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]

Marvel Heroics: Six leveling tips for Marvel Heroes

Welcome to Marvel Heroics, my look at the superhero exploits of Marvel Heroes! Just about half of Massively OP has gotten hooked on this title, so it felt right to devote some space to talking about this OARPG. And what better place to begin than grappling with the leveling game?

While dealing with around 50 heroes, legendary items, omega levels, and prestiging (re-level those characters for added benefits), there is no shortage of leveling to be done here. It might seem like a herculean task at the start — even with one character — but the game is designed to accelerate the process so that subsequent trips up the level ladder go faster and faster.

Here are six tips that I’ve discovered and others have shared with me to make the most of my efforts in leveling my roster of comic book wonders!

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Tamriel Infinium: The pros and cons of Elder Scrolls Online’s console versions

As of today, you can now play Elder Scrolls Online on your consoles as well as your PC. Finally, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gamers can play the game that PC gamers have enjoyed for nearly a year already. Of course, if you have been keeping up with our Tamriel Infinium column, you know that the Elder Scrolls Online game that PC gamers received at the game’s initial launch has changed quite a bit, and the game will continue to change as ZeniMax tweaks it.

It’s rare to hear that PC gaming owes anything to consoles because PC gamers like to think that the biggest innovations to games have taken place on the PC first. I’m not here to argue that point, but I would like to thank console gamers for the current pricing structure for ESO. I think it’s likely that the game would not have shifted to its current buy-to-play model if it weren’t for the imminent console release. And that would be a shame because this payment model is one of the best, and it carries across all platforms.

That said, there are differences between the PC and the console versions of the game, and if you’re still on the fence as to whether you should buy the console version or not, then let me give you the pros and the cons. I am familiar with the Xbox One version of the game rather than the PlayStation 4 version, but most of the these pros and cons apply to both.

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The Daily Grind: Is truly dynamic content still possible in MMOs?

This morning’s Daily Grind comes to us from a Kickstarter donor at fivefingerdiscount.org (who by the way is still linking to Old Massively! Gasp!). The donor asks one of those lovely simple questions that unravel into intriguing threads of thought:

Why do many MMO players complain about the static nature PvE content in MMOs when they are against PvP and the many non-static, interesting experiences it can bring about?

The donor is right that PvP is one way of adding non-static content to MMOs. But some players really don’t think that seeing their characters murdered is interesting and don’t really want to serve as other people’s “content” under any circumstances, dynamic or not. And frankly, gankbox gameplay has become a bit of a crutch for low-budget games that can’t afford other types of content at all. Even people who like PvP in general don’t want to see it become the only kind of dynamic content in town.

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Sword and Bored: Ranged Class

My favorite classes to play are melee. I don’t know why, but I like to be in the middle of the fray, stabbing the boss with my sword or lightsaber or other pointy object. However, I know as well as any other player the pitfalls of playing a melee class. That just doesn’t stop me from advocating the melee-friendly boss fight.

Our best friend, Mo, is now learning the problems of being a melee class and leveling up around other players who can out-distance him. However, I think Mo might actually be getting used to how this game works now. Let’s check out this week’s comic…

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Wisdom of Nym: Predicting the story beats for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

At the time you read this, you’ll have about 11 days left until early access starts up for Final Fantasy XIV‘s first expansion — possibly more depending on how the servers manage to hold up under the load. I wouldn’t imagine it’s going to be as bad as things were at launch, as those issues seem to have largely been addressed, but there’s always the chance…

The point is that we’re getting our expansion, and it’s going to start soon. And that leads the obvious question of what, exactly, we’re going to be seeing in terms of the story. We know how 2.55 ended, we’ve seen the trailers, and now we’re walking into the unknown. So let’s get into spoiler-happy speculation territory, so I can either be proud of myself or laugh at how completely stupid I was in a few months. Yes, I allow for both with a smile on my face. And if you want to avoid any potential spoilers, I recommend stepping away now with a smile on your face; fairly warned be ye.

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Splatoon is Nintendo’s first serious entry into online gaming

Gaming giant Nintendo is no stranger to online play, but its online play usually comes with distinct limitations on the game that features it. The Animal Crossing series takes the best advantage of online play, creating small, shared worlds (player towns) where players can interact and actually talk to each other through direct text input and voice chat. Even so, many game options, such as doing chores for your neighbors, shut off and are replaced by different sorts of activities (like mini-games).

Perhaps this is why many members of the Animal Crossing team are involved in Splatoon, Nintendo’s first online shooter, which launched last week for the Wii U.

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EverQuesting: Why I cheered when EQ’s progression server crashed

When EverQuest’s newest progression server Ragefire came online then took an immediate nosedive, I sprang from my chair cheering.

Hey now, don’t aim those eye daggers at me! Hear me out. My revelry was not because I wanted the server to fail and die. Quite the opposite, in fact: The reception it received, and the fact that so many were interested in this throw back to the olden days, was what was making me dance in the aisle and pump my fist with glee. It is a heartening blip on the radar of current game development, development that more often than not moves ever further down the instant-gratification road. It means people are not just paying lip service to the ideal of how things used to be; they are acting on it, even speaking with their wallets. More than anything it says old school is not dead.

And man, that is worth cheering about.

