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The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind: How do you handle the wait for an anticipated game?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

lotro
Time is so frustrating, because sometimes you want it to slow down, sometimes you want to reclaim the past, and many times you wish it would speed up so that you could get to the good stuff. It's especially hard for an MMO gamer who is waiting for the arrival of a much-anticipated title.

Therefore, today I'd like us to discuss how we handle the long wait for upcoming MMOs or expansions. Unless you have a time machine that I don't know about, how do you pass the months? Do you eat up all of the information you can on the game and practically live in the forums? Do you do everything in your power to get into the beta? Or do you try to ignore it while immersing yourself in another game for the time being?

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 MOBAs?

Game Mechanics, PvP, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, MOBA

Demigod
We joke a lot on Massively about how there's a new MOBA released every day, but let's be fair: It's more like every other day. The first MOBA I ever played was Demigod, and that was back before the term had really become popular, before League of Legends had launched, and long before the deluge of MOBA clones had hit us. I had fun, but I pretty much knew the genre wasn't for me. I like a bit more persistence to my PvP, and I really prefer larger-scale battles and worlds. This is why I play MMOs.

But the MOBA genre is young and evolving. Some MOBAs even seem to be trying to attract MMORPG players with cosmetic gear and first-person perspectives and even something that still looks a bit like personal housing. So here's the question for today: Do you, as an MMORPG gamer, play MOBAs? What would it take to get you to play them?

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 craft for fun?

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

Yesterday I spent an hour or so crafting a full set of gear and mods for one of my Star Wars: The Old Republic alts. I guess I could have farmed slightly better equipment in the lowbie flashpoints, but it would have taken longer and relied on the RNG gods, so it seemed more satisfying to hop on my main(s) and trick out the new guy with homemade armor mods, enhancements, stims, and weapons. Plus, I just like to make stuff, you know?

What about you, Massively readers? Do you like MMO crafting enough to do it for fun?

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 LotRO update or expansion?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

I'm kinda slow-poking my way through Blackroot Vale in Lord of the Rings Online's latest update. So far it's pretty standard fantasy themepark fare, but I'm enjoying it well enough thanks to the setting (Gondor!) and the general ease with which I can wander through it.

As far as LotRO updates go, I think my favorite would have to be the Riders of Rohan expansion, both because of its sweeping vistas and a delightful soundtrack. What about you, Massively readers? What's your favorite major update or LotRO expansion?

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 old MMOs retire gracefully while they still can?

EverQuest, Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

eq
You can't deny that certain MMOs from the dawn of the genre are getting a bit long in the tooth. Heck, some of them lost their teeth a while ago and replaced them with wooden dentures of power. Take EverQuest, for example. Even with a free-to-play transition, numerous updates, and a dev team that's pushed that game engine as far as it can go, it's still an old title with a high-water mark that peaked before most current players started on their first MMO.

So here's a contentious question for the day: Should games like EverQuest retire? Should they go out with some dignity right now rather than face future humiliation by becoming increasingly obsolete? Wouldn't studios be better off focusing resources on new additions to their franchises? 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 the ideal death penalty for an MMO?

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

Fallen Earth
If your first MMO was a modern themepark MMO, you might not realize that a corpse run and a small repair bill are fairly light penalties for death. In Ultima Online, if you couldn't make it back to your body in time, a devious player (or mob) might come along and relieve your corpse of its loot. If you were a murderer, you'd even lose stats! Your gear was safer in EverQuest, but you'd lose experience, and you'd still have to run from your bind spot back to your body, assuming it wasn't in such a dangerous place that you needed a Necromancer to summon it. And games like Asheron's Call and City of Heroes once had experience penalties so harsh that it was possible to cripple a character so much that you might as well just reroll.

MMOs are torn between wanting to make death feel meaningful enough that people are careful but not so punitive that players would rather log out than recover. What do you think is the ideal death penalty for 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 upcoming MMO are you giving a second look?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

Up to this point I've been pretty meh about Camelot Unchained. It's nothing personal, I always enjoy Mark Jacobs' game development perspectives, but to be frank neither Warhammer Online nor Dark Age of Camelot held my attention for more than a month. Blame Star Wars: Galaxies, I guess.

Then I started reading some of these "batshit crazy" CU reveals and now I'm thinking that this game might be for me. I'm saying "might" because I've followed this genre long enough to take grandiose design docs with a grain of salt. But hey, at least I'm hooked and will keep reading, right? What about you, Massively readers? What upcoming MMO are you giving a second look?

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 want adjustable difficulty levels in MMOs?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

DDO
There were a few of us sitting around the other day moaning about how a certain MMO (that will not be named because we're afraid of it just like Voldemort) was too difficult for a casual player who wanted to see the content without concern for rewards. That got us on the topic of adjustable difficulty levels, something that's quite common in most video games but not so much in MMOs.

That doesn't mean difficulty levels are absent from the online gaming space. Dungeons and Dragons Online, for example, has expanded its difficulty options for instances that allow players to set it at anything from solo all the way up to tough-as-nails elite. RIFT also implemented chronicles to allow raid-shy players a way to see these fantastic setpieces and get the story without having to join that niche community.

Do you want to see more adjustable difficulty levels in MMOs? What would that 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: Do you tell people you're a gamer?

