The holidays are approaching, and that means there’s not much time left to get presents for your friends and lumps of coal for your enemies. At MassivelyOP this year, we’re putting together a series of themed gift guides highlighting some potential gift ideas for players of particular games. If you know anyone who is mad about MOBAs, shooters, sandbox games or dungeon crawlers and you’re having trouble finding gifts for them this year, hopefully this guide gives you a few ideas or at least points you in the right direction. Normal Not So Massively news roundups will resume next week.
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Well, it is the end of the year, and we have been doing this comic for 37 weeks. It has been an amazing ride. Before we close things out for now, I’d like to take some time to recognize some key players in making this comic possible. Personally, I’d like to thank Jef for doing this with me and giving me the support and writing chops the comic needed. And Bree certainly deserves thanks for letting us do this hair-brained idea in the first place. But in reality, this comic would not exist if it weren’t for you, the Kickstarter supporters and the readers. Thank you so very much.
For now, on to this week’s comic…
So where does that leave Final Fantasy XIV‘s three new additions?
None of the new jobs introduced with the expansion is unusual at this point, but they all still occupy a unique place in player culture simply because they are new. Beyond that, however, all three of them have an odd place in player minds that may just be there until we get another set of new jobs with the next expansion. So let’s take a brief and highly unscientific look at where these jobs are as we steamroll toward the new year.
Every year, we poll our writers about the best and worst MMOs, stories, studios, and trends and assign awards to the winners (or losers, as the case may be). Last year, we broke with tradition and split our awards into smaller categories and individual posts so that we could consider them throughout the month of December, and it worked very well, so we’ll be repeating that format here. We’ll also continue providing our writers’ nominations and rationales (in some cases, we allowed them to choose two games to make the final decision easier); we think that’s helpful insight. And we’ll include a reader’s poll at the end. Let’s see whether you agree with our picks!
Today’s award is for the most underrated MMO of 2015, which was awarded to Elite: Dangerous last year. This time around, we opted to include pre-2015 MMOs, as long as they accomplished something truly notable in this calendar year.
The Massively OP staff pick for Most Underrated MMO of 2015 is…
Every time I play Space Engineers, or even write a post about it, I’m blown away by the recent planetary update. The sheer size of the new playfields, not to mention the fact that they’re all fully changeable by players, is one of the most impressive game industry feats that I’ve seen in quite a while.
I’m curious to see if other voxel-based titles can improve on Keen’s design, and as such I’m also curious to know about the MOP community’s affinity for these sorts of games. Aside from Landmark, there aren’t many playable voxel-based MMORPGs at this point, but what say you? What’s your favorite voxel game in general?
Hello again, friends, and welcome to the fourth and final installment of the Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns edition of Choose My Adventure. You may have noticed that this column is a couple of days later than usual. Sorry about that; it’s been a busy time.
At any rate, you may remember that last week, I asked y’all to vote on which tradeskills I should take and which zone I should conquer next. Cook took first place in the tradeskill vote by a fairly significant margin, while weaponsmith barely beat out armorsmith for the second spot. Meanwhile, for the zone poll you all decided that I should go sightseeing in Sparkfly Fen. So over the course of last weekend, I did exactly that. Here’s how it turned out.
Beta testing doesn’t bother me. Alpha-testing as a public thing doesn’t bother me too much either. But pre-alpha? You’re calling what you’re doing a pre-alpha, Crowfall? I love you guys, but this is just stretching definitions to the point of absurdity. What the heck is up with Star Citizen‘s “let’s release a tiny little part of the game isolated from surrounding environments” test scheduling? If you’re going to charge me money, H1Z1, you had better be ready to treat yourself as a launched title – because you’ve launched.
Don’t think I’ve forgotten your “soft launch” nonsense, Neverwinter. You’re still on thin ice.
This isn’t really indicative of quality in any way, but it’s an ongoing irritation that I have vis-a-vis testing phases. Part of this, I’m sure, is the fact that I write our weekly Betawatch column and thus have to sort out the mess on a regular basis. But is it just me? What part of the soup of MMO testing terminology bothers you? External alphas? Early access? Special hyper deluxe exclusive backer beta? (I might have made that last one up.)
