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 are your hopes for BlizzCon 2015?

BlizzCon 2015 begins later today, and I have to admit that I’m nervous. Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Heroes of the Storm aren’t exactly my cup of summoned water, and I don’t really care about the Warcraft movie except in that it bolsters the MMO industry, but Diablo is a franchise near and dear to my heart, and I’m one of a handful of staffers at MOP who’ve played and loved World of Warcraft through its long history.

Guys, I even liked Mists of Pandaria.

But Draenor didn’t do anything for me, and I dread that Legion might suck. I want it to not suck, both as a player who’d like to go back and as an MMO writer. WoW is treated as a bellwether for the health of the western MMO industry, and I want to see WoW’s numbers going back up — and staying there — not crashing down again if Legion is lackluster.

That’s my hope for BlizzCon: Let Legion be awesome.

How about you? What are your hopes for BlizzCon? What do you want to see the most? And what do you actually expect?

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Massively Overthinking: What to do when your MMO grows stale

Earlier this year, Kotaku ran a piece on how to make your favorite games feel new again once they’ve gotten a bit stale. Since Kotaku cover lots of games, its suggestions included things that don’t necessarily apply to most MMOs, like running without a minimap or refusing to level up, but there are also some widely applicable ideas like challenging yourself to a permadeath character or streaming your gameplay in front of an audience.

What do you do in your favorite MMO when it starts to feel a bit stale? How do you recharge and refresh the game for yourself? These are the questions I posed to the Massively OP writers for this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Massively OP Podcast Epsiode 37: Heart of Thorns chat

We finally body-tackled Guild Wars 2 expert Tina Lauro for a special half-hour podcast to talk about Heart of Thorns. She’s got opinions, praise, criticism, and foresight coming out of the wazoo, so if you’re at all interested in the expansion, check out this episode!

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.

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WoW Factor: What WoW Legion needs from BlizzCon

It’s go time tomorrow: BlizzCon is almost here, and I’m going to be liveblogging my way through most of the event. And boy, it’s coming at an interesting time, what with the game officially declaring that it will no longer announce subscription numbers in the same year that the game has lost about 45% of its subscriber base.

I could write a whole column on that, sure, but it would mostly be 1200 words about the simple fact that the Powers That Be realizing how bad the news looks even when the financial falloff isn’t as bad as it may appear. But to be quite honest, what’s far more interesting to me is what needs to happen over the next couple of days, and I’m penning this now so we can all argue about whether or not BlizzCon delivered after it’s all over. So what do we need to see about Legion to serve as a much-needed boost to World of Warcraft player morale?

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EverQuesting: Remembering EverQuest II’s bumpy 11th year

In the 11th year of EverQuest II, what did SOE/Daybreak give to me? An emotional rollercoaster ride! This Sunday marks 11 years of Norrathian adventures in the fantasy game, and what an adventure it has been. This year, unlike any other before, has been marked by upheaval and uncertainty for the company behind the venerable franchise. Yet there have also been a fair share of high points. EQII fans have definitely weathered ups and downs throughout the last 12 months.

While normally an anniversary stroll down memory lane is centered more on what’s actually in the game, this look back is unique in that so many things outside the game itself influenced the year. Everything is intertwined. Development itself was obviously scaled back thanks to all the things happening to the studio, and in a genre that sees games come and go all the time, EQII players finally experienced the real dread that they might actually lose their favorite world. The good news is the year has ended as it began: on a high note. Hopefully, the lucky years 12 and 13 will be less of a seesaw and more like the dizzying fun of a merry-go-round!

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Perfect Ten: Why making an Old West MMO would be challenging (but worth it)

The western has been limping along for decades now, occasionally rearing its head to produce a well-loved movie or game smash hit before disappearing once more. It’s certainly one of the most-cited genres when it comes to speculating about largely unexplored spaces for MMOs, but how feasible is doing an online western RPG really?

We’ve seen some titles tap into the western feel without being a true period game, such as WildStar and Fallen Earth, but no major attempt has been made to create an MMO in the wild, wild west of legend. Still, you look at how gamers flocked to Red Dead Redemption and you have to wonder if there’s potential there for something more persistent and massively multiplayer.

Today I’m going to mull over the finer points as to why making a western MMO would be an incredibly challenging feat — and why it would be totally worth it if done right. Giddyup, cowpokes!

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The Daily Grind: What feature do you wish MMO devs would stop implementing?

