The Daily Grind: What did you misunderstand the first time through your MMO?

I have long resigned myself to the fact that no matter how much time I take in my first playthrough of an MMO, I’m going to miss about 75% of what’s going on in the story and world. It’s just a little too much and stories are scattered all over the place, and so my understanding of the lore becomes partial and fragmented.

That’s where alts come into play. Once I get a max level character, then I’ll start up an alt and re-learn the game world with the help of a foundation that I have established in my first journey. I’m on my third trip through Secret World (two in the original, one in Legends), and even now I’m still absorbing a lot more information that totally blew over my head in prior runs.

What about you? What lore, stories, and concepts did you miss the first time around in your MMO? Don’t be shy; pipe up in the comments and confess!

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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35 Comments on "The Daily Grind: What did you misunderstand the first time through your MMO?"

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Alex Malone

Mechanically, I’m going to say nothing – I generally don’t start alts until I’ve finished or nearly finished my main character. That means my main is maxed, I’ve fully learnt all mechanics, plus I’ll have completed all dungeons and most raids, as well as PvPed a lot.

Story / lore wise…..hard to say. I start every MMO with the intention of following the story, but it never lasts. I hate stories in my computer games. They just suck. I am a prolific reader of books so I am always appalled by the shitty storylines in computer games. MMOs are pretty much the bottom of the pile when it comes to quality story. So, there always comes a point when I just give up on the stories and start skipping as much as possible. With LotRO, that point didn’t arrive until Book 10 (about 4 months after release), with SW:TOR it happened within about 15 hours. Each game varies.

But, no idea how much I miss by skipping over the story. I still seem to know more than the overwhelming majority of other people in game so I think all I miss out on is the shitty reasons given for killing 10 rats or delivering some junk.

malrats
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malrats

It was definitely something to do with finding my corpse(s) outside of West Freeport.

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Castagere Shaikura

Roles in group play in some mmo’s. I didn’t remember it being so important in alot of them. Except if you were a healing. Just would run up to a mobs and attack like Leroy Jenkins.

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McGuffn

I read quest text, also took me a while to understand when to need and when to greed.

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Grim🎃 Darhk

When I first started my warlock in WoW, twelve or so years ago, I would cast my dots (Because I knew damage over time ment more damage, duh.) But then I would run up and melee the mobs because shadowbolt took forever to cast. So I’d be throwing dots left and right….and then auto attacking. I’m pretty sure I was affliction. But funny enough, when I’d pvp, I knew I wanted to shadowbolt spam and cast fear. I kicked the shit outa this druid that was making fun of me, because I played a lock like you’re actually supposed to in pvp, but then was a dumb auto attacker in pve. Idk where my head was in all honesty.

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Robert Mann

Grouping. I had a mixed control/dps spec. First dungeon, I was running every control ability as normal, but… it caused some extra pulls. So I got asked to only use certain of those abilities. Worked fine after that.

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Doubleplusgood

I made the mistake of playing ESO like I do every other MMO.

First, I divided all the crafting between multiple characters. Which is a big no no in ESO. Because crafting patterns so expensive and rare you want to keep all crafting on the same character or you end up having to get multiple copies of the same patterns. Which I have to do now.

Second, I always immediately fill up every available character slot and slowly take turns leveling multiple characters which another thing you shouldnt do. In ESO you should only play only one character and get it to level 50 as fast as possible so you can begin the Champion Point grind which can take up to a year to get to 660 CP cap. Plus CP points are shared for all characters on your account, so you should wait to level alts when they can benefit from being buffed from CP points. In my case, after 2 years I got my first level 50 and only realized then that I now had another year to get to max CP which I should have started long ago. And all my characters were level 40+ so didnt get to benefit from CP at low levels.

Third I bought a second copy of the game because it was only $15 each. But in ESO you get punished for having a second account, you have to do the CP grind all over again and you dont get to share your crown store purchases like mounts, pets or costumes between accounts. So I have never used the second copy of the game.

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CMDR Crow

I almost always have the same issue: I always think I’ll be playing a Roleplaying game, however it almost always turns out to be some kind of progression-wheel with next to zero focus on RP.

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Schmidt.Capela

It seems like whenever players compete against each other, even if “compete” merely means comparing what they have been able to obtain, the vast majority of players will become obsessed with efficiency and progression.

It’s why I keep my roleplaying to pen-and-paper RPG games. In those I have a hand-picked group of like-minded friends who also want to roleplay, and anyone that attempts to ruin the roleplay environment will be swiftly removed from the game.

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CMDR Crow

I’ve really gravitated to being a long-term player only in games that encourage or at least facilitate approaching from the RP perspective. ESO has really drawn my partner and I in due to the focus on story and rich lore (we’re both huge old-school TES fans.) We can also play together so easily and the CP system is super-awesome for alts. LotRO works for us on Landy due to the huge lore focus and amazing Tolkien community. Elite is actually crazy awesome for RP, such as that guy who is trying to “talk” to the Thargoids.

