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: Let’s play with the Gamer Motivation Model

Over the winter holidays, we wrote about game analytics consulting firm Quantic Foundry, which has published what it calls its “Gamer Motivation Model” — essentially, it’s an updated Bartle test for modern gamers that groups gamer types into three “clusters of motivations.” More recently, co-founder Dr. Nick Yee — yes, that Nick Yee — has discussed how gamer motivations align with personality traits.

In light of the fun we had taking the Bartle test a few months ago and the news that Bartle himself is publishing new books offering insight into our genre, we thought we’d take the Gamer Motivation test ourselves, share our results and our thoughts on the test, and provoke you to do the same.

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Massively Overthinking: The MMO with the brightest future

Imagine you have a friend who wants to play an MMO but doesn’t want to get involved in a game that’s in decline or might not be around in five years. Where do you steer that friend? Which current or forthcoming MMO has the brightest future?

I posed this question to the Massively OP writers for this week’s Overthinking in honor of the New Year ahead.

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Massively Overthinking: One MMO wish for 2016

We gave out a lot of awards this month for things games did in 2015, and we talked about what we think will happen in 2016. But what about what we wish would happen next year? Do you have hopes and dreams about our genre’s upcoming year? If you could make one single wish about the coming year of MMOs, what would it be?

I posed these questions to the Massively OP team for this week’s Massively Overthinking, and we’d love for you to join in.
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Massively Overthinking: The next big Star Wars MMORPG

In honor of Star Wars week (and rumors that EA is working on another Star Wars game), let’s talk Star Wars MMOs.

Star Wars Galaxies is much beloved around these parts, and I think most of us would agree that Star Wars: The Old Republic has matured into a worthy and popular MMORPG as well. Let’s take a moment to salute the passing of Clone Wars Adventures while we’re at it.

But the last Star Wars MMO launched in 2011. Is it time for a new MMO that is Star Warsy and iconic? What time period would you pick? What would the ground rules be? Tell me all about the third (well, fourth) Star Wars MMO of your dreams for this edition of Massively Overthinking.

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Massively Overthinking: Counting the hits and misses of our 2015 predictions

Every year, we lodge our predictions for the next. Funny, strange, and deadly serious, these predictions are a glance back on the naïvetés of 2014 and a chance to reflect on the last 365 days before launching into a new round of predictions and awards. In this week’s Massively Overthinking, we’ll be doing just that: Scoring last year’s predictions for 2015, counting both the hits and the misses, cheering when we got it right and giggling like fools with perfect hindsight when we whiffed at bat.

Note, the predictions naturally include notes from two former writers, both of whom now work for game studios, but they’re fun and we love them, so we’re including them!
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Massively Overthinking: Is IP-blocking in online games a necessary evil?

This past week, news about Black Desert’s IP blocking has reminded me once again how IP-blocking, region-locking, and the resulting isolated MMO communities are becoming far too normal and making it harder than ever to meet and team up with people around the world, which is part of the magic that brought so many of us to the genre in the first place.

It’s also brought some community ugliness to the fore.

Some people argue that IP blocking and the ensuing regionalization of MMORPGs is necessary because it ensures that groups can communicate in the same language and aren’t forced to suffer the side-effects of low pings from groupmates far away. And others… well, there’s no other way to put it: Some people are openly, proudly xenophobic in their desire to keep servers free of one specific nationality or other.

Are you as weary of IP blocking as I am, or do you think there are cases when it’s justified and more of a help to an MMO community than a hindrance? These are the questions I posed to the MOP writers in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Massively Overthinking: What to do when your MMO grows stale

Earlier this year, Kotaku ran a piece on how to make your favorite games feel new again once they’ve gotten a bit stale. Since Kotaku cover lots of games, its suggestions included things that don’t necessarily apply to most MMOs, like running without a minimap or refusing to level up, but there are also some widely applicable ideas like challenging yourself to a permadeath character or streaming your gameplay in front of an audience.

What do you do in your favorite MMO when it starts to feel a bit stale? How do you recharge and refresh the game for yourself? These are the questions I posed to the Massively OP writers for this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Massively Overthinking: Let’s take the classic Bartle test

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: Online worlds researcher Dr. Richard Bartle didn’t actually write the Bartle test.

His original research explored, analyzed, and defined the four player archetypes — killer, socializer, achiever, and explorer — but the test based on that paper was created a few years later by Erwin Andreasen and Brandon Downey and named in his honor.

We’ve been talking a lot about Bartle’s ideas’ relevance to modern MMOs in the last month or two, so I thought it would be fun to ask the Massively OP staff and readers to take the test, share their results, and talk about what it all means in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

There are, of course, some caveats.

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Massively Overthinking: WildStar, Guild Wars 2, and MMO raiding in 2015

Here we are in October, sandwiched between WildStar’s F2P conversion and Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns launch, and it seems as if we’re getting some very mixed messages from the MMO industry with these titles.

WildStar went F2P as a result of flagging sales and plummeting subscriptions, brought on — if you ask the commentariat — by the game’s insistent focus on hardcore, endgame raiding to the near-exclusion of other content. Today’s more well-rounded WildStar isn’t very much like what launched in 2014, presumably having learned that lesson.

Guild Wars 2, on the other hand, will introduce with its expansion tomorrow a brand-new raiding scene, and a particularly challenging one at that.

So what’s the deal here? Is ArenaNet out of touch or calculatedly gambling for a niche it doesn’t already have? Is raiding over or on the way back? Let’s talk about the state and importance of MMO raiding in 2015 for this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Massively Overthinking: PvP MMOs without the PvE

Back in April, we ran an Overthinking about a perceived lack of high-quality PvE-oriented MMO titles on the horizon, and that’s a conversation that keeps coming up whenever we talk about upcoming MMOs, particularly Camelot Unchained, as we did on the podcast last week. And that leads me to this week’s question:

Would you play an MMO without standard PvE combat? Are you planning on playing Crowfall, Camelot Unchained, or other MMOs that focus on PvP (and non-combat activities like crafting) to the exclusion of PvE combat, or do you need to be killing mobs for it to feel like a “real” MMORPG?

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Massively Overthinking: Graceful MMO free-to-play transitions

In honor of WildStar’s free-to-play transition this week, Massively Overthinking is about to overthink the very best F2P transitions ever. Even if you don’t like F2P, you probably can still name one that was pulled off well, one that was done particularly gracefully. I’m pretty sure you can think of some terrible ones too!

Intriguingly, after I posed this question to our team, Justin reminded me that technically, the last major subscription MMO to go F2P was RIFT in 2013. Everything else is either B2P or a minor game — or F2P or hybrid F2P from the start. Puts the question into perspective, doesn’t it?

Follow along to hear some of our writers’ thoughts and propose your own most graceful MMO F2P transition.

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Massively Overthinking: MMO server merge horror stories

Whether you call them server transitions, evolutions, consolidations, megaservers, or connected realms, server merges are a thing that affects most MMORPGs at some point in their lives — if they are lucky. The really unlucky ones sunset or fade away before a merge can save them.

So if you’ve been playing MMOs a while, you’ve probably gone through at least one merge. We’re guessing you have some war stories to tell. So that’s the question I posed to our staff for this week’s Massively Overthinking: What’s the worst server merge situation you’ve ever seen or lived through in an MMO?

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