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: Is SWTOR 2.0 a good move by BioWare?

I’m not going to lie to you: I’m almost equally divided between excitement and nervousness for Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire. I’m still not quite sure why BioWare feels it necessary to all but jettison the game it’s built up to this point and perform a story reset of sorts. I also have no doubt that it’ll be a thrilling and refreshing move even so.

Is this a good move for SWTOR to make? More regular story updates are always welcome, but at the expense of continuing class sagas or being group inclusive? I don’t know. And the pressure to subscribe and stay subscribed is already pressing down on us free-to-play folk, which irks me somewhat.

What do you think about the direction that the game is taking come this fall? Is this a risk worth pursuing in order to revitalize the title?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the ideal MMO endgame?

Happy Friday! Today’s Daily Grind question was penned by Kickstarter donor Iain Leishman, and it’s exactly the kind of juicy question that makes me want to kick back and chat all day in the comments, getting no work done at all. Darnit. Here it is:

Does an MMO need an endgame, or should Guild Wars 2‘s style of “endgame” be imitated, regardless of character level, making all content relevant?

I think that, as a game design concept, endgame is the worst thing that ever happened to MMOs. But there are plenty of systems and activities floating around in the traditional endgames of start-middle-end MMOs that I do like and would love to see yanked out and just treated as, you know, normal endless-midgame content. And it’s one of the things Guild Wars 2, among other titles, does extremely well: It keeps players of all levels and time commitments playing together, it trades tedious level grinding requirements for more optional grinds, and it — at least so far — doesn’t undermine too much evergreen content in the early game.

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The Daily Grind: Do you read MMO dev blogs?

I read a lot of dev blogs. It kind of goes with the territory, since part of this job entails picking through studio press releases and website updates and separating the fluff from the stuff that makes for interesting news posts.

If it weren’t for this job, though, I probably wouldn’t read them. I prefer to just explore stuff on my own in a given game, rather than have most of the changes spelled out for me in a bullet-point list. It also probably helps that I’m not much of a min-maxer, so buffs and nerfs normally don’t even register on my radar.

What about you, MOP readers? Do you read dev blogs? Why or why not?

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The Daily Grind: What’s the prettiest MMO?

Judging video game eye candy is one of the most subjective activities in our hobby, is it not? Everyone has a different standard (and tolerance) for beauty, which can extend to art style, palettes, locales, animation, and lens flares. We know which way J.J. Abrams will vote whenever he sees that last one.

There are a lot of good-looking MMOs on the market right now. I enjoy the colorful zaniness of WildStar, the gorgeous “painterly aesthetic” of Guild Wars 2, and even the old-school talent behind Lord of the Rings Online. But I think that there’s beauty in most online games if you look for it.

So in your opinion, what is the prettiest MMO on the market? Bonus points to your position if you post a screenshot to back it up!

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the best way to boost MMO populations?

An anonymous Kickstarter donor pinged us with this question for this morning’s Daily Grind:

With the breadth of niche MMOs available, how will companies resort to increasing players?

I presume our donor refers to the absolute deluge of smaller indie titles that we’ve seen crop up in development over the last few years thanks to Kickstarter. While some folks praise the creativity that these niche titles promise in a field of higher-budget WoW-style themeparks, others see only a future of flopped games and communities spread far too thin to sustain themselves. “Niche” can bring dilution as much as diversity.

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The Daily Grind: Are there any survival sandbox features you’d like to see in MMORPGs?

I’ve been playing a lot of ARK: Survival Evolved lately. It’s certainly not an MMO, just judging by player count, but it has elements of progression, persistence, crafting, and combat that many MMOs share. My question to you this morning, MassivelyOP readers, is whether or not there’s any aspect or feature in particular from ARK or its survival sandbox brethren that you’d like to see incorporated into an honest-to-goodness MMORPG.

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The Daily Grind: What’s your first priority in a new MMO expansion?

The start of Heavensward access in Final Fantasy XIV has me running around like it’s the end times. I need to level the new jobs, I need to advance in the storyline, I need to get to work crafting and gathering… basically, I need to be doing anything and everything other than what I’m actually doing. The joys of trying to write about a new expansion!

Of course, I’m going to bet that the vast majority of you reading don’t have quite that particular collection of stresses; you can just enjoy what you’re doing. So when you get your hands on a new expansion (or major patch/DLC, if you prefer for your game of choice), what’s your first priority? What do you want to do right away, above and beyond everything else?

