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: When was the last time you binged on an MMO, and what was it?

Over the weekend, thanks to a perfect combination of nothing pressing on my calendar for a change, an injured ankle, and crappy weather, I stayed home and basically binged on MMOs. It started out innocently; I hopped into Trove to play with my son, then I talked myself into farming to buy him a club (it’s a like a custom private island) to play around in, and within a few hours, I had devised a list of a hundred other things in the game I wanted to do and the whole family was hanging out in the living room together playing an MMO. Finally, that whole kid thing is paying off!

It’s the closest I’ve come to binging on an MMO in quite a while; usually, real life interrupts me and ruins my streak. When was the last time you binged an MMO, and what was it?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 161: Project power

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin roll up their sleeves and take on projects left and right. It’s a look at the announcement of Project C and the imminent early access launch of Project Gorgon, among many other exciting developments this week!

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.

Listen to the show right now:

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Global Chat: Avoiding MMO activities

Have you ever noticed that you play it way too safe in your MMOs, especially when it comes to interacting (or not) with others? Aywren of Sygnus wrote an honest blog post lately in which she felt challenged to examine and even buck her “safe patterns” in life and gaming and to try to get out of her rut and try new things.

“On my gaming blog, I’ve talked about my struggles with grouping in MMOs, and how FFXIV specifically had to pick me up and forcibly throw me out of my safe zone if I wanted to keep playing it. This is something I still struggle with,” she admitted. “I do everything I can to avoid stressful dungeons, raids or classes. I’m still afraid of tanking and healing for strangers outside my FC.”

Join us for more thought-provoking blog posts from the MMO community as we fill up your screen with the latest in Global Chat!

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The Daily Grind: Are you going to play Project Gorgon’s early access?

People, I am frustrated. But in a good way.

With the activation of RIFT Prime, the release of LOTRO’s Northern Mirkwood, and now this week’s launch of Project Gorgon on Steam early access, my MMO dance card is beyond full. Yet I cannot fathom ignoring Gorgon, as I’ve been waiting years for the game to get to a point where it is ready for full-fledged adventures. With this release, I think it is there.

So I will be playing with bells and whistles on, and I think Eliot might too, especially after his effusive praise of the game in his Choose My Adventure series. It’s such a quirky and fun title in the vein of Asheron’s Call that has a lot of us on staff rooting for its success.

But what about you? Now that the early access barrier has been breached, will you be trying out Project Gorgon to see if it’s worth the fuss?

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Wisdom of Nym: Speculating about Final Fantasy XIV’s Eureka

I think Naoki Yoshida has severely overestimated how much I wanted to chase after a Scorpion Harness again.

One of the things that I mentioned way back when about the Diadem was that it felt like a Final Fantasy XI zone in Final Fantasy XIV. We don’t know all of the details about Eureka yet, but what we’ve learned so far definitely seems to indicate that it’s meant to be a similar experience. Heck, the visuals alone are doubling down on that; you can’t add in gear that’s specifically meant to look like the Scorpion Harness without inviting comparisons to the original Final Fantasy MMO.

We don’t know nearly as much about Eureka as we might like to know, but we do know something, at least. So let’s review what things we do know, speculate about the stuff that fills in the gap, and start considering what the experience of exploring this new zone will feel like, yes? I’m excited, at least.

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Guild Chat Special Edition: Interviewing Guild Wars 2 guild POOF

Welcome along to Guild Chat, the column through which we examine all things guild-related and solve problems faced by fellow members of the Massively Overpowered community. This edition is rather different, however: I had the opportunity to interview the key players in a Guild Wars 2 guild named POOF that featured in ArenaNet’s Friend/Ships campaign, which you may have read a little bit about in Flameseeker Chronicles. Friendships have been at the forefront of ArenaNet‘s minds for the last month or so and POOF’s guild story is one that was featured within the campaign (the video is below for those who haven’t seen it). I asked them about how they organise their guild, what makes POOF so special, and how they support their members, and I’m delighted to share their insights with you in a special edition of Guild Chat.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the wackiest MMORPG enemy group you’ve ever fought?

So I’m playing Trove this weekend when I go into a dungeon on one of my lowbies and I realize that the mob that’s kicking my butt is a fridge. I mean that absolutely literally; the mob was a refrigerator. To attack me, it whipped open its doors and shoved out what I think is meant to be a stuffed turkey on a rack. I thought I was going slightly mad, but the Trove wiki backed me up: This is a thing, and I’ve been away from Trove long enough that I’d forgotten about them. Long live the Fridgebots!

For me, that mob is the weirdest I’ve ever tackled in a very long time playing MMOs, and this is a genre that has candy corn elementals and playable babies. What’s the wackiest MMORPG enemy group you’ve ever fought?

