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Opinion

The Daily Grind: Does your first character end up as your main?

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Races, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO Redguard Nightblade
I made six characters during yesterday's Elder Scrolls Online headstart. The saddest part of that isn't my altitis but the fact that I still don't know which of them is going to be my main!

I began with a Redguard Sorcerer, decided he didn't fit the lore well enough for my liking, and switched to an Orc Dragonknight. I got a little bored with him and made a Bosmer Nightblade and so on and so forth. I may end up going back to the Sorc after all, but I just don't know yet.

What about you, Massively readers? Does your first character usually end up as your main?

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!

EVE Evolved: Mining is broken, but it can be fixed

Sci-Fi, Culture, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved: Mining is broken, but it can be fixed
Mining has a reputation for being the most boring activity in EVE Online, but it's always filled a niche role as a low-effort way to make ISK and play with friends casually. When there's no PvP going on and you can't give your full attention to smashing NPCs in missions or anomalies, mining fills that downtime with something more lucrative and social than spinning your ship in a station. The problem is that mining has slowly become obsolete over the years; alternative mineral sources now supply much of the market's needs, and the risk of flying a defenseless barge just isn't worth the mediocre payout.

It's currently more efficient for an individual to buy minerals with ISK made via some other form of PvE, such as level 4 missions or incursions. And on the macroscopic level, such huge quantities of minerals hit the market from alternative sources such as reprocessing loot that the economy could potentially function with no miners at all. CCP has tried to make mining more appealing over the years with buffs and new ships, and the devs recently announced plans to nerf mineral compression as part of a campaign to make mining worthwhile, but I think it'll take a lot more than ISK to get people mining again.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at how mining and reprocessing are at odds and suggest some ideas for new mining features that could revitalise this long forgotten profession.

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WoW Archivist: Warlords of Draenor hates The Burning Crusade

World of Warcraft, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Family, Dungeons, Subscription, MMORPG, WoW Archivist

Draining a naaru
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on March 28th and is included here by permission.

In many ways, The Burning Crusade was the birth of modern WoW. Most of TBC's innovations are still going strong in WoW today and have been ever since their introduction. Looking back, I find it's striking how many key features of WoW were absent in classic, unveiled only during the game's first expansion.

Even more striking, however, is how many of these innovations Warlords of Draenor seems poised to undo. Just as Garrosh will undo the transformation of Draenor into Outland, Warlords seeks to unravel most of what Blizzard innovated during TBC. The next expansion will take us through a portal into a very different WoW.

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The Daily Grind: Do you separate your in-game and out-of-game behavior?

EVE Online, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox

EVE Online Ravens
CCP recently released an official statement condemning out-of-EVE harassment. In that same statement, though, the company said that in-game bad behavior is not only acceptable but essential to its version of a sandbox.

The separation between player and player character is a common sentiment among MMO fans, of course, whether you're a griefer, a raider, or a roleplayer. What say you, Massively readers? Do you try to separate your in-game and out-of-game behavior, or are you the sum of your actions in both virtual worlds and meatspace?

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!

Free for All: Will there ever be another setting like Ryzom's Atys?

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Culture, Game Mechanics, Ryzom, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Races, Casual, Free for All, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox

Ryzom map
Ah, Ryzom. To this day it remains one of my favorite MMORPGs for several reasons. I was reminded just how much I still enjoy the game when I logged in to witness a storm rolling through the land, lightning sizzling from the sky, rain falling straight down on my character's head. The planet that Ryzom players find themselves on is called Atys, and it's no ordinary planet. In fact, it's not a planet at all. Instead, it's a giant rootball that floats in space.

Yes, a rootball.

I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure that a massive rootball is an impossible thing, but it doesn't matter. The game's original designers were French, and if you follow French MMOs, you know they always seem to come up with something completely unique. In this case, Atys is literally made up of a wad of giant roots and bark. I have to wonder: Why aren't there more unique settings like Atys in gaming today?

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The Daily Grind: Do you hate model recycling?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Rosh
I have one minor but persistent pet peeve across all of the MMOs that I've played, which is that it really bugs me to see armor and weapon models recycled over and over again. Yes, I know it's a silly complaint because it's just not realistic to expect artists to come up with an endless supply of unique-looking gear, but every time I get a drop with better stats that either looks identical to something I own or something I used to have, I give a deep inward sigh.

I guess there are degrees of model recycling, depending on how many variants there are in the game, but I always wish there would be more. Do you hate model recycling, are you indifferent to it, or do you think I'm being a jerk to the art team by just mentioning this? Is the solution to crowdsource model art to the community, as is being done in some MMOs?

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!

Hands-on with TUG, The Untitled Game

Betas, Fantasy, Economy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, Sandbox, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

In my youth, my father handed me nails, wood, and a hammer and told me to build whatever I wanted. I managed to create swollen fingers and a few tangled heaps of wood and nails. Nerd Kingdom is a lot like my father, but instead of wood, the studio is handing me TUG, or as I like to call it, everything.

TUG is a sandbox RPG akin to Landmark or Minecraft, but something about TUG is different. Maybe it's the development team that contains working titles like Economist or Behavioral Scientist. Or perhaps it's the data-driven design philosophy, which claims to deliver a better experience by analyzing how we play. Regardless, it's clear that Nerd Kingdom is attempting to give us more tools to create, both for the players in game and the modders outside of it.

My recent demo, interview, and hands-on session showed me how TUG will unlock the creator's imagination -- with fewer swollen fingers.

