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 truly dynamic content still possible in MMOs?

This morning’s Daily Grind comes to us from a¬†Kickstarter donor at¬† (who by the way is still linking to Old Massively! Gasp!). The donor asks one of those lovely simple questions that unravel into¬†intriguing¬†threads of thought:

Why do many MMO players complain about the static nature PvE content in MMOs when they are against PvP and the many non-static, interesting experiences it can bring about?

The donor is right that PvP is one way of adding¬†non-static content to MMOs. But some players really don’t think that¬†seeing their characters murdered is interesting and don’t really want to serve as other people’s “content” under any circumstances, dynamic or not. And frankly, gankbox¬†gameplay has¬†become a bit of a crutch for low-budget games¬†that can’t afford other types of content at all. Even people who like PvP in general don’t want to see it become the only kind of dynamic content in town.

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The Daily Grind: Did you do anything noteworthy in MMOland this weekend?

I didn’t game as much as I would have liked this weekend, but I did manage a smidge of Elite: Dangerous, a bit of Windward, and a tiny bit of Assassin’s Creed: Rogue. Yes, I know I’m terribly late to the party on that last one.

But this Daily Grind isn’t about what I played, it’s about what you accomplished. So, how about it, MOP readers? Did you do anything noteworthy in MMOland this weekend?

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The Daily Grind: Have bugs ever killed your enthusiasm for an MMO?

With a sale on Steam and a bit of curiosity, I decided that I would pick up and play some Fallout 3 over the weekend. Unfortunately, the description of the game didn’t include the important bit of information that the game will randomly crash on a regular basis, meaning that of my playtime in the game thus far, I’d estimate that at least half of it has been erased by the game crashing. Over and over. With no regard for what I’m doing.

I’m well aware the game isn’t an MMO (there are several signs, like the fact that it’s offline), but even so, I know there are people who have had technical issues so severe that games have been written off not for game mechanics but for simple unplayability. Has this happened to you? Have your attempts to play an MMO been met with so many crashes and bugs that playing became too irritating to continue?

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The Daily Grind: Is swimming really that important in MMOs?

One of the big brouhahas that arose back in Star Wars: The Old Republic’s development was the game’s lack of any type of swimming. No swimming? We might as well roleplay in a desert! Oh, the humanity!

Obviously, I do not have a deep vested interest in whether or not an MMO has swimming. The swimming skill in Anarchy Online was a joke stat, the much-vaunted underwater combat in Guild Wars 2 ended up keeping me on dry land, and I am generally pleased that my WildStar hoverboard works on water (take that, McFly) so that I don’t have to get wet. You know what’s the opposite of fun? When you’re swimming and you can’t find a place to leave the water, so you have to dog-paddle slowly around until you find a ramp somewhere.

Is swimming in MMOs really that important of a game feature? If so, what does it add to the experience for you?

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!


The Daily Grind: Should mature MMOs consider crowdfunding?

Massively OP commenter¬†The_Grand_Nagus recently pointed us to a conversation on the Star Trek Online¬†forum where a Cryptic Studios employee discussed the studio’s games’ revenues and staffing:

Game Development is directly proportional to revenue generated.

So long as a game is making more money than it costs to run, it will continue to run. And luckily, the costs to run a game are very scalable. The Dev team is most of the cost of running a game, and we can have more or fewer devs depending on the money coming in.

STO has a dev team proportional to its revenue.
NW has a dev team proportional to its revenue.
Champs has a dev team proportional to its revenue.

For the most part, there are very few scenarios where a game will simply shut down out of the blue.

It’s a dirt-simple declaration, of course, one that¬†should give comfort to people concerned about Champions Online’s health in particular. And it made¬†The_Grand_Nagus wonder whether the games wouldn’t be better off if players were more directly involved in directing that revenue.

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The Daily Grind: Have you tried Heroes of the Storm?

So, Heroes of the Storm launched this week. And Infinite Crisis called it quits. That’s an interesting and slightly regrettable one-two punch from my perspective, but I suspect I’m in the minority there. Regardless, Blizzard’s latest game is everywhere, from television commercials (people still watch television?) to honest trailers to hard drives the world over.

What about you, MOP readers and MOBA fans? Have you tried HotS? If so, did you like it?

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!


The Daily Grind: Are MMOs in a cultural decline?

