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]

Choose My Adventure: Mad science and spellslinging in WildStar

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the formulaic introduction to yet another installment of Choose My Adventure. As is tradition, let’s start with a quick recap of last week’s vote. As I’m sure you recall, last week signalled the start of a fresh run of CMA. This time around, my adventures will be taking me into the world of the newly free-to-play WildStar, and last week you voted on the gender, race, class, and path of the character through whose eyes I will see the planet Nexus and with whose hands I will callously end the lives of countless of its denizens.

There were far too many options in last week’s poll for me to go into a vote-by-vote breakdown, but suffice it to say that there seems to great deal of love for the Chua. The Dominion’s fluffy, adorable, certifiably sociopathic race of rodentfolk managed to reel in a commanding majority of the votes, trailed very distantly by the Aurin. You folks also seemed to have some rather strong opinions on my character’s path, and Explorer beat out the next runner-up, Scientist, with plenty of breathing room. The gender vote was a close race, but y’all decided by a narrow margin that my wittle Chua should be male. The vote for my character’s class was likewise relatively close, and while Engineer, Esper, and Medic all put up a decent struggle, apparently the combination of magic and guns proved irresistable and Spellslinger emerged victorious. So, without further ado, allow me to introduce Bonongo Jazz the Chua, novice Spellslinger and would-be explorer.

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The Daily Grind: So what mystery title is Daybreak working on?

Tucked into Daybreak’s announcement letter yesterday about the company’s new digs and Jens Andersen’s new role was the revelation that Daybreak is “currently working on” “an as-yet unannounced title.”

Leaving aside our inclination to snark about how maybe Daybreak should finish Landmark, H1Z1, and EverQuest Next first — admit it, your brain went there — I had to wonder about the mystery title. What is it? Is it an MMORPG in keeping with SOE’s legacy? Maybe something the studio doesn’t have at all, like a mobile title or MOBA? What about a console-oriented OFPS?

The only thing I’m pretty sure it isn’t is a home for Star Wars Galaxies refugees!

Let’s get our speculation on! What are they up to over there, other than enjoying their brand-new kegerator?

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Global Chat: Why is Blizzard so sluggish?

World of Warcraft: Legion and Blizzard’s recent decisions were at the forefront of a couple of recent MMO blog posts as of late, their authors noting how the studio cannot easily react to community objections or bad development choices.

Alternative Chat used the issue of Rogues protesting the lack of Ravenholdt as their class base to show that the studio can’t adjust on the fly: “What’s abundantly apparent however is that Blizzard isn’t for turning. This is not up for discussion. The problem here is that this makes [the] objection seem completely redundant, and that’s just wrong.”

Gamer By Design followed that post up by talking about why Blizzard lacks the ability to turn quickly: “Having a deep pipeline means less downtime due to waiting on others; you’re almost always busy, which is good from a financial and throughput perspective. But having a deep pipeline also means you’re very much not agile.”

Marching on with today’s round-up of community blog posts, we have a loving retrospective of Lord of the Rings Online, a debate about factions, a look at in-game holidays, and more!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 32: WildStumble

WildStar’s free-to-play launch began this past week, and Justin and Bree are in the thick of this wild and woolly mess. On today’s show, they talk about what could’ve been done differently, the upcoming demise of an MMO that nobody played, and a controversial SWTOR feature that’s coming with the expansion.

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.

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The Daily Grind: Does your MMO archetype reflect your personality?

A few months ago, blogger Tipa on West Karana wrote a post wondering whether the roles we play in MMOs reflected on our roles in real life — and vice versa. Specifically, she talks about how her deliberate decision to play tanks in video games dovetailed with control over her own life and translated into leadership skills in the present day.

I played primarily healers and bards my first few years and deliberately chose to start playing a “puller” character to force myself out of my comfort zone too, but gosh if I don’t gravitate back to the same few archetypes in every game unless I consciously play against type (it’s shamans, crowd control bards, archers, and shield tanks for me). When I look around at my guildies, they tend to follow patterns too: The leaders pick tanks, the go-getters play berserkers, the tricksters like rogues, the contrarians play underdogs, the nurturers love healers, and so on. Some of them overlap, of course!

What do you think? Does your favorite MMO playstyle or archetype mirror your personality type in the real world?

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Sword and Bored: Costume designer

Can you imagine if your character in World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, or whichever fantasy MMO were in the real world? What would his or her armor actually look like? The shoulder pads alone would make it impossible for him or her to just walk around. I usually like to dress my characters in something that is sort of realistic.

In Mo’s MMO, a cosmetic outfitting system was just introduced, so style maven Amilya is going to help him pick the outfit that is just right for him in this week’s comic…

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Wisdom of Nym: The state of Final Fantasy XIV’s magical DPS

The purpose of magical damage in Final Fantasy XIV is to ruin everything. Really. You get a huge group of enemies together, and then you ruin them with a barrage of magical forces. Not literally using Ruin most of the time, that works its way into your rotation but isn’t a mandatory thing at all times. Though it’s pretty important for Summoners, I know. Mostly as a filler.

