So, when was the “Classic” Era of MMORPGs?

I wondered out loud on Twitter the other day, trying to figure out when the era of classically-designed MMOs was, or is. Originally, I called it the “golden age” but as a Facebook buddy said, “golden age” implies a judgment of quality, and I should go with “Classical” or something similar. I agree 100%, but it should be noted I tweeted it while out to dinner and was concentrating more on the idea of a time period of “true” MMO design.

That period means the age when MMORPGs were being released frequently, and they were of “true” design, meaning they featured open worlds that persisted while players were offline, and “truly” massive numbers of online players.

This is not to say that all upcoming or more-recently released MMOs are not “true” MMOs, but instead that there was a time — I was guessing between, say, 1997 and 2012 — when MMORPGs were not just being mentioned by the rare mainstream website articles, but when entire websites that were dedicated to the genre existed. This was also an era when developers mentioned old-school designs in their pitches, compared to today when many MMO designers mention more “modern” designs like MOBA-like matches or designed-for-solo content.

We still have some MMO websites, of course, and we still have old-school designers, but if you compare most modern-day bloggers, writers, and websites to their older cousins, you would see a group of people who have to mention non-MMOs due to fear of losing hits compared to the older site writers and bloggers who wouldn’t even think about mentioning non-MMO content.

The point is that websites, blogs, and fansites reflect the designs of the hobby. Years ago, I knew scores of people who hosted podcasts and blogs. These days it’s down to a handful. My guess is that many of them got their start with World of Warcraft and never really tried to learn about much more than the other games that cost major-league money to make. Because the big $$$ MMOs are mostly a thing of the past, these fans thought (wrongly) that the genre was dead, and moved on.

As the sites and blogs stopped, the designers decided to stop with the classic designs. “No one wants that anymore,” they thought. “We have to make a MOBA.”

This is not meant as a judgment call, by the way, but as a statement of fact.

So, if the era of the massive-world, massive-playerbase MMO is possibly behind us, when did it stop?

Did it stop with Guild Wars 2, TERA, or The Secret World, around 2012?

The Elder Scrolls Online, ArcheAge, and Neverwinter are all great and came out in 2013. But, just compare those release numbers to 2010, or 2009, or 2008!

In fact, we will compare a little bit, thanks to my old Massively partner (and current writer dood for MassivelyOP) Syp at BioBreak, who has been keeping a nice list of MMO launches on his blog. While the list is missing many titles, it’s a great list. We’ve had (I skip a few years but go to his page and use the FIND function to highlight launches) :

  • 6 launches in 1996
  • 3 in 1997
  • 13 in 2003
  • 13 in 2011
  • 13 in 2013 (the highest amount in recent years)
  • 8 in 2014
  • 8 to launch in 2016

But also, look at closures:

  • 1 in 2002
  • 1 in 2003
  • 1 in 2004
  • 1 in 2006
  • 5 in 2009
  • 8 in 2012
  • 5 in 2016 (so far)

**Syp does mention that he is leaving out “every piddly MMO on the planet or most MUDs/MUSHs/MOOs. I also stuck mostly to MMORPGs (i.e. few MMO sports games, no MOBAs, little limited multiplayer),” which is understandable, but still illustrates how MMO discussions need to become more inclusive.**

Someone posted a comment about games like GemStone IV, the awesome MUD, that has been going for a long, long, time and is still tweaking itself to be more modern like offering a free-to-play, browser-based version. I’ve covered GemStone IV many times, and it should always be considered in conversations about MMOs. Still, Syp works for a living and doesn’t have a bajillion hours to sit around collecting information, and his chart still shows us a pattern.

Perhaps the “Classical” era stopped when MOBAs really and truly caught on, signalling the next “big thing” in multiplayer design? (League of Legends, described as a “MOBA” first, was launched in 2009.)

It’s hard to say, but I am attempting to narrow it down in preparation for a book I am writing. Again, I am not meaning to pass judgement on indie and major-label MMOs that have yet to be released, as I have not played those yet, but many of the ones coming up look more to be instanced-based fighting games rather than open world exploration-fests.

This is also not an attempt to declare the end of the older and more-open MMOs that still attract me, games like EverQuest, Ultima Online, or Ryzom. Many of these games will remain for many more years, and why not? Some MUDs have been open for nearly 30 years, and remain vibrant!

