Tag: massively overpowered

Why i love reading your MMO blog

Professional Blogging

Have i mentioned how much i like the Global Chat column on Massively Overpowered? I think it was the first one that started featuring blog posts of “regular people bloggers” on the more respected sites relating to our genre. Liore did something like that on mmorpg.com a while back, but i think that this column was discontinued- it’s hard to tell with mmorpg.com’s way of organizing their content. Then there were Murph and Belghast, doing their thing on MMOGames.com, but i think that one was discontinued, as well.

Massively Overpowered, MMOGames.com and MMORPG.com- what do they have in common? They’re more or less branding themselves as “professional bloggers”, if you will. Their staff gets paid (i think) for their posts and they have a big audience. The strengths and weaknesses of each one of these sites can very well be a post on its own (one i started to draft several times already).

In short i would say MMOGames.com has the most potential of the three and has taken several great bloggers in, but its informational structure simply isn’t quite there yet. Still, the site reminds me of reasons i used to really love Massively in 2010/2011: its’ authors are bloggers who love their games and are quite stable in their selection of MMORPG they play. With a little more continuity and a better structure/home page and less crappy games on their sidebar, this site could be great.

MMORPG.com is a mess- the site looks outdated, i can see no structure in their content and navigation whatsoever. It’s even hard to discern which games they cover, as they have adopted RPGs along with multiplayer games. While i do like some of their authors and commentors, this site needs a do-over badly. They promised being close to launching a new layout when Massively closed last year- possibly as a way of trying to catch some of that audience, but it still hasn’t happened.

As for Massively Overpowered, it’s the most professional of the three. The layout (despite being at least based on a free WordPress template) is clear and functional, as is the navigational and informational structure. The authors know how to write and, at least in my opinion, have a very professional stance. However, i feel it has developed to a news site more than a “blogger site”. Even their game-specific columns are oftentimes more about news relating to the games than, well, describing gameplay experience, the lore or whathaveyou (exceptions being Anatoli’s old Guild Wars 2 column and the new Black Desert column by Matt Daniel).

Are bloggers full of themselves?

All the more happy i am when Massively Overpowered does something “bloggy”, like featuring content of “regular people bloggers”, highlighting podcasts or something similar. I am, of course, happy if/when i or someone else i’m close with gets a mention there, but i’ve read some interesting comments in the last two i was mentioned in, as well.

It must have been the topics at hand (future of MMORPGs and Black Desert impressions earlier), with the latter seemingly counter to popular opinion- the quotes, despite being well-chosen, made the impressions seem worse than they were- so we got a lot of “how dare these bloggers have a different opinion than i?” comments and the former with being positive outlooks on the MMORPG genre as a whole or Daybreaks…stuff…in particular, where we got the “why are bloggers perceived as special?” and “why do they think they’re special?”-treatment.

Well, i’m kind of new in this whole thing, not very deeply connected to others from the blogosphere and not a popular blog by far, especially here on the new site, so these comments still kind of get to me- no, i don’t think i’m special or my opinion matters more than that of, say, a commentor on Massively Overpowered or on a forum or reddit. I’m simply adding one layer of personal enjoyment and community building on something i enjoy without that part. And i’m pretty sure that’s more or less what every one of them does- adding something, in this case writing, to their hobby.

Why i love reading your MMORPG blog

Perspective

MMORPGs can be played in many different ways- maybe you enjoy dungeon runs, or roleplaying, or questing. Maybe you care about the lore, the quest-givers, your guild, pvp, gear or costumes. Maybe your thing is the economy, crafting or even horse-breeding. Whatever it is that gives you the most enjoyment in these games, chances are that it’s not exactly the same thing that i enjoy most. But maybe i’ll like to read about it or try dabbling in it myself to see if i might enjoy it. Or you’ll give some inspiration regarding ideas i could use in our small guild.

