The Daily Grind: Do you appreciate timed content in MMOs?

    
39

The last thing you want to worry about when you’re playing a video game, especially an immersive one like an MMORPG, is a damn clock, right? Massively OP reader Rick thinks so — he’s not a fan of time limits (or even timer lockouts) on completing dungeons, boss fights, or other content.

“Are timers a challenge or simply a lazy dev device to make existing content re-usable?” he asks. “I personally HATE them but I know that people enjoy beating the odds and working under pressure.”

In pondering this reader mail, MOP’s Andrew pointed out that passive timers can be just as bad — like timers encountered when sending minions out to tackle away missions you never even see. That’s not even content — it’s nothing but juggling timers!

So let’s talk about the many (annoying) ways MMOs try to tie us to clocks. Do you appreciate timed content in MMOs? Is there one type you do or don’t like versus the others?

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!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

Not a fan of Game of Timers. I’ll do them like hell, but once I realize how much time I’m losing, I force myself to quit that game cold turkey, and that’s something no developer wants.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Yrys

I dislike content with timers. When City of Heroes was still going, I’d intentionally grab timed missions and then do something else, letting them expire (it would still complete the mission; you just get a significantly lower reward from it).

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
luxundae

I like limited time content like the opening of the gates of AQ or the Whispering Tide event because it makes the game world feel real. Things happen. Then they’re in the past, we have stories about them, and the world moves on.

I don’t like arbitrary timers, like “you have 3:30 to default this encounter before a hard reset,” because they feel random and unreal. The real world doesn’t usually work that way, so they break immersion.

In some ways, daily quests face a similar problem. If they reset based on the *server’s* day instead of our real world clock, they’d make more sense. What I’d really love to see is the quest-giver actually wander off and go to bed for a few hours, or cook or fish or build or whatever, and then come back and offer the quest again.

Reader
nobleeinherjar

If it’s limited-time content that’s going to go away permanently after a set period, I’m more to ignore it completely. I don’t like feeling pressured to play an MMO.

I usually don’t find other types of timers in MMOs that offensive. They are what they are. The one exception is FFXIV, where I learned that MMOs can actually run out of enough instances for every player, which is why I imagine most dungeons and raids have a ninety-minute timer. But the reason I find that silly would take too long to talk about; the timer itself is rather generous and something you only start to notice when a group is learning or under-performing.

I suppose I might feel differently if I was ever current with content in certain MMOs. I largely enjoyed my time playing through the Draenor expansion of WoW, but that was after Legion launched. If I’d reached that point in WoD where I was logging on each day just to cycle garrison stuff, then I could potentially see myself having a problem with timers.

In fact now that I think about it, in some ways I might appreciate timers. I’m the kind of person who can really get into an MMO and play it at the expense of other games. So having a list of things to complete in a given play session, and then knowing I can’t do them again until the next day or whatever, gives me time enough to also play other games I’d like to enjoy. The timer for the rewards you can get through the roulettes on FFXIV are a good example.

Reader
starbuck1771

It’s a lazy dev device :P

quark1020
Reader
quark1020

How so?

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

I don’t have a problem with time restrictions on repeating content, without them people just grind away in instances or on writs etc and then moan about it being tedious etc.

However, I hate timed quests where they have to be completed within a set time. I don’t play MMORPGs in order to e.g. ride a horse round a track inside X seconds, I’d play a different type of game if I wanted to do that – and I don’t!

Reader
Dug From The Earth

Timed content is ONLY ok (for me) if its something that will cycle back around and allow me a 2nd, or 3rd chance at doing it. Things like seasonal events.

Otherwise, its part of the game, that a paying customer may never ever get to take part in, which is BS.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

I hate anything time sensisitive in ANY form, I cannot stand feeling rushed or pressured by a ticking clock in whatever manner it is presented. I like to take my time and appreciate things at a pace I am comfortable with and within a time frame that suits me.

BUT and yes there is a but in terms of game content they are a feasible way to bottleneck reward otherwise people just find the most optimal content and rinse and repeat it in the shortest time possible in order to get endless silly rewards. You simply have to bottleneck that in some manner to keep things from getting out of hand and killing your economy.

wandris
Reader
wandris

There are too many answers to this question.

Unified daily reset at a fixed time=good (WoW dungeons quests, BDO quest, GW2 dailies, PoE masters etc.)
Random 20-24h timers on dailys= bad (ESO)
It helps you plan when you are able to predict a reset.

Timers on events/dungeons/quests: These are great ways to add a challenge dynamic. Getting down to the wire where you really need to start taking increased risks and less conservative play. It can be used to great effect in intensifying gameplay. However it is best used sparingly and not in every situation.

Time based restrictions on content: This would depend on how it is used. The idea of gating and limiting progress to extend a player’s interest is a double edged sword. On one hand limitless grinding can detract from the experience, knowing you can cap out after an hour of play ensures you are going to have time for other things without falling behind. Although it can be annoying to have to wait months to get something done you could otherwise bang out in an afternoon.

Timed events: Black desert is a game which uses these to great effect. Golden dagger event: Increased shard drop event, Class events, Community progression events, experience event. These are simple but rewarding events, perhaps black desert does them too often usually more than one at the same time, but I am certainly not complaining. Static events are less interesting, holiday events are really meh, every game has Xmas and halloween events and most are very uninspired and not very exciting with few exception. Secret world does halloween very well, where WoW is pretty damn boring after you do it once or twice.

Reader
Shiro Madoushi

ArcheAge has almost all of it’s daily content on timers.

8:00 AM Mistmerrow [1] + Ocleera Rift
1:00 PM Mistmerrow [2]
3:30 PM Abyssal Attack
4:00 PM Lusca Awakening
6:00 PM Mistmerrow [3] + World bosses (World bosses with valuable drops)
9:00 PM World Bosses despawn

Also every two hours the Crimson or Grimghast Rift events spawn. They alternate based on time of day in game. Crimson during daytime and Grimghast during the night.

They also have 3 events that start whenever enough monsters are killed in a zone. You have a few minutes to get there and about 30 minutes to complete the event before it goes away. If you don’t make it on time you have to wait hours for the zone to cycle again.

It’s really frustrating and it’s not even fun content. It’s just grind for points or items needed for gear or crafting. Of course these inconvenient events can be skipped with some convenient RL cash purchases.