Not every column goes on indefinitely, and some die only to be resurrected at a later date. But one day I got curious about all of them -- especially the ones before my time here on the site -- and that curiosity led to my creating a list of the most interesting ones.
So today, let's examine 10 columns you won't see on Massively these days (for better or worse), ones that were certainly captivating during their run.
Anti-Aliased was always the sole domain of one Seraphina Brennan. It was a lively opinion column that tackled everything from breaking into games journalism to the Battle.net fiasco to, um, sparkle cats.
Here's the thing about Anti-Aliased: I didn't always agree with Sera on her topics and conclusions, but I always found them to be a great read and worthy of respect. I think a number of other people felt the same way because Anti-Aliased often proved to be a big conversation starter in the comments.
When Sera left for Turbine, we retired the name Anti-Aliased (it just felt wrong to transfer it to another person, you know?). However, it also spurred the launch of The Soapbox, which continues on in the grand tradition of Anti-Aliased.
2. FAQ That
Honestly, this just gets a spot because I'm amazed we got away with a column called "FAQ That." It only ran for two weeks (wow!), but the core concept of compiling Q&As for games was sound. It's something we might have to revisit in the future...
3. Blogging Into Mordor
Because I'm the current author of The Road to Mordor, this title caught my eye. Was it an early version of RTM?
Nope! It's a column about naming your character. More specifically, naming your Lord of the Rings Online character. And nothing but. That's so odd I have to wonder whether it was ever intended to go beyond its six-issue run, but it's also still helpful for those looking to create the perfect Tolkienesque name.
There was even a third LotRO-centric column called Know Your Lotro Lore, written by our very own Shawn Schuster. Ah the memories.
Have you ever wondered why Massively doesn't touch machinima much? Never mind my opinion that it's about as useful a pursuit as writing fan fiction -- it's also a pretty time-intensive activity. Believe it or not, we actually had a column on machinima for a time. It was called Cinemassively. And it was pretty much what you'd expect.
The problem with a column on machinima is that you have to watch an awful lot of long, long videos, and there's not a huge audience for it to begin with. But this is proof that Massively did once experiment with bringing it to the forefront of the site before tucking it away in a deep, dank cellar that holds all manner of useless artifacts.
Not all of Massively's retired columns are from the site's ancient past, of course. Game columns in particular have risen and fallen, among them Exploring Eberron. EE was our Dungeons and Dragons Online column, mostly written by Rubi Bayer (I took over for a couple of months at one point).
I think Exploring Eberron is a good example of why game columns are tricky. It has to be a marriage of a writer who plays a lot of the game and an MMO that's popular enough to warrant a regular feature. If one or both of those gets out of whack, the column suffers. In Exploring Eberron's case, it saw some popularity when DDO went free-to-play, but for the most part, it was a niche game being covered by writers (again, including me) who played it only sporadically and could not do it justice.
We used to joke that nobody read the column when it was running, but after we quietly canceled it, everyone seemed to notice and demand its return. That's why I'm bald today. No I'm not.
6. Comic Watch
I used to be a huge fan of video game comics, to the point that they were as much a regular part of my daily reading as blog posts. That has shifted over time as I found fewer and fewer of them amusing, and even my favorites started to get stale. There's just something about tackling the video game genre that seems to encourage writers and artists to dig up stereotypes and tropes by the bucketful, and I have no patience for that.
That said, four years ago, video game comics were much more in vogue, and it kind of makes sense that we would highlight some that featured MMOs. Thus, Comic Watch. Yes indeedy, someone at Massively got paid to read comics and occasionally write them ourselves. And here you just thought we were paid to play games.
7. Redefining MMOs
This was a great limited series that took a hard look at where MMOs were, are, and are going. We saw not only several members of the staff weigh in on several topics but also developers. Will any of the predictions stated in these pieces come true? As always, time will tell.
I loved the idea of Resubbed from the first time I saw it. Resubbed was a weekly video series in which a staff member or two would sign back up for an MMO and record the initial steps in the game.
While it only ran for three weeks, I'd like to think that this is a prototype for our current Livestream broadcasts, as they pretty much do the same thing (although there isn't as much "resubbing" now that subs are becoming an endangered species).
9. The Digital Continuum
In going back through all of our previous columns, I learned a whole heck of a lot of Massively history that I never knew. I learned that we've had at least three EVE Online columns. I learned that there were plenty of aborted columns that never made it past their first week. And I learned that many staff members had their own "catch all" style columns.
The Digital Continuum was a fairly long-running column penned by Kyle Horner, and flipping back through it, I'm pretty impressed at the wide range of topics and interesting questions he covered. Considering that he was already thinking about the potential problems with SWTOR and just how bold FFXIV was going to be, I think it makes him some sort of seer.
10. All of the game columns
Let's give it up for the hard work poured into some of the past games we used to cover on a weekly basis: Waging WAR, Wasteland Diaries, The Virtual Whirl, Lost Pages of Taborea, Rogue Signal, Have Clone Will Travel, and Alter-Ego.
These authors all passionately loved those games, and while the games in question might have been huge hits or minor blips, I loved that Massively cared enough to cover them. The columns still serve as excellent resources to players getting into those titles, and perhaps they may yet lure a person or two into trying out an MMO they wouldn't have otherwise.
Justin "Syp" Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you'd like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.