As I have predicted in the past, mobile will take over, and it is showing signs of doing just that. As I used to love to say: “Ask a tween what they play games on, and I’ll bet probably 10% say ‘A computer.'” Whether we older gamers agree with their tastes doesn’t matter; they are the next wave.

I have also predicted that “classic” MMO design will die out as computers go and mobile gaming invade everything, but the recent massive success of Pokemon Go! shows what I mean when I have described a “hybrid” future MMO: an MMO that takes advantage of the sheer number of mobile players, using mobile tech that is portable and powerful.

Imagine playing a Pokemon Go!-style game, but instead of catching monsters, you find treasure, fight enemies, and claim territory in real time, in the real world! MMOs will have had their “classic” period as I have been describing, then will usher in a period of “massive, MASSIVELY” player games as the real world and mobile meets classical design.

I’m excited, but more than that I am happy to get closer to categorizing this wonderful period of design!

Beau

 

 

How well do MMORPGs represent LGBTs?

[[ Side note before we get started: Below is an interesting article that was shared with me as I was asking about the GW2 character mentioned below. Please read it. It’s a great read and shows you how MMOs work out in some ways for many LGBT players! Read: Sya and Me: Transpeople in MMOs. ]]

On a recent Facebook post from one of my developer friends, she expresses her concern that many of her developer friends were possibly not putting their money where their mouths were when it came to equal representation in gaming.

I see exactly what she meant: gaming is often a great place for people to make their own LGBT character…. but if you want to find an NPC who is LGBT, you can be hard-pressed. Here’s some of what she said:

(Note: I am leaving out all names, out of respect for privacy.)

While I’m loving seeing all the rainbows and all the game companies changing their logos to rainbow colors, the skeptic in me wonders how many of those game companies actually have any gay characters/content in their games.”

She was met with several responses, but a few items should be noted before we see the responses:

Continue reading “How well do MMORPGs represent LGBTs?”

The 5 MMORPG activities that I will try this weekend

It’s the weekend, isn’t it? IT IS, weirdos!

It’s time to play some games, crack open a drink, eat bad food and later get a responsible amount of exercise. Here’s 5 things that I want to do this weekend:

Continue reading “The 5 MMORPG activities that I will try this weekend”

Echo of Soul launches; check out the first hour here!

I recently played the first hour of Echo of Soul, a new free-to-play game that features some really nice graphics and interesting systems for gaining experience. I didn’t get very far (the video shows the first hour) but I wouldn’t mind returning sometime. The game has just launched on Steam, so go check it out.

Continue reading “Echo of Soul launches; check out the first hour here!”

20 indie MMORPGs that you can play right now

So I am often asked “Where do you find all of those games that you write about?” but it’s really a simple answer: I look. I Google. I crawl around Steam. And, over the years, I have built up a long list of friends and developers who will let me know when something pops up.

Following is a list of 20 indie MMOs that are currently playable and fun. Could I make it a list of 100 indie MMOs? Yes, but I will save that for later. In the meantime, here are the ones that I actually play and enjoy, or have enjoyed in the recent past. If they are in beta or alpha I will try to put a note. Thanks!

These are in no order of preference. Just an order.

I have included videos where I can; some of the videos are older and I will have to shoot new ones. Be sure to keep an eye out, and be sure to try these if you can. You will not regret it.

Continue reading “20 indie MMORPGs that you can play right now”

The epic scale of TERA is what MMOs are made for

I first got into MMOs because I found a box of Ultima Online at the store and it looked like it promised an actual “world” to play in. Sure, the map of Ultima is much smaller now, but at the time it was HUGE. Later on I would get into EverQuest and travel in that game was often a nightmare, but the payoff was nice; you’d wind up in a bank in a new area and would feel like you had actually been on an adventure to get where you needed to be.

I have continued to play (and support, and write about) MMOs because they are the only games — and I mean the only games — that offer not only access to hundreds or thousands of players in real time, but open, massive worlds.

Unfortunately, massive open world are expensive to make and maintain and players have become very, very spoiled. Players will take a game that is otherwise brilliant and become bored of it in not time. After all, if you just burn through content, why worry about looking around at all? Still, there are some grand titles left!

