Massively OP’s holiday gift guide for the ‘Not So Massively’ gamer

    
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The holidays are approaching, and that means there’s not much time left to get presents for your friends and lumps of coal for your enemies. At MassivelyOP this year, we’re putting together a series of themed gift guides highlighting some potential gift ideas for players of particular games. If you know anyone who is mad about MOBAs, shooters, sandbox games or dungeon crawlers and you’re having trouble finding gifts for them this year, hopefully this guide gives you a few ideas or at least points you in the right direction. Normal Not So Massively news roundups will resume next week.

diablo3Like many people, I excitedly pre-ordered Diablo III and sunk over a hundred hours into it before becoming frustrated with the gameplay and loot quality. If it’s been a while since you or your friend have tried the game, now may be a good time to give it another shot as the game has been completely overhauled since launch. You can pick up the base game for less than $20 and the Reaper of Souls expansion for under $30, or the combined Ultimate Evil edition for PS4 for around $30.

If you have a friend who’s nuts about Diablo III, Blizzard’s official merchandise includes posters, plushies, mousemats, mugs, and pretty much everything else you can think of. The Book of Tyreal and Book of Cain also delve into the lore and art of Diablo III, and there have even been a few fictional novels written set in the Diablo III universe: The Order and Storm of Light by Nate Kenyon.

diablo3elitedangerousJef Reahard had some great gift suggestions for space sim fans in his recent gift guide, but there are plenty of other options for fans of Elite: Dangerous. His top pick was the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight Stick, which is a great budget joystick for space sim fans and is available right now for around $40. Elite also supports Track IR and the Oculus Rift, though the current Oculus dev kits are a little pricey and the consumer model should be out early next year so it’s probably best to hold off on it.

If you’re a fan of fan-fiction, there are also plenty of fan-written Elite novels for sale as kindle purchases and even a few produced in hardcover format. Permission to write a of book in the Elite universe was the $5,000 tier on the original Elite: Dangerous kickstarter campaign, and several people even started their own kickstarters to fund their $5,000 pledge and write a book. While novels such as Kate Russel’s Mostly Harmless and Drew Wagar’s Reclamation are serious stories set in the Elite universe, there’s also a touch of parody with Gideon Defoe’s Docking Is Difficult.

thrustmaster2

leagueoflegendsAs with any free to play MOBA, League of Legends makes its money from the sale of cosmetic items and skins. You can get your friend a 1380 RP card for just $10, which is enough for about one skin but not enough for a legendary or ultimate skin. A $25 gift card gets you 3500 RP, which is enough for even an ultimate skin. The League of Legends official merchandise store has t-shirts, plushies, posters, figurines, and those awesome Teemo hats that you see about a hundred of at every convention.

teemohat

smiteEveryone’s got at least one friend who is obsessed with a MOBA, and if that MOBA is SMITE then finding a gift for him may be very easy. Hi-Rez Studios sells packs of microtransaction gems for as little as $7 for 400 gems, which is enough to buy a few skins. If you’re a big SMITE fan and are trying to get a friend interested, you could buy them the Ultimate God Pack for $30, which unlocks all current and future gods for use.

godpack

splatoonIf you’re buying a gift for someone who owns a WiiU or you’re getting someone a WiiU as a gift, consider picking Nintendo’s online shooter Splatoon. As one of the few family-friendly shooters to take off on the console market, Splatoon’s map-painting gameplay has just recently won it the Best Multiplayer and Best Shooter awards at The Game Awards 2015. The game beat out Call of Duty, Rocket League and Destiny and Star Wars: Battlefront, and you can pick up a copy at the moment for around $50.

If you’re buying for a friend who is absolutely nuts about Splatoon, you can pick him the full set of Splatoon amiibos for around $35. The official nintendo merchandise store also has Splatoon hats, and you can find a variety of Splatoon-inspired t-shirts on websites like redbubble.

splatplatoon

starcitizenWith Star Citizen edging closer to the $100,000,000 crowdfunding mark and the community recently hitting over a million members, most people who want to buy into the Star Citizen alpha have probably already done so. If you want to invite a friend who isn’t interested in spending cash on an alpha, you can buy a package as a gift as long as your own account’s first purchase was over 30 days ago.

You could alternatively buy your friend a few $25 gift cards, but you’d need to buy three of them to get the cheapest game package. The cheapest game package is the $45 Aurora ship package ($54 in the UK where a 20% tax is added to the price up front), which gives you access to Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 when it hits the live servers, and promises you a copy of both Star Citizen and the singleplayer game Squadron 42 on release.

fundingtimeline
starwars-titleIf you missed the launch of Star Wars: Battlefront, you may be glad to know that the game released last month on PC, XBox One and PS4. You can pick it up right now for about $60 on Amazon, but if you do buy it there then please be aware that all of the purchase options are actually digital download editions. Amazon will ship you a box with a download code inside instead of putting an actual physical DVD in the box, and that includes the standard box version and the limited Steelbox edition. There are hundreds of negative reviews on amazon right now, and many felt ripped off by being sent a download code in a box.

