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Ask Massively

Ask Massively: Scoring last year's MMO predictions

Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

GW2
One of my favorite things to do every year is go back to the previous year's staff predictions. What did we think 2014 was going to look like in the MMO world back at the end of 2013? How wrong were we, and where did we hit eerily close to the mark? I won't include everything, just some of the more prophetic and ridiculous ideas our current staff offered a year ago. Feel free to share your own fulfilled prophecies down in the comments.

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Ask Massively: Ridiculing e-sports is bad for MMOs

Culture, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, MOBA, E-sports

LoL
I don't love e-sports. I've never really been a fan. I used to enjoy spectating Guild Wars matches, but only in short bursts. Truth is, I prefer playing in PvP to watching it. I feel that way about real sports too; the ones I like, I'd rather play than watch. (Except tennis. I have no idea why, but I could watch that all day.)

And if the MMORPG community's comments are any judge, I am not alone in my indifference to e-sports. Actually, "indifference" is probably too tame a word; some MMO gamers are outright hostile to e-sports, be those e-sports jammed into proper MMORPGs or waaaaay out on the fringes of the online gamosphere.

That hostile ridicule of e-sports, however, degrades online gaming, our corner of it as much as anyone's.

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Ask Massively: Dancing on WildStar's grave

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, WildStar

This week's revelation that WildStar Design Producer Stephen Frost is quitting his role is not the first and likely won't be the last blow to the beleaguered game. Carbine lost several high-profile developers before and after launch, and with raiding guilds abandoning the title, server merges on the way, endgame grind being scaled back, updates being heavily delayed, and Christmas being canceled, even more players are losing faith in the title. That's nothing new in our industry. MMOs are big and unwieldy and sometimes launch with terrible underlying problems. They can usually pull out of a nosedive, given time. So let's give them time.

But there's a whole contingent of gamers already dancing on WildStar's grave when it's not even dead. It's one thing to deeply oppose a game's design, but if you take delight in watching major MMOs flounder, you don't really deserve this genre at all.

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Ask Massively: Destiny is not the boss of me

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Destiny, MMORPG

Destiny
Bungie's Destiny launches next week, and since it is by most appearances an MMO (or possibly a fragrance), we've been covering it, albeit lightly since our primary audience is not a console-only audience.

But hasn't Bungie said that Destiny isn't an MMO? That was Massively reader icnoevil's primary objection to our coverage:
So if the devs themselves have said the game is not an MMO, why does it keep showing up on this site?
There's a little thing I repeat to myself every once in a while when studio reps are being pushy about our coverage: I don't work for them. I work for Joystiq.

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Ask Massively: Emergency soccer practice

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

Today's Ask Massively question comes to us from a reader named Chris, who has had it up to here with you quitters! Yes, you, guy who just AFKed out of Warsong Gulch!
After playing my fifth consecutive round of SMITE with an AFK player, I am fed up. AFKer, quitters, or whatever you want to call them -- they suck. Why is it unreasonable to expect gamers to commit to finishing a simple (even possibly enjoyable) 30-minute activity? Why can't they stay in their seat and just freakin' click some buttons? Leaving doesn't cost the quitter anything, but it certainly sucks for the team you leave short-handed. If this were a little league baseball game, we wouldn't say, "It's just a game, so you go ahead and eat pizza with your buddies instead of playing with us." And why can't game companies find a way to make this problem go away? Reporting systems are just a small step away from absolutely useless!

I know that real-world stuff happens. The doorbell rings, the power goes out, or the kids set the kitchen on fire. But AFK rates seem way too high for just that. Gamers seem to conveniently forget what it really means to finish what they started. And if you can't do it for a simple game, how in the hell will you do it when it is something truly hard?
Unfortunately, I know this problem well. In my guild, we call it "emergency soccer practice," an actual reason someone once gave us for quitting a dungeon group.