TERA is a game I have liked for a long time (except for some of the character design, more on that in a bit) but I never made the time to get to know deeply. I have played through the teen levels but the game is pretty hardcore; getting to higher-level requires dedication that I do not normally have.

Now that I have been given a press character (a character given to members of the press because they simply do not have time to see certain parts of the game due to time. If press had enough time to reach max level in all MMOs, they would not have time to write about the games, trust me) that is a high-level (60, currently, with a max of 65) I can freely explore the game without worrying about the grind.

Take that as you will.

Still, it’s amazing what they have done with TERA. It runs like butter on this aging boxed gaming PC — a Dell XPS 8500 — and takes players through a world that offers amazing scale. If you see a cool landscape feature, you can probably go to it on your own.

It’s a world of massive mountain ranges, huge castles, big monsters, gigantic sweeping plains… it has it all. I am not normally a fan of “Anime” style graphics, but these are some of my favorite. The game reminds me of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and others. Beautiful and grand.

I decided to take a quick series of flights to see areas I hadn’t before, and I captured this footage. It’s great. My favorite part is rising slowly on the back of a dragon mount and bursting out of the stony castle into snow flurries. The lighting, sound and animations make it feel very realistic while remaining stylized. The “warp” effect you feel as you travel long distances (I would rather just travel the distances in normal flight, though) are better than the warp effects in EVE Online.

TERA is a grand game, yes, but I wanted to be sure to give a nod to my hate for the way the female characters are left …out in the open. They have bouncy chests and sexy animations. It’s ridiculous, sexist and feels creepy.

Elin_Trans

Let’s not even get me started about the “small” race in TERA, the Elin. They are said to be:

Elins are the divine “children” of the goddess Elinu, but do not mistake their waif-like appearance for innocence. Elin generals are among the world’s most fearsome.”

OK, sure, so they are “children”… so why are they also sexed-up half the time you see one in game? It’s wrong, and I do not care if they are supposed to be spirits or whatever. It’s such a dark spot on this otherwise neat game, and it makes me a bit ashamed for passing it on to others. Luckily, players can elect to cover these “children” up, but this type of sexist (and scary) design needs to go, NOW.

And, for the record, I do not care if you are a woman or if you know a woman who is “OK” with these designs… women can be OK with sexist design just like a man can. It’s still sexist and gross design, no matter who likes it.

I hate to bring this up in a quick blog about one of the most epic games you’ll find out there, but it needs to be said. And, on top of all of the grand spectacle of the game, it’s free and easy to run. It also works with a controller and features a lot of different systems to explore, for those who are not only into combat.

MMOs need this kind of scope in order to be “real” MMOs. Sure, the scope can be implied like in the case of a browser-based castle-builder, but players still need to be involved in a world, not just a lobby.

I’ll be covering some more of TERA in the future.

You can download the game here: http://tera.enmasse.com/

See you in game!

Beau

Rise and Shiny: Inferno Legend

February 16th 2014 at 12:00 pm
Rise and Shiny

This week’s game was a giant gamble, one that I should have known would not have worked out at all. The problem is that I have this crazy inborn optimism that tells me that even though many MMOs look and play the same way, you never know how they truly play until you actually play them. I’ve literally played hundreds of MMOs for this job and probably a hundred or so before that, so I’ve seen my share of games that look one way and play the other.So this week I decided to go ahead and roll in Inferno Legend, a new MMO by GameBox, even though it appeared to be an auto-player like League of Angels from a few weeks ago and other titles before that. I picked my character from five different classes: the Cyclops, Vampire, Samurai, Faerie, and Mummy. I barely got past the incredibly bad voice-acting that was presumably supposed to add life to the characters and popped into the game.

 

In Inferno Legend, you’re going to be playing as a bad guy. You’re a servant of Diablo, the lord of the underworld, but other than a change of look and color, there’s not much else that is unique about playing the baddies. In fact, I hardly noticed I was playing the bad guy simply because the gameplay worked out like so many other games in which I played the good guys.The game is supposed to be a romp through an epic story but plays pretty much like the other games I mentioned earlier.

You’ll play in a respectably pretty browser-based environment that is designed to give the illusion of free-form play, but the game is anything but. There’s supposed to be a grid-based sort of exploration quality in it somewhere, but maps are really just a boardgamey linear set of events. You’ll move a square, gain some gold, move another square, and attack an enemy. It’s so bland and repetitive that I literally fell asleep while playing it one night.Combat is turn-based, but up until around level 30, you can simply press the auto button and the game will work it all out for you.

