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: When have you felt loneliest in an MMO?

One of the things that no one discusses about MMOs is the way that they can be lonely. The presence of so many people in online games is important, it’s by definition one of the features that makes MMOs unique. And yet there are also moments and times when the games thus manage to feel unimaginably lonely.

Seeing areas in Final Fantasy XI once filled with players now almost completely empty, for example. When you’re up at the right hour in World of Warcraft and all of your friends have gone offline. Seeing your friends out in other things while you have nothing much to do in Final Fantasy XIV. Being the one person sitting on the outside edge of a roleplaying group in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

So let’s talk about that this morning, because that’s an uplifting topic for the day. When have you felt loneliest in an MMO? Was it a matter of timing, or was it even just a period of time when you saw your friends leaving without anyone new to connect with?

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LOTRO Legendarium: A whirlwind of activity in Lord of the Rings Online

If you haven’t noticed already, an extended silence from me in this column space usually means that I’ve taken a break from Lord of the Rings Online for a while. I come and go from the game usually a few times each year now, but Mordor took a heavy toll on my interest and I had to rest and rejuvenate even longer than normal this time around.

Right now I’d say my current activity is “dipping my toes back into the water,” but so far I am finding that water inviting and comfortable. Northern Mirkwood is absolutely gorgeous and a complete 180 from the dreary landscape of Mordor. I’m very much looking forward to questing more there while trying to resist the urge to roll up an alt that I’ll never be able to fully level at this point.

For me, the wide-open beauty of Middle-earth’s landscape in this game is its biggest draw. It’s what makes this MMO “feel” so different than any others that I’ve played, and I am applauding the efforts of Standing Stone Games to continually add to it. I spent a full night doing nothing but touring around the Halls of the Elven-king and geeking out about its mentions from The Hobbit. It’s such a beautiful location and a great example of how the team is not phoning it in during LOTRO’s 11th year.

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Hands-on with Bless Reborn at Neowiz’s San Francisco media reveal

As you probably have heard, there was a Bless influencer event this week, with a couple of media and a smattering of MMO streamers in attendance. The leak of the price points happened soon before we went in, but none of the people in attendance, devs or streamers, really seemed fazed by it. Most people seemed ready to have a good time.

For someone like me, who was initially blown away by Bless circa 2011, the game had fallen off my radar, especially after the game’s rocky trip to Russia and initial Korean release. The western build-up for me has felt like a big PR push, with the pricing model dangled like a feature that people actually should be excited about. Basic questions like, “How does endgame work?” were easier to find on Reddit, Steam, and fansites than any of the PR I was reading. I was concerned, to say the least, but things like “tame almost any mob!” and “100v100” battles intrigued me. Though nothing I saw is probably going to change any core fans’ mind, it may be useful to those on the fence.

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The Daily Grind: Do your MMORPG characters primarily wear in-game armor or cash-shop cosmetics?

Take a look at your main character in your main MMORPG right now. What is he or she wearing? And did you get it through play or from the cash shop?

This topic came to me as I was surfing the Guild Wars 2 Reddit earlier this week; a Redditor was polling players on whether they thought there was a good balance of cash-shop cosmetics vs. cosmetic gear acquired through actually playing the game. It’s a tiny bit hard to answer this one for Guild Wars 2, as multiple people pointed out, as you can convert the gold you get while playing legitimately into gems to buy cash-shop cosmetics (or just buy lockbox skins with gold from the gamblers). Plus, GW2 isn’t called Fashion Wars for nothing. But still: Almost all of my characters are running around in cash-shop cosmetics there. I may complain about the lack of new skins and the overabundance of buttcapes, but I like to spend money on games I want to support, and cosmetics are one of the least objectionable ways to do it. And GW2’s are still slick (vs. a lot of the in-game armor, which is grindy or group-centric).

In Trove, which is another of my favorite games lately, most of my characters are running around wearing at least core outfits from ancient Steam pack sales.

Do your MMORPG characters primarily wear in-game armor of cash-shop cosmetics? And do you see that as a problem, one way or another?

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Choose My Adventure: Ultima Online, we didn’t need to do this

Yes, this is going to come in as the shortest Choose My Adventure series, but I feel it’s got a good reason to be so. I went into Ultima Online with a very simple question: Is the game worth playing now as a free-to-play title for the curious? I very quickly got the answer to that question: No. Definitely not. And writing a whole lot more on it is just going to continue to harp on that point.

That’s not to say that there aren’t at least a few more words to be spared on the subject, of course. There are a lot of games with a free-to-play option that players have said don’t feel like free-to-play titles; you can technically play without paying, yes, but the game doesn’t seem to want you there and keeps hitting you with paywalls. That wasn’t the problem I ran into with Ultima Online, though. If anything, it seemed like the game didn’t want me there at all. Not as a free player, but as a new player.

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The Daily Grind: Would you like MMORPGs to have seasonal passes?

Between the waves of MOBA and battle royale phenomenons, I’ve noticed an alternative monetization model that’s apparently proven quite successful in these games. Seasonal passes are popping up everywhere in games like SMITE and Fortnite, and I have to imagine that they’re pretty lucrative money-makers for studios.

The basic idea behind seasonal passes is to sell players a package that contains many rewards that must be unlocked with in-game activities before a certain time frame comes to an end. The sheer number of rewards makes these passes quite alluring, and the excitement of the next season keeps players coming back for more.

