Opinion Category

Opinion pieces are by definition neither neutral nor subjective. Massively Overpowered’s writers’ editorials reflect their own opinions, not necessarily the opinions of the site or company. [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Global Chat: Everybody’s burning up about that Sylvanas thing

Yes, just about every MMO blogger was sharing heated opinions about last week’s World of WarCraft WarCrime. “It’s such a sad event and I’m particularly mad at Blizzard at the way they chose to write this,” wrote Aeternus.

Moonshine Manor was equally appalled, saying that she was “not sad at the story, but at having to mourn my fandom.”

“The storyline strips players of agency, it’s not a good feeling,” wrote Mmosey.

And Leo’s Life couldn’t make sense of it: “The lore nut in me sees no logic in this.”

In An Age sympathized with the outrage but noted, “This cinematic short is amazing in isolation.” And Atheren doesn’t want this to be the beginning of the end of Sylvanas: “I hope she gets a redemption arc.”

And Wolfy felt that the community reaction was too much for an outsider: “The level of the freak-out was above and beyond what I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing as someone barely remotely associated with the WoW playerbase.”

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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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Massively on the Go: Our basic guide to Pokemon Go gameplay and questing

Pokemon Go has come a long way since its early days of just catching and gym battling. Those are still core gameplay elements, but there’s a bit more to it now. It’s not just about catch and release, but catching specific Pokemon, catch several in a row, catching with a specific kind of throw, and more, mostly thanks to questing.

Yes, there are quests in POGO now, including dailies. I’m not just talking about the old system either. Now, at the very least, you want to catch one Pokemon, spin one PokeStop, and do one “Field Task,” the game’s equivalent of dailies. If you understand that, you can probably stop here, but for those looking to dig a bit deeper, keep reading.

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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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Wisdom of Nym: Hunting the monster in Final Fantasy XIV

Patch 4.36 sure seems as if it’s has been dragged out. Realistically, that’s not what has happened at all; the time between patches has remained pretty consistent, and with the next big Final Fantasy XIV patch planned for September this is just about the right time. But something about 4.36 having big content just makes the whole thing feel overextended, as if we’ve been sitting and spinning our wheels for an extended time however untrue that may be.

My big plan for this week was to try out the Monster Hunter World crossover because I was honestly less interested in Pagos. (Yes, I like the idea behind Eureka, but there are only so many hours in the day.) I honestly found the experience a bit… not bad, necessarily, but just underwhelming. It was neutral. And I think some of it comes down to how the game has been increasingly handling its crossovers and whether or not those are, well, good things or less-good things.

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The Survivalist: Excited for ARK’s Extinction

I finally broke down and watched ARK: Survival Evolved’s Extinction trailer. It’s not that I didn’t want to! On the contrary, I was very interested to get that glimpse; I just wanted to wait until we had even more info about it so I could really delve into it. But since that doesn’t seem to be coming about, I couldn’t hold out any longer. It is the conclusion of the multi-expansion story arc after all, and we’ve just gotten all excited about ARK’s story!

After watching the trailer, my anticipation level inched up a few notches. The teaser hints at answers to some long-held questions, and I am excited to take on the all-new survival challenges. Helping to amp that enthusiasm up are the monthly Extinction-themed content drops: Say hello to some bionic dinos! (They even lay tek eggs!) Perhaps Extinction will be quite a grand finale. I definitely look forward to learning, and sharing, more as we learn about the expansion.

All that said, there’s still that little bit of nagging disappointment at the lack of attention older maps get, especially the original game. Who knows though, perhaps once the final game is out and done the devs can turn some attention back to fixing those issues with the island.

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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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The Game Archaeologist: City of Heroes’ launch history and the Marvel lawsuit

In our first part of this series looking back at the stupendous history of City of Heroes, we saw how the idea for this superhero MMORPG germinated from a tech millionaire who took his love for RPGs and comic books into the online world. Cryptic Studios was founded in 2000 with the intent of developing a new type of MMORPG, one with a superhero bent set in an original IP.

While the development period was fraught with difficulty, including a messy design, delays, and the departure of the studio’s co-founder, City of Heroes took shape by 2004 and finally entered into live operation that April to the delight of thousands of fledgling superheroes.

Today we’ll be walking through the next few years of this game’s lifecyle, including its launch, the initial issues, and a serious lawsuit that threatened to kill the game dead.

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The Daily Grind: Do you consider yourself an expert on your favorite MMOs?

Expertise is a funny thing; it’s the sort of thing usually best demonstrated by never claiming it but simply showing it. Most people confronted by someone claiming to be an expert at a given game like World of Warcraft are going to respond with eye-rolling and no small amount of exasperation, especially if that self-proclaimed expert immediately screws something up. For that matter, it’s almost always accompanying a blatantly incorrect statement. “You should listen to me, I’m an expert at this game, Enhancement Shaman is for healing.”

That isn’t to say that you necessarily aren’t an expert, even if you wouldn’t claim it. Sure, you might not happily shout about how you’re an expert at Star Trek Online, but you know most of the game’s traits cold and can figure out a ship build in three minutes flat; that’s pretty clearly expertise. So share with us, dear readers. Do you consider yourself an expert on your favorite MMOs? And, as a perhaps important corollary, do you generally inform strangers of that fact?

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Global Chat: Is it worth your time to alpha test MMOs?

Taugrim raises a very interesting question this week on his blog. Namely, is it really worth your time to alpha test MMOs these days? For him, at least, fickle players and unresponsive developers don’t make it a beneficial activity.

“A decade ago, I used to get super excited about upcoming MMORPGs,” he said. “And then I experienced those games losing their playerbase in droves while the developers/publishers failed to meaningfully address the concerns of the community.”

If you’ve been burned one too many times by alpha, beta, and early access testing, perhaps you can relate. Read on for more essays from the MMO blogosphere, and don’t forget to check out this month’s exciting Blaugust Reborn event that’s raging across blogs!

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The Daily Grind: Where have you gotten bogged down in MMO play?

Probably one of my biggest bugaboos (that’s a technical term) in MMO play is when I get bogged down trying to progress through a certain point in the game. Maybe it’s a difficult to navigate zone or a frustratingly tough area, but there’s nothing that kills my enthusiasm to log in than when I’m making slow-to-no progress in my gaming sessions.

Recently I had to make a concerted effort to push myself through Northern Mirkwood in Lord of the Rings Online. While it was spot-on with its dark, eerie atmosphere, the visual difficulties coupled with the challenging terrain made questing a plodding affair. At least I got out and saw the daylight again!

Where have you gotten bogged down in MMO play? Have you ever hit a wall that was difficult to pass? Did you make it through or just give up?

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WoW Factor: World of Warcraft’s market saturation and the pull of vague memories

Here’s something a little different: Usually, before I write a World of Warcraft column (or any column), my assumptions and data are pretty firm before I put them down on paper, else I wouldn’t be writing it in the first place. This is one of the reasons that, for example, I spent so much time showing my work when trying to predict the launch date for Battle for Azeroth; that was all about hard numbers, so it was easy to check math and assumptions in an obvious fashion.

But in this particular case I’m exploring a concept that I’m still playing with and researching, something that may turn out to be somewhat erroneous. To wit: I suspect World of Warcraft expansions have switched from selling to existing customers and into reclaiming old customers as a primary design focus.

It might seem like an odd assertion, but I think it’s an interesting thing to consider and may help shed light on a number of design decisions, several of which I think are pretty bad ones. But for this particular column I’m not interested in analyzing the merits of design choices; I’m interested in presenting the evidence and showing how it lines up in a more neutral fashion. Because I think it can shape some interesting thinking.

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