I’d say that some of the animations and character designs are neat, but they are repeated so much that they’ll more than likely drive you mad, and there are too few skills to choose from at the beginning. The auto-attack gameplay ensured I’d win without effort anyway, though, so why should I care? As I said, things do get tougher around level 30, but only marginally so. If anything, all I had to do was repeatedly attack an enemy, choosing a slightly different arrangement, and eventually I won.
As you defeat monsters, you can recruit them into your army, something that sounds more fun than it is. Building an army is an act of fashion more than anything as different creatures seem to have no real difference in ability. You can level up and switch out different pieces of equipment, but again I saw almost no real difference. I would use higher-level items as I looted them, but they just kept pace with the monsters at my level.

As I leveled and found more loot there was no thinking involved; I would just replace the old loot and continue on. Sure, I pressed some buttons to gain new abilities or to try out new skills, but I had no reason to pay attention to what I was doing, simply because there was no incentive to.The music in the game is so loud and obnoxious that it was better to just turn it off. Another watermark of a cheap, cruddy game like this is that the music is covering up the fact that there is hardly any sound in the game otherwise.

Keep the music on and you’ll be overwhelmed with epic loops; turn it off and the game feels dead.I’ve now talked about this new style of auto-gaming so much that I’ve pretty much lost interest. The games that come from this genre (what would the genre be called?) are cheap, they’re easy to produce, and they behave more like a slot machine than anything. True, Inferno Legend does give you the chance to experience some strategy when you face more powerful monsters, but overall it’s just another click-fest that basically infects the rest of the hobby.

I can see players being interested in it for its ease of play or social interaction, but I cannot stomach it. I wish that the developers would just advertise it as what it is. It’s simply a playset, a thing to do that allows people to do things with a few digital things. That’s it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but advertising it as some sort of epic journey is wrong. On top of all that, the game features standard over-sexed lady art all over the website.

At least the developers could pony up the cash for some original, less sexist artwork, but that would break the pattern.

Next week I will be jumping back into Stronghold Kingdoms, a great MMOFPS by Firefly Studios. The developers have added a lot to the game since the last time I played it, so this time around I might not die so easily! I will be livestreaming the game on our channel on Monday, the 17th of February, at 4:00 p.m. EDT.

Each week on Rise and Shiny, Beau chooses a different free-to-play, indie, or browser-based game and jumps in head-first. It might be amazing or it might be a dud, but either way, he’ll deliver his new-player impressions to you. Drop him an email, comment, or tweet!

 

The Chromebook ‘All In One’ project: Pixel pros and cons wrap-up

Well, I sent my loaner Chromebook Pixel back to Google today. I did it with a heavy heart, simply because the device is such a pleasure to look at. The Pixel is named for its amazing screen, a 12.85 “, 2560 x 1700, 239 PPI, 400 nit brightness screen with 4.3 million pixels. It’s also a touchscreen, and proves very responsive. I thought today would be a perfect day to write a wrap-up of my weeks with the device and to compare it to the much cheaper (yet still amazing) Samsung Chromebook.

Before I get started, be sure to follow my All-In-One tags both on this site and on Massively.com. That tag sums up all of my experiences with the high and low end of the Chromebook spectrum. This site covers the techier side of things and Massively.com covers gaming — MMO gaming — on the Chromebook. Yes, I said gaming. There are a ton of wonderful browser-based games out there. So much so that I dedicate an entire column to them.

You have those bookmarked? Great. I’m going to go down the list of the good and bad of the Pixel and will also compare it to the Samsung Chromebook. For the record, I bought my Samsung Chromebook for 249$ US and the Pixel that was on loan to me was the 4G LTE model that goes for 1449.00$ US. I’ve compared these two before so some of this might be a repeat for you, but I knew I needed to write this up after spending more time with both.

