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Ask Massively: Misunderstandings about our robot overlords edition

Eliot Lefebvre

As I personally have no real reservations about the impending destruction of human society by perfect killer robots, I thought I'd take the opportunity to dispel certain misunderstandings about living under the thumb of mechanical overseers. Specifically, I'd like to dispel the idea that we'll be living. Robots wouldn't be sending us to work in mines; they can build machines to do that faster than our frail organic bodies. Not to mention that those machines would whine a lot less. So don't worry! You won't be toiling for a monolithic AI for years; you'll just be obliterated or used as organic building material. Doesn't that make things better?

In unrelated news, it's time for this week's installment of Ask Massively, which focuses on the question of raw, unfettered action. If you've got a question you'd like to see in a future installment of the column, mail it along to or leave it in the comments below. Questions may be edited slightly for clarity and/or brevity.

Fienemannia asked: With people excited about TERA and Guild Wars 2, is action-based combat going to be the next big thing in MMOs?

The problem with predicting larger market trends is that we don't really see those trends in action with anything currently under development. If action-based combat does catch on, it's not going to be visible by looking at the next major crop of MMOs on the horizon, since those are already being build with a given combat model in mind.

That having been said, there's been a general trend in gaming over the past few years to sell more active gameplay over more sedate systems. Turn-based RPGs have basically vanished, inventory management is frequently streamlined or removed in games, and the overall thrust is to make the whole thing easier to jump into without a whole lot of preamble, which only makes sense -- it's much easier to sell someone on a game that features a lot of neat stuff happening rather than asks you to trawl through lists of inventory items.

Especially given the rise of steadier internet connections that can handle very active combat without a surfeit of lag and disconnects, I'd expect that we'll see a rise in active combat. Whether or not the current poster children wind up widely copied will depend a lot upon their individual successes, but I'd be surprised if we don't see a more active environment in the near future regardless.
Matthew Daniel asked: Hey Eliot, does City of Heroes have anywhere to go now that the Beast Mastery powerset is being released?
Well, the set could use more wolves. You only get three. Even the community managers admit that.

Also, the game could use more cars.
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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