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Perfect Ten

Perfect Ten: Lessons I've learned from working at Massively

Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

wildstar
In spring of 2010, I was asked to come on board Massively primarily as a feature writer who would also do a little news on the side. This opportunity was incredible since I was already blogging multiple times a day about online gaming, so why not be a part of the professional side of writing?

Over four years and nearly two million words written since, I've witnessed a lot here at Massively. I've gotten to interview some big industry names, been allowed to take on fun pet projects, gone to conventions as a member of the press corps, and made a lot of good friends. I've also learned several lessons that have helped me to grow as a person and a writer, and I thought I'd jot a few of those down for one of these lists.

Fun Perfect Ten factoid: When I proposed this column to the editors, I had done extensive research on lists that other sites had done (as to not cover similar territory) and drew up about 40 new topic ideas. In retrospect, it might have been overkill. I could have just written in an email, "People like lists."

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Perfect Ten: My World of Warcraft launch memories

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, Perfect Ten, Subscription

wow
I'm really not a big fan of those constant reminders from the media as to how much time has gone by using pop culture as reference points. I'm really not. So I kind of hate myself for saying this, but friends, next month will be World of Warcraft's 10th anniversary! Ten years! How old are we now!

Back in November of 2004, I was a wide-eyed 28-year-old bachelor who had just met his future wife and was generally leery about MMOs to date. Now I'm a grizzled 38-year-old journalist, father of three, and veteran of more MMOs than I can count (because I cannot count past 22). A decade can contain so much history, especially when looked back all at once.

I played World of Warcraft for many years, and while most of the memories have faded and merged together in a technicolor morass, there are a few vivid recollections of the launch period that stir emotions in me even today. Ten years, 10 launch memories. I think that's appropriate.

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Perfect Ten: What Titan's death means for the industry and you

World of Warcraft, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Opinion, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Diablo III, Hearthstone

titan
Blizzard's fans are in mourning this weekend and its competition is no doubt rejoicing after the World of Warcraft developer finally cancelled its seven-years-in-the-making Titan MMO. Word on the street is that Titan was a little too similar to what Bungie came up with in Destiny, although all the studio itself will say is that it ultimately wasn't fun.

So Titan joins Starcraft Ghost and Warcraft Adventures in the Blizzard graveyard. It's a loss for those who were hoping to see what Blizz could do outside of World of Warcraft in the MMO space. But what does this cancellation mean for Blizzard, the industry, and us as MMO gamers? I have a few thoughts, although I'll pre-empt them by predicting that your life will most likely go on just the same it did before this momentous announcement.

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Perfect Ten: Terrible, terrible MMO names

EverQuest, Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Dragon's Prophet, Elite: Dangerous, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

ever jane
A catchy, vivid title is essential to getting your game noticed and establishing a strong brand. Yes, we as gamers will get used to pretty much any dumb name (unless it's Daikatana), but a great one allows us to mention it in polite society without getting spat on or rejected for dates.

The best MMO names in my opinion are single words that sound cool or conjure up a strong association. I'm less fond of ALL CAPS ACRONYMS and any game that can't be more inventive with its title than to put "Online" after it. For the most part, MMOs play it safe and boring with titles, with only a few outliers in the awesome or terrible fringes. Today, we're going to examine the latter.

I want to make a couple of quick qualifiers here. I'm not judging these games by their names; an MMO can be good or bad independent of how silly its name is. And while I know that some of these names make more sense in context, I generally feel that if I have to have it explained to me, then it's a fail.

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Perfect Ten: MMOs that deserve another chance

Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest II, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, Marvel Heroes, The Secret World, DC Universe Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

ddo
First impressions matter. First impressions count. First impressions are lasting. These commonly cited maxims are true, but I would like to add one more: "First impressions can be deceiving." Due to our nature of making snap judgments, experiencing something at the wrong time or being impatient, we can rush to a conclusion that could rob us of something we could truly love.

There are few things that frustrate me more than seeing MMO gamers adopt the gospel of the first impressions and refuse to ever return to a game afterward. We keep treating MMOs as disposable, one-shot entertainment that must be plundered quickly right out of the gate instead of seeing them as reusable fun that gets better with time.

