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The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind: Would you spend money in an MMO for your guild?

Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Image courtesy of Joystiq
A recent Gamasutra piece chronicled a monetization design consultant's journey into what he calls a "social elder game." Author Ethan Levy participated in multiple high-end, time-limited guild-vs.-guild events in an unnamed online game to see just how much guild members would need to pay out to keep their guild competitive. Hundreds of dollars later, he was able to push his guild into the top 100 to receive what he called "B tier" gear. In fact, he estimated that the top 100 guilds spent between $85,000 and $100,000 -- just on that one event.

I'm willing to give my guildies a lot of things -- Steam games, a spot on my couch, my old video card, thesis proofreading -- but I wouldn't drop that kind of money just to make us competitive in a video game, especially if I felt a studio was being exploitative with its "social elder game." Would you? Would you spend money in an MMO for your guild? How much?

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: Which MMO has the best fishing?

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

I've always liked fishing in MMOs. Funnily enough I don't care for meatspace fishing all that much, but sitting on a virtual dock reeling in catch after catch never gets old.

ArcheAge has taken my appreciation for MMO fishing to a whole other level, though. I'm still fairly newbish at it, but I did land my first successful sport catch the other day, and it's a ton of fun to go cruising around the ocean looking for telltale flocks of birds before chumming up the water and settling in for a lengthy battle with a sturgeon.

What about you, MMO fishing connoisseurs? Which game does it best?

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 SWTOR class ship?

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

I've been dabbling in Star Wars: The Old Republic lately. I know, I know, but 12x experience plus Star Wars equals a re-sub. Anyway, I've gotten another couple of class stories out of the way, and thus have been exposed to another couple of class spaceships.

Thus far the Bounty Hunter's craft is my favorite, but I've still got the Inquisitor's to see before I can crown the best SWTOR spaceship. What about you, Massively readers? What's your favorite SWTOR ride?

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 advice would you give as a gamer to a developer?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

turbine
Communication between developers and gamers isn't always as simple as a one-on-one chat. The devs have an enormous microphone that gamers can't help but hear, but they also have everything they say scrutinized and analyzed past the point of helpfulness. Gamers, on the other hand, can only shout into the wind and hope that their voice rises above the rest of the mob to be heard by a studio team.

But let's pretend that today, all of the MMO devs in the world are in an audience and you are up on stage with the mic. What advice would you give them? What would you want devs to know if they were really listening to you?

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 an all-endgame MMO?

Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Endgame, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

I'm hard on MMOs with endgames, especially endgames that focus on a single repetitive activity. The problem isn't so much what that activity is but that MMOs spend so much time making you do something else before you can get to that activity -- instead of just letting you just do that presumably ideal and fun activity from the start. That's prompted some clever players to wonder, why not just make an all-endgame -- an all-raiding -- MMO?

To be clear, I'm not talking about sandboxes or persistent PvP games that can be perceived as entirely endgame. I'm talking about a classic themepark experience with the levels and questing ripped out -- just endgame dungeons and raids, pure PvE group challenge, from the moment you log in to the moment you log out. If raiding really is about the challenge and the thrill of big group PvE, such a game would be welcomed by hardcore raiders... right?

And more importantly: Would you play it?

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 spend time on facial customization?

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

ArcheAge has a lot of options for avatar facial customization. This is cool, but I wonder how many people actually use it.

My guess is that few players look at their avatar's face after character creation, and fewer still notice the fine details on other avatar faces. Maybe it's just me, though. How about it, Massively readers? Do you spend any time on facial customization in the MMOs that offer it?

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 like having NPCs fight alongside you?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

wow
The news that some garrison NPC followers will be able to become your bodyguards and fight alongside you is the first Warlords of Draenor information that's interested me at all. I love such systems in other games, such as companions in Star Wars: The Old Republic and Neverwinter.

It's probably the same reason why I like pet classes: Having a combat NPC there makes me feel less alone and more in charge of a team, even if there's only code on the other end and not an actual human face. (Or so I assume.) Although, as in SWTOR, it might be a little awkward in WoW to see dozens of people running around with the same companion you have.

Do you like it when a game gives you an NPC to be your bodyguard?

