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]

GTA Online: All the open world feels, none of the MMO grind

Any minute now I’m going to log out of Grand Theft Auto Online so I can finish this not-a-review. Seriously, I’ve played this game for, oh, 65 hours since it launched on the PC last week? At least that’s what Steam says. I’m not sure I believe it, though, because it feels like five minutes, and the few times that I’ve managed to log off and go outside have been sweet, sweet sorrow.

Say what you will about Rockstar’s fondness for smutty protagonists and its penchant for dialogue that would make Joe Pesci blush, but no company does action sandbox gameplay better than these guys. And hey, most of the really objectionable content lurks in GTA V’s story-driven single-player campaign, which leaves GTAO as a sort of virtual playground for adults, the likes of which most modern-day MMOs can only dream of providing.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best hybrid classes?

I didn’t know hybrid classes were a thing, really, until I picked up classic EverQuest way back in 1999. Most of the roleplaying games I’d played until that point, including pioneering sandbox MMO Ultima Online, were skill-based, and so I more or less picked skills that I liked without worrying about hybrid penalties. (In classic UO, pretty much everyone was a mage, after all!) EQ introduced me to those stock Dungeons and Dragons concepts, however, and the majority of subsequent MMORPGs have clung to classes to make life easy on the designers tasked with balancing player power.

Hybrid penalties or no, a lot of people really still love the idea of being a jack-of-all-trades, of having a variety of skills and playstyles all on one character, and penalizing players for picking non-pure roles has long fallen out of fashion. Skill-based sandboxes, of course, still allow players to pick up swords alongside their shovels, but themeparks like RIFT and Skyforge and Final Fantasy XIV also let you swap around your subclasses so much that pretty much everyone in the game is a hybrid.

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Massively Overthinking: Overcoming ‘Barrens chat’ culture

Tonight’s Massively Overthinking aims to address a core problem facing the whole internet, not just games: antisocial behavior. Our question comes from Kickstarter donor Katie MacAlister, who wonders,

What can be done to combat the “anonymity on the Internet breeds douchecravats” mentality that pervades MMOs? Barrens chat, trade chat…for every “good” soul, there’s a handful of twits. What can the MMO world do to fight this?”

I asked our writers about the best ways players and studios can overcome this ever-present problem.

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Massively Opinionated: WoW vs. LOTRO vs. the banker

Welcome to Massively Opinionated, Massively Overpowered’s brand-new vidcast! We’ve all argued and bantered with guildmates and forumgoers over which MMO character is the most powerful or why sub-to-play is better than free-to-play. In Massively Opinionated, we’ll funnel those debates into a fiery and fun video program featuring journalists, bloggers, and community members from around the MMORPG world.

The rules are simple: The arbitrator, Massively OP’s own Larry Everett, invites three internet personalities to the show, asking them four questions that they can research to formulate their arguments and bolster their positions as they try to hold their own during the debate. The most persuasive panelist for each topic will be awarded a point, and at the conclusion of the ‘cast, the panelist with the most points will reign supreme!

This week’s panelists, debating topics that revolve around what makes MMOs special, are Mike Byrne from MMOBomb, Richie Procopio aka Bog Otter, and our very own Tina Lauro. Enjoy!

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Perfect Ten: The 10 things every MMO’s official site should have

Are you ready to have you mind absolutely blown open? Because I have an astonishing truth to lay at your feet: While doing this job, I visit a lot of official game sites. A lot of them. Pretty much constantly.

Here’s an equally astonishing truth: Most of them are terrible. And I’m sure basically every person out there who has been forced to navigate through official MMO sites would probably agree with me. Like designers of many other websites, the designers seem to be absolutely certain that I want one thing when I go to the site when what I really want is something entirely different.

Let’s codify this, then. There are a lot of features that every game’s official site should have that very few of them actually do; today, let’s talk ten features that pretty much every official MMO site ought to have… which a depressing number of them lack, sometimes for really incomprehensible reasons.

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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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