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Jukebox Heroes: World of Warcraft’s best music, part 4

We are getting right down to it in our look at the top 32 best World of Warcraft tracks. In today’s column, we’ll be breaking into the top 10 with some of my absolute favorite pieces that have been added to this long-running (and extensively scored) MMO.

If you’ve been going on this journey with me this far, I want to thank you for your patience and interest! For me, it has been a great reminder of the game’s musical journey so far and has also served to whet my desire for Battle for Azeroth’s score.

Let’s get going!

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The Daily Grind: What cosmetic rewards in online games don’t feel like rewards?

One of the most common rewards from loot crates in Overwatch were sprays. (It might have changed, but I doubt it.) You point your character at a wall, and look, you sprayed an image there! Amazing! And I don’t care and would not notice if the feature were removed entirely, not because it’s cosmetic fluff (which I live for) but because it’s cosmetic fluff that doesn’t matter to me in the slightest. If I could convert every spray I ever received straight into currency, I would do so. They hold absolutely no value for me.

The thing about cosmetic rewards is that they only work if they’re something you actually care about. I rarely intend to use the various cosmetic options introduced in Final Fantasy XIV, but they’re at least there; by contrast, many World of Warcraft cosmetic rewards only can be used for cosmetic transmog during the events in question, making them fundamentally useless again. So what about you? What cosmetic rewards have online games offered that feel utterly irrelevant to you, if not actively disdainful?

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First impressions of RIFT’s Prime progression server

The best word to describe what was happening on the launch day of RIFT Prime was “surreal.” It was absolutely surreal to see crowds of players running around in the low-level zones, and more than one person made the observation that it felt like the original launch day all over again.

I had to concur. With guilds forming left and right on the new progression server, players scrambling over each other to try to grab quest objectives, and fishing lines as far as the eye could see, it was a sight not seen in the beginning zones of RIFT since March 2011. And also as in 2011, everyone here on this progression server was paying a subscription to be a part of this new, tailored experience.

It’s a weird bird, too. RIFT Prime isn’t exactly vanilla, but it does offer a way to go back to the core game without some of the “fast lane” features (like instant adventures) to zip up through the levels. It strips all players of their extra starting bonuses, save for the special cash shop packs that kind of ruined this pristine level starting field.

It was a good, strong start, at least as far as my limited observations perceived, but what was playing RIFT Prime really like? After a couple of days on this new server ruleset, I have a few thoughts about both the good and bad of RIFT’s stab at a progression shard.

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The Daily Grind: Have you tried out an MMO ironman challenge?

For players who feel as though they’re never being pushed very hard in the modern era of MMORPGs, one concept has bubbled up to provide the challenge that studios won’t. This is what’s colloquially called an ironman mode or ironman challenge.

The idea here is that players will create a character that will voluntarily submit to a stringent set of rules designed to make leveling and questing dangerous and difficult. The specific rules for ironman modes change from game to game and player to player, but typically there is no use of any external help, no talent points, and no good gear. Additionally, most ironman challenges will require a player to delete his or her character and restart upon that character’s sole death.

Is this something that sounds interesting to you? Have you ever tried an ironman challenge or something like it to give a new and more difficult twist on an MMO playthrough?

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WoW Factor: Examining the composition of the Horde

Last week, we looked at the composition of the Alliance in World of Warcraft. This week, we’re looking at the Horde. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you missed the prior column, catch up and get back to us here.

One of the things that’s always been true about the Horde in World of Warcraft is that it is, by and large, a more heterogeneous collective of races and nations. This is partly by design, and partly because the Horde just seems to have a different way of handling its membership and its populace. If the Alliance needs a group of skilled trackers in a new landscape, it’ll find its best scouts and train them; the Horde, meanwhile, will just befriend a local group of existing trackers and welcome them into the Horde.

Does that sound a bit off the mark? Well, let’s take a look.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG has most improved its UI over the years?

In an earlier Daily Grind on peripherals, I mentioned how I used to fold up a piece of paper into a triangular prism, write down my keybinds, and prop it up on my keyboard in old school Ultima Online. That was because the game really didn’t have much of an interface. Things like healthbars and paperdolls and bags and spells were ad hoc; you could pull them out and drag them around your screen (that was ahead of its time!), but there wasn’t even a trace of the rudimentary hotbar that EverQuest would later introduce to the genre. You set your macros in options and that was that.

Since then, UO has come a really long way in the UI department thanks to multiple client upgrades. The current top-shelf UI for the game is in the “enhanced client” that about half the playerbase reportedly uses, and it’s much more like the sort of UI modern players are used to, complete with endless hotbars, API support, and on-the-fly configuration. If I dropped that UI onto a screenshot for a different game, I bet most of you wouldn’t bat an eyelash. (I was going to do that for this post, but I decided to use the brand-new F2P login screen instead – does that take you back, vets, or what?)

Anyway, that’s just one example of an MMO with a vastly improved UI. Which MMORPG do you think has most improved its UI over the years?

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