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During their tenure at Massively, Tina Lauro and Matthew Gollschewski were responsible for two generalist columns on the site: MMO Mechanics and Field Journal, respectively. The Field Journal was dedicated to covering interesting elements of mid-tier games, the sorts of MMOs that are popular but not...

1 year ago 0 Comments
March 22, 2014 at 4:00PM
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I've been thinking heavily about the future since our parent network's budget cuts were announced, so I decided it would be very apt to pen my last edition of MMO Mechanics with that same train of thought. The industry has changed remarkably over the last decade with trends like the free-to-play re...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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MMOs are infamous for the exorbitant amount of both time and money that is required to make a fantastic end product. Much of this effort and expenditure goes into producing very specific content such as leveling zones, quest chains, and dungeons. The classic themepark MMO in which all the rides are...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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My column has typically heralded modern MMOs as superior advancements of the genre we all adore, but in this week's MMO Mechanics I want to share a small list of some old mechanics I still mourn today. Many older MMOs featured gameplay that could simultaneously exasperate and impress players, espec...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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MMO players strive to obtain some kind of tangible progression each play session, but the method by which that progression is delivered varies greatly across the genre. Archetypal themepark titles frequently rely on level-based progression that culminates in climbing through gear tiers at endgame, ...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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I've written before about how developers use clever mechanics to lower the barrier to entry in order to encourage more people to play MMOs, but how do they keep players interested after they have rolled a new character? More often than not, MMOs greatly benefit from hanging onto players for as long...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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Most players won't need an economics degree to play an MMO, but strong mechanical forces under the bonnet still guide our actions in our favourite titles. Virtually every financial exchange can be broken down into an effort equals economic gain equation: We put in our hours, and the game economy ch...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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They say death must come to us all, and that inevitability extends to our characters in MMOs. The death of our characters may be inconvenient when we want to plough through content, but penalising failure is an essential part of any MMO and further incentivises success by making you learn from your...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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In the increasingly competitive MMO genre, games have to do all they can to keep you as a customer. MMOs have traditionally been quite difficult games to really get into since they typically require a considerable time and money investment and we tend to play them for stretches of several months to...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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Quests are increasingly an MMO enthusiast's bread and butter, often becoming the staple component of a game's typical serving of progressive content. Over the years, developers have tried to serve up this familiar progression mechanic in many different ways: The modern themepark MMO makes us fetch,...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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I mentioned last week that players throw their precious characters into the MMO meat grinder in the pursuit of higher levels, new achievements, or shinier gear. We gladly jump on the seemingly endless PvE treadmill, cranking up the speed with each new patch in an attempt to catch the dangling carro...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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It may feel as if MMOs have always existed as a core part of our gaming repertoire, but the genre made its indelible mark on the industry just over a decade ago. MMO titans like World of Warcraft, EVE Online, and City of Heroes shaped the mechanics we now use as markers and basic standards for the ...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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Nothing seems to suck me into a game more than a good story. The brilliant thing is that the story doesn't have to be complicated or intense as long as it's original and easy to follow. I want characters to meet, locations to discover. I need to immerse myself into a story more than I need to rai...

1 year ago 0 Comments
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You know what I love? Space. Not real space, so much; real space is a vast expanse of horrors that generally confound and cripple the mind if considered too seriously. I'm talking about "space," as in the setting of some of our favorite movies, games, and cancelled television properties. The p...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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Fantasy, at this point, is almost tragically boring. That seems like a contradiction in terms. A fantasy setting is supposed to be fantastic by its very definition; you should be surrounded by neat and astonishing things at every term, immersed in a rich and baffling setting where magic is a v...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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If there's one thing I've noticed about these MMO Blender articles, it's that the Massively staff members seem to really like their sandboxes. Maybe it's not even so much a staff preference as it is a statement about where we all are as MMO players. Themeparks have been done and have been perfect...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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On Tuesday, I suggested ways to get rid of power creep in MMOs. You know power creep: the constant treadmill of stats that keep getting better and strong but ultimately start to feel like more of a grind? It's very annoying to long-term players, and I'd imagine that it's frustrating to game desig...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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I'm upset with bards in MMOs. Don't get me wrong, I like the fact that they exist. But every single game that features bards uses them wrong. The bard is always a back-line character, someone who sits in the back and heals people through gently strumming on a lute. And that depresses me, becau...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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Thus far I've managed to keep my nose out of Massively's MMO Blender column. This is primarily because I don't need 1000 words to describe the ideal MMORPG when a short phrase like "Star Wars Galaxies minus the IP" basically sums everything up. That said, something happened a couple of weeks ago...

2 years ago 0 Comments
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Let's talk about FarmVille for a minute. Yes, I mean the Zynga-produced FarmVille, the one that helped social gaming become what it is today. There are a lot of things that have been said about the game, like "it's not even a game" or "it preys on gamer's addictive natures" and all sorts of suffi...

2 years ago 0 Comments