opinion

Opinion pieces are by definition neither neutral nor subjective. Massively Overpowered’s writers’ editorials reflect their own opinions, not necessarily the opinions of the site or company.

Choose My Adventure: Gearing up for Black Desert

I’m going to be honest with you, folks; the last Choose My Adventure installment left me feeling kind of depressed. It’s a shame to see a game that could have really been something else wind up as little more than a footnote, a shadow of what it could have been. So I’m actually really excited to start up Black Desert simply because that means I’m not going to have that personal connection. Heck, I didn’t expect the game to make it this long, and we gave it Game of the Year.

This is also the first game out of the prior few entries that I’ve never even tried to play before. I’m completely new to it. But I wanted to delay it until the Dark Knight was in the game, because I do tend to enjoy that playstyle. (And then making my characters anything other than grim-faced stoic bringers of death, but that’s a discussion for the roleplaying column I don’t write any longer.) So let’s talk a little bit about the game because that’s what we always do before the fireworks start.

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Why World of Warcraft's item level scaling is really, really, dumb

This has been a very stupid week. I know this because any other week, World of Warcraft completely destroying the reason for acquiring new gear would stand out as the stupidest thing I’d heard all week. As it was, it was just the stupidest thing I heard on Wednesday. I heard it when I woke up, so it had an early chance to establish that lead, and while I couldn’t be certain it had no real way of losing that lead through the end of the day.
I don’t know if it’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard all week, but it’s definitely high in the running.

A lot of parts of Legion have produced some degree of controversy, and by and large, I’ve been on the side of these being good decisions that need to be made for the good of the game. This, on the other hand, is a terrible decision that does nothing positive whatsoever for the game. It hurts every form of content and reward currently in play, and it’s the sort of thing that seems so catastrophically ill-considered that your first thought upon hearing it is, well, that it can’t be real. But it totally is. And the eleventh-hour rolling back of several parts doesn't exactly change the core problems behind the idea or why players immediately reacted with anger.

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The Daily Grind: Are you excited about Secret World Legends?

I quite like the setting behind The Secret World, and the game had some very neat ideas about progression and character builds. For my money, that didn't make up for atrocious combat and somewhat lopsided balance issues, but it meant that I was quite excited to hear about Secret World Legends back when it was just "the relaunch for The Secret World."

Now, though? I don't know. The announcement seems like it lacks a lot of substantive statements like what the future is for The Secret World or what precisely differentiates the two; is Secret World Legends built more like a single-player game where you can invite friends? How much is shared online by default? Is content only coming to this version from now on? Yes, I've read the press releases and interviews multiple times, but there's still a lot of vagueness and implications that don't really deliver much in the way of firm answers.

I'm still cautiously optimistic, of course, because the idea of the base game with better combat is appealing, but there's a lot that is unfortunately unclear and offers space to worry and be confused. What about you, readers? Are you excited about Secret World Legends?

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Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #12-7

It's starting to get serious now.

As we well know, people are highly opinionated about everything, but when it comes to music, there seems to be a (pardon the pun) higher pitch to the passion of those arguments. I've been doing an MMO music podcast for over three years now, and believe me when I say that there have been countless times when myself and my cohosts were aghast when someone hated a tune we liked and vice-versa, even though we shouldn't have been surprised.

So as we head into the top 10 of the best MMO theme songs, as voted on by the Massively OP community, expect a lot of opinions and controversies. You may not like the picks, the order, or the comments, but hopefully one or two of these will make you happy (and there's always room to be pleasantly surprised by a track you never heard before!). Suck it up and jump with me!

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The Stream Team: Carrying The Secret World torch and discussing the future

Well then. That answers that. If you haven't heard today's The Secret World news, you'll get an earful tonight. Massively OP's MJ is still reeling from the Secret World Legends announcement and all it means for her favorite game. No matter what, she'll always carry the torch for TSW! Thankfully, MJ still gets to log in and play, and that's exactly what she's going to do. What she'll do, however, is anyone's guess; she might take her frustrations out on every mob in sight and litter the ground with corpses, or she may just wander the world as dazed as a zombie. Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. to join the discussion in a rant-filled edition of OPTV in...

What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

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Hyperspace Beacon: Star Wars The Old Republic will finally allow us to switch factions

Long-time players of Star Wars: The Old Republic: In the next update 5.2: The War for Iokath, you will finally be able to switch factions. Insert disco horn here.

That's right: If you are a Republic character, you will finally be able to fight alongside the best people in the universe: the Sith Empire. And if you're a traitor to the Empress, you can fight alongside the Galactic Republic.

I also wanted to amplify another announcement about a couple of long-awaited companions. Republic Troopers, you will finally get your love interest Elara Dorne back, and Sith Warriors, you will finally be able to Force choke Malavai Quinn again, just as you always wanted.

I'll explain the details, my opinion, and show a teaser video on the matter below in this edition of Hyperspace Beacon.

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The Daily Grind: What anticipated MMO expansion turned out to be a disappointment?