So the next time you feel bored waiting for the next MMO to launch so that you can make a two-month first impression and then leave forever, why not give an older title a second try? In this week's countdown, I'm going to make a case for 10 MMOs that deserve another chance even if you wrote them off long ago.

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Perfect Ten: How to spend $46,750 on MMO crowdfunding purchases

Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, The Repopulation, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Pathfinder Online, Trove

sota
Do you ever look at your wallet and say, "Ugh, this thing is too full! It's causing a bruise on my tushie every time I sit, and no gas station ever has change for a thousand-dollar bill!" Are you tired of the endless cycle of purchasing luxury sedans to roll them off cliffs only to realize that the auto industry is making them faster than they can be destroyed?

We here at Massively feel your pain, and just as soon as I finished eating a breakfast of scrambled eggs made from endangered birds, I hopped off the company's gold yacht and got to work tracking down ways that you could relieve yourself of the burden of wealth.

So here is my plan, in 10 simple steps, for you to shed $46,750 of your bank account, all by blowing your enormous disposable income on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding options. No, please don't thank me by sending me a gigantic check. I would only shred it to use in my robo-hamster's cage.

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Perfect Ten: Why MMOs need to give up their dragon addiction

Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

falkorrrrrrr
If a genie ever appeared to grant me three wishes, I would not hesitate. I would not be selfish by asking for more wishes or focus on my own well-being. No, I would think of you all when I said, "Mr. Genie, I want you to eliminate all Elves from MMOs, preferably via boiling acid. I want you to make all online giant spiders obey the cube law. And I want all developers to be stricken with a specific form of amnesia that will make them forget, now and forever, that dragons are a thing."

You're welcome in advance, online gamers. Yes, I will gladly take up the mantle of your king and protector.

Dragons are not cool. Dragons have never been cool. And yet, for some reason unknown to me, MMO developers lose their collective minds over the fire-breathing lizards. They're not just a trope that infests MMOs to the detriment of original storytelling and world building; they're cheesy villainous centerpieces that devs prop up while deluding themselves that the other couple of thousand MMOs aren't doing the same thing.

MMOs need to give up their dragon addiction, and I am not short on reasons why. I am also so dead serious that dragons need to go that I'm contemplating getting a chest tattoo of one just so that I can laser removal it right off the next day.

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Perfect Ten: Why the second half of 2014 will be awesome for MMOs

World of Warcraft, EVE Online, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, The Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Landmark

In the midst of mid-summer doldrums, it's easy to fall into a mild depression thinking that everything cool that was going to happen this year already has -- especially in gaming. The spring launch blitz is now officially over, with two highly anticipated MMOs launched, and now some people might be wondering if the rest of 2014 will be all downhill.

Spoiler: It will not be.

We started talking the other day in the Massively office about just how much there's coming for the latter half of this year and why we're excited to see what the fall and winter months bring. There's so much to look forward to, in fact, that it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to a mere 10 entries. But that's my job, and that's what I did. Here's why the second half of 2014 will be awesome.

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Perfect Ten: Annoying things you hear in general chat

Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

General chat, sometimes called "Barrens chat" or "zone chat" or "the party line," is both the bane and the secret fixation of my existence. It's like a text-based reality show that plays out in real-time whenever I log into an MMO. If -- for some rare reason -- I'm bored of playing the game or talking with friends, at least I have the jibber-jabber of screeching opinions to fill my eye sockets.

It's safe to say that general chat earns its bad reputation, but have you ever stopped to analyze exactly why that is? I have. I have traveled that long, terrible path, and at the end I peered over the edge into the abyss, and the abyss told me that I was a carebear who needed to L2P. Here are my findings.

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Perfect Ten: MMOs from the '90s

Fantasy, Asheron's Call, EverQuest, Lineage, Meridian 59, Opinion, Ultima Online, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

saved by the bell
The course of MMO history and the developer pioneers who forged a path to online gaming have long fascinated me (so much so that I write an occasional column about it). While we often think of MMOs as modern entertainment barely out of its infancy, the truth is that you can trace the industry back decades to see a fringe group of devs and players striving to make these games a reality.

While the number of MMOs in existence exploded in the early- and mid-2000s (and hasn't stopped growing since), the 1990s are often an overlooked decade that featured more than the one or two games that are usually mentioned in brief history overviews. There were actually far more titles than most assume, even if you dismiss text-based MUDs and the like. Today we're going to run down 10 MMOs that were born during the era of the dot-com revolution, dial-up modems, and the peak of the Simpsons (third through seventh seasons).