But I’ve dropped a lot of games more recently for being too cutthroat and too focused solely on the numbers. The irony being that I genuinely enjoy a hard endgame that does crunch numbers, etc., but the stretching of that mentality to all of a game really puts me off. In many ways I pine for the old days when there was more of a sharp distinction between enjoying the world and leveling (“casual play”) and endgame raiding (“hardcore play.”) They’ve become so inter-dependent that they ruin each other.

bereman99
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bereman99

I’m not sure why, but it took me longer than I’d like to admit to understand how the combo chains for melee in FFXIV work (coming from so many games where you built/spent resources as melee).

Starting as a Monk, I’d spam the first attack and use the next one in the chain as a “finisher” of sorts, and was all sorts of confused on what to use and when. This went on till right about level 20 when I reread the tooltips, figured out what combo potency actually meant…

Fortunately I hadn’t embarrassed myself in any dungeons, as I had also managed to miss one of the MSQ that was given at level 15 – I talked to an NPC in I believe Ul’dah and turned in the MSQ I was on, then somehow didn’t notice the NPC behind me with the next one…and I promptly wandered off and grinded FATEs for the next 5 levels thinking I wouldn’t unlock the MSQ till then. I knew through the Duty Finder that the first dungeon became available at level 16, and was all sorts of confused as to why I hadn’t been able to open it up (or obtain my Chocobo) by the time I hit 20.

For someone coming off nearly 7 years of off and on WoW and a couple years here and there in like 3 other MMOs, that was an incredibly silly couple of things to misunderstand.

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Utakata

Lots of things! Pretty much n00b is as n00b does. :(

…btw, that’s a lovely heard pic. :)

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Utakata

Edit/Erratum: …lovely *header pic…proper.

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kelvar

When WoW first came out a million years or so ago now my partner, my friend and I all played obsessively.

Back when you used to have to eat / drink to recover your health & mana. I remember we always had to wait a bit longer for my partner but we didn’t really mind.

At one point he was watching what I was doing and he gasped and said – you can eat AND drink at the same time!?! He always ate all his food patiently and then drank up afterwards. God he’s so adorable :)

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Hirku

Controls and interface were my biggest sources of misunderstanding/confusion/frustration when I first started playing MMOs. All the bars filling up the screen, numbers flying around like confetti, the agony of camera control (whaddya mean I gotta always hold the mouse button down just to turn the freakin’ camera?).

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rafael12104

The camera still sucks in some games to be honest.

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Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

For me it’s always about mechanics. I half expect the story to be non-sensical anyway. There’s always some key thing I discover two weeks later that I realize would have made leveling a million times easier.
One example of this was Wildstar at launch. They didn’t really stress that you shouldn’t mix damage and support abilities because they run off of two different sets of stats so I was mixing and matching all over the place and wondering why I sucked so bad. Apparently to do damage with a support ability, you need to pile on the support stat, not the damage stat. Parse that for a second.

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Chosenxeno .

The thing I misunderstood when I started MMOs was need vs greed. I thought “need” was a lot more broad than it was. I got kicked because I needed on an item to sell it because I thought selling stuff to vendors was how you earned gold lol

P.S. I don’t know what The Secret World was like before but I’ve really been enjoying Legends. Up to 50 hours in so far. Even grabbed the sub.

bereman99
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bereman99

Oh man, that reminds me of my first encounter with Greed…

I thought the little symbol of gold (the one they used in that game) plus the name meant that I had would have to essentially bid against the other players for the item. I had very little in the way of currency, so I was simply passing on a lot of stuff because I didn’t want to spend and lose out.

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Kickstarter Donor
Ironweakness

I guess I’m still making my first run through Rift and while the story is actually pretty easy to follow (they do a good job with story telling, especially in the latest expansion) I’ve had a lot of different types of currency thrown at me while leveling and I have no idea what most of it is supposed to purchase.

My first time through World of Warcraft (which was also my first time in any MMO) I assumed armor was the most important stat on your armor because… obvious, right? And so my hunter was a mix of intellect and agility mail armor. I just equipped whichever had the best armor stat. Made me popular in dungeons too.

Then lastly, I just started playing Destiny 2 a few days ago and in a lot of ways it is reminding me of those first few weeks and months in WoW because everything from the UI to the basic gameplay loop are foreign to me and I keep misunderstanding how they work. For example, I was following along the quests they were giving me which had me jump from the first planet— Earth to the the second one pretty quickly. It just felt like the pacing was off. Later I realized there were other side quests and missions I could have been doing before progressing the main story so I went back and completed them. There was so much more of the world to explore because of it.

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rafael12104

Ah, well now. Confession is good for the soul So… I’ll confess something. But it has to stay right here. I don’t want sully my pristine MMORPG reputation.

So, it goes back a number of years. Back when Ultima Online was brand new. Up until that time, I was a MUD dweller, and otherwise single player PC gamer. So, UO was a wonder and I was enjoying myself thoroughly.

