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]

WoW Factor: A three million loss lesson

It’s been a little while, hasn’t it, friends? In the time since I last penned WoW Factor (which missed an installment purely due to transit strangeness – the only time I’ve ever missed a column, I do apologize), some stuff has happened. Like what? Oh, nothing major, just World of Warcraft completely losing its sub jump from the beginning of the expansion. Three million players, gone. And while you can feel free to giggle under your breath at those who take this as a sign that the game is dying (7 million subscribers is not exactly a low number), it also does put the game at subscriber numbers below what it had back before The Burning Crusade.

The game isn’t dying. But a 30% loss of subscribers tells a story where it is more than a little sick. Amidst speculation that 6.2 is the game’s last major content patch, there’s reason to believe that something should be done, that things need to change, that the center cannot hold.

Community manager Bashiok pointed out on the forums, quite rightly, that there’s rarely a single silver bullet issue that causes these things. In this case, I think there’s a whole magazine of bullets.

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The Daily Grind: Do you crave night-and-day cycles in MMOs?

Earlier this week, Daybreak‘s John Smedley told H1Z1 fans about a metric that startled me: An awful lot of post-apoc gamers are annoyed with night cycles.

We had a very interesting report run just now. It shows a much higher percentage of people log out when it gets to night. We play the game too, and we’ve tuned it as best we could to be fun and not too dark, but the data is quite stark. We are considering experimenting for a few days with no nighttime on the core PVP servers (hardcore would still have it). Personally I love the night, but data is data and it’s you, our players doing the logging out when it gets dark. You are literally voting with your feet on this issue.

The more hardcore types who populate Reddit were quick to rally to the defense of pitch-blackness, so don’t worry; Smed isn’t taking away your nighttime, though Daybreak plans to tweak it and add daytime-only servers.

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Massively Overthinking: What would persuade you to play a classic MMO?

For this edition of Massively Overthinking, Kickstarter donor Sargon wants us think back to 1997, when Ultima Online launched and parted MMOs from graphical MUDs forever. Now think forward to 2015 again. UO’s still here! And Sargon wants to know why it’s not getting more play.

What would persuade you to return to Ultima Online? If you are a former player, what would it take for you to go back? If you never played before, could Broadsword do anything to inspire you to try it?

This question needn’t even be specific to UO. We all know that older games struggle with making inroads into modern markets. Let’s tackle the conundrum: I posed Sargon’s question to our own MMO die-hards.

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EverQuesting: Life after Landmark’s big wipe

It was just over a week ago that Landmark‘s servers went offline in preparation for a major upheaval that affected nearly every system in the game, from a total reworking of topography to a complete character wipe. Indeed, big changes were ready to burst forth! And fans sat in eager anticipation of the servers’ return so they could jump in and experience everything because while we’ve had announcements and patch notes to prepare us, knowing what changes lie ahead is never the same as living them. What’s better than expected? What leaves a little to be desired? Here are my week-one impressions of life after the wipe.

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Perfect Ten: Future MMOs that I can’t wait to play

I imagine that most of us have a future bucket list of MMOs that we wish would get here already. It wasn’t but a couple of years ago that I was salivating over several major up-and-coming releases, including Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, and WildStar. My list of most-anticipated never seemed to get smaller, it seemed.

Flash-forward to 2015 and it feels as though we’re in a different era all of the sudden. Games are still being made, to be sure, but there seems like there are fewer blockbuster-wannabes on the horizon. I’m really happy playing what we already have, although I miss that feeling of “ooh, I can’t WAIT!” that used to drive my excitement.

Even so, there are several titles in development that have my attention to varying degrees. Maybe some of these aren’t the big-budget extravaganzas I was used to and maybe a couple are long shots, but as it stands, here are 10 future MMOs I can’t wait to play.

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The Daily Grind: Would you try a Darkfall reboot?

Yesterday’s news regarding the possibility of a classic Darkfall server was pretty great. I loved Aventurine’s 2010-era fantasy gankbox, and I’d resubscribe or even repurchase the client in a heartbeat if AV moves forward.

It wouldn’t be very enjoyable without a decent-sized playerbase, though, which is why I’m tossing this informal question out to you, the MOP readers, this morning. Would you try a classic Darkfall server if one were available?

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Massively Opinionated: EVE vs SWTOR vs The Plunderbund

A large part of the appeal of MMOs is the communities that can be built around a persistent online presence. In fact, much of MMO debate stems from how games handle their communities. And that’s exactly what we’re discussing on this week’s Massively Opinionated vidcast.

