Massively Overthinking: Gratitude in the MMORPG genre


It’s Thanksgiving here in the US, and while some folks have probably already kicked back from the table and have started in on the shopping season, I want to follow tradition with our annual gratitude Overthinking. Also, both Thanksgiving and Overthinking fall on Thursdays every year, for our convenience!

I’ve asked our team to offer thanks to something – a person, a thing, an idea, whatever they want – relating to the MMORPG genre, something they feel gratitude for and want to shout out, maybe even someones or somethings that wouldn’t normally get the kudos they deserve. We invite our readers to do the same.

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Beyond our readers who help ensure that I’m not just shouting into the void? Hmm, well, as some of them may know, I’ve had a bit of a personal issue in Pokemon GO for awhile now, so I’m especially thankful to my online and RL friends for their support through all this (especially the folks in Tochigi, Japan – you guys rock!). On the less-massively side, my Animal Crossing community and console gaming group have been super supportive as well. Being able to jump online with friends’ faces/voices has made this year much more tolerable. We’ve all seen some folks go over the edge staying indoors and isolated, but I feel like those of us with online gaming communities have been able to adapt a bit better than some of the normies, and I’m super grateful for that.

Andy McAdams: I’m going to do a weird flex here: I’ve been pretty critical of Blizzard (with literal mountains of justification for said criticism), but I want to say that I’m thankful for WoW. Regardless of how good or bad it is, whether we have completely nonsensical story arcs that were totally teased 20 years ago *wink wink* or the content of the game is still lacking, I met really some amazing people in WoW. In part, MMOs for me are a place for making connections; sometimes those connections only last as long as the sprint through Ragefire Chasm, and sometimes they last decades. While my husband and I met in meatspace, we spent a lot of time early in our relationship getting to know each other in WoW. One of my best friends, whom I was lucky enough to hire to work with me – she and I met over WoW (funnily enough, through my husband). During lockdown when we couldn’t go anywhere, our WoW guild gave us a way to be social, to interact with other people, to keep our sanity. Even though we aren’t playing WoW right now, we all still talk almost daily.

I’m grateful to WoW for the connections that it’s allowed me to create over the years – for the meatspace relationships it helped make stronger, and for the relationships that just wouldn’t have existed without it. Blizzard and World of Warcraft both have a lot to answer for, but they did a lot of really great things over the years that I’m really grateful for.

Ben Griggs (@braxwolf): I’m thankful for the developers who got into the industry due to a passion for games and creativity. The bad folks get the headlines, but for every bad egg out there, there are dozens of people who have taken on thankless positions with less-than-average pay and difficult deadlines in order to create the games that we love.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I’m grateful for so much that just thinking about it makes me feel overwhelmed with the debts I owe and can never repay, from our readers and patrons who make MOP strong to the bright points of light still in our genre that give us something enjoyable to write about. This time ’round, I want to thank our team specifically. The last few years have been rough on everyone, but our writing crew has kept me anchored and steady and cheery through a freakin’ pandemic and one depressing round of news after another. It’s really hard to explain how magical and comforting it is to have a team that just meshes in the zone together. I know exactly how rare this is and how lucky I am.

Carlo Lacsina (@UltraMudkipEX, YouTube, Twitch): I’m thankful for the Massively team! It’s quite the privilege being part of this team. They’ve been a great resource in facilitating my growth as a good game journalist and learning how to manage the rabid, overly emotional gaming fan in me and the more rational and objective journalist that pens quality articles for the site.

I’m also thankful for the times our reporting goes into the mainstream news cycle – like the time we reported on Blizzard’s losing 29% of its active playerbase earlier this year. What was pretty much an everyday report for us was apparently huge news! That just goes to show just how our daily hustle is a cut above the rest. It’s always good to bring more folks in to see the quality work we do here!

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): I’m always going to be thankful that I’m given the opportunity to do stuff for MOP and our readers, both in writing form and in broadcasting form. It genuinely is an honor to do what I do and I would delight in doing it more. Sappy? Yes, but I also get very mushy this time of the year.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I’m pretty grateful that we have Fallen Earth back, that’s for sure! And for being absolutely spoiled with great options of games to play. And for an amazing guild in both Lord of the Rings Online and Elder Scrolls Online. And for an MMO industry that’s still trucking along strong in 2021. And for getting New World, finally, even though it’s a bit of a hot mess at the moment. And for my Massively OP family, even though they never close the bathroom door all the way when they totally should.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Every year I say that what I am grateful for doesn’t change. And it doesn’t. (I do reread those Overthinkings every year!) This year, however, my gratitude has grown even deeper in one area, and it is the one I want to focus on more. And that is my immeasurable gratitude for MOP, both my amazing colleagues and most especially my boss. This year has thrown numerous challenges at me; health-wise it has been I think my hardest ever — and that’s before I became target practice for Thor! The staff here has helped me laugh, given comfort, and generally helped me stay sane throughout my ordeals, even without knowing many details of things. They just do it because that is who they are. MOP is something truly special because of the people we have here.

Bree, don’t you dare edit your piece out of this! I am deeply grateful for the support you have given me, way over and above what I could have imagined — especially this summer. I really could never thank you enough. And it isn’t just now: Your support has been invaluable throughout the years, and never once have you made me feel any inkling of inadequateness when I fall below my own standards. Everyone needs a boss like Bree.

I will also add that I am grateful for Twitch and being able to stream because it connects me with our awesome viewers! I absolutely love being able to share my gaming experiences with friends, and that’s what streaming is — sharing my gaming with all you friends. I want you all to know how much I appreciate all of you! And a special thanks to those of you brave enough to game with me in streams and help me out! Streaming has been one gaming connection I can manage when so much else is difficult.

And you there, yes you, the one reading this. I am thankful for YOU. Thanks for keeping MOP what it is and allowing it to grow. Because of YOU, I get to be here and enjoy all the above things I am grateful for. SO THANK YOU!

Sam Kash (@thesamkash): I’m thankful for the games that keep chugging along. New World isn’t without its faults but the team over there is constantly pushing out updates and trying to patch up errors and improve the game. That’s worth acknowledgement. Maybe the real treasure isn’t the endgame, but the bugs we fixed along the way.

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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