Ask Massively: Bree made a huge mistake edition

During a mail discussion earlier today, Bree made the mistake of asking if I could be more of a brat. My revenge is this picture, which has never failed to produce a general flailing fit of discomfort in anyone on the team. I've been saving it for months on end just for the perfect occasion. And now I've devoted an entire paragraph to talking about it (it's a shot from the Clonmel Junction Festival, for the record) to make removing it really problematic.

The fact that she's been editing my work for the past 10 months is a testament to something. I'm not quite sure what. [Editor's note: It's either stubborn persistence or general apathy. -Bree]

Editor-baiting aside, it's time for another installment of Ask Massively. This week's questions have little to do with a man in a green suit making horrible faces and instead focuses on the future of Star Trek Online and the ever-present scourge of private servers. As always, you can feel free to mail questions to or leave them in the comments for next week's column

Vilig asked: Considering what's happened with Champions Online, will Star Trek Online be going free-to-play soon?

There are two answers to this question, and one of them requires you to be a student of history. The obvious answer is that we haven't heard anything from the upper levels about STO being slated for a business change, and there are arguments that can be made that the two games have very different play models that don't translate.

However... those arguments are very familiar to anyone who remembers asking whether Lord of the Rings Online would go free-to-play following Dungeons & Dragons Online. Which it most certainly did, albeit without quite the same increase in subscriptions as its predecessor (probably because DDO had fewer to begin with). So there's a distinct possibility that any reasoning can go straight out the window and that STO may very well march into the realm of freedom.

It's not likely at the moment. But that may change suddenly.

Gam Boron asked: If development studios don't like private servers, why don't they license out the server code to let other people run the games legitimately?

Two very good reasons. First, if that option were made possible, the odds are that it would put the costs far beyond the realm of what most private server hosts can actually afford. Second, that opens the thorny legal problem of letting someone else profit off of a studio's game -- including a potential rival gamemaker who licensed the rights to try to split the audience. Neither of these options is terribly appealing to a company.

Fienemannia asked: Why do you smell so bad?

It's not me. It's somebody else. Probably that guy over there, with his hands in his pockets.

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!