You may hold Elves in high esteem, but the truth is that they are bonafide slackers. They live forever and can’t even be bothered to keep up with the weeding, so Elves make up some nonsense about communing with nature to cover for it while they binge on Netflix.
BalsBigBrother brings us our first pic of the day, this one from Lord of the Rings Online: “The one is from the High Elf starting instance, with this particular area the last part just before you are thrown out into the ‘real world’ of Middle Earth. Still amazed with how well the SSG folks do with their world building using such an old engine and saddened at times how divorced they often seem to be when it comes to actual player mechanics/fun.”
Last weekend, Brendan wrote a great column on how to stay safe from gankers in EVE Online, noting that the newbies are commonly given what he considers bad advice to just stay in high-sec; indeed, he smartly quoted Shedd: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
The article prompted a discussion in our work chat about risk-taking in MMORPGs. “After every one of Brendan’s (excellent!) tips, I keep mentally adding, ‘or alternatively, don’t play EVE,'” Eliot joked. And they’re both right. If you’re dead-set on being a “ship” in the risky gameworld of New Eden, staying in “harbor” defeats the purpose of playing EVE. But this is a real world where you don’t have to be a ship – you don’t have to play EVE. You don’t have to risk it all just for some pixel gratification.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writing staff to dish on risk-taking, in EVE or elsewhere. Are they into it? What kinds of risks are they willing to take, PvE or PvP? What do they think about risk-vs.-reward in MMOs?
The Battle Bards are quite familiar with the power of the strummed guitar and lute, knowing that such simple instruments can bring down walls, devastate armies, and dethrone monarchs. But on their off days, acoustic guitars are simply pleasurable to hear and are sprinkled throughout many a-MMO’s soundtrack. It’s six-stringed serenity in the 110th episode of this podcast!
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 iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 110: Acoustic Guitar (or download it) now:
Here’s how this column got written. Last week, I was talking about new potential jobs based on weapons rather than on jobs that have existed in Final Fantasy
in the past. The very first comment on the article was this wonderful bit by NobleEinherjar
, which was a bipartite comment that started off by discussing the sharp limitations of the Armoury System and the whole “weapon = class” system in Final Fantasy XIV
. It was a nice digression that I thought deserved a response.
About halfway into writing that response, I realized that I was already most of the way to writing a separate column. So now we have this here.
See, there’s an interesting point to be made about the rigid nature of jobs, the limitations that they impose upon the game’s systems, and perhaps most importantly how we got here in the first place. Especially when you consider that when the game launched, you had a class without any particular restrictions on what it could equip, much less with any jobs at all.
I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for the first time in my life this month, and it turns out that it’s freaking hard. Why? Because it’s humbling beyond belief. The list of things I need to be grateful for is endless. Even if I limit it to just Massively OP, I could go on thanking the writers all day. Instead of doing that again, this year I want to thank the spouses and roommates and SOs and other familial enablers of our writers, without whom this site probably would not exist. The reality is that in many cases, their love, support, financial maneuvering, and childcare behind the scenes allows us to keep writing. So thank you, to all of them – Paul, Joy, and Elaine especially – for helping us live this weird dream.
Now let’s turn it to the genre itself. What are you grateful for in the MMORPG genre?
Stately resting between the gaudy purple and orange of Halloween and merry red and green of Christmas is the earth tone-saturated Thanksgiving. While no one’s favorite color scheme, Thanksgiving does give us a nice in-between holiday with family meals, an awkward dance around politics, a work day for football teams, and the occasional MMORPG holiday event.
While not every online game has decided to embrace the American holiday, enough pop up every year that need corralling. And since we just got turkey certified here at Massively OP, we’re going to lay out all of this week’s event options for you on a platter. So enjoy the festivities and dressing up like a Pilgrim for two days maximum before deeply questioning that fashion sense. Now jingly sleigh bells, size XXXL red suits, and reindeer antlers, that’s a smart look indeed!
It’s kind of hard to be thankful this year. Sure, some good things have happened this year, but we also have some things that, to put it politely, are unqualified messes. There’s everything around Star Wars: Battlefront II. There’s the shuttering of Master x Master and Marvel Heroes (the latter I actually flagged a year ago as being robust and healthy). There are titles like Lord of the Rings Online and ARK: Survival Evolved that have doubled down on methods to enrage players. And last but certainly not least, there’s still no sign of a sequel to the Warcraft film.
