brings me around to now, in the wake of a livestream where the prospect of new operations is basically met with a shrug and a guess. That earned some points.

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Wisdom of Nym: Potential jobs for the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion

We’re going to be hearing about the next expansion to Final Fantasy XIV in… several months, actually. We’re in no kind of rush here. But I promised last week that we’d be continuing on the speculation train this time around, and even if I hadn’t promised it, I would still be eager to do so. I like speculation about this sort of thing, and the fact is that we have a wide-open field of things to speculate upon for the next expansion vis-a-vis jobs.

I see three likely possibilities for the next expansion, but I can’t list all of the possibilities for the next job. There are countless options. A quick glance at the history of the series reveals countless possible jobs, and that’s assuming that the next set of jobs is something entirely predictable rather than something totally out of left field, which it completely could be. We could get a job none of us have ever heard of, and it would make perfect sense.

So let’s talk about what I see as the most likely possibilities, and we’ll move forward from there.

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Hands-on with HEX: Chronicles of Entrath’s PvE

What do you know about HEX: Shards of Fate? If you’ve ever played it, probably more than me. But what do you know about Chronicles of Entrath? HA! I’ve got you there. I spent a day at the HEX Entertainment studio, hobnobbing with developers and hearing all about many aspects of the long-awaited PvE expansion. There was plenty to take in, from the AI to the art to the history of the game.

Oh, and I got to play! That was something you should have seen: I didn’t lose a single match.

My takeaway from the experience is a desire to dive in and play more. And that’s coming from someone who has never touched a TCG before, on or offline, and was honestly a bit intimidated by HEX. Once the patch goes live next week, I’ll encourage everyone else to jump in and check it out, whether you are an old pro or newbie like myself. Here’s why.

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EVE Evolved: Should CCP start developing Walking in Stations again?

In all the time that I’ve been writing about EVE Online, one of the most common recurring comments is that the game badly needs some compelling avatar-based gameplay. Many people have been compelled to try EVE over the years after hearing some crazy story of a record-breaking heist or massive ship battle only to be put off that you spend all of your time trapped inside a spaceship (or an escape pod if you run into trouble). CCP has even been teasing us with the idea of getting out of our ships and walking around inside stations since as far back as Fanfest 2006, but the feature never fully materialised.

Originally called Ambulation and later renamed to Walking in Stations, EVE‘s avatar gameplay represented a massive technical challenge of a scale that the studio had never tackled before. The feature was reportedly partially developed and then scrapped several times over the years, with grand plans periodically emerging for things like player-owned social bars, gambling minigames, and holographic war rooms. When the feature finally landed in 2011’s Incarna expansion, it didn’t live up to expectations, and the backlash from its ludicrous microtransaction prices and the perception of wasted developer time had serious repercussions for CCP’s bottom line. Development on avatar-based gameplay ceased at that point, but nearly five years on I’m beginning to think that now would be the perfect time to revisit it.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the reasons that avatar gameplay failed in EVE the first time and why I think now may be a good time to pick it back up again.

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Leaderboard: What’s your opinion of Blade & Soul, one week in?

On Friday, we updated our beta impressions of Blade & Soul with fresh impressions after a week of play, and the underlying theme of both pieces was that the import is respectable but not revolutionary, which won’t surprise anyone who’s been watching the game overseas for its last several years.

Let’s see if our community can reach a similar consensus. What’s your opinion of Blade & Soul, one week in? Vote away in the poll below. You can vote for up to three options on this one!

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever had an in-game MMO romance?

I got my wife into MMOs by volunteering to buy her a copy of World of Warcraft. At the time, we had been best friends for years – since we had met back in college, in fact – and we were moving in the direction of romantic involvement. So we started playing together on a nightly basis, and that formed a big part of our relationship before we moved in together. It started some nicknames and traditions that we still observe now, a decade later.

A lot of online romances end badly, but not all of them do. Not all of them are even what springs to mind with the term “in-game romance.” What about you? Have you had an in-game romance? Has playing games together significantly impacted your romantic life? Or do you prefer to keep your online gaming and your romantic life entirely separate from one another?

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Blade & Soul impressions from around the MMO blogosphere

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that Blade & Soul managed to rope in a lot of excited fans and curious casuals this past week. I mean, in the east it’s been a popular and successful hit, and in the west its release has been hoped for and anticipated for literally years at this point.

MMO bloggers are always on the front line of any charge into a new game release, especially with one boasting this high a profile. So I’ve been keeping track of some notable first impressions of Blade & Soul from around the blogosphere, with the end goal of sharing them with you.

So if you’re still on the fence even after reading our first impressions piece, then here are some additional perspectives, opinions, and recommendations from your fellow gamers!

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The Daily Grind: What were MMOs like back at their launch?

I was reminded this week that Dungeons and Dragons Online is hitting its 10-year anniversary in 2016, which amazes me because I don’t think of this title as being that old.

In fact, I was there when DDO first launched, having been lured in by its promise of replicating the D&D experience with dungeon dives and a more thoughtful, calculated approach to gameplay than what had become the standard in the MMO industry. My first month involved running through the tutorial along that beach boardwalk and then starting to explore the city of Stormreach. Back at launch, you couldn’t even access the entire city until you overcame a certain slime-ridden sewer early on (if memory serves correctly).

I’m betting that you were present at one or more MMO launches back in the day. Today I’m opening up the floor for you to share your memories of what particular games were like on day one, so unearth those memories!

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