Massively OP Podcast Episode 181: Some devs just want to watch the world tree burn

    
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Shame about the writing, though.

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin sift through the ashes of World of Warcraft’s burning developments, make sense of Chris Roberts’ “You win by having fun!” mantra, get cozy with werewolves and tieflings, and more!

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.

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Allan Huls

Hi Bree! I was inspired by your talk of the SWG emulators in previous episodes so I tried out Legends. Man it’s so fun to get back into the game, even after all these years! Feel free to friend me in game. My toons are Tandalo and Canom.

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TomTurtle

“Cool beans”. Now there’s a blast from the past. I remember my cousin saying that when we were younger. You get a nostalgic thumbs up from me for that one Bree.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

How about peachy keen! The ’80s are back! :D

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Ken from Chicago

I do remember using “peachy keen” a lot during the 80s but only heard of “cool beans” a decade ago:

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I distinctly remember using cool beans (and cool beaners.. ug) in the early ’90s… I’m not sure how much earlier though. :D

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Little Bugbear

I’m a ladybug Bree. = ) I really need to put a pink bow on my avatar or something. Bugbears have a hard time showing gender. Anyhow thanks for reading my email. I think the real thing that is bugging me about WoW’s current writing is the forced faction propaganda. The whole story has made me want the Alliance and Horde factions dissolved such a pointless story (we all know about the old gods).

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I was pretty sure you’d told me in the past, but I suddenly panicked and didn’t want to assume! <3

Agree with you on the factions. They've sort of been a joke since the Burning Crusade truce. I'd not miss them if they dissolved. I'd be even happier if they allowed defections a la EQ2.

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Little Bugbear

Np. Ya, I think Blizz is just forcing the faction thing too hard. The diehard faction fans may like it. But, most everyone else simply doesn’t care, we will be working together soon enough. Why spend all this time stoking a fire your just going to put out?

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Ken from Chicago

Yeah, it’s like watching a tv show that has relied too long on some feature long after its usefulness (eg., LOST and flashbacks, BURN NOTICE and Michael trying to find who “burned” him, WALKING DEAD and endless misery and “shocking deaths” in season finales and mid-season finales, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD and desaturated video that makes Zack Snyder’s films look like classic technicolor films, etc.).

Like Bree said in a Daily Grind post, if you’re going to have a factional divide, DO SOMETHING with it, make it CONSEQUENTIAL, not just some background ornament that easily and commonly and repeatedly ignored by the game devs. Otherwise, for the sake of storytelling, if there’s a peace, move on. STAR TREK ONLINE has a divide between the Federation and Klingons when you start out in the game tutorial but by the time you reach max level, you’ve not only advanced as a character but have advanced in time that there is a peace between the two factions in a way that fits the lore and story. Conflicts are usually from outlier fringe groups going “rogue” from their faction trying to instigate trouble.

Instead, Blizzard falls back onto Horde vs Alliance in such a rushed that literally came out of nowhere and no one was talking a month or so ago. At least ELITE DANGEROUS slowly but surely planted, watered and developed the seeds of the arrival of the Thargoids over time. STAR TREK ONLINE developed the 5-year Iconian War, well, over five years. Ironically, the problem with Blizzard and WORLD OF WARCRAFT has been its notorious glacially slow pace of releasing expansions in fits and starts and then long breaks in between, despite promises to pick up the pace. That can do better. The players deserve better than some last second mind manipulation (to quote TEEN TITANS GO TO THE MOVIES).

— Ken from Chicago

P.S. Fight The Horde! They’re nothing but filthy animals. Team Alliance FTW! We’re prettier! ;-)

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Little Bugbear

The Teen Titans Go is a great show. But ya the siege of Lordaeron is not helping the story any. We need more gray to the story to keep it interesting.

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traja

I really like this storyline for WoW. It is maybe the first story that interests me in the Warcraft universe after the original rts game. It’s war and war crimes, and bad military decisions. Pointless loss of life and people thinking that they might be on the wrong side of history. It captures a little bit of the ugly and irrational nature of real war. To me that kind of storytelling is infinitely more interesting than some huge dragon or a demon army that everyone rallies against.

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IronSalamander8 .

Cool stuff!

As to WoW I’ve played Warcraft since the original Orcs vs. Humans game back on my 486 so I don’t expect great writing/storytelling one way or the other. I do find that they’re all over the map on this one but I’m not as enraged as some are, although a large chunk of that is lack of investment in the lore from a personal standpoint.

I did the siege last night on my goblin warlock and it was just kind of ‘meh’ and ends rather abruptly. I’ve always been a fair weather WoW player as it is and BfA always sounded rather uninteresting beyond things like those island expeditions, but after this is I’m even less interested than before. Oh, I also love demonology now so there’s that too.

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Danny Smith

Listening to Bree talk about SWG private servers it sounds like a ftb launcher premodded minecraft is what is really offering what she wants.

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Bree Royce

Never did really like Minecraft!

What I really want is 2011 atmo flight SWG with all the people of Starsider, all the extreme content of late NGE, decay put back into the game, fixed player cities, and the old profession tree replacing the classes. Which never existed. But it’d be the best of both sides!

