daily grind

See: The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind: What MMO tips do you wish you had known when you were a newbie?

One of the factors that keeps me from trying out more MMORPGs than I do is that there’s a certain element of anxiety that comes with jumping into these expansive games and trying to figure out what’s what. I hate the feeling that I’m doing something wrong from the get-go or ignoring activities that could help me down the line.

That’s why I try to do my homework and look for advice lists and guides that share what MMO veterans wish that they had known when they first started out in a game. It might seem obvious to an experienced player the right steps that should be taken, but we were all newbies once and remember what it was like to play in that fog of excitement and confusion.

Looking at your current main MMO(s), what tips do you wish you had known when you were first starting out? Let’s see if we can help out others with that advise today!

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The Daily Grind: Do you want to see the return of experience-loss-on-death in MMORPGs?

Last week, I mentioned experience-loss-on-death in EverQuest that was particularly irritating when caused by so-called GM events. Yes, that was in the long long ago, and even annoying stepping stones like vitae penalty are far in the past. Even Ultima Online penalizes only your title of nobility when you fall. Modern MMORPGs simply don’t diminish your character that way when you die anymore. It’s obnoxious and silly in a gameworld where you have little control over things like lag, trains, and flaky group members.

And yet something my husband mentioned last night reminded me that other games do still punish you for failure, including games like Overwatch, where your rank (and your recent wins and losses) determine your future placement. As he pointed out to me, when he loses enough to slip down a tier numerically, the game gives him five more losses before stripping his rank entirely. This annoys me, and I don’t even play.

It sounds incredibly antiquated, but for ranked non-MMO games, I suppose it makes some sense. But maybe it’s just me. Would you want to see the return of experience-loss-on-death in MMORPGs?

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The Daily Grind: What’s keeping you from going back to a favorite MMO?

It’s weird to think that I’ve been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic on and off since its release. Seems like such a long time ago. I’ve had great memories in that game and still appreciate the work that the team put into the cinematic stories, voice acting, and the occasional moral choice.

But as of late, it’s been more “off” than “on,” especially following the most recent expansion. I don’t like the subscription-locked endgame system, and pretty much everyone keeps advising me just to finish the story and then ditch the game. That’s disheartening to me. So I’ve been waiting to see what BioWare has in store for the long-term future. Depending on the direction that the game goes, I could see going back. Just not right now.

What’s keeping you from going back to one of your favorite MMOs? Is it a change, a lack of friends, or something else entirely?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees?

So Marvel Heroes has about six weeks to live thanks to the impending shutdown of the game following Disney’s decision to drop Gazillion as a business partner. That’s going to leave some superhero MMO players once again without a home, and though the game’s current Steam numbers can’t hold a candle to the number of players affected by the City of Heroes closure five years ago, we’re left with the same situation – and a similar roster of games vying for refugees.

The big superhero MMORPGs are still DC Universe Online and Champions Online, the former of which is certainly better supported with content, the latter of which may have more of that Marvel feel. There’s also three strong crowdfunding superhero MMOs still trying to fill the CoH vacuum: Ship of Heroes, City of Titans, and Valiance Online. Which MMO would you recommend to Marvel Heroes refugees? Would it be another superhero MMO, another superhero game or ARPG altogether, or something else? If you’re a former MH player, where are you getting your fix?

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The Daily Grind: How should MMOs handle old limited-time rewards?

Out of all the various event rewards I’ve gotten in Final Fantasy XIV, Legacy status is the only one that a new player couldn’t also acquire. Of course, that’s a pretty significant reward, since it means that it actually costs me less to subscribe to the game for all eternity. But every other holiday event item is still available; it’s just that a lot of them require dropping some real-world money. This may not, in fact, be a more popular option than just having them be gone forever!

Of course, World of Warcraft also has items (like CE bonus mounts/pets or the various BlizzCon goodies) that are actually gone forever and available for a limited time, although that time limitation is around two years. And then you have games like Final Fantasy XI, where each year’s holiday event gives you an in-game chance to earn every single reward all over again… great for new arrivals, less great for people who already have all of them already. What do you think, dear readers? How should MMOs handle old limited-time rewards? Should it vary depending on how you acquired them in the first place or based on game design?

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The Daily Grind: How can MMOs repurpose older zones?

One of the best gaming experiences that I had this past year was going through the entirety of the Bingo Boffin storyline from start to finish in Lord of the Rings Online. It wasn’t only goofy, rewarding, and oddly touching at times, but it was a thrill to be able to quest through some of my past favorite zones without having to roll up another alt.

Repurposing older zones for new content is something that the LOTRO devs have latched onto as of late (see: 10th anniversary quests), and I for one applaud this kind of initiative. It feels like such a waste to outlevel a zone and then never see it again. So much work goes into these places, so why not come back to them on occasion and squeeze some more enjoyment out of them?

What do you think? How can MMOs best repurpose older zones? What would be cool to go back and do in those classic zones with your current character?