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The Daily Grind: Are MOBAs destined for a Great Crash?

Make no mistake, even with the recent launch of Heroes of the Storm, MOBAs are crashing and burning all over the place these days. We’ve seen titles like Transformers Universe, Solstice Arena, Infinite Crisis, Dawngate, and Wrath of Heroes flame out against the shared monopoly of League of Legends and Dota 2, and the consensus around the Massively OP office is that this is only the beginning of a possible Great MOBA Crash.

Of course, this could be trying to connect dots in the effort of seeing a trend. After all, games are born and die all of the time, so why should MOBAs be any different? What do you think: Are MOBAs destined for a Great Crash or is there enough interest and innovation to expand the field and keep current titles running?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

Comment

The Daily Grind: What was the MMO highlight of E3?

The last few years around convention time, I took a moment in The Daily Grind to ponder whether E3 had become irrelevant for MMO gamers in particular. This year, I can’t even ask that question with a straight face. While the con wasn’t swarming with true MMOs, the MMO announcements circling the expo were huge. Star Wars: The Old Republic is doing what to its storyline and factions? Guild Wars 2’s expansion is prepurchasable at what price? EVE: Valkyrie hasn’t been abandoned yet? (I kid, I kid.) Never mind that there’s an expansion on the way for Final Fantasy XIV, a patch for World of Warcraft next week, Blade & Soul en route and a F2P relaunch for WildStar, and oh yeah, Elder Scrolls Online console launch anyone? Almost every major MMO player showed up with something big this week.

But what was the biggest? What was the MMO highlight of E3? Bonus question: What was the highlight of E3 overall?

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The Daily Grind: Would you play a Marvel Heroes clone?

It seems like at least half of the Massively Overpowered staff is obsessed with Marvel Heroes. I’ve played it a fair amount too, and I keep logging into it every day even though I no longer play it because of some silly need to get the various login rewards.

What I’d prefer, though, is either for Disney to make Star Wars Heroes or Warner Bros. to make DC Heroes while keeping the mechanics intact and replacing an IP that I don’t really care about with an IP that I do care about.

What about you, MOP readers? Would you play a Marvel Heroes clone, if there was such a thing? Why or why not?

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The Daily Grind: Which classic MMO would you like to try running?

Hey guys! Did you hear about this Darkfall thing? If we all pool our allowances together, we could buy and run our very own MMO! Of course, even though you all chipped in for it, I’d still be the one calling the shots, which means that I’d make it a server-wide rule that all warriors would have to wear pink tutus and fight with foam pool noodles.

OK, so nobody in his right mind would ever play an MMO that I was running. But what if you ran it? What if you could pick any game, operating or deceased, and be the one in charge of it all. What would you do with it?

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The Daily Grind: Would you try a pay-per-hour MMO model?

Massively OP Kickstarter donor SoMuchMass offers an intriguing business model question for your consideration in this morning’s Daily Grind:

Would a pay-by-hour model work as a MMO payment method in the “West”? (Clarification from SMM: After a certain amount of hours played, it would go into unlimited mode, which would be a $15 month cap. Basically it is a solution for people who play only a couple of hours a week and don’t want to pay the whole $15 a month. If I play WoW 10 hours a month, I should be able to only pay 5 dollars instead of the whole $15.)

I’ve also wondered whether gamers would go for an unobtrusive hourly fee in 2015. Certainly Westerners were happy to abandon the model for online games in the ’90s once internet access became cheaper and more widespread, but it stuck around in East Asia, and our gamer pals across the ocean might be getting the better deal after all.

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The Daily Grind: Do you like mobile gaming?

I feel like the odd man out when it comes to mobile (or more specifically for MassivelyOP’s purposes, mobile MMOs). Everyone I know seems to love staring at tiny screens during commutes and smudging them to death while fumbling about with the latest in ham-fisted, view-obscuring touch controls.

Me, I prefer to sit in my overstuffed easy chair in front of a 60-inch TV with a controller in my hands, or in my other overstuffed easy chair in front of a triple monitor setup and surrounded by HOTAS stuff, big sound, and all the rest of the bells and whistles. There’s simply no comparison between real gaming and mobile gaming in my opinion. If I can borrow a line from Chris Roberts: “Sure I can watch The Dark Knight on my iPhone, but why would I want to?”

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