Meta Category

The category collects all of our more meta features and posts, like The Daily Grind, letters to the editor, and posts about the state-of-the-site. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

WRUP: Our 2018 character poll edition

As we near the end of the year, it’s time for us to start figuring out which characters to include in next year’s cast lineup. Obviously, this year we had a wonderful lineup, aside from Too-Much-Drinking Franklin, but we can only include a few of our cast members in next year’s arrangement. So please, peruse this list of characters from the past year:

  • John “The Dwayne” Rockson, former amateur wrestler and current wrestler of people who are not exactly amateurs but still need more experience, you know?
  • Noisy Pete, sometimes called “the guy what makes the shrill sound whenever he touches water and wants to live inside a shower for some reason.”
  • Quiet Patricia, who actually makes the same sound but only does so when she thinks about clams.
  • Burmble
  • Bilbo Baggins, the bravest little hobbit of them all, who is not at all related to the character owned by the Tolkien estate but by complete coincidence had identical adventures.
  • Too-Much-Drinking Franklin, who has a very good contact and thus gets to be listed here.
  • Alternate Universe Lady Abraham Lincoln, who is a rapper in addition to being a female version of legendary president Abraham Lincoln, except she shifted dimensions rather than being shot in a theater.

Please let us know in the comments to this week’s What Are You Playing which of these characters you would like to see next year and which ones you want locked in the Forgetting Closet. Also, let us know what you’re playing. Just for giggles.

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Massively Overthinking: Would you want to play a League of Legends or Diablo MMORPG?

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had some tantalizing rumors and teases that both Riot Games and Blizzard are building something new: Riot’s dangled some questions about maybe making an MMORPG – might it be a League of Legends MMO? – and Blizzard’s outright said it’s returning to the Diablo franchise for multiple projects (one of which is the Switch port announced this morning). Can we hope for an MMO from one of the big studios again – and should we?

That’s what we’re pondering in this week’s Massively Overthinking. Do you think either of these companies is actually working on a new MMORPG using an old IP, what might it look like if so, what are they working on if not, and what do you actually want to see happen? Read more

Massively OP Podcast Episode 182: Follow the Torchlight

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin geek out over the confirmation of a Torchlight MMO, salute the late, great RuneScape Classic, prepare for Battle for Azeroth, and more! Also, we read some really great listener haiku because you guys are awesome like that.

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.

Listen to the show right now:

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Leaderboard: Must MMORPGs revolve around grouping to be MMORPGs?

It would be easy to dismiss Saga of Lucimia’s pervasive “group-based or go home” ideas as mere rhetoric, but the reality is, there exists a small segment of the veteran MMORPG population that genuinely believes an MMO is not an MMO if it doesn’t focus exclusively or near-exclusively on grouping, and there are going to be games that cater to those folks.

I wanted to bring up that recent tweet because it seems like an extremist, maybe even revisionist position to take for a game in our market, and I don’t just mean in 2018 when plenty of non-MMOs have called themselves MMOs and even more MMOs have shunned the term. I mean in terms of the historical games being used as a touchstone for these ideas. Yes, some early MMORPGs like EverQuest emphasized group content; while you could level up on some classes and in some cases alone, for the most part, you needed to group up to get things done, whether you were taking down a dragon or just trying to squeeze out a few more bubbles of level in the midgame.

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The Daily Grind: Did you go back to World of Warcraft for Battle for Azeroth?

Did they getcha? Did they suck you in again for another go-round?

I have a flurry of guildies in World of Warcraft right now thanks to Battle for Azeroth, and yet I haven’t been enticed to go back. In fact, Legion was the first expansion I didn’t buy or go back during, and now we’re at the next one and I’m still in exactly the same shruggy place. I’m not saying I’m over it forever. I’m not saying I’ll never go back. The game just isn’t doing it for me personally right now. There are things they could do that would make me whip out my wallet: new classes (bards!), real housing, a meaningful economy – maybe something that replicates the exploration amusement of vanilla, the dungeon joy of Wrath, or the questing and farm fun of Pandaria. Probably plenty of cool things I haven’t even thought of could get me in there; the truth is, I am a sucker for the idea of playing The Big One, secure in the knowledge that it’s a sure bet for longevity.

But this expansion isn’t grabbing me, and that’s OK. Not everything has to be for me. And I’m glad it’s grabbing some of you – who doesn’t love all the buzz and hoopla? So did you go back to World of Warcraft for Battle for Azeroth?

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The Daily Grind: Do you have an MMO backlog, and if so, what’s on it?

If you follow the mainstream gaming media meta at all, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of sites, spurred on by Polygon, have been mulling over the concept of the backlog – you know, that pile (or digital list) of games you bought and haven’t finished or even tried. Did we even have backlogs before online platforms like Steam? Because I don’t really remember having one back then – I just played what I had. But then again, I’m also primarily an MMORPG gamer. So I don’t fret tooooooo much about the non-MMOs I bought cheap for a rainy day. Occasionally I’ll blast through my non-MMO list and do a sort of 15-minute speed-dating game with some untrieds, but mostly, I’m content with just having some novelty waiting for me when I need it.

My MMO and online game backlog, though, eats at me. I bought Project Gorgon this summer, for example, and haven’t tried it. Staxel and No Man’s Sky too. These kinds of games have a time limit, and yet they require a certain presence of mind and concentration to dig into properly that I haven’t had this season.

