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Reader Comments (35)

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 6:07PM (Unverified) said

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I hereby grant Massively permission to make fun of my mother.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 6:51PM whateveryousay said

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Too easy, David. Too easy, indeed.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 6:23PM Lateris said

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Count me in!

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 6:28PM (Unverified) said

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just give me warning when your doing the FFIV one so i can have popcorn ready this time!

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 6:45PM Mr Angry said

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I'll reserve judgment until I see some evidence of this being truly impartial.

I'm not the only one to outline Massively's bias towards Turbine, especially during the whole F2P transition and just around when Massively's articles started featuring on the LOTRO homepage. Although you claim that there is no editorial control, I didn't see this then and had a post deleted, that did outline the fact that this level of coverage was happening in favour of Massively being granted exclusives from Turbine, that kind of soured my Massively experience.

I have a hard time when staff at Massively talk in glowing terms about games which are released and are awful, FFXIV comes to mind. Some folks do invest their cash as a result of what they read so while it's nice to be generally upbeat, it would be good to appreciate that if there are real warning flags up, please, please, please let us know.... I appreciate positivity, but this has to be weighed up against the bad. Also repeating press releases verbatim doesn't really give us a flavour as to how this fits in the the Massively universe. I've seen this numerous times, and in certain circumstances the content has been borderline misleading.

While I do not think that the advertising is directly linked to the articles, I believe there is editorial control, as there would be for any good publication. Do I think that is a bad thing, no, do I think this has influenced coverage in the past, yes.

So you wanted your soapbox, here was mine, all in all Massively is a good blog site, but these have been the concerns of a long time contributor who moans all the time anyway.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 7:23PM Seraphina Brennan said

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Mr. Angry,

I actually have wanted to touch on the whole idea of overly positive articles for a while now, so I guess I'll just attach my comments to your thoughts here and try to give a bit of a grounding as to why we tend towards the positive side.

As you know, we hire "game experts" to discuss various games. When we pick up a contributing editor or columnist, we make sure that they love the games they play. We want the best possible coverage coming from the people who know these games the best -- it's a philosophy that makes sense.

But, there is a bit of a drawback to this -- we have the tendency to really love our games no matter what. For example, Eliot and I really enjoy Final Fantasy XIV. We understand that it's not a perfect game, but we find the overall experience to be one worth purchasing for people who are like us. This is why our First Impressions, while positive, were highly weighted towards informing the reader that you may not like this game if you don't enjoy the Final Fantasy style of gameplay. That article was quite clear about who would like this game, and who would not like this game, and that's how we like to do things around here.

As to a bias towards Turbine, yes, we've realized that our coverage of Turbine's activities have been quite nice. While we all think that Turbine is doing some great stuff, we understand that we've missed some opportunities that we should have addressed. Once again, we love our games of choice and sometimes we love them too much.

Now, as to Turbine's exclusives and patcher links influencing our opinions? Not in the least. In fact, we didn't even know Turbine was going to link to us in the patcher until we started seeing people people visiting from the patcher page. That was just as much of a surprise to you as it was to us, and that's completely honest.

So, in conclusion, there really is no editorial control. Any one of our writers will tell you that. We just really, really, really love our games, and sometimes we love them too much. Sometimes we get too negative on a game, and sometimes we get too positive. I've noticed both things happen here on the site in our articles. We sometimes just get too polarized.

We're human, we make mistakes. But we've noted our mistakes and we're making sure to ward against that in the future. We need to be both positive and negative, both up and down.

~Sera
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:36PM Jef Reahard said

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I think the impartiality will happen when you have writers that aren't attached to a particular game writing about it for one week (or alluding to aspects of it, since this isn't a review column as I understand it).

As an example, I don't care for Turbine's games at all (and didn't well before F2P happened), but my AoC and EQII columns give very little opportunity to say so other than in throw-away references.