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Working As Intended: What Guild Wars 2 got right

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Hands-On, Crafting, Buy-to-Play, Working As Intended

GW2
I returned to Guild Wars 2 recently after months away and was pleasantly surprised with what I found. No, there was nothing earth-shatteringly new, and no, I'm not going to praise the latest installment of the plot, but I realized that I'd forgotten just how much Guild Wars 2 managed to get right. I have many complaints about the game ranging from the way group combat in dungeons flopped to how the economy tanked to the fact that the living story bores me to tears. But Guild Wars 2 has some true nuggets of brilliance all the same, even if it doesn't have (I'm gonna say it) Cantha.

Let's talk about them.

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best 'ding'?

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

WildStar
Unless you're into sandboxy skill-based MMORPGs, the actual process of leveling up is probably an important part of whatever themepark you're playing. WildStar has been jeered at for its over-the-top level-up animation. EverQuest's ding is infamous; the jarring "chonnggggg" of it still haunts me, and some clever modder even made a plugin to add it to Skyrim. On the other end of the spectrum is Guild Wars 2, in which I frequently overlook the fact that I've leveled up at all because the cues are relatively unobtrusive.

What do you guys think is the best MMORPG "ding" of all 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 Soapbox: Let me tell you how little I want to raid

Endgame, Opinion, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous

Nope.
Over the past several years, Blizzard has been very attentive when it comes to making it easier for players to raid. Raid sizes have gone down, then they've moved over to a flex structure. The raid finder was added to the game. Mechanics were toned down, while getting drops has been made even easier. With the next expansion, you won't even need to toy around in difficult instances to get ready for raiding; you can just jump in pretty much from the point you hit the level cap.

All of this in response to a lot of people saying that they don't want to raid -- all of this so thoroughly missing the point of that statement.

This is one of those hurdles a lot of designers can't seem to conceptually get over. World of Warcraft's design team has had years of people saying this, and every response from the team has been missing the point so completely that it's almost absurd. I don't want to raid, at all, ever. End of discussion.

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The Daily Grind: Does your guild have a unique angle?

Fantasy, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online dungeon group
I've been seeking out Elder Scrolls Online roleplaying guilds over the past couple of days and while there are thousands to choose from, most trod the exceedingly familiar path of the mercenary company and/or the lovable band of roguesbrigandsthievespiratessmugglerssoldiers.

I'm not saying it's easy to come up with something different, mind you, since most modern MMORPGs skimp on non-combat gameplay. But still. I've seen a tiny handful of trading guilds and even an entertainment troupe or two, so I know it's possible.

What about your guild, Massively readers? Assuming it's a roleplay group or something other than a loose collection of meatspace pals, does it have a unique angle?

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!

Leaderboard: What do you do when you're out of content?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Leaderboard

Lord of the Rings Online - Farming in Snowbourn
I recently finished Lord of the Rings Online's epic story on my main character. Then I maxed all three of his crafting specializations. Then I polished off a bunch of outstanding deeds and a few interesting lower level quest lines that I had inadvertently missed.

As a result, I feel like I've pretty much "beaten" the game, even though there are still rep grinds, dungeons, and PvMP stuff that I could technically do if I found them interesting. I don't, though, so aside from roleplaying and the occasional Middle-earth screenshot soiree, I'm done with LotRO until the next expansion or whatever.

Are you in a similar predicament, Leaderboard readers? What do you do when you've exhausted all of a game's content that interests you? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Choose My Adventure: My final week with PlanetSide 2

Sci-Fi, Opinion, War, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Choose My Adventure, PlanetSide 2

PlanetSide 2
I'm sad to say that this is my final week in PlanetSide 2 for Choose My Adventure, but I did come away with some new thoughts on the game. Playing the Heavy Assault, Light Assault, and MAX opened up my eyes to the other side of the fence and showed me that these are more than just run-and-gun classes.

And with more information on the Valkyrie aircraft revealed over the weekend, we can certainly see that Sony Online Entertainment is still dedicated to supporting the game. This is a good thing considering so many MMOs with PS2's ambition often fall flat merely months after launch when the numbers inevitably drop. Not so for this one, it seems.

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WildStar's gameplay is all too familiar to MMO vets

Betas, Sci-Fi, Opinion, Hands-On, WildStar, Subscription, MMORPG

broken granok
WildStar has a lot going for it. I might tell you it is the new RIFT, which was the new World of Warcraft, which was the new EverQuest, and I'd almost feel done for the day. Now, I don't buy an MMO and subscribe to it unless I intend to play it regularly for at least three months, and I rarely subscribe to multiple MMOs. Since WildStar is coming out in a year already packed with solid MMO releases, I'd like to consider at the pros and cons of the game in relation to the rest of the industry through the eyes of an MMO veteran.

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The Daily Grind: Is Elder Scrolls Online in a good shape to launch?

Fantasy, Culture, Launches, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
Right now is the calm before the Elder Scrolls Online storm, the holding of one's breath before it can be released next week. I won't be playing it but I'm happy for those of you who will, since a major new MMO release is always a cause for celebration and energizes the larger community.

However, I have one question today that I'd like to put out to those of you who were in the beta test, either extensively or during one of the weekends: Is ESO in a good shape to launch? Did it get adequate testing? Are the bugs fixed or is it an insect-lover's paradise in there? Is it being pushed out the door firmly but prematurely due to a fixed date or is it sailing gracefully on its own steam with no major reservations? Do you take the devs' words that launch will be a polished, lag-free 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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