With rare exception, creating multiple characters in MMOs is and has always been a standard practice for me. I can’t play any single class for long without looking across the fence and thinking to myself, “Hm… I wonder what that plays like? Maybe I’d like it more! Maybe there are different or more efficient ways I could be leveling!”
Before I know it, an army of alts is born, each one clamoring for my attention, my approval, my love. Usually only a small handful ever make it to the level cap, although I never quite tire of starting over once more time. Perhaps it’s chasing that “fresh character scent,” but mostly it’s the curiosity and desire to have a broad experience in the game.
So how alt-friendly is WildStar? While I’ve mained an Engineer to 50, I’ve dabbled in several Medics, one or two Espers, and a couple sly Spellslingers (I am not a melee fan, obviously). This past weekend I took advantage of the double-XP event to power-level an Esper, and all while I was doing so, I was thinking of what WildStar does right for alts and how it could be improved.
I acknowledge the fact that not every MMO fan is craving for a more portable online gaming experience. There’s a lot of wariness out there, especially considering how mobile titles sometimes epitomize the worst aspects of microtransactions and have a much more limited ability for input and screen real estate.
Yet I hold out hope that we’ll not just see more mobile MMOs, but that there will be a big breakout hit that will be as popular as it is well-crafted. I got pretty excited this past week at seeing AdventureQuest 3D’s Kickstarter campaign, and even more excited after reading through its design and feature list. Could this be the one, even with its generic name? Or what about Albion Online? I have no idea.
What do you think? Will we ever see a smash hit mobile MMO or is such a notion merely a pipe dream?
I say this with nothing but love in my heart: Some of you guys are serious MMO hipsters. Heck, some of you guys were MMOs hipsters before the word hipster was popular again. World of Warcraft was the first MMO? Pff! You were there for the worst MMO launch of all time. You once camped jboots for 30 hours straight. You played Ultima Online on dial-up, for god’s sake. And now, you back only true indies on Kickstarter.
Oh no wait, that was me.
In celebration of MMO hipsters old and new, today I present you Massively OP’s holiday gift guide for that most discerning of indie hipster snob in your life – because you can’t just plop down a WoW gametime card on some people and expect gratitude!
Yesterday, Wired published an intriguing editorial that argued “open worlds are changing how we play videogames.” Author Jake Muncy is talking about single-player games, of course: sprawling, open-world exploration sandboxes in the classic Bethsoft style, of which he’s not traditionally even a fan.
“This year, perhaps more than any other, has seen more examples of the genre, which are becoming the norm for big-budget triple-A releases,” he writes. “It isn’t hard to see why. Done properly, it’s a goldmine. It keeps players from trading in games too quickly; you’re more likely to ditch a linear action game that’s done in 10 hours than a sprawling epic that can take 100 hours or more. It’s easier to tack downloadable content onto an open-world experience, too.”
Every year, we lodge our predictions for the next. Funny, strange, and deadly serious, these predictions are a glance back on the naïvetés of 2014 and a chance to reflect on the last 365 days before launching into a new round of predictions and awards. In this week’s Massively Overthinking, we’ll be doing just that: Scoring last year’s predictions for 2015, counting both the hits and the misses, cheering when we got it right and giggling like fools with perfect hindsight when we whiffed at bat.
Note, the predictions naturally include notes from two former writers, both of whom now work for game studios, but they’re fun and we love them, so we’re including them!
We’ll assume since you’re a savvy gamer reading Massively OP that you’re already well aware of the world’s best MMO podcast. But what do you do with your other 167 hours after you’re heard the new episodes? Communicate with other people like a chump? Perish the thought!
On a recent episode of the Massively OP Podcast, we received a listener email asking for other podcast recommendations. While we gave a few on the air, the truth is that there are plenty out there to hear, although you might not be quite as aware of them. To help you fill the audio void in your life, here are several other podcasts that tackle our favorite hobby.