Leaderboard: The Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind 'chapter vs. DLC' fee debate

In the comments of a Daily Grind last week, a few commenters tangeted into debate about The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind pricing.

See, the original "ESO Plus" deal for ESO subscription holders granted them full access to all future downloadable content (DLC) forever and ever, as long as they were subscribed to the game. Morrowind, however, has been marketed not as DLC but as a "chapter," meaning it will not be subject to the Plus promises, and so everyone will have to pay for it. Grumbling ensued.

"Suppose I paid BMW a monthly fee to drive [BMW] cars," commenter Odin wrote. "I could drive whatever I want as long as I paid. They announce a great new car I want to drive. I cant wait, but they tell me, "This isnt a car; it's an automobile. You have to pay extra.'"

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Leaderboard: Will WildStar's free max character influence you to play?

Eyebrows flew up earlier this week when Carbine announced it would be granting free max-level WildStar characters to players who log into the game with the patch launch today.

In way, the decision makes sense, since the game has long touted its endgame and Power of the Primal Matrix introduces horizontal advancement best explored at the level cap.

On the other hand, MOP's Justin and I have a longstanding debate on whether advanced characters are a boon to MMOs -- do they crush your fun or just help you skip unrelated grind? Are they a net positive for a game or just a Hail Mary?

For today's impromptu Leaderboard, let's see how the free toon is working out for you.

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Leaderboard: Will The Secret World's relaunch entice you to play?

Last week, the MMO world was startled to learn that instead of getting an expansion, The Secret World is getting a complete relaunch as part of a big Funcom push of the game. At this point, there's been plenty of time to speculate (and not a lot of info from the studio forthcoming, and yes, we've asked!). From the investor call, we know that the game is due for a newbie experience overhaul, a combat overhaul, daily login rewards, and a new business model that makes story content freely accessible, which suggests a lean away from buy-to-play.

So do you think we are looking at a game-crushing NGE -- or a Final Fantasy XIV-style GOTY-quality do-over? And more importantly, do these sound like the kinds of adjustments that might entice you to return to The Secret World or play for the first time? Let's find out in this week's Leaderboard.

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Leaderboard: If you solo in MMORPGs, why?

Solo players in MMORPGs are a strange case, chiefly because they are treated like an outlier when they aren't. The fact is that almost everyone solos at one time or another -- yes, even in classic MMORPGs -- and the vast majority of people apparently prefer to solo more than not solo, even if they also want to group. Or at least one might draw that conclusion from the last dozen years of MMOs!

I thought for today's Leaderboard, we could drill down some of the reasons people solo. Pick as many as apply!

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Leaderboard: Where do you stand on Marvel Heroes' massive overhaul update?

Past the downtime and the lag and the inventory snafus, how are Marvel Heroes players reacting to the "biggest update ever?"

Not well. On Steam, negative reviewers are busily tanking the game's rating, dragging its review score down from its usual "mostly positive" to the recent "mostly negative" with claims that the update drained the game of fun and lore and action and depth-wise is "a shallow husk of what it used to be."

On Reddit, players are upset that Gazillion apparently removed newbie accounts' options for their first hero, a regression in design goals.

On the official forums, players are annoyed over movement changes, the power bar, item changes, and attribute changes, calling it a "total destruction of a fantastic game." Ouch.

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Leaderboard: Did you participate in Crowfall's equity crowdfunding raise?

Finishing up today is Crowfall's Indiegogo-based equity crowdfunding campaign, one of the first games and MMORPGs to take advantage of new 2016 laws that allow regular people to invest in small indie companies online. As I write this, the studio has raised just over $600,000 with just over 1100 investors, solidly in the middle of its $159K-$1M goal range.

I'm curious, though, whether any of you were among the investors or plan to invest in other games in the future, now that actual investing (however limited and risky) is an option when once only donations were on the table.

That leads me to today's Leaderboard and the pair of polls below, where we're asking you both about your involvement in Crowfall's fundraising and your involvement in future equity crowdfunding ventures from other studios. Onward!

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Leaderboard: Which Daybreak MMO is most vulnerable in 2017?