Just as ranged DPS and melee DPS has a niche in the game, magical DPS has its niche, and while Summoner was originally sold as a bit more of a debuffer than simply a DPS with a heavy damage-over-time element, we’re here now. So to round out the previous columns on the DPS jobs in the game, let’s take a look at the two damage-dealing casters in all of their glory. Mind the explosions, those show up a lot. Also mind the damage fields. It’s sort of their thing.

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The Daily Grind: Who’s your favorite MOBA champion?

I’ve been playing League of Legends quite a bit lately, but I haven’t settled on a favorite champion yet. I’m a MOBA newb, so I’m trying everything in terms of roles to see what sticks and what sucks. I’m having the most fun with marksmen so far, just because last-hitting is strangely addictive and I’ve always been a stand-back-and-fire-guns kind of guy instead of a sword-and-board type.

What about you, MOP MOBA fans? Which champion is your favorite and why?

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EVE Evolved: Bring on the big expansions again!

When EVE Online‘s development switched from two major expansions per year to ten smaller releases, the benefits were pretty difficult to argue with. EVE had garnered a reputation for pushing out new features before they were ready just to make the expansion deadline and then moving swiftly on to the next big idea. Moving to smaller but more frequent releases means a missed deadline is only a delay of a few weeks and completed features don’t sit in limbo for up to six months until the next expansion window. The results in terms of gameplay are pretty hard to argue with too, as EVE has seen more updates and content in the past year than in any previous year.

Dropping expansions hasn’t been a wholly positive change, however, and in the long term I think it may have actually harmed EVE‘s player numbers. The smaller updates don’t make much of a splash in the media and don’t seem to make people excited to play or resubscribe in the way that a big blockbuster expansion does. Some big expansion-worthy features have been deployed in the dozen small patches released over the past year, only to slip silently under the radar of past and prospective players. Executive Producer Andie Nordgren recently announced that EVE is switching back to a standard expansion model next year, but with the twist that expansions will be released when ready rather than forced out the door for an arbitrary six month deadline.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss some of the problems caused by smaller updates and why I think big themed expansions are an integral part of EVE.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has your favorite cosmetic system?

The Secret World is not my game of choice, but I sure did like its system for appearances. Clothing was just… well, clothing. You could wear whatever outfit you liked! Your stats were entirely tied to other parts of your character, and there was lots of stuff to mix-and-match. Skyforge uses a similar trick with its outfits, but there’s less mixing and matching. It’s a bit less appealing.

Of course, I’m very fond of any cosmetic system; there are just better and worse options. City of Heroes has some gold-standard elements to its cosmetic system, naturally, but even in games with more investment in gear, there are better and worse systems. So what MMO has your favorite cosmetic equipment system? Would it work in other games, or not quite so much?

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The Daily Grind: How closely do you follow MMOs prior to launch?

MOP commenter Tandor Shadewalker recently made me think about what the game industry was like prior to widespread use of the internet. If you’ll allow me to paraphrase, he said that gamemakers made games, we bought them in stores, and on occasion we may have discussed them with close friends or family and even less occasionally written a letter concerning them to a gaming magazine.

In 2015 on the other hand, everybody’s a critic, social media gives a megaphone to people with nothing to say, and games are dissected, analyzed, and fought over before they’ve even made it out of alpha. While I can’t fully divorce myself from this silly and toxic climate and continue to do my job, I have begun to draw a very clear line between games I’m obligated to know about for professional reasons and games I choose to know about for personal pleasure. And I’m finding that the less I know about the latter titles prior to launch, the happier I am.

What about you, MOP readers? How closely do you follow pre-launch MMOs or games from your other favorite genres?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!


Leaderboard: Have you played Elite: Dangerous?

I’ve got the space sim bug again. Well, OK, I never really lost it, but work and other hobbies occasionally make immersing myself in something like X or Elite: Dangerous or Wing Commander untenable. I recently reinstalled Elite after playing around with it at launch, and I’m looking forward to jumping back into my life as an intergalactic trucker.

What about you, MOP readers? Have you played Elite? If so, what did you think?

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Choose My MOBA: LoL vs. Dota 2 vs. SMITE

A while back I became a fledgling MOBA fan thanks to Infinite Crisis. Unfortunately for me, Turbine decided to kill its DC universe battler just as I was getting into it. I’m currently looking for my next lane-based addiction, and I’ve boiled my choices down to League of Legends, Dota 2, and SMITE. The easy answer is “play all three,” and I have, to the point that I can talk semi-intelligently about their strengths and weaknesses from a newbish perspective.

I need to pick one, though, because all of them are free time blackholes and I do enough game-hopping as it is in the MMO space. Join me after the cut to discuss some pros and cons, and let me know which you think I should choose!

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