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The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind: Are superhero MMOs doomed to be niche?

Super-hero, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Comics, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Valiance Online
When Valiance Online launched its Kickstarter a few weeks ago, Massively's commenters posed an interesting debate over the viability of the superhero MMO market in general, not just the workability of a genre with three competing City of Heroes spin-offs. Some readers are convinced that the superhero genre is too risky and niche for MMORPGs, noting that the existing superhero MMOs have been more or less solid but small, nowhere near World of Warcraft huge. Fantasy, and to a lesser extent sci-fi, just dominates this scene. (Although we had a moment of hope when Blizzard first revealed Overwatch, it turned out to not really be much of an MMO.)

And yet superheroes are killing it in movie theaters; the comic genre has transcended geek culture to become thoroughly mainstream. There should be a huge audience for such games, and superhero MMOs just plain make sense: They're an ideal setting for fun skills and powers, beating up bad guys, and dressing up in costumes.

So what's the deal? Why haven't we seen a staggeringly huge superhero MMO? Are they in fact too niche after all?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Are you gaming on Thanksgiving?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

It's Thanksgiving in the States, which means that no one's manning the Massively yacht! Ahhhhh! Just kidding. It mostly means that I'm eating too much stuffing and mashed potatoes and hopefully gorging myself on some uninterrupted MMO time after dinner.

What about you, Massively readers? If you're celebrating today, will the festivities include any game time?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Does nostalgia impact your gameplay?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

swtor
The MMO industry has been kicking around long enough now that we have ample opportunity to opine about the "good old days" (March 22nd through the 26th, 2003) and get nostalgic about practically everything.

We've got MMO sequels that reference their ancestors. We've got MMOs that have several Easter eggs pointing to their single-player title origins. We've got game designs that are coming back into style after being left out in the cold for many years. We have MMOs that use every marketing trick in the book to get old veterans to come on back for another romp. And we have a plethora of crowdfunded games that rely on plucking that nostalgic nerve to get you to open your wallet.

So in the MMO genre, does nostalgia impact your gameplay at all? If so, how?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: What's the ideal subscription rate for an MMO?

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Subscription

Massively reader BlackArmsAkimbo recently opined that WildStar wasn't worth a $15 monthly sub but he'd seriously consider paying $5. On the surface, it might seem silly -- why quibble over $10? You can barely buy a burger and fries for that in a big city. But maybe we don't think of subs in terms of money at all -- subs are being compared not to the value of fast food but to the value of other MMOs that charge the same price.

The traditional MMO sub sat at $10 for several years before jumping up to $15, a number that World of Warcraft adopted and cemented as The Standard for the industry, which means that nearly every sub MMO that's launched in the last 10 years also charges $15. Every MMO is ultimately compared to WoW in terms of value for that sub. And every game that does charge less is assumed to be lesser, which is hardly fair -- consider how much content RuneScape's £4.95 a month gets a sandbox gamer.

I know I'd be more likely to keep up a bunch of subs if they were cheaper, but that's because I've mentally moved on to comparing an MMO's value to Guild Wars 2's, not WoW's, and I get a lot for my box fee from GW2. What about you? What do you think is the ideal subscription rate for an MMO?

[Edit: In a complete but ironic coincidence as this post was written last week, RuneScape just announced a subscription hike today.]

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: What does your scariest avatar look like?

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

I don't generally roll evil characters, but in service of chasing some Star Wars: The Old Republic legacy achievements, I made that dude up there in the header. He's not particularly fun to play, given his despicable dark side acts, but at least he provided me with a Daily Grind topic.

What about you, Massively readers? What does your scariest avatar look like?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: What's your favorite physical MMO memento?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

I was doing some housecleaning recently and found a box of old game geekery. Most of it was junk since I've gone digital, but there were a couple of odds and ends that I put on the shelf in my office where I keep mementos from titles that made an impression.

In terms of MMO stuff, I found an original Neocron box and a hefty stack of all those EON magazines from EVE Online. What about you, Massively readers? Have you kept or collected any physical MMO-related mementos? Which is your favorite?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

wow
Yeah, we need to sort this out today because it's been bugging me. Where do your mounts go when you aren't using them?

I mean, I can squint hard and ignore how mounts poof in and out of existence like some sort of incredible magic trick that everyone in these virtual worlds can do. But when they leave, where do they go? Alternate dimension? Shrunk down and stuck inside of your back pocket, where your miniaturized horse can nibble on a carrot that's now the size of its head? Handed to an off-screen assistant who faithfully jogs along just outside of camera range until you need your sweet ride again?

How have you settled this issue internally? I need to know because this is (no pun intended) driving me nuts!

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Do special currencies in MMOs annoy you?

Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

A reader discussion in a past Guild Wars 2 update article made me realize, once again, how much I loathe special event currencies. You know the type: It's patch day, and here's an event, and if you want the rewards, you have to grind a shiny new currency to get them! Never mind that you already have a pile of gold (and in Guild Wars 2's case, karma and gems) earned through your adventures up until now; those credits are mysteriously useless at the new reward vendors, who accept only some new currency.

Commenters rightly pointed out that if modern devs did what old timey devs did, players would just rush in and buy everything on day one and not do the grind. But so what? Why should it bother us that people get to actually use the currency they've already earned and banked? That's the whole point of gathering money in MMOs in the first place. And if there's so much existing currency in the world that everyone could buy everything without additional grind, that's the studio's problem for providing insufficient sinks and a poor economy in the first place, not ours. In fact, special events themselves could be an awesome gold sink! Instead, event currencies signal to players that their existing achievements and savings matter not at all and that the event isn't really going to be much fun on its own merits.

