@ceruleangrey: My favorite article that I wrote this year is probably my analysis of Guild Wars 2's reward system because it was a tricky thing to nail down and I always find more abstract MMO problems like that fun to puzzle through.
@nbrianna: In the original email that prompted this Think Tank, Hagu nominated my Working As Intended article about how designers erroneously believe that sandboxes must include gank/open PvP, and I am proud of that one, but the article of mine that I think best represents my view on the modern industry and my best work of the year is the one explaining how "endgame" is the worst thing that ever happened to MMOs. Some days I think I'll forever be chasing the clarity I hope I achieved there.
@Eliot_Lefebvre: This is not an easy question. You think it is, but it's not. Writing that WildStar's greatest opponent is itself was prescient, followed by stuff that I think was properly on-point for the game. My three-part series on why raiding needs to get dropped was good stuff, I think. My piece on Final Fantasy XIV's birthday and its lack of tanks were astute enough that I've seen people steal them wholesale, so apparently those were pretty good! If I have to pick a single favorite, though, I'm going to point to my Ninja run in FFXIV. I went crazy trying to get that class leveled and ready for a good article, and I'm happy that working off of no external knowledge I got as much done as I did that quickly.
@jefreahard: I can't think of anything I wrote that could be called important, but playing with one of SWTOR's few actual Jedi made for a fun read. Honorable mention goes to the Soapbox where I attempted to educate people who dismiss game mechanics they dislike with the word nostalgia.
@Sypster: Mine was my four-week countdown of the top 40 best MMO themes of all time for Jukebox Heroes. It was so hard to do -- and even today it's being mentally altered as I hear new tracks and change the order of my favorites.
|Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #10-1|
|Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #20-11|
|Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #30-21|
|Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #40-31|
@Shaddoe: My absolute favorite articles that I did was the livestream with my son on the last day from Free Realms. It was touching and sad. Unfortunately, with the changes to Twitch this year, it's also gone. But there are a couple of posts that are still around that I think are a good read, too (or a good watch.) I am fond of this guide to keybinding. It's eclectic and can really help players of all MMOs. And the best thing that I did for Massively this year was the segment on Massively Rewind about the return of the Rakghoul plague.
@MikedotFoster: This one is super easy for me. My favorite post (by me) of the year is Choose My Adventure: It's Lonely Out in Elite: Dangerous. Intro posts for CMA are usually pretty straightforward (this is the game we're playing, these are the basic choices we have), but with this particular post, I tried to do something special. Nearly every paragraph has some sort of sci-fi reference from a film, comic book, song, or television show. It took me forever to write, imagining with glee the fun our commenters would have spotting the references and working together to unravel them all.
Naturally, no one noticed or said anything. But despite the fact that I was being extremely clever and there was no one to stand around looking impressed, I'm still pretty stoked on it.
@MJ_Guthrie: What?!? How could you ask me to pick one over the others? I love all my word children equally! I may love them differently, but none is better. Some pieces I love for the humor; some I love for the irony of the situations. Some are awesome because of the material, and others for the fun and funky songs I get to compose. And then still others, for reasons I can't quite put into words!
I loved a whole category of articles: The Stream Team. From the art to the quips to the relevance to current happenings, it was the little extras that endeared me to so many of these these weekly editions. May snow shark live on forever in my heart! There's the total irony of publishing my last words about Landmark's alpha before the NDA muzzled me only to have said NDA lifted three hours later. There are also pieces that just capture the essence of things so perfectly, like my favorite first moment in The Secret World. And then there are roundups and top-ten lists that pull together so many memories and amazing interviews that were just so phenomenally fun...
I suppose if I had to pick a single one, I'd point to one that is simply incredibly memorable: my farewell to Vanguard. It is dear to my heart not because of any specific prose per se but because it eulogized a life that was unexpectedly cut short, a life that never had the chance to reach its potential. That piece highlights a specific moment in my gaming, and it served as a way to come to terms with a loss. It was a poignant moment, captured on a page. Not really better, but memorable.
The true answer should actually be everything!
What do you get when you throw the Massively writers' opinions together in one big pot to stew? You get The Think Tank, a column dedicated to ruminating on the MMO genre. We range from hardcore PvPers to sandbox lovers to the most caring of the carebears, so expect more than a little disagreement! Join Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce and the team for a new edition right here every Thursday.