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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]

The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG deserves way more hype than it gets?

According to Friday’s Daily Grind on hype cycles, a lot of folks think they begin way too early for most games. But what about games with the opposite problem – hype that just isn’t loud enough?

I’m thinking of games like Project Gorgon here. It saw a flurry of activity when it crowdfunded, and again when it went into early access on Steam, but because it’s such a small studio, it doesn’t really generate much hype on its own, being reliant on word of mouth. It’s a wondrous little game with really unusual and unique ideas, but it mostly flies under the radar.

Which MMORPG deserves way more hype than it gets?

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WRUP: Moving forward, there are going to be some changes around this prison edition

New prison rule #1: No one is to use “shiv” as a verb any more. Last month there was a big debate over whether or not someone was shivved or just stabbed and we want to avoid that in the future.

New prison rule #2: Just because you’re in jail doesn’t mean that you can’t display a standard of culture, so we are instituting a new mandatory ballroom dancing class for all prisoners running for two hours. We’ll have a rotating schedule for that.

New prison rule #3: Please consult with the guards before enacting your escape plan. We’re not going to stop you, we just want to be able to time dramatically running down the hall at the last moment so that everyone is very excited.

New prison rule #4: The ballroom dancing class has been cancelled. Yeah, we realized that was never a good idea. Finishing school visiting hours are still on.

New prison rule #5: Let the guards know What Are You Playing and whether or not they will need to break up any arguments over cigarettes which may result from it. We don’t want any more arguments over cigarettes. You shouldn’t be smoking anyhow, it’s bad for you.

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Women In Games report suggests strategies to promote gender diversity in e-sports

The subject of gender imbalance in gaming, especially in professional e-sports, and how to rectify it has been a matter of debate within gaming communities for quite some time. A recent article by’s Haydn Taylor highlights a paper published by Women in Games that puts the spotlight on the topic, providing suggestions for ways to increase gender diversity in e-sports.

Drafted by leaders of women-in-games groups from the UK, France, Germany, and Italy as part of a discussion titled “Increasing female interest and participation in esports careers” held at the inaugural Global Esports Forum organized in conjunction with Intel and e-sport organizer ESL, the paper summarizes the current obstacles inhibiting female participation in e-sports and lays out 12 recommendations for remedying the situation.

The post on quotes five-time Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive world champion Steph “missharvey” Harvey as saying she believes that the main reason the number of women in e-sports is so low — estimated at about 5% — is that women in gaming are “automatically judged for being different,” citing her own experiences of “extremely graphic” harassment about her gender. Women In Games seeks to eradicate this kind of toxic behavior and promote gender diversity in gaming and e-sports.

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The Daily Grind: How early should an MMORPG’s hype cycle begin?

GIbiz put out an interesting piece this week looking 10 years into the past to see where the buzz was in the game industry back in 2008. It’s worth a read overall (that was the year some rando company called “Riot Games” snagged $7M in funding for something called “League of Legends” – pff, that’ll never go anywhere, amirite), but the segment I want to highlight this morning is the one about the industry hype cycle.

The long-ago author wonders just when the hype cycle for video games should begin, at least in terms of maximizing profits (and presumably not annoying consumers). He compares the Assassin’s Creed franchise to Prince of Persia, noting that the former’s hype cycle was twice as long as the latter’s – and performed significantly better. After all, we’re still talking about AC here in 2018!

It seems a fair topic for MMORPGs as well; for example, World of Warcraft expansion announcements and hype lulls, the difference in buzz lead-up between Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire, and the seemingly interminable Kickstarter MMO dev/hype/funding cycles are perennial subjects here.

How early should an MMORPG’s hype cycle begin? How long before the planned launch of a game or an expansion – or even a Kickstarter – do you actually want to hear about it?