Display

Good golly, the Pixel’s screen is wonderful. So bright, so touchable, so… just nice. It really did spoil me to the point that I would open other devices and go “Ugh.. so DARK.” I imagine that the screen accounts for much of the cost of this device because it packs in so many pixels and responds so nicely to touch. It’s a glossy screen, however, and compared to the matte finish of the Samsung, I prefer the matte look and feel. However, there is no comparison between the Samsung’s screen and the Pixel’s. I’ll probably say this several times, but the Samsung is a wonderful device. The Pixel has just taken that device and ramped it waaaaay up.

The Pixel’s display is also squarish, having a 3:2 resolution. That might sound odd, but remember that the idea behind a Chromebook is “living on the web.” The boxier shape shows you to see more of that web in striking color and clarity. The Samsung has a typical 1366 x 768 resolution on a 11.6 ” display. Still not bad, but no Pixel.

Keyboard

The keyboard on both devices is awesome. I really didn’t feel much of a difference between the two devices, but that speaks more to the quality of the Samsung. Where the real difference comes in is in the quality of the touchpad. The Samsung’s is nice for the price, but the glass touchpad of the Pixel is smooth as silk. It’s large, very responsive and does not pick up dirt or fingerprints like you might think. That trackpad is another part of the Pixel where you can see where your money went. The Pixel’s keyboard is backlit, something I used way more than I thought I would. I don’t spent my time in the dark, but sitting on the couch while watching TV is not exactly a great situation for typing on a notebook, but the backlit keyboard made it easy.

Touchscreen

There is no touchscreen on the Samsung, so I wasn’t sure how much I would use it on the Pixel. I have tablets and phones in this house and so my life is spent interacting with my devices through touch, but how much would I need to pinch and zoom on the web? A lot, actually. I found myself reaching to touch the screen as part as my normal web surfing or viewing videos. Although I would like to see some buttons increase in size, the Pixel felt almost magical in the way it knew which link I was going for or which button I wanted to press. (Must be a Chrome thing.) I used the touchscreen during gaming a ton, which could be expected. It really depends on the game and the website, but touch is surprisingly fun and useful. My only complaint is that the Pixel’s screen sort of bounced a bit as I touched it, so gaming or touching several times in a row was sometimes a bit… squishy. I’m not sure how to remedy the spring situation, but it would be nice to see a more solid screen when touching.

Connectivity

The Samsung does come with a 3G option but mine does not have it. I use a 3G connected Nexus 7 tablet constantly for directions or for on-the-road posting. I wasn’t sure how the 4G LTE option on the Pixel would work but when I could connect it absolutely flew through pages, videos and games. Sometimes I had to double-check to make sure I wasn’t on someone’s wifi because the connection felt as solid as my home network. (I have a 150/65 mbps Fios network.) In an example, I drove to Oklahoma to visit some friends overnight. The Nexus 7 tablet stayed connected constantly but I could not connect with the Pixel until I found my way into a pretty major town. Needless to say, I was rarely connected on the Pixel until I got into Norman, Oklahoma, a major city.

Overall design

The Pixel is a beautiful machine, for sure. It’s heavier than the Samsung but remains light. There are no visible screws and no vents or fan outlets, so heat does become a bit of an issue. The device becomes downright hot (but not dangerously) when playing a lot of videos or games. I asked Google about this and was told that “the device was designed with heat sinks while balancing seamless exterior aesthetics.” It makes sense, really. The lack of joints and fan vents means that the actual aluminum body of the device helps to push off heat, acting as a heat sink. It’s odd but I can see what they were trying to do. At the same time, some vents or other heat saps might not have been that hideous to look at.

In all honesty, the Pixel is just a beefed-up Samsung. You get the exact same experience, essentially, between both devices. So, why get a Pixel? Well, that’s like asking why someone buys a sports car when they can drive a basic Honda. There is a lot to be said for the amazing screen, better processor (there’s a core i5 in the Pixel, as well as more RAM,) touchscreen and backlit keyboard. So, if you have the money and need the extra-beautiful web experience, go for the Pixel. You will get what you paid for: superior build quality and an amazing interface with the web.

The Samsung is still my favorite, however. It’s cheap enough to grab several for the whole family. It’s perfect for a college student (as long as they understand what a Chromebook is for) and is great for a Grandmother or father. I fantasize that Google will make the Samsung its flagship device and maybe beef its stats. Maybe a backlit keyboard, a slightly nicer screen or maybe a better processor? After using my Nexus 7 on the road, as well as the Pixel, I am sure that I want a 3G Samsung.

