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 often are your MMO goals thwarted?

I logged into Ultima Online over the weekend absolutely determined to achieve a very specific thing: imbue some gear for my Tamer. But first I wanted to finish off my Arms Lore, which meant finishing the last few points of my Tailoring and Blacksmithing grind. But I ran out of ingots, so I needed to go mining first. But before I could do that, I needed to move my Mining skill back to my Blacksmith, which meant I first needed finish up some maps on my Treasure Hunter. That meant cleaning her inventory out of plants. And while I was doing that, I figured I’d plant a few more on my Paladin, so I needed to pull out my Bard to scrounge up some peculiar seeds…

Two hours later, I was somehow on my boat, salvaging shipwrecks on my Fisher, and I never did actually get to my imbuing.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO do you feel guilty for liking?

I played some Grand Theft Auto Online last night, and while I had a good time (as always), I also came away from the experience needing a shower (as always). I won’t go into how or why GTA Online is a guilty pleasure here today, mainly because I’ve done that before.

I will ask you, the MOP readership, if there are any MMOs or MMOlikes that make you feel a little guilty for liking them. Yes? No? Which ones and why?

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The Daily Grind: Are you hopeful about crowdfunded MMOs?

A few years back, we were all discussing the frankly dizzying amounts of money going into crowdfunding MMOs. Speculation ran rampant that this was the new model for developing games. And yet now, between titles like Greed Monger folding early in the development process, titles like Pathfinder Online facing an uncertain future, and other titles cancelling partway through their Kickstarter campaigns… suddenly the future of crowdfunding seems far less bright.

So what do you think? Are you looking at all of the MMOs that are out or on the horizon and still thinking that that crowdfunding is going to be the way of the future for video games? Do you think that the failures are part of the growing pains of the model? Or do you think that this is an inevitable consequence of crowdfunding?

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The Daily Grind: What could MMOs do with offline characters?

Maybe it’s my active imagination, but I like to believe that my characters are relieved when I log out of games, because then they can go home for some much-deserved rest and relaxation. Perhaps they take up hobbies or go on dates or start internet petitions about how forcing avatars to engage in non-stop combat is a particularly cruel existence.

Seriously, do you ever come up with notions of what your character does while you’re offline? Some MMOs like Age of Wushu or Project Gorgon put those characters to work in an automated fashion, but for the most part they vanish from the world and our attention. Do you have any good ideas as to what MMOs could do with characters when their players are offline?

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The Daily Grind: Are MMOTCGs really MMOs?

We’re coming down to the last few Kickstarter-submitted Daily Grind questions, and I admit I’ve been sitting on this particular one a while because MMOTCGs aren’t my personal passion. Donor Chocmaw posed this question:

Have you checked out HEX TCG and what do you think about it?

HEX was originally pitched as the first true MMOTCG as opposed to an online TCG. In fact, I remember getting its first embargoed press release a month or so before Hearthstone was announced and took over the entire world as only Blizzard can do. Unlike Hearthstone, which doesn’t even properly have chat, let alone MMORPG content, HEX’s design plan called for character customization, co-op PvE raiding, an auction house, and guilds and guild banks.

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The Daily Grind: Will you play Bless or Black Desert?

I’m looking forward to both Bless and Black Desert. I typically like Korean MMOs, for one thing, and for another they’re both gorgeous in terms of world and character design. While Black Desert seems more up my alley thanks to its open world and sandbox elements (and assuming that those traits survive the Westernization process), Bless looks like it could scratch the themepark itch that I get from time to time.

What about you, MOP readers? Do you have any plans to play Bless or Black Desert? Why or why not?

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The Daily Grind: What details do you want to know about World of Warcraft: Legion?

World of Warcraft’s newest expansion will undoubtedly be a major topic of conversation at November’s BlizzCon. While Blizzard has unveiled the larger brush strokes of what Legion will entail, there are plenty of details yet to be revealed — and perhaps a surprise or two waiting in the wings.

