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The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind: What constitutes a grind in an MMO?

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

Photography by Mylius
I can't remember when I first heard the term grind, but I imagine it might have been Ultima Online, when you could grind your way to Glorious Lady status killing a mongbat a minute (or was it five?). Then there was grinding mobs for levels in EverQuest, grinding missions for skill and money in Star Wars Galaxies, and then, finally, deliverance in the form of World of Warcraft, in which we'd level by completing quests! No more grinding! Right?

Well, not really. After a while, quests became grinds. Daily quest grinds. Achievement grinds. Faction grinds. Crafting grinds. Guild grinds. Pretty much everything can be made into a grind if studios infuse enough repetition into a game. We don't know what grind is, but we know it when we see it!

Let's try to define it once and for all. What constitutes a grind in 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: Did you try Destiny over the weekend?

Betas, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Consoles, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

I kinda wanted to check out the Destiny beta over the weekend. I don't typically beta anymore, but for some reason I downloaded the rough cut of Bungie's sci-fantasy opus to my PlayStation 3 and was all set to give it a whirl.

Alas, Comcast had other plans, so I spent the better part of my weekend disconnected. What about you, Massively readers? Did you check out the Destiny beta now that it's open to everyone? If so, what did 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 non-MMO dev would you like to see make an MMO?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

Seeing some of our readers' perspectives on John Romero was interesting and occasionally terrifying. Romero, of course, recently made headlines by equating modern F2P with 1990s shareware. A couple hundred comments later, Massively readers had shared their opinions on Romero's opinions.

Which for some reason led me to speculate about non-MMO developers making MMOs. So, how about it, folks? Is there a game developer who has never made an MMO that you'd like to see make one? Who is it? If not, why not?

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 have a regular gaming group?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

eq
Some of my best experiences with MMOs have involved regular gaming nights with a set group of friends. These days I only have a Monday night The Secret World excursion to look forward to with my cabal, but it's undoubtedly the highlight of my gaming week.

I have friends who have been playing a Monday night LotRO skirmish group for years now, and they often regale us with tales of idiocy, running jokes, and extremely slow leveling. But the point is more to socialize and have fun than progress, which I can respect.

Do you have a regular gaming group for your MMO? If so, how did you get into it? What exciting adventures have you gone on lately?

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 suck at MMOs?

Culture, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

WoW
That's a serious question.

Back in February, our sister site WoW Insider published an editorial called You're bad at WoW, and so am I. Author Olivia Grace argued that no one is perfect at any game, that everyone makes mistakes, and that the worst mistake is not admitting those weaknesses because then you'll just keep on sucking. Reading our comments sometimes, you'd think that everyone reading here is a world-class player who's better at ALL OF THE GAMES than professionals and certainly than the developers, when the reality is most of our readers are probably above-average gamers slacking off at work. Ahem.

Personally, I'm pretty good at the psychological warfare of economic PvP and general PvE dungeon-running, but man, jumping puzzles and platforming -- I'm horrible at these things. What about you? Do you suck at MMOs? I promise I won't laugh at you if you won't laugh at me.

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 MMO company has given you good customer service?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Bugs, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind

A couple of Lord of the Rings Online's Inn League deeds are broken, which is unfortunate because the main reason I showed up for this year's Summer Festival was to finish the Inn League stuff on my newest character.

I submitted a customer service ticket, and after having it closed with no action because I was offline (Turbine CSRs can't email, I guess?), I opened another one and remained online for a couple of hours so that I could be told that there is nothing to be done about broken deeds.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I find Turbine's customer service off-putting. It's also a prelude to today's Daily Grind question. What MMO company has given you good customer service, and what was the circumstance?

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 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!

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