Opinion

Is the MMO genre dead? Could Daybreaks hickups result in something good for Everquest 2? Is that game/ingame shop/game “pay to win”? Is pay-to-win even possible? I don’t know, but i sure have an opinion on most of these topics. Some Oftentimes it’s not a well-founded or 100% thought through opinion, so i love reading what other people think, especially when it’s about games of minor interest to me.

Games

Speaking of games, some of you are seducers, writing great posts about games i might have crossed off my list or didn’t have on my radar, and your excitement is contagious. Maybe i’ll send you a bill for the next purchase 😉 But you could be playing a game i love to read about or i didn’t keep in touch with and i’m wondering what impact some new feature/expansion/content has on players who stuck with that game and you’ll offer some insight. It’s really not about the game someone’s playing, as they’re in the same genre anyway and some stuff that works in, say, World of Warcraft, might be transferrable to a similar experience in Black Desert, for instance.

Personality

Some of you, i can only admire for your writing capabilities. I tend to babble a lot- many of you are able to write short, concise blog posts and still inflict your personality and character into your posts. There are bloggers who cut their content’s word count by half and their posts seem to be of the same or better quality, and have the same amount or more personality and character as before. Sometimes, you’ll even share some aspect of your real life, and some of you make it a point to blog about your real lives quite often and in the same posts you deal with your gaming life.

Community

As i’ve said, i’m not deeply connected. Sometimes i think that’s my fault, for not being able to put personality/character in writing, sometimes i think it could be a location/time-zone/server location-issue. But i can see connections all over- people commenting on each others’ blogs, ping-ponging blogging topics, creating guilds, organizing blogging events and so on. And i’ve also made a few connections via blogging that i do value very much.

So that’s why i love reading your MMORPG blog and hope you enjoy writing it as much as i do reading it.

And i’d like to point you to my Blogroll– i’m not sure if i’ll stay with this one, but it is the one i like the most right now because i can include as much as i want. It might still need some configuration, but this is just too good a moment to let it pass.

Overthinking social

Back when the Massively team started the Kickstarter to launch their own site, i spent some money on my favourite MMORPG-related website. That enabled me to provide a question for the team to tackle in their “Massively Overthinking”-column. Yesterday, it was published and today, i’d like to share my thoughts on that.

The Question

This is what i wrote:

We criticize MMO devs for making our MMO experience less social, but are they the only ones to blame? I think our (the players’) behaviour to others and within the games themselves has also changed. I’d like to know if you can think of ways we players could improve that situation – from behaviour, less game or guild hopping, ways to grow our friends lists – to make our MMO experience more social again.

I knew from the beginning that some answers would suggest behaviour that i’m struggling with myself- for instance, i expected an answer along the lines of concentrating on one or two games.

Now, i’ve thought on how to formulate the question for a long time- i think i’m one of the last backers to have their question posted. Reading the answers, i wonder if i did phrase it correctly, because staff and commenters alike mention genre-developments and “forced grouping” as solutions or problems, depending on their point of view. I’d have liked the answers to concentrate more on the player-side of things- what can we do to make our MMORPGs more social again, grow our friendslists.

Thankfully, the staff and most of the commenters didn’t forget about that part and so i still think the answers are great and- in context of the guild/community i might be starting with an online friend- inspirational.

The answers

You can read them in their entirety on Massively Overpowered, of course. And you should. Here’s my take on the staff’s answers. They suggest to

  • focus on a few games, if it has to be more than one
  • building your own guild/community or actively take part in your guild
  • think about your own behaviour
  • just be! (Syp, my personal casual-superhero)
  • be the change you want to see

All of them ring true, but i think in Bree’s answer there’s a sentence that basically tells it all without being too general.

[…]attend events, host their own parties, put together their own painstaking groups, promote guilds and forums, form alliances, work around the game’s limitations. Does it suck? Hell yes. It’s work.

