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]

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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Hyperspace Beacon: Eight reasons to return to SWTOR

In the midst of this rebirth of Massively, I found myself suddenly placed in charge of my Star Wars: The Old Republic guild. We are on a roleplay server because we like to be friendly to roleplayers, but we are not strictly a roleplay guild. I’m actually happy with that stance. I would like there to be more roleplay in my guild on a roleplay server, but being accepting of non-roleplayers allows us to recruit the player and not the character. And that’s the way guilds should be, right? With my taking over as guild leader, it’s a time for new beginnings.

Just as it’s a new beginning for my guild, this is also a new beginning for this column. This is the second or third new beginning for this column, but it’s still here because I still love SWTOR, and the readers here have stuck by it, too. Of course, we’ve all had some negative things to say about the game, but overall, the community and the game itself have been a positive experience.

Right now just happens to be a good time to get into the game for the first time or as a returning player. In fact, let me give you eight reasons why now is the perfect time to jump back into Star Wars: The Old Republic. Read more

The Daily Grind: Do you see hate speech in your MMO?

The other day one of our readers, Joe F., pointed us at a conversation between Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman and an ArcheAge customer who was banned. In the exchange, Hartsman said he reviewed the chat log that led to the ban, concluding, “In 2015, those two words aren’t ‘cussing.’ One is hate speech, the other racism. We wish you the best.”

Obviously, there are lots of kind players who exist together in peace in MMOs, but there are also bad eggs who do like to sling slurs against others out of anger or as part of their “gaming vocabulary.” In your MMOs, do you see much hate speech in chat and tells, or are most folks pretty much behaving themselves?

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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Wisdom of Nym: Starting new in Final Fantasy XIV

Starting out fresh in Final Fantasy XIV can be pretty intimidating, I freely admit. I find it all old hat at this point, but I’m coming at the game as someone who has leveled every single available class to 50. It would be more surprising if I were still starting out and wondering when I can get my first mount or when I’m allowed to completely ignore the story and just craft forever if that’s more my speed.

The answer to both is largely level 20, for the record.

Let’s assume, then, that you’re starting the game new for the first time. Once you’ve made your character (and your birthdate and starting deity have minimal effect upon your character, so don’t sweat them) and watched the far-too-long opening cutscene, you’re dropped into a quick series of tutorial quests. What do you do from there, where do you go, and how do you make the most out of your time in Final Fantasy XIV when we’re on the cusp of the game’s first expansion?

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite MMO character for PvP?

I’ve been spending my gaming time lately PvPing in Guild Wars 2 in an attempt to reinkindle my old obsession with World of Warcraft battleground-style gameplay. It’s working: I really love the GW2 maps, and it thrills me that it’s one more fun facet of a game I already enjoy more than most titles still alive today.

(Of course, there’s no more disgruntled a group in GW2 than PvPers, and I’m sure I’ll get to that same point in a few months. But for now, while everything is still new to me, I’m actually *gasp* having a good time.)

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The Soapbox: The crowdfunding conundrum

As I type this, Massively Overpowered’s Kickstarter campaign sits comfortably at $54,323. We hit our initial $50k funding goal in roughly 48 hours. We’re on pace to smash through our $75k stretch goal before the month ends. Thanks to the miracle of crowdfunding, the Massively team and I get to keep doing what we love to do instead of spending the next few weeks explaining to potential employers what an “MMO” is and why we had to write about it.

This has been an incredible experience. I’m absolutely humbled by our community and am infinitely grateful for its support. As I said in my backer update earlier this week, I’m completely out of ways to say “thank you.”

However, my overall feelings on crowdfunding remain the same. It’s slimy, dangerous, and a borderline scam.

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The Soapbox: It’s the little things that make an MMO special

In the years that I’ve been playing and covering MMOs, I’ve noticed that there are two distinct phases when it comes to introducing a new game. The first is the big marketing push, as the team introduces the MAJOR TALKING POINTS and attempts to overwhelm players with how this will be the MMO to end all MMOs due to its sheer feature list. We — the press and the community — get a lot of talking mileage out of this, although it typically devolves into a straight-up comparison of other titles.

But then there’s a lesser-noticed but perhaps more significant stage, when people start checking out the game and commenting not on its impressive feature list but on the little details that stand out. I’ve read and written my fair share of posts where the author burbles excitedly about some cool little thing he or she noticed and enjoyed, and that sort of enthusiasm seems more genuine and personal.

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite winter zone?

In the northern parts of the US, we are currently in the grips of a particularly brutal winter. Snow, ice, frostbite, polar bear attacks, and tauntings by the seasonally superior Canadian military are all a part of life these days. And as much as I’m not a fan of continually shoveling my driveway, I have to say that I am a sucker for a good winter… zone in an MMO.

Forochel in Lord of the Rings Online comes to mind as one of my favorite. It’s not your typical Alpine ski resort zone, but rather a desolate, above-the-Arctic-circle landscape dominated by freezing cold, an icy bay, and the Northern Lights. Every time I’m there, it makes me feel as though I’ve truly traveled to a far-off land.

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EverQuesting: Daybreak, SOE Live, and the resurrection of Fan Faire

It’s been quite a week! And not just for Massively Overpowered. Right as our original site was sunsetting, SOE announced that it was bought out and would be doing business under the new moniker Daybreak Games Company. Talk about shaking things up! Breaking free of Sony and going under the umbrella of an investment firm is just a wee bit of a change, and it is one that understandably had players nervous about future of the studio’s games. What will happen to the older titles like EverQuest and PlanetSide? What about those in development like EverQuest Next and H1Z1? CEO John Smedley assured players via Twitter that all the games will continue on. Time will tell. However, there was one immediate casualty in this whole changeover: SOE Live. And then in a huge punch to the fan gut came many more casualties in the form of multiple dev layoffs.

What will this all mean for players? As far as the convention side of things, a group of fans refuse to let 2015 go by without an annual gathering of SOE Daybreak Games players and is organizing a summer get-together. But will we even have games to celebrate come summer?

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The Daily Grind: Do you find some MMOs more relaxing to play solo?

You know, folks, I am all about getting my dungeon ride on in Final Fantasy XIV. I’m a roleplayer, to boot. I like being social in my games. And yet when I find myself playing World of Warcraft, I find myself actively preferring a bit of solitude far more often than I’d expect. This isn’t meant as a commentary on that game’s player culture or anything of the sort; I just like to have more stretches of not doing dungeons, just quietly doing my own thing and playing out the events in my character’s head.

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