Zone Chat: Massively Overpowered (Update)

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The Massively Overpowered has officially launched and you can still help support them via Kickstarter. I only hope the best for their writing team and look forward to interacting with the MMO community on the website.

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As of February 3rd AOL has shutdown the joystiq team which directly impacted two major MMO news websites: WoW Insider and Massively. I have followed the writers of Massively for several years and I was saddened at the news of the shutdown.

There is however a phoenix rising out of the ashes of Massively and the writers have announced the creation of Massively Overpowered. The new website is not up yet, but you can follow several resources to keep informed of developments as they are announced.

Massively Overpowered

Even if you consider yourself a casual MMO gamer I encourage you to support Massively Overpowered. Massively has been a great community and I can only imagine Massively Overpowered will be bigger and better in many ways.

Twitter: @massivelyOP

Podcast: http://massivelyop.libsyn.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/massivelyop

Twitch Channel: http://www.twitch.tv/massivelyoverpowered

New Website: massivelyop.net

If you only follow Blizzard and World of Warcraft the writers of WoW Insider have already launched Blizzard Watch.

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Zone Chat: Balance

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Bioware announced major changes to the class system in the form of what they are calling Disciplines. This was the focus of zone chat several times as I played SWtoR the other day. The specific topic centered around how the change in the class system would affect balance. Both PvE and PvP players want balance, but no one could define balance which made me wonder if balance is all that important.

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The best information I could find for defining, analyzing and fixing balance in an MMO is at gamedev.stackexchange.com by user Chris. Chris says that when considering balance start with simple statements to help outline advantages and disadvantages of the character classes. Essentially balance is best demonstrated in the game rock/paper/scissors. This is not a perfect example of balance unless scissors can also beat rock, paper can also beat scissors and rock can also beat paper. Now it is easy to see why the holy trinity as we know it exists in MMOs.

The holy trinity refers to three classes comprising of tank, damage and healer. If there are only three character classes then the job of balance is easier. In PvP balance means that each class can defeat the other two character classes as well as another character of the same class with all variables being equal. The variables are extremely important however and I will get to that later. Planning for PvE balance is similar because the non-player character takes the place of one of the character classes.

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The variables of any game make me wonder if achieving perfect class balance is possible or even necessary. The biggest variable I want to address for PvE and PvP balance is player skill which I imagine is near impossible to quantify because it is a constantly moving curve. What I mean is that if it is possible to quantify player skill and average the numbers it would change at any given time as new players become better and the game gains new players.

So is balance all that important? Defining balance helps to guide the game’s combat mechanics for both PvP and PvE. However it still boils down to the player and balance or not; the most important question that needs to be answered is the player going to have fun?

What do you think?

Zone Chat: What I am Doing in February

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I have started so many posts only to leave them in draft form. But I need to get back to writing as well as gaming so here I go. Just to catch you up, I have re-subscribed to both World of Warcraft and Star Trek Online. Mists of Pandaria has turned out to be a great expansion for WoW and I am even leveling alternate characters I thought I would never play. Even though I would not normally subscribe to two MMOs at the same time, I wanted to take advantage of STO’s anniversary event and also max level two characters so I earn the subscriber perks when reaching max level. Now I have to make a note to update my Adventurers page so you can all see who I am playing.

I have also been getting back to reading thanks to the great selection of books at the Goodwill store. I picked up “Ender’s Game”, “Servant of the Shard” and “EVE:The Empyrean Age”. At the time of this post I have yet to start “EVE:The Empyrean Age”, but I have finished the other two books. “Ender’s Game” did not turn out to be the great piece of sci-fi that others had hyped it to be, but it was entertaining and it is easy to see how the underlying premises have impacted sci-fi and video games. R.A. Salvatore has become a favorite author of mine and maybe it is because I have become a fan of D&D not through the roleplaying game, but through the Neverwinter Nights video game. When reading fantasy books I am reminded how much I like the MMOs I play.

On the console front I have finished my annual play-through of both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. I noticed that between the two games New Vegas is darker and many of the side story lines are depressing. But that goes to show how well video games can not only tell a story, but immerse the audience into a world in a way that television and movies are not able.

Zone Chat: Merry Christmas

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It has been a long time since I sat down to write about video games. Not because I did not have anything to write about, but I was hired for a seasonal job that had me working 60 hours a week. I have been so tired everyday that when I am not at work I am sleeping or resting with my feet up. I really do appreciate being able to work especially having been unemployed for so long, but I have missed logging in to the games I play and chatting with my guild mates and taking part in the in-game seasonal events.

Although I did not play any PC games for the past month I do have my PS3 setup in my bedroom so I started my yearly play through of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. I got to play for an hour or two each night after work before falling asleep with the controller in my hands. What I like about both Fallout games is that I could play for short periods of time and actually accomplish missions or explore.

Now that I am able to enjoy the fruits of my labor, Steam’s Winter sale is full swing and I am picking up games left and right. The first game I purchased was The Secret World because it was an offer I could not refuse and it has been a game I have been wanting to try out for a while now. Steam is not the only place to get games on the cheap and I did get Mists of Pandaria for a whopping ten bucks. I know I said I would not play MoP, but since I am going to have to play Warlords of Draenor at some point I might as well get through MoP sooner than later.

I finally have the time to enjoy the Christmas season and celebrate the importance of giving and reflecting on what I have received. I hope and pray your Christmas day is wonderful no matter what you are doing.

Merry Christmas!