Handiwork. Do it yourself. That’s something i read on a forum these days, as well. The author pointed towards the /who feature to build groups. That’s a really old-school way to build groups, but truth be told, i’ve always found it to be one of the most effective. Dungeon finders “improve” on the efficiency, but the social part falls by the side there. When i played WoW and needed a group for a dungeon, i started by asking for others in guild chat. Then i tried to fill the gaps with my friendlist- if i couldn’t do it, i’d ask in general chat but would simultaneously seek out players of missing roles by searching through the /who list and sending them a tell. Usually, the ones that joined the group were those who i talked to directly. They’d also join the guild from time to time and if not, some of them made it on my friendslist.

There’s another comment, again made by Bree, that’s significant to me:

Social once existed in the cracks between the game, and those cracks have been sealed up.

That’s on point on where i wanted the discussion to go- i’m totally against forced grouping or some kind of “hardcore” mentality and i don’t want to be surrounded by people who only care for ingame progress. So this is it- “social” isn’t really a part of game design, it used to be a lack of game direction that possibly made those “older games” and/or the players behave in a more social manner.

So in part, it is a matter of game development these days, but let’s not forget that it’s us, the players, who drive development- that’s where Larry was going with his answer- customers feed devs who feed customers. Nobody is really “wrong”. If the cracks are sealed, though, i’d like to think about ways to open them up again.

The other day some commenters here were stressing/agreeing that to enjoy Wildstar you have to force your pace on the game. I guess this is one way to open the cracks back up.

All staffers on Massively have a point, and of course, as is usually the case, i’ve found myself agreeing with Eliot. It’s strange, because his opinions also make me feel guilty most of the times- but he’s still right- you can’t expect to make social ties when you only use other players as a means to an end (which i rarely do) and guild- and game-hop like a crazy frog (guilty on all charges- or at least the second part). I have to say Eliot’s answer surprised me the most, not in attitude but in execution- it’s a great and unexpected point-of-view. I expected him to concentrate more on continuity.

Syp is just…well, Syp. I really don’t know how he does his thing. He’s casual, he’s got three kids at home (and a fourth on the way, i think?!?), other responsibilities, plays like a thousand games at the same time, with hundreds of characters in each of them and yet….he’s got maxlevel characters in most of the games he plays. He also has a really good track record of finding nice guilds, so i wasn’t surprised by his answer. He still has a secret, because there’s talent in finding and engaging those. My guess is that he is quite outgoing himself- combined with his positive nature i can see why he doesn’t really struggle to create social bonds.

Jef and MJ concentrated on the “play one MMORPG and create the community yourself”-part. I really like MJ’s way of putting it.

In my ideal gaming universe, folks would settle in a virtual world (or two) and spend their time, effort, and resources on building up their community. There are many ways to bolster a community, from running guilds and events to joining said guilds and attending those events.

Jef’s opinion is similar

Do that by being an active guild leader, organizing server events, constantly communicating the need for more social gameplay to devs, and basically spreading the gospel of MMOs by showing people how and why MMOs should differ from single-player games.

Brendan focused on the technical part, unfortunately, but he also states that you should

deliberately seek out guilds of likeminded individuals

So what did it accomplish?

Maybe i’ll take on the comments one of these days, because there are some very note-worthy comments below that article, but this post has already gotten very long. It’s a coincidence in timing, really, but what these answers achieved was to strengthen my resolve of founding, co-leading and maintaining that guild we’ll probably create.

All staffers- magic Syp aside- agree that it takes some considerable effort to create and maintain social bonds in the genre. We can’t do that in a passive way, “social” won’t come to us anymore like it used to when we were all flabbergasted by the fact that we could play games on the internet. We have to build that part actively.

I honestly can’t and won’t believe that we can’t have social (gameplay) elements and ties in MMORPGs anymore just because we’ve gotten more casual. And honestly i think this blog proves that assumption wrong- not because of its contents, but because i’ve made some ties this way already. And i’m a casual blogger.

If you have anything to add or suggest on topic, i’d really appreciate if you’d comment on that- still looking for input!

Massively Overpowered will be a thing!

