I received Issue #2 of Massive Magazine in the mail on Friday and had some time during the weekend to pour over it.
The lead-in column from Editor-in-chief Steve Bauman was interesting because it addressed at least one of my problems with issue #1; MMO News. He said that with all the other, more immediate venues for MMO news, they want to concentrate on “other entertaining parts of gaming.” So issue #2 moves in a somewhat different direction than #1. For example, there is no up front news section. Massive plunges straight into the features.
The features in issue #2 are:
- Outland of Sight, Outland of Mind – A look at the World of Warcraft Burning Crusade expansion (during the beta)
- Pay To Play No More – A wrap up of free-to-play MMOs
- Big Five Then and Now – A look at what they call the big five initial MMOs, Ultima Online, EverQuest, Asheron’s Call, Anarchy Online, and Dark Age of Camelot
- Kill ‘Em All – A pass through PvP in MMOs
- I Win EVE – A rehash of the EVE Investment Bank scandle, including an interview with the guy who ran the scam
- DIY MMOs – A look at player generated MMO content
- Negative Creeps – A look at the people who make MMO forums unbearable
- World of What? – A noob experiment where a non-gamer gets sent to play World of Warcraft
- The List – An huge listing of all of the current, in beta, and in development MMOs.
This issue makes for an interesting read. If issue #1 was well suited for people who have never played an MMO, issue #2 is targeted at those of us who already play.
While generally a strong outing, some items did grate. In the “Then and Now” feature, the “Now” part consisted of the diary of somebody loading up these games today and playing them. They seem to have picked people with no real interest in the games in question, which I guess was a shot at objectivity, but it did not play out well. The guy who looked at EverQuest for example, came off as openly hostile to the game before he installed it. Despite being a “Now” perspective, he declined to grab The Serpent’s Spine, going with the old tutorial. His finale, crowing about how happy he was to uninstall EverQuest in the end and reclaim his hard drive space, came as no surprise. While worse than the others, it did not stray too far from the overall attitude.
The heavy weight opening issue contributors are all gone, so general industry opinion pieces are lacking this time around. I wish they had kept some of the initial star-studded columnists from the first issue, if only to add some respected heft to the magazine.
The issue again closes with “The Same Five Questions We Always Ask,” which appears to include a couple of different questions this time around. My pick for stinker question is gone, so I would have to support that. Unfortunately, the person to whom they put the questions, Mark Jacobs, co-founder of Mythic and now general manager of EA Mythic, wasn’t nearly as interesting as Rob Pardo was last issue. Questions do not make the interview I guess.
All in all, not bad, but no great achievement. For me, the issue was worth it just for “The List” at the end of the magazine.
Addendum: I forgot to mention that issue #2 also came with an installation CD for EVE Online, complete with a 14-day free trial key.