The Daily Grind: What’s the best game-within-a-game in the MMO space?

    
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Jef and I were talking this past weekend about something Star Wars Galaxies got really, really right: the Jump to Lightspeed expansion, which brought joystick-driven free-form space exploration and combat to the sandbox. More importantly, it brought multi-person ships to a genre that simply had nothing like it. Imagine bringing your ground-based party to a totally different place where the holy trinity was pilot, gunner, and mechanic and the endboss was a star destroyer. It was awesome.

Jef told me that after JTL launched, he spent almost all his time in space. And that got us debating games-within-games — not timewastey /gems or card games, mind you, but the kind of large-scale game systems that are so rich and entertaining in their own right that they create entire subcultures dedicated to them and attract players who do little else in the game but that one thing.

We’re trying to think of others in today’s TDG. What’s the best game-within-a-game in the MMO space?

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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SpookyDonkey24
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SpookyDonkey24

Used to love Huttball when I played SWTOR. It was so fun with a marauder.

MikeTheRed
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MikeTheRed

Sorenthaz Caec Not everyone.

I despise Huttball with a holy, burning passion.  I don’t play SWTOR to play sports.

Rebel Engie
Guest
Rebel Engie

OMG when I realized that I can be an imperial pilot in SWG

tonymcs
Guest
tonymcs

I remember being nonplussed when learning WoW was gaining Pokémon, but after realising the mini-game was actually connected to the main game through battling and trapping pets out in the world, with levelling, quests and masters, to say nothing of the XP it rewarded, I gave it a try and found it an enjoyable game within a game and I’m still doing the daily garrison quests and a little bit of battling to hopefully get my level 3 garrison menagerie and it’s a nice touch to have my pets wandering around the garrison. 
I enjoyed the Plants vs Zombies quest a lot and was disappointed when it completed.  Proving Grounds and Brawler’s Guild could also be counted as mini-games as they’re fairly self-contained and I’ve also enjoyed a lot of the myriad of minigame add-ons from Peggle to Texas Hold-em.
And then for better or worse, (I think better), there’s garrisons – and I’m not referring to the endless work orders or harvesting the ore and herbs from the perpetual mine and garden, but your followers and their quests.  Often derided as a Facebook game, it’s still fun to collect and gear up your followers and send them out on missions for gold, resources and gear for followers and yourself.  It also offers a few bodyguards to quest with you, improved production in your buildings and some cannon fodder during an invasion.
So while I can enjoy self-contained mini games, I prefer those that provide some benefits to me in the main game, so Battle Pets and Follower missions are my preferred games within a game.

NomadMorlock
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NomadMorlock

I have to agree with JTL.  It kills me that I lost video of soloing the Star Destroyer in my Jedi Star fighter.  My wife and I put together a video which includes some screen shots and video if anyone wants a little nostalgia.  Only a little bit of space video at the end.

scathson
Guest
scathson

gathering in Saga of Ryzom
i had probably 30 pages of printed maps and a notebook filled with information on time of day/weather/season……

Gylnne
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Gylnne

boredinBC (aka Daniel James Clarke) Don’t feel bad many of us missed it and like you I regret it. We could have been playing SWG with Bree!:)

extremexcarver
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extremexcarver

For the most part, I would say auction houses and player driven markets have a huge following and communities exist for games that have decent mechanics to do so.

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

Music in LOTRO pretty much qualifies.. there are people who care for little else in that game

Foggye
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Foggye

Caec It was definitely one of my favorite parts of that game.