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 oldest MMO you’ve ever played?

I read yesterday’s news about Meridian 59 with interest because it’s one of the few genre titles that was before my time. My MMO obsession began in Ultima Online circa 1997, which was a year or so after M59’s commercial launch. I’ve always meant to check out the latter, though, and now I’ve got even more motivation to do so since it’s receiving updates from its open source community.

What about you, MOP readers? What’s the oldest MMORPG you’ve ever played?

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: How many concurrent players must a title support to be called an MMO?

I’ve been playing a lot of GTA Online here lately, and while the recently released PC version ups the multiplayer ante over its console counterparts by supporting 30 avatars and a couple of spectators, that’s still a far cry from the number that I’ve arbitrarily assigned as the cutoff for calling something an MMO.

I say arbitrarily because of course “MMO” has no universally accepted definition. What say you, Leaderboard readers? How many concurrent players must a title support before you deem it an MMO? Vote after the cut!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Hands-on with Guild Wars 2’s Stronghold PvP

The PvP team at ArenaNet is steadily gearing up for the release of the Heart of Thorns expansion, with the PvP-inclined among the Guild Wars 2 playerbase being treated to a 24-hour open beta Stronghold event last week. I don’t know about you lot, but I found the Stronghold open beta experience to be very interesting and perhaps even game-changing for me. I was invited along by the team to join forces with other journalists and ANet staff, including Game Director Colin Johanson, in an epic battle across the Champion’s Dusk map during the day-long playtesting period.

My name is Tina and I am PvP-phobic. I have an embarrassingly poor track record in PvP, opting instead to sink my time into PvE adventures rather than bashing my toon against the might of other players. PvP usually switches me right off, presenting a very steep learning curve that’s quite unforgiving for a curious explorer like me. But I put my dread aside and threw myself headlong into the perilous fray of Stronghold this week in order to sum up the experience for an edition of Flameseeker Chronicles… and was pleasantly surprised!

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The Daily Grind: Where do you go to relax in MMOs?

This morning’s Daily Grind comes to us from an anonymous Kickstarter donor with a deceptively simple question:

Which MMO zone is the most relaxing?

A lot of people consider dungeons and combat relaxing compared to their real-world daily grinds, but I love my peace and quiet, and sometimes I like to go to places in games that are anything but messy and loud. I can think of so many serene places — the old-world shrines of Ultima Online, the Naboo beaches in Star Wars Galaxies, the Shire in Lord of the Rings Online. But I’m giving my top vote to Glitch‘s weird and wonderful secret rooms, some of which were so magnificently obscure and truly useless that you had the impression that no one but you had ever passed through them, that they were truly private and safe and secret, which is always relaxing for me.

So which MMO zone is the most relaxing for you? Where would you go to relax in MMOs?

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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Global Chat: Are WoW Tokens worth it?

The debut of World of Warcraft Tokens into the game’s economy has caused quite a stir, particularly after the prices plunged during the first few days. Alt:ernative Chat discussed the economics 101 aspect of the event but ultimately posed a few soul-searching questions for buyers.

“Was it worth it?” she asks. “All that time it took to ‘make’ that money in game, is this a fair exchange for the real world money you’ve currently freed up? What if Blizzard turned around tomorrow and vastly restricted your ability to make gold in the future? Most importantly of all, do you now feel a greater obligation to play the game because you had to work for it in a different fashion than simply stumping up US/AU Dollars?”

To that all I can say is: Time is money, friends! In this week’s blogosphere safari, we look at the backstory of SWTOR’s Revan, ponder the merits of joining a multi-game guild, and read an analysis of Guild Wars 2’s elite skills.

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Tamriel Infinium: The 18 words an Elder Scrolls Online newbie needs to know

One of my favorite things about the storytelling in Elder Scrolls Online is that the quest-givers don’t fill their dialogue with exposition regarding Tamriel lore. For instance, NPCs will throw around terms like Ayleid and Dwemer as if you are just supposed to know what that means. That’s not to say they don’t share a lot of expository dialogue; it just usually contains the information that you need in your quest, not the story behind the story.

I thought it fitting to give you a list of terms and names that you will run into while playing the Elder Scrolls Online that you need to know, especially if you’re a novice to the franchise. I’ve run into most of these myself, and I reluctantly admit that I wasn’t sure exactly what they meant. For instance, what’s the difference between Tamriel, Nirn, and Mundus? The Prophet seemed to use these terms interchangeably in his dialogue, but they certainly mean different things, and he’s not using them arbitrarily.

So this week, I’m going to do something different from what I usually do. I’m going to make a lexicon of sorts. I have 18 terms that I think you should know going into ESO in order to understand the deeper meaning behind some of the quests that you will be running.

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The Daily Grind: Is Firefly Online the future of MMOs?

Last week, Firefly Online announced that it had scooped up almost all of the old Firefly cast members to voice the multiplatform online-but-not-really-an-MMO. Cue internet nerdgasm! I am impressed that the game is managing to dodge so many of the usual problems of IP-driven games; you’re playing not Mal or Zoe but a pale imitation of them as the captain of your ship, and while you’re the protagonist in your own story, you’re not necessarily a big damn hero.

