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The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind: What naming restrictions do you approve of?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

WildStar
A recent beta patch in WildStar included several changes to its naming rules. Numbers in names are out but special characters are in. I'm really not a huge fan of most special characters because they're used to circumvent the fact that your desired name was chosen and so you're going to create a similar-looking name that will be all but impossible for your friends and guildies to type.

Of course, in some games this isn't a problem because players can pick any name they like as long as it's attached to their permanent handle. But that's got its pros and cons too.

What naming restrictions do you approve of? Personally, I wish all MMOs allowed for first and last names, since this usually solves the problem of taken names while increasing variety. I also don't know how prevalent "leet-speak" is these days to necessitate the removal of numbers.

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 economy?

Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Crafting, Player-Generated Content

SWG
I'm an incurable trader and merchant, maybe even more than I'm a crafter, so I'm forever droning on about the good ol' days in long-gone sandboxes where players, not raid bosses, delivered all the objects used in the world. Making stuff is great, and lots of MMOs, even themeparks, have that, but I also I like setting up shops, trading on auction halls, finding great deals, and knowing just when to buy low to sell high, which isn't always the type of creative PvP gameplay that modern MMORPGs enable, let alone embrace.

But you can't trade in long-gone sandboxes, either, so today I want to tap the collective wisdom of the Massively readers: Which MMO has the most vibrant crafting and trading economy, right now, in a legally playable and living MMO? Specifically, where's the best MMO to truly be a player merchant?

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 browser MMO?

MMO Industry, Opinion, Browser, The Daily Grind

Heroes & Generals is still badass
Browser-based MMOs aren't normally my bag, but yesterday's Heroes & Generals update reminded me that there are a couple of nifty ones out there. Aside from H&G and SOE's late great Clone Wars Adventures, though, I don't have much experience with the genre.

So, help me out, Massively readers. What's your favorite browser-based MMO title?

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 for or against data mining?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Big Brother
I'm just as much of an information and news junkie as most of you are. I probably wouldn't be working for Massively if I weren't, really! So yes, I like to know the full scoop as soon as possible, and I really can't resist getting sneak peeks at the good stuff. But there's a line that can be crossed in this relentless pursuit of information, which is being totally OK with data mining.

Data mining is the act of combing through game files to find hints of upcoming content or to completely spoil current content in the game. Sometimes it's employed by sites to break NDAs and spill secrets that devs want kept until a later date. Sometimes it's used to grab maps or discover the existence of a new class in the making. There have been plenty of times that data mining efforts resulted in rather large spoilers that robbed the official reveals of their impact.

So I'm curious: Are you for or against data mining? Is it too spoilery for you or do you appreciate the sleuthing efforts of dedicated fans?

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 real-world lessons have you learned from MMOs?

Culture, MMO Industry, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Back in January, a Lifehacker op-ed chronicled six things the writer had learned from playing World of Warcraft -- useful, real-world things, not just how to spec out a frost Mage. For example, he learned that things you like can feel like a grind, and he learned how to quit something wonderful with grace.

I've learned even more practical things than that from my years in MMOs. I've learned leadership skills, honed math and spreadsheet skills, and worked on mastering the art of patience -- OK, so I'm still working on that one. I've also watched ESL guildies perfect their language and writing skills and seen still others parlay this hobby of ours into careers in gaming and coding and journalism.

What about you? What real-world lessons or skills have you learned thanks to 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!

The Daily Grind: Did you reconnect with any games thanks to PAX East?

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Events (Massively's Coverage)

State of Decay campaign ending
Now that PAX East is winding down, it seems as good a time as any to take stock of the news coming from this year's convention. On a personal level, I was excited to hear about the (eventual) MMOification of one of my favorite games. I also enjoyed catching up with Guns of Icarus, an indie title already holding its own and with its eyes on a larger persistent world prize.

What about you, Massively readers? Did you glean any useful nuggets from PAX East or perhaps rediscover a game you'd not thought about in a while?

Massively's on the ground in Boston during the weekend of April 11th to 13th, bringing you all the best news from PAX East 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about WildStar, Landmark, or any MMO in between, we aim to have it covered!

The Daily Grind: Are kids MMOs in danger of dying out?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Kids, Family

Pirate101
As a parent of toddlers, I have often wondered what games I will be playing with them when they get old enough to want to dive into MMOs (if they ever want to, that is). Considering that during this past year we've seen several kid-friendly titles shut down, I'm worried that there might not be any left in a few years.

Recall that Clone Wars Adventures, Free Realms, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and Toontown Online have been terminated in the past 12 months and answer me this: Are kids MMOs in danger of dying out? I can take heart that KingsIsle is still going strong and that LEGO Minifigures Online is in development, but I don't see a lot of interest in studios making MMOs for the much younger set. What do you think?

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-related song?

Fantasy, Video, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online, Music

Malukah's Beauty of Dawn
We talk MMO soundtracks in depth here at Massively, but by and large our focus is on instrumental, orchestral, or electronic scores. Recently I've been setting my MP3 player on auto-repeat for a vocal track, though. It's called Beauty of Dawn and it comes to you courtesy of The Elder Scrolls Online and fan favorite Malukah, who rose to fame a couple of years ago on the strength of her Dragonborn cover.