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Perfect Tenception: Our ten perfectest Perfect Tens (since last year)

Last year on the Fourth of July, I posted up a Perfect Ten that was a list of my favorite Perfect Tens Justin and Eliot had done since New Massively was born. It was a sort of a meta joke, but the post actually did well. Plus, I like funny listicles. I mean, we did one on sexy MMO monsters. We did one about robot fantasies. We did a sequel to the one where we pretend to have goofy conversations with anthropomorphized MMO studios. I love this job.

This year, I’m turning it into a new Independence Day tradition because literally nobody can stop me, and it amuses me to go back and look at some of these pieces that hold up so well over time.

So once again, in honor of those of you stuck at family gatherings today where you’re super bored, I’ve picked out my favorite Perfect Tens from the last dozen months and rounded them up for you below so you don’t even have to hunt for something fun to read. Just hunch over your phone and tell them you’re doing Very Important Work! I do it all the time!

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Journalists and academics clash over the World Health Organization’s ‘gaming disorder’ classification

Ever since the World Health Organization decided it will include its “gaming disorder” classification in its upcoming disease classification manual revision, game journalists, mainstream journalists, and academics have been enjoying a field day fighting over whether it’s justified and what the ramifications will be. As we’ve previously noted, according to WHO,

“Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour, which may be online or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming; 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

Eurogamer, for example, ran a story from an editor who discussed how he personally was addicted to World of Warcraft. He calls the opposition to WHO’s classification “juvenile,” suggesting that it’s really about “the fear of facing up to uncomfortable truths about game design.”

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMORPG skill system that avoids the ‘illusion of choice’?

Over the weekend, my husband and I were chatting about playing on a Star Wars Galaxies emulator again, probably the Legends one that people keep recommending to me. And yes, it’s an NGE server. I was basically weighing all the content that was ultimately added during the six years of the NGE against the skill-on-use-based classic game. I loved the ol’ skill tree system to bits, so don’t get me wrong, but I was able to do most of the same things, eventually, in the NGE using classes and specs and secondary trees like beastmaster, and I floated the idea – horrors, I know – that maybe the skill system wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Fighting words, right? So that led us to discussing whether the original skill tree offered merely the illusion of choice. We were thinking about MMOs like Ultima Online and Guild Wars 1; only a very small percentage of skill builds in those games are actually viable, after all. The same is true even of level-based games with talent trees. Most builds are terrible, a waste of time, a way to present the feeling of lots of choices, but in the end only a few combinations are worth pursuing – so why did anyone bother designing and implementing them? And interestingly, we both came to the conclusion that classic Star Wars Galaxies somehow escaped that trap. Even weird builds were viable because the rest of the game made space for them rather than tried to trick you into bad choices.

What’s your favorite MMORPG with a skill-based progression system, and if it avoids the “illusion of choice” in character development, how does it do so?

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WRUP: House evaluation edition

11:43 (User NVT): Team on-site and beginning inspection.
11:44 (User JPE): Taking half of the team for upper floors.
11:44 (User TTB): JPE is reminded that there are three of us and she does not “count twice.”
11:50 (User JPE): Upper floor appear to be infested with some sort of beetle.
11:58 (User NVT): Basement appears fine. Aside from the flooding. Attempting to identify source of water.
12:03 (User TTB): Ground floor seems fine thus far.
12:12 (User JPE): Upper floor definitely infested with beetles. Curious to see how the beetles react to fire.
12:14 (User JPE): Beetles do not like fire. Neither does exposed wood.
12:21 (User NVT): Cause of flooding appears to be the enormous faucet dispensing water into the basement.
12:30 (User TTB): Ground floor is now flooding. What the hey, NVT?
12:31 (User NVT): All I did was turn off the faucet flooding the basement.
12:31 (User TTB): Found the source of the water that had been shunted into the basement, there appears to be a portal to the middle of the ocean in a parallel world.
12:33 (User JPE): Upper floor appears to be infested with some sort of fire.
12:24 (User TTB): If you think about it, the upper floors and lower floors should cancel each other out.
12:27 (User NVT): Team departing house to answer What Are You Playing and produce a clean bill of health for the premises.

