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Massively Overthinking: Building a better MMORPG economy

We are on a roll with the epic questions for Overthinking lately! “The recent article about monetization got me thinking about just how much most modern MMOs are still trying to replicate real-world capitalist economies,” MOP Patron Avaera begins.

“Virtual currency is usually earned proportional to various measures of virtual effort that are intended to be wealth-generating activities – selling loot earned from skillful PvE hunting, selling crafted goods made from resources gathered over time, owning items or land that generates tradeable material over time. However, virtual effort doesn’t have the quite the same limitations, scarcity, and creativity as real-world effort, and these systems seem prone to exploitation by users/bots that can easily outmatch casual players in terms of how much virtual effort and time they can expend, leading to various RMT problems and artificially distorted economies. How would you go about avoiding this problem, if you had the god-like powers of a game designer? Is there a way to set up a virtual economy so that it isn’t prone to exploitation by bots or gold-farmers, and will we ever see a virtual game currency that can truly be exchanged with a real one?”

I posed Avaera’s question to our staff to mull over.

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Choose My Adventure: Two approaches to whining about DC Universe Online

Dear readers, today I am going to try something different for all of you. And it’s predicated on the fact that I’m not just fond of video games; I’m also fond of comic books. This means that when I sat down for my most recent play session in DC Universe Online, I found myself of two minds about why I wasn’t super-duper happy with the content I was experiencing… and both of them could easily fill in a good chunk of words by themselves.

So this week, you get to choose the column you want to read. There are two spoiler warnings below: one covering my thoughts of playing the game from a strictly game-based perspective, the other one being my thoughts of playing the game from a comic book fan’s perspective. Read one! Read the other! Read both! Theoretically you could read neither, I suppose, but then you would have clocked out before you were done with this introduction.

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The Daily Grind: What simple tasks does your favorite MMO make unnecessarily difficult?

For the longest time, logging out of Final Fantasy XI was something of a nightmare. First, you had to get to a mog room, or else you had to wait for an extended period of time to log off (unlike other games such as World of Warcraft, you can’t just force an immediate logoff while your character stays in place longer). Then, you had to exit out of the PlayOnline Viewer, a program with the sole purpose of making you angry that you were playing the game. It was just a matter of logging on and logging off, but imagine adding two extra minutes or so to every single time you want to get offline.

Of course, I figure every game has some issues along those lines. It was always such a pain to just get your fellow players onto the bridge of your ship in Star Trek Online, and I found map waypoints in Lord of the Rings Online to be irritating to see. None of these things are complex for the player, but their simplicity makes it almost more annoying when these things are inconvenient or difficult. So what would you say? What simple tasks does your favorite MMO make unnecessarily difficult?

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Grab a Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics Egyptian starter pack from Hi-Rez and MOP!

In celebration of the open beta launch of Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics, Hi-Rez Studios has granted Massively OP a bajillion keys for Egyptian Starter Packs for the game. It grants a trio of cards (Cataclysm, Magma Slam, and Geb) for PC players to help ya get started. Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!

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The Daily Grind: How death-prone are you in MMOs?

Do you find yourself faceplanting a lot in MMOs? Do you measure your lifespan during a boss fight in mere seconds? Or are you so invincible that the game made up a new achievement just for you to recognize your longevity?

I die over all sorts of stupid things, including (and not limited to) falling off of cliffs, miscalculating jumps, overpulling mob packs, saying “I wonder what will happen if I touch this,” looking at PvP players with side-eyes, trying to train dragons, eating hot sauce packets in The Secret World (true story), and on a few occasions, merely by logging into a game.

How death-prone are you in MMOs? For a bonus question, what’s the most memorable way you’ve ever died?

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Global Chat: Are MMO side quests worth it?

Apparently I am a pot-stirrer. On my side blog, Bio Break, I like to throw out conversation starters every now and then, and one such recent post concerned side quests. Namely, I mused about getting rid of them altogether in MMORPGs. This generated a lot of interesting conversation around the subject among other bloggers.

In An Age said that side quests are vital for pacing: “Pacing, meanwhile, is all about enhancing the main story. How do you enhance a story? By fleshing it out. Giving context to its development. Allowing breathing room in which to digest the latest narrative bombshell. Bringing the world in which the story exists to life.”

“I’m a fan of side quests if they’re done well overall. I don’t expect every single one to be breathtaking storytelling,” said Gaming SF. And Bhagpuss goes the other way: “I have to wonder whether, rather than putting side quests on ice, it isn’t the main quest itself that should be deep-sixed. If side quests add breadth and depth to the world, don’t main quests try to put that world in a box and close the lid?”

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG is the worst for duos?

