The Daily Grind: What’s the worst minigame in an MMORPG?

Sure, Gems is up there for obnoxious MMO minigames, but for me? It’s Polymock.

I had almost forgotten Polymock existed until a WoodenPotatoes video put it back in my field of vision. It was a minigame in Guild Wars 1 that somehow managed to be excruciatingly frustrating and unnecessarily latency-based as well as tied into the game’s valuable faction system. I remember playing it before everyone had figured out the optimal way to win, and by the time the strats were common knowledge, I just wanted to throw all my virtual Polymock pieces across the room and get back to playing the great MMO I’d actually signed up for.

What do you say is the worst minigame in an MMORPG?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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57 Comments on "The Daily Grind: What’s the worst minigame in an MMORPG?"

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Michael Lehner

Interesting. Polymock was skippable, basically self-contained so it didn’t have impact on the rest of the game, was not in dailies or anything and actually, once you learned it, it was predictable and controlable. A small game of tactics.

A while ago i would’ve pointed at some of the minigames in GW2 instead. Mostly stuff like keg fight or the crab toss thingie, which are pure coded frustration. While they still are technically optional, the dailies push you to go there, so they are a good deal worse than polymock.

Though, that was still a while ago. By now i found an even worse implementation of minigames: some of the weapons in SWL and their random effects working against the player.

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IgnisGray

This is a snarky answer, but I’d go with “trusting another player in a PVP game.”

I’d love to have a survival game / PVP-optional where I can trust my neighbors and fellow players not to already have a knife picked out for my back the first second we meet.

Loyheta
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Loyheta

This isn’t really a minigame but I loathe the Vase Off gate in FFXIV

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Bhagpuss Bhagpuss

“Gems”? Do you mean Gems in EQ? The “minigame” that was so popular when it was introduced that guilds had to cancel raids because too many raiders preferred playing Gems to killing dragons? Not quite sure how that comes out as “obnoxious”. Is it still there, I wonder? If it is I’m going to log in to EQ just to play it!

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Dread Quixadhal

I know some of you will consider this the “worst”, but I actually think it was the “best” mini-game in an MMO…. crafting in EQ2!

In the original crafting system for EQ2, you played a mini-game against the crafting station itself. You hit buttons to advance the progress bar and keep the quality bar at an acceptable level. Random events would pop up and require that you counter them, or they would take a big hit on your item’s durability, progress, or both… and also hit your character for a nice chunk of hit points!

There were 4 quality ranks, and while you could snooze through getting a rank 1 item (low quality), getting a perfect rank 4 item meant you had to understand the best mix of buttons to push AND keeping things in reserve to handle the random complications so you didn’t miss a single one.

The reward was, of course, an item that was on par with dungeon drops and could be sold for a solid amount of coin, or used as you preferred. The risk was not just a loss of your precious materials, but your character actually falling over dead at the crafting station. :)

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Brown Jenkin

I actually loved the EQ2 crafting system.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I’d have to say crafting in eq2 is the most engaging of any I’ve ever seen. It made you feel as if you were putting in the effort to ‘craft’ something.

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Tobasco da Gama

Most of them? I’m gonna go with most of them.

apridise
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apridise

jumping puzzles!

wandris
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wandris

Milking cows for hours in black desert to make food buffs. You know it’s bad once you start questioning your life choices.

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Alex Willis

Galactic Starfighter in SWTOR. Almost no contest here. Just an appalling waste of time and resources.

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starbuck1771

That and SWTOR’s casino

miol
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miol
Line
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Line

The “worst”… that’s hard to tell. Some of them were frustrating. Polymock being one of them.
Most are just soooo boring, like in Wildstar. No I don’t want to play Simon says hundreds of times, thank you.

One kind is actively detrimental to the game though.
The quick time event.
I’ll take FFXIV as biggest offender here, Susano is a cool fight.
And suddenly… special event before the second phase wow it looks amazing and the music gets epic and… you, the tank, just click here very fast kthx.
… talk about obliterating immersion and making what was supposed to be a 1v1 into yet another disappointing joke.

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McGuffn

Heart of Thorns launched with over a dozen minigames as value adders. They are all terrible and they all devalue the expansion.