So Massively Overpowered reached their Kickstarter Goal in just about 48 hours. It seems they didn’t need my help (via Massively Legacy, a short-lived series), after all 😉 Anyway, i’m glad it happened, because i have a feeling that what we’ll get will be better than what AOL gave us. Also, i’m happy to see that our support went above and beyond just telling them they should continue.

Suggestions

Of course i’d like to get some suggestions written down here that would help, in my opinion, of course, to raise the quality above AOL levels.

Give some love back

This isn’t the most important, but it’s the one i’d like to begin with. They’ve been great in providing shoutouts to bloggers in these last days (my blog was mentioned more than one time, and i’m thankful for that), and there was the great column titled Global Chat over at Massively. I think the team should keep that column, maybe make it a weekly feature or maybe even weigh in with their (or the columnists) opinions. They could also link out to bloggers who have touched on a subject if they know some posts are out there. One thing to cut out, for sure, would be the inability to link to external sources in the article copy itself- they couldn’t do it under AOL, i hope this will get fixed.

Ingame experiences

I loved the Wasteland Diaries. It was the dedicated Fallen Earth column. Really, a dedicated Fallen Earth column! It was there and it was great (although, didn’t Justin cover that at some point? There’s some other author in the category). I’d like to see some ingame-experiences again. Granted, bloggers provide those, i try to, as well, but maybe spice it up with an unusual angle or something? There are some things i searched for recently but couldn’t find, namely an introduction/tutorial for EQ2 beginners- everything i found seemed to be outdated, the best resource i found in this regard was this wiki entry. Also of interest: what quests do i need to unlock features in Final Fantasy XIV? Stuff like that. Or, you know, just show off the worlds. Justin does a great job at providing this stuff on his personal blog, of course, and maybe the Overpowered writers have more important stuff to write about, but the essence is: i’d like to see a return of blogging/opinion pieces over merely covering news.

Combine both

I’d also really like to see a return of the Dungeon Tours series MJ started in the end of 2013. This is a great way to include the community (by grouping up) and showing off the games. Another thing would be to bring back community guilds. I know they have been a thing, and some of them are still active, but i think it would be a good idea to do something like that and make it a little more prominent. In that veign, i’d love to see the roleplaying column and guild advice return.

Just do what they did…only better

I think this is too much, of course. They won’t do all of that, maybe even nothing at all. And really, i’m just happy to see it back and i’m sure they’ll make some changes that make the site better than it was in 2014, so that’s great. Everything else…well, it’s just bonus.

I think if they just took what they did on Massively before the cuts and improved the “community” part a little bit, it would be great. The team is great, and now they are on their own, so i guess they have their own thoughts about how to make the site great and it will be a little different than when they were part of Joystiq, even if AOL/Joystiq didn’t seem too heavy-handed despite the budget cuts.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with and i hope to see first content going live today. They’re aiming for “this week”, but there were mentions of today, as well.

Massively Overpowered on Kickstarter

Massively overpowered - home of the Massively team

So, there we are. If you want to help the Massively team in their adventure to create Massively Overpowered, head over to their Kickstarter site and give them some love money. Or else, just share this page where it might make a difference.

A quick note: i think their approach to using Kickstarter, Patreon and Ads will work in their favor. It’s a very smart way to set this up, building up security first and continuity second. My guess is that the Patreon campaign will not be as successful as the BlizzardWatch patreon, but to be honest, i’m very curious about how the Patreon-only campaign of BlizzardWatch will work out in 6 months or so (i hope they’ll be fine, though). That is, in part, because i think people are going to shell out a considerable amount of money in the Kickstarter Campaign and might be a little more frugal when the patreon comes. Or maybe there’ll be just different people, we’ll see.

Anyway, i think the way the Massively team is doing this is a good one.

Massively Overpowered -- Kicktraq Mini

Overpowered

Yesterday i didn’t play. Well, this is a lie, because from 22:30 to 23:00 i couldn’t stand to refresh the Massively site, the Twitters and other stuff anymore, so i went and did something. More on that later.

