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The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind: What's the best loot system in an MMO?

City of Heroes, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

Massively commenters recently reminded me that one of the things that bug me about retro themeparks is the loot that drops in dungeons and raids -- or to be more specific, the lack thereof. You want me to pile how many people into a multi-hour raid and reward only one or two of them with a boss drop? Why we're so happy to bash lockboxes that abuse our money but not RNG lotteries that abuse our time stymies me.

I'd love to see more games like City of Heroes that reward everyone with his or her own drops for making it through to the end of a mission -- no roll window required, no DKP necessary, no ninja-looters possible. You do a thing and you get a thing, not just a dim chance at a thing.

What do you guys think is the best loot-drop system in an MMO, past or present?

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: When's the last time you stopped to smell the MMO roses?

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

I got my first aquafarm in ArcheAge over the weekend, and after I'd planted some coral and laid a few bamboo fish traps, I floated up to the surface and sat in my rowboat. My farm is situated inside a picturesque bay that almost always features player clippers cutting to and fro as well as beautiful weather and water effects that I've talked about before.

So I just sat there, taking screenshots and taking it all in. It's been quite a while since I've played an MMO that made me want to simply exist in it and it's nice to be virtually home, so to speak. What about you, Massively readers? When did you last stop to smell the MMO roses? What were you seeing or doing at the 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: What's the grossest quest you've ever done?

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvE, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

So yesterday I picked up piles of dookie in ArcheAge. Yes, there really is a quest in Anvilton that requires you to go around and fill your bag with yata manure, yatas being those floppy-eared rabbit/kangaroo mount things.

As if stuffing crap in my quest bag wasn't enough, there's an occasional overpowering stench status effect that causes my character to temporarily pass out and fall down. Finally, the end of the quest required me to deposit a huge helping of poo on an NPC's workbench, complete with buzzing fly and rising steam animations.

How about you, Massively readers? What's the grossest quest you've ever done?

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 "Oh %$#@" button?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

wildstar
I'm not the best under pressure in video game sometimes. When something really bad starts happening that I'm not prepared for, what I need the most -- and am always denied -- is the time to think it through. Whoops, I accidentally aggroed 25 hellbugs in RIFT when I only meant to grab three, and there's no place to run. What do I do?

Well, my friends, that's why devs give you the informally named "Oh %$#@" buttons. When the crap hits the fan and you need a little bit of breathing room to figure out how you're going to survive, these skills help by making you invulnerable, upping your dodge chance to 75%, completely refilling your health bar, or knocking all enemies away into the next time zone.

So what's your favorite "Oh %$#@" button? And how often does it get used?

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: Who gets your MMO accounts when you die?

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

WoW
Last month, Delaware became the first US state to pass a broad law to ensure that families can access their deceased relatives' digital assets. In most states, though, your spouse can't even log into your Facebook account to delete it if you kick the bucket. And that makes me wonder about MMOs. It might be macabre, but I actually maintain a document that tells my survivors how to distribute my digital property, including my MMO accounts and characters, usually to guildies who will appreciate them and/or leave my characters dancing naked on a mailbox forever in tribute. Does anyone else do this? Do you have a plan for how to divvy up your MMO accounts and such when you die?

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 game are you sorta but not really following?

MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, The Daily Grind, World of Warships

Every time I see or write something about World of Warships, a little voice inside my head goes, "hmm, that actually looks pretty good and you should follow it." And then something happens and I forget about it until the next time I see a blurb or whatever.

The point is, I'm kinda sorta interested in WoWS but it's still somewhat on the periphery of my gaming vision. What about you, Massively readers? Is there a game that you're semi-anticipating but not really following? Or am I just crazy?

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: How should studios handle server merges with open world housing?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Housing

archeage
We had an interesting question come up in the office the other day concerning all of the open world housing in ArcheAge. What if the game (perish the thought) shrunk in population and then faced server merges. How would the studio handle merging populations that had equal claims on housing plots?

It seems to be a recipe for disaster any way that you look at it. One solution would be to force everyone out of the pool, er, server and then make a completely new server for those populations to fight over. Another solution would be to award a housing plot to the character with the most seniority.

What do you think? How should studios handle server merges with open world housing?

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 do you think of ArcheAge's PvP?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

I've been playing a lot of ArcheAge since Friday, but I'm still not level 30 on any of my characters so I still haven't sampled much of the game's PvP. In fact, aside from an ocean-going trade run last night where I tagged along as a lowly level 12 and ended up on the wrong end of a level 35's sword, I haven't PvPed at all.

What about you, ArcheAge fans? Have you PvPed yet, and if so, what did you think of 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: What class are you playing in ArcheAge?

