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Ask Massively: I am happy when I get to talk about Transformers edition

Eliot Lefebvre

If people haven't noticed by now, I have fandoms that don't generally intersect with MMOs. So I'm happy to see that the Transformers MMO will be wide-ranging, while at the same time I understand that many of the things I want out of the game will not be happening. Then again, almost none of the things I want dovetails with more casual fans. Considering how strongly Hasbro is pushing the newly unified Transformers: Prime continuity, my vague hopes of seeing something set on Cybertron post-Reformatting are unlikely to come to fruition. (I will still be happier than those people who assume the series peaked 26 years ago.)

Leaving aside my personal pet causes, we've got the usual cocktail of questions for this week's Ask Massively, complete with a discussion of the dark art of modding and the far lighter art of inventory storage. If you've got a question for us, you can leave it in the comment field or mail us at

Dorby asked: Is modding the textures in an MMO against the terms of service?

Yes, almost universally. There are very rare exceptions, but you will never go wrong by assuming that modifying the game files will get you in some amount of trouble.

That having been said, there's always the chance that a game doesn't bother heavily enforcing those rules. Some games have a file structure that makes it very easy to swap models or textures for equipment and monsters. In some games there is even an extensive culture of swapping models and enhancing the overall game experience.
Sirius asked: Why do games have inventory space?
Well, there are two reasons. The first is that it's a holdover from older modes of game design in which inventory management was a major part of gameplay. Anyone who has sat around a kitchen table with a pencil and a copy of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons trying to fit seven 10-foot-poles in a backpack remembers that very clearly. While most pen-and-paper games have done away with careful inventory management due to the sheer mind-numbing tedium of it, MMOs have the advantage that all their important functions are automated.

The other reason, however, is far more important -- in dealing with inventory management, players are forced to actually look at what's in a bag and think about what's necessary. Games in general force players to make choices with some degree of consequence, and an inventory system ensures that you can't just accumulate armor pieces until you can build a new person out of them. You have to evaluate what piece is best, forcing you to both learn about and play the game -- a net win for everyone.

And sometimes it means you can also charge players insane sums of money to get a few more inventory slots. That doesn't help anyone, but it is really funny.
Machinator asked: Chainsaws? How about Chainswords?
If you have something designed to cut, and you need to attach something else to it for more cutting, boy, I just can't help you any further.

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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