If you could get an all-access pass to Blizzard and find out anything you wanted to about Legion, what details would you want to uncover? Would it be the making of the expansion, the full list of skills and talents for the new Demon Hunter class, or what the developers were thinking when they denied Ravenholdt to the Rogues?

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The Daily Grind: What’s the grindiest MMO?

Allow me to butcher a phrase: MMO grind is in the eye of the beholder. A few hundred architect entertainment missions in City of Heroes were a breeze to me but a monotonous grind to others. What was a simple matter of macros and a day of clicking for me felt like an impassable crafting grind to some of my Star Wars Galaxies guildmates. And in Ultima Online, the idea of leveling up animal taming or provocation or stealing again makes me want to, well, bust out my credit card for an advanced character and skip that crap, but legendary fishing? I’m on a boat. Skill level 120 baby, here I come!

As I’ve grown up and passed through MMOs, my tolerance for certain types of grind has truly diminished. I’m far more likely to grind for skills or experience nowadays than churn through raid or social experiences for overt loot grinds, for example, but then again, it depends on the loot too.

So what’s the grindiest — and least grindiest — MMO in your book?

(That’s my husband’s old FF/Elec in this pic if you were wondering!)

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The Daily Grind: How organized is your MMO inventory?

I just spent an hour organizing folders on my media hard drive, which has nothing to do with anything other than it gave me the idea for today’s Daily Grind. I’ve spent many an hour organizing MMO character inventories, which in most cases is sorta similar to organizing file folders on a computer. Heck, maybe it technically is organizing file folders on a computer, I don’t know.

In any event, how organized is your inventory? Inquiring minds want to know after the cut.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO do you doubt you’ll ever play?

I never cared about EverQuest. The first game came out before I was even remotely interested in an online game, and the sequel wasn’t World of Warcraft, so I wasn’t there on the ground floor. Thing is, people have told me that there are things I would enjoy about the aforementioned sequel, and I believe them, but at this point I have a large enough number of games and enough stuff to do in general that odds are near-absolute I’ll never actually play it.

I suspect we all have games like that, ones that we never played before and don’t have enough of a reason to try now, even if we’re curious about them as a whole. Maybe you just slightly missed the train for Star Wars: The Old Republic and feel you can’t dive in now, maybe you just didn’t ever find that spare weekend to try Lord of the Rings Online, or maybe you don’t own a console and have too much to do even if Destiny ever releases on PC. So what MMOs do you doubt you’ll ever play regardless of their potential merit?
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The Daily Grind: What are your favorite MMO NPC quotes?

“You are wrinkly manager man. It’s your job to be old and die so we can learn and be sad. Also you pay for gas.”

I love The Secret World’s Nassir so much. I declare that Funcom’s next spin-off game needs to be a road trip with Nassir and Said getting into wacky situations and spouting off more terrific one-liners.

Anyway, today’s discussion is all about the MMO quotes that totally made your day, whether they were written or spoken. What are your favorites?

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The Daily Grind: Should MMO studios host their own forums and wikis?

Massively OP Kickstarter donor DPandaren wants to talk about something every MMO player likely uses but most of us take for granted: forums and wikis.

“Do lore forums actually matter when there are first- and third-party lore wikis?”

I suspect DPandaren is referring to Daybreak’s unpopular March decision to close down a ton of its forums, including its lore forum, and tell people to just go post on Reddit. But I think the question can apply to all forums and wikis — how much do we really need them? Who should host them? Is it really that important for studios to do it themselves?

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The Daily Grind: What makes a good MMO spiritual successor?

News of Divergence Online’s third crowdfunding campaign sparked a bit of discussion about MMO spiritual sequels earlier this week. Stained Glass Llama’s sci-fi sandbox purports to carry the Star Wars Galaxies torch, though it’s departing rather radically from SWG’s original design by introducing open world PvP and full corpse-looting.

Such a major design change disqualifies Divergence from being a successor, at least in my book, though I’ll probably play it anyway just to see what it’s like. What do you think, MOP readers? What makes a good spiritual successor or sequel? What makes a bad one? Which MMOs, if any, deserve a spiritual successor?

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