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Ask Massively: Seven seriously spectacular reasons to hate clickbait

Business Models, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

Hehe
Oh hi! Welcome to our clickbait article, and thanks for clicking! No really, let's talk about clickbait. Massively reader Avaera recently posed to me a question that dovetailed nicely with a few complaints I've seen in our comments. He wrote,
Does Massively make a deliberate effort to minimize the number of perceived "clickbait" opinion pieces? That is, to make sure that any controversial topics or unpopular opinions are discussed only sparingly, so that the perception and reputation of the site is kept relatively neutral? I can completely understand trying to manage a certain tone for the community; I'm just curious if that is an explicit factor in some editorial decisions.
I'll tell you, but first you have to click to find out!

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Ask Massively: Misconceptions about game criticism, free-to-play, and lazy scrubs

Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

I like this vision of Anatoli and his rifle protecting our comment section from trolls.
In previous editions of Ask Massively, we've covered misconceptions about new, old, and sunsetted MMOs as well as misconceptions about jerk players, Kickstarters, and untrustworthy studios. Let's tackle a few more this week: who gets to dish out criticism, what F2P portends for a game, and which MMO generation really has the most lazy scrubs (answer: all of them).

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Ask Massively: Misconceptions about jerk players, Kickstarters, and untrustworthy studios

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

WoW
Continuing our miniseries theme from the last Ask Massively, today's edition will focus on a brand-new set of misconceptions commonly held by MMO gamers and participants in our comments section: jerk players in MMORPGs, the playerbase of one particular sci-fi sandbox, Kickstarters vs. investments, and learning to trust a studio that's done you wrong.

As always, if there's a misconception you want me to add to my list, let me know in the comments!

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Ask Massively: Misconceptions about new, old, and sunsetted MMOs

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

ESO
As the editor-in-chief of Massively, I make it a point to read as many of our comments as I can. We have some really smart people here chatting at the bottom of our posts, and I learn a lot from them. But I also see the same illogical statements and easily countered arguments being made independently by different commenters across many different threads and games. I'd like to address some of those misconceptions today in the first part of a new Ask Massively miniseries.

Today's misconceptions are all about new, old, and sunsetted MMOs.

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Ask Massively: Newsletters, EVE Online, and the value of alpha previews

Betas, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

EVE Online
Welcome back to a grab-bag edition of Ask Massively. First up is reader Roy, who asked,
Do you have any kind of newsletter or weekly email on this site?
Nope, no newsletter or email blasts! But there are lots of easy ways to follow our work. If you want the whole shebang, you can follow us through your RSS reader of choice as well as several social media avenues, all outlined in an Ask Massively from last year. If you want just a summary of our best stuff, you could follow just our Week in Review column, which runs every Sunday evening and might just serve your desire for a weekly summary of cool posts. We also publish weekly roundups of MMO in beta testing, crowdfunded MMOs, and pseudo-MMOs, including coverage of some games we don't traditionally cover separately.

What else have we got this week? How about an internet spaceships question from Gabe.

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Ask Massively: What's with all the WoW hate?

World of Warcraft, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

WoW
Today's Ask Massively question comes from Kirk because he wanted to open up a can of worms all over the column apparently.
Why do people have to hate on World of Warcraft so much? I quit playing WoW about two years ago and never looked back, but that game encompassed the best gaming experience of my life! Now everyone wants to say its crap. But I have roamed the landscape without a real home for gaming; nothing has ever been as much fun as WoW. What person who plays MMOs didn't play Warcraft? How many of us had a great time in that game at some point? Can't we just leave it at that? I look back and admire a game that brought even my wife to the MMO table! I have no hate, just love for a game that I no longer play, and I think that's OK. Can we all move on now? What is the hold up? Let people who play WoW play WoW, and everyone else can play the game of his or her choice. Why does every chat panel in every game need to have the WoW topic constantly flowing through its veins? Honestly, I'm tired of it. Let's move on already!
Because hating is fun! No, wait, that's true, but there's so much more to it than that.

