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]

Battle Bards Episode 105: Uncharted Waters Online

Set sail for amazing adventure and an assortment of audio discoveries! This week, Cap’n Steff and her lackeys board Uncharted Waters Online to see what bounty this soundtrack holds. It may not be to everyone’s liking, but the sea is a fickle mistress that doesn’t appeal to everyone!

Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunesGoogle PlayTuneInPocket CastsStitcher, and Player.FM.

Listen to Episode 105: Uncharted Waters Online (or download it) now:

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Hyperspace Beacon: The 10 best places to find SWTOR content outside the game

Just this week, a long-running Star Wars: The Old Republic fan-made website mentioned that it was shutting down, one among many that have come and gone since the launch of SWTOR. I was just mentioning the other day to a friend how Darth Hater pretty much faded into nothing and how many of the old fan-shows and websites no longer exist. It seems to be a rare thing for creators to make content since the launch of the game, and it’s even rarer for them to have created it before the game launched.

And now SWTOR-RP is shutting down, one of the last sites to have been reporting on SWTOR for over seven years. I know this because I was one of the three founders, and now the three of us remaining have decided it’s time to move on and let the site go.

So where does a SWTOR fan get content now? Are there still fansites that report on the latest news coming from BioWare Austin? I can hear Massively OP readers now: “Larry, your content is great and all, but I need more than a thousand words in Hyperspace Beacon every week.” And I hear you; I need more than that, too. So that’s why I’ve compiled another list of 10 podcasts, YouTube channels, and websites where I get my SWTOR information.

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Perfect Ten: The 10 tiers of MMORPG lore

Lore! Huh! What is it good for? Understanding why you’re standing in the middle of a pack of angry people with fangs in MMOs, of course. It’s the thin line dividing your actions from being reckless, indiscriminate mayhem and discriminating, careful mayhem. Lore is how you know what the world is like beyond your front door, and it’s the difference between understanding that you face Ragnaros, lord of flame or just knowing that there’s a dude here made out of fire, so you should probably use water spells on him.

All lore, however, is not created equal. There’s lore that creates a detailed, vibrant world full of people with their own hopes and dreams, and there’s lore that creates a game where you know what you’re supposed to be doing but have no idea what people do for fun afterwards aside from waiting to die. So today, we explore the tiers of lore, arranged in a numbered list because that’s the entire premise of the column. It’s not Perfect Vague Assortment of Concepts. That’s not even a column.

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The Daily Grind: Are you ever attracted to MMOs that you know you’ll hate?

As an MMO enthusiast, I have this tendency to cheer games on and be interested in all sorts of titles — even the ones that I know deep down to my bones are not for me. For example, I am not a great fan of PvP-centric MMOs. I don’t resent their existence, but that gameplay is too stressful and fraught with drama for my taste.

Yet I can’t help but be attracted to some of these games because I like the art, the passion, or some of the non-PvP mechanics involved. Crowfall looks gorgeous and I’m all about its eternal kingdoms housing system. Camelot Unchained has such a great team and talent behind it that I feel wistful they aren’t making a PvE game. And I’ve even gone on record as saying that Albion Online’s art style and cross-platform accessibility is pretty cool. What is wrong with me?

Are you ever attracted to MMOs that you know you’ll hate? What do you do with that?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 135: PAX in the P.M.

On this week’s show, MJ arrives to give her report on PAX West and how much swag she smuggled back on the plane. Bree and Justin touch base with the major news stories of the week, including Destiny 2’s launch, ArcheAge’s mergers, and WildStar’s housing happiness.

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.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: Why are you not into virtual reality?

Massively OP reader and commenter Sally Bowls pointed us to a brief post on Axios in which a VR consultant and former Oculus employee opines on why VR isn’t catching on as well as you’d expect, and the reason isn’t money. In fact, she suggests the reason is that consumers are simply too addicted to other compelling content — specifically, smartphones and social media. While gaming and education are the platform’s chief uses, most people just don’t want to put down their damn phones long enough to become engrossed by something that takes up their full physical and mental attention.

“[VR] has to be a really compelling reason to get you to give up all that,” she explained at the Mobile Future Forward conference last week. “There aren’t just a ton of those reasons just yet.”

MOP’s audience is chiefly MMO gamers who skew toward virtual worlds already, so maybe we’re not a perfect test case, but I still wondered whether the consultant is right. If you’re not into VR, why not, specifically? Is it, as suggested, that you’d just rather be doing something more connected but also more popcorny through lighter-weight technology altogether?

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s ability customization

The Job system is a staple of Final Fantasy as a series, which is a little odd when you consider that it’s only showed up by that name in three main series games. Go ahead and double-check; outside of Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy V, and Final Fantasy XI, none of the games use the Job system. And careful observation will note that Final Fantasy XIV is not, in fact, on that list; it uses the Armoury system, by its own description.

This is relevant because the Armoury system, as we’ve seen so far, doesn’t emphasize the mix-and-match nature of Jobs (which we also see in other games with similar systems, from the aforementioned main series titles to the various Final Fantasy Tactics installments and more peripheral derivatives like Bravely Default). It emphasizes roles.

And I think it’s interesting to consider this fact in light of the fact that Stormblood, in many ways, has kind of put nails in the coffin of cross-job pollination. And all of that kind of centers around understanding the shift in PvP.

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The Daily Grind: When was the last time you played an MMO ‘wrong’?