An editorial over at Rock Paper Shotgun attempts to tie two topics together as one: why there will never be a World of Warcraft killer and how MMOs have been in a cultural decline ever since Azeroth opened for business.

World of Warcraft was a hit for many reasons,” the author postulates. “Its chunky graphics that still hold up. Its focus on a personal quest. Its generally welcoming attitude and approachability. But what made it the game that it was was being the first to bring the magic of MMOs to the wider world. […] But the trouble with magic is that the same trick rarely works more than once.”

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The Daily Grind: How would you run an ethical MMO cash shop?

Today’s Daily Grind topic comes to us in a roundabout way from Kickstarter donor¬†Le Entrepreneur, who asks,

Why do MMOs use cash shops they know hurt players?

There’s an easy answer to this — because money — but it’s worth exploring in more detail, I think. Cash shops in general, after all, don’t hurt players, but cash shops that exploit players’ desire to win or that tinker with lockboxes are deliberately preying on games’¬†weakest customers. On the one hand, it’s just business, but on the other, it makes me uncomfortable that whales — some of whom are just terrible with¬†money, not actually wealthy — are subsidizing many of the MMOs we play.

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The Daily Grind: How do you plan to play Star Citizen?

I’m pretty excited to get my hands on some different ships in this week’s Star Citizen free-fly event. I know, I know, I can grind REC and fly the ships any time I want in the game’s alpha Arena Commander module, but A) I don’t like to grind any more, and B) I certainly don’t like to grind in an alpha when I know my progress will be wiped!

I’m excited to try out some new ships because I already have a pretty good idea about the capabilities of my Aurora and my 300i. But I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do in terms of primary gameplay when the persistent universe launches. I’ll probably explore, and trade, and dogfight, and who knows what else because it all sounds interesting.

What about you, MOP readers and Star Citizen fans? How do you plan to play the game at launch? As a fighter? A trader? Something else?

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The Daily Grind: What are you looking forward to, MMO-wise, in the rest of 2015?

What in the world happened to the first half of 2015? With one thing or another, it just flew by, and here we are heading into June. Not a whole lot of launches yet, but there’s a lot to look forward to – Blade & Soul and Skyforge are both slated for launch, The Elder Scrolls Online is arriving on consoles, expansions are launching, and WildStar is going free-to-play. And that’s just off the top of my head!

My point is that there’s a lot going on from June onward, and odds are you can’t keep track of everything yourself. So what are you looking forward to over the remainder of the year? Is it one of the aforementioned events, or is it something else altogether? What’s keeping your eyes pinned with anticipation to the MMO horizon?

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The Daily Grind: Are you excited for Wander?

Wander kind of surprised¬†me. I’ve been aware of it for some time, but due to its lack of a launch date and my year-long¬†MMO malaise, I haven’t paid it much mind.

Now, though, it has a launch date (June 4th), and as such I’ve been devouring all of the trailers, interviews, and gameplay footage that I can get my hands on. And gosh, what’s not to like? It’s a “non-combat, non-competitive” MMO for PlayStation 4 and PC that focuses on collaborative exploration and features beautiful CryEngine atmospherics.

What about you, MOP readers? Will you be giving Wander a go?

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!


The Daily Grind: Will you play WildStar once it’s free-to-play?

Ever since the rumors began that WildStar was about to flip the switch on a new free-to-play business model, I’ve been pondering whether I’ll give it another try. Now that we know for sure the conversion is happening this fall, that decision will soon be upon us all.

A lot of disgruntled subbers¬†take this position: If the game wasn’t worth buying before, why would¬†it be worth your time now that even the studio doesn’t think it’s worth charging for? To me, it comes down to a balance of time and money. Before, just checking out the game cost both. Soon, it won’t.

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The Daily Grind: Are you excited for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns?

I have no doubt that Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is going to be big, both for the studio and its playerbase. It’s looking to add zones, new forms of progression, a new class, specializations for existing classes, and all other manner of goodies. Right now, it’s one of the hottest beta tickets in town.

And yet the more I hear about it, the less excited I’ve become. I used to enjoy Guild Wars 2 on a daily basis but for a variety of reasons have fallen out of love with it. I assumed that the expansion would rev my interest back up, but so far none of the features is¬†really a “must play” to me. Plus, hearing that we’ll have even more platforming with the jungle zones is a real mood killer.

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