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Ask Massively: Every six weeks


Every six weeks, another Massively writer takes over Choose My Adventure, a column that asks readers to vote in polls to determine what the writer will play and do within the reader-selected game. The columnist bravely plunges into the role you design, even when you sadistically vote that he or she play a naked blue Gnome who fights in melee with guns and is forbidden to leave PvP battlegrounds except to craft cookie dough. That doesn't usually make for the best showcase of a game, which you're quick to tell us when the writer has a scattershot experience at your bidding.

Today's Ask Massively is all about the Choose My Adventure series and finding order in its chaos.

Let's start with the big complaint from last week's CMA.

back2basiqs (and at least a bajillion other people) wrote: Why put a popular game like Guild Wars 2 in the mix when obviously GW2 is going to win?

Popular games don't always win. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the majority of games we've covered in CMA were not popular games when we covered them. Some of them are unquestionably tiny; Ryzom, Kingdom of Loathing, Dark Age of Camelot, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Xsyon, Warhammer Online, Vanguard, and Darkfall have all won and been featured in the last two years alone.

Here's the clincher: This wasn't the first time Guild Wars 2 was included in the poll. It was an available option for players in the most recent edition of CMA, and it lost to The Secret World, 2770 to 491. So nope, it was never obvious that Guild Wars 2 was going to win. In fact, on Thursday, Allods Online was beating GW2 twiceover; even the Massively staffers were already assuming Allods would win.

AllodsGuild Wars 2's community team used social media to help its chances, definitely, but so did Allods, and so did every tiny game that won in the past. Every game has that same opportunity to rally its playerbase.

As several commenters argued, GW2 made for an excellent choice because there's no free trial or easy way to test the game without a large initial investment and box fee. And most GW2 coverage at this stage from Massively and other sites is concerned with incoming content and esoteric mechanics discussions, not the general experience.

DavidHatcher wrote: Seriously people, why vote for a game you are currently playing?

One of my longtime guildies used to never read Massively or listen to our podcast, even though I worked here. When Guild Wars 2 came out, he started reading and listening. Why? Because he was playing an MMO; MMOs were suddenly relevant to his interests. People want to hear about the thing they are playing, especially if it's from a totally different perspective.

I do wish that readers would vote for the game they want to read about and not just treat it as a popularity contest. But the only way to ensure a specific game is covered would be to never put it to a vote at all, which defeats the purpose of the column.

Steve1 wrote: How did Global Agenda make the list? There hasn't been a content update for that game in ages.

The list of games is compiled by the author based on games we've not covered in CMA recently. They've also got to be games that he or she is willing to play and pay for. That's how oddities like Global Agenda will sometimes make the list. The fact that it's old or isn't being updated frequently isn't enough to strike it from general eligibility.

Other commenters mentioned wanting to see Star Wars: The Old Republic or World of Warcraft on the list. Maybe next round if the writer is up for it. SWTOR in particular could be fun if it's made the F2P switch by then; we could investigate how the F2P version of the game is working out. In the meantime, there's always our Hyperspace Beacon.

FlyinBuddha wrote: You guys have to pay for your own subs? That sucks. I was imagining some sort of an expense account or something.

Sometimes we'll use press accounts with pre-loaded characters if the goal is to test out high-level play, but CMA isn't that type of feature; the goal here is to start fresh and let you guide us. It's for the best, anyway, since sometimes CMA writers will fall in love with the game you pick and want to keep playing on a personal account.

For me, that's what makes the chaos worth it.

What should you play? Where is the MMO industry headed? How does Massively operate? Has Lord British lost his marbles? Why is there no edit button? Should "monoclegate" be hyphenated? Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce submits to your interrogations right here in Ask Massively every Thursday. Drop your questions in the comments below or ping us at Just ask!

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