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Namtubb

Thanks as always for the podcast~ Also, wow that opening/closing music. I appreciate songs that make you think of super buff dudes flexing while rowing a giant warship.
I played WoW for about a month many years ago. What I know about the lore is that Mr.T is the strongest NightElf ever and he’ll turn you all in Nightelves sporting awesome mohawks *yeah I wasn’t about to post this on one of the ultra serious WoW articles.* And sorry Justin I played as a Nightelf. C’mon I’d just entered high school!
The universe is in balance now that I main an Argonian in every Elder Scrolls game, including ESO. I went from milk chocolate almond clusters to chocolate covered raisins in terms of MMO Race popularity.
I got nothing productive to say other than thanks again for the podcast you two~

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

“What I know about the lore is that Mr.T is the strongest NightElf ever and he’ll turn you all in Nightelves sporting awesome mohawks”

Speak your truth Namtubb. <3

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Little Bugbear

Hey, chocolate raisins an Argonian are great. People just don’t know what they’re missing.

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Bruno Brito

Now that the new cinematics for WoW have released, i’ll say:

-They’re doubling down on Sylvanas going full nuclear. I can live with that. The sudden shift is bad by decent writing standards ( she didn’t descend slowly into this, or if she did, we weren’t a witness to it ), but hey, it is what it is. This now may end up in two places. One, Sylvanas becomes the new big bad and last raidboss for the xpac where we finally get over this bullload of epic proportions and realize we CAN coexhist. Or two, she actually is able to create a unhealable wound, and feeds the game narrative of completely forced fights for until WoW launches f2p.

-I’m not liking how passive the Horde is being. They were extremely quick to boot Garrosh, they’re taking TOO long with Sylvanas. They all KNOW she’ll fuck the Horde irreversibly, yet they give her too much leeway. This is again, bad writing. Saurfang is the most victim of this all. The limelight for Jaina, Anduin and Sylvanas is again proof that Blizzard can’t really manage too many characters at the same time, they get convoluted ideas and representation and fail them. Saurfang is being shown as completely incompetent in every media he is represented, ingame and out, when he shouldn’t be that way. Again, i’m not fond of when a character gets too much of Blizzard’s attention. They end up screwing him.

That being said, the cinematics are always fun to watch. I don’t agree with the direction they’re taking, but i can appreciate that they will at least deliver their direction in a good way. If their direction is mediocrity, then that’s a whole another issue.

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sophiskiai

Secret World factions,
Can old quests blossom anew?
Curse you, high gear gate!

======================

Cosmetics galore,
Beautiful as spring flowers!
Is this pay-to-win?

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Funny, beautiful, and relevant. 10/10 <3

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sophiskiai

Glad you like! I’ve not written any haiku (or other poetry apart from the occasional bit of improvised doggerel for tabletop rpg sessions) in over a decade, but after spending a couple of minutes on the first one the second one just popped into my head almost fully formed :)

I have a lot of thoughts about what a bad idea gear gating is for Secret World’s gear system, but am saving them for the next Secret World article.

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Ken from Chicago

Massively OP should start a new section: Massively Haikus. Well done.

High gear gates were more acceptable “back in the day” when players didn’t know better and mmos didn’t have (widely-known) alternatives.

Good cosmetics is also a nice thing. WARFRAME’s space ninjas seem cool–except for their bizarre love of bizarre aesthetics. It’s like they deliberately uglify the characters and defy players to try and look past them for the gameplay.

Pay 2 win. Ironically, “having fun” by definition is the ultimate goal of a *game*. The message is true but people are reacting badly to the messenger delivering it. The irony is that much of their ire is about what STAR CITIZEN *might* do. I was surprised even Bree had fallen into blaming them for stuff, (eg, pitting players against one another in levels and achievements and scoring) that the game doesn’t do (eg., the game when launched will be 10 to 1, npcs to players, and by staying in “civilized” areas of space then pvp is minimized, there aren’t character levels or even skill levels for players, achievements in Arena Commander and the Murray Cup air race is due to those being games within a game, like complaining that people compete in the Indy 500, yeah, it’s a race, with winner, runners up and whatever “place” you finish in–but you don’t have to race in it).

I agree with Bree (and Justin) there can be “pay 2 win” just that the term has changed meanings over the years. Ultimately people use it to mean “*unfair* advantage”. The rub is people are a bit squishy at drawing the line as to what is unfair or not. And I agree that games are so varied that it’s hard if not impossible to make a universal declaration of it that something that’s an unfair advantage in one game might not be in another. Eg, bringing a high level character on the team to do a low level dungeon in WORLD OF WARCRAFT, so they can romple stomp everyone for you vs doing the same in CITY OF HEROES on a “door mission” when the game auto-levels the players down or up to the level of the mission.

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Minimalistway

I have the Lucid Nightmare, the endless maze is the hard part, it took me about 2 weeks to solve that, so good luck Justin, you’ll need it, i hope you get easy maze, it changes every day.

While i don’t like how the story is handled in WoW, i think it’s there is more to see in the expansion, months or even 2 years of story to come.