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Ask Massively: Haven't had an animal picture since March edition

Eliot Lefebvre

So I was looking at the Wikipedia page for capybaras when I realized that I haven't had an animal picture as my header here since March. That just doesn't seem right. I do try to make a conscious effort to avoid putting animals up here all the time, but considering that a good portion of my day is spent thinking about critters, two months seems a really long while. So, here's a capybara. I was originally going to go with a tapir, but I have to pace myself.

What was this column supposed to be about? Oh, right, it's the new installment of Ask Massively, discussing the issue of non-European fantasy settings and the potential for more love of crowdsourced projects. If you've got a question you'd like to see answered 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.

Avaloner81 asked: Why don't we see more MMOs with an Australian theme to them? We have seen almost every other theme and mythology represented in MMOs, but the Australian aboriginal folklore has almost never been touched upon.

Probably because Guild Wars Utopia was cancelled.

I'm half-joking, but only half. Generally speaking, fantasy MMOs come in one of four flavors: European Fantasy, European Fantasy with Special Nordic Spices, European Fantasy in Oriental Sauce, and Oriental Fantasy. The only game that springs to mind as really breaking from that mold are Guild Wars Nightfall (Africa and the Middle East) and Guild Wars Utopia (Mesoamerica). And the latter doesn't even exist.

So it's not just Australia that's sadly underrepresented. It's also every part of the world that isn't Europe or Asia. We've had years and years of fantasy that still stays very close to the Tolkien model, for lack of a better term, and it's been one of the longstanding issues that fantasy has as a genre. Science fiction can go almost anywhere, but fantasy almost always starts off with a mix of elves, dwarves, and humans in what appears to be a mixture of France and Britain with a few lava zones.

So why don't we see them? Mostly a matter of familiarity. It's a lot easier to sell people on familiar concepts than unfamiliar ones, and when you're making a very expensive game you kind of want to have the advantage of familiarity. Personally, I'd love to see some really novel stuff. Australia would be a great setting, especially considering that the giant rats and spiders you usually face as a low-level adventurer actually exist there.
mysecretid asked: I don't suppose Massively would consider doing an article, or a series of articles, mentioning Kickstarter MMORPG projects the staff finds interesting?
We certainly would consider it. As a matter of fact, we have considered it. Whether or not it will happen is another matter, but it's certainly been tossed around as a consideration given the recent proliferation of Kickstarter projects.
Vagrant_Zero said: Eliot, I have 2 words for you. Transformers: Autocracy.
I like the idea, but I'm kind of lukewarm on Metzen's writing over the last several years. But I do like to see Flint Dille back in the writer's seat.
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