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The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind: Do server merges make you more or less worried about an MMO?

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

Server merges, megaservers, connected realms, server consolidations -- call them whatever you want; a server merge is a merge, and it means a game's population has shrunk and servers need to be shed. Usually, MMO gamers take that as a herald of doom and race to the forums and blogs to argue over the technicalities of who's going where, what stuff will be lost in the transfer, and who predicted something patently inevitable a year ago. Onlookers pronounce the game a failure.

But maybe that's the wrong atittude altogether. By the time most games merge servers, I'm usually heaving a sigh of relief. RIFT, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Wars Galaxies, EverQuest, even World of Warcraft -- all of these MMOs benefited enormously from their merges or faux-merges, in spite of the way merges look to people obsessed with schadenfreude. For players playing a game whose devs recognize a population problem and fix it while they still have the resources to do so, it's practically a game-saver, not a game-killer. When you're stuck on a dead server in a game that has just enough resources to keep going but not enough to merge, then the game is screwed.

What do you think: Do server merges make you more or less worried about 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 little things in MMOs put a smile on your face?

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

I loaded up Star Wars: The Old Republic for the first time in a while this week, and it seemed like BioWare upgraded its planetary approach cutscenes since the last time I played. Maybe it's just the one on Tatooine, or maybe it's always been that spiffy and I just don't remember it.

Either way, it's a nice touch that tickles my Star Wars fancy.

What about you, Massively readers? What little things about the last MMO you played put a smile on your face?

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 Lord of the Rings Online?

Lord of the Rings Online, Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

lotro
Lord of the Rings Online has had a busy year in 2014, as the title took its first steps into Gondor, announced a brand-new class, and recently opened up the Dead Marshes for adventurers. I've been playing off and on this year, glad to be moving into the territory defined by the Return of the King. However, I won't deny that the lack of an expansion and the year's other big news have overshadowed this once prominent title.

So out of curiosity, I wanted to ask you if you're currently playing LotRO. Are you? Be truthful and remember that this is for posterity, so do be clear.

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 on your MMO's public test server?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Sandbox

Ultima Online
Even after they're officially launched, many MMOs still maintain public test servers where volunteers can help the devs test out upcoming content (or at least sneak a peek at it). I am not usually one of those players, but long ago I spent a lot of time on Ultima Online's test center. UO made it super easy to test by allowing players to boost their characters skills and giving them a bank full of resources. In fact, I knew players who loved the flexibility and lack of grind so much that they considered the test shard their home shard in spite of the wipes, and even today game-wide events are still held there so that people from all servers can attend.

Do you spend time on MMO test servers post-launch?

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 deal with publisher shenanigans for a game you love?

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, ArcheAge, Sandbox

I love ArcheAge. It's basically rekindled my passion for MMOs, and despite its design flaws and a godawful business model, it's easily my favorite genre title in quite some time.

That said, Trion's acting like it's never done this before. The company's customer service is flat out terrible, as the only response I've received to a ticket filed on September 25th has been a form letter asking me if I still require service.

And I won't even get into the botting and exploiting issues that remain unresolved and that bode ill for the future of the game's player-driven economy. All that said, I'm in a bind because there's no other MMO like ArcheAge, so I can either quit or I can deal with Trion's indifference. What about you, Massively readers? Do you put up with similar shenanigans because you love your game, or do you vote with your wallet and take your business elsewhere?

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: Have you ever enjoyed a grind despite the grind?

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

I've been fishing my ass off in ArcheAge. You kinda have to if you want to make a virtual career out of it, because it takes a while -- and a lot of clicking -- to get your fishing skill from newb to 10,000 and thus to the real meat of the system.

This is clearly a grind, and ordinarily I loathe MMO grinds. For whatever reason, though, I'm really enjoying this process. What about you, Massively readers? Have you ever found yourself enjoying a grindy activity even though you hate grinding?

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 of a completionist are you?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

eso
MMOs are dangerous territory for the "must see, do, and experience it all" type of player. With mission checklists, achievement pages, collections, rare kill lists, armor sets, and map exploration, these types of games appeal to and encourage completionists to fulfill their destinies.

So how much of a completionist are you? While I will engage in collections and achievements, they are still optional fun for me. What is mandatory are finishing up all of a zone's quests and filling out the map at a minimum. Also, if there are any options for fleshing out a character's development, I will be pushing to max out all of those fields. What about you?

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 MMO quests be delivered?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous

UO
I was tinkering in Ultima Online last week when I spied something I had forgotten about: quest givers with yellow exclamation points over their heads! In Ultima Online! The much-maligned mechanic has even retroactively invaded ancient sandboxes.