Some links included within this article may be part of MOP’s Amazon affiliate program, income from which goes entirely to funding our operational budget. MOP’s writers have selected products based on their own opinions and receive no direct commission or profit from the affiliate program. We have not been sponsored or coerced to mention any product. Stay tuned for more of our holiday gift guides for MMO players throughout the winter holiday season, and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!
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Nyphur
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Nyphur

agemyth Nyphur A++ would internet with agemyth again.

agemyth
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agemyth

Nyphur agemyth Yeah, I certainly agree that gambling and gambling-like mechanics, even in meta-game stuff, is gross. It is weird to think that children these days have direct access to these kinds of games that they can throw money at and not know what they are going to get or not really understand the concept of it.
A one-time purchase with optional non-random cosmetic/metagame would be more ideal for most of these games, but the motivation for developers to capitalize on the psychology of gambling is strong these days.
We are more or less on the same page. Successful exchange of words on the internet. A+

Denngar
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Denngar

Nyphur http://alisonwonderland1951.deviantart.com/journal/Stolen-Art-on-RedBubble-511461093
http://koyorin.deviantart.com/journal/Stolen-Art-on-eBay-Redbubble-etc-531032174
http://redbubble-scam.blogspot.jp/2011/09/redbubble.html
You’re right that users do upload designs, but redbubble is responsible for allowing those designs to go up in the first place. To then also keep using legit designs by an artist after they remove said artist’s account, and to keep the money gained from their designs, is also pretty crappy.
TeeFury is much pickier, and TeePublic’s gotten better about being picky since they first opened, plus have responded well to stolen art complaints: http://fireflea-san.deviantart.com/journal/Art-stolen-on-TeePublic-562340003

Mifune
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Mifune

Damonvile Humorous.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

Nyphur Mifune Apparently your idea was bad and you should feel bad for ever making it. You sir…are a bad person!

Damonvile
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Damonvile

agemyth DianeMcGowan Hopefully it’s better than steams version of that. The reviews for them are beyond terrible last time  looked.

Kanbe
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Kanbe

Thanks for the info Brendan! Though still sounds like its not really what I’d like it to be so it’ll have to stay on my “looks cool but won’t really play” list

CloakingDonkey
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CloakingDonkey

agemyth Mifune Nyphur It being high profile doesn’t make it a good gift though, especially when there is absolutely no guarantee on it ever getting done. I wouldn’t give a pre order for Total War: Warhammer to a friend for christmas either because it’s like giving someone a lottery ticket.

And the only people who would consider “the gift of Star Citizen” elating are those who already bought into the hype… which means they probably already have it. Anyone who’s not spent money on spaceship ideas in the last 3 years probably won’t consider it a dope gift now either.

Hence why it’s a questionable gift… Have you consider handing out membership in the fat free cooking club instead? :P

Nyphur
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Nyphur

Mifune Nyphur If there are any other ‘Not So Massively’ games you think people would enjoy getting a pre-order of as a gift, please post a link to them in the comments as I’m sure they will help people with gift ideas. I picked the most popular of the games we’ve recently covered a lot, but I’m sure there are tons more games that fit the description and have gifts available.

Regarding SC Alpha 2.0, I’m pretty sure it will eventually going to roll out to all backers. They made an announcement back in October that the alpha was now open to all and they have to follow through on that, bugs included. The main problem right now is that they’re having trouble with scalability and stability of servers, so the number of people in the alpha seems to be being increased in batches.
This is pretty typical of an alpha of a large online game or MMO as there will be bugs in the server code causing desync between client and server, server-side errors and exceptions, and under-optimised code that is bottlenecking performance. None of that can be properly tested until the server is live with actual player input, so I tend to cut developers some slack with server issues right after a patch or when the game is still in alpha.

Nyphur
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Nyphur

agemyth Nyphur I think Valve knows that experimenting with business models is the best way to discover whether people will shell out cash for something, so they do a fair amount of experimentation. Nobody had any idea hats would become such a big thing in TF2, or that the marketplace for TF2 items would end up being worth tens of millions of dollars. So I do understand why they do a fair bit of experimentation with monetisation in Dota 2 and CS:GO. My problem was with the gambling mechanics in the TI5 compendium, where levelling up your compendium unlocked items randomly and you could buy levels outright for cash.
Some people pumped thousands of dollars into that compendium trying to unlock everything, and there was a lot of discussion around that time about the potential after-market value of the items based on previous compendiums. There were people pumping money into a gambling mechanic hoping to turn a profit, not just unlock some optional cosmetics. And since that compendium sold a lot more than others, many didn’t realise that the value of their items in any after-market (at least the items that were tradeable!) would be a lot lower than previous years. That might not be Valve’s fault, but they enabled gambling by adding random unlocks and selling levels and I personally don’t think that’s OK.

As a base business model, I’ll admit that I really don’t like the way some MOBAs sell heroes, even if it’s for in-game currency. My first MOBA was Heroes of Newerth and it was originally a one-time purchase for the game and all the heroes were playable. Picks and counter-picks at the start of a match were a very important part of the game, because certain heroes were hard counters for others. It’s important for competitive game balance that everyone have access to all heroes, in my opinion, and I’m glad Dota 2 and some of the upcoming MOBA-FPS hybrids are doing the same.