We’ve brought on three different online content creators to discuss community as it relates to content creation: YouTube games reviewer and Brit living in Georgia Cosmic Engine; game designer, Massively OP writer, and man with magnificent hair Brendan Drain; and Twitch streamer and super Star Wars fan Redna. Each of these panelists has come to debate which content platform is the best for reaching the MMO community, what is the perfect guild size, what MMO guilds really ought to be called, and of course, how best to build a community-focused MMO.

The rules of the game are simple: Our arbitrator, Larry Everett, asks the panelist four questions before the show starts so that they can formulate the best defense strategy. When the tomfoolery begins, the panelist with the best argument wins one point per question. The panelist with the most points at the end of the show wins the internet. Let the debate begin.

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Ask Mo: The trouble with roleplaying in MMORPGs

Long ago on Massively-that-was, a reader named Avaera sent in a long list of fabulous questions worth addressing. I’m tackling another in today’s edition of Ask Mo:

Would you welcome a large scale roleplaying-enforced MMORPG? One where you simply have to interact with other players in-character? One of the things that I miss most from the transition from playing MUDs to playing MMOs is the lack of memorable characters who chose to take on unique roles in our virtual societies. Most big-budget MMORPGs have great tools for player communication and cooperation, but the “role” part of RPG usually equates to the job or skills that you as the player will bring to a combat encounter. I’d love to see what a game is like in which you have to play as your character in all aspects. Just to be clear, I don’t mean using “thees” and “thous” or sitting in a pub and emoting but rather gradually crafting a virtual persona through your gameplay decisions and interactions with other characters (both enemy and ally alike). Is there a big-budget MMORPG out there already that has been designed from the ground up for mandatory in-character play, and I’ve just never heard of it?

I can think of only one, and that’s a damn shame. And it’s not even out yet.

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The Daily Grind: Has eating and drinking in MMOs become passé?

It’s sometimes so odd to me what game mechanics aim to mimic real-life behaviors and activities while so much else is ignored. We drink, but we do not pee. We take performance drugs all of the time, but we are not embroiled with press scandals. We sprint everywhere in 60 pounds of plate, but we do not sweat and die of heat stroke.

Anyway, I’ve been wondering if eating and drinking items in-game has become so archaic as to be laughable, especially if an MMO isn’t making a serious attempt to be “realistic” in other areas. We’re only gobbling food on the go like stat-starved hermits instead of ever sitting down to share a meal with friends and family, and the only thing that game beer is going to do for me is get my screen fuzzy and give me a tension headache.

Has eating and drinking in-game become passé? What should be done about it?

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Jukebox Heroes: How Elite: Dangerous’ music put me into a mild coma

You know what gets me righteously angry? I shall tell you. I shall tell you, and then you shall share in my anger, you will. What gets me angry is when I get tremendously excited because a new MMO is actually doing a soundtrack release with a whopping 86 tracks across three discs… and then that soundtrack turns out to be about as exciting to listen to as the old dial-up modem noises. I had to drink so much coffee to make it through this score, you have no idea.

Seriously, Elite: Dangerous, you had 86 tracks and pretty much all of them are completely forgettable synthesized noise? I know that “space” usually equals “ambient synth” for soundtracks, but I had hopes that there would be more than a small handful of tracks worth my time. This was — by far — duller than EVE, and I am not the world’s biggest EVE Online soundtrack fan.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. After all, it’s often unfair to decouple a soundtrack from the game and not understand it in its proper context. Then again, other MMO scores have made the transition to a solo listening experience with aplomb, so why not this one?

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Massively OP Podcast: Episode 13

What would you do if your game lost three million players in three months? Get depressed? Come up with excuses? Offset the bad news with some good? This week on the Massively OP podcast, we’re betting that Blizzard probably did all of the above and then some. We’ve also got a new elite class to discuss, the finale to a certain conspiracy MMO, and the promise of a bright future for one upcoming title.

Join us on the podcast as we talk about what we’ve been playing in MMOs, the top news stories from the past week, and topics that listeners have submitted!

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Tamriel Infinium: A guide to Elder Scrolls Online’s combat basics

I was looking back through some of my posts about the Elder Scrolls Online, and I noticed that I’ve mentioned combat quite a bit. I talk about how it feels, how it’s action-oriented. I even have a couple of articles about different class builds. My favorite thing to talk about is how that your class really doesn’t determine your role in a group. But somehow, I’ve never really discussed the basics of ESO combat.

ESO’s combat is a bit slower-paced than some other games, like DC Universe Online which actually has a very similar system. I think it has a slower system than Guild Wars 2, but that might just be an animation difference. ESO‘s combat is far less clunky than The Secret World, and the hits definitely feel as if they have more weight.

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