The Daily Grind: What are your ‘must have’ features for an MMO space sim?


With Star Citizen on the way (eventually) and smaller efforts like Prosperous Universe, Starfighter Inc, and Dual Universe in the works and titles like Elite: Dangerous already here, the space sim looks to be on the rise in the massively multiplayer space. That’s great news for players who want to leave the fantasy realm and reach for the stars.

Of course, not everyone has the same vision for what they would like to see in a space sim. Me? I don’t want a cold and sterile space environment; I really crave colorful environments and races that are chock-full of personality.

Assuming that you’re interested in playing an online space sim at some point, what are your must-have features that you wouldn’t consider playing without? What features would take it above and beyond mediocrity to make it something special?

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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If Elite: Dangerous and No Man’s Sky had a baby, that would probably be a go-to game for me.

I get tired of space sims which are little more than “World War II fighter plane” pew-pew sims, dressed up in science-fiction drag.

For me, space is also about exploration and discovery, so a mashup of ED and NMS would probably do the trick for me.

I realize that Star Citizen has been promising to be just this sort of hybrid game for a while now, but nobody really knows when SC will actually launch, and I suspect the game won’t be able to launch with all of its intended game systems in place, anyway, because that would involve so very many interdependent play elements all working as expected.

I’ve said before that I do expect Star Citizen will ultimately release some day, but I have no idea when, or in what state. I no longer look to it as the type of space game I hope to see.

My opinions, anyway,


JC Denton

Freelancer with the CrossFire mod (gorgeous space backgrounds that made it a joy to explore) and optimized/changed for a truly-massive multiplayer environment; just remake it in a modern game engine and integrate the single-player campaign stuff into the MMO part of things (instanced story and then dumped into the world once the story is complete; able to bring along friends to help; etc).

That’s my dream MMO. Would want to also put in a ‘garage/hanger’ system for additional ships and do all the base building and other stuff added by modders over the past 10+ years but it would probably work really well. Doesn’t even have to be called Freelancer.

Anthony Clark

Little thing called fun.

More Wing Commander-like

Lots of fast action pew pew pew. I know that’s not scientifically accurate to space, but it’s fun dangit.


I would really like a more immersive Star Trek MMO. Less combat, and with the PC being part of the crew of a ship, with potential for advancement all the way up to the top. Combat options will be defined by your position on the ship, so as an engineer you’d run around trying to fix broken shit in the middle of combat, while as a captain you’d have a tactical view RTS-style, and as the security officer you’d go out guns blazing.

Add in a huge universe to explore, with expeditions to new planets, diplomacy options etc. and I’m set.


Being able to crew a ship with friends in a vast huge Universe,


It has to offer a hefty amount of ways to exist and achieve in the game that aren’t combat oriented. A player should be able to create a a retail empire from clothes to medical devices to ship engines, or found mining or settlement colonies on newly discovered planets/moons, or spend their days scavenging space junk.

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-A variety of large & small vehicles to control, from space stations to single-occupant ships or mech suits
-Let avatars freely walk around in larger ships and on planet surfaces
-Ability to decorate the interiors of ships, space stations, surface-bound homes, etc.
-Lots of cool, weird alien races for avatars to choose from, maybe with some having access to unique features or areas, but the use of tech & body mods to hopefully allow the same for all with some effort by the player
-Colorful, lively graphics & palette more in the vein of WildStar, Phantasy Star Online, Starbound, etc. as opposed to strictly focusing on cutting edge
-Fantasy elements
-Optional modes for a variety of playstyles: PvE, PvP, and non-combat endeavors like crafting, economics, space politics, farming, exploration, and more
-Well-done storyline that doesn’t gate out features

That would be my dream space sim, but I think it strays further into general sci-fi MMO territory with a heavy dose of space elements. I honestly haven’t played much in this genre. I guess the first step to getting me interested in space sims is to offer a world that’s more on the vibrant and interesting side, with avatars that can walk freely at certain points (ideally on planets), options for decoration/customization, and social hubs. That makes space somehow more relatable than just a sea of stars with other ships floating by.


A cross between Star Wars Galaxies , Star Citizen, and toss in some Firefly and I will be satisfied.

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Ken from Chicago

Keep flying, Starbuck.


What I would like in all mmos..
Living breathing dynamic world(universe), with races, factions in conflict that are everchanging, progressing through a world story (not stories for you) that the developers continously (month by month) change and develop .. In other words a PVE sandbox.
EqNext died but the dream continues..also in space.

It is simple really, give me worlds not stories.

Second, no cash shop, and last, no cash shop.

ichi sakari

gameplay and graphics, without the bullshit

a great space MMO will have to have some compelling gameplay, and good lore base and quests/missions that are fun and challenging

I’ll never actually go into space, so my space MMO has to have superb graphics that make me want to take screenies, to go oohh and aaah

no insane grinds, no crazy cash shop that is necessary to enjoy the game

got to have a clean anti-grief plan, where one can get ganked and plundered if not careful, but also where one can avoid getting planked and gundered if careful

solid grouping/social interface, got to have it easy to play with my little space buddies

and finally, for all the trololols out there, my space game ‘must have’ content and mechanics fleshed out and playable in my lifetime

ichi sakari

shooting for the stars?