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 Soapbox: Lessons Secret World Legends failed to learn from Final Fantasy XIV

I’ve mentioned many a time that I like Funcom quite a bit. I want to like Funcom quite a bit. Heck, I want to be excited about Secret World Legends, but every day or so I get reminded that such a course of action will be very difficult at the least. Because quite frankly, Secret World Legends seems to want me not to be excited about it, as evidenced by… oh, every single thing that Funcom is doing around it.

Which is odd, because Funcom literally has access to a playbook for a large-scale reboot.

Secret World Legends is coming off of The Secret World, which was a cult MMORPG classic with a mighty fan following. Final Fantasy XIV was coming off of… well, its initial version, which had a fan following full of people who admitted that it was halfway to Stockholm Syndrome. And yet that game managed to get people excited and earn fans, while Funcom seems dead-set on alienating people or making them just plain nervous.

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Leaderboard: Are you part of SuperData’s cohort of ‘gaming video content viewers’?

SuperData released a report this week arguing that the video gaming video content business is booming, even “outpacing earnings from some traditional sports leagues.” The whole paper is a mere $2,499 if you want to read it all, but the summary includes everything from Twitch to YouTube and intriguingly suggests that the viewing audience is almost half female.

“Additionally, gaming live streams are replacing primetime TV viewing with 27% of live stream viewers watching most often during weekday evenings. The Gaming Video Content audience on YouTube and Amazon’s Twitch, 517 million and 185 million people in 2016 respectively, surpasses mainstream channels like ESPN and HBO, further shaking up the traditional media landscape.”

E-sports and stream viewers, the analysts claim, “watch more than four hours of content per week,” while almost half of US gaming video content viewers are hooked to “walkthroughs, trailers and humor videos,” meaning that both the casual and hardcore audiences are being served.

Are you among them? That’s what today’s Leaderboard means to find out.

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Check out WoodenPotatoes’ multi-video Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns review

YouTuber WoodenPotatoes, whom you might remember from Tina’s top five Guild Wars 2 vloggers review earlier this week, has posted a lengthy review of Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns, now a year and a half on. It’s a critical look at the promises made for the expansion, the expectations we had for it, what was actually delivered, and how the game has progressed over time to now.

“I think you’d be crazy to say that Heart of Thorns didn’t disappoint at release,” he says in the first video. “It disappointed me. The story was too short, the content was too limited, and very importantly, it didn’t feel like much more had been added with the raw expansion than if they’d simply continued the previous living world season instead. And that would’ve been free.”

But since then, he argues, ArenaNet has fleshed out the game and made 2016 the game’s strongest year (though it wasn’t without its own content droughts). If you’re a fan or former fan of the game, it’s worth a look — it certainly resonates with me and echoes a lot of the complaints (and praise) we’ve seen over the last many months down in our own comment section.

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The Daily Grind: If you could live in an MMO world, which one would it be?

As much as we complain about MMORPGs, with their grinds and their boredom, even the most kill-or-be-killed ganker paradises would probably be better to live in than the real world with all its troubles and highly inconvenient implementation of permadeath. With rare exceptions, most MMOs let you return over and over to keep on trying forever, and you can always grab a mining pick or kill some trolls to make money and survive.

Me, I’d pick Glitch: Not only was the cutesy Tiny Speck game devoid of conflict, but I spent most of my time creating quests for players, wandering around, and stuffing my face with delicious food so I wouldn’t die. It was a good life. And if I did die? No biggie; hell was actually kinda fun — and critically, not permanent.

How about you? If you could live in an MMO world, which one would it be?

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EverQuesting: EverQuest II wins big with Beast’r Egg event

Did you participate in EverQuest II’s Beast’r Egg hunt live event this past week? If not, I’m sorry to say you missed your chance; it ended a few hours ago at 2:59 a.m. EDT. However, that doesn’t mean you’ve totally missed out! And that’s the beauty of this particular live event. Today’s musing are less a guide and more a love letter to a live event done oh so right.

While the event unfolded as I participated, it struck me how practically perfect the event was. So kudos to Daybreak for this one. EQII really knocked it out of the park with this Easter-themed event. Hopefully, we can see more like this in the future, both here and — if other studios take notice — in other titles. What’s so great about it? I am glad you asked! (Though honestly, I was going to tell you anyway!) Here are the winning elements:

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Choose My Adventure: Grinding away in Black Desert

Let me talk to you, my friends, about grinding. Specifically, about how it gets a bad reputation that it doesn’t altogether deserve.

How does this connect to this week’s adventures in Black Desert? Well, because I wound up doing a fair bit of grinding. It wasn’t intentional or anything, since my designated goal this week was to just trek about and see the sights for a bit. But if you give me a camp full of goblins just sitting in my path, and you have me, a player who’s more than willing to give these things a shot on the basis that the worst possible outcome is that I die… well, I’m going to fight those goblins. I’m going to fight them a bunch.

And, I think, this was ultimately a good thing. Because while the game still has all of the problems that I’ve seen to bother me up to this point, the grinding of goblins was a notable island of things feeling fresh, crisp, and responsive. It’s almost as if I enjoy the game more when I’m away from the things of man.

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The Daily Grind: Do you prefer safe strategies or fast strategies in MMOs?

