meta

The Daily Grind: What’s the most painful bug you’ve ever encountered in an MMORPG?

I’ve been playing a bit of Ultima Online lately, and the other night as I was working on my skills, I remembered a horrible bug that afflicted the entire game for weeks way back in the very beginning. UO back then had an interesting system whereby you could actually learn skills by watching other people doing them — if somebody swung a sword or strummed a lute or cast a spell within a certain distance from you, there was a small chance you’d get a skill-up yourself, assuming you had room left in your template, which was capped at the time at 700 skill points. It was neat!

The problem came about when a bug allowed skilling-by-watching to actively subtract points from skills you didn’t want to drop. That, combined with the fact that low-level skills raised very quickly, meant that griefers could run around banks spamming skills people were unlikely to have or want, thereby causing everybody to lose skills they’d spent months working up to the cap. My best friend and I lost dozens of points in our favorite skills before realizing what was going on and logging out for our own safety, and nope, EA didn’t restore anyone affected. How we ever kept playing after that, I’ll never understand. If something like that happened to me in an MMO today and the studio did nothing, I’d probably walk away.

What’s the most painful bug you’ve ever encountered in an MMORPG?
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Massively Overthinking: Is the MMO genre facing an identity crisis?

MMORPG blogger and MOP commenter Isarii (@ethanmacfie) recently published an excellent video positing that the MMO industry is facing a “massive identity crisis.”

“The MMO genre has sort of walked away from the things that made it unique and has faced an identity crisis since then as MMOs have reinvented themselves as these big giant titles trying to appeal to as many people as possible,” he argues. “As a result, you end up with MMOs that try to do things that smaller scale games tend to do better while not doing any of the things that make MMOs themselves unique.”

The whole video is worth a look-and-listen as he pins down what exactly does make MMOs unique and which MMOs have excelled as actual MMOs (protip: It’s everything from EVE to SWG to WoW, so don’t think this is about subgenre elitism at all). What do you think? Is Isarii right? Is the genre facing an identity crisis? And how do we solve it? That’s what our writers will be debating in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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The Daily Grind: What seemingly unrelated things make you want to return to old MMOs?

Lately, I’ve been feeling a very explainable pull back to Final Fantasy XI. It’s easy to explain because, well, it’s the game’s 15th anniversary and I’ve been reading a lot of vintage FFXI humor. What’s not so easy to explain is why there’s a certain time of year, every fall, when I get perfectly nostalgic for killing things in Gustaberg. That specific region. I don’t even like Gustaberg, but every year, like clockwork, September rolls in and I think I should go back to visit.

Why? I couldn’t tell you; I also know there’s a certain point of summer that always makes me want to play World of Warcraft, and playing Mass Effect 2 always makes me think of Star Trek Online fondly. These things don’t line up to the same timeline, I don’t have strong associations between the two, but these seemingly irrelevant experiences line up in my memory. What about you? What seemingly unrelated things make you want to return to old MMOs? Is it a time of year? Certain movies or songs? Or even just hearing the right turn of phrase?

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Enter to win a Marvel Heroes Omega PS4 beta code from Gazillion and MOP

If you were curious about the Marvel Heroes Omega edition out on PlayStation 4 but didn’t want to shell out for a founder pack to buy beta access to what will eventually be a free-to-play title, today’s giveaway is for you! We’ve got 20 closed beta codes for our readers that’ll get you in at the tail end of the test this weekend. The giveaway, like the ongoing closed beta, is restricted to North America. Read on to enter to win!

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The Daily Grind: What do you want out of a space sim MMO?

Watching the whole development and phenomenon of Star Citizen from a slightly detached perspective, I’ve often wondered (as I’m sure you have) what this game will actually end up being in the end. Certainly, many grand and impressive-sounding statements have been put out there, but we’ve all been hurt by unfulfilled promises before.

What’s really got me thinking is how everyone interested in this project seems to project their own desires into it. Ain’t none of us want the same things for a space sim MMO, unless you’re one of those mad players who wave your hands around and say “EVERYTHING!” like you’re a kid at a toy store who can’t focus on a few important purchases.

So assuming that you’re interested in space sims, what do you want out of MMORPGs in this field? Is it narrative? Trading? Planetary exploration? Combat? FPS boarding action? Weird aliens? Your own starbase? Janitorial simulation? Hardcore survival mechanics? Softcore space visuals?

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Ask Mo: Massively OP donors, your badges are almost here

Hiya folks! Earlier this year, the Massively OP website underwent a big change: With Livefyre shutting down, we switched over to a brand-new commenting system. While the positives have outweighed the negatives so far, one thing we couldn’t easily port to the new comments was the badge system that we’d originally commissioned. It allowed us to reward our most generous and loyal Kickstarter and Patreon donors with a clear symbol of their awesomeness. And we’d like to get that restored!

So over the past few months we’ve been working on a new badge system, and I’m happy to say that it’s almost here! The tech is functioning and the art is almost complete, which means it’s time to start figuring out who gets what — just in time for a whole bunch of you to ding 24 months on Patreon.

