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: The future of a global MMORPG industry

Massively OP Patron Duane’s done the math on what is becoming, more and more, a truly global MMORPG industry. His question for Overthinking this week is a simple one:

“Devs in over 27 countries have released MMOs as of 2017. What country which is NOT your own would most excite you with a future MMO release?”

Now this is an unusual one! I posed his query to the team, and when we’re done, we’d love to hear from the rest of you.

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Massively Overthinking: Tab-target vs. action combat in MMORPGs

Massively OP patron Duane is kicking the new year off right: with a brawl over combat types in MMOs.

“Tab-target, action, or hybrid combat, for many MMO gamers the combat system, regardless of whether it is a well-made, is a deal maker or breaker,” he writes — I like to imagine he wrote it with a mischievous glint in his eye. “What is the superior combat system, and why is it superior (please give examples)? Let the battle-lines be drawn!”

I posed his question to the MOP writers for this week’s Overthinking. Here we go!

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Massively Overthinking: Hopes and wishes for MMORPGs in the new year

One of the frustrating bits about our end-of-the-year content rollouts is that sometimes predictions and story roundups can come across as negative. It’s way too easy to assume that if someone is predicting game X will flop, she wants it to happen and is gleefully steepling her fingers and cackling madly over its future demise. Which is just not so! I never steeple my fingers.

But all the same, for tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’d like to take a moment to set aside our fears and expectations and just talk about our hopes and wishes for 2017 in an MMORPG context. That was what we think will happen. This is a summary of our most optimistic daydreams.

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Massively Overthinking: Our favorite MMORPG stories of the year

Earlier this week, we posted our award for the biggest MMORPG story of the year — the one we thought had the biggest impact on our genre. But in tonight’s Massively Overthinking, we’re going to put aside the bigger picture and talk about just the stories we liked, the stories we’re proud of, the stories that define us, the stories we wish we could write all day long. I asked our writers to pick one story they wrote and one story somebody else on MOP wrote and talk about why they matter. We’d love to hear what you folks think about our best work too — it helps us decide what you want to hear about in the future.

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Massively Overthinking: The best MMORPG developer quotes of 2016

One of the fun things we implemented on the site this year is a database of quotes from developers (among other entries) that are relevant to the MMORPG industry. In the spirit of the end-of-the-year posts that we’ve begun rolling out, today’s Massively Overthinking is a simple but fun one: I asked our writers to submit a favorite or memorable MMO developer quote from 2016 and explain why it matters. When we’re done, we invite you to do the same in the comments! (And yes, the best ones will be chucked into that widget for posterity!)

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Massively Overthinking: FOMO and time-limited events in MMORPGs

Earlier this week, Daybreak told players it wanted to get back to time-limited events in DC Universe Online. “Events make logging in every day that much more special,” the announcement quotes Jack “Jackster” Emmert, now ensconced as the Austin studio’s CEO. “I know that I’ve got to complete that event before it ends!”

While the specific event Daybreak is cooking up actually sounds fairly fleshed out and nice — a new zone, new quests, and a raid — I start to fidget at the idea that the content will be time-limited or temporary. Sure, I understand why studios would want to funnel players to a central but dynamic content stream and get us all to pony up. But exploiting players’ “fear of missing out” — FOMO — seems like a crappy way to design game content for the long-term, and it bugs me. Am I alone?

That’s the topic I’ve posed to our writers for this week’s Massively Overthinking. How do you feel about time-limited events in MMORPGs? Are they a waste of resources or a necessary evil? Who does them right, and who does them wrong?

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Massively Overthinking: Gratitude for the people of the MMORPG genre

It’s Thanksgiving here in the US, and we wish you all a happy one, whether you’re celebrating locally or not. For this week’s Massively Overthinking and in honor of the season, I asked our team about the people within the MMORPG industry they’re thankful for. Mentors, guildies, artists, designers, visionaries? QA testers, community managers, commenters, donors, those wacky folks who Kickstart our dreams? Let’s talk about our favorite people and why we’re glad they’re making the genre a better place to play.

