The Daily Grind: When was the last time an MMO made you rethink your hobby?

This past week, my husband has been obsessed with Succubox. It’s a satirical clicker game where you start out by click-fighting monsters and buying lockboxes, but you quickly figure out that the way to win in the “game” part of the game is to get a job and then hire workers to play the game for you, and then you hire workers to buy and open lockboxes. Eventually, you end up with a successful intergalactic corporation focused entirely around grinding and opening lockboxes. It’s basically The Stanley Parable for lockbox MMOs.

You can play it for free if you’re so inclined and see what I’m talking about – it’s actually pretty funny on one level – but that’s not really the point. The point is that the game makes me angry because it’s right. And we all know it’s right. And while my husband’s cracking up pushing the “use knife” button to grind his in-game “job” for “promotions” so he has more “money” to spend on making “bots” open “lockboxes,” I’m reconsidering some of the MMORPGs on my hard drive whose business models look way too much like the ones being parodied in this incredibly insightful game.

When was the last time an MMO made you rethink your hobby?

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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Alex Malone

SW:TOR in 2012/2013 (first year after release).

I’ll admit, I was an MMO addict. Whilst I cut my teeth in SWG, it wasn’t until 2007 and LotRO that I really became addicted. I was averaging 4 hours a day, starting with LotRO, then WAR, then SW:TOR with plenty of betas/emus along the way.

And that was fine with me, because I loved the games I was playing. I had an amazing guild, we used to meet up in real life too. I got a girlfriend through my guild and we lived together for years. It was fun, social, rewarding and didn’t interfere too much with the rest of my life.

But then came SW:TOR.

By this point, I’d already seen LotRO gutted by F2P and turned into a hollow mess. I’d seen WAR release full of bugs and left to rot. But here comes SW:TOR. It’s Bioware (yay!) and Mythic (yay!) making a star wars MMO (yay!). I was worried during closed beta, but reassured by the devs that things were changing. I was then really crestfallen at release as it was still a pile of shit, but the devs kept telling us they’d improve the game.

That first year was just a mess. How could a company with so much money and so much talent make so many mistakes?! It boggled the mind. They weren’t even original mistakes, they were things that others had got wrong and fixed in most previous MMOs, but for some reason Bioware didn’t pay attention. It was a massive financial failure, resulting in the F2P switch and reduced investment in content. It was a failure with the players who left in droves, resulting in 2 rounds of server mergers within the first 12 months.

What finally made me rethink my hobby was the first expansion. I spent my first year of SW:TOR campaigning for changes. I would post on the official forums and engage with the devs. I would analyse their mechanics and itemisation, show where they were going wrong and suggest improvements. I got tons of praise from devs and players.

Then the first expansion was announced.

No improvements.
No changes

Just more of the same shit. I couldn’t believe it. Not even a vague attempt to fix the underlying issues with the game. Instead, they would focus on the single aspect that a small niche enjoyed – the story – and would just ride that one feature until the game shuts down.

Fuck that. At that point, I realised I had reached a point where I was only playing MMOs because of my guild. I had long since stopped enjoying the gameplay. It had been dumbed down too much and the genre overrun with retarded publishers who know nothing about MMOs. So, on the day the first SW:TOR expansion was announced, I unsubscribbed. Since then, I haven’t committed to a single MMO. Instead, I play the betas, assess the game for what it is and see if it is worth my time. So far, none of them are. Developers are making the same mistakes over and over again, mistakes that directly affect my enjoyment (solo-focused, vertical progression, linear worlds/story etc).

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Tobasco da Gama

Neverwinter’s campaign system put me off MMOs entirely for a good while. We all know that MMO endgames basically amount to “grind this thing until you have enough to grind the next thing”, but that game was especially brazen about it.

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Robert J. Reynolds

I’m currently level 20 and I can’t quit playing.

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Adri

February 2014. I realized that I’m not (and was never) the target audience for Guild Wars 2. I had played GW2 since launch by early 2014. They don’t support people who can spend thousands of hours per year in a game. It was a very deep and important time for me personally which made me think about more than just GW2. Am I the target audience for anyone or any game? Am I just to old? It kick started a long chain of thoughts.

Cadaver
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Cadaver

Recent events and trends have definitely dampened my enthusiasm for MMOs and online-gaming in general. When developers cynically embrace anti-consumer strategies, why continue to consume their products? Such cynicism and contempt begs to be repaid in kind. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to give up on gaming in general. I just have to make more informed choices when I spend my gaming dollars. For that I need honest, trustworthy sources of information. So I very much appreciate MOP’s consistent and vocal opposition to all of this predatory bullshit. Please keep it up, through 2018 and beyond.

kofteburger
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kofteburger

Never. I don’t have anything else to do.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I have accomplished all I came to do.

hats.jpg
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athiev

There are also at least legendary hats. Sorry…

miol
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miol

Boy, that game is really sobering! o.O

– “My God, what have I done?!”

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Cosmic Cleric

When the company behind the MMO does unethical things to it’s customers (ex.: selling flying mounts in an xpac that doesn’t let you fly in the xpac zones, loot boxes, etc.).

Also when the company radically changes things in-game (ex.: class design) so that you don’t feel that your time investment for progressing is safe, especially so when said changes are more about manipulating you out of a fear of the customer gets bored with the current class design, and may no longer stay a customer, than flaws with the current class design.

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McGuffn

This is why that lady in The Guild had her kids grind for her.