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Ask Massively: Site redesigns, editorials, and sandbox coverage


For those of you hiding out from family or working your brains instead of your stomachs on this sacred holiday on which we celebrate food or something, this edition of Ask Massively will mop up a few little questions and demands made in the comment section recently. We're addressing a potential site redesign, whether editorial articles really need a gigantic sign declaring the obvious, and whether the Massively writers are fake sandbox fans.

Put down that turkey leg and let's get to it!

Cimeas asked: Engadget just got a redesign. Is one coming for Massively?

Let it be known that in answering this question, I had every opportunity to bring up whitebackgroundgate and make fun of the leukophobics in our audience, but instead I took the high road!

No redesign is the the works that I know of, but since our last redesign was two years ago, and what happens to Engadget has in the past trickled down to Joystiq and then to Massively, it's not completely unlikely, but it's also probably not on the near horizon. (And if it does, let's hope we don't get that weird stretched Engadget font, amirite guys!)

Steven remarked: I think we need a better editorial warning than the tiny "opinion" tag on the bottom (of the latest edition of The Firing Line column).

Oh yeah? Well I think your comment needs a better editorial warning!

No, it doesn't. You know why? Because you said "I think." And even if you hadn't said "I think," your comment is clearly an opinion rather than a fact. You don't need to label everything that you type as an opinion because most people can tell the difference between an opinion and a fact without said label. A fact is something verifiable. "Star Citizen shouldn't be EVE with joysticks" is not verifiable; it's clearly a subjective statement, a belief that is (presumably) based on some facts but is not a fact itself.

My suspicion is that people who complain about things like this aren't mad because they read the whole editorial thinking every statement was a fact and realized that it was an opinion only when they got to the opinion tag at the end. They're mad because they disagree with the opinion and want to post something that insinuates a deficiency on the part of the writer. Personally, I think it's a lot more insulting to keep repeating that your opinions are opinions as if your readers are too dense to recognize them as such otherwise.

Massively always labels opinion pieces with the opinion tag and category. You can usually assume that our long-form featured articles have some measure of opinion within unless they're marked otherwise.

circleofravens wrote: If the Massively staff is so into sandbox games, I sure wish they'd give them some air time on the Massively Speaking podcast, which seems to pretty much only talk about themeparks.

Here's the thing I've learned about the podcast: No matter what we talk about, someone isn't happy. If we talk about, say, Guild Wars 2, people who don't like Guild Wars 2 complain. If we don't talk about Guild Wars 2, people who do like it complain. If we talk about it only a little, everyone complains. And yes, the sandbox subgenre is something that people have said we cover both too much and not enough. I suspect that for the latter folks, it's not that they want to hear about sandboxes in general; they want to hear about their pet sandboxes.

The podcast is usually divided into three sections: chatter about what we played over the weekend, discussion of top news from the last week with favoritism shown toward games we haven't talked about in a while, and listener emails. The first segment is all over the place from month to month since both of us play new and old games; the second leans more on themeparks because there are simply more major themeparks putting out content than major sandboxes; and the third is heavily directed by whatever the listeners write in to us. Because Justin and I both like sandbox gameplay more than is healthy, we frequently end up discussing sandboxes (and housing and economies and crafting and exploration and player law) in that third segment, risking the ire of people who really do not care about Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, EverQuest II, Star Citizen, ArcheAge, Glitch, Star Wars Galaxies, EVE Online, Age of Wushu, Elite: Dangerous, Anarchy Online, and some of the other sandboxes we've talked about in recent memory.

But if there's ever a topic or game you want us to focus on, write in to the podcast itself with a question (don't hide the comment away on an unrelated thread!). You can also find most of our sandbox-oriented written articles filed under the sandbox category and our sandbox column, Some Assembly Required.

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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