As I was adventuring, Real Life got in the way. I can’t remember exactly what it was but I had to go afk, so, I hit spacebar and walked away from my PC thinking everything was just fine and dandy. So what did I do wrong? Can you guess?

LOL! Well, spacebar does not pause the game like in most single player RPGs! I assumed it did, but was rudely welcomed into this new MMORPG world when I came back and found myself pushing up daisies. Dead as a door nail. Not sure what killed me, but that little moment will stick with me for eternity.

There, I confessed. The noob move of all noob moves. Trying to pause and MMORPG! Talk about a misunderstanding. LOL!

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Schmidt.Capela

Funny thing, there are MMOs with a pause button. STO, if I’m not mistaken, allows players to pause instances.

(Which, mind, is a great feature. Pausing an instance, as long as all players in it agree, doesn’t hinder outside players in any way and can be really helpful when real life calls.)

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rafael12104

Oh, I like that. Nice!

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

The Secret World is dense with lore, there is no way to understand it all without watching or reading about it in some websites, that’s what i did before playing SWL, i enjoyed the lore more this way.

The same thing for WoW, and EQ2, in EQ2 i have no idea what’s going on, mind you, i didn’t play that game for a long time now, in WoW it took me many alts, many Know your Lore, Lorewatch (all from Blizzardwatch.com) and endless Wowpedia reading to get the story.

Dual spec in WoW, where there was such thing, the interface confused me so much, i got 2 same spec on my first character, i didn’t understand how this worked, tried to change it many times and every time it takes more gold from me, it got expansive, i deleted that character.

In the future: every new MMO or even old MMO i’m playing again will confuse me.

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Loyal Patron
Armsbend

I want to play tank in WoW but every time I queue up for a dungeon everyone already knows them so well I’m not really comfortable leading them through. So I guess I’m just learning group maps at this point.

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Daniel Reasor

I’ve gotten to where I prefer tanking over dealing damage as a way to learn fights, because you have your eye on more of the fight’s moving parts while you’re tanking, but it did take me years to work up enough interest to overcome my own anxiety.

I had a really good experience learning the Legion expansion’s 5-player dungeons, focusing on one at a time, reading up on the boss fight mechanics in the in-game Dungeon Journal before queuing up for that specific dungeon. The Journal’s a decent tool, with paragraph-long write-ups for specific roles.

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Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

This is one of those weird things I both love and hate about FFXIV. Even if you’re low level, tanking and healing are still a necessity in dungeons. I love my sword and board paladin, but to not feel stupid amongst the older players, I still go find at least a quick write up of every dungeon before I do them so I have at least the slightest clue of the mechanics before I go in. High level characters scaled down certainly make things easier, but they can’t carry you the way they can in WoW.

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Loyal Patron
Armsbend

Yup. There are roughly 5000 dungeons in WoW and I feel like I have to look them all up before I try to do anything requiring team play if I’m not just spamming dps. And I enjoy dps but after a while I get bored and want to take the helm you know?

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

that the most poweful people in star wars were not in fact jedi but actually kungfu masters XD

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rafael12104

My first laugh of the day. LOL. Thanks!

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Oleg Chebeneev

Not the first time, but both times I leveled post Cata in WoW, I rushed through levels by running dungeons and other shortcuts. I know vanilla quests and content very well, but I literally have no clue about quests in post Cata Azeroth besides the first 1-20 zones.

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Daniel Reasor

If you were familiar with the zones from questing in Vanilla WoW and still have some fond memories of them, I’d recommend taking the time to level some Allied Race toons via questing and seeing how each zone handled the Cataclysm, once Battle For Azeroth’s level scaling kicks in and you can complete a zone’s quests without outleveling a zone. There was some decent storytelling done in Cataclysm. I’m particularly fond of the arc that the Kolkar, Gelkis, and Magram centaur clans have in Desolace, but a lot of them are really good.

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Bryan Turner

It’s very Jarring, 1 to 60 takes place after Deathwing trashed Azeroth, 60 to 70 goes back in time 4 years to Outland where we see Garrosh being depressed and useless, 70 to 80 goes to Northrend where we really start seeing paradoxes like Garrosh spearheading an invasion of Northrend despite the fact that earlier from 1 to 60 he was in charge of the whole Horde, and Alliance quests 1 to 60 dealt with aftermaths to Wrath in Human areas yet 70 to 80 your part of the Northrend campaign that already happened.

That’s all good though because 80 to 90 content is current with 1 to 60 and makes sense.

Oh but then some real next level WTF shit happens and you go into another alternative version of Outland decades in the past so we all can get to kill long dead Lore Figures from Warcraft 1 and 2 becuase reasons.

All good though since 100 to 110 in Legion makes up for WoD by giving us the best expansion since Wrath.

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Hirku

Ah, so that’s why I have no idea what’s going on!

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Tanek

You are probably better off that way. Many of the quests were just repurposed with some words changed to match the new shape of the world. It can be jarring for anyone familiar with both versions.

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