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The Daily Grind: Where do you stand on WoW’s proposed new PvP system?

Buried in the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth reveals earlier this month was the huge PvP news that eventually, PvP servers, like the dying one I’ve been stuck on for half of forever, will be quietly converted into PvE servers. Instead of being constantly subjected to lowbie ganking while out questing in the world, PvP server players will join PvE players in taking part in what is akin to the Star Wars Galaxies-esque TEF system, only stricter. As you leave a major city, you’ll flag PvE or PvP, and that’s that. Flag for PvP and you’ll get a chance at things like extra rewards and faster reputation. The details are still up in the air, but as Blizzard Watch’s Ted Atchley points out, the rewards will have to be pretty sweet to entice most players to paint a target on their backs.

I’m not all that sad; PvP on PvP servers was basically pointless ganking for jack-all rewards, but there was just no way to convince a dozen friends to pay to move their entire stables elsewhere, so we soldiered on and put up with the random ganks on our leveling alts. I can still see taking the risk of being ganked if the rewards are huge, and the move will allow Blizzard to continue condensing its server groups too.

Where do you stand on WoW’s proposed new PvP system?

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The Daily Grind: How old should an MMO be to consider classic servers?

Last week, Justin and I were chit-chatting about legacy servers in MMORPGs when he said that Trion should really get moving on classic servers for RIFT. My first reaction was what, really, that game is way too young to need vanilla servers! But then I remembered playing on Ultima Online emulators within a year or two of launch. RIFT, which came out in 2011, isn’t exactly old, but it’s not brand-new either. It’s old enough to have weathered a lot of changes, some of which were probably wide-ranging and contentious enough to have created plenty of players who’d rather see them undone and the game returned to a more primordial state.

What’s the cut-off – or is there one? How old should an MMO be to consider classic servers? And if age isn’t the determining factor, what exactly is?

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The Daily Grind: How do you pick a mount in MMOs?

In some games, like Guild Wars 2, there’s more going on with mounts than just “run faster.” Frequently, you’ll have more important choices to make. Playing Final Fantasy XIV means that you sometimes will choose your mount based on its cosmetic abilities, there are abilities present for mounts in Neverwinter… you get the idea. And yet in many of these games, you still probably have a mount (or mount skin) that is distinctly yours, the one you use most frequently.

So how do you pick a mount in MMOs? Do you go for the one that was the hardest to get? The one that best suits the character riding it? The old standby that just feels like it’s closest to your personal aesthetic? The mount that takes up the least space? The mount that takes up the most space? Or just whatever mount gets randomly selected from your expansive collection, assuming you have an expansive collection?

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The Daily Grind: What is your favorite MMORPG combat pet?

As a die-hard fan of pet classes in MMOs, I’ve played just about any that were available in the games that I’ve tried. Naturally, some pets have become my favorites, vying for my affection with their blood, sweat, and belly rubs.

In Lord of the Rings Online, my Captain’s Oathbreaker companion traveled with me far and wide across Middle-earth, although right now I’m totally vibing on my Lore-master’s Bog-lurker (which I named Puddleglum). I will always have fond memories of my World of Warcraft Hunter’s spirit wolf, which I tamed back when you really weren’t supposed to be able to tame them. And I’m starting to take a shine to my talkative iron robot dog in Dungeons and Dragons Online, although he is a little too suicidal for my liking.

What is your favorite MMORPG combat pet? Which one did you end up bonding to and loving the most?

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The Daily Grind: What’s the funniest MMORPG?

During last weekend’s BlizzCon opening ceremonies, nothing got me like Hearthstone’s expansion presentation, and it’s not the first time Blizzard’s card game has done so. Maybe it’s the kind of thing you need to be an old-school WoW Alliance player to really get, but “you no take candle” as a serious theme had me rolling. Dumb inside joke? Executed to perfection? Check and check!

That said, I don’t play Hearthstone; I love everything about it but the card game aspect. I’m an MMO player, what can I say, and Hearthstone isn’t one. So where would I go if I wanted some of Hearthstone’s dorky but lovable humor here in our own home genre? What’s the funniest MMORPG?

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The Daily Grind: Have server merges ever driven you away from an MMO for good?

When I saw Star Wars: The Old Republic’s whole promotion for Knights of the Old Republic, I was momentarily tempted to log back in and make sure I got a promotional item. Hey, promotional speeders are cool, and I can use it for… wait, they merged servers right into not having an RP server, right? Never mind, I’m not going back anyway, what do I care? Just like that, the server merge killed any and all desire I might have had to go back to the game.

Our own MJ has written recently about how the horrid handling for Aion’s server merges basically killed that game for her. I know there are people who are unwilling to go back to ArcheAge due to merges requiring new land rushes that just aren’t worth the effort. And hey, I can understand deciding that you don’t want to go back just because a merge made you lose your long-time character name. So what about you, dear readers? Have MMO server merges ever driven you away from a game for good?

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