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]

Leaderboard: Would you play a wild west MMO?

I’ve been playing Call of Juarez: Gunslinger here lately. It’s nothing special, really, but it is a competent wild west shooter that I picked up for pocket change on Steam quite a while ago.

While the gameplay is overly familiar, the setting is not, and the soundtrack is pretty great, too, if you’re into twangy atmospherics, slide guitars, and the like. I’d certainly like to see an MMORPG set somewhere on the American frontier, and frankly it baffles me that no studio has done so yet.

What about you, MOP readers? Would you play a wild west MMO? Vote after the cut!

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Massively Opinionated: Which MMO is the stickiest?

Unlike single-player games, MMO need a built-in reason for people to keep coming back, or better yet, stick around forever and ever. Some MMOs clearly have better staying power than others. Our panelists debate this week what makes MMOs the most sticky and which MMOs have done it the best.

The rules are simple: Our arbitrator, Larry Everett, gives our panelists four questions to answer. The panelists argue each question, and whoever has the best argument wins a point. At the end of the show, whoever has the most points wins.

The panelists this week are all champions from previous Massively Opinionated debates. From right here on MassivelyOP, Tina Lauro joins us. From his YouTube channel, it’s The Cosmic Engine. And an editor at MMO Bomb, Jason Winter, has again graced us with his presence. Check out the full debate show below.

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Chaos Theory: The lowdown on The Secret World’s motorcycles

Ever since The Secret World’s debut dev livestream two weeks ago teased motorcycle mounts, players have been abuzz with anticipation. The desire for vehicles in the game stretches way back; more than two years ago I mounted a campaign to bring scooters, bicycles, and even motorcycles to the game. I just knew it could be done, and now it is happening! From the moment that first screenshot was shown in the last minutes of The Steaming Ones accompanied by the promise “This is coming to TSW,” speculation has run wild. Perhaps the mounts will be scenario-based. Maybe they will be time-based, with the motorcycles effectively running out of gas and stopping. Some suggested that the bikes will be nothing more than an advanced sprint.

Amid the excited conjecture, a number of fans have also voiced concerns about how the machines will affect the immersion and player-experience in the game. Will the scenery fly by at a rate that players can’t soak up the nuance? Will the ambiance be ruined by the revving of hundreds of engines on the streets?

Now, much of that conjecture — and hopefully the concerns — can be laid to rest. I spoke with Lead Designer Romain Amiel to learn more about these new mechanics, which aren’t actually mounts. Better yet, Amiel says that players will be able to experience the feature, currently dubbed the Custom Sprint system, for themselves next week.

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The Daily Grind: If it were 2003 again, which MMO would you play?

Fun hypothetical: Let’s say that all of us — including Massively Overpowered — were thrown back in time 12 years to 2003. There’s no World of Warcraft. No Star Wars: The Old Republic. And very, very little free-to-play anything.

What would you play?

Would you get into the truly classic era of EverQuest? Go PvPing in Dark Age of Camelot? Build a house in Ultima Online? Get in on the ground floor of EVE Online? Rejoice that Star Wars Galaxies was back? Or something else entirely?

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Jukebox Heroes: Infinite Crisis’ score will get you pumped up for the good fight

I love a really good superhero score. Some of my favorite pieces include John Williams’ Superman theme, Danny Elfman’s Batman introduction, Brian Tyler’s Iron Man 3 score, “Favela Escape” from Incredible Hulk, and of course the stellar, amazing, and unforgettable title to Condorman. What? I can’t be the only person who watched that as a kid.

So my expectations when it comes to superhero music is high: It has to be well-done, be highly memorable, and get me so pumped up that I can’t help but fantasize about gaining powers myself. Unfortuantely, I’ve found superhero MMO scores to be a much more mixed bag than their movie counterparts, with good tracks here and there but few consistently great OSTs. It took a MOBA, Infinite Crisis, to show the rest of the field how it should be done.

I’m deeply impressed with Infinite Crisis’ score through-and-through. It was composed by Turbine Audio Director Matthew Harwood and has an amazing amount of variety and personality, not to mention a few of those must-have pump-me-up pieces. I think it reflects well on the “anything goes” attitude of the game’s diverse roster, and it’s earned a spot in my superhero music library.

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Massively OP Podcast: Episode 15

Is the world ending? Is hell freezing over? It must be because Blade & Soul is actually coming to the west! On this week’s podcast, the hosts talk about this incredible development as well as progression servers, launch dates, and flying in Draenor. Get out your Bree Topic Bingo cards, as you’re guaranteed to be a big winner!

Join us on the podcast as we talk about what we’ve been playing in MMOs, the top news stories from the past week, and topics that listeners have submitted!

