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Ask Massively: Look guys I found a picture of a man with a hat edition

Eliot Lefebvre

When I took over this past weekend's Week in Review column, I informed the usual steward that I would probably give the post some Dadaist nonsense title like, well, the exact title I used for this week's Ask Massively. I realized that the title was really too good to use for just a generic roundup. I have no idea who that man is, why someone painted him with a hat, or any of that. But he definitely has a pretty awesome hat.

This week we have a lot of administrative questions, talking about the comment system, the different types of MMOs, and the many different games which feature spaceships. And, as usual, we have the requisite silly question which I try to include every week, because you shouldn't click on a post with a ridiculous title without something to laugh at. Click on past the break for our answers for the week, and as always, leave further questions in the comment field, or send them along to!

Zbust asked: What's the difference between a sandbox and a themepark MMO?

I'm glad you asked! A sandbox game is a game wherein you are thrown into an empty room after character creation, and eventually you and the other players start punching one another in the business just so that something is happening. A themepark game is a game where your mother has been carefully coded into the game's leveling structure, carefully pulling you along from one quest hub to the next and occasionally kissing your boo-boos better. In summary, our hobby is ridiculous.

To be slightly less silly, sandbox games feature a freeform and open world, with little to no quest progression and most content being player-driven. Themepark games feature quest hubs and a much more directed experience. As always, the debate over which is better rages to this day, despite the debate being a question of style instead of objective fact. Our hobby really is ridiculous.
bdew asked: I blame the comment system. Can we get a new one? With an edit button? And a reply button that is not tied to an RNG? Pretty please?
Really soon now. We're not being vague to be annoying, we're being vague because those of us on the writing end are not thoroughly appraised of what's going down with the coding end. In fact, the comment system is one of the banes of our existence, as well. But it should be fixed soon. The same kind of "soon" that dictates when Guild Wars 2 will actually launch.
Kasapina asked: How many space ship MMOs can you list?
Well, that's pretty broad. Off the top of my head, EVE Online, Star Trek Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Jumpgate Evolution, Black Prophecy, Battlestar Galactica Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic all spring to mind. Ryzom, Anarchy Online, and Planet Calypso have theoretical space ships in the past, but they aren't exactly a current gameplay element. And then you get into fringe cases like LEGO Universe, Phantasy Star Online, or PlanetSide... in summary, it's kind of hard to make a definite list. But the first group definitely has plenty of spaceships.
real65 asked: On a side note, how dare you employ a writer with brains when the industry right now is rife with writers getting tons of free swag from cozing up to MMO maker's failed products by saying "this game is going to be great!" and such when they know it's going to flop miserably?
I appreciate the backhanded compliment! (Not so much the implication that I should be fired. I like eating and paying the rent.)

Looking for some advice on which class is best for soloing in Aion? Not sure who this Raph Koster fellow is? Curious about the release date of NCsoft's newest MMO? You've come to the right place! No one knows MMOs like we do. If there's anything you'd like to know about the MMO genre or the site itself, Ask Massively is here to help every Thursday afternoon. Just ask!

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