As I’ve been playing Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind the past week or two, my husband has been watching me from the depths of his Overwatch games, toying with picking up a Morrowind copy for himself to join me. The thing is, we both know that the game experience in ESO is sometimes hindered by the addition of more people, as the throngs of people plunging past me into my sneaky missions demonstrate on the daily.

It reminded me of something blogger Syncaine wrote earlier this year about ESO: “It’s very obvious a huge chunk of the game is aimed to be played solo, and not only do you not benefit from bringing someone else, in many cases you are punished or annoyed.”

I can think of a lot of MMOs that are great for duoing, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought about the absolute worst MMO for bringing a friend along for basic leveling and questing, and for all its petty annoyances, I suspect ESO isn’t that far down the list. Which MMORPG would you argue is the worst for duos?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO IP should Disney themeparkify next?

Following Disney’s announcement of the Star Wars Hotel in the Galaxy’s Edge Disney subpark this weekend, my MMO guildies were joking about using the location for a guild meet-up in a few years. (Well, they were joking; I was serious! Teenage Bree would literally be shrieking incoherently over this thing. I practically still am.) The new bit is basically a Star Wars LARP hotel where you walk around in costume (and presumably in-character).

“It’s unlike anything that exists today. From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100 percent immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”

So basically, it’s an MMORPG that skips right past VR and into real life. Will it be awesome? It’s going to cost a fortune, so probably — although if Westworld is any guide, people will still pay fortunes to show up and be idiots. My guildies will probably just spend all their time playing sabacc in the cantina, so we may as well just stay home and save the dough.

But Star Wars is my particular obsession; I’m sure you folks can think of other IPs, specifically MMO IPs, that would work even better for a bajillion-dollar vanity LARP. Which MMO IP should Disney themeparkify next? (Points to whoever says Revival first!)

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MMO Week in Review: Hurtling toward LOTRO’s Mordor (July 16, 2017)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

Lord of the Rings Online startled everyone this week by smacking a release date on its Mordor expansion, and it’s surprisingly soon: July 31st. Maybe. “In the event of delay, you will receive the Mordor expansion content and items no later than August 31st, 2017,” preorder players are told. Of course, if you are thinking of preordering, maybe check out our editorial on the community’s reaction to the price and what’s in the virtual box before doing so.

Meanwhile, Guild Wars 2 announced its season 3 finale, EVE Online killed the last remnants of walking in stations, and we got a last-minute heads-up on new “massive” online RPG Citadel: Forged With Fire.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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The MOP Up: Crash Force offers arena fun at a discount (July 16, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from TERAMaster X MasterEternal CrusadeWarfacePortal KnightsMapleStoryCrash ForceDroneNeverwinterElswordEVE OnlineWarframeFinal Fantasy XIVEverQuest IIWorld of WarshipsPath of Exile, and Eternal Crusade, all waiting for you after the break!

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One Shots: Man of Tungsten

Look there! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… Mysecretid!

Who among us hasn’t played a video game at some point and decided to create his or her favorite fictional character? At least Mysecretid is being honest about it: “DCUO sets up this idea that the players can be proteges of existing DC heroes and villains. Although many players ignore this possibility, I decided to make my character a clear Superman fan — as I am.

“I realize that Superman is often terribly written, but when someone ‘gets’ the character, he’s golden. I re-created my main from the PC on my PS4. I’ve been having a lot of fun, despite the game’s flaws.”

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever fallen for an MMO after giving it a second chance?

It’s no secret that there are a lot of games out there I fell for on my first try (Final Fantasy XI, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, Star Trek Online), but you know what game I couldn’t stand when I first played it? City of Heroes. I played, thought it totally missed what would have made a superhero MMO fun, and left it behind with a sense of bitter disappointment. It was several months before I gave it another shot; when I did, it was lover at second sight.

This is not entirely foreign to me; my first impression of The Elder Scrolls Online was definitely negative, but going back to it produced much warmer feelings. Then again, there are games which I don’t care for much on my first try that later do nothing to change my mind. What about you, dear readers? Have you ever fallen for an MMO after giving it a second chance? And if so, have you found it has more to do with changes to the game or with yourself?

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Make My MMO: Star Citizen’s derelict ships’ Firefly and Star Wars inspiration (July 15, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen released a new cinematic trailer featuring characters checking out derelict ships in-game, both on the surface and in space. Note the scope of the vessels, voiceovers, music, and female toons (finally!), not to mention the distinct Star Wars/Jakku vibe and Firefly inspiration.

Meanwhile, Crowfall talked up its building parts, Valiance Online teased its alpha, and Brad McQuaid mused on Pantheon’s philosophy.

Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.

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