The Daily Grind: Do you multitask while playing MMORPGs?

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Years ago, I had the bright idea to go to extremes to multitask while playing World of Warcraft. I set my laptop on a high counter and put an aerobic step platform underneath, then as I was dungeon crawling through the game, I’d do basic step exercises while mousing. Up down, up down. It was harder than it sounds! Thank goodness it was WoW, else my performance probably would’ve suffered much more (as it was, I was Clique-gridding my way through heals). Was it better than sitting down while playing? Yeah, I’m not so convinced of that, but it was amusing.

Of course, many MMO gamers are already used to multitasking – you’re probably watching TV, listening to music, or keeping an ear on your kids. Or maybe even playing multiple accounts or games in between downtime. Pokemon Go players probably have the widest range!

Do you multitask while playing MMORPGs? What’s the most “extreme” form of multitasking you’ve ever taken on while MMOing?

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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During the mind-numbingly boring leveling part of an MMO, yes, I multi-task, typically having netflix or a dvd running on a second monitor.

Once I hit endgame, things start to get interesting. There is more challenge so need to concentrate, but also the audio cues from the game become important. Additionally, I’ve always been a group focused player so once I’m at the level cap, I’m pretty much always in a group and always using voice chat.


I have to. I get burned out of an MMO in about an hour or so if I’m not doing other things as well. Usually this is just chatting on IMs or the occasional stint of web-surfing, but it is a must or I start having trouble focusing on the MMO itself.

Jeromai _

The more action-oriented an MMO, the harder and less inclined I am to multitask. At most, it’s a Twitch stream, Netflix or music running in the second screen as accompaniment.

The best MMOs for multitasking are the older school ones with nonstandard click to move control schemes, as opposed to WASD and mouse camera control that needs two hands. I used to regularly play A Tale in the Desert with two clients open because that provided the right amount of action and things going on, whereas one client meant lots and lots of boring wait time.

Then the most extreme multitasking I ever did was a month long experiment in ATITD where I temporarily paid for and used 3 accounts, plus 1 free alt that you’re allowed, because quarrying marble typically takes 4 players. Usually, powergamer players with two characters each would pair up and just go for it (less organizing work than herding 4 cats together), but I was just curious as to the next logical extreme, whether solo quarrying would work.

Since I couldn’t figure out how to wrangle 4 clients on one PC, I opened two on my desktop and two on my laptop and did a swivel chair spin between two mice and keyboards. It actually worked pretty well. Proof of concept proved. Didn’t really have a use for that much marble though, so I didn’t continue after sating my curiosity.

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Nope! I’m either playing the game or I’m not.


In an MMO I’ve played the hell out of (i.e. one that I’ve played so much that it’s no longer immersive as an MMO)… then yes. In particular FFXIV. I play it on PS4, and my TV is right next to my computer, so sometimes I even play other games on my computer while waiting for a queue. And if a dungeon/alliance run is especially easy and boring, then I’ll probably be watching something on my computer.

Rolan Storm



If I’m only doing one other thing while playing games, it is a slow and inefficient day and it doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough. I normally always multitask when gaming doing multiple things at once, it’s why VR gaming will probably never work out well for me. I need to see what’s around me to be doing other things.

The exception is sometimes I really want to get into a good story line a game has going and I’ll need 30 minutes or so to just play that one game and really get into it. It’s rare that that happens – normally my tablet is still going too but once and a super great while I’m only playing that one game and doing nothing else for a short bit. It feels really odd to just be doing the one thing, despite wanting to do it more often if I can to really pay close attention to stories I like and try to immerse myself a little more.

I think it’s partially the ADD type of times we’ve been raised in. I don’t know if it has to do with age or not, if when I get to be much older if I’ll slow down and normally only do one other thing while gaming.


If I’m in the “grindy end-game” phase of an MMO, sure. I’ll put on music, a tv show, or YouTube while grinding out my weekly whatevers (challenge log/roulettes in FFXIV, world quests in WoW). But until I reach that point, I want to be immersed in the world I’m exploring. The one exception I can think of is role-playing on Discord or guild/custom chat in-game while I’m playing even if I’m not at end-game yet.

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Abso-freaking-lutely. Playing non-MMO’s right now is actually killing my ability to multi-task. Usually catch up on YT videos and podcasts and whatnot while playing MMO’s, but running more graphically intensive and attention demanding games kinda ruins my ability to do so : (

Bryan Correll

Unless a game really has its hooks in me (it still happens occasionally) chances are I’ve got several over things at least floating around in my head and sometimes requiring active attention.