Do you have an MMO backlog, and if so, what’s on it?

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WRUP: Reviews of some movies I saw recently whilst paying attention to Granblue Fantasy edition

Some Disney thing or another: A young kid goes on a life-changing journey and gets home in time for dinner. This was one of the cel-animated ones no one likes. Which one was it? I don’t remember, I was farming Warrior Creeds. The villain was more entertaining than the heroes, that’s probably not narrowing it down much. Was it Hercules? It might have been Hercules.

Loud Shooty Men: A bunch of guys scream at one another for a few minutes and then the screen was covered in explosions. It was super boring.

Transformers: The Last Knight: I remembered the name of this one but it was also indescribably boring. It was Loud Shooty Men but with lots of robots whose namesakes I have strong feelings about, but the movie itself forgot about half of its cast every few minutes to the point that I had to remind myself that Hound was in this movie at all. Also the plot hates science.

Some Marvel movie or another: I clicked on this one by accident and actually forgot to pause it when I got up to get some water. It didn’t affect the plot much. At least it wasn’t Batman v. Superman.

YouTube videos about how Sherlock is a bad series: These are movie-length, right? So they count. It was interesting.

What Are You Playing: This isn’t a movie, it’s where you are now. Obviously I’ll be farming more Warrior Creeds.

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

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.

Listen to the show right now:

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The Daily Grind: How do you define ‘hardcore’ gaming?

Quantic Foundry’s latest report from its gamer motivation study is well worth your time to read, but for this morning’s Daily Grind, I want to focus on one specific takeaway: the apparent gender divide over what constitutes hardcore gamer. As Nick Yee explains,

“For men, playing a game seriously means being able to beat other players at it. For women, playing a game seriously is more likely to mean having completed and done everything there is to do in a game, and to leave traces of your personal flair in the game while doing it. For Hardcore female gamers, playing a game seriously is more akin to patiently creating and curating a work of art. And it’s a powerfully evocative alternative to how we typically conceptualize what a ‘hardcore gamer’ is. [… ]This gender comparison between Hardcore and Casual gamers also highlights the difference in coverage of different motivations: Male Hardcore gamers are below average in Fantasy (being someone else, somewhere else) and Story (elaborate plot and interesting characters), whereas female Hardcore gamers are consistently above average across all gaming motivations.”

How do you personally define “hardcore” in the gaming context? Are you hardcore if you’re into blowing shit up with “guns and explosives” and “specializing into competitive gaming”? Or are you hardcore if you’re into “developing a broad interest in all aspects of gaming”?

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever had an MMORPG-related dream?

A real dream, not just a dream to top the raid leaderboard.

MOP reader CamelotCrusade submitted today’s whimsical Daily Grind topic. “The other night I had a dream where I was fleeing a tidal wave and I was riding away from it on a horse to escape it,” he wrote to us. “After watching a cinematic in my mind of the wave bearing down on me, I realized I was actually on an MMO-style horse, and I was in virtual reality. I was still anxious in the way you are when you’re trying to save your character, but I didn’t have much time to dwell on it because of what happened next. I rode my mount furiously towards a nearby town, shelter in view, aiming for a fortified looking inn. Almost there! But then – oh no! – I was forcibly dismounted, nearly tripped, and had to run, panting, for cover, as the air got wet and misty. There’s more that happened after that, but what really stuck with me? I woke up thinking: That’s a stupid rule! Damn near got me killed! Why can’t you ride your mount in town!?”

I am positive I’ve had MMO dreams in the past, but I can’t recall anything specifically. How about you – have you ever had an MMORPG-related dream?

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WRUP: We went to the zoo and I saw a kitty edition

And also I saw a monkey and another monkey and a gorilla and another kind of monkey that was little that could ride on your shoulder and a big angry puppy and what I thought was another big angry puppy but was actually a bear and then a hyena which isn’t actually a kind of puppy even though it sorta looks like a puppy and a gazelle and an antelope and a mandrill which is sort of like a monkey so I should have seen it when I saw the other monkeys but I realized I had to circle back to see the mandrill and an anteater and some ants before the anteater eated them and a rhino and a hippo and a peacock and another peacock and a peahen which the zookeeper said is different and an elephant and a giraffe and an elephant Bothering a giraffe and a yak and a buffalo and the bottom of a park bench and a centipede and a python and What Are You Playing and a baboon because I missed that kind of monkey the first time and a penguin and a fox.

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The Daily Grind: When was the last time you went sightseeing in an MMORPG?

Are you into stopping and smelling the flowers, literally or figuratively?

I started thinking a bit about this thanks to a tweet ZeniMax sent out about Elder Scrolls Online last weekend; the studio was promoting the work of @JXRaiv, who put together a website that allows players to explore all the wayshrines in the game. You don’t even need to log in to enjoy the view. And in fact, I bet most people wouldn’t either. Games seldom reward us for exploration, and when they don’t, we often don’t bother. Even when they do – I’m thinking about Guild Wars 2’s mapping – gamers often just skip past the cutscene to get on to the next one.

Long ago, I decided to go on a tour, by foot, of all the shrines in a different MMORPG; it was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had in an MMORPG. And none of it counted for anything except for my own joy and my own recollection all these years later.

When was the last time you went sightseeing in an MMORPG?

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