In February 2015, following the SOE/Daybreak transition and ensuing mass layoffs, we polled our readers on the security of the rest of the studio's games. Almost half of you voted that Dragon's Prophet was the studio's most vulnerable remaining game, with almost 20% pointing to EverQuest Next. And you were right; SOE's North American-run Dragon's Prophet was gone within the year, with EverQuest Next to follow just a few months later.

And now Landmark's headed off into the sunset.

The thing is, Daybreak doesn't really have much left. The company that once won "best studio" four years in a row and had a much-deserved reputation for keeping beloved MMORPGs going is now down to four MMORPGs, plus H1Z1 A and B, and one unannounced game, plus the games it's publishing for Standing Stone. Yesterday we counted up the casualties and found Daybreak has now shut down approximately 16 games, most of them in the last few years -- more than most studios will ever launch.

Let's break out the poll for a revisit, two years on. Which Daybreak MMO do you think is most vulnerable now?

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Leaderboard: What's the best classic MMORPG still running?

By design, end-of-the-year awards rollouts usually recognize the new shinies. Seldom do they honor the resilient MMORPGs, the games that solider on for years and years with consistent updates and stalwart communities in spite of their age and sometimes obscurity.

But Massively OP remembers! And thanks to commenter Agemyth, who suggested this topic, we're going to put it to a vote. Do note that we've included a wide range of gracefully aging games that gamers might consider classic due to the era of their launch. No, we didn't include World of Warcraft. No, we didn't include games that aren't still running. Onward to the future where the past lives on in the present!

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The best Massively OP MMO polls of 2016

Every week for the last few years, we've expanded on our "Daily Grind" theme with a Leaderboard poll. I've had a blast taking over Leaderboard; Daily Grinds always get lovely qualitative answers, but numbers! tallies! bar graphs! Polls are a quantitative sort of magic that we don't often get from our other articles -- at least when they aren't being brigaded.

Let's take a look back at our best MMO polls of 2016!

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Leaderboard: What's the most overrated MMORPG in 2016?

This year -- like every year -- players in the comments of our award post for Most Underrated MMORPG of 2016 asked for the mean girl version of that award. Yep, you guys don't just want to vote on the underdogs and sleeper hits; you want to tell some popular game right to its face that it's not as good as people say.

So here you go -- get it out of your system right here in this post. What was the most overrated MMORPG in 2016? Cast your vote in the poll below. I've included all the same games as in the underrated poll, plus a few other major upcoming games.

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Leaderboard: How judgmental are you about MMO chat grammar?

MOP reader Arsin Halfmoon recently wrote to us with an unexpected story. He's an English teacher in the real world, but far from being a grammar stickler, he's actually found himself incredibly uncomfortable when people over-embellish their chat with punctuation. He told us that he considers gaming a non-academic setting, a casual, social space, so when a new friend of his uses periods every every single sentence when typing in an MMORPG, it bothers him.

"It feels like they come off with an air of I'm better than you because I type with periods," he explained. "I'm not condoning abandonment of grammar. If I were making longer explanations in chat, then yes, I would use periods to separate my sentences. But I think we need to recognize that the MMO space has a specific code, and from what I've seen, writing a period at the end of short, single sentence entries or single words is meant for dramatic effect" -- not for casual chit-chat between pulls.

Even though I'm MOP's resident grammar geek, I completely empathize with Arsin. My guildies and fellow writers will attest that while I insist on pronoun/antecedent agreement and despise errant commas here on the site, I type quickly and sloppily in chat, with little regard for the rules that govern my professional writing -- and I definitely don't waste clicks on periods or caps or semicolons most of the time.

How judgmental are you about MMO chat grammar? Let's take it to the Leaderboard polls with a multi-answer poll.

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Leaderboard: What made you quit your last MMORPG?

As the subscription MMORPG continues to dwindle and be replaced by free-to-play games (where players come and go without notice) and buy-to-play games (which don't really care much if you leave as long as you paid), it occurs to me that the exit survey is also dying a slow death, and that bothers me. Maybe no one ever looked at exit surveys when every game tacked them onto the end of your cancellation dialogue, but I'd like to think that somehow the metrics counted. I'd like to think that when I'd type in "I love your game and I'll be back for the expansion," someone saw that and took heart, or maybe really believed me when I said that I was disappointed in weak crafting systems.

So let's do an exit survey right now. Think back to the very last MMORPG you quit. And then for this week's Leaderboard, tell me... why?

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