My question today is whether or not seasonal passes could work in MMORPGs. Could developers create packs like this and develop enough optional achievements as requirements to unlock rewards? Would the communities snap these up? Would they work? Would you be interested? Tell us what you think!

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The Survivalist: The good, the bad, and the barbaric of Conan Exiles’ launch

If the survival genre is any indication, Early Access is a nigh indestructable beast! Time and time again we’ve seen where so many have failed to defeat this end boss. But that all changed when one mighty barbarian came along and did just that. Conan Exiles strangled the last breath out of the Early Access beast with its bare hands and cast it aside, then strode straight into the waiting arms of launch this week.

Now there is lots to say about this launch, and a good chunk of it is pretty glowing. However, no launch is without some troubles. And sadly, there is also a despicable element as well. Here’s my look at the good, the bad, and the barbaric of the first couple of days of Conan Exiles’ launch.

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Ouch, Conan Exiles players are pretty pissed off about Funcom’s PvE Conflict server switcharoo

It’s not every day that an online game changes the official ruleset of whole servers the day after everyone rolled characters, but that’s exactly what Funcom did yesterday in Conan Exiles. As MOP’s Justin reported incredulously yesterday, the studio abruptly changed all of Conan Exiles’ PvE Conflict servers – that is, the servers that are primarily PvE with small windows for PvP – into pure PvP servers. Pure PvE and Pure PvP continue to exist (Fast servers were done away with prior to launch), but that’s cold comfort to folks who thought their server would be partly safe and now isn’t safe at all.

And the playerbase is letting Funcom have it. Steam reviews are bashing the company for the move, accusing Funcom of misrepresenting the game and sacrificing hybrid server players at the altar of bringing more PvP servers online – and that’s on top of the ongoing queue problems brought on by the game’s popularity. And on the Conan Reddit, the front page is littered with angry rants about the topic.

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The Daily Grind: What would (or already did) convince you to buy an MMO lockbox?

Look, we know, none of the people reading this right now like lockboxes. And, you know, for good reason. But despite that dislike, lockboxes do manage to make a stupid amount of money. Odds are good that some of the people reading this have bought some, whether or not you liked the experience, and odds are equally high that many of you probably know what would convince you to purchase one even if otherwise disinclined.

So what would convince you to buy an MMO lockbox? Or if you already have, what did convince you to? I know friends who have bought some on the promise of one particularly much-wanted item, or those who already got a monthly stipend of currency and figured that it had to go somewhere. And some people have just started buying them because, well, the game is non-predatory with them, so why not support. Everyone has their reasons. So what were yours, or what could conceivably be one?

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Tamriel Infinium: Deep-diving the mechanics of Elder Scrolls Online Summerset’s Psijic Order skill line

Many MMO gamers – including me – are a bit underwhelmed by the next chapter of the Elder Scrolls Online. Although Summerset is not a bad bit of content, I have concerns about the amount of content that is coming with this expansion compared to the last expansion, Morrowind. The island of Summerset is a nice size, probably bigger than Vvardenfell, but there seem to be fewer things to keep people interested for longer than maybe a couple of weeks.

That being said, what it does, it does very well.

I’ve already mentioned in a previous article how gorgeous the island is, especially the extra zone of Artaeum. I was blown away by that. But I didn’t go into depth about Psijic Order skill line. At the time I wrote that article, I really hadn’t had a chance to play around with it. But now I have, and although I can’t say that everything about that skill tree is perfect, there are more than a couple of skills that I will be considering for my live character when the expansion launches.

I’ve broken up the Psijic skill line into three categories: utilities, healing, and passives. Keep reading and I will break it down further. And I would like to caveat before I get into the details, that if I give specific numbers, that those might change before launch, and that my character was Champion Level 750 Sorcerer without any CP spent.

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Perfect Ten: You got your MMORPG in my tabletop RPG

Tabletop games and MMORPGs seem like they would go well together, but remarkably they often don’t. That’s true for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is that we have a lot more games adapting different source material separately. You can certainly run a Star Wars: The Old Republic-themed game with a Star Wars tabletop system, but neither one is based on the other. (Technically there was a supplement published for it, but that was covering the first two single-player games, which themselves were based on that tabletop system.)

But there have still been incursions from MMOs into the tabletop space, and MMOs which pluck that fertile ground for the seeds of inspiration. So let’s spend today looking at these games, when you can log off of your favorite MMO, gather around a table with your friends, and keep playing your favorite MMO. More or less.

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The Daily Grind: Do you like low-stress MMO classes?

In my mind, there are two types of MMO classes. There are ones that require a lot of hands-on skill, positional maneuvering, and careful attention to rotations and reactions. Then there the ones where you kind of just have to slam your hand down on the keyboard somewhere in the vicinity of the number keys to win.

I have played both types of classes, but I won’t deny that there’s a strong appeal for low-stress MMO classes. Sometimes I just want to sit back and pew-pew things with a three-button rotation without worrying about anything else. Sure, I know that this setup makes these classes very popular, and so I am doing nothing special to make myself stand out or to challenge myself, but brain-dead gaming has its appeal, especially after a long day.

Do you like low-stress MMO classes? Which one is your favorite?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 169: Farscape and RuneScape

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin look ahead at the next generation of MMORPGs in development while saying farewell to a couple of the old guard. It’s a podcast full of conspiracies, time magic, debates over subscriptions, and way too much talk about Farscape!

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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