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Ask Massively: I approve of more staves edition

Eliot Lefebvre

You know what we need more of? Staves used as melee weapons instead of a caster's Set of Stats in a Stick. Usually, what we get is closer to a cane than an actual staff, so it makes sense that a curvy stick with a lawn ornament on one end isn't much for actual combat. But come on, folks. You can do some serious damage with a metal pole and a few witless mooks. City of Heroes is ahead of the curve here.

This week's installment of Ask Massively has nothing to do with staves, however. It has to do with a few more lingering questions about the comment system and some wide-ranging "best of" topics. If you've got a question you'd like to see answered in a future installment of the column, you can leave it in the comments or mail it to Questions may be edited slightly for clarity and/or brevity.

Andrei asked: I was wondering whether you would do a Top 10 Free MMOs article?

The chief problem with doing an article like this is that we'd be trying to cover way too much ground. I mean, what would be used as the criteria? The most profitable free games? Most accessible? Best themeparks? Best sandboxes? Best graphics? Most free content? Best cash shops?

The free-to-play market has exploded recently, and as a result it's really hard to track all of the many games out there. Free for All does the best it can, but even then there are games that slip between the cracks (and also some games that wind up slipping between the cracks of financial viability; I'm told that Faxion Online was fun, but it had the lifespan of a mayfly). We do what we can to let readers know what games are good for what players, but an absolute "best of" is too far-reaching.
Lenn_Len asked: So, why didn't you rebel against the new comment system?
Several reasons. Perhaps chief among them is the simple fact that we -- and many readers -- had been asking for a new content system for a very long time, due to the previous system's being utterly broken.

I mean, we had all learned to work around the old system. We had gotten used to the nightmare that was the "Unverified" bug, and a few of us had even figured out how to get avatars to actually upload correctly. But it still wasn't working terribly well, as demonstrated by the fact that some of our newer writers were also stuck as "Unverified" for many months.

Of course, I don't think many people are curious as to why we got rid of the old system; they're wondering why we migrated to this system instead of any other. The reasoning for that is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. The fact of the matter is that we do not handle the technical side of things here on the site, just the content. The choices were made by upper levels of management at AOL, most likely due to the positive aspects that the new system does bring.

Here's a somewhat tortured metaphor: Imagine that you've got a really horrible shower in your apartment. The shower works in the broadest sense, but mostly it just needs to be replaced. So you tell your landlord this repeatedly, and he finally replaces it with a completely unfamiliar shower. The new shower also has problems, but it at least doesn't have the previous shower's problems -- and at the end of the day, it's the shower you're getting whether you like it or not. So you shrug and you clean up.
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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