Massively Overthinking: Gratitude for the MMO genre

We handled this.

Thanksgiving conveniently falls on a Thursday every year, which means it’s the perfect topic for our regular Thursday Massively Overthinking roundtable. I’ve asked our writers what they’re grateful for in and around the MMO genre the last couple of years – and now we’re gonna do it again.

Andy McAdams: I’ve have start with being grateful for the opportunity Bree and crew have given me by allowing me to write for MassivelyOP. It’s not always easy, but it’s always one of my favorite parts of the week when I get to write about something that I enjoy so much (and nerd out in the office chat over esoteric topics).

Otherwise, I’m going to say that I’m grateful for the pushback from gamers against immoral and unethical practices. Whether it’s gamblingboxes, human rights, or asking your female employees to share their ovulation cycle so that you can milk for them for more productivity, it’s really great to see gamers calling bullshit and pushing back — and at least in some cases, show that the outrage can actually have a positive impact.

I’m also grateful for the swing away from theme park, super scripted “play exactly how we say to or GTFO” style of MMOs towards more open-ended, emergent experiences. It’s not a huge change yet, but it’s nice to hear the rumblings of it in the distance.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I usually take this space to thank my husband and the spouses of our daily news crew, especially Joy, Elaine, and now Jamie too, since it’d be damn hard to do this kind of job without their support behind the scenes. And I’m eternally indebted to our writers and readers and backers, both the people who believed in us in 2015 when we went indie and the people who still stick by us today, for supporting MOP on all fronts. In a few months, we’ll be five years on as an independent MMO site, and that blows my mind.

This year I also want to give a huge hug of gratitude to the player devs who are keeping the spirit of forgotten but beloved MMORPGs alive in the rogue server and emulator realms. Most of them have to hide in the shadows and can’t even publicly accept the praise they’re due. Most lose money rather than make it, working for us, working for love of the game. In particular, the people who run SWG Legends and City of Heroes Homecoming have restored a lot of my joy for the pure MMORPG this year, and I salute them. Moreover, I’m grateful that whoever is in charge at Daybreak, Disney, and NCsoft hasn’t tried to shut any of them down. That’s an active decision by those companies, and for all we pick on them, there are devs on our side in the preservation of our genre. o7

Carlo Lacsina (@UltraMudkipEX): I’m thankful for how far MMOs have come. I had a chance to give WoW Classic a try, and I realized how Black Desert took that original formula and developed it in a completely different way. Now, I get an MMO that has the grind of the original WoW, but refined its grinding system to more than suit my tastes.

I also am thankful for how many MMOs can be played on a controller now. It helps make big MMOs accessible for more players and allows more hardcore players to have options in long gaming sessions. Combine that with tech that allows for game streaming, and the dream of literally playing FFXIV on a phone on your bed is possible.

One last thing, I’m thankful for Black Desert Mobile!

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): I am still thankful that crowdfunding hasn’t been totally wiped out by some crappy decisions. Book of Travels looks legitimately unique. Pumpkin Online released, after a fashion. I’m still interested in what happens next for games like Crowfall and yes even Star Citizen (pour your hate into me; it will only make me grow stronger).

I guess it’s less about crowdfunding and more about being thankful some studios still want to try to be different. Yeah, that’s more like it. I’m thankful for MMO devs still trying to blaze some new trails and try new things. Viva le difference!

Colin Henry (@ChaosConstant): I’m thankful that I have a wife who plays MMOs with me. I don’t know what I would do without her to share in my adventures, in both real and virtual worlds.

I’m also thankful for this site. I’ve been a big fan of Massively Overpowered since it relaunched, and I’m so grateful that I have the privilege of calling myself a columnist here. This site is something special, both because of the staff who keep it running and because of the community that has built up around it.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I am coming up on my personal 10th anniversary of writing for Massively and Massively Overpowered, and I am still very grateful that I’ve had this amazing opportunity to professionally cover news, do the podcast, and write weekly columns. It is work, don’t misunderstand me, but it is very satisfying, fulfilling work with a bonded team that actually cares about being ethical and passionate about MMORPGs.

I’m also thankful for those unsung developers who pour their hearts into our games — the writers, the sound designers, the composers, and even the QA testers. They don’t get the interviews, but without them, the games wouldn’t get made.

Mia DeSanzo (@neschria): I am grateful for a number of MMORPG-related things this year, but I am going to narrow it down to 3 things. First, I am grateful and humbled to write for MOP, and especially for Bree’s patience over what was a difficult year for me. Secondly, I am grateful for the communities in and around MMORPGs and gaming in general. I love the MMO blogging community in particular. Lastly, I am thankful for all of the positive developments in 2019: the success of Shadowbringers and WoW Classic, the launch of new games such as Astellia, the attempt of Gamigo to try something new in game monetization with ArcheAge Unchained (still a movement in the right direction, despite the bumps in the road), plus all the content roll-outs across games that kept people coming back for more.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): It may seem like the things I am grateful for don’t change much from year to year… because they really don’t. Everything I have said in previous years still applies, from the amazing friends I have met throughout the MMOverse to in-game outlets of creativity (go housing decorating!) to dedicated devs and passionate players who are so excited to share their games. But more than any other year I am grateful to be at MOP, doing something I love with people who are so very supportive — especially in this last year with the mega changes and challenges I have faced. (Extra heaping helpings of thankfulness for our EIC!)

This year, I am also thankful I have the opportunity to immerse myself in the good things that our communities do. Searching for and sharing stories of generosity, charity, and compassion have uplifted me when so much around tries to focus on negative. And I am thankful for our community that – even with some raging – is still the best community out there. And as strange as it may sound coming from this sandbox virtual-world lover’s mouth, I am also grateful for the huge variety of games available to play now; I have found myself enjoying game types I never thought I would and found games to play to meet my needs even when I couldn’t lose myself in a single world.

And I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to meet and know devs and studios that stand fast with integrity, caring about their players and doing right. May you be an example to the others around!

Samon Kashani (@thesamkash): Related to the MMO genre, I have to admit I’m grateful to be a part of the MOP team. The primary reason being that I finally feel like I am part of a community where I can discuss MMOs at length and have meaningful conversations about them. Prior to this, I basically kept it all to myself or ranted on a forum from time to time. Not to mention, it is still pretty wild to me that I get to write my thoughts and opinions down somewhere and talk about them. This is a very special community, and I am enjoying being a part of it immensely.

Also, many of the titles I’ve been playing are still going strong – so let’s keep that up!

Tyler Edwards: What? Thanksgiving was weeks ago. Crazy Americans…

But I guess it never hurts to practice gratitude. I’m thankful for the fun I’ve had in Anthem this year. I’m thankful to live in a time where the gaming industry has prospered so much, with more and better games than ever before. More than anything I’m thankful to have landed this gig at Massively Overpowered and to have the privilege to earn some money from my passion while reaching a wide audience.

Every week, join the Massively OP staff for Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable in which we discuss the MMO industry topics du jour – and then invite you to join the fray in the comments. Overthinking it is literally the whole point. Your turn!
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