Similarly, other writers probably have opinions on "my" games that differ from the ones I publish every week, and having an avenue for all of these opinions to be presented and discussed should be interesting and informative, as well as perhaps put to rest suggestions that Massively is in the hip pocket of certain organizations.
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Posted: Oct 5th 2010 8:51AM Ocho said

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I'm curious what games you actually play, Mr Angry... Do you play any of them? Are there ones that you enjoy? Or is your primary source of enjoyment when it comes to video games is in the ranting and raving about them?

Just wondering, really, as it seems its the polar opposite of how I enjoy games...
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Posted: Oct 8th 2010 7:47AM (Unverified) said

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I have to agree.

You can't tell me it's coincidence AOL Time Warner owns this site which owns Warner Bros Studios which incidentally just acquired Turbine studios.

You'll understand why people might be suspicious.
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Posted: Oct 8th 2010 7:59AM ShawnSchuster said

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Charlie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aol

AOL and Time Warner split up in 2009.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 6:59PM (Unverified) said

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Since this is my soapbox. I'd just like to say

I HATE FFXIV.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 7:10PM EdmundDante said

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First of all, I want to know where the whole concept of "soap box" originated from.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 7:38PM (Unverified) said

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They copied G4TV from what I can tell. from the name. and the purpose is a little different.

http://g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/tag/172/sesslers_soapbox.html
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 7:43PM ShawnSchuster said

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Either that, or it's a term that's been around since the 19th century...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap_box
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 8:59PM Graill440 said

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There are several origins, but this one is the oldest reference

Its an old WW2 term used near the beginning of the war by politicians primarily and adopted by the regular joes in reference to officers or politicians "standing on their soapbox" to to talk above a person or make a point to an argument.

Again this is only one.
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Posted: Oct 4th 2010 7:16PM Syesta said

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(soapbox)
I love FFXIV and for some reason I can't stop playing it.
You guys want to buy some subligars?
(/soapbox)

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 7:43PM (Unverified) said

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Objectivity is long dead, even in mainstream media no one operates like yee ole newsmen of ole anymore. Further MMO's are like an artform, you either like a particular type of music or you don't, everything else is a pointless fight.

What I wouldn't mind seeing, in regards to the negative/positive stuff, is a debate between a member of each side. I'm thinking of the "between columns" chat that they do over there on the NYT. Get someone that hates XIV, someone that loves it, tell them to be nice about it but go at it. It's much easier to follow a debate between 2 people instead of 20, and on one topic rather then 4.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 8:41PM benfolds said

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I like this addition to Massively. And while I have a good idea that my views about things differ greatly from the staff on some of the more social topics, we can all exchange talking points without being stupid about it. These are good people, and I respect that they don't write biased beat downs of games. It does make sense that they seek out people that love what they are playing, and I have given certain games a second chance based on their enthusiasm. More often that not, they have opened my eyes to something in a game that I didn't realize was there.

I must say though that I can't endorse the Final Fantasy love. Nothing against it, I just can't wrap my eyes around some of the Asian character models.

Bottom line, if you want rants and raves, you need to go check out some other blogs. 2 quickly come to mind that are run by a kid in college, and another by some guy in his mom's basement (OK, thats a guess, but I bet I'm close!)

Shawn, Sera and Crew, you do a great job and I enjoy your site. Keep up the good work!

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 8:54PM Graill440 said

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While a couple of you Massively folks have thin skins and thinner perceptions of the world outside you own box the Massively site is arguably one of the best around.

This site bar none does not take handouts from any companies, big or small to sway opinion on their columns. Massively told me this so i investigated, of the 7 folks i talked to among both small and large distros Massively seemed to irritate a few by NOT accepting perks, i thought that kinda great.

As long as the Massively folks keep their whips and chairs in good repair i will consider this the best no fluff opinion on MMO's around.

Posted: Oct 4th 2010 9:08PM Graill440 said

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A small addition.........(grin)

And my comment is regardless of the majority of positive verse negative context Massively gives articles. A person MUST read a blog, or email or whatever typed word in its vanilla form, to do otherwise is assumption and the majority of the time makes the reader assuming whatever mood look like a silly fool.

When emoticons or references to mood in whatever article are included then one can rail on why a person felt that way and for what reason.
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