the daily grind

No, it’s not a slow news day; it’s just The Daily Grind, a long-running morning feature in which the Massively Overpowered writers pose gaming-related questions to the MMORPG community. [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]

The Daily Grind: How do you manage your MMO inventory?

I have said in the past that I have an issue with inventory space on a whole. Games like Final Fantasy XIV only compound this issue; when everything in the game is useful somewhere, I wind up with banks stuffed to the brim with armor, scales, leather, blood, and meat from four years ago. But even that wouldn’t be so bad if I just made a point of cleaning up my inventories on a semi-regular basis, which I do not.

Some of my friends have perfectly sorted and ordered inventories that have everything lined up just right at all times; others actually make my haphazard sorting look good. And it’s important in several games – no one wants to wait for the final confrontation in Star Wars: The Old Republic stories because two party members need to clear some inventory space. So how do you handle cleaning up your inventory? Do you do so on a regular basis, as it gets full, or only when absolutely necessary?

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The Daily Grind: What upcoming MMOs are on your to-play list?

The other day I got into a conversation with friends about which upcoming MMOs were catching our eye. While I have more than enough gaming on my plate right now, I am fairly sure that Devilian will get some of that time when it goes live, and I am being weirdly tempted by Tree of Savior of all things. Project Gorgon always remains on my list although I’m waiting for a beta edition to really jump into that game.

Blade and Soul and Black Desert appear to be two of the more hotly anticipated titles on the horizon, although I’ll wait to see if there’s a huge wave of positive personal testimony when they come out. I own Shroud of the Avatar, so whenever that comes out I’ll owe it to myself to get my money’s worth there. As for Star Citizen, I am firmly in the neutral wait-and-see camp.

What upcoming MMOs are on your to-play list?

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The Daily Grind: So what’s SWTOR’s big announcement?

Wednesday, BioWare hinted that something is brewing in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

BioWare was asking for feedback about subscriber rewards just a few weeks ago, so while some players have their fingers crossed for Chapter 10 info and love for PvP, it seems more likely that the studio has a new plan for tweaking subber bonuses or vet rewards. But what? What do you think BioWare is up to?

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The Daily Grind: Are you playing MMOs on Thanksgiving?

It’s Thanksgiving in the States, which means that I’m about to get fatter. It also means that a few hours from now, I’ll be coming up with a lame excuse to abandon my overstuffed family and friends in favor of that rare gaming session that’s uninterrupted by work, other work, or social obligations.

What about you, MOP readers? Are you gaming on turkey day? If so, what are you playing?

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite World of Warcraft memory?

Eleven years is a long time to cast one’s recollection lines back into the memory pool, but several moments from the initial launch of World of Warcraft remain firmly embedded in my mind. I’ll always remember the chaos of those initial weeks, my first steps as a Dwarf Hunter, and the joy that this game I’d been anticipating for three years was finally here.

Over the next four years, I would rack up a lot of terrific memories from the game. I’ll always be fond of my guildmates and their antics. I won’t forget how questing used to be before the hub system came into vogue. I’ll always laugh at that time that a friend put me on auto-follow and I jumped off a cliff and instantly transformed my Druid into her flying form.

So what is your favorite World of Warcraft memory from the past 11 years?

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The Daily Grind: What are the basic rules of conduct for an MMO community?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from 18 years of playing MMOs, it’s that games train us to abide by some pretty weird codes of conduct.

Drop a bag on the ground in real life? Anyone who snatched it from the ground at your feet would be chased down and arrested for a thief. Pick up a fallen bag in Ultima Online, though, and that’s just business as usual. The game doesn’t consider that stealing, and neither do most players.

And sometimes the game mechanics make conduct a heinous crime in one MMO but a cooperative event in another. Harvest a tree in Guild Wars 2, great – everyone else can harvest it too. But do it in World of Warcraft and you’ll be branded a node-stealing jerk. And those guys who harvest while you’re in combat next to the node? They’re destined for the special hell.

But surely there are some rules that are universal, right? What would you say are the most basic rules of conduct for playing in an MMO, things that everyone should know and are applicable to almost every game world?

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite Camelot Unchained class?

