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The 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!

The Daily Grind: Are MMO class consumables due for a revival?

Classes, Game Mechanics, News Items, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

GW2
While most MMO players are probably familiar with consumables in MMOs like food and drinks or even enchantments and gems, class consumables like spell reagents and ammo are now fairly rare but used to be a lot more common. Ultima Online, EverQuest, and Asheron's Call, for example, all included a reagent mechanic. For many years, Ultima Online's mages carried sacks of such reagents required and consumed by each spell they hoped to cast. High-end raid-related spells in EQ ate expensive gems, and AC1's reagents had a chance to go up in a puff of smoke each time your cast fizzled.

Themeparks like Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft have veered away from this design path. In fact, WoW itself started life requiring reagents for special spells and ammunition for bow- and gun-wielding classes, but Blizzard removed them several years ago in the pursuit of both simplicity and class balance. After all, it wasn't very fair to require only some classes to spend extra gold and take up weight or inventory space on consumables.

Still, such mechanics added a level of immersion as well as annoyance. What do you think -- do class consumables deserve to make a comeback in MMORPGs?

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 there any long-term MMO goals that you plan to complete in 2014?

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

I managed to finish another couple of class stories thanks to Star Wars: The Old Republic's double XP week. Though the game has been out for nearly three years, getting through all eight arcs is taking a while since I dabble in so many other MMOs.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, and I think that even without another double XP event, I'll finally be finished before the end of the year. What about you, Massively readers? Are there any long-term MMO goals you plan to complete in 2014?

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 untried portion of an MMO have you been playing lately?

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

So it's double XP week in Star Wars: The Old Republic right now, and I'm pretty sick of the Kuat Drive Yards flashpoint. I popped into a Galactic Starfighter queue out of sheer boredom, and while it's a far cry from the space sims I love, it was a pleasant diversion.

What about you, Massively readers? What previously uninteresting or untried portion of an MMO have you discovered of late?

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 ordering NPC minions around?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Buried among the announcement of RIFT: Nightmare Tides was the addition of collectible minions to the game. Players will supposedly be able to order minions around on various tasks to benefit their characters, which sounds pretty awesome to me.

It also seems to be the latest entry in a growing movement of player-controlled NPC minions in MMOs. Star Trek Online has the duty officer system, Neverwinter has a cool web game that uses one's companions, SWTOR allows you to boss around crew members, and Warlords of Draenor looks to have something similar with its garrisons.

Do you like this type of feature? Is it enjoyable to send your loyal subjects out to do your bidding even if you're not in the 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: What's the best loot you've ever scored in an MMO?

News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

WildStar
Everyone's got a a story or two about the time she scored that one really great piece of game-changing loot in an MMORPG. There was the time I won the piece I needed for my World of Warcraft Priest's Benediction/Anathema staff (still have it, too!). There was the time I landed a 120-skill powerscroll for my Disco-Archer in Ultima Online. And there was the time I lucked out on my first Guild Wars birthday and received a bone dragon, a minipet whose sale for a virtual fortune helped me bankroll my characters' gear and my obsessive trading habit for years to come.

Even if we wouldn't call ourselves lootmongers, we still love getting a new shiny -- the rarer, the better. What's the best loot you've ever scored in an MMO? Let's hear some juicy tales!

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 ArcheAge class name?

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

This is a Stone Arrow but I wish it was a Vulgarist
Among the many, many things to like about ArcheAge is a class name roster that puts the entire rest of the MMO genre to shame. You think I'm exaggerating? Well, let's start with the fact that the game features 120 class combos, which are essentially builds comprised of three distinct skill trees.

If you choose to mix the Occultism, Shadowplay, and Vitalism skill trees, for example, you're a Vulgarist and you get a nice little Vulgarist tag underneath your character name when people mouse over your avatar. If you'd rather dabble in the Songcraft, Archery, and Occultism trees, you're a Gravesinger. Or you could be a Fiendhunter, a Chaotician, a Planeshifter, a Jackknife, or a hundred-odd other kick-ass names!

These are just a few of my personal faves, too, so have a look at this list and tell me your favorites.

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 there be a statute of limitations on dev statements?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

Like elephants, gamers have wrinkled, grey hides and freely poop all over the savannah. Oh! And like elephants, gamers never forget. They especially never forget anything a developer has said in the past if it ended up being contradicted by the studio or a prelude to a momentous mistake.

I've been guilty of slingshotting these statements back to the point of origin from time to time, and judging by our comments section, there are quite a few of you who get a special thrill out of being able to bludgeon devs with their own words. But lately I've been wondering if there should be a point where we, y'know, just let these quotes go. Time moves on, situations change, and devs are as fallible as the rest of us. Should there be a statute of limitations on dev statements, and if so, how long should that be?

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 to tank in MMOs?

Classes, Game Mechanics, PvE, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Dungeons

No, the other kind of tank.
The very first serious MMO tank I ever played was my day-one Warrior in World of Warcraft. I'd had dozens of characters in MMOs before that, but I was too chicken to step up and actually tank endgame fights. After all, as Massively commenters pointed out, there's a lot more to tanking than just taunting the boss and knowing when to hit your specials. Tanks need leadership and game knowledge far exceeding what's expected of other party archetypes. They're expected to lead the party, to know how the fights work, and to keep everyone else in line. Tanking is setting yourself up for a world of stress and the judgment of strangers. Depending on your temperament, it can become unfun in a hurry.

I still play that Warrior when I resub, Protection-specced for all the days I've played her (minus an hour back in 2006 when I foolishly thought Fury might be nice for a change). But I'm always leery of dungeon-queueing with that character even though I love the actual mechanics of being the meatshield. What about you folks? Do you actually like tanking in MMOs? How do you overcome the stress?

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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