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]
I’ve been spending my gaming time lately PvPing in Guild Wars 2 in an attempt to reinkindle my old obsession with World of Warcraft battleground-style gameplay. It’s working: I really love the GW2 maps, and it thrills me that it’s one more fun facet of a game I already enjoy more than most titles still alive today.
(Of course, there’s no more disgruntled a group in GW2 than PvPers, and I’m sure I’ll get to that same point in a few months. But for now, while everything is still new to me, I’m actually *gasp* having a good time.)
As I type this, Massively Overpowered’s Kickstarter campaign sits comfortably at $54,323. We hit our initial $50k funding goal in roughly 48 hours. We’re on pace to smash through our $75k stretch goal before the month ends. Thanks to the miracle of crowdfunding, the Massively team and I get to keep doing what we love to do instead of spending the next few weeks explaining to potential employers what an “MMO” is and why we had to write about it.
This has been an incredible experience. I’m absolutely humbled by our community and am infinitely grateful for its support. As I said in my backer update earlier this week, I’m completely out of ways to say “thank you.”
However, my overall feelings on crowdfunding remain the same. It’s slimy, dangerous, and a borderline scam.
In the years that I’ve been playing and covering MMOs, I’ve noticed that there are two distinct phases when it comes to introducing a new game. The first is the big marketing push, as the team introduces the MAJOR TALKING POINTS and attempts to overwhelm players with how this will be the MMO to end all MMOs due to its sheer feature list. We — the press and the community — get a lot of talking mileage out of this, although it typically devolves into a straight-up comparison of other titles.
But then there’s a lesser-noticed but perhaps more significant stage, when people start checking out the game and commenting not on its impressive feature list but on the little details that stand out. I’ve read and written my fair share of posts where the author burbles excitedly about some cool little thing he or she noticed and enjoyed, and that sort of enthusiasm seems more genuine and personal.
In the northern parts of the US, we are currently in the grips of a particularly brutal winter. Snow, ice, frostbite, polar bear attacks, and tauntings by the seasonally superior Canadian military are all a part of life these days. And as much as I’m not a fan of continually shoveling my driveway, I have to say that I am a sucker for a good winter… zone in an MMO.
Forochel in Lord of the Rings Online comes to mind as one of my favorite. It’s not your typical Alpine ski resort zone, but rather a desolate, above-the-Arctic-circle landscape dominated by freezing cold, an icy bay, and the Northern Lights. Every time I’m there, it makes me feel as though I’ve truly traveled to a far-off land.
It’s been quite a week! And not just for Massively Overpowered. Right as our original site was sunsetting, SOE announced that it was bought out and would be doing business under the new moniker Daybreak Games Company. Talk about shaking things up! Breaking free of Sony and going under the umbrella of an investment firm is just a wee bit of a change, and it is one that understandably had players nervous about future of the studio’s games. What will happen to the older titles like EverQuest and PlanetSide? What about those in development like EverQuest Next and H1Z1? CEO John Smedley assured players via Twitter that all the games will continue on. Time will tell. However, there was one immediate casualty in this whole changeover: SOE Live. And then in a huge punch to the fan gut came many more casualties in the form of multiple dev layoffs.
What will this all mean for players? As far as the convention side of things, a group of fans refuse to let 2015 go by without an annual gathering of
SOE Daybreak Games players and is organizing a summer get-together. But will we even have games to celebrate come summer?
You know, folks, I am all about getting my dungeon ride on in Final Fantasy XIV. I’m a roleplayer, to boot. I like being social in my games. And yet when I find myself playing World of Warcraft, I find myself actively preferring a bit of solitude far more often than I’d expect. This isn’t meant as a commentary on that game’s player culture or anything of the sort; I just like to have more stretches of not doing dungeons, just quietly doing my own thing and playing out the events in my character’s head.
The MassivelyOP staff was discussing the
SOE Daybreak armageddon recently, and given the total absence of public data relating to who or what was ultimately responsible for the wide-ranging job cuts, we were forced to speculate. Some believe the company stretched itself too thin across its vast MMORPG portfolio. Others opined that everything from early access to SOE’s parent corp struggles to EverQuest Next and Landmark being in some sort of theoretical development hell were at fault.
Personally, I see the firm giving away expensive content — i.e., F2P — as the larger problem.
Most folks have certain class traits that appeal to them. Some love being that long-range archer sniper, while others get juiced on the feeling of being an invincible tank. There are those who prefer healing, those who love hybrid set-ups, those who like to conjure fire… and then there are those who love pets.
On our first Massively OP Podcast we fielded a question about MMO pet AI, which set me off on a long speech about just how much I love pets in games. Man, do I love ’em. I love how they make me feel as though I have constant companionship, I love how I feel “overpowered” when I’m fielding one, and I love how combat feels when I’m attacking a foe with one or more allies at my side.
Chances are, if your game has a pet class, that’ll be the one I’m playing. Here are my top 10 favorite pet classes in MMOs that I played for a serious length of time.
World of Warcraft‘s upcoming publish, we learned this week, will boast Twitter integration. Welcome, WoW, to the year 2011 when we were already complaining about the rise of embedded social media in MMOs from Champions Online to RIFT. Hooray!
I kinda like social media. I particularly like following interesting people and gaming personalities on Twitter. I use it for work and play. And yet I still don’t think I’d want to Tweet to my followers from inside an MMO. It’d be an immersion-breaker, a distraction, and possibly even an etiquette faux pas. I can see it now: “Why didn’t you get out of the fire?” “I was trying to attach a pic of our raid for my Twitters!”
Right now I believe that we are on a threshold of change in the MMO industry, and it feels a little uncertain and a lot scary.
While there are MMOs being made and developed as you read this, it seems as though there are less of the traditional big-budget titles with highly recognizable IPs and more indie projects that are operating outside of the normal paradigm. We have games that are funded entirely through fan support. We have spiritual successors instead of sequels. We have MMOs that are also single-player titles. We have devs over here jumping on the Minecraft wagon, devs over there trying to get a piece of the League of Legends phenomenon, and devs designing for a specific audience rather than a general one.
You know, for some reason we didn’t have a whole lot of discussion about the Sony Online Entertainment buyout and name change when it first happened. We posted about it, but we never had a chance to ask our readers about it or have a round of staff opinions. That reason probably had something to do with our own huge and sudden changes that sort of forced their way to the forefront, so we’re hoping you can forgive us for that lapse in discussion. The world is a crazy, crazy place sometimes.
Don’t call it a comeback; I’ve been here for years.
Last week, I wrote a farewell, and I wasn’t happy to be doing so. I knew that I would still be playing and thinking about Final Fantasy XIV, but I also knew that I was done writing about it for the same reason that everyone else was done. I certainly didn’t imagine that a week later I’d be preparing a new column with a new name and a new lease on life on the same topic after you wonderful folks smashed the hell out of our Kickstarter goal.
But here we are, and I’m happy to be here again. I’ve got a new column, I’ve got a new lease on life, and it seems that today is the best possible time to talk about Final Fantasy XIV‘s fantastic endurance, and not just how it’s managed to take a game that was widely panned and bring it back as a surprise hit; that much is a given. No, I’m talking about how the game keeps winning converts, entrancing new people, and pulling players back time and again.
Just over two weeks ago, I found out that Massively.com was being shuttered along with the rest of the Joystiq network. It’s been a convoluted and crazy road to get to the words you’re reading right now on the brand-new Massively Overpowered, but thanks to you, it’s happening, and here we all are, talking about MMORPGs and doing that thing we used to do.