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: Do you enjoy MMO datamining?

The latest expansion for World of Warcraft hasn’t had a whole lot of official announcements made recently, but there’s still a steady flow of news about it. Why? Because the datamining teams are going to work picking apart files and trying to figure out what new stuff is in there. Of course, datamining isn’t the same as finding it live in the game, and that can give lots of ideas about what’s coming next that may not line up with reality.

Similarly, I know there are parts of the Guild Wars 2 community less than happy with the datamining side of things that basically revealed details of its second expansion early. It’s a reveal, sure, but it’s a reveal without any of the sparkle or style that you’d expect from a big reveal.

Of course, these are the negative sides; the plus side to datamining is that it gives a peek at the game from the inside out, and it can also be seen as a source of excitement between big announcements. So what do you think, readers? Do you enjoy MMO datamining? Do you tend to seek it out (or datamine things yourself), or do you prefer being surprised?

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Hyperspace Beacon: Carving up the new SWTOR Conquests

The original Lead Systems Designer for Star Wars: The Old Republic was a man named Damion Schubert. A friend of mine used to call him my nemesis because he seemed to be in charge of everything that I disliked about SWTOR. At community cantinas and other interaction with fans like the Guild Summit, he said that he is work on SWTOR would not be done until he was able to give guilds their own flagships. He was true to his word. On May 11th, 2014, BioWare launched Galactic Strongholds, and with it guild flagships. Shortly after, we found out that Shubert had moved onto a different project.

Now, Shubert isn’t really my nemesis, but Strongholds in many ways have been a point of love and contention for me, especially when it came coupled with Galactic Conquests, a system that never really lived up to its potential.

With Update 5.8, the BioWare team is looking to revamp Conquests. As promised in the 2018 roadmap, BioWare Community Manager Eric Musco gave us a more detailed update on Conquests on the forums. But the changes to Conquests won’t be as meaningful to you unless you understand where Conquests are currently.

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Perfect Ten: A dozen MOBAs that didn’t make it

With the insane success — both in terms of popularity and finances — that Dota and League of Legends spawned, you can easily understand why game studios latched onto the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) as a relatively quick cash grab. After all, with players providing the ongoing content (through PvP matches), developers were freed up to focus on balance tweaks and churning out new skins and characters to sell.

In a relatively short span of time, the market became flooded with many imitators that sought to grab that slice of the profitable pie. And while some, such as Hi-Rez’s SMITE, have endured, many games discovered the one key danger with this approach: If you could not generate and sustain a large, active playerbase, you were as good as dead. A critical mass was needed, and when it was not achieved, games started folding up left and right.

In today’s Perfect Ten, we’re going to look at a dozen MOBAs that tried and failed to make it. Perhaps they serve as cautionary lessons to other studios seeking to mimic League of Legends’ format, but we somehow doubt that the era of the MOBA is over just yet.

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The Daily Grind: How often do you revisit old MMOs?

I am nothing if not a creature of habit, and one of those habits is to revisit MMOs that I’ve previously played and left. I like to “check in” with these old haunts about once a year to see if there’s anything new to suck me in or if I’ve simply come back around to wanting to settle back in to a particular title.

Recently I wrapped up a month of Final Fantasy XIV, which I find that I’m revisiting every spring. It’s long enough to have a bit of fun but also to be reminded why this game isn’t quite up my alley (the classes and combat don’t really excite me, for starters). But even if it didn’t end up bringing me back in, I was happy to say hi to old friends and toss in a dash of different gaming flavor to my routine.

What about you? How often do you revisit MMOs of your past and what have you found in them lately?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 160: Defiance ’till the end

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin cruise into a wild week jam-packed with updates and a full-fledged MMO reboot on top of everything else. It’s all they can do to hang on to the bucking bronco of news without being flung off into side topics, but they’ll do their best!