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Massively Overthinking: The many ‘NGE’ moments across MMORPG history

Eleven years ago this week, the New Game Enhancements patch descended on Star Wars Galaxies, forever changing the trajectory of the game, SOE, and maybe even sandbox MMORPGs in general by completely uprooting the character development process of the MMO and gutting beloved professions, not to mention breaking essential pieces of the game’s crafting economy. The ensuing fallout caused a mass-exodus from the game, tarnished gamer trust in SOE, and guaranteed that we’d still be talking about it more than a decade later. And though I’ve long argued that the game that sunsetted in 2011 was as far removed from the NGE as the NGE was from the game that launched in 2003, I’m first in line to declare that the NGE implemented in 2005 was an unmitigated disaster.

For this edition of Massively Overthinking, I don’t want to talk about Star Wars Galaxies’ NGE. I want to talk about all the other NGEs in MMORPG history — all those other massive patches and updates and expansions that shattered or altered an MMO so fundamentally that gamers never looked at it the same way again and indeed considered it irreparably ruined. What’s the most brutal NGE (that wasn’t that NGE) that you can think of? That’s the question I posed to our writers this week.

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Massively Overthinking: Nickel-and-diming in MMORPGs

Massively OP reader and listener Suikoden79 recently wrote in to the podcast with a gem of a question I thought would be more fun for the whole team instead of just our podcasters. He told us that he used to be a subscription type of MMO player, but as his family and responsibilities have grown, he’s shifted from being hardcore to casual, and so now he appreciates being able to scope out a game before deciding whether to spend money — and when he likes a game, he does shell out. Here comes the but:

“What I’ve noticed is that I’ve spent more money in the last three months on games that gave me everything upfront except extra content (like DLC) versus games that nickel-and-dimed me on every little thing along the way. Take Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online, for example. I’m actually more relaxed with my wallet because I know that all I really have to buy is content, and I can purchase that content when I am ready for it; so I spend more along the way. The DC Universe Online or Star Wars: The Old Republic model, on the other hand, makes me tighten my wallet against spending because I never know what stupid inhibitor I’m going to have to spend $1 or $2 on next. If someone is dedicated to a game, I suggest subbing because it’s usually a good value. But when will some of these studios figure out that if they just make the game experience fun, most F2P people will spend money? I’m all for charging for extra content, but everyone should have the same playing field as far as game experience. What do you guys think? Does the nickel-and-dime model really work better than the free-for-all, charge-for-content-only model?”

I posed Suikoden79’s question to the Massively OP team for this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Massively Overthinking: The MMORPG board games connection

MOP reader Kastaguro sent us an interesting question last month about MMORPGs, board games, and a possible playerbase shift.

“I was wondering if any of you play board games? I have noticed that all the people I know who used to play MMORPG have stopped playing them. We are all older and have been playing MMORPGs since the late ’90s, and they all give the same reason for quitting MMOs: They just don’t like the direction they are going and can’t stand the communities anymore. Instead, they have massive get-togethers with hardcore roleplaying board games, and I have to admit they are really fun. What do you guys think about this? Do you know anyone who quit MMOs for board games that can last for hours at a time?”

MOP’s Andrew proposed that we expand the question to include tabletop pen-and-paper games too, so that’s exactly what we’ll do as we tackle Kastaguro’s Massively Overthinking topic. Do you hardcore MMORPG writers and gamers also play board games or pen-and-paper games? What’s your favorite? Do you think there’s been a shift among online RPG players to more local or personal party games, and if so, is it because of changing lifestyles or something significantly wrong in the MMORPG market itself?
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Massively Overthinking: Our five favorite MMORPGs of all time

Earlier this week, Redditor maxpower888 started an epic thread on the /r/mmorpg sub asking everyone to chime in and name his or her top five MMORPGs of all time. I thought it was a nifty thread to skim to see how many times the same games kept popping up (and the same games turned up in combination with each other).

“You can tell how old people are by their lists,” one gamer objected, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true!

So for this week’s Overthinking, we’re going to join in the fun, then explain our choices and puzzle out what those choices say about us — don’t forget to click the entries to expand them for explanations! You should do the same down in the comments!

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