On the other hand, the “online” part of the game is more or less limited to social connections and player-generated content in the form of custom missions. It’s going to be cool, but I can’t help but worry that far too many games that would have been designed as MMOs a few years ago are going this cheap and easy route now instead — that this is the sort of game that will bleed our genre rather than round it out.

Will you play Firefly Online, or are you holding out hope that the IP will get a proper MMO at some point? Do you think this style of game is the future of MMOs?

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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Sword and Bored: Loot table

We are nearing two months of Sword and Bored. It’s been so much fun so far exploring the personality of Mo, who represents nearly everyone who has ever logged into an MMO and been stymied by the recurring tropes.

I mentioned last week that Mo was first created on as a sketch for the Massively Overpowered logo, but the character didn’t really come to life for me until I started creating the header images for the Kickstarter. Although the most popular image of Mo has to be his winking pose used for the “thank you” image, it was the “why Kickstarter” image that really solidified how I was going to deal with the character. How do you make a character emote when he’s always wearing a faceplate? Clearly, I had to break some rules, but in breaking them, I found that his personality really began to shine.

It shined strong enough to make a comic based on his adventures. And here’s what happened this week…

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s big finale

Let me warn you upfront: If you have not yet finished the last major story patch of Final Fantasy XIV and you want to make sure not to see or read any spoilers, please, do not read this article yet. There will be spoilers. Spoilers will flow fast and furious. Your desire to not be spoiled is both entirely understandable and one that I wish to honor as much as possible, so please, turn back now. I won’t be offended.

That having been said, it’s past time to talk about what happened during the last patch. I made some predictions, and several of them were wrong, but what we were left with is downright fascinating. It gives us a framework for what comes next in the story while also dramatically changing the landscape of the game, and while there are some people with a great deal of irritation at the story’s twists and turns, I don’t share that dissension. I am psyched.

Again, spoilers past here. You have been warned.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the most helpful loading screen text?

MMO loading screen text varies widely from game to game. Some titles choose to put snippets of lore on their loading screens, while others reveal portions of the game mechanics. Still others go with filler text that seems like it was written by an intern with a fleeting grasp of English, the game in question, and the sorts of things that players need to know.

What do you think, MOP readers? Which MMO has the most helpful loading screen text?

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: How many subscriptions does EVE have?

Two weeks ago, a mathemagician over at The Nosy Gamer published some interesting calculations showing that EVE Online‘s subscriptions may have dropped by around 18% in the past two years. CCP has always prided itself on the fact that EVE has grown year-on-year since release, but the last official number we heard was when it reached 500,000 subscriptions back in February 2013. Players have taken the company’s silence since then on the matter of subscriptions as an admission that subs have been falling or at least not growing for the past two years.

So where did this 18% figure come from? It was extrapolated from estimates of player participation in the last two CSM elections, and the reasoning behind the number seems pretty good in the absence of any official announcement. It will probably not come as a shock to anyone if this calculation turns out to be accurate, as EVE‘s concurrent player numbers have also seen a roughly 20% drop since 2013. As development on EVE has been very well-received over the past two years, I’m inclined to believe that the drop in activity has more to do with trends in today’s gaming habits and purchasing choices. Online gaming seems to be going through an evolution, and the mandatory subscription model may be becoming obsolete.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I run through a set of calculations to work out how many subscribers EVE really has, determine where the reported 18% drop is coming from, and ask whether this is a trend CCP can fight.

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The Daily Grind: Do you want minigames in your MMO?

I won’t pretend that I’m one of the biggest fans of the game, but I’m really glad that Triple Triad is a thing in Final Fantasy XIV. I’m also super psyched that World of Warcraft has its various Darkmoon Faire diversions (though they should really be around more) and I’m even keen on the absurd little pattern-matching Dilithium mining in Star Trek Online. Put simply, I’m a big fan of having some minigames to take part in as I play.

Minigames that aren’t tied to fighting or crafting or the like are, to be fair, not part of the core design of a game. They’re extraneous side ventures, and it’s very common for them to either be far too rewarding or not rewarding enough. But I like the fact that they exist, and I’m always willing to at least try a new minigame or two. What about you? Do you like minigames, or would you rather that developers focus more efforts on core gameplay?

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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LOTRO Legendarium: Why LOTRO needs a progression server

At some point this year — Turbine isn’t saying when, yet — Lord of the Rings Online will be making an effort to consolidate server populations. It’s a good move, considering that this MMO has quite a few servers and the players are too spread out. I’m hoping that transferring players from low-pop servers will grow the community and forge new friendships.

As I whole-heartedly support merges (or whatever PR phrase you want to use to avoid that dreaded term), what I am going to say next will sound really strange: I think the studio should open up a new server. And not just any old ruleset server, but a progression server.

I’ve been jealous of seeing games like EverQuest roll out this type of special ruleset because it seems like such a fun idea that few other studios are willing to implement. Well, I think a progression server would be a huge shot in the arm for LOTRO and could be a marketing boon if done correctly. Or maybe I’m simply mad in the head. Either way, I’m going to muse on what a progression server would look like and how it could help the game!

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