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

I'm decisionally challenged in ArcheAge, at least when it comes to which class combination I'm going to play on my main. The game's skill system is extremely flexible, and I've been dabbling on a Warpriest (which is sort of an Archer/Healer with a bit of melee thrown in for good measure) as well as a Sorcerer and an Abolisher (Battlerage, Defense, Auramancy).

The good news is that you can respec, but I'm still having a hard time settling. What about you, ArcheAge fans? Do you have a favorite class combo yet?

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 MMO gold sink?

Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD
I realize that asking "what's your favorite gold sink" is a bit like asking "what's your favorite way to eat poop," but I'm confronting an MMO reality here: MMO economies generally spiral out of control when the currency poured into the game isn't drained out at the other end somehow, whether it's through decay costs or housing maintenance or people leaving the game forever and literally taking their gold piles with them. Obviously, this last one is not ideal.

I was impressed at Neverwinter's recent move to auction rare companions off to the playerbase, a system that won't solve the inflation/duping problem in one pass but could, given time and repetition, drain money from player moguls voluntarily and reward them with prestigious but non-game-breaking and effectively worthless trinkets.

That's my favorite kind of gold sink. What's yours?

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 RIFT?

Fantasy, Culture, Expansions, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, RIFT

RIFT
RIFT's upcoming expansion, Nightmare Tide, got me really amped to get back into the game after I previewed it at PAX Prime. I've always had a soft spot for this game, loving its ease of use, multiple content paths, and flexible mix-and-match class system. I've almost never quit under duress, which has made returning pretty simple every time.

Are you playing RIFT right now? Have you been playing it for a good long while or did you come back as I have, for next month's expansion? For a bonus discussion topic this morning, what do you like about this 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 ideal MMO raid length?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons, Destiny

Destiny
I thought it was interesting earlier this month when Bungie explained Destiny's raids: They're smaller than what MMO players would expect from a raid (six players), but they come with some rather old-school MMO lengths, lockouts, and death penalties. One test group, the devs said, took 45 minutes just to get to the front door!

Bungie doesn't expect MMO-savvy players to take nearly that long once they've soaked up some internet guides, of course, but the article did make me wonder what gamers are willing to tolerate raid-length-wise nowadays. I remember giant raids that went on for days in EverQuest all the way up to quickie group-finder raids in World of Warcraft. Making them shorter (and cutting out the trash) didn't really make them easier or less fun, but it sure did enable more people to play them, which seems like a better way to justify the dev time spent on them. What do you think: What's the ideal MMO raid length?

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 game needs (better) tutorials?

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Marvel Heroes

Let me state up front that I thoroughly enjoy Marvel Heroes. That said, I find some of its mechanics pretty obscure. Like, costume cores. What the heck am I supposed to do with those? To be fair, I could probably find the answer on the game's labyrinthine forum, but since I play it ultra-casually and somewhat infrequently, I'm usually too busy enjoying the clickfest to tab out and search.

TLDR, this game needs a tutorial or two, in my opinion.

What do you think, Massively readers? Is there an MMO or an MMO-lite in your rotation that needs some in-game explanation?

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 forest?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

ddo
I love me a good forest in an MMO: One that's not too dense, not too annoying to navigate, and not too full of shrieking spiders jumping on me from above. Give me a quiet, gorgeous, lush grove to wander through and I could easily lose myself in the game.

Some of my favorite forests include LotRO's Lothlorien, World of Warcraft's Elwynn Forest, and Dungeons and Dragons Online's King's Forest. Each has its own personality and absolutely beckons to be screenshotted as I softly wander through its flora.

So what is your favorite MMO forest and what do you like about 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: Are day-one reviews of MMOs fair?

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Launches, MMO Industry, Previews, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Destiny

This is pretty much how I feel during launch week
We've discussed the issues associated with previewing and reviewing MMOs on Massively before (we don't do "reviews" at all, you'll recall), but Bungie has brought the topic to the surface of MMO discussion once again. Ahead of Destiny's launch this week, Bungie wrote a blog post echoing what most MMO developers have long known: Experience with a launch MMO, with its systems not fully formed and its players not swarming the zones, can't really produce a review that fully captures the feel of a game with millions of people fluttering around in it. And even in a game with only 20 levels, a day-one reviewer can't possibly have completed enough content to deliver more than a snapshot of the gameplay.

Bungie didn't even mention the likelihood of the day-one MMO launch disasters that we're all so unfortunately familiar with, disasters that often make MMOs unplayable, never mind unreviewable. Still, if a game sucks at launch, isn't it fair to say so? A snapshot is useful for what it is, and there's no reason a developer should get a free pass on criticism at launch just because MMOs usually improve with age and warm bodies.

What do you think -- are early MMO reviews fair? How do you weigh them when deciding whether to purchase a game?

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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