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MMO Mechanics: Three non-combat mechanics to love

The wheels in my head have been turning over non-combat mechanics in MMOs for a while now, perhaps because of the buzz surrounding Wander, the latest MMO to ditch combat entirely in favour of less violent interactive mechanics. I have to confess that I’m not a massive fan of thoughtless violence in my MMOs, so I tend to favour those with strong supportive mechanics that affect what I do outside of my usual mix of PvE combat. Characters in MMOs, for me at least, are an in-game reflection of the player, and I’d much rather rid the world of threats than kill other players in a frenzy without a plausible in-game reason.

I don’t believe than an MMO absolutely requires combat, and I certainly feel that other game genres have much stronger combat mechanics than ours if that’s what you’re looking for. Titles that allow players to choose another path if they wish are ultimately much more rewarding, filling my time with various pursuits and labours that use excellent mechanics. The virtual world I inhabit feels much richer when I have a hand in its economic or socio-political development through these mechanics, which is exactly what keeps me enthralled with the genre. In this issue of MMO Mechanics, I’m going to unpack three ways in which MMOs employ non-combat mechanics to enrich the game’s virtual world.

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The Daily Grind: Have bugs ever killed your enthusiasm for an MMO?

With a sale on Steam and a bit of curiosity, I decided that I would pick up and play some Fallout 3 over the weekend. Unfortunately, the description of the game didn’t include the important bit of information that the game will randomly crash on a regular basis, meaning that of my playtime in the game thus far, I’d estimate that at least half of it has been erased by the game crashing. Over and over. With no regard for what I’m doing.

I’m well aware the game isn’t an MMO (there are several signs, like the fact that it’s offline), but even so, I know there are people who have had technical issues so severe that games have been written off not for game mechanics but for simple unplayability. Has this happened to you? Have your attempts to play an MMO been met with so many crashes and bugs that playing became too irritating to continue?

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The Game Archaeologist: The Matrix Online

It’s not every year that a movie comes along that captures the pop culture zeitgeist so powerfully and so quickly as The Matrix did. I recall lugging a few college friends along to see this back in 1999 — having heard only a few sparse details about it beforehand — and coming out of the theater feeling as if we we’d been electrified. The bold mix of science fiction, martial arts, philosophy, action, and leather ensembles became the smash hit of the year, and a franchise was born.

And while we had great hopes that this would be this generation’s Star Wars, The Matrix ultimately proved to be a lightning-in-a-bottle phenomenon, impossible to recapture once unleashed. Sequels, animated shorts, video games, comic books — none rose to the height of the original film, and eventually the franchise petered out.

During this period, an odd duck of an MMO was born: The Matrix Online. When you think about it, an online virtual world where people log in and fight against programs was a really short hop from the movie series. MxO, as it was abbreviated, was an audacious game with unique features, story-centric gameplay, and a sci-fi bent in a field of fantasy competitors, and while it only lasted four years, it was enough to make a lasting impression for its community. Today, we’re going to revisit the 1s and 0s of The Matrix Online to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

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The Daily Grind: Is swimming really that important in MMOs?

One of the big brouhahas that arose back in Star Wars: The Old Republic’s development was the game’s lack of any type of swimming. No swimming? We might as well roleplay in a desert! Oh, the humanity!

Obviously, I do not have a deep vested interest in whether or not an MMO has swimming. The swimming skill in Anarchy Online was a joke stat, the much-vaunted underwater combat in Guild Wars 2 ended up keeping me on dry land, and I am generally pleased that my WildStar hoverboard works on water (take that, McFly) so that I don’t have to get wet. You know what’s the opposite of fun? When you’re swimming and you can’t find a place to leave the water, so you have to dog-paddle slowly around until you find a ramp somewhere.

Is swimming in MMOs really that important of a game feature? If so, what does it add to the experience for you?

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!


The Soapbox: The fallacy of ‘F2P insight’ in the MMO market

I read with disgust a recent GI.biz piece about free-to-play and its supposed coming of age. The business model has of course run amok through the western MMO industry since Turbine’s Dungeons & Dragons Online started the dominoes rolling in 2010, and it has been the weapon of choice for separating browser/mobile game players from their money since browser/mobile games became a thing.

Whether or not free-to-play is actually good for the long-term health of the game industry is up for debate. But you wouldn’t know that if you inhale the PR smoke commonly blown by development firms that owe their existence to the business model’s built-in saturation potential rather than their ability to make quality products that consumers value.
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The Daily Grind: Should mature MMOs consider crowdfunding?

Massively OP commenter The_Grand_Nagus recently pointed us to a conversation on the Star Trek Online forum where a Cryptic Studios employee discussed the studio’s games’ revenues and staffing:

Game Development is directly proportional to revenue generated.

So long as a game is making more money than it costs to run, it will continue to run. And luckily, the costs to run a game are very scalable. The Dev team is most of the cost of running a game, and we can have more or fewer devs depending on the money coming in.

STO has a dev team proportional to its revenue.
NW has a dev team proportional to its revenue.
Champs has a dev team proportional to its revenue.

For the most part, there are very few scenarios where a game will simply shut down out of the blue.

It’s a dirt-simple declaration, of course, one that should give comfort to people concerned about Champions Online’s health in particular. And it made The_Grand_Nagus wonder whether the games wouldn’t be better off if players were more directly involved in directing that revenue.

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