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: Are WoW Tokens worth it?

The debut of World of Warcraft Tokens into the game’s economy has caused quite a stir, particularly after the prices plunged during the first few days. Alt:ernative Chat discussed the economics 101 aspect of the event but ultimately posed a few soul-searching questions for buyers.

“Was it worth it?” she asks. “All that time it took to ‘make’ that money in game, is this a fair exchange for the real world money you’ve currently freed up? What if Blizzard turned around tomorrow and vastly restricted your ability to make gold in the future? Most importantly of all, do you now feel a greater obligation to play the game because you had to work for it in a different fashion than simply stumping up US/AU Dollars?”

To that all I can say is: Time is money, friends! In this week’s blogosphere safari, we look at the backstory of SWTOR’s Revan, ponder the merits of joining a multi-game guild, and read an analysis of Guild Wars 2’s elite skills.

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Tamriel Infinium: The 18 words an Elder Scrolls Online newbie needs to know

One of my favorite things about the storytelling in Elder Scrolls Online is that the quest-givers don’t fill their dialogue with exposition regarding Tamriel lore. For instance, NPCs will throw around terms like Ayleid and Dwemer as if you are just supposed to know what that means. That’s not to say they don’t share a lot of expository dialogue; it just usually contains the information that you need in your quest, not the story behind the story.

I thought it fitting to give you a list of terms and names that you will run into while playing the Elder Scrolls Online that you need to know, especially if you’re a novice to the franchise. I’ve run into most of these myself, and I reluctantly admit that I wasn’t sure exactly what they meant. For instance, what’s the difference between Tamriel, Nirn, and Mundus? The Prophet seemed to use these terms interchangeably in his dialogue, but they certainly mean different things, and he’s not using them arbitrarily.

So this week, I’m going to do something different from what I usually do. I’m going to make a lexicon of sorts. I have 18 terms that I think you should know going into ESO in order to understand the deeper meaning behind some of the quests that you will be running.

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The Daily Grind: Is Firefly Online the future of MMOs?

Last week, Firefly Online announced that it had scooped up almost all of the old Firefly cast members to voice the multiplatform online-but-not-really-an-MMO. Cue internet nerdgasm! I am impressed that the game is managing to dodge so many of the usual problems of IP-driven games; you’re playing not Mal or Zoe but a pale imitation of them as the captain of your ship, and while you’re the protagonist in your own story, you’re not necessarily a big damn hero.

On the other hand, the “online” part of the game is more or less limited to social connections and player-generated content in the form of custom missions. It’s going to be cool, but I can’t help but worry that far too many games that would have been designed as MMOs a few years ago are going this cheap and easy route now instead — that this is the sort of game that will bleed our genre rather than round it out.

Will you play Firefly Online, or are you holding out hope that the IP will get a proper MMO at some point? Do you think this style of game is the future of MMOs?

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!

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Sword and Bored: Loot table

We are nearing two months of Sword and Bored. It’s been so much fun so far exploring the personality of Mo, who represents nearly everyone who has ever logged into an MMO and been stymied by the recurring tropes.

I mentioned last week that Mo was first created on as a sketch for the Massively Overpowered logo, but the character didn’t really come to life for me until I started creating the header images for the Kickstarter. Although the most popular image of Mo has to be his winking pose used for the “thank you” image, it was the “why Kickstarter” image that really solidified how I was going to deal with the character. How do you make a character emote when he’s always wearing a faceplate? Clearly, I had to break some rules, but in breaking them, I found that his personality really began to shine.

It shined strong enough to make a comic based on his adventures. And here’s what happened this week…

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV’s big finale

Let me warn you upfront: If you have not yet finished the last major story patch of Final Fantasy XIV and you want to make sure not to see or read any spoilers, please, do not read this article yet. There will be spoilers. Spoilers will flow fast and furious. Your desire to not be spoiled is both entirely understandable and one that I wish to honor as much as possible, so please, turn back now. I won’t be offended.

That having been said, it’s past time to talk about what happened during the last patch. I made some predictions, and several of them were wrong, but what we were left with is downright fascinating. It gives us a framework for what comes next in the story while also dramatically changing the landscape of the game, and while there are some people with a great deal of irritation at the story’s twists and turns, I don’t share that dissension. I am psyched.

Again, spoilers past here. You have been warned.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the most helpful loading screen text?

MMO loading screen text varies widely from game to game. Some titles choose to put snippets of lore on their loading screens, while others reveal portions of the game mechanics. Still others go with filler text that seems like it was written by an intern with a fleeting grasp of English, the game in question, and the sorts of things that players need to know.

What do you think, MOP readers? Which MMO has the most helpful loading screen text?

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!

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EVE Evolved: How many subscriptions does EVE have?

Two weeks ago, a mathemagician over at The Nosy Gamer published some interesting calculations showing that EVE Online‘s subscriptions may have dropped by around 18% in the past two years. CCP has always prided itself on the fact that EVE has grown year-on-year since release, but the last official number we heard was when it reached 500,000 subscriptions back in February 2013. Players have taken the company’s silence since then on the matter of subscriptions as an admission that subs have been falling or at least not growing for the past two years.