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR’s awful patch 3.2.1 Marauder and Sentinel changes

I like to consider myself a measured person. I try not to give into overblown rants and statements that I cannot take back. Too often, I’ve been called on my mistakes, and I’ve had to retract some things that I’ve said. As much as it displeases me to be wrong, I will admit when I am. I make a lot of statements very publicly, and people have listened to the things I’ve said; I hate steering people wrong. So when gamers have asked me about the changes coming to Sentinel/Marauder in the next patch for Star Wars: The Old Republic, I’ve been hesitant about giving an in-depth answer.

I consider myself an average player. I have not put in the tens of thousands of hours that some of the other players of the Marauder advanced class have. My game time with that class sits just under four thousand hours. But it was my main raiding and PvP class for the majority of the game. Prior to Update 3.0, I ran early Dread Fortress Nightmare content, and I have a valor rank of 80 on my Marauder. And the vast majority of the time my Marauder was Annihilation spec.

So I think I know the class well enough to make some educated statements about the upcoming changes in 3.2.1. And in today’s Hyperspace Beacon, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

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The Daily Grind: How can MMOs design for both vets and newbies?

This morning’s Daily Grind question comes to us from Kickstarter donor Specus, who asks,

I’ve seen many games where new players have trouble joining a game that’s been out for a while because the noob zones are almost completely empty. How can we keep the veteran players engaged with the new players?

This is one of the core problems of the genre, and solving it apparently isn’t easy. My favorite is sidekicking; nullifying level barriers (or better yet, not having them to begin with) seems the smartest way to bridge the experience gap between old and new players and get them into the same content. Non-combat gameplay can get people mingling as well; every time a newbie sells a stack of copper ore to a veteran, they’re engaging with each other. And let’s not forget overt incentives: Asheron’s Call’s monarchy system and Star Wars Galaxies’ skill-training system directly rewarded veteran players for taking newbies under wing and building them up.

What’s the very best way to design a game so that newbies and veterans can intersect without being bored at one end of the spectrum and overwhelmed at the other?

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Sword and Bored: Ninja Loot

Our hero, Mo, has finally found a group of friendly players, and although they might have lost their first big battle, they will eventually prevail. Perhaps our hero has found some people he could actually play the game with. After all, many MMORPGs are all about the group play — or at least, having the possibility of having other players to quest with.

Let’s find out what our adventurers are up to in this week’s comic…

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV is ready to expand

There’s a phrase that gets passed around my house frequently these days, and the phrase is “expansion mode.” I have two characters locked into it in Final Fantasy XIV. My wife has one. Our constant companion has one. I suspect many of my readers have at least one, possibly more. This is a bit upsetting because you get to that point only if you’re a pretty big fan of Final Fantasy XIV, but it sort of shuts down your prospect of playing the game for a while.

Expansion mode is that state where your character is as ready for the expansion as you care to be. Sure, you could run more dungeons in theory, clear another piece of content or two… but what’s the point? You’re not trying to catch up. You can get into Ishgard. You are, for all intents and purposes, done with the majority of the game as it stands now. That means that by definition you are not the person that the last incremental patch is designed to address.

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The Daily Grind: Did the Blade & Soul announcement improve your outlook on MMOs?

So, Blade & Soul! Huzzah, and stuff. I don’t know about you, but NCsoft’s heading-west announcement has reinvigorated my inner MMO fan, at least for a little while. I’d basically given up on the game since news of an American version has been hard to come by in recent years, so last week’s surprise was a welcome one.

What about you, MOP readers? Did the Blade & Soul announcement improve your outlook on MMOs for 2015?

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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MMO Week in Review: Blizzard doesn’t want your money (May 24, 2015)

Too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

Were you one of the three million people who ditched World of Warcraft earlier this year? Did you leave in part because you could fly virtually everywhere in the game but not the new expansion and found it irritating, illogical, and design-poor? Were you expecting to resub at some future point once Blizzard addressed the feature? Good news: Blizzard has nixed flying in Draenor forever; it doesn’t want your money, so you can now spend it on the hundreds of other MMORPGs on the market. You’re welcome!

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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Guild Chat: The layout, usage, and manners of voice chat

Welcome along to Guild Chat, my own wee place in the ‘webs in which we can discuss all things guilds and club together to give advice to a reader in need. I’m rushed off my feet with not one but three questions to answer this month, so I do believe it’s some else’s turn to stick the kettle on! This edition of Guild Chat is focused on VOIP use in guilds, with all three questions tying back to problems with voice. Some of the scenarios presented are downright hilarious, so you’ll not want to miss this one!

The questions were submitted by Massively Overpowered readers Max, Rick, and SpirriX, and they focus on several different VOIP-related issues. First up, we have a discussion on how best to set up your VOIP channels, followed by whether or not it is worth leaving a guild that is heavily dependent on voice chat if you don’t join in yourself. My advice turns a wee bit ranty when we get to the issue of noisy push-to-talk haters who overshare when it comes to their eating and pottying habits – oy! Read each question in full below and don’t forget to pop your own advice in the comments for the good of the group.
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