Over the weekend, MMO blogger and Massively OP frequenter Wolfyseyes posted what I thought was a fantastic piece on playing MMOs “wrong.” Eschewing other people’s generic advice and cookie cutter builds, he found, was the best decision he could have made in the service of actually liking his game of choice.

“I elected to just play Guild Wars 2 ‘wrong,'” he wrote. “And it’s brought me more enjoyment than any of the previous attempts I’ve made.”

And before you freak out, by “wrong” he doesn’t mean “incompetently like a drunk hippo in tap shoes,” just skipping min-maxing in a game where it’s truly not necessary for the majority of the content, building out his character in a way that’s actually fun for him and still results in winning for him and his team. Sandbox fans and altoholics in particular are probably nodding along in understanding already.

When was the last time you played an MMO “wrong”? Did it generate joy for you in an MMO?

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Guild Chat: Dealing with the ‘it’s me or the MMO guild!’ ultimatum

Welcome along to another edition of Guild Chat, the column through which the Massively Overpowered readership can band together to help a gamer-in-need with his or her guild-related dilemma. This time, an anonymous reader dubbed ‘R’ has written in with a matter of the heart that threatens his or her MMO enjoyment: While R is very much enjoying the MMO and guild he or she is part of, the demands of the guild are fairly steep and R’s girlfriend is feeling second-best. R is in a predicament where the guild leader doesn’t want to give R any sort of preferential treatment and expects him or her to show up just like everyone else does, but R’s girlfriend is getting more and more upset with how much time the guild demands of her partner. The situation between the couple has become so heated that the girlfriend has given R an ultimatum and wants to see her partner quit the game entirely.

There are more details to R’s tale, so check out the full submission below and my thoughts on the matter before you weigh in with your advice in the comments.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best consumable items?

Back at launch, I had a lot of affection for playing a Warrior with Alchemy in World of Warcraft. Sure, I missed out on some cool weaponry along the way, but it was worth it just to have access to some nifty healing tricks at a time when that was hard to come by. It also made me appreciate consumables quite a bit as something to actively use, not something to squirrel away endlessly until a hypothetical rainy day showed up to really require every healing potion I’d ever found.

Of course, this was in stark contrast to my first MMO, Final Fantasy XI, where healing items like potions were rare and expensive, but food was almost mandatory for every single activity. It was also in contrast to City of Heroes, where consumables were dropped for everyone and in constant demand. And the original Guild Wars barely even had consumables as I thought of them.

Lots of games do different things with consumable items, and I fondly remember Star Wars: The Old Republic’s always-usable stims in its launch version. But today, we want to see the best of the best. Which MMO do you think has (or had) the best consumable items? While you’re on the topic, what sort of features do you see as important for consumables?

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The Game Archaeologist: Climax’s Warhammer Online

Let’s begin with a little personal history. Back in 2008, I decided to get into the blogging scene by jumping on board the latest MMO hotness — in this case, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. As I was growing increasingly tired of World of Warcraft, WAR seemed to offer a refreshing alternative: a darker world full of brutal PvP and awesome new ideas. So I joined the elite ranks of bloggers (hey, stop laughing so hard) and spent the better part of two years jawing about Mythic’s latest fantasy project.

And while Warhammer Online was, in my opinion, a solid product, it certainly failed to live up to the extremely high expectations held by both the development team and the players. No matter how it turned out, I really enjoyed talking about WAR, especially in the days leading up to its launch.

As with other IP-related MMOs like Star Trek Online and Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer Online had its roots with another company and another vision. It’s a “what if?” tale that’s tantalizing to consider — an entirely different studio, Climax Online, creating a much darker version of Warhammer.

So what if Climax had brought its version of Warhammer Online to bear? Would it have eclipsed Mythic’s vision or been its own animal? Hit the jump and let’s dive into the pages of ancient history!

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite pop culture reference in an MMO?

I will never be completely sure of it, but I like to think that the “Deep-Toads” of Lord of the Rings Online’s Moria are a sly reference to the awesome Hypnotoad of Futurama (ALL HAIL THE HYPNOTOAD). I mean, c’mon: They’re huge frogs that toss mesmerizing spirals at you in a way that is unlike how normal amphibians operate.

I really wouldn’t be surprised if it was a reference, because mischievous and sometimes-bored developers are forever tossing in such pop culture nuggets into characters, mobs, and especially quest titles into their games (as a side note: have you ever considered how many quest title names have been created for your MMO? It boggles the mind.).

Assuming that you don’t have a sour puckered reflex against such instances, what’s your favorite pop culture reference in an MMORPG? Bonus question: Did you ever fully realize the truth of one of these references only after a long time of being exposed to it?

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Betawatch: Worlds Adrift takes criticism and updates free tools (September 8, 2017)

Nobody likes being criticized, ever. But it’s a reality of life, and so Worlds Adrift has been taking the feedback from players about the game’s PvP scene in stride. The team behind the game has also updated the free island creator tool, so if you feel like engaging in a round of player vs. interface and player vs. the multi-layered complexity of realizing player ideals in a three-dimensional design space, go nuts.

You want some more beta news? Well, we got a little bit of that, it turns out.

And, of course, there’s a list down below of titles in testing, many of which were not affected by the double punch of a holiday and a convention back-to-back. Go ahead and check out the list, and feel free to leave your comments on betas you’re currently playing down below. Or let us know if something jumped status, that’s cool too.

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