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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: 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: 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: 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: Will you be playing World of Warcraft’s Classic servers?

I think it’s safe to say, after all the Nostalrius and legacy server drama from last year, that Blizzard has surprised a lot of people by actually keeping its word to build out some form of classic servers, as announced at BlizzCon last weekend. And the English-language WoW world lost its collective minds, if the 10K-word, 54K-upvote thread that rocketed to the top slot across the entirety of Reddit last Friday is any guide.

The thing is, the studio didn’t actually talk much about the servers other than to say they’re happening, they won’t take resources from WoW, and they’re operating under a separate team – there’s not much to talk about, just basic infrastructure. That probably means we’re a long way off. On the other hand, Blizzard seems serious about making a commitment to the community on this one, which makes it really enticing to me at least, way more than I expected.

How about you? Will you be playing World of Warcraft’s Classic servers? Or are you in wait-and-see mode until we know much more?

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The Daily Grind: Will you be buying World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion?

In last week’s Daily Grind about what it would take to get you back into World of Warcraft, a whole lot of our commenters said an expansion. Any expansion, really. Just more of the same. Nothing wrong with that, either. Sometimes you’re content and just want more of that.

But now, thanks to BlizzCon, you know what that expansion, Battle for Azeroth, will actually entail. And while it’s got new landmasses and some new mechanics, like warfronts and radio missions island adventures, it doesn’t have a lot of the stuff you might have expected out of an expansion. It doesn’t appear to feature sailing mechanics or an new iteration on farms, garrisons, or class halls. It doesn’t even have a new class. In fact, we don’t really know much about how classes themselves might be changing just yet.

Is it enough for you? Will you be buying World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion? Is it enough to get you back?

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The Daily Grind: What would Blizzard need to do to get you back into World of Warcraft?

In last night’s Massively Overthinking on hopes and fears for BlizzCon – which kicks off this afternoon! – I laid out my thoughts on Blizzard’s MMORPG meta, my worry that World of Warcraft’s yet-to-be-formally-announced will bedazzle us with cool, slick ideas… but the studio won’t have learned any lessons from the genre beyond its borders. As a gamer and blogger, I’m thrilled to see some spectacle, no doubt. This is one of my favorite events of the year. But for me to seriously consider going back as an active player, Blizzard would have to do way more than the inevitable free catch-up character booster. And I’m not sure Blizzard is willing to try harder than, say, ArenaNet or ZeniMax to ensnare ex-WoW fans like yours truly – not when the company can more easily snag those desirable “MAUs” in cheaper games in simpler genres.

Assuming you’ve played WoW and aren’t playing now: What would Blizzard need to do to get you back into World of Warcraft?

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The Daily Grind: Should video game developers unionize?

The New York Times ran an op-ed from Kotaku editor Jason Schreier last week outlining the perils of game industry “crunch”: 80-to-100-hour weeks, often not properly compensated, as a studio works its developers into a mad frenzy trying to release a game (or patch, or whatever). As the Grey Lady reports, some developers become sick from working so much — we’ve seen multiple deaths in the MMORPG industry over crunch — not to mention the fact that talented devs burn out or flee the industry. And Schreier doesn’t even touch on how crunch-like policies limit the labor pool to young men without families.

Let’s be clear: The studios, not the developers, are to blame here. And in declaring the current situation unsustainable, Schreier asserts that “game developers need to insist – to their bosses and, most important, to themselves – that health comes first.” But signing pledges is clearly not enough, and it doesn’t seem likely that after many decades of this that the problem is going to solve itself or that studios will voluntarily self-correct. It seems to me that devs need to band together more formally, to unionize like the film industry Schreier gives a nod and like the voice actors who said much the same during their long strike.

Is it time for game developers to unionize?

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The Daily Grind: How can individual MMO players combat toxicity?

