The Daily Grind: Do you prefer safe strategies or fast strategies in MMOs?

I'm a jerk!

There’s an interesting discussion which pops up on the Final Fantasy XIV Reddit from time to time regarding the differences between American and Japanese players. For this topic, the most pertinent discussion is one of strategy. The American community, as a whole, prefers to have static groups of players who will often undertake risky but fast strategies; if the strategy works, it’s a quick and solid clear, but as soon as someone screws up it’s all down the tubes. By contrast, the Japanese community prefers strategies which are safer and more reliable, giving everyone more leeway… and possibly resulting in a slow clear when you get the group together.

Obviously, this applies to other games. From World of Warcraft to Black Desert, you always have the option of playing it safe or going big. Pulling one enemy at a time to farm for drops means you’re unlikely to ever get overwhelmed, which can certainly happen if you pull half a dozen… but if you succeed, that half a dozen can probable be minced faster than pulling them one by one. So what about you, dear readers? Do you prefer safe strategies or fast strategies in MMOs? Are you happier with a sure-fire win, or would you rather risk losing in exchange for a big victory?

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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Maybe slightly off topic, but the most fun dungeon runs I had in WoW were during TBC when you had to pull out as much CC as you could.
The dungeons were slower, but so satisfying when you CC 4 out of 6 mobs in a pull and the whole thing goes off perfectly.
Now it’s zerg AOE zerg AOE zerg GO GO GO!
Hell, even the game encourages you to with timed mythic+ dungeons.
Pretty crappy imo.

Teh Beardling

I play games to be excited and have fun. Not sleep at my desk. So, the more dangerous the better.

Kickstarter Donor

FUN strategies.

Kickstarter Donor

Guess the 1/4 of my DNA that ventured over from Asia via the land bridge wins.


For me it depends on the content and the players. If it’s long, requires group coordination, and has mechanical complexity, I’m going to want to do the safe strategy at least until I’m certain the other players in the group are capable of moving faster. If it’s short, has no or minimal coordination requirement, and is mechanically simple I’m just going to go for the pure speed strategy.

The problem for me is that pick up groups, in America at least, routinely overestimate their own ability or the group’s ability. So, you’ll end up with players insisting on strategies that simply won’t work with the given group and they take it personally when you attempt to guide the group towards less intensive strategies. It’s a recipe for a group completely dissolving.


Really depends on who I’m playing with.

Generally, I aim for perfection and optimisation in my playstyle, which usually means constantly pushing myself to do things faster and better. With friends / guildies, I stick to this strategy unless I need to train someone up.

But, with pugs, always play it safe to start with and then gradually build it up to faster / riskier strategies.

Bruce Morrison

I know back with City Of Heroes I favored group runs for Drops

Kickstarter Donor

I’m usually super conservative with my playstyle/builds. Occasionally I’ll go for a high-risk-high-reward approach, but that’s usually when the “high-risk” portion isn’t actually that high.

That doesn’t mean I can get through things quickly, but I almost always take the safer approach, especially with PUGS who often times need that additional leeway.


Sounds like I’d have more fun on Japanese servers, if I knew Japanese.

I liked it back in the days when we’d mark targets and take them down by the numbers rather then the run and dps down every mob in site that seems to be the fashion today.

Kickstarter Donor

I tend to associate with them greatly, this just adds to the list.

Robert Mann

Under the current standard model, I’ll pull as many as I can, unless I only have a single target build for some reason. Given cleaves and AOE that isn’t slower, I’ll pull more.

The creatures just aren’t generally that dangerous, and the death penalties if something does go wrong in most MMOs are meaningless to non-existent.

That said, I’m more than happy to also slow down for things like helping people, letting friends read story quests if we are grouped, etc. It’s just that all too much of MMOs is easier than running through a single thread tied between some trees, and pulling more just at least makes more progress in the bland combat simulators.

… yeah, there’s a reason I don’t play modern MMOs as much as I could.