But I started to wonder what MMO players would accept as a mechanic for quest delivery. World of Warcraft's exclamation points are hated, Star Wars Galaxies' mission terminals seemed artificial, WildStar fans complain about pop-up quests, and there's no way I'd want to go back to EverQuest's keyword-based quest text. Hail, a_quest_giver_001!

So how, exactly, do you want your MMO quests doled out?

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 theorycraft or do you heed others' advice?

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

I've been playing with various skill builds in ArcheAge lately, and I think I've narrowed down one, maybe two, that I'm going to play for the duration. For the first time in a long time, I haven't looked at forum discussions or heeded flavor-of-the-month advice and am opting instead to test things out and arrive at some sort of personal happy medium between PvE viability, PvP survivability, and looking badass in my armor.

What about you, Massively readers? Do you do your own class or skill testing in your favorite game, or do you make use of theorycrafters and their research?

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 museums preserve MMOs?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

habitat
I may be in the vast minority here, but I am keenly interested in the attempt by the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment to resurrect (for however long) the incredibly ancient Habitat -- and to make it playable by folks today. Usually we consider dead MMOs as just that: dead. Yet we're starting to see more examples of strange resurrections and fan restorations that are reversing the decomposition process.

The Habitat story got me thinking about how these games might be saved for the long-term, particularly through special institutions such as museums. Twenty years from now, would you like to see your favorite MMOs restored and run using free museum servers to honor their legacy and to provide a way to revisit old stomping grounds? Is this a pipe dream when we consider issues of rights and IPs and other legal entanglements?

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 character bios due for revival?

Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Roleplaying, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content

SWG
One of my favorite things about classic MMOs is that they refused to give up on the "RPG" part of MMORPG. As in a tabletop game, in classic MMOs you were often given an opportunity to write a biography for your character, then import it into the game and attach it to your profile in some way so that other players could read it. In some games, having a superb character bio could snag the attention of a gamemaster and land you even more recognition in the form of a badge or achievement.

It bothers me that these little touches are missing from so many modern MMOs. They don't take much effort on the part of the designers, and they sell the impression that creativity still matters, that your character is more than just a chat handle and a suit of armor.

Are character bios due for a revival? Did you ever or would you use the option in your game of choice if you could?

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 report offensive names?

Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

Shitty names make Eanna cry
I've seen some truly awful player and guild names in ArcheAge recently. A couple of them made me laugh, but most were expressly designed to be as offensive as possible. And given the fact that Trion's customer service is similarly awful (96 to 120 hour response time? really?), said names will probably stick around for a while even if people bother to report them.

And that brings us to today's Daily Grind question. Do you report names, or do you just ignore them and go about your in-game business?

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 happy with the MMO genre at the moment?

Launches, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind

Now that WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, and ArcheAge have gotten their launches out of the way, it's kinda slim pickings for players looking forward to the next big MMO. There really isn't one in the pipeline unless you count Warlords of Draenor. And I'm not counting it because it's an expansion and it's more of the same old Blizzard.

The MMO genre we've got today is basically the MMO genre we're going to have for the next little while, barring some out-of-nowhere new game announcement. So, how do you feel about that? Are you happy with the MMO genre at the moment? Why or 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: How many button presses should it take to kill a mob?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

tsw
MJ and I were talking while playing The Secret World the other day about the game's legendary fight length. Well, at least I consider fights in this MMO as taking longer than normal. I told her that generally if a standard, level-even mob isn't dead by a rotation-and-a-half of my skills, or about eight button presses, then it begins to irk me.

Now it definitely depends on the mob strength and situation, but I don't want to be pounding 30 keys and sitting there for two minutes before a critter drops. However, saying that got me wondering what you all consider as a normal, acceptable number of button presses (or skills used) per fight. 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: Do you follow MMOs because of their designers?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

An interesting Kill Ten Rats article a few weeks ago pondered the idea that gamers purchase games because those games are "by the makers of" some other game -- to their doom. Much ado, for example, was made over WildStar's dev team because of its members' work on World of Warcraft, and names like Jake Song, Brad McQuaid, and Mark Jacobs carry a lot of weight when attached to a new MMO title. Yet star power doesn't necessarily make for a good or successful game, especially if that famous designer wasn't directly responsible for whatever it was that made an old game great. Akaneiro is still a mess with or without American McGee's tag.

What about you? Do you buy MMOs based on the past work of individual developers?

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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