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The Daily Grind: Is there any MMORPG slang that you just do not get?

A funny thread on the MMORPG subreddit last week reminded me that gaming slang is anything but obvious.

"I just now realized that OOM means Out Of Mana," wrote Redditor Pigmyz, "And I've been playing MMORPGs for 6 years." That led to a long thread about other gaming terms people had misunderstood through the ages.

My first year working for the site way back when, a writer submitted a piece to me for review, and I said "gtg," since that's what I was used to saying for "good to go" in MMO groups. The writer said, "No wait, proof my piece first!" thinking I'd meant "got to go." Last time I used that one!

How about you? Is there any MMORPG slang that you just do not get, or that you only figured out after a long period of confusion?

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The Daily Grind: Is in-game advertising the MMO genre's post-lockbox future?

Massively OP reader Sally Bowls pointed us to a fun piece on Frankengadget this week about Final Fantasy XV and its overt product placement. "Final Fantasy XV tricked me into buying Cup Noodles" through a "beautiful, devious combination of empathy and nostalgia," the author laments. The story content promoting the noodles seems like the sort of cheesy fake marketing you'd get out of a Mass Effect game -- I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite X on the Citadel! -- only it's real.

Sally suggests that we're all still fighting the lockbox gambling battle -- and losing -- while the marketing departments of online game studios are already dreaming up their next trick, which might just be an old trick that never took hold in MMOs, at least not yet. "I think the next outrage is going to be ads and product placement," Sally writes. What do you think? Is in-game advertising the MMO genre's post-lockbox future? And if it is, do you prefer that to lockboxes?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO do you most regret Kickstarting?

With Pathfinder Online, The Repopulation, and TUG all back in the news this week either hunting for money, being acquired, or undergoing a total do-over, Kickstarted MMOs are getting more side-eye than usual from the MMO playerbase.

It isn't as though MMOs never crowdfund and launch successfully; Elite Dangerous, Ascent, and Guns of Icarus are just a few of the ones that have done just that. But I'm willing to bet that any of you who've ever Kickstarted a game have a regret or two. I sure do.

Which MMO do you most regret Kickstarting, and why?

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The Daily Grind: Will you give The Repopulation another chance?

The after-hours Friday revelation that The Repopulation is relaunching early this year took a lot of our readers by surprise. The much-wanted sandbox MMORPG had been offline for over a year, and though updates had been scarce, we'd been told Above & Beyond was using Fragmented's profits to re-home Repop in its new engine, so there was grumbling at the lack of transparent progress, but not panic.

Now we know more of the story: that Fragmented wasn't making enough to make Unreal-based Repop a reality, and in order to get the MMORPG to market and make original backers happy, A&B says the clear choice was to offload the game to Idea Fabrik, the maker of Hero Engine.

Some folks seem OK with this unusual turn of events; they wanted the game either way, and Idea Fabrik does have a vested interest in seeing a solid game come of its engine (and is apparently in good financial health now). Other readers? Let's just say that there's been a lot of ranting from all corners -- people who feel they were lied to about the nature of the games, people who don't believe Idea Fabrik can finish the game properly, and people who are just soured on the whole experience of watching A&B give up its dream.

Where do you stand on it, once Idea Fabrik actually gets it out the door? Will you give The Repopulation another chance under its new owners?

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The Daily Grind: What's your biggest MMORPG inventory pet peeve?

I was surfing the Guild Wars 2 Reddit (because I'm a glutton for punishment) yesterday and bumped into a thread mocking some of the game's inventory problems. Actually, one specific problem: A whole bunch of identical items in the game just will. not. stack. Why do a whole bunch of identical reward bags have different item ID numbers? Because of reasons. It doesn't matter. It drives people bonkers because not only do you waste a ton of inventory space -- which costs actual money to increase, mind you -- but you waste a ton of time repeatedly clicking and trying to make stuff stack that never will.

That got me thinking about other inventory pet peeves, like the lack of gridification in The Elder Scrolls Online. So tell me: What's your biggest MMORPG inventory pet peeve? I won't even make you turn it into a gif!

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The Daily Grind: How often do you claim refunds on MMOs?

Chargebacks were a big deal in 2016: Black Desert, ArcheAge, and No Man Sky were all embroiled in community drama thanks to perceived chargeback abuse. PayPal even ended its chargeback protection for crowdfunding donations, making it harder for gamers who hand over cash to abuse the credit card system to get that money back.

But some games are offering you your money back and you're still not taking it.

Hero's Song, for example, recently went under, but John Smedley pledged to refund any Steam and Indiegogo purchasers who asked for their money returned. Yet there are folks in our comments who said they wouldn't take him up on that -- they feel they got their money's worth or don't feel it's right to take back what was intended as a gift, risks fully understood. That reminded me of when Glitch sunsetted after a couple years in operation and Stewart Butterfield offered everyone all of their money back from years of play and a lot of players said no way.

How about you? Do you claim refunds on games when available? How often do you do it?

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The Daily Grind: What's the most intellectual MMORPG?

We got a wonderful "deep thoughts" email from reader James earlier this week that serves as the backdrop for this morning's Daily Grind.

"It could be the whiskey talking, or the newness of coming back to a game after a year, but I am finding Final Fantasy XIV much more intellectual and meditative than World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic, etc. What MMO makes you think the hardest while playing?"

I'm going to resist the urge and say EVE aka Spreadsheets Online and instead give my nod to Lord of the Rings Online, which always makes me feel like I'm plodding through an intentionally archaic historical novel -- and I mean that in the nicest possible way. How about you folks? What do you think is the most intellectual MMORPG, the kind you can't just faceroll your way through because it really makes you think?

