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 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: Prestige systems in MMORPGs

Last week, an interesting question dropped into our team inbox. It was from a game developer -- I don't know for which game -- named Matthew.

"As a developer, I'd be really interested to know what MMO gamers think about the idea of a 'prestige system' in an MMO, akin to Call of Duty's, to encourage players who reach the endgame content to play through the game again from level 1 (with a different approach). Especially in the context of a game that has enough choices and options to make replaying the game interesting. My small studio doesn't have the resource to produce an expansive endgame, and this seems like it could be a viable option."

There are a handful of MMORPGs that try this already -- Mabinogi is coming to mind -- but it's very rare in the RPG genre in general, and I bet you guys can think up a few reasons why. So let's tackle the question for this week's Overthinking: Which games have prestige systems that encourage you to replay your character from level 1, why do you think it's so rare in MMORPGs, and how would you like to see such a system play out in a genre that prides itself on character development and permanence?

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Massively Overthinking: What's the worst MMORPG for duos?

Massively OP reader Styopa recently wrote in to us to propose that we write about the best MMORPGs for duoing. I was all set to do it... until I realized we've already done it! In fact, it was the first Overthinking we did over here on the new site.

So if Styopa doesn't mind, I'd like to turn the question around for this week's Massively Overthinking: What's the worst MMORPGs for duos and couples and twinsies? Which games just do not work for folks who always play in pairs, and what makes it fail compared to the games we held up as the best?

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Massively Overthinking: Please complain about MMOs, loudly and insistently

Last weekend, the blogosphere exploded over an article that essentially told the MMORPG community to shut up, sit down, and stop complaining about things like lockboxes ("they're not hurting anyone") and pay-to-win ("you can’t win in PVE because you’re not competing against anyone"). People reacted rather viscerally to it, from our own writers on their home blogs to fellow bloggers (that last one is not safe for work, I'm afraid -- I did mean "viscerally"). I'd like to take this edition of Massively Overthinking to let our staff weigh in on the argument. Where's the line between critique and complaint? Do you agree that we should all stop whining and take our lumps? Is complaining about the genre's troubles even productive anymore? What exactly is the role of journalists and player advocates in a world where complaining is off the table? And finally, please complain about something.

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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: Our favorite MMORPG soundtracks

MOP's Justin Olivetti created the music-centered Jukebox Heroes column back on Massively-that-was and brought it along to us here, and to this day it's one of my favorites. It's also one of our most contentious, which might seem weird since it covers not pay-to-win or crowdfunding or internet warlords but... music. Video game music. It turns out that you folks have incredibly strong opinions about your video game music, and not a top 10 list of tracks goes by when Justin isn't barraged with "you forgot X" and "why isn't Y on this list" and "obviously bias, doesn't include X" commentary.

So for this week's Massively Overthinking, we're turning the whole team's attention to video game music -- specifically, MMORPG soundtracks and individual pieces. Which ones are our very favorites? Which ones do we keep on listening to long after we've left the games? We're confident you'll populate the comments with everything we're missing!

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Massively Overthinking: One more chance for WoW Legion?

The World of Warcraft subreddit went nuts this week over a response to a player who told Blizzard that it had "one more chance... again" to win his heart. Blizzard's PR Facebooked back,

"This is quite humbling really. We're very thankful to have such an amazing, trustful, and enthusiastic community. You guys really are the best. You won't regret it btw, we're doing our best, we've learned a lot from past mistakes and we're putting everything we have into Legion."

The sub gave it thousands of upvotes in spite of some more cynical players who pointed out it was generic PR that could have been said by any studio (and has been said by Blizzard before). People are excited for Legion... and hopeful. As I remarked on this week's podcast, my guildies are piling back into the game as if it hadn't been abandoned for the past year, all eager to give Blizzard another chance. Maybe they really believe Blizzard's changed for the better, or maybe they just don't want to believe the magic is over. It doesn't matter: They ponied up for Legion.

So for this week's Massively Overthinking, I polled the MOP writers on whether they, too, are giving WoW another chance. Is Legion enough? What would it take? Will Legion really be different from all the expansions before?

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Massively Overthinking: Starting over with MMORPGs

This week's Massively Overthinking topic is from a reader named Yasser, who asked us:

"If you had to pick one MMO to experience all over again as a new player, which one would you pick? In other words, which MMO gave you the best newbie experience?"

Hindsight is 20/20, right? I mean, you only truly get the newbie experience once; every newbie experience after that has the advantage of having to introduce you only to the game, not to the entire genre of online gaming the way the first one did. Still, I bet most of us -- and you! -- have a pretty good idea which MMORPGs are best for a true newbie. Let's sound off for this week's edition!

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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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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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