The Pixel is an amazing Chromebook, for sure. But it’s a luxury Chromebook. It’s a sports car. The whole experience has taught me what a wonderful, versatile device the Samsung model is, ironically, but don’t let that convince you to avoid the Pixel. It’s just a beautiful machine and makes the web even better.

 

Beau

 

The Chromebook ‘All-In-One’ project pt. 2: The Pixel versus the Samsung

Pixel_front_whiteI’ve been loaned a Chromebook Pixel for the next several weeks, (from Google) so I am going to be giving it the same treatment I did with the Samsung model. For a month I used the Samsung almost exclusively (or at least for a great deal of work) and reported on what I found. If you didn’t know, I cover games for a living so I had to find browser-based MMORPGs and other games that worked on the smaller device that is essentially a non-touchscreen tablet with a keyboard. In the end, I found the Samsung model to be a joy to work with and still use it daily. I cannot recommend it enough. Once you get one, you will see why Google has advertised it so heavily.

But, what about the Chromebook Pixel? This newer device is definitely a concept vehicle, but it is also definitely worth the price of 1200 – 1500 US dollars. I only say that IF you live in the Google environment as it is now, and if you need a machine that does what a Chromebook does (as well as what it does not do.) I’m not going to try and go over everything that the ‘Books are good for, and instead I will be comparing the cheaper Samsung model ($249) with the much more expensive Pixel.

First of all, the Pixel is the superior machine. No one will argue that. Its screen is amazing (why they called it the Pixel) and offers resolutions and pixel density that you will not find anywhere else. So far, that is. I’m fully aware that one day we will look back on its stats and giggle, but for now it’s an amazing piece of machinery. Not only does it offer an amazing screen with 4.3 million pixels at 2560 x 1700 on a 12.85″ screen, making the sight of a pixel impossible, but it’s fully touchable and works wonderfully. It’s powered by a core i5 processor and 4 gigs of RAM, so everything runs smoothly.

It offers a few different slots, from two USB 2 slots, a SIM card slot and — oddly enough — a mini display port. On the Samsung model I get a full HDMI slot that easily plugs into my big screen TV and allows for desktop sharing. I’m guessing that the idea is that users of the Pixel will love the display so much that they will not need to plug into a larger display as much, but I beg to differ. One of the best abilities of the Chromebook series — or really any light laptop — is to plug into a large display to watch NetFlix or to share photos or videos for the whole family during the holidays.

So, while the Pixel is definitely the better device and I would be happy to have one, the Samsung is the better deal pound for pound. For $249 you get a very light, portable and capable multimedia internet machine with a pretty good screen and decent speakers. I am rarely away from WiFi, but there is a 3G model available for $329. My experience with the 7″ Google Nexus 3G/H tablet has convinced me that the speeds are perfectly suited to doing stuff while on the road. We use the Nexus tablet all the time, so I can only imagine how much I would us a Chromebook with the same option.

So, while the Samsung is easily the best little web machine you can get, the Pixel is a pleasure to use. It’s just a beautiful screen and if you are a Google fan (as I am) then you will find everything you need in the device. The price is hefty, but I imagine that you are paying for the incredible screen more than anything.

I’d like to warn that the Pixel does get very hot, quite often. There is a fan but it’s not as loud as other reviewers would make it out to be, but the fact that it sits flat and has no visible vents means that the sucker will start to burn up quickly. It’s not uncomfortable but it’s definitely not something you’d expect from a device that costs between 1200 – 1500 dollars.

The touchscreen is not enabled by default as well, which is odd. I had to go the settings and enable it. When do you use a touchscreen? I can only speak for myself, but I use the pinch and zoom to quickly increase the size of text or to look at a picture or detail. As you zoom in you’ll see just how much the Pixel rules in the reading department. I live on websites, so the pinch and zoom works well. Otherwise, I use the touch when playing games and to push big, obvious buttons. It’s hard to explain but you’ll find yourself using the touchscreen more on certain sites than on others. The screen does wobble a bit when you touch, so you won’t be pounding on it by any means.

I’m going to do some more comparing but the lighter, cheaper and in many ways comparable Samsung Chromebook is the better device. Now, I won’t lie to you and say that I would pick a free Samsung over a free Pixel, but if we’re talking value, the Samsung is the best. The Pixel is a pleasure to use and surf on, and to do many of the things like gaming and watching videos on, but the excess heat and price point make it only for those who want an incredible build and screen.