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 miss maker's marks in MMOs?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Crafting

UO
An off-hand joke in the Massively team email last week prompted a neat conversation about items in MMOs -- specifically, crafted items that have maker's marks attached to them so that players know which characters made them, even as they're traded from player to player through the years. Sadly, MMOs' insistence on bind-on-pickup items frequently makes discovering a crafted item made by someone famous, someone with a cool name, or someone who left the game years ago less possible.

Do you miss such items in MMOs? Can you think of modern MMOs that include maker's marks?

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 considered how much time you spend gaming?

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

I typed /played on a Star Wars: The Old Republic alt the other day, and I was surprised to learn that I've spent nearly 26 hours of my life on a throwaway MMO character! Granted, 26 hours out of approximately 700,000 (assuming I live to the ripe old age of 80) isn't very much. But still, it seems like a significant amount of time to devote to disposable entertainment.

What about you, Massively readers? Have you done a /played on one of your characters recently? Have you ever stopped to consider how much time you spend gaming?

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 long term MMO goals are you working toward?

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

I've resigned myself to getting a fishing boat in ArcheAge round about 2017. That's OK, because there's a lot of other stuff to do in the game and I'm having fun with it, but good grief does 250 gilda stars and two thunderstruck logs seem impossible at this point.

That boat is my goal, though, so I'm going to stick it out.

What about you, Massively readers? What long terms goals are you working toward in your favorite 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: What's the dumbest mount you've ever seen?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

rift
There are a lot of reasons why I'm super-duper pumped about RIFT's new water-themed expansion, but shark mounts that can "walk" on land are not among those reasons. Not only are these a safety hazard for anyone who grew up with a mortal fear of sharks after his babysitter let him watch Jaws when he was six, but it looks plain silly. There's a line crossed here with trying to take an animal that isn't normally a beast of transportation and forcing it into that mold.

But I cannot say whether or not this is the dumbest mount in MMOs, because that's your job. Well, your job as of today. What do you say?

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 server merges make you more or less worried about an MMO?

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

Server merges, megaservers, connected realms, server consolidations -- call them whatever you want; a server merge is a merge, and it means a game's population has shrunk and servers need to be shed. Usually, MMO gamers take that as a herald of doom and race to the forums and blogs to argue over the technicalities of who's going where, what stuff will be lost in the transfer, and who predicted something patently inevitable a year ago. Onlookers pronounce the game a failure.

But maybe that's the wrong atittude altogether. By the time most games merge servers, I'm usually heaving a sigh of relief. RIFT, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Wars Galaxies, EverQuest, even World of Warcraft -- all of these MMOs benefited enormously from their merges or faux-merges, in spite of the way merges look to people obsessed with schadenfreude. For players playing a game whose devs recognize a population problem and fix it while they still have the resources to do so, it's practically a game-saver, not a game-killer. When you're stuck on a dead server in a game that has just enough resources to keep going but not enough to merge, then the game is screwed.

What do you think: Do server merges make you more or less worried about an 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: What little things in MMOs put a smile on your face?

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

I loaded up Star Wars: The Old Republic for the first time in a while this week, and it seemed like BioWare upgraded its planetary approach cutscenes since the last time I played. Maybe it's just the one on Tatooine, or maybe it's always been that spiffy and I just don't remember it.

Either way, it's a nice touch that tickles my Star Wars fancy.

What about you, Massively readers? What little things about the last MMO you played put a smile on your face?

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 playing Lord of the Rings Online?

Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

lotro
Lord of the Rings Online has had a busy year in 2014, as the title took its first steps into Gondor, announced a brand-new class, and recently opened up the Dead Marshes for adventurers. I've been playing off and on this year, glad to be moving into the territory defined by the Return of the King. However, I won't deny that the lack of an expansion and the year's other big news have overshadowed this once prominent title.

So out of curiosity, I wanted to ask you if you're currently playing LotRO. Are you? Be truthful and remember that this is for posterity, so do be clear.

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 play on your MMO's public test server?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Sandbox

Ultima Online
Even after they're officially launched, many MMOs still maintain public test servers where volunteers can help the devs test out upcoming content (or at least sneak a peek at it). I am not usually one of those players, but long ago I spent a lot of time on Ultima Online's test center. UO made it super easy to test by allowing players to boost their characters skills and giving them a bank full of resources. In fact, I knew players who loved the flexibility and lack of grind so much that they considered the test shard their home shard in spite of the wipes, and even today game-wide events are still held there so that people from all servers can attend.

Do you spend time on MMO test servers post-launch?

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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