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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Flameseeker Chronicles: First impressions of Guild Wars 2’s A Bug in the System

Today is the day we’ve been waiting for: After a short delay, episode 2 of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season, A Bug in the System, is finally ready to release. It feels as though Daybreak was a lifetime ago after being spoiled for so long with super-fast episodic content drops throughout the Path of Fire story, so I’m delighted to finally get to grips with some new story now. I had a little glimpse at the action two weeks ago in a dev-guided preview and was honestly left jaw-dropped, so it’s been exceptionally difficult waiting for its release to talk about my impressions. The episode is dangerous, political, and impactful, and I am just about hanging onto my seat as I get to see more today.

In this episode of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll recap on Daybreak’s content for those who haven’t quite caught up before launching into my first impressions of A Bug in the System. I played for around 45 minutes with some key developers and have only had a glimpse at the content, so this article will be a nice teaser for today without spoiling too much more than the trailer does. Having said that, if you would prefer to go in fresh, give this one a skip to avoid potential spoilers until you’ve played yourself.

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The Daily Grind: Do you multitask while playing MMORPGs?

Years ago, I had the bright idea to go to extremes to multitask while playing World of Warcraft. I set my laptop on a high counter and put an aerobic step platform underneath, then as I was dungeon crawling through the game, I’d do basic step exercises while mousing. Up down, up down. It was harder than it sounds! Thank goodness it was WoW, else my performance probably would’ve suffered much more (as it was, I was Clique-gridding my way through heals). Was it better than sitting down while playing? Yeah, I’m not so convinced of that, but it was amusing.

Of course, many MMO gamers are already used to multitasking – you’re probably watching TV, listening to music, or keeping an ear on your kids. Or maybe even playing multiple accounts or games in between downtime. Pokemon Go players probably have the widest range!

Do you multitask while playing MMORPGs? What’s the most “extreme” form of multitasking you’ve ever taken on while MMOing?

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Wisdom of Nym: How Final Fantasy XIV’s latest housing war was won and where it got us

With the removal of the perpetual server restrictions and the opening of personal housing again, Final Fantasy XIV seems to have decided that its housing problems were fixed. Or, if not fixed, at least significantly ameliorated. The game added a huge chunk of new wards, rules were put in place to make sure that people couldn’t snap up tons of houses for themselves, and I will definitely concede that a whole lot of stuff was different this time around. For some time after housing was introduced, small houses were actually available, so Free Companies who wanted one but hadn’t quite made it were ready.

I will be the first to say that the new rules and restrictions were definitely a success. In terms of getting people connected with houses, this all worked, we got stuff more sorted out, and this is definitely the best we’ve had it since housing was first introduced. That doesn’t mean that I think the problem is really solved yet, though; a lot of the rules as they stand are inelegant solutions to a problem, and that’s part of why we are where we are.

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One-month impressions of Monster Hunter World

It’s been just over a month now since Monster Hunter World launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, heralding a brand-new generation of Capcom’s acclaimed action-RPG franchise. As the first entry in the series developed for current-gen, non-handheld consoles since 2009’s Monster Hunter Tri, World marks a major transition for the series, one that brings with it sweeping changes to the time-honored formula upon which the series was built. There’s been, of course, some anxiety among the game’s community about what these changes might mean for the game’s future, with some fearing that the game would be watered down to attract a wider audience.

However, after putting a frankly embarrassing number of hours into the game, I’m happy to be able to say that there’s no need to panic. New features have been added, mechanics have been streamlined, and the world – fittingly enough – is more expansive and engrossing than ever. That’s not to say that the jump to a new generation has come without its costs, but make no mistake: For all its sweeping changes, World is still Monster Hunter through and through. And if you ask me, it’s the best one yet.

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The Daily Grind: Can a sub still work for MMORPGs in 2018?

Last week, almost buried in the avalanche of other news was a datapoint from SuperData that the analytics firm characterized as bad news for the existing subscription MMORPGs. “Continuing their decline, the Social and Pay-to-Play MMO segments shrank 5% and 9%, respectively.” A downer for the incoming MMOs planning subs, yeah?

