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]

Massively on the Go’s guide to returning to Pokemon Go: Focus on community

I’ve noticed a bit of a renewal for Pokemon Go thanks to large improvements by Niantic starting with Generation 3. With raids, quests, real-world weather affecting spawns, trading, and friends, the game’s drastically changed since release. But as my fellow Massively OP reporters Brendan Drain and Tina Lauro Pollock have both returned to the game, I’ve also noticed that coming (back) to the game can be a bit confusing.

There are a lot of in-depth guides out there, but there is so much going on with the game that for a real newbie, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Instead, I’m going to go point by point, top priority to bottom, in a way that lets you get back into the game quick and easy, using long-term but relevant tips and resources. Power players and veterans can skim these articles and add their own advice in the comments section, but my job is going to put you on the road to being a capable Pokemon trainer.

Today, we’re going to start with community.

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Wisdom of Nym: Why Final Fantasy XIV’s role actions didn’t work

Tucked away in the latest live letter was a bit of information that seems like it’s more relevant than its rather humble placement would seem to indicate. In the not-too-distant future, Final Fantasy XIV is going to remove all limitations on role actions. You can use all 10 of them at the same time! Goodbye, literally any remaining shred of character customization, you will not be missed.

Or rather, you will, but not for what you did but what you were supposed to do.

The big problem with role actions, simply put, is that they never actually accomplished their stated goal at any point. It’s part of the game’s complex relationship with character choices and actions I’ve discussed before, but seeing as role actions are soon going to be altogether yanked from their current state, it seems worthwhile to examine why they didn’t work and what (if anything) would be helpful in replacing them.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Is Lord of the Rings Online aging well?

By now, to me, Lord of the Rings Online is a comfortable, well-worn friend that always offers a very predictable and enjoyable experience whenever I return to the game. It’s absolutely bizarre to me to consider that we’re now in the Post-Ring era of the MMO’s storyline, yet it is all still going strong in its own way.

One thing I cannot deny is that LOTRO is what most people would consider to be an “older MMO.” It’s been in live operation ever since April 2007, and once the game tipped over the decade mark, it joined other long-running titles that had long since shed their youth for maturity and stability.

As I was exploring Northern Mirkwood and going through the new Christmas quest recently, I found my thoughts had turned to evaluating the game’s status as an aging MMORPG. I mean, all MMOs age (if they’re fortunate enough to launch), and not every title can remain young, hot, and popular forever. But that doesn’t mean that they become irrelevant and unengaging when they’ve entered into the middle age of their lifespan. So, I thought, how is LOTRO aging as an 11-year-old product? What is going for it at this point and what is starting to show signs of wear and tear?

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever had an MMORPG-related dream?

A real dream, not just a dream to top the raid leaderboard.

MOP reader CamelotCrusade submitted today’s whimsical Daily Grind topic. “The other night I had a dream where I was fleeing a tidal wave and I was riding away from it on a horse to escape it,” he wrote to us. “After watching a cinematic in my mind of the wave bearing down on me, I realized I was actually on an MMO-style horse, and I was in virtual reality. I was still anxious in the way you are when you’re trying to save your character, but I didn’t have much time to dwell on it because of what happened next. I rode my mount furiously towards a nearby town, shelter in view, aiming for a fortified looking inn. Almost there! But then – oh no! – I was forcibly dismounted, nearly tripped, and had to run, panting, for cover, as the air got wet and misty. There’s more that happened after that, but what really stuck with me? I woke up thinking: That’s a stupid rule! Damn near got me killed! Why can’t you ride your mount in town!?”

I am positive I’ve had MMO dreams in the past, but I can’t recall anything specifically. How about you – have you ever had an MMORPG-related dream?

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite bragging rights reward in an MMO?

The title I display most often in Final Fantasy XIV is “Sidestepper.” It’s not a flashy title, but it’s a bragging rights reward because you can’t get it any more. It’s only available for people who were playing during the original version of the game. The same is true of the various bits of armor I have to glamour for anything that aren’t accessible unless you have the “dated” items. They don’t boost my characters at all; they just are a neat little reward from back in the day.

Bragging rights rewards are something that I’m generally in favor of; instead of creating issues of rewarding the best players with the best gear and creating a vicious cycle, clearing challenges in World of Warcraft awards you appearances that can be obtained no other way. Getting Legacy achievements in Star Wars: The Old Republic can give you emotes that don’t make your life easier, but sure do look neat. So what’s your favorite bragging rights reward in an MMO? Something that doesn’t make you any stronger, but shows off an accomplishment?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMOs are the best for occasional play?

As a longtime fan of MMOs, I struggle with one serious factor when it comes to playing them: time. It’s not just finding time to play, period, but instead considering whether or not an MMO deserves my time.

Unlike a lot of other video games, MMOs don’t often reward the occasional gamer. Their design and business model pushes hard for large, constant, and repeated investments of time. So it’s kind of difficult for me to just pick up a title and play it once to get much out of it. For most games, if it’s not something I can dedicate at least an evening a week to making progress, then it’s probably not worth “dipping” into.

Still, some MMOs are surprisingly friendly for occasional play. I find episodic titles like Star Trek Online and Secret World Legends perfect for this, since they have fewer content releases focused on a smaller amount of very defined and story-based experiences.

What do you think? Which MMOs are the best for occasional play if you’re not looking for a 100 hours-a-month investment?

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Betawatch: Camelot Unchained reaches the green fields of beta (August 3, 2018)

Someone break out the “It’s Happening” image, because Camelot Unchained has entered its beta testing at long last! Yes, ti may have been delayed several times, but it’s still made that all-important leap to beta. Good work, Camelot Unchained! We’re all super proud of you.