There’s an interesting discussion which pops up on the Final Fantasy XIV Reddit from time to time regarding the differences between American and Japanese players. For this topic, the most pertinent discussion is one of strategy. The American community, as a whole, prefers to have static groups of players who will often undertake risky but fast strategies; if the strategy works, it’s a quick and solid clear, but as soon as someone screws up it’s all down the tubes. By contrast, the Japanese community prefers strategies which are safer and more reliable, giving everyone more leeway… and possibly resulting in a slow clear when you get the group together.

Obviously, this applies to other games. From World of Warcraft to Black Desert, you always have the option of playing it safe or going big. Pulling one enemy at a time to farm for drops means you’re unlikely to ever get overwhelmed, which can certainly happen if you pull half a dozen… but if you succeed, that half a dozen can probable be minced faster than pulling them one by one. So what about you, dear readers? Do you prefer safe strategies or fast strategies in MMOs? Are you happier with a sure-fire win, or would you rather risk losing in exchange for a big victory?

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Perfect Ten: Time travel in MMORPGs

Over the years, I’ve been fascinated with the concept of time in MMORPGs. It’s one of those things that developers probably don’t want you thinking about too closely, since it could create a crack in the world illusion that they’ve created. But really, how does time work in these games? Are you forever frozen in the same fixed point in history, advancing only to a new era when a patch or expansion releases? Does the timeline advance only as you go through new quests and hit arbitrary milestones?

Even more fascinating is when developers decide to have a little fun with their storytelling by throwing players into the past and future via time travel. It’s not even strictly for science-fiction games, either; plenty of fantasy MMOs work in time travel at one point or the other. It can be a great way of expanding upon the game’s lore and giving players an insight into events that led up to the modern era.

Today we’re going to look at 10 instances of how MMORPGs have used time travel with reckless regard to paradoxes and splintering the world into millions of alternate universes.

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Tamriel Infinium: Why I changed my mind about Elder Scrolls Online

When I took the trip to ZeniMax Online Studios to check out Morrowind a couple of months back, I was sitting at a table with other games press and a handful of ZOS developers, including Creative Director Rich Lambert and Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler. The conversation wasn’t exactly off the record, but it wasn’t really an interview setting either. We were just talking, mostly about our lives: how Brian had to leave soon because he might get in trouble with his girlfriend and how Rich spent many overnights at the same hotel that the press had been staying in because he was at the office late and had to be there again early the next day.

During the course of the conversation, we ended up talking about how the press had originally received the Elder Scrolls Online and how it received it since the console launch. It’s not a big secret that I said some pretty critical things about ESO shortly after its PC launch. Rich pointed out during the conversation, possibly not knowing the outlet I was from, that he was surprised at how the opinions had turned around, especially Massively’s. And when he said “Massively,” I don’t think he realized that it was specifically my opinion that had that changed, drastically, since I’ve been the site’s ESO columnist since before the game’s launch.

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The Daily Grind: Which is the best MMO to start in right now?

Here’s the situation: It’s April 2017, and you have a friend approach you who is open to the idea of playing MMORPGs, although he or she has never touched one. After looking down the list on Massively OP’s games page, your friend feels overwhelmed at the choices and has no idea where to start or which game to try first.

Knowing that some of these MMOs have been out for a while and being a little aware of the waning and waxing nature of the games, your friend asks you which MMO or MMOs would you recommend as an ideal starting point.

How would you respond? Would you encourage your friend to wait for an upcoming release so that he or she can get in on the ground floor? Would you pick one of the more popular titles that has a large crowd? Or would you recommend an MMO that is the most newbie-friendly game in town?

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 113: Avatar vs. toon

Do you want to date my space avatar? She’s a star and she’s hotter than a supernova by far. Or maybe you’re a loony tooner? What’s the socially acceptable way to reference your character in an MMORPG without coming across like some weirdo from another gaming era? Bree and Justin will devote their lives to figuring out this question.

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: 5 brilliant Guild Wars 2 YouTube content creators

I often find that playing Guild Wars 2 leaves me with more questions than answers when it comes to lore and story predictions, build strategies and rotations, and efficient raid clearing, so I spend plenty of time listening to the advice and opinions offered by my fellow players to both improve my own gaming experience and engage with my favourite MMO when I’m not logged in. My YouTube subscription list reads like a who’s who of Guild Wars 2 content creators and I’m never stuck for entertaining and informative videos to watch during my commutes to classes, so I thought it was about time that I took some time to share my favourites with you in case any are missing in your own subscription lists.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll list some fantastic YouTubers who you should most definitely check out if you’re not already familiar with them. Many of the names making the list are massively popular and you’d have to have lived under a rock to be unfamiliar with their work, but others deserve much more attention that they get for the fantastic GW2 content they create and might well be new to you. Have a watch of the videos included below and don’t forget to subscribe if you enjoy what you see and, of course, add your favourite GW2 YouTubers in the comments.

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Video: Everything you need to know about Star Wars: The Old Republic’s 5.2 War for Iokath, live today

After a week-long delay, Star Wars: The Old Republic launches its first major patch to the Knights of the Eternal Throne expansion as Update 5.2: The War For Iokath today. The update continues your story directly where Eternal Throne left off and reintroduces classic companions Malavai Quinn and Elara Dorne.

Creative Director Charles Boyd spoke at length and answered a few of our most pressing questions about the update — everything from Quinn and Galactic Command ranks to raiding dynamics and win trading. Boyd doesn’t shy away from addressing any of them. Watch our interview with him in the video below to get caught up on everything coming in the update — plus check out the update’s official trailer!

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