There are few things in this life that I’m sure about, but one of them is the fact that I can’t freaking stand MMO story. I wish devs would stop wasting time and money by shoehorning single-player narratives with cutscenes into multiplayer virtual worlds and instead spend time and money building tools with which players can tell their own stories. Or you know, just go make a single-player RPG and leave MMOs alone. Whichever.

I’m also sure that many of you disagree with me!

So let’s make a Daily Grind out of this. What feature do you wish MMO devs would stop implementing? Story? PvP? Crafting? Something else?

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Choose My Adventure: Into the Heart of Thorns

Hello again friends, and welcome back to Choose My Adventure. November is upon us, and that means two things: It’s time for another round of the annual cries of, “Why are all these stores decorating for Christmas when Thanksgiving isn’t even over yet!?” and perhaps more relevant to our interests, it’s time for a new series of CMA. As the particularly quick-witted among you may have surmised from my cryptic, totally-not-obvious remark at the end of last week’s column, this month’s series will be focusing on Guild Wars 2‘s first expansion, Heart of Thorns.

You all know the drill by now, I imagine, but as is customary for the first installment of a new CMA series, this week is all about creating my character before I jump into the game itself. So with that in mind, I’ll stop dillydallying so we can get right down to business.

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite MMO starter zone?

A lot of love and attention is poured into beginning zones by developers. After all, these are players’ first steps into your world, so you want to make the absolute best impression possible. Plus, if an MMO ends up becoming a player’s favorite stomping ground, these early zones become nostalgia fuel for the start of a wonderful journey.

Today I’d love to hear about your favorite beginning zones. I have so many of them, from Northshire Abbey in World of Warcraft to the Shire in Lord of the Rings Online. Even WildStar has a pair of terrific newbie areas with Everstar Grove and Northern Wilds that are brimming with personality and views.

What are yours?

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Global Chat: The frustrations and joys of Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns

The player debate and analysis over the virtues and vices of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns has — unsurprisingly — evoked strong opinions on both sides of the aisle.

Blogger Bhagpuss at Inventory Full said that he’s a satisfied customer: “For once I’m getting what I want. It feels these maps have been made with my playstyle squarely in mind. Instead of achiever maps with a nominal nod to exploring these are real, explorable maps with a few lifebelts scattered around for drowning achievers to cling to.”

Alternatively, Creeping had an epic-sized rant about how the expansion felt like a bait-and-switch from the beta. “I really, really, don’t understand why they had to add the hero point grind, on top of the masteries grind on top of a story arc grind,” she wrote.

Agree? Disagree? We’re only getting started with a look at the opinions across the MMO blogosphere today!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 36: Team Sparkles

Bree is the world’s biggest vampire and Star Trek fan! This and other dubious “facts” are what you’ll discover on this week’s show, as the podcast crew talks about CCP’s White Wolf sale, several major game updates, and something called “post-purchase rationalization.”

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.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s immediate future

I imagine that the launch of Heart of Thorns was quite a bittersweet event for the ArenaNet gang: The sense of relief and celebration when the big red button was pushed was palpable, but it’s not as though the Guild Wars 2 developers then got to sit back and relax after a long road to expansion release. We’ve seen some sizeable fixes already within just over a week of launch, many of which I have covered in my launch diary series, and there’s so much more to come in the few short weeks we have left of 2015. If there’s no rest for the wicked, the team must be firmly on Santa’s naughty list!

Yesterday Game Director Colin Johanson pushed out a new blog post that outlines his studio’s plans for the continued development of HoT, including the launch of raiding and improvements to the game to further the e-sports potential of the title. In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll both outline and provide some commentary on the game’s future development plans.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the healthiest living MMO?

Back in June, Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti wrote an article listing what he considered the 10 healthiest MMOs, a subject that quickly proved controversial, in part because the definition of “healthy” is so hard to pin down. “There are a lot of variables to consider,” he wrote. “I researched several angles, including player tracking services, frequency of patches, financial reports, and even how often each game pops up on blogs.”

To some people, an MMO’s health may not matter all that much: They’re going to play what they want to play right now, the future (and other people) be damned. Others worry endlessly that the game they are investing time into may not be around in a year and strongly prefer to be in a “safe” game with apparent longevity, even if it’s not necessarily their favorite game.

How much does a game’s health matter to you? How do you go about determining the health level of an online game? And what’s the healthiest living MMO?

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