In other beta news, there’s a bullet list. It’s coming right for us!

All of that sounds fun! This is fun. It’s a fun industry. Why not have some fun checking out our list down below, or letting us know if something is marked incorrectly down in the comments? That means we can fix that up, which is also fun.

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EverQuesting: Returning to EverQuest II’s Guk (for the first time)

In my last EverQuesting, I mentioned that I had not participated in much — if any — of EverQuest II’s The Shadow Odyssey content. I’ve since realized that TSO added dungeons all around Norrath, dungeons that I have delved and explored; I just haven’t touched anything related to the expansion’s zone, Moors of Ykesha. That includes all things Guk. And as luck would have it, Daybreak has focused its newest content update on just that! The just-released GU107 Return to Guk is meant to entice players back to The Shadow Odyssey content. So guess who is going to be checking this out?

Perhaps I am more excited to dive back into Guk because I have never experienced it before, but I am sure I am not the only player who hasn’t seen it. If, like me, you missed out previously, you might also be eager for your max-level characters to Return to Guk… for the very first time. Fair warning, however: Guk refers only to a set of dungeons. Dungeons you access from the Plane of Magic in the newest expansion, Planes of Prophecy. So if you’re hoping for a hook to return you to the Moors of Ykesha, you’ll be disappointed. As much as I am interested in revisiting older content, I think Daybreak missed quite an opportunity here.

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The Daily Grind: When was the last time you went sightseeing in an MMORPG?

Are you into stopping and smelling the flowers, literally or figuratively?

I started thinking a bit about this thanks to a tweet ZeniMax sent out about Elder Scrolls Online last weekend; the studio was promoting the work of @JXRaiv, who put together a website that allows players to explore all the wayshrines in the game. You don’t even need to log in to enjoy the view. And in fact, I bet most people wouldn’t either. Games seldom reward us for exploration, and when they don’t, we often don’t bother. Even when they do – I’m thinking about Guild Wars 2’s mapping – gamers often just skip past the cutscene to get on to the next one.

Long ago, I decided to go on a tour, by foot, of all the shrines in a different MMORPG; it was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had in an MMORPG. And none of it counted for anything except for my own joy and my own recollection all these years later.

When was the last time you went sightseeing in an MMORPG?

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WoW Factor: There’s no fixing this Battle for Azeroth story

Let’s be totally clear about something: There is no twist waiting for this World of Warcraft story. It doesn’t exist. There’s no way that this story moves into its next phase and suddenly all of the nonsense that was added here is made all right or acceptable or… well, let’s face it, not atrociously dumb.

I’m putting that front and center because if you’re going to talk about World of Warcraft at the moment, you’re going to talk about the latest Warbringers short and the concurrent in-game events, and that means talking about the fact that this is dumb. I’m also trying to leave people who really don’t want to be spoiled for awful storytelling not forced into it, so be fairly warned; things get spoil-y real quick down below. So if you want to read about how catastrophically stupid this is, read on. If you’d rather have any remaining faith in the expansion not being a steaming pile of wombat leavings destroyed by watching the cinematic in-game, well, maybe hold off.

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever run a ‘solo’ guild in an MMO?

When housing first arrived in Final Fantasy XIV, a lot of people wanted personal houses but couldn’t yet get them. So they did the logical thing by forming a guild which was only meant to house that one player and maybe an alt or two, nothing more. All of the benefits of guild membership other than the, you know, camaraderie or support or friendship.

It’s hardly the only example I’ve seen. Any game with tangible benefits for a guild (such as World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic) will have people who want the benefits without the organizational headaches. It’s usually not too difficult to form these guilds meant to house just one person, and some games even let you get something nifty out of it on the exchange.

Of course, it also means that, again, you’re basically playing alone, including taking on group tasks by your lonesome. So what about you, dear readers? Have you ever run a “solo” guild in an MMO? Would you consider doing so?

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR is testing huge changes for the Rishi stronghold

I know I took more than a moment to explain why I liked the new Rishi stronghold coming to Star Wars: The Old Republic in the next big update. It seems that the development team has a little more freedom to really listen to its fans and add items to this stronghold to move it from being a good stronghold to a great one.

I’ve clearly been critical of many of the things SWTOR has done over the year, and I rarely give it amazing scores on my yearly reviews. But I’m still a fan, and it’s improvements like the Rishi stronghold that help keep me interested in what BioWare developers are doing. On a scale that includes jumping the timeline forward 5 years and killing off major characters, creating a PvP stronghold ranks rather low, but I’m surprised at how much it actually helps to create an enjoyable game.

The final round of PTS changes hit this past weekend, and I spent some time goofing around and diving into these additions. Let me highlight some of the changes.

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Global Chat: The ‘We Don’t Play World of Warcraft’ Club

What do you do when you don’t play World of Warcraft but everyone else all around you does and won’t stop talking about it because there’s a new expansion coming out? You try to find like-minded souls and start up a club, that’s what!

“If you do not play WoW or at least have some sort of history with it, you can find yourself in some kind of quasi MMO community minority group. It’s an ‘odd’ phenomenon,” said Contains Moderate Peril.

“I really don’t even know what the story other than Alliance vs. Horde,” admitted I’m Not Squishy. “Sometimes it can feel like I’m there’s a big gap in my gaming vocabulary.”

Believe it or not, this whole column isn’t just about World of Warcraft today, so dive in to read some gamer essays on Wizard101, Dark Age of Camelot, Elder Scrolls Online, and more!

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