donor post

Donor posts are posts or ideas donated by patrons of our Kickstarter campaign. They come in several flavors:
Donor Daily Grinds – Questions were supplied by Kickstarter donors
Donor Overthinkings – Questions were supplied by Kickstarter donors
Donor Soapboxes – Entire articles were supplied by Kickstarter donors
Donor Guests – Special guests include Kickstarter or Patreon donors
Donor Vidcasts – Vidcast questions were supplied by Kickstarter or Patreon donors
Donor Streams – Stream game was chosen by Kickstarter or Patreon donors

The Game Archaeologist: Where are all of the open-source MMOs?

Recently we had an interesting question come in from reader and Patron Rasmus Praestholm, who asked me to do a little investigating: “What (if anything of substance) exists in the MMO field that’s not only free, but open source? The topic of open source came up briefly in a recent column, where Ryzom was noted to have gone open source at some point. But have any serious efforts actually gotten anywhere starting out as open source?”

As some graphical MMORPGs pass the two-decade mark in video game history and are being either cancelled or retired to maintenance mode, it’s an increasingly important topic when it comes to keeping these games alive. Not only that, the question of open source MMOs involves the community in continued development, with the studio handing over the keys to an aging car to see what can be done by resourceful fans.

But has anything much been done with open source projects in the realm of MMORPGs? Is this something that we should be demanding more of as online gaming starts using more accessible platforms such as SpatialOS? Let’s dig a bit into this topic and see what we turn up.

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Massively Overthinking: Forced socializing in MMORPGs

Massively OP Patron Jackybah has a question for this week’s Massively Overthinking that’s probably going to kick up some dust. He wonders whether MMO developers recognize and “serve” a particular subgroup of their players enough — specifically, the group of players that do not want to actively participate in social grouping (for dungeons) or social banter (in guild chat) but still want to contribute to and participate in an online world.

“In quite a number of games I feel that the game forces a player to group up to be able to see content and/or get higher-level gear,” he writes to us.

There’s a lot of layers to unpack here — non-social gamers in social spaces, the current state of MMO group content, and even the fundamentals of MMORPGs. Is our Patron right, and if so, is it a problem studios should be addressing? Let’s get to it.

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Massively Overthinking: Real solutions to the MMO toxicity problem

Toxicity. It’s plagued online spaces since long before there were MMORPGs and other online video games, as any old school BBS user can attest. But it’s a problem we deal with all the same, maybe more now as lines between genres have blurred and gaming evolves into an accepted mainstream activity.

And solving the MMO toxicity problem is the topic MOP Patron and The Exiled developer Alexander Zacherl has posed for us today.

“How can devs and players together make sure that MMO communities do not turn toxic? Would love to hear some best practice from other games.”

Let’s tackle toxicity in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Which studios are dealing with it best right now — and how? What actually works to keep communities clean and friendly? What works for preventing the problem vs. curing the problem? What would you like to see done that no one’s trying at all?

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Massively Overthinking: The classes MMORPGs never do

No one wants to play Uncle Owen, a certain MMORPG exec famously said — except, you know, for all the people who really, really do. Including me!

Massively OP Patron Duane has a juicy question in keeping with that theme this week:

“What are some class/job/profession archetypes that you have never seen in an MMO that you would like to see? You can include include combat, crafting, gathering, or any other professions you like!”

I posed Duane’s question to the Massively OP writers this week — feel free to add to our list in the comments!

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Massively Overthinking: Are MMORPG collector’s editions worth the money?

I have a confession to make: I pretty much never buy collector’s editions of anything, especially MMORPGs. Call me cheap, I guess, but there’s rarely anything in them I want to pay extra for. The one exception I can specifically recall? It was TES4: Oblivion. I can’t even remember why I did it, but I did. And I saw my kid playing with the special coin/septim the other day, so that survived four household moves in the meantime, apparently.

The Exiled’s Alexander Zacherl has collector’s editions on the brain today too. Here’s the question he’s posed us:

“Why do you (not) buy founders packs / collector’s editions for MMOs? Do you get them for the exclusives, early access or just for a bargain subscription/credits?”

Let’s talk CEs! Do you buy them? If so, why not? If not, why not?

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Massively Overthinking: Guilty pleasures in MMORPGs

This week’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Patron Duane, who asks,

“Do you take simple joy in MMO mechanics that are often referred to pejoratively, like monster/crafting/gathering grinds, linear gameplay/storyline, or casual design?”

It’s tempting to say no way, we play the way we want, isn’t it? But I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling embarrassed about playing certain games or indulging in certain types of gameplay. A podcast listener once called me out on that as I tried to make excuses for why I was playing World of Warcraft, as if I subconsciously or consciously thought it wrecked my street cred to be playing it unironically.

