massively overthinking

Massively Overthinking is a weekly feature in which the Massively Overpowered writers take turns weighing in on a particular MMO-related topic before turning the discussion over to the readership. [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]

Massively Overthinking: Are boutique MMOs the future?

This week’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Kickstarter donor Taemys, who just so happens to be a guildie of mine. He’s clever, and so is his concern:

“Are all the smaller, ’boutique’ MMO’s the future? To put it another way, do you think we’ll see anything as big as World of Warcraft or EverQuest again?”

I put his questions to the Massively OP writers, who as usual were happy to overthink them!

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Massively Overthinking: Overcoming ‘Barrens chat’ culture

Tonight’s Massively Overthinking aims to address a core problem facing the whole internet, not just games: antisocial behavior. Our question comes from Kickstarter donor Katie MacAlister, who wonders,

What can be done to combat the “anonymity on the Internet breeds douchecravats” mentality that pervades MMOs? Barrens chat, trade chat…for every “good” soul, there’s a handful of twits. What can the MMO world do to fight this?”

I asked our writers about the best ways players and studios can overcome this ever-present problem.

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Massively Overthinking: The pure PvE ‘niche’ of MMORPGs

This week’s Massively Overthinking question is posed by Kickstarter donor Winterskorn, who wants to talk about something getting less and less love in MMORPGs lately: PvE.

“There are currently a lot of PvP-centric MMOs cropping up. But when companies talk analytics, they always indicate PvPers are small percentage of the population. So the question is why are there no PvE centric MMOs — solely PvE with no PvP attached?”

I polled the Massively OP writers for their take. Is Winterskorn’s perception accurate, and if so, where are the purely PvE MMOs?

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Massively Overthinking: The death of the MMO guild

This week’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Kickstarter donor JakeDunnegan, who is worried about the future of MMORPG guilds.

When EverQuest came along, I was introduced to the concept of guilds, which was a bit different from league play in Tribes. Voice chat in EQ wasn’t really a thing unlike the need for Roger Wilco in Tribes. And guilds added so much to playing. Since grouping was so critical in EQ, being in a guild was a must for effective play for anyone but Necros and Druids, who were the only effective solo players at the time.

Requirements for getting in some guilds were extremely stringent, yet the real-world rewards were unlike much we see today. It wasn’t uncommon at all for people to be in the same physical area to get together or folks travelling to stop in and have dinner with fellow guildies. I did this on many occassions, even planning a small weekend stop-over at a guild leader’s house about a half a day’s drive away.

All this and I played EQ for only about two years. We eventually started our own guild, and it would ebb and flow as new MMOs came out, but the game that really, effectively, killed off the concept of guilding — for me, anyway — was the ironically named Guild Wars 2.

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Massively Overthinking: Crowd control in MMORPGs

Today’s Kickstarter-begotten Massively Overthinking question arrives from donor Ravenwynd, who writes,

I love control type characters in mmos. City of Heroes’ Mind Controller could lock down entire groups; EverQuest Enchanters mezzed and controlled entire groups and trains. But as devs have added PvP and tried to balance classes in their games across the genre, it seems this playstyle has gone away. You can’t have long control powers as the PvP has to be quicker, so the control powers are super short. Given the hassles of trying to balance classes for both PvP and PvE (and the nerfs to one side when balancing the other), do you think more games/studios should strive for trying to do one or the other to their best ability versus engaging in that constant balance fight?

I polled the MOP staffers for their opinions on Ravenwynd’s topic.

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Massively Overthinking: The true value of free-to-play players

Today’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Kickstarter backer and prolific commenter Omedon, who wrote us a really long question. It’s long. But it’s a good and relevant one, particularly in light of dolphingate, tokyogate, and p2wgate (quit making gates, people). And it’s worth printing in its entirety before we answer.

Once upon a time, when F2P was young and magical, arguments among the genre’s enthusiasts would sometimes feature a variation on the following point: “I pay for the game with my time because the MMORPG needs a lot of people, and I have options, so they should count themselves lucky that I play their game, whether I pay them or not!”

Of course this would get shouted down with cries of “freeloader” or what have you, and on it would go. I’m not going to weigh in on this argument, but instead question whether or not it can still be made in the genre, as it now clearly accepts that F2P is the norm and that players can and will hop around from game to game. I think it can be argued that MMORPGs now, more than ever, try to keep players “one at a time,” not necessarily banking on this community of gamehoppers actually directly playing with each other as a core need of the game.

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Massively Overthinking: Making MMOs ‘sticky’ without vertical progression

Today’s Massively Overthinking question comes to us from Kickstarter backer Jersey C, who asks,

If you were asked to design an MMORPG without vertical progression like levels or gear grind, what kind of system(s) would you implement to give the game long-time appeal, or “stickiness,” instead of the usual grind? “Interesting PvP” is too obvious an answer, so let’s assume the game you’re making is going to be PvE only.

Why not open our series of Kickstarter-inspired staff questions with a really meaty one, right? I polled the Massively OP staffers for their thoughts.

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Massively Overthinking: Meaningful MMORPG mentors

We grouse endlessly when MMORPGs omit mentoring or sidekicking systems — but what about real mentors?

Have you ever had a mentor in an MMO, someone who guided you through a game or helped you navigate a guild or learn your class? If you no longer keep in touch, what would you say to your mentor if you could? I polled our writers about their experiences with having — and being — real gaming mentors in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Massively Overthinking: Impressions of Crowfall

We’ve got crows on the brain this week since Crowfall launched its Kickstarter. As of this afternoon, the game is just about 100k shy of its goal, a goal it will surely reach with 27 days to go, and confident of that, ArtCraft is already releasing stretch goals. The first promises an FX upgrade and female centaurs, while the second is a push for mounts and caravans.

For today’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve polled our writers to ask them what they think about the PvP-centric title. Did they back it? Will they play it? Or are they running for the hills?

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Massively Overthinking: The best MMOs for duoing

A Massively Overpowered reader by the name of DaBruuzer posed a great question to the team, one I thought we’d have a better time answering as a group since many of us play with spouses, significant others, or dear friends in duos.

“I would love to see some coverage about MMOs that are couple-friendly. My wife and I have been playing MMOs as a couple for many years now, always trying out new games that make duoing fun. Since the sunset of City of Heroes/Villains, we just haven’t found a new home. I have seen lots of stuff about soloing and grouping, hence my ‘couples’ angle. I don’t necessarily mean about a game’s marriage features — more like MMOs that complement a two-person group set-up.”

For this first installment of the reincarnation of our old Think Tank, I asked the MOP crew about the very best MMOs for duoing.

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