Down in the comments beneath the Marvel Heroes column we first published this week, a Massively OP reader expressed annoyance with online action RPGs and Justin’s advice for quick leveling. “To level for the pure sake of leveling!? Seems to me only exhausting busywork using typical addictive mechanics as in browser games or gambling, but less obviously implemented!” Thus began an interesting conversation on grind.
Our commenter isn’t wrong; the idea of just leveling characters one after another, as fast as you can, without really stopping to enjoy the content? That should be grindy and horrible. It sounds like working in an MMO sweatshop!
I’m going to do something I don’t do a lot in Massively Overthinking — or anywhere, really.
I’m going to ask you to whine.
MOP Kickstarter donor Kayletta sent in this question, which I posed to our writers and our special Patreon guest, Roger, this week:
What’s the most nitpicky detail in an MMO that has caused you to log out/walk away/quit game in annoyance?
Let’s do this!
How is the MMO blogging community reacting to Blizzard’s proclamation that flying mounts are grounded — perhaps permanently — in World of Warcraft? In two words, not well.
In An Age gave 10 reasons flying was a great part of the game, Aspect of the Hare says that it felt like “a punch in the gut,” Murloc Parliament thinks that the game must move forward instead of backward, Tish Tosh Tesh considers the decision a strike against returning to the game, Cogitationes Astalnaris says that this is another example of how the studio has lost its mojo, Alternative Chat blames the studio for poor communication on the issue, and Heals n Heals speculates that it’s part of a larger probem. On the flip side of the issue, The Rykter Scale says that he won’t miss it and Tales of the Aggronaut agrees with the devs that flight is a “double-edged sword.”
With that out of the way, let’s look at some other excellent community posts from the past few weeks, including first steps in EverQuest’s progression server, a screenshot safari to City of Heroes, 10 reasons to play Trove, and a huge testimonial about the awesomeness of Marvel Heroes.
Superheroes don’t do anything in half-measures, and neither does City of Heroes spiritual successor Valiance Online. The team updated the title yesterday with the first of a promised series of patches: “This first release is dedicated to testing the new zone, the new physics servers, and the zone’s capacity and performance standards of our current target platform. As we complete tests, we’ll begin to patch in updates rapidly.”
The patch adds in the new animation and sound systems as well as better tech for rendering foliage. NPC and enemy mobs also saw an uptick to their intelligence with the update, with the ability to observe surroundings, move around, and react to situations.
I made my Crab Spider in City of Heroes primarily because I wanted to have someone as a spider. My character concept for her was sort of ridiculous. I did not think that she’d become my main character, have an immensely satisfying roleplaying arc, and wind up being a character I look upon with great fondness. But that’s exactly what happened, and I could still probably write a whole column about Rubi Sloane and her path from Arachnos to Longbow.
She’s hardly the only character, though. From my Shaman in World of Warcraft to my Smuggler in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I’ve made a lot of characters whom I expected to not care about but wound up loving. What about you? What characters have you made that you found yourself unexpectedly fond of?
This morning’s Daily Grind question is brought to us by Kickstarter donor Tracergeek, who wants to talk about customization in MMOs — specifically, the type that happens in the middle of the game, after you’ve rolled your toon up and played for a bit, like race- and class-swaps.
How important is it for you to be able to change your character’s race, gender and class in an MMO, and which MMO do you feel is best at offering these features to players?
Coincidentally, I have been giving Trove an extended spin. Trove famously allows players to swap classes from cornerstones and hubs, and although you’ve got to unlock the classes and level them separately, it actually works pretty well in that type of sandpark. It’s the same sort of system that Marvel Heroes uses, and it’s not a huge leap from there to great sub-class-swapping games like Guild Wars and RIFT.
What’s going on in the super-powered world of Valiance Online? Quite a lot, actually. The spiritual successor to City of Heroes posted a list of 10 development updates to bring fans up to date on the project.
Among the list is word that the team is overhauling the user interface, trademarking a new logo, improving the animations, fixing “hundreds” of bugs, preparing the new website, and coming up with a clear production schedule. “We’ve worked with a few more developers from City of Heroes to gain a large perspective of where we need to improve overall,” the team posted. “One of the main areas being the world scale. Those developers will also be in a live Reddit AMA and gameplay walkthrough with us soon.”
We’ve also got five new screenshots from Valiance Online to share with you after the break. Looking pretty good so far, don’t you think?
The now-annual City of Heroes “Loregasm” is complete, with ex-developers Matt Miller and Sean McCann delivering another wealth of insights into the late, great superhero MMO.