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teh evilengineer

jumping puzzles

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thalendor

All the various minigames in Wildstar that you sometimes had to do as part of quests. The only saving grace, really, was there was an addon to do them all for you.

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Melissa McDonald

Worst: corpse runs
Best: corpse runs

Sure, I kind of hated it. But I also look back on it with nostalgia. It’s adrenalin-inducing to have to retrieve your B team set of gear for a dangerous foray into the same hell that took your life, and have to dodge or avoid the hulking behemoth who took it – often mere feet away – to retrieve your goods and body.

It made me play very smartly, carefully, and conservatively. Not like today. Pew-pew-pew.

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Schmidt.Capela

On the other hand, people like me find playing carefully and conservatively to be boring. I’m the kind of player that does reckless, and even stupid, things all the time just to see if I can pull it off.

Old guard here, BTW; I started gaming with Pong.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Ya this. COH was fun to charge through a mission bashing everything…real honest fun.

When we got smacked around by a nasty group though and then again and had to resort to pulling mobs…then, not so much. Then it didn’t feel….heroic.

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Xijit

That one where you have to pay real money for a box that gives you random loot, and most of it is just trash you could pick up in game for free.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Worst. Minigame. EVAR!

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

any kind of platforming beyond doing it for silly fun. ie any rewards tied to jumping puzzles or wall climbing beyond uncoded self satisfaction.

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zoward

“Wall-walking” in early WoW was fun.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

it also wasn’t rewarded by anything but teh self satisfaction fo doing it to do it purely to do it because it was there to do.

my argument is that when permeable rewards are associated with this sort of thing it sucks the fun out of it and changes it from something fun to do as a silly side activity on your downtime from the rat race, to something you have to do to check off a check mark

wether it’s some kind of achievement hunting or holocron hunts in swtor or the completion towards legenadries in gw2.

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Space Captain Zor

like Holocron hunting? :P

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

oh god…

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Space Captain Zor

haha! Makeb holocron!! woooo! *cry*

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Christhulhu

Login queues

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Schmidt.Capela

Not a MMO, but reminds me of The Sims 3. The loading times are so long the devs implemented a hidden object minigame, with rewards redeemable in-game so players didn’t feel like they were wasting their time by playing it.

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Utakata

Proving Grounds in WoD (WoW), because it became a must have in order unlock Heroic Dungeons…though they really had nothing to do with dungeons whatsoever. Hence, one had to come up with entirely different strategies to defeat a time base combat puzzle, for content that was from the previous expansion attuned to class balance from the previous expansion. Some players and classes excelled in this. While others, including myself where SoL, unless we got in help to “shadow” our way through it. Consequently, heroics took a beating in popularity, as there was far more effective ways of gearing ourselves that wasn’t Proving Ground gated…including Mythic raiding. o.O

To be fair though, I am generally not fan of mini-games. And I try to avoid them unless I am forced to. See above. :(

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Oleg Chebeneev

Proving grounds were a test if you are ready for heroic content. You just wasnt.

ps/ they were easy

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Utakata

People really believe this stuff, don’t they. o.O

…but putting the anecdotal aside…as I noted, “Some players and classes excelled in this.” I guess you where one of those, lol.

But no they weren’t, beyond the ridiculous claim they where. And demonstratively so, as I am doing heroics successfully now and before with no issues. Therefore, making PG’s the pointless mini-game they are. /shrug

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Reht

Pet battles in WoW

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agemyth 😩

I will fight you. 😠

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

I curious to know why? what’s wrong with it?

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Reht

They aren’t fun to me in any fashion, partially because the implementation is poor – the animations take way too long, maybe if we could turn off animations it would be better. I know they aren’t required, but figured i would give them a try since they have pet battle world quests. Just could have been done so much better.

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Schmidt.Capela

This is why in the real Pokémon games there is an option to skip animations, making each round take little more than the time it takes to select the attack.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Same here. I could never get into pet battles. Even archeology was 100 times more fun for me

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

Agreed, the system needs improvement.

Siphaed
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Siphaed

The simon says game from TBC as a “Daily”. So pointless, location so obscure, and made absolutely no since to the game than something random to add to the game. UGH!