Maybe not. It’s possible that, as our commenter Sally Bowls noted, it’s not doom for sub MMOs; that’s just to be expected when we have so few existing sub MMOs as it is, and surely that pay-to-play number is heavily influenced by World of Warcraft specifically. “So we would expect the P2P segment to drop or be stable in Q1 and ‘pay-to-play’ MMOs [to] show huge increases in Q3,” she argued. But then again, even WoW is in gradual decline.

I know there are plenty of MMO veterans who are more than willing to pay subscriptions in 2018 – I’m paying one right now. But that’s different from whether you believe they still work for new games or have enough appeal to make subs truly viable. Can a sub still work for MMORPGs in 2018?

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online’s March balance update has players excited

The EVE Online community came down pretty hard on CCP Games at the start of the year, with podcasts, blogs, and the Council of Stellar Management all highlighting a recent lack of balance changes and iterations. CCP responded with a renewed wave of updates, and it’s safe to say that the studio is absolutely knocking it out of the park. The upcoming March patch will include surprise buffs for the Muninn and Eagle, damage increases for the Cyclone and Drake Navy Issue, and an unexpected change to Attack Battlecruisers that could turn the fleet PvP meta completely on its head. The Orthrus is also finally getting its long-awaited nerf, and some careful tweaks will end the dominance of Ferox and Machariel fleets.

As if that wasn’t enough good news for one month, developers also plan to release a completely new class of ship designed exclusively for fleet commanders, are finally adding blueprint-locking to citadels and engineering complexes, and have some big territorial warfare improvements in the pipeline. The horrible but often necessary Jump Fatigue mechanic is finally being re-evaluated, and players will no longer be able to use citadel tethering mechanics to easily move capital ships in absolute safety. The territorial capture gameplay and the Entosis Link module used in nullsec sovereignty warfare are also being improved based on player feedback. The community hasn’t been this positive about upcoming changes for quite some time!

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I lay out the details of the upcoming ship balance overhaul, the new Monitor fleet command ship, and other changes coming in the March update.

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Global Chat: Elder Scrolls Online’s disguised gameplay

It seems as though some players’ attention has shifted back to Elder Scrolls Online this spring, especially with the recent Dragon Bones DLC drop. Telwyn over at GamingSF documented a bit of fun in which he enjoyed infiltrating a camp in disguise versus having to do it in stealth mode.

“I find ‘disguised’ gameplay is more relaxed and better paced (since stealth is slower movement),” he wrote. “It’s especially nice in ESO when you need to take time out of fighting-all-the-things in a hostile to read the many books and quest-related texts – having a pause in the action makes it more enjoyable to read these.”

It isn’t all rainbows and puppies, however. Roger from Contains Moderate Peril expressed some frustration at ESO’s leveling gear, or lack thereof: “The One Tamriel Update removed the level restriction on content, scaling everything according to the player, which obviously didn’t help the gear situation. With delves and story quests scaling to your level, there isn’t the surplus of gear generated by content fixed at a specific level. The lack of a server wide auction system is also a major contributor.”

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The Daily Grind: How faithful a recreation should classic MMO servers be?

There was a great thread on the official World of Warcraft forums the other day about the game’s upcoming Classic servers talking about the many, many elements of the game that have changed over the years. After all, even once you settle on the core idea of a classic server before the first expansion, you’re still left with a whole lot of questions of what the server will actually include. For example: Meeting stones providing summons to a dungeon entrance didn’t actually exist until the first patch of The Burning Crusade, but should it be included in a classic server? Should bugs be fixed (including ones frequently used to bypass certain mechanics)? Should players still have only one viable spec?

Obviously, RIFT is going to have to answer these questions in practice a bit sooner with its Prime server, but the questions remain. Personally, I’m of the mind that if you’re asking for classic servers you should get one with all the undesirable warts retained and unchanged, but that’s hardly a universal law. So what do you say, dear readers? Should classic servers for MMOs recreate the classic experience as it was, the good and the bad alike? Or should designers fix the extant issues that don’t detract from the overall feel?

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