So where did this 18% figure come from? It was extrapolated from estimates of player participation in the last two CSM elections, and the reasoning behind the number seems pretty good in the absence of any official announcement. It will probably not come as a shock to anyone if this calculation turns out to be accurate, as EVE‘s concurrent player numbers have also seen a roughly 20% drop since 2013. As development on EVE has been very well-received over the past two years, I’m inclined to believe that the drop in activity has more to do with trends in today’s gaming habits and purchasing choices. Online gaming seems to be going through an evolution, and the mandatory subscription model may be becoming obsolete.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I run through a set of calculations to work out how many subscribers EVE really has, determine where the reported 18% drop is coming from, and ask whether this is a trend CCP can fight.

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The Daily Grind: Do you want minigames in your MMO?

I won’t pretend that I’m one of the biggest fans of the game, but I’m really glad that Triple Triad is a thing in Final Fantasy XIV. I’m also super psyched that World of Warcraft has its various Darkmoon Faire diversions (though they should really be around more) and I’m even keen on the absurd little pattern-matching Dilithium mining in Star Trek Online. Put simply, I’m a big fan of having some minigames to take part in as I play.

Minigames that aren’t tied to fighting or crafting or the like are, to be fair, not part of the core design of a game. They’re extraneous side ventures, and it’s very common for them to either be far too rewarding or not rewarding enough. But I like the fact that they exist, and I’m always willing to at least try a new minigame or two. What about you? Do you like minigames, or would you rather that developers focus more efforts on core gameplay?

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!

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LOTRO Legendarium: Why LOTRO needs a progression server

At some point this year — Turbine isn’t saying when, yet — Lord of the Rings Online will be making an effort to consolidate server populations. It’s a good move, considering that this MMO has quite a few servers and the players are too spread out. I’m hoping that transferring players from low-pop servers will grow the community and forge new friendships.

As I whole-heartedly support merges (or whatever PR phrase you want to use to avoid that dreaded term), what I am going to say next will sound really strange: I think the studio should open up a new server. And not just any old ruleset server, but a progression server.

I’ve been jealous of seeing games like EverQuest roll out this type of special ruleset because it seems like such a fun idea that few other studios are willing to implement. Well, I think a progression server would be a huge shot in the arm for LOTRO and could be a marketing boon if done correctly. Or maybe I’m simply mad in the head. Either way, I’m going to muse on what a progression server would look like and how it could help the game!

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The Daily Grind: Is dual-wielding dumb or cool?

If one weapon is neat, then two must be twice as great, right? That seems to be the thought process behind dual-wielding in video games, although it’s not something that pans out so well in real life (at least when it comes to guns).

Just about every MMO I know allows players to dual-wield in some form, whether it’s two swords, two pistols, two daffodils, or whatnot. Dual-wielding makes for exciting animations and allows for a second weapon slot, which is probably why it’s a big selling point for many.

But are flashing two weapons about actually dumb? Do you roll your eyes when you see the latest player dual-wielding, feeling that it’s more for show than anything else? Has it gotten out of, erm, hand? Let’s hash this out today!

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!

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Infinite Crisis has basically made me a MOBA fan

It’s 1989. My buddy and I are in a comic store and raising our eyebrows at this odd little one-shot called Gotham by Gaslight. You probably know it; the cover is all greens and blues with a gargoylish and scarier-than-usual Batman perched on a 19th century rooftop.

We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were looking at the first in a series of Elseworlds entries that transported familiar heroes and villains into exceedingly unfamiliar locales and circumstances. Fast forward to 2006, when DC’s Infinite Crisis arc officially dubbed this weird steampunkish world “Earth-19.” Fast forward some more to 2015, where three of the 41 champions in Turbine’s new Infinite Crisis MOBA hail from this alternate earth.

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WoW Factor: The WoW token and the upcoming patch

Since the last edition of WoW Factor, two big things hit World of Warcraft in quick succession. The first is that the much-discussed WoW Token finally went live, meaning that anyone who wants to buy gold legitimately or buy subscription time for gold has an option to do so. The second is that patch 6.2 hit the test server, and unlike the rather anemic patch 6.1, it promises to have a bunch of stuff for players to digest and enjoy.

It doesn’t have flying, but then, we just had that discussion.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so it’s best to start from the oldest point and work our way forward, and that means the token. On the one hand, tokens represent a big shift away from how the game has always operated, but at the same time it’s also a fairly minor shift in the grand scheme of things. And if you had the gold to afford one, you’re even helping the game’s somewhat stymied economy.

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The Daily Grind: When do you know you’re never going back to an MMO?

Massively OP’s Mike Foster said something that resonated with me earlier this week when during a debate about World of Warcraft, he uttered, “I think WoW truly lost me when Blizzard got rid of Shaman totems.” I wanted to cheer, but I’m sad about it too. I’ve never fully quit WoW over its now many years of slowly watering down the flavor of my main class, and I won’t say I’ll never go back because I always do and I always have fun. But when totems became shells of their former selves, it sort of sank in that the gameplay I liked was gone, that this was the new reality, that the game’s philosophy had really shifted almost too much for me — as Mike put it, “It was the moment for me that said, ‘We want every class playing basically the same.'”

I wonder whether this is something that a lot of folks realize at some point in their gaming careers, especially those who’ve been playing “old” MMOs long enough to see them change over first-hand, sometimes into dramatically different versions of themselves. I certainly feel that way when I log into Ultima Online in 2015 — aside from the graphics, it’s so different from its 1997 version that a lot of folks wouldn’t even recognize it. There was never a jump-the-shark moment or anything; just a slow realization that oh, it’s over… oh, it’s something else now — damn.

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