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Perfect Ten: The MMOs that influenced me greatly

World of Warcraft, Anarchy Online, City of Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Fallen Earth, Guild Wars, Warhammer Online, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

DDO
Every one of us has an "MMO resume": a list of titles that we've played, whether briefly or extensively. Some of those are just games, casual flings that meant nothing. But others can take a more meaningful role in our lives, influencing how we experience and view MMOs.

I would scarcely say that my resume is one of the most robust you'll ever see; I'm sure plenty of you have played more than I. However, I like to think that I've had a journey over the course of a decade or so that's shaped who I am as a gamer. Since it's my birthday today, I'm going to share 10 of those influential MMOs with you and what they've done for me. You're going to get me cake.

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Perfect Ten: Great MMO time travel adventures

World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, The Secret World, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

BTTF
Writers and geeks alike can't seem to get enough of time travel, although the ratio of horribly crafted time travel tales to fun and smart ones is pretty lopsided. I've come to realize that MMOs are positively littered with ways that players are invited to jump around the internal timeline of the game, and I wanted to share a few of them in this week's countdown.

When you think about it, the proliferation of time travel quests makes a lot of sense from a developer viewpoint. There is a ton of lore that goes into each one of these virtual worlds, but for the most part the players are affixed to a very specific (and unmoving) point in time. Hopping about in time is a great way to experience other eras and actually see history instead of just reading it in a quest box. Plus, if done right, these quests can be quite memorable.

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Perfect Ten: Strategies for juggling multiple MMOs

Humor, Guides, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

Among my friends, I have a reputation for being "that guy who plays all the games." People are constantly asking me how I manage to handle so many MMOs simultaneously on top of work and family, as if I've managed to clone myself or I never sleep. The truth is far more mundane: Work and family get top priority with my time, and what I have left for gaming is simply spent wisely.

The thing is that I'm just always enamoured with so many MMOs that I can't just play one and nothing else. I have to be a "juggler:" a player who balances online worlds. With limited time at my disposal and a desire to be in three or four MMOs at any given time, I've done a lot of experimenting with different ways to juggle titles.

There is no one best way, I've found. It depends on how "fair" you want to be to your MMOs and whether it's a priority to you to give each of them more or less the same attention and time. Each of the following strategies has pros and cons, and if you're trying to handle two or more titles, you're simply going to need to figure out what works best for you and your allotment of time.

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Perfect Ten: My favorite MMO April Fools' pranks of all time

World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RuneScape, Guild Wars 2, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

WoW
There are two types of people on April 1st: those who are annoyed and indifferent to the tomfoolery going on all around them, and those who gleefully embrace the zany antics and baldfaced lies. For the record, I am of the latter crowd. I love April Fools' Day and the humor and creativity that it inspires. While this day is by no means contained to our neck of the woods, MMOs have a long-running streak of trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

I think a good goof has to have several qualities to make it truly memorable. It needs to be original. It needs to be actually amusing, whether or not you "fell for it." And it needs to tweak our expectations and understanding of how MMOs work. Sometimes there are even important ideas that emerge from these jokes that could, indeed, make these titles better.

So let's go through my favorite MMO April Fools pranks of all time, as catalogued by yours truly!

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Perfect Ten: Why I'm looking forward to WildStar

Betas, Sci-Fi, Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, WildStar, Subscription

Sometimes you just know when a game is going to click for you before you even get much time in it. It has a personality that agrees with your own, visuals that cause your retinas to salivate, features that were probably stolen by devs from your dream journal, and a good balance of comfortable familiarity and exciting newness.

That, to me, is why I'm on board the WildStar train.

Listen, I'm not one of those people who feels that a game needs to "win" or dominate all of the rest of the landscape. I don't care whether WildStar is more or less popular that the rest of the field or whether it goes free-to-play or not (obviously, I would like it to do well so that it doesn't close up shop!). If it's not your thing, fine, but that won't stop me from being giddy as its release approaches.

WildStar is definitely my most anticipated MMO for 2014. Hit the jump and let me tell you 10 reasons why!

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