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Ask Massively: What happened to open-world MMOs?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

ArcheAge
A reader named Gabe emailed Massively last year with two questions (I'm getting through all the emails -- I am!). I'll address the second one eventually, but let's do the first one today because it's something I love to talk about: open-world MMOs.
What happened to "open world" MMOs? I grew up with giant world MMOs where you would almost never see a load screen. I remember spending countless hours running from end to end of continents exploring and trying to see what I could find. You would run into a city instead of loading a city. I don't feel I am a part of a "world" anymore. After World of Warcraft, I played The Secret World, Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, and a few other closed-world MMOs, and it just pisses me off because I feel as if I am playing a single-player game with multiplayer options instead of a world I am a part of.
I think we've got two separate issues here: One's about the literal meaning of open world, and the other's about the feel.

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Ask Massively: Too many MMOs still lack serious LFG tools

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

TSW
David is angry. No, David is pissed. And he's right to be. He wrote to Ask Massively with the following rant:
Developers clearly see PvE instances as a key part of the MMO experience. So why do so many of them fail to ensure I can access this content with a solid group finder? I have been trying to play something other than World of Warcraft (which does have a group finder) for a number of years. But even my current pick, The Secret World, commits this sin. I usually end up annoyed at spending time in LFG channels trying to form a group, so I give up, first on grouping and then on the game.

So why do they design games where they assume I am joining the game with four like-minded individuals who have the same gaming schedule as I do? Why do they assume I want to spend time in public channels showing how little I know about the game whilst trying to form a group?

Don't make me go back to WoW. Unless I can access your content, there is no point in making the content!
I have a theory, but you're not going to like it, and you might end up back in WoW when I'm done.

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Ask Massively: And the money will follow

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLDDDDD
A reader named Josh recently wrote to Massively to ask about the viability of a career in games journalism. He's not a kid with stars in his eyes; he's an adult who works for an elite tech company, and his dad is a published journalist himself. He once focused his MMO hobby into a livestreaming channel and blog but shut them down because of the time involved, and now he's considering whether a career shift to doing what he loves might be worthwhile.
As a 30-year old with a family of three, I have a feeling that it would be very difficult to transition into the world of technology journalism. My impression is that it is an industry that does not really pay that much, and therein lies my quandary. My question for you at Massively is whether it is really possible to pursue the field of technology/gaming journalism and still support a family? And what traits are desirable in a technology journalist? Do editors look for people who have journalism degrees and existing experience, or is it a situation where you can step up to the plate and impress someone with your existing skill? How many of you that work for Massively actually support yourselves and your families based on your journalism, and what did it take to get to that point in your careers?
Unfortunately, Josh's gut feeling is correct and terribly timely.

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Ask Massively: Why we cover what we do, part three

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

Fun fact: The only Brad who beats Brad McQuaid in our network tag system is Brad Pitt.
For this week's Ask Massively, longtime reader Avaera has asked us to do another round of "why we cover what we do," and I am happy to oblige. Avaera wrote,
Can I ask (with what I hope is genuine curiosity) what guidelines you generally try to follow when choosing which news stories to cover? I do understand that it just isn't feasible to cover every update, patch, developer's announcement, press release, expansion, research paper, Kickstarter project, or success/failure story relating to the thousands of MMORPGs out there, but sometimes the criteria seem opaque to me. As an example, since the start of 2014, I counted 22 news articles exclusively focused on Brad McQuaid's Pantheon Kickstarter. In contrast, the active and available MMOs that I am most interested in don't seem to make much of a splash at all. Is this just a reflection of the gaming community's hunger for something new and original, of hype and promises being much more satisfying and desirable than the tangible and playable worlds from which the curtain of hopes and dreams has been stripped away? Is it a reflection of the personal interests of the Massively team, who certainly can't be expected to take up much time with games that simply don't do anything for them? Or is there something unfortunate about the gaming media that unknowingly feeds the hype and disappointment cycle through disproportionate reporting of developer plans and marketing over actual development?
Complicated questions demand complicated answers. What do we consider when deciding whether something is newsworthy?

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Make My MMO: December 14 - 20, 2014

Posted on Dec 20th 2014 7:00PM

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