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The Daily Grind: Are you concerned for Daybreak's other MMORPGs?

Last night's startling news that Daybreak plans to sunset Landmark abruptly in February (while forbidding player emulators) sent the MMORPG community into... I'll call it "resigned and weary outrage." At Massively OP, we just spent the last month reliving last year's EverQuest Next cancellation thanks to the fact that it "won" so many awards -- Biggest Disappointment and Biggest Story, the reader vote for Biggest Blunder -- and was our most-commented-on article of the year. Landmark's sunset is sadly just a capstone to a year already dominated by Daybreak's decisions.

(The bummer is Landmark also narrowly took our serious award for Best Crafting, which it probably deserved, but most MMO gamers will never get to try it to understand why.)

Our comments last night were filled with concern for Daybreak's remaining games. We counted around 14 games canceled, most of them in the last few years, with DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2, EverQuest, EverQuest II, and the two H1Z1 halves being the only games left under the DBG banner (plus the mystery game they've been hiring for -- and it's now publishing Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online but doesn't actually own or develop them, so they're probably safe). Do you think Landmark was the last remnant of a bad business decision finally getting cleaned up, or are you concerned for Daybreak's other MMORPGs?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG has the brightest future?

One of my favorite recurring posts we do is on the healthiest MMORPGs in the genre, partly because it reminds me that we do have a pretty deep bench here, and partly because it brings people out of the woodwork to say "you forgot X," which actually means the bench is even deeper than that.

But we can't help but still wonder which one is the best. That's the question reader Squidgod has posed us today -- one "both simple and maddeningly complex":

"Which upcoming MMO do you believe will not only last for more than a decade, but also provide the most consistent gameplay experience throughout its lifespan?"

So let's have it out. Which MMORPG is most likely to keep on landing on the "healthiest" list for years and years to come? Is it the obvious answer or have the tides finally turned? Which MMORPG has the brightest future?

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The Daily Grind: What's the most expensive item you've ever bought in an MMORPG cash shop?

A few weeks back, I was super excited about the elk mount coming to the Elder Scrolls Online cash shop. I needed a mount in the game, and I had decided to wait for it -- what can I say, I'm an elk fan thanks to my talbuk obsession in World of Warcraft. But when the elk actually landed in the store, I realized to my horror that it was going to cost me about $40, thanks to the cash shop bundling, to get the damn thing. Forty bucks for a mount, what. I closed the window and sulked on Twitter, and in the end, I bought nothing.

That kind of money is nothing to some of you folks, I realize, and I suppose it's not really all that much to me. But I can get so much more bang for my buck in other games, or as one person tweeted to me, buying multiple copies of the game for friends to get them to play with me. I can't bring myself to give into that kind of a cash-grab, not even for a game I think deserved GOTY.

I also know that $40 is nothing in the grand scheme of MMORPGs, not when people are dropping thousands on pixel spaceships that can't even be flown yet. BryanCo knows it too since he's the one who proposed this question. Let's cut out Kickstarter packages and ship sales for the purposes of this question and let me ask you: What's the most expensive item you've ever bought in an MMORPG cash shop?

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The Daily Grind: Will you Kickstart any video games in 2017?

I backed only one Kickstarter in 2016: Hero's Song, which you'll recall didn't fund. While I'm generally suspicious of Kickstarter and have regretted a couple of my donations, I can't rightfully say it's a bad thing since it's one of the big reasons I'm saying this on the site Kickstarter donors built. And I didn't back more this past year mainly because not much caught my eye -- not because I'm against the idea in general. I still think the platform can work, as long as we look out for the abuses.

But I know a lot of you are way more hardline about crowdfunding than I am, so I'd like to hear your thoughts. Do you plan on Kickstarting any video games in 2017? What about MMOs or non-gaming projects? What are your personal rules for engaging in a campaign?

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The Daily Grind: What was the worst MMORPG trend of 2016?

Yesterday, we rolled out our award for the best new trend in the MMORPG industry this year. (Our writers picked content scaling, in case you missed the result!). While we didn't want to give out another back-handed award for the worst trend, it was one of the awards proposed a few weeks back by some of our readers, including Agemyth, whose suggestion is the one I saw. Indeed, I suspect based on our comments that quite a few of you disagree with scaling and consider it a step back for the genre, while still others might point to a rise in lockboxes or the latest Kickstarter tricks or even a return to lazy RNG-based mechanics. I could probably fill a whole column with ranting, come to think of it!

But let's hear your picks in this here Daily Grind. What was the worst MMORPG trend of 2016?

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The Daily Grind: Have MMOs ever helped you through a dark time?

Today's Daily Grind is inspired by two people: MySecretID, who sent along a link to an Extra Credits video about a gamer whose devastating vision impairment was aided considerably by video games and "saved [her] quality of life," and Angel, a disabled gamer who asked us back in October to write about how gaming saves lives.

"I rarely get to leave the house with much work," she told us. "MMOs have always been my outlet, my connection to others and have saved me time and again from the all consuming depression that can go hand in had with being disabled. As a regular redditor, I often see posts on the various gaming subreddits with the original poster thanking the game/gaming community for helping them through dark times. Maybe it's time we spotlight some of these cases. Because there are so many times that MMOs can be life savers."

I can conjure up dozens of times when a game or gamer has changed my life, maybe especially my guildies years ago who helped me through severe homesickness when I moved very far away from my family. But today, I want to hear your stories. Have video games, or MMOs specifically, ever helped you through dark times or even saved your life?

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