MOP reader Tyler sent us a tip over the weekend that keeps bothering me. According to a post made on Facebook this weekend, a World of Warcraft player took his life over in-game bullying. I haven’t been able to verify whether it truly happened, but I can verify that the replies to the thread about it were just as toxic as the toxicity that allegedly led to the tragedy itself, with people victim-blaming, insulting those with mental disorders, inserting antique arguments about the efficacy of report-and-ignore, inquiring as to the victim’s loot drops, and suggesting that they themselves “need to step up [their] trolling game,” presumably because nothing’s funnier than suggesting your trolling is sub par since you haven’t managed to get anyone killed yet. If you’re a giant asshole, that is.

“I have never understood why the MMO community is so eager to bury its head in the sand about stuff like this,” Tyler lamented. “Even the people who do admit that in-game harassment, hate speech, and the like are actually a bad thing never seem to actually do anything about it. This is something we should be raising hell about. […] I stopped caring when I realized no one else cared.”

I know people care. There are even people in that toxic thread shouting down the monsters. But I do acknowledge that every article we do on toxicity spawns more toxicity against people trying to solve the problem, and some days it feels like we’re getting nowhere. Maybe we’re approaching the problem wrong: We often debate what studios should do. What about the rest of us? How can individual MMO players combat toxicity? What do you do yourself, beyond the bare minimum of report-and-ignore?

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The Daily Grind: Are you an MMORPG gamer playing Destiny 2?

Pretty much the entire time between when Destiny 1 was announced and the day Destiny 2 was confirmed for PC, every single article we wrote about Bungie’s first effort was riddled with comments that amounted to “that’s nice – call us when you come to PC.” Bungie obliged, and the sequel has formally launched on the platform the majority of core MMORPG players call home.

But I wonder how many of the people who adopted the “PC or bust” stance actually put their money where their internet comments were. I thought I might give the game a go myself, once I realized guildies were interested, but in reality, I’m happily involved with a couple of genuine MMORPGs that are taking up all my time, so I didn’t grab it.

How about you? Were you a Destiny 1 holdout who is playing Destiny 2? Or are you still just watching from sidelines?

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite and least favorite type of MMO daily?

Over the weekend, Guild Wars 2 players on Reddit opened up a discussion about dailies in the game that spoke to me. I used to be the kind of GW2 player who logged in to do dailies every single day because there were always enough of the type I wanted to do that it was fun and rewarding and didn’t take up my entire play session. I never felt like I had to sideline my desired play to do them.

But over the years, dailies have changed a few times, to the point that now I don’t bother. The Reddit thread touches on why: They’re stuffed with content I don’t want to do or that is a huge hassle or that takes way more time than it’s worth, like event completion in annoying expansion zones (some of which my toons haven’t got), daily adventures, daily bounty hunter. Meh. What hadn’t occurred to me is that players who own both expansions actually have it worse; expansionless peeps at least aren’t stuck being assigned to stuff in Heart of Thorns – or stuff that can’t be soloed.

It’s gratifying to know I’m not alone! Where do you stand on MMO dailies? What’s your favorite and least favorite type?

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The Daily Grind: How many of you are still playing Guild Wars 2?

As I type this, Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire expansion has been out exactly a month. At the time, I remember making fun of the “rushers” who blazed through the whole thing in a couple of days, made their videos, and promptly declared that the game was dead and there was nothing to do. Personally, I’m still happily playing, slowly making my way in my usual duo across the desert, playing as a completionist even though that’s not really what I am. I’m in no rush. Rushing in a game like this one seems like a waste of money to me. I want to savor it (and also play some other stuff along the way).

But hey, if you’ve finished the expansion – all the maps, not just the main storyline – a month in, I’m not sure you’re a rusher. It seems like a legitimate amount of time to take to play an expansion – and it’s probably reflected in a one-month drop-off, too. Maybe ArenaNet isn’t as affected by that drop-off as an old-school sub MMO, since it got your cash already, but I bet it’s detectable.

So let’s take the pulse of our community: If you bought Path of Fire, did you “finish” it, and are you still playing?

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