Camelot Unchained has been revealing its classes for a few weeks now, and the fantasy RvR sandbox has no shortage or interesting archetypes. So far my favorite is the Black Rider, not so much for how it likely plays but for the fact that it uses its severed head and spinal chord as a weapon. The mages sound interesting too, but that’s mostly because I always roll mages.

What about you, Camelot Unchained fans or curious onlookers? What’s your favorite class reveal and why?

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The Daily Grind: What do you do while you’re waiting in MMOs?

Let’s face it, MMOs are not always filled with new stuff happening every minute. You wait for queues, you wait for enemies to spawn, you wait for the rest of your usual group to log on so you can run the dungeon already. It’s that stage when you have enough time that the wait is awkward but not enough time to get up and do something else because if you go play Fallout 4 then you’re the jerk making everyone wait for the dungeon.

Back when I would be waiting for boats, I would often have a book close at hand to read while I waited. These days, I usually browse the internet and catch up on various articles. I know people who take the opportunity to fix food, clean their desks, and occasionally even take showers during particularly long waits. So what about you? What do you do while you’re waiting in an MMO?

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite MMO support class?

Seeing Camelot Unchained roll out its vision for its trio of support classes brought a smile to my face the other day. See, I adore support classes. I’m not merely talking about those that heal (although they’re often part of the mix) but those classes that step up to make everyone else’s gaming experience better, smoother, and more powerful.

Bards are often the first support class I think of when I contemplate favorites. I love not only the theme of uplifting others through music but also the ability to toss out a string of party-wide buffs that takes a great team of players and turns them into superstars.

What are your favorite MMO support classes and why?

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The Daily Grind: What’s your worst MMO guild drama horror story?

Guild Wars 2’s raiding guild drama earlier this week naturally made me think of guild drama I’ve experienced myself. I mean, if you’ve been playing MMOs in guilds long enough, you’ve probably seen everything that can go on in a group: screaming matches, cyberstalking, cybering, divorces over video games, spies, guild vault thieves, drunk deleting characters, that one time a kid faked his death for attention and we only figured it out when we contacted his family with sympathies… oh, yeah. Seen it all.

All of that makes the time I went off on a Ret Pally in Vent during a vanilla World of Warcraft raid for rolling on a tanking mace “for PvP” look pretty tame in the drama department.

What’s your worst MMO guild drama horror story?

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The Daily Grind: Have you tried Lineage II’s new server?

Lineage II launched on Steam recently. NCsoft also added a new server to its 11-year old fantasy stalwart. I played a bit in Aden many moons ago, and I would have returned to try the new server already but for a seismic month of releases that are already crowding my personal gaming plate (seriously devs, you had to release Battlefront, Fallout 4, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, and a massive update for Space Engineers all within two weeks of one another?).

What about you, MOP readers? Are you at all interested in seeing what’s made Lineage II one of the genre’s more successful titles? Have you tried the new server, or do you plan to?

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The Daily Grind: What’s your preferred style of MMO combat?

A passionate WildStar discussion-slash-debate in my guild the other day on the subject of MMO combat styles had us all taking sides on what was obviously better. There were those who found action combat, with its faster skill usage and focus on positioning, quite thrilling. Then there was the crowd that preferred the older tab-targeting style with global cooldowns and more abilities for the option to think through fights and not just button mash. And that’s not even counting games like Guild Wars 2 that take a bit from column A and column B.

Maybe action combat is more the wave of the future and in line with what gamers are used to in other PC and console titles, but I still prefer systems like those found in RIFT and SWTOR. I’m not quite willing to have all of my MMOs be boiled down into six buttons that I smash with impunity like a toddler.

So what’s your preferred style of MMO combat?

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The Daily Grind: Do secret classes and hidden content belong in MMOs?

If you ask old-school Star Wars Galaxies fans about the original implementation of Jedi in the classic version of the game, you’re likely to get an earful back. And for every person who insists that Jedi turned the entire game on its head by making everyone grind holocrons and change their skill sets to skills they didn’t actually want to play, you’ll find another person who says, “But damn, the mystery and subterfuge of being a hunted class was kinda fun!”

I’m both. I gave up my holo grind three grinds in — mid-Rifleman, actually, because eff that noise — but the drama of sheltering a player Jedi within our city walls, keeping him secret and safe from player Bounty Hunters? That was a truly unique experience.

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