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Leaderboard: What do you do with your stuff when you quit an MMORPG?

On today’s podcast, Justin teased me for running a virtual yard sale as I attempt to clean out my house in Ultima Online. I’m not quitting the game, mind you, but I did feel the urge to purge my hoard a bit to give myself some options, since right now, I’m obligated to sub every few months to hang on to that digital house lest I lose everything in it. If I were going to leave for a longer period of time, as I’ve done before, I’d need to get rid of most of my loot in a hurry and figure out whom to bequeath my house — if anyone.

Totally coincidentally, this morning I ran across a post on the Marvel Heroes sub whose author says he’s quitting and was looking for a “tasteful” way of giving away all his stuff.

Both incidents prompted me to wonder what other people do — does it depend on the game? What do you do with your stuff when you quit an MMORPG?

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Global Chat: Die inventory management die!

Do you have inventory management with the passion of a thousand burning suns? Have you lost most of the vision in your left eye from squinting at rows and columns of tiny icons and their descriptive text? Do you feel like you’ve wasted a month of your life doing nothing more than shuffling around fictional items in your fictional backpack?

MMO Gypsy wants you to know that you’re not alone: “After 15 years of MMOing, I do not know a single MMO player who enjoys spending time sorting and moving around inventory; limited storage, tedious micro-management of too many (useless) items and having to move around inventory that’s bound to location, are decidedly unfun activities after a short time. This is not the kind of mini-game I want to spend my precious time on while playing games!”

That rant kicks off a great string of MMO blogger posts today, including a check-in with World of Warcraft clones, a look at pet classes, and the birthdays of two long-running games.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMOs would you include among the greatest RPGs of all time?

Massively OP reader Francois recently pointed us to IGN’s Top 100 RPGs of All Time, which we thought was worth a nod since unlike many such lists, it includes several early MMORPGs: including EverQuest (100), EVE Online (81), Phantasy Star Online (63), and of course, World of Warcraft (5), plus other multiplayer games we’ve covered in the past, like Diablo II, Titan Quest, Torchlight II, Stardew Valley, Neverwinter Nights, and more Ultima, Elder Scrolls, and Final Fantasy franchise games than you can shake an ancient console cartridge at.

But I can’t help but feel as if the MMOs that were included were added more for their saturation and fame and ubiquitousness during a certain time period than for their actual quality as RPGs, especially once you apply IGN’s rubic, which mentions requirements like story, combat, and presentation. I bet gamers with more experience in the breadth of MMOs could come up with a few more examples — maybe even a few made sometime after 2004 too, yeah?

Which MMOs would you include among the greatest RPGs of all time?

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The Daily Grind: Is there an MMORPG you find too daunting to return to?

Last week, Blizzard Watch published a post discussing the problem with grinding — but maybe not the problem you’re thinking. Matt Rossi explained that he had returned to World of Warcraft, or tried to, anyway, but felt overwhelmed by the amount of catch-up required in the grind department, from rep grinds to artifact knowledge. Blizzard is pretty good about helping returnees get caught up on experience, but not so much on the rest — and the experience is the fun part!

And boy do I know this feeling. There are so freaking many MMORPGs I enjoyed once, but going back… well, there’d be the compelling part of re-absorbing all the game knowledge, but that enjoyment would be totally wrecked at the realization that the economy, cosmetics, and meta had long since passed me by, never mind the grind itself. I’ve found that those are the kinds of MMOs I just don’t go back to.

How about you? Is there an MMORPG you find too daunting to return to?

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MMO Week in Review: Guild Wars 2’s expansion leak, Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter (May 7, 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!

This week, Guild Wars 2 launched Flashpoint, the next-to-last episode of its third living world season, which was overshadowed by a positively massive leak of the expansion, most likely coming in the fall.

Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation bedazzled MMORPG gamers with its Kickstarter, which in spite of questions about the game’s business model and corporate history has doubled its Kickstarter goal in just a week and seems sure to clear multiple stretch goals before it’s done.

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

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The MOP Up: SMITE’s console mea culpa (May 7, 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 Skyforge, EVE Online, IngressWar ThunderWorld of TanksWakfuLeague of LegendsSMITEGTA OnlineElsword OnlineWurm OnlineDarkfall: Rise of AgonWorlds AdriftCounter-Strike, SEAL Online, and Warspear Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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Massively Overthinking: Competitive PvE in MMORPGs

During last week’s podcast, Justin and I bumped into a tangential topic about competitive PvE and how relatively rare it is in MMORPGs, which seems weird, right? It was once the nature of MMOs to make us scuffle with other guilds in open-world dungeons, but with the dawn of instanced PvE content, devs didn’t replace that type of content the same way they’ve embraced raiding and PvP. You’ve got achievements, sure, and gear show-offs, but outside of Guild Wars-esque challenge missions and WildStar PvE leaderboards, it’s just not something most MMOs bother with.

Why is that? Should they? And how do you want to see it done? I posed all these questions to the Massively OP team this week for Massively Overthinking!

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