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Enter to win a very good boy in Neverwinter: A Darkfish Fey Wolf mount for PC in honor of Mists of Barovia

To celebrate the arrival of Mists of Barovia for Neverwinter on PC this week, PWE has kindly given Massively OP 30 mount keys to give away to our readers! Suratuk’s Darkfish Fey Wolf mount grants +80% Movement Speed and offers three Insignia slots. And he’s such a good boy! Lookit that face! (PWE assures me he doesn’t bite.)

The codes can be redeemed only once per account and expire at the end of 2020, and the mounts are bind-on-pickup. Critically, the mounts are redeemable on PC only, so if you’re a console person, you can skip this one! The keys should work for all PC players except those located in Russia, China, Korea, Egypt, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Read on to enter to win!

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The Daily Grind: Would you play Star Wars Galaxies if it relaunched today?

Star Wars Galaxies is 15 years old now, and it was just about seven years ago that SOE announced it was slated for execution. Naturally, it’s been a big topic for us this week; several of our staff even joined together on the largest emulator to stream it on Tuesday. Smed even dropped by to show his support for the game and the emu.

At the end of our stream, MJ and I were chatting about why we don’t really play the emulator more. For MJ, it was the lack of a strong social environment, and if you saw how many people were botting in the cantina, you’d understand why the emu is superficially lacking in that area. For me, it’s the lack of permanence for that server, as well as the lack of features and the lack of what I’d consider a functional economy in its current state.

And yet, if a company legally released Star Wars Galaxies again right now, with all the features it had at its sunset and a clean economy and enough players to make the server ecosystem work properly, I would pretty much head right on over and get busy living, and there’d be a big fight on Massively OP over who got to helm the weekly column on the game. To this day, it’s still the MMORPG experience I am searching for, and I am clearly not alone.

Would you play Star Wars Galaxies if it relaunched today?

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Enter to win a copy of Will to Live Online from AlphaSoft and MOP!

Here’s a new one for us: Will to Live Online hit Steam early access back in April. Developer AlphaSoft calls it an “MMORPG-shooter whose action takes place in a severe post-apocalyptic world” – a survival game, in other words. “Explore the world, engage in fights with mutants and other survivors, join the clans in the struggle for existence and prove your right to Live.” It includes basic crafting, quests, survival mechanics like hunting, character development, dungeons, raids, and yes, player-to-player trade. It’s expected to launch next year, but in the meantime, it’s on Steam.

Want to give it a go right now? AlphaSoft has issued Massively OP a bundle of keys for the B2P game, normally worth $14.99 apiece on Steam, to distribute to our readers. There are no regional restrictions, other than the caveat that the game must be available to you on Steam for you to use the key. Read on to enter to win!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 176: Guild Wars 2, The Crew 2, and Elder Scrolls too

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin agree that two is the best number in the world, especially when it comes to video games! It’s a hodge-podge of topics, including Guild Wars 2’s latest episode, The Crew 2’s launch, Trion Worlds’ Gazillion acquisition, 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: Do you want to see a battle royale mode in any live MMORPGs?

Literally nothing is sacred, and no video game franchise seems capable of escaping the pull of the battle royale, as my trip to a kiddie arcade proved this weekend. Not even PAC-MAN is safe.

Strange to me, however, is that so few existing MMORPGs have sidled up to the subgenre. We see MOBAs and shooters tacking it on left and right, and yeah, games like Maverick are working on bridging the genres, but nothing in existing MMOs. It’s weird, right? It seems like it would be super easy to just whip up a new battle royale battleground or arena in MMOs with PvP sidegames. They’re made for this sort of enclosed PvP minigame.

Battle royale does nothing for me, but dang, it’d be nice to see some MMOs get a cut of that easy money, which I’m sure they’d reinvest back into the RPG part of the game. Right, guys? Guys??

Do you want to see battle royale in any live MMORPGs? Which one might best be suited for it?

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