It's with a heavy heart that I have to admit that RIFT: Starfall Prophecy kind of let me down. I was really, genuinely looking forward to playing this expansion last fall, especially since I would get in on the ground floor at release. And while there were some great aspects of the release, such as the concept and some of the quest lines, the overall product felt half-baked and the combat became such a slog that I gave up three zones into it.

I'm sure this has happened to all of us at some point. We get really hyped and excited for an MMO expansion, drinking in all of the promise that the devs feed us... and then that anticipation is deflated by the actual release. It just doesn't live up to our standards or it has some major issues. You look at it and say, "Son, I am disappoint."

When you look back at your MMO gaming career, what expansion turned out to be a disappointment to you? What could have been done better by the dev team?

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Funcom reboots The Secret World as Secret World Legends, a 'shared-world action RPG'

Raise your hand if you felt trepidation as well as hope when Funcom announced during that last investor call that it was relaunching The Secret World? Fans have been yearning for more TSW conspiracy goodness and system improvements for so long. But the community has definitely feared the game changing away from what makes it so unique; the word "NGE" was bandied about more than once. What if we told you that it is not just different but a brand-new game altogether -- that the relaunch is really more like a launch-launch?

Yep, Funcom is announcing this morning that it's rebooting The Secret World as Secret World Legends, basically a brand-new game with its MMORPG parts minimized. Whether that statement fills you with excitement or dread, keep reading for all the details we have, including the official FAQ.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 110: Legends of Aria's Derek Brinkmann

Join us in welcoming today Citadel Studios' Project Lead Derek Brinkmann from Legends of Aria (fka Shards Online) for an hour-long interview about the game's rebranding, new MMO focus, and upcoming alpha tests!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: What's the most stable MMORPG (besides WoW) right now?

Massively OP reader Gail made an interesting observation in one of the City of Heroes Master x Master drama threads about what she called "corn flake games." A family she knew that ran a grocery store quibbled over how to stock it: One sister "always wanted to cram the cereal aisle with the latest cartoon character high sugar high profit fads." The other sister's refrain?

"'Corn flakes. People in this town buy corn flakes.' Corn flakes, while not hugely profitable, were steady dependable sellers. In the MMO market, CoH was a corn flake game. It wasn't going to magically turn into WoW overnight. It wasn't going to suddenly break out and take the gaming world by storm, though with the huge surge in superhero movies I wonder what some good advertising would have done. But it had a sizable group of steady customers who provided a stable profit. That's nothing to sneeze at."

That's precisely why the sunset was so baffling when most games would kill for a subscription playerbase of 100K: It was a steady earner. And it was and is surely not alone. What else do you think is a "corn flake" MMO? Or to put it another way: What's the most stable and dependable MMORPG (besides WoW) right now?

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The Game Archaeologist: How DikuMUD shaped modern MMOs

Even though there are hundreds and thousands of MMOs spanning several decades, only a small handful were so incredibly influential that they changed the course of development for games from then on out. DikuMUD is one of these games, and it is responsible for more of what you experience in your current MMOs than you even know.

Of course, that doesn't mean everyone knows what DikuMUD is or how it shaped the MMOs that came out after it. You might have seen it used as a pejorative in enough comments that you know it is loathed by many gamers, but I find that there are varying degrees of ignorance about DikuMUD in the community. What is it, exactly? Why is it just the worst? And is it really the worst if we like the games that can point to this text-based MMO as a key ancestor?

Today we're going to dispel the mystery and myths of DikuMUD to lay it out there as it was and is today.

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Wisdom of Nym: Speculating on the healer skills Final Fantasy XIV could delete

Tomorrow, we're getting the end of the Heavensward story quests in Final Fantasy XIV, which means I need to start looking at Heavensward as a whole. For now, however, we can look forward to Stormblood and ask ourselves what we're not going to be using any longer as healers. And this wrapped up just before the final story patch, so I feel rather satisfied about how that timing worked out.

I'd say "all according to plan" if I remembered actually planning it this way.

As with previous installments, I'd advise you to take a look back through past articles in this series; the first one has tanks and the general philosophy, while the second column tackles melee damage and the third tackles ranged damage of all flavors. Today, we're finishing things off with healers. That's kind of a tangled mess with every option other than White Mage, but we'll plot a course.

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The Daily Grind: Where do you stand on depictions of animal cruelty in MMORPGs?

Last week, when Guild Wars 2 revealed its latest minipet, there was a minor squabble on the forums as some players objected to it. The minipet depicts a fish flopping around gasping for air, like, y'know, dying fish do. Worth pointing out here is that this fish doesn't die; it just follows you around suffocating eternally because minipets are magic.

The original poster wasn't screaming for PETA or anything, just raising the question for feedback. "While I know it’s not real, it does give me an 'Ick feeling' as I watched it lie there gasping for air, so I would vote for a change in animation," the player wrote calmly, asking for other opinions. The replies started out well, but it didn't take before the insults started: the OP was "ruining a gag" with "political correctness" and "whining" and "safe spaces," the usual. Oh, MMORPG forums.

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