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Schmidt.Capela

You could easily cheat in that (and most similar games in MMOs) if you had a second monitor open, or else if you didn’t play in full screen. Just assign a character to each color and type them in some notepad app while they are playing, then use that note to quickly and unerringly play back the sequence.

I kinda liked it for the free rewards that take about a minute to get (as long as you were already passing there in the first place).

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BalsBigBrother

Are jumping puzzles a mini game? If they are those my a large margin and the sad thing is I stupidly keep throwing myself at them while hating myself for doing so.

Um if not then I get annoyed at the simon says type ones that a lot of games have when they ask you to emote, both Lotro and Guild wars have them. Some have colour based ones too, Wildstar springs to mind. Yay for folks who are colour blind but at least with Wildstar you could mod that out so it auto-completed but that is not the norm in mmos.

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agemyth 😩

Hi, I came here to say jumping puzzles, so I’ll hitch my ride to your comment. Sadly, it isn’t a “minigame” in Guild Wars 2. It is a core feature imo since there are/were a lot of zones that had those rotten “puzzles”.

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Castagere Shaikura

Its funny because they used to be this side thing you could do at launch. Then they decided everyone loved it and made it a feature. This is one of many reasons i don’t play GW2 anymore. The crap they keep adding and the grind just get worse and worse. Was really a fun game when it first came out.

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teh evilengineer

legendary weapons required world competition and that included squeezing you charr through horrible camera gymnastics.

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Utakata

I suppose they are one more easy ones to implement, because they require no additional mechanics to make them work. Just cleverly (or stupidly) design environment that forces player characters to use their jump abilities to travers for a Cheevo and prize at the end…much to the horrifying frustrations of many.

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Ravven

Definitely jumping puzzles, I hate them like poison. I really suck at them…which probably has a lot of bearing on the first statement. :)

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I usually like the jumping puzzles in GW2 but the Mad Kings Clocktower is just a nope. I tried a few times then gave up.

Tizmah
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Tizmah

FFXIV, Kugane jump puzzle.

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squidgod2000

Vanguard’s fishing was pretty bad—totally latency- and framerate-dependent—but that was added after everyone with talent had already been fired, so it’s understandable.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Horizons, yes that one, eons ago used to have a running mini game that was latency dependent. If you didn’t have a fast computer or ratchet your graphics to potato level you could not succeed.

Otherwise, I know folks give the junkyard ‘Floor is lava’ challenge in Secret world a big raspberry for being wonky and unpredictable as to what counts as the floor of the junkyard.

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agemyth 😩

I lost my shit over Floor is Lava a few days ago. It was my first time noticing it was a challenge. It was fun for a few tries and then I started noticing how bad the floor detection was and how some of the jumps were spaced out.

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Schmidt.Capela

The ‘Floor is Lava’ challenge is frustrating for other reasons too, such as the uneven flooring that makes your jumps often not register because you were dropping a few inches when you pressed the space bar and the varying visibility; when I first went to attempt it in SWL a heavy fog had rolled in, making it impossible to see across some of the gaps I had to jump across.

On my second and third characters, though, I managed to get it done on my first or second try, which I did at breakneck speed. I love jumping puzzles when either there are no bugs or I know how to avoid them.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Yeah, there are places in the challenge where you should just sprint through and others where you need to take sprint off.

They have made some of the unseen challenges easier too. The one in the mine in Blue Mountain if I remember was hair-pulling awful. I got it first time around in Legends.

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Schmidt.Capela

You don’t need to turn sprint off. With my last character I did it from start to finish with Sprint IV active (the one that grants 200% move speed), and there were just a handful of places where I had to even take my finger off the forward key.

But hey, Super Mario veteran here; I’ve been beating platformer games for three decades :p

(Part of the reason I tend to dearly love jumping puzzles. For me to fail at them they need to be either too buggy or hard enough to piss off nearly every player.)

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I know the route I take requires a long jump onto a stack of tires towards the end and that used to be really wonky before. Seemed fine this time.

Of course, right at the end i annoyed a junk golem and it knocked me onto the ground…. *teeth grinding.

And some of us don’t have Sprint IV. I save my MoF for outfits! FASHION!

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