So let’s tackle Duane’s question. What are your guilty pleasures in MMORPGs? What MMO gameplay bits do you adore in spite of everyone else’s snobbishness?

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Massively Overthinking: The best combat systems in MMORPGs

One of the big problems in the MMORPG genre as I see it is game studios’ inclination to prioritize combat above all else, turning what once was a genre stuffed with virtual worlds and multi-faceted gameplay activities into single-minded murder simulations. So you’d think they’d be really freakin’ good at combat, right?

Yeah, maybe not so much.

So today’s Massively Overthinking question comes from Das Tal — sorry, The Exiled — developer Alexander Zacherl, who asks:

“Which MMO has (had?) the best combat system? Consider abilities, targeting, movement, and so on!”

I posed his questions to the team. Onward, and bring your sword of trollslaying!

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Massively Overthinking: The golden age of MMORPGs

This week’s Massively Overthinking is a serious one from our dear Patreon patron Duane. Here’s the jumping off point for his topic:

“There has lately been an attitude on various sites and videos lately regarding MMOs falling out of fashion, and the latest news from Turbine is quite a hefty blow, confirming many a confirmation bias. The sentiment is that the ‘Golden Age’ of MMOs existed back in 1999-2003 and that MMOs are currently in a downward spiral both in quality of content and quantity of viable options. The thing is, since 2010, 20-50 MMOs have been releasing in the west every year, and 2017 is already looking to be a pretty big year for MMOs. In addition, many of the MMOs that launched a decade ago are still playable (even if they may be in a zombie/maintenance mode), and more people are playing MMOs than ever before. There have never before been such a vast selection of available playstyles and unique worlds to explore.”

And here’s what he’d like us to tackle: Was the 1999-2003 era really an MMO golden age, or are we in it now? Are the best days for MMOs behind or ahead of us? I posed all these questions to the MOP writers this week!

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The Stream Team: Attempting Grand Theft Auto Online’s new Cunning Stunts

If racing through the streets of Los Santos just isn’t doing it for you anymore, there are now new stunt racetracks strewn about GTAO to get your speed fix in. MassivelyOP’s MJ is ready to put the pedal to the metal in the new Cunning Stunts update. (She also might be expecting a wipe out or three!) Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to watch this fast and furious adventure requested by one of MOP’s very own patreon donors!

What: Grand Theft Auto Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

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Massively Overthinking: The best MMORPG trailers of all time

This week’s Massively Overthinking should be a fun one — and hopefully it’ll contrast nicely with the Game Archaeologist column we ran last week, which covered some bizarre launch commercials, trailers, and videos from more classic days of our genre.

MOP Patron and Das Tal boss Alexander Zacherl asks,

“What’s the best trailer ever released for an MMO and why?”

Let’s have it! What’s the best trailer for an MMO — or at least your favorite? Vid links or it didn’t happen!

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Massively Overthinking: What’s never going to happen in your favorite MMO?

Last week’s Overthinking question was a very broad one all about genre-wide wishes that go unfulfilled. But what if we drill that down? That’s what MOP Patron Roger’s doing with his question to us this week:

“What neat thing would you like in your favorite MMO that would probably not get added?”

Real housing in World of Warcraft? Real crafting in SWTOR? Actual players in… nah, I can’t do it. This one could get catty quickly, so let’s try to avoid that as we dig in — pick your three favorite living MMORPGs, tell us something players always beg for, and then tell us why it’s never gonna happen. Onward!

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Massively Overthinking: The MMORPG wishes that go unfulfilled

This week’s Massively Overthinking question is a short and sweet one posed by Das Tal developer Alexander Zacherl.

“What’s the greatest unfulfilled dream of MMO players and why will it (not) be fulfilled in our lifetime?”

Let’s talk big picture! Let’s make the optimists and cynics fight! I posted Zacherl’s question to our writers this week. Read on and chime in!

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Massively Overthinking: Is every MMORPG with a cash shop pay-to-win?

This week’s Massively Overthinking comes to us from one of our dear Patreon Patrons, Duane.

“There seems to be an ever broadening attitude towards what is pay-to-win. Recently I was in a conversation with a few other MMO players who insisted that if players could purchase max gear with in-game currency, then the game was pay-to-win, especially if the game in any way allowed players to pay money to assist in acquiring in-game gold (level boosts, cash to gold, speed buffs etc.). This stance puts the vast majority of MMOs into the “pay-to-win” category (including Guild Wars 2 and TERA, apparently?). So what gives here — are they right? Is the average MMO pay-to-win?”

Pay-to-win is one of those nasty terms that plagues the genre, and overusing it seems to ignore the subtleties and gradations of pay and win. Let’s hash it out! I posed Duane’s question to the MOP writers this week. Is every MMORPG with a cash shop pay-to-win? Are cosmetics the only way out? Are there any pure MMOs left that some people wouldn’t toss in the P2W pile?

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