What about you, Massively readers? What's your favorite MMO-related song (or artist)?

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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The Daily Grind: What do you hope to see at this year's PAX East?

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Previews, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous

PAX East
Massively will be on the ground in Boston at this year's PAX East, which officially starts on Saturday. We'll be scurrying all over convention land to check out WildStar, Landmark, EVE Valkyrie, Warlords of Draenor, Guild Wars 2, Star Citizen, The Repopulation, PlanetSide 2, Guns of Icarus, State of Decay, and Infinite Crisis, among others. A few big MMO studios won't be present, of course; I think everyone will grok why ZeniMax Online might be a bit too busy for another con just now. But big guns like Carbine and SOE and Blizzard will all be in attendance at the first gamer-centric rather than media-centric con of the year.

So what are you looking forward to seeing out of PAX?

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 deserves an expansion?

Culture, Expansions, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

UO
I'm actually really happy to see that Ultima Online might be getting expansions once again because I love seeing classic MMOs bucking the trend of fading away and becoming irrelevant. Actually, I'd really like to witness many more games get expansions, since an expansion gets the excitement, attention, and community interest like a mini-launch. That's always good for the genre as a whole.

So what game deserves an expansion? What would you like to see in it? You get bonus points if you manage to go the entire comment without using the word "Cantha" in 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: How important is the setting of your MMOs?

MMO Industry, Star Wars Galaxies, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Massively reader dirtyklingon recently wrote to us with an interesting observation. He was surprised at the backlash that was generated when SOE's John Smedley teased a new MMO for Star Wars Galaxies fans but then revealed it would not be Star Wars but a survival-based contemporary sandbox setting -- by most guesses, zombies. I don't think most people really expected Star Wars Galaxies II (or Star Wars at all, for that matter), but I was pretty disappointed. The setting of SWG wasn't essential, but I expected something much closer to it in theme from the new game, something a bit more space cowboyish without the Star Wars name. I'll tolerate a lot of settings to play a good sandbox, but a few are real turn-offs and can actually be dealbreakers. Like, you know, zombies.

What about you, Massively crew -- how important is the setting of your MMOs? Can it make or break your 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!

The Daily Grind: What's your definition of a polished MMO launch?

Fantasy, Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online - Spindleclutch swarm mother
I feel bad for ZeniMax, because it put itself in a bit of a no-win situation when it declared that Elder Scrolls Online's launch would be "polished" and "lag-free." The first of those terms is of course subjective, and there's quite a bit of wiggle room in the entire statement, but even so it was the equivalent of painting a bullseye on your chest and inviting the chorus of anti-ESO snarkanauts to take their best shot.

From my 50-hours-of-playtime perspective, though, the launch has in fact been completely lag-free. It's also been one of the more polished overall launches I've experienced in a number of years, though I wouldn't say it's number one (Lord of the Rings Online had fewer quest bugs out of the gate, which was all the more impressive since smooth MMO launches were unheard of in 2007).

In any case, what's your criteria for a "polished" MMO launch? Assuming you played ESO last week, does it qualify?

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 making a vampire or werewolf in ESO?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, The Daily Grind, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online werewolf
Vampires and werewolves may be somewhat cliche nowadays, but they have a long and, in my opinion, fun history in the Elder Scrolls series. So I was happy to see ZeniMax include the option to become one or the other in The Elder Scrolls Online, and I was even happier to see that to do so requires a rare spawn or a bite delivered by an infected player.

At some point, I'll be turning my Nightblade into a werewolf, just as I did with my Skyrim character. What about you, ESO players? Are you going all supernatural with one of your avatars, or is that not really your thing?

[Thanks for the links, Dengar!]

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 have you gotten outside of your gaming comfort zone lately?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

I think that one of the secrets to avoiding the "routine rut" as you age is to constantly be challenging yourself to try new things and get outside of the comfortable bubble you build for yourself. As a nester who likes his routine, this is a difficult thing for me to do but I try to do it nevertheless. In 2014, I made it one of my resolutions to get outside of my comfort zone as a gamer and continually try new things instead of going down the same-old paths as I always do.

So I'm trying new classes. I'm playing ugly characters. I am giving crafting, PvP, and even roleplaying a go. I'm diving headfirst into sandboxes and plucking away at older titles that have eluded my attention for years. Sometimes this is very frustrating and reminds me of why I like what I do, but once in a while I make a pleasant discovery and grow a bit more as a person and as a gamer.

So how have you gotten outside of your gaming comfort zone lately? What have you discovered?

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 convenience items in MMOs will you pay for?

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

Today's Daily Grind was inspired by a Lifehacker article about paying for real-world conveniences, like vending machines, fast food, and even laundry services. It's a question just as applicable to MMORPGs today, when most are free-to-play or buy-to-play and even the subscription games are loaded with cash shops begging you to spend money to make (often intentionally) disagreeable gameplay more agreeable.

I've seen MMOs offer everything from cheap mounts and skill packs to experience boosters and buff potions, all in the service of making the game more convenient for you at the cost of a few bucks here and there. Some such conveniences can seem exploitative; others don't. But today we're asking you: What convenience items in MMOs are you, personally, willing to pay for?

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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