Massively Overpowered

Massively overpowered - home of the Massively team
Great to have you(r) back!

When i got back, there it was: the former Massively crew took its golden yacht, sailed into the sunset and became Massively Overpowered. Here’s how to find them:

Website: Massively Overpowered

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MassivelyOP

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/massivelyop

Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/massivelyoverpowered

The homepage is not up yet, but we’re promised a mailing list soon(tm). Then there was talk about a kickstarter, we’ll see about that.

What we know so far

It seems the whole team is on board, when looking at the Twitter accounts. Mike and MJ will do the streams, and we know Justin and Bree will do the podcast. Let me just say that yesterday, the tables turned- i was finished with griefing and sadness and excited to know what’s coming next.

So basically, i spent my evening on Massively. I had a good laugh when i saw what their last stream was. That was very fitting- as was this comment. I let the stream open to listen, read the chat, but i didn’t see much of the game MJ was playing.

They were also friendly enough to link my two posts on the topic of the shutdown (Thank you!) and i went to read one of them again- oh well, i have to say, i’m not very satisfied with my language. I need to put in more effort to communicate more clearly. I’m afraid this post will be scribbling, again, so sorry for that.

What’s to come

First off, let me just say that i love the name. Massively Overpowered is great, because it makes use of the former page’s name while adding something that takes the attention away from that at the same time. I also like their logo and the fact that they don’t wait for a few days to “unveil” it.

They’ll need our help, though. There was talk about kickstarter, but maybe it was used as a general expression and Patreon is what we’ll get. I don’t know (yet), and i don’t really care. I will be a supporter either way, the difference will be in the amount of money i’ll give. I don’t want to overstretch it, i too have a budget, after all, but i think i’ll begin with a larger amount and settle to something that’s appropriate. The team from Blizzard Watch made it, as of this writing, they’re just north of 9000$/month- let’s give the Massively crew the same support.

The wishlist

I know it’s early, but of course i had a thought or two on how the new site could be even better than the old one, at least from my perspective. First of all, news are great and i’ve come to understand that many visitors seem to be looking for that, but i’d like to see more weight being put into the blogging/opinion/community part- experiences in game are interesting to me, as is opinion, and i liked, for instance, their “General Chat” column where they’d link to blog contents they found interesting.

Bring back Dungeon Tours! It was such a great idea from MJ, to show off dungeons in different games and play with the community. It wasn’t good to see it go, and i think it’s relatively easy to set it up again.

The excitement

And here’s my biggest wish: the authors should make more money than they earned being AOL employees. They’re taking a risk and it should pay off.  I’m hoping for a win-win: we, the readers, might be getting even better content and community, they, the creators, get more money.

I’m really looking forward to see what they come up with, i’m sure it will be great and i’m really confident it will be even better than AOLs Massively. Starting something new is exciting, so i wish Massively Overpowered all the best!

As i said, i was so excited to get the news that i had to launch a game to relax a little bit. So here’s what i did.

Minstrel boost

Lotro's elf starting area
Lotro’s elf starting area

So what did i do in the 30 minutes while waiting for the big news to come? I logged into Lotro and did something i was thinking about for quite some time- i took a minstrel on Landroval through the Intro/Tutorial zone and bought a Gift of the Valar from the store. As it happens, it’s discounted these days. Still pretty expensive if you have to spend money, but i’m a lifetime subscriber who hasn’t played in the last two years or so, so i had plenty of Turbine Points to spend.

It isn’t so much cheating, though. I already have a minstrel of level 50 on Belegaer, the german RP server and always wanted to have my main character on Landroval, since the community is more active there. But why play the same class again, to level 50? So i took a shortcut, and now i have the Beorning in the starting area and the minstrel in front of the entrance to Moria. I need to get through there, i want to see the world beyond! So if you have any suggestions on how to get through Moria very fast, let me know, please. I’m sure the design is very good, but it’s just not for me, these caves.