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Ask Massively: I'm very sorry about the events of last Friday edition

Eliot Lefebvre

I do not think of myself as an overly proud man, and as a result I would like to apologize to my neighbors, the local fire department, the men and women of the FBI, and the ACLU for my actions on Friday, July 8th. You may not have heard about it, but per the advice of my attorney I will decline to go into details. Just know that I am extremely sorry, that I had no idea the chinchillas were rabid, that several of the motor vehicles involved in the incident were in fact made in the United States, and I really thought the wall would hold.

Assuming we can put all of this behind us, it's time for this week's edition of Ask Massively, in which we take on the question of why we can't just play an MMO offline whenever the urge strikes us. If you have a question that doesn't involve the incident mentioned above, mail it off to or leave it in the comments below.

Tempes Magus asked: Seriously, why can't they allow free offline play of MMOs at least?

Depending partly upon your cynicism index, there are two good reasons. The first is the less cynical option, the second is more cynical, and as is so frequently the case the real answer is probably some mixture of the two.

First of all, there's the simple fact that as simple as it sounds to make the game playable offline, there are some serious logistical issues. In no particular order -- do players get to bring their single-player progress online? How do you handle grouped content? PvP content? Do you simply restrict players from things where they would need more players? Doing so effectively kneecaps progression past a certain point when solo, which would make the offline game pointless. Would people even want to play online if you could advance in solitude with zero competition and then jump in for the endgame? And beyond all of that lies the simple issue of technical problems with coding and implementation, since the client is set up to request and use an awful lot of data from the server to function.

Let's assume that all of those issues are easily addressed, however -- there's still the issue of who's going to pay for the cow when you can get the milk for free. Allow players to play on their terms as a single-player experience and you run into some of the same issues that Hellgate: London encountered way back when. (Its impending relaunch may do better.) Online games are a business, not a charity, and asking companies to let you play the game without connecting to the network is partly asking for a free ride. There are good business reasons to not offer that ride.
RogueJedi86 asked: Wait, Massively has forums now? Which forums are these? When did I miss Massively getting a forum?
We've had them for a while now. They're a part of our Enjin site. The more you know!
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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