That one might be a grey area, actually.
But the year hasn’t been devoid of light, and there’s still stuff to be thankful for. So rather than being bitter and cranky about it, I want to focus on what we do have to be thankful for even while I hope for better in the future. Let’s talk about some stuff that’s good to be thankful for, even if it doesn’t tickle your particular fancy, and be a little more hopeful.
It’s time to smash up some robots with other robots in Final Fantasy XIV
. There’s more to it than that, sure, but the core of the game’s new Rival Wings PvP encounter
is that you are leading a team of robots (mammets) against another team of robots (mammets), and sometimes you get into a robot (machina) and use them to smash cores. It’s all of the robot action in the game you could possibly want, and if you’re familiar with the mechanics of MOBA combat, you will likely find this pretty familiar. Try it out for yourself; patch 4.15 has just gone live today.
The new Perform system, on the other hand, is less robot-based. It’s entirely based around making music as a Bard, and that means hitting a whole lot of different notes to make your own original music. (And the patch notes even warn you that you had better be making your own music, thus making the game a place where saying “anyway here’s Wonderwall” might literally get you in trouble.) So you can make your own song after stomping robots for a while. What more could you ask for?
The Armoury System places a certain unique burden on Final Fantasy XIV
. Any new job doesn’t just need to have a distinct mechanical identity, it needs to have a distinct weapon. Which worked well for the first expansion and a half or so; after all, there were a lot of obvious weapons that existed in the game in some abundance but didn’t necessarily have jobs associated. A bit of massaging and we had a job for daggers, a job for great swords, a job for… spinny card-balls…
Yeah, this analogy falls apart pretty quickly. But the point is that it’s still just as viable as a means of predicting new jobs as looking at past titles, especially as Yoshida has stated on multiple occasions that he’d like to have a job that was unique to FFXIV. So let’s look at some weapons we’ve seen in the game, ones that show up in other titles, and ones that make a certain degree of sense as a prediction method.
I do think that we, as a culture, have become disturbingly obsessed with selfies, but I will always make an exception for anyone who finds himself standing in front of an enormous gas giant.
“I wanted to share my screenshot for One Shots for the first time,” sent in Stormheim. “The screenshot is from Destiny 2. I don’t still have cool stuff and gear, but its kinda awesome to take a selfie with Jupiter behind you.”
If nothing else, Jupiter has the effect of making the subject look thin and light in comparison. Kind of like standing next to Jabba the Hutt or a YouTube content creator’s ego.
In the Dravanian Hinterlands lie ruins that the Sharlayans once used as testing grounds. The Goblins of Idyllshire are still using it for that purpose, after a fashion; it’s a place to test out war machines in battle to simulate a fight against the Garlean Empire. It’s also where Final Fantasy XIV
players can go for the new Rival Wings PvP mode
, arriving in patch 4.15 on November 21st, and the latest preview shows off more of its MOBA-inspired stylings.
Players are tasked with pushing to the two towers defending the opposing team’s core, then destroying the core in order to achieve victory. Of course, the other team is also attempting to do the same to your team, and both sides have access to special vehicles based off of the bosses from the Alexander raids. So you can lead your team of mammets and players into battle, but you’ll have to split your time between several different mechanics in order to pull out a victory.
Speculating is fun, as I’ve opined in the past. We’re a while away from the next Final Fantasy XIV
expansion, obviously, but one of the interesting things about the game as it stands is that we have already nearly exhausted the usual suspects for likely future jobs. Seriously, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I keep databases about these things; most of the jobs that show up in multiple games with job systems or the equivalent have already showed up by now or have fundamental structural issues with FFXIV
So, for this bit of future speculation, I want to start by talking about the jobs that I imagine are still on the table from the past. I’m leaving out the ones that are almost certainly off the table, either for reasons that I’ve discussed before or because they don’t really work with job mechanics as they stand (don’t hold out hope on getting Onion Knight). From the remaining jobs we could turn to, which ones have some odds of showing up?
Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.
Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.