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Ask Massively: In praise of Hunter S. Thompson edition

Eliot Lefebvre

If you're unfamiliar with Hunter S. Thompson and you have a deep-seated fear of clicking on links that lead to Wikipedia, the man was the origin of the movement known as Gonzo journalism. Thompson felt that objectivity in journalism was a myth, that to truly understand the field you were writing about you had to get it under your nails and really wallow. He made no pretexts of objectivity, instead openly embracing his subjective opinions and drawing more conviction from that self-confessed bias.

What does any of this have to do with this week's installment of Ask Massively? Not a blessed thing. You all know my schtick by this point.

At any rate, this week's installment is a remarkably meta one, covering the ways that the staff funds our well-known gaming habits, the methods of communication amidst the staff, and the all-important question of how you kids get ideas in your heads these days. (Blaming the Internet seems downright hypocritical.) Click on past the break for the full rundown, and as always, you can leave your question in the comment field or mail it to

Grail440 asked: [I realize] you get no gifts or perks from game-makers . . . does your gameplay money come from your own money (extra added to paycheck?) or does Massively give you a separate expense account to sub to and try various games?

Our gameplay money comes directly out of our own individual pockets. By way of example, when I decided to give Star Trek Online a shot, that was from my money and for my own edification. None of us is particularly bitter about this, however -- we all started playing before we started writing here, so we're generally more than happy to keep paying for the game. It also means that we don't have any motivation to say we like a game if we don't, since it's not as if we didn't have to pay for it out of our own expense.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, mostly involving beta access in games that offer definite access for pre-orders. But our purchases and playtime are on us.
NMJD asked: Sorry if this is a dumb question, but if you guys aren't in an office, do you just send email to each other all day?
We work in a variety of media. Most of the staff have a smartphone of one variety or another, so email is one of the more common ways for us to keep in touch. We also have a chat room exclusively for the staff, and we have contact information for one another, including addresses and phone numbers, if we need something more urgent. And sometimes we play the same game, to boot, so there's always the /tell function.
pcgneurotic asked: I'm more surprised that people think you're in the cubicle farm/office block scenario! Where do kids get their ideas from these days?
Mostly xkcd, I think. Everyone heaps praise on that comic like it's going out of style. (Unfortunately for the cynics among us, it's pretty deserved.)
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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