What do you think? Are you also sick of special currencies in MMOs? What would you prefer to see in their stead?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Would you play a historical MMORPG?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

One of these days I'd like to play a historical MMORPG with triple-A production values. Maybe something set in the American old west, or the Renaissance, or maybe even something prehistoric (and preferably sandboxy). Some of gaming's most successful franchises have certainly mined historical periods with great success, whether we're talking about Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, or Red Dead Redemption.

Why not MMORPGs, then? Why does almost every title have to be fantasy or sci-fi? What about you, Massively readers? Would you play a a game without wizards or ray-guns? Would you play a historical MMORPG?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Are you still playing WildStar?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

wildstar
My name is Justin, and I have a confession: I still play WildStar. I even... like it. I know! Stop spitting on me already!

It seems as though 2014 is the year of new games getting tarred and feathered (usually justly) after their much-anticipated releases, and WildStar is no different. I won't deny that the studio has a lot of work to be done on the game, but my feelings for the game haven't changed. I still really dig this weird sci-fi romp, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Maybe it's the housing system (the best I've seen, period), the memorable world, the quirky humor, or the variety of activities, but I haven't grown bored of it yet.

Are you still playing WildStar? Have you been hesitant to say so after reading so much negativity around the internet? Speak up and let me know that I'm not alone!

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Do you read gaming-related novels?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Stewart Butterfield
No, not the novels posted in our comments. Actual novels. Literary and pulp fiction!

Gamasutra recently ran an article chronicling an author's attempt to publish and market a book aimed squarely at gamers. The writer ran into difficulties, however, because of the publishing industry's insistence that "gamers don't read books." He got his book published, but when marketing fell to him, he couldn't convince gaming outlets to cover it, and even though reviews were positive, sales were poor.

Major MMOs like The Elder Scrolls Online, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, and Star Wars: The Old Republic all released lore-oriented novels, but my suspicion is that such books are made to sell games, not to sell books. What do you think -- do you actually buy and read gaming-related novels?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: What's your favorite MMO ship?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

I finally got my ArcheAge fishing boat over the weekend, and now I'm setting my sights on bigger and better ship designs. And I'm doing a lot of fishing, naturally!

I'm kinda partial to the Lutesong Junk, but then again the Eznan Cutter is pretty badass, too. What do you think -- what's your favorite in-game ship in ArcheAge or any other MMO?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Should EVE Online add manual flight controls?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous

The Daily Grind title image
On Friday, developer CCP Games stunned us with the news that EVE Online will be adding manual flight controls in December's Rhea update. Gamers have been asking for twitch controls since EVE launched in 2003, but the idea has always been shot down as infeasible because it would put the server under extremely heavy load. CCP mentioned its interest in twitch controls during Fanfest 2013, and I speculated on a possible server-friendly implementation in an EVE Evolved article shortly after, but the fact that the feature is about to be released still comes as a huge surprise.

The new controls will be optional and quite limited. Ships will be able to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise and pitch their ships up vertically up and down, but we won't be able to do loops or rolls like in a dogfighting game. Developers also want to add joystick support soon, but so far there are no plans to add manually targeted ship weapons. Many players are excited for the new controls, and some of them are already asking for further features like the ability to lock the camera behind their ships for a more hands-on flight experience.

The announcement has prompted debate in the EVE Online community, and not everyone is convinced it's a good idea. Some have complained that twitch controls don't suit EVE as the ships are supposed to be massive starships with full crews rather than single-pilot fighter craft. There's also some cynicism over whether the feature is only being worked on now due to the growing popularity of Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous. EVE could be positioning itself as a viable alternative for any players who are disappointed with the new space games, a strategy that has worked in the past to help it absorb players from games like Earth & Beyond and Star Wars Galaxies.

What do you think? Should EVE add manual flight controls, and is this an attempt to appeal to the mass market?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Are giant bosses getting ridiculous?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

tsw
While this problem isn't confined solely to MMOs, the enlargening of bosses feels like it's getting out of hand in our genre. Practically every villain is the size of an Airbus while retaining nimble, kinetic posturing more akin to a mongoose. Is it that when these beings got so big they had no other employment options than to be the target of do-gooders?

It simply could be a sign of developer practicality. After all, larger mobs are easier for parties and raids to target and watch over the heads of other players. Also, some people might get a constant kick out of beating up something 50 times their size. "I might not have gotten that job promotion," you think, "But at least I downed Godzilla's broodling and cut off his head to put over my virtual mantle!"

What do you think? Are giant bosses getting ridiculous?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: Have you made use of an advanced character in an MMO?

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind

WoW
World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion launched yesterday, and if you managed to preorder in time, you now have a shiny new level 90 character upgrade awaiting you. WoW isn't the first or only game to offer advanced characters, of course; RIFT, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online, among others, all sell boosted characters so that players can skip over the early game and jump right to the new stuff. This feature has been tremendously helpful to some of my guildies who haven't played WoW in a while and wanted to join us in the new content without catching up an old toon. Without the feature, I'm not sure some of them would have returned at all.

I've taken advantage of the feature in UO especially to avoid the tedium of skill grind. On the other hand, I've still never had the urge to seriously play the cute Gnome Mage I rolled the last time Blizzard offered free character boosts. I just have too many characters with history already (plus my husband mains a Gnome Mage!).

What about you, Massively readers? Have you ever made use of an advanced character in an MMO? What did you think of the experience?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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