I’m a bit torn, both devices are wonderful. Be warned that I am a Google fan boy and use Google products like crazy. I live within the Google universe and use all of their products every single day. The Pixel makes that experience amazing if not for the heat.

Want to buy an extra laptop or three for your household, even for those power users? Get a few Samsungs.

Want a laptop with a beautiful quality build and a screen that will make it an immense pleasure to work with, get the Pixel.

Then again, I need a few more weeks with this.

Be sure to follow my Massively.com blogs to check out how gaming works on the device. See you soon!

Beau

The most incredibly annoying type of comment

Look, I get my share of comments. A lot of them. Hundreds and hundreds. If you write a decent amount, you probably do as well. Of all the type of comments, there is one that is really the most annoying. No I’m not talking about troll comments… those are easy to see and sometimes quite funny. They’re also easy to take care of. They can be deleted within seconds and if they’re bad enough the commenter can be banned forever. (For the record, I do not have the ability to ban anyone on the sites I work for, only here.)

There are comments that point out when I use the wrong words, or comments that point out that “Technically, it’s a solid state drive, NOT a hard drive.” While annoying, those comments are actually doing me a favor.

No, the worst comment of all is easy to illustrate. I’ll use one of my latest articles to show you. If you read my MMObility: The Chromebook ‘All in One’ Project: Introduction piece, then you’ll see this comment. Now, for the record, I don’t think the guy is trying to be a troll or anything. That would be easy. And, if you look at how many views on the video I have so far you’ll see just how few people digest ALL of the column. (There are hundreds of video views at the time of this writing, but thousands and thousands of reads. I even ask people to view the video to prevent comments like the one I am talking about.)

Here’s the comment:

“Hi Beau,

I purchased the Samsung 3 series Chromebook for price as well as the possibilities of productivity and gaming. It was a choice between this and the nexus 10. The question I have is regarding your current topic. Can you list the type of games (including MMOs) that is compatible with Samsung 3 series. the chrome app store have games but it is not compatible with this Chromebook. It is either it requires Unity’s 3d player or extensions or something related.

KL”

Let me break it down really fast. The Samsung series 3 is the Chromebook I am talking about. Check. The “possibilities of productivity and gaming” is pretty much THE topic of my series which will run over the course of an entire MONTH. CHECK. The “current topic” he/she is asking about? GAMING AND PRODUCTIVITY ON THE CHROMEBOOK SERIES 3. CHECK.

Can I list THE TYPE OF GAMES that is compatible with THE CHROMEBOOK WE HAVE BOTH AGREED ON THAT WOULD MAKE A GOOD TOPIC BECAUSE I AM TALKING ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW IN THIS VERY COLUMN?

Now at  this point I think this is either some smart spam or a troll. I hope so because my brain could wrap around it easier. But it still points to the worst kind of comment: the one coming from the person who literally did not read a single sentence of your writing. They read the title, got excited and posted a comment.

I’ve had several people ask me to list games for them. I get an email or two a month from someone asking me to recommend a game for them. I get comments like this one ALL THE TIME. Why does it bother me? It bothers me because it’s like going up to a guitar player who JUST played a song in front of your face and going “Do you play music?” It doesn’t hurt my feelings, but it wastes my time. I’m not trying to sound important or stuck-up, but over the course of a month any writer like me can receive literally hundreds of comments. I suffer from migraines, but even then I literally do not have time to read all of those comments. Also, it’s a bit insulting when my work is literally skipped over.

Look, I know my writing might be boring, and my videos might not be as exciting as watching Simon’s Cat. But, I’ve done this long enough to know to cover my ass mostly. When I write I give myself coverage. For example, I might say “I loved this game, but I only played it for 6 hours…” or something. That stops the dorks who accuse me of lying because I didn’t get to the “end game.” Or I might say “The community was nice, but I only played with a guild for a week.” The video in my Chromebook columns will act as this coverage. I cannot just hand out game lists… that’s stupid and boring, and I have an entire month to cover the device.

For all that is holy, please READ or use SEARCH before making a comment. Every comment read means time away from writing, and some of us can barely stare at the screen for that long.

Beau