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

I'm not ashamed that video games are my hobby or my job, but reconciling games with the real world isn't easy. I don't volunteer details about what I do to anyone I suspect just wouldn't understand. But sometimes people ask you directly. Earlier this summer, I was in the hospital (having a baby!), and my nurses kept asking what I did for a living -- you know, just polite small talk. "I'm a journalist," I said. Few people inquire further. But one did, and I sheepishly admitted that I write about video games. "Sweet," she said, "we play consoles in my house too!" She wasn't into MMOs, but we still talked about video games for half an hour, and I felt dumb for trying to hide what I do. More than half the country plays video games, so why do we hide it?

Maybe you don't, which is what I'm asking you today. Do you tell people you're a gamer? How do you reconcile your hobby with people who still think video games are for kids or weirdos?

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 Secret World deck outfit?

Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Secret World, Buy-to-Play

Before I get to the traditional question that powers the Daily Grind, I'd like to give a pre-emptive heads-up to any Massively newbs in the audience. Yes, it was a slow news day when this piece was published (8:00 a.m. EDT). Yes, this is pure fluff meant for fun and perhaps discussion over a cup of coffee.

With that out of the way, let's talk The Secret World. More specifically, let's talk about the game's spiffy deck-based outfits. I just finished collecting all of them on my Templar. Some of them are truly butt-ugly, but a handful of them make my character look even more badass than he actually is (which is pretty badass, don't get me wrong). Anyway, which deck outfit 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: How much time do you spend on irritating quests?

Fantasy, Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, The Secret World

Yesterday I spent an hour and a half doing this stupid jumping puzzle in The Secret World. It was the fifth tier of a six-tier sabotage quest in Transylvania, and I absolutely hated every minute of it! I kept at, though, inventing a few new curse words along the way, and I finally finished the quest.

What about you, Massively readers? How much time do you spend trying to complete frustrating or irritating quests?

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 newbie support system?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Everybody's a new player to a particular MMO at some point, even if grizzled vets would like you to believe that they were already at the level cap when the cosmos came into being. I think it's easy to forget how complex and mystifying these games can be to a fresh set of eyes, especially when one is coming into the game long after launch.

That's why I always applaud an MMO that puts an emphasis on supporting newbies with helpful advice and even structured mentorships. Two examples come to mind: Fallen Earth has a terrific help channel that's staffed with volunteers and CMs on a regular basis, and Anarchy Online had a player advisory group that roams the beginner zones looking to help lost players.

So which MMO do you think has the best newbie support system?

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: Is the term free-to-play intentionally misleading?

Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Mobile, Miscellaneous

Earlier this month, Britain's Advertising Standards Authority barred EA from advertising its mobile game Dungeon Keeper as "free-to-play." Why? Because Dungeon Keeper has a countdown timer that blocks progress in the game, a timer that can be bypassed with money. "From the information available in the ad, players would expect the gameplay progression and their ability to advance to be unhindered by unexpected and excessively onerous delays," wrote ASA, "and we therefore considered that the length and frequency of these countdown events was beyond that which would be reasonably expected by players. [...] While we understood that the average consumer would appreciate that free-to-play games were likely to contain monetization functions, we considered that they would also expect the play experience of a game described as 'free' to not be excessively restricted."

Welcome, ASA, to the MMO community's endless debate over what constitutes free-to-play! This "free-to-wait" game mechanic is nothing new to us; it pervades mobile titles as well as many MMORTS titles and indie MMOs (Glitch and Villagers and Heroes come to mind). As a gamer, I find the mechanic not so much exploitative as obnoxious, and I'd rather not see it spread. But I spy a slippery slope here. Do you think the ASA is right? Are MMOs with this mechanic (or similar mechanics) misleading consumers? Which F2P games could be legitimately F2P under the ASA's understanding of the term?

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 tend to believe dev statements?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Dungeons

Fangorn waterfall
Lord of the Rings Online community manager Rick Heaton created a stir recently when he said that raiders are few and far between in Middle-earth. After he explained that Turbine's data show raiders, PvPers, and forum posters as tiny fringe groups, he ended his announcement with the following statement.

"I fully appreciate and understand you won't believe a word of this. That's perfectly fine. It doesn't change the facts of the matter."

Predictably, a slew of comments ensued in which Heaton was accused of lying. Plenty of commenters, both on the Turbine forums and here on Massively, then posited that of course there are no raiders because LotRO's raid content sucks, Turbine's definition of "raider" is different from the commonly accepted definition (whatever that is), and dozens of other reasons. Which leads to an interesting question regarding official dev statements. Do you tend to believe them? Even when they irritate you or don't align with your personal wishes for a given 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!

The Daily Grind: Should devs give up on raid content?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

wildstar
It's certainly not a new concept that raids make up one of the smallest player populations in MMOs while sucking up a considerable amount of development time. Turbine's essentially given up on them for Lord of the Rings Online, while WildStar is double-downing on them from the get-go.

In the interest of allocating resources -- money, time, and manpower -- to impact the game the most, should developers stop making raid content for MMOs? I'm not saying to give up on small-group content, as that's far more popular, but the giant raids that seem to appeal only to the most hardcore guilds. Would those resources be better spent developing content that the majority of the playerbase will 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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