Massively OP Podcast Episode 194: It belongs in a museum!


On this week’s show, Bree and Justin celebrate the possible preservation of downed MMORPGs, boggle over yet another return of Hellgate London, sort through the Lord of the Rings Online progression server announcement, 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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Rebel Engie

There wasn’t nearly enough SWG news in this episode.

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I agree that it’s frustrating to see the condescension towards MMOs in general, but that’s just the nature of gaming sites having more than simple news reporting. I know I’ve felt similar frustration towards certain opinions MOP has written.

I’m just waiting for something good to happen to the MMO genre so that the negative public perception goes away. Or at the very least so we can still enjoy something new and fun regardless of the stigma.

Wilhelm Arcturus

The ESA, like the RIAA and the MPAA, is so very easy to hate. They are clearly protection extremists promoting an agenda that can be very much against the interests consumers. Their attempts at over-reach at times are appalling.

Buuuuut… the direction Bree seems to be arguing for is not tenable either. The idea seems to be to keep pushing on this issue until random people are granted rights to the software and IP to run their own servers. As somebody who has a brand and creates content for consumption, I am surprised Bree seems to be missing the irony of seeming to advocate for the removing or protections that she herself no doubt expects.

If, as a hypothetical, MOP found they couldn’t justify keeping some old content online and available for whatever reason and so took it off the site. If then a user who felt that for whatever reason… maybe they gave to the Kickstarter or donated through Patreon or maybe they felt just turning off ad block entitled them… felt that they and others were entitled to access to those posts and found a way to scrape them together from the Wayback Machine, collected them together and posted them on a site titled “MASSIVELY OVERPOWERED EMU” complete with stolen branding and CSS, I suspect Bree’s feelings might run in a different direction than they do when it comes to player rights to closed MMOs.

So yeah, get mad at the ESA… and the RIAA and the MPAA while you’re at it, they are three of a kind… but remember there is a threshold over which consumer demands become unreasonable as well. If you’re declaring you have some sort of right to play a specific video game, you’ve probably arrived there.

Bree Royce
Bree Royce

This is basically what we talked about in our Overthinking in March, that it’s possible to support the existence of copyright and still identify clear abuses of it. I don’t agree there’s a contradiction inherent here. Nobody merely reading MOP has any ownership claims over it, but everyone who’s bought a game does have some claim. What makes MMOs special is that companies seek to control access to far more than just the online component they run, long after they’ve ceased doing so.

For what it’s worth, MOP’s contracts specifically grant our authors the right to republish so that if we go offline, our work isn’t caught in copyright limbo forever, as our work for AOL is. I am practicing what I preach.

Wilhelm Arcturus

But that is just it, as a user you clearly and demonstrably do not have any claim. The EULA and TOS you agree to in order to play specifically spell out that you have no such claim.

And you can make the argument that having to agree to the EULA and TOS up front is a bullshit way to run a railroad. There is certainly precedent.

But, and there is always a “but,” do you imagine anybody would publish an MMORPG is they did not specifically exclude any player claim to rights and ownership? Companies couldn’t make changes if that were the case. I can see the “Coalition for Captain Placeholder” suing Blizzard to put him back in the game. Without the ability to specifically and legally exclude such ownership claims, there is no MMO genre.

So no, people who bought and played SWG do not have any more legal right to access to that game today than people who donate to your Patreaon have to take content from your site.

And yes, you can roll out the moral argument, which sums up to “that’s just not fair,” which stopped having standing for most arguments once we passed out of grade school.

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There are tons of free books; old and new, Internet Archive have so many library and you can even borrow* books from some of them, download many books and even upload books.

*borrowing digital books is one of the most ridiculous things ever.

Anyway, retro gaming is old news now, people playing old games did not stop them from buying new games, the same thing for movies and music, people will always want new stuff but they don’t want the old media to disappear.

ESA knows this but they are greedy, they want to control culture and how and what people are doing with it.


The snobbery and sniddery is sometimes difficult to separate from an outlet’s brand. And being internet/gaming sites, they tend to gravitate towards lunacy. At RPS they deliberately annoy and confuse/delight(?) people by putting incorrect images alongside many science fiction related games.

This is some recent coverage of STO:

Star Trek Online expands into the Age Of Discovery and overhauls progression

Here’s a particularly notorious Battlefront 2 post, since EA was whispering sweet nothings about monetization. It was a more innocent time.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 post-launch maps, modes, and characters will be free

Of course, it is easier to be more irritated by what gets published than what doesn’t. Fortnite is big, but I don’t understand why people write stories about a cube that was added in a patch. Or why there are stories about the cube dissolving in a lake and how everyone on twitter was going insane over it. The cube had the last laugh though, because now there are stories on Forbes about how the cube has been reborn and may or may not explode for Halloween. Stories about the cube have been going on for months, and it has been a nothing story. But maybe it will explode and there will be a payoff. Maybe.

Talking about consoles, the snobbery in that subgenre has its own divisions and internecine warfare.

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Er… that header of 1970’s Buck Rogers TV for a Star Trek game is super awkward. Then the picture of Jean-Luc Picard and Worf headlining for Star Wars Battlefront 2? Aieee! Someone needs to be straightened out over there– with a hot iron.