The pair tackled dozens and dozens of questions like champs in the community Q&A. One revelation is that the team never planned to fully redeem the sinister Lord Recluse: “I don’t think we planned to ever fully redeem him, but there were plans to make him a more relatable super-villain. […] We wanted to make it a big deal that Lord Recluse was one of the few super-villains in charge of both an army and an entire nation, the Rogue Isles. That makes him a villain with something to defend and something to lose, and he would behave in that way.”
While he was quite open about many subjects, Miller clammed up when he was pressed for details on his pitch for a proposed City of Heroes 2: “Well, you see… waitaminute, this isn’t a CoH question, this is a question about CoH2! Nice try!”
It’s been a little quiet on the City of Titans development front for a while, but when you see the game’s most recent video, you’ll understand why. A spiritual successor to City of Heroes wants to hold something back to surprise people when the game’s 11th anniversary rolls around, after all. So late last night, the team showed off the combat, and perhaps more importantly, the costume creator.
The official post on the subject notes that for the first time in development, City of Titans is a full game: It functions completely, with combat, death, respawns, and so forth. It also talks about a technology created for the game to allow the engine to render even complex characters much faster and more efficiently than other games. Read the full post, watch the video down below, and if you’re an old City of Heroes stalwart, be prepared to get a little smirk of satisfaction in the process.
Welcome to the second episode of Massively Opinionated! We were blown away by some of the comments you left here on the site and on YouTube. So we decided that we should keep the show around for a little bit longer. And it looks like you want to keep the show around, too. Edany (AmberACurtis) found the show a perfect fit: “This is fantastic! Great idea for fun new content. Right up my alley.” PJ Northbay on YouTube can now be at peace: “Yay! I’ve been wanting something like this from Massively for a long time.” And Age Nightroad got a laugh and had a good time watching the show: “This show is amazing! Had some great laughs and good debates, can’t wait for more!”
We love you guys too! The rules of the Massively Opinionated debate are simple: Our arbitrator, Larry Everett, invites three internet personalities to the show, asking them four questions that they can research ahead of time. The most persuasive panelist with be awarded a point after each argument, and at the end of the show, only one will reign supreme.
Our guests this week come from a wide variety of gaming niches. First, there’s writer at Massively OP and BlizzardWatch Eliot Lefebvre, cosplayer and raider Laura Williams, and writer and roleplayer Matt Daniel. And appropriately, this week we are talking about immersion. Let’s begin.
Guild Wars — the first Guild Wars — celebrates its 10th birthday this week alongside several of my characters who are equally old. I originally picked up Guild Wars as a diversion from World of Warcraft, and at the time, I liked everything about it but actually playing it. Pre-Searing felt like home; it was pastoral and lovely with a haunting score. But back in 2005, the game past the Searing was difficult to traverse in a small party, let alone solo, and the deeper into the game I got, the less I liked it. In fact, I didn’t Ascend in 2005. I gave up on the grueling PUGs right around the time I got to the Crystal Desert.
But I went back, and went back again, and eventually I fell in love. That’s just the first of Guild Wars’ many lessons. Here are 10 things I learned from Guild Wars — in honor of its 10 years of fun.
This guest Soapbox
was commissioned through Massively Overpowered’s Kickstarter campaign and is authored by Chris “Warcabbit” Hare
, a developer at Missing Worlds Media
. The opinions here represent the views of our guest author and not necessarily Massively OP itself. Enjoy!
Howdy, all. I’m Chris “Warcabbit” Hare, project lead at City of Titans, and I’d like to spend a few moments talking about the things that we, as game designers, can’t do for players.
I call it making your own fun.
There are several things that make an MMO an MMO, but one of the most important elements is the entire “massively” part of “massively multiplayer online.” More than just a team, and bigger than a raid, it’s everyone around you.
And people get rewards from being in this ocean of players, whether they’re showing off their best armor, getting a little help in a public event, or playing the auction house economy. None of those systems would work without a lot of other people around.
Is there something about City of Heroes — lore-related, mind you — that you’ve always wanted to know? What was the deal with the moon base? When was Penny Yin going to take over the world? Why was everything a freaking Nemesis plot?
Then you’re in luck: For the next few days, former Paragon Studios lead designer Matt “Positron” Miller is collecting player questions for his third annual City of Heroes Loregasm.
Previous years’ questions and answers have been archived on the Paragon Wiki for those who want to make sure they aren’t wasting a question on something already asked and answered — like all three of mine! City of Heroes players are kinda thorough.