The Daily Grind: What’s your core problem with mobile MMOs, and is it fixable?


Droid Gamers put out an interesting piece this weekend that to me illuminates how the ongoing conversation about mobile MMOs go south. Author Ash Mayhew is agitating for more MMORPGs on mobile, but specifically “classic MMORPGs” rather than the endless parade of clone RPGs where you just auto-click and auto-attack and auto-loot.

“The fact that developers are looking backwards for inspiration offers mobile a unique position to take advantage of it. Old School RuneScape is currently in the healthiest position of its entire lifespan thanks to mobile, with more players and members than ever before. Imagine what it could do for the likes of WOW, the original Guild Wars, Lineage II, EverQuest, and more. So heed our advice, mobile developers and publishers: we want classic MMORPGs on our phones rather than new online RPGs that play themselves. Just look at how successful Old School RuneScape is for inspiration.”

Most of the time, we say the word “mobile” and every MMO player reading cringes hard, but I suspect it’s not really because we’re opposed to the idea; it’s because we’re thinking of all the crap that gets an MMO label slapped on but doesn’t measure up to what we expect out of the genre. Either we realize that development is a zero-sum game and if it’s coming to mobile it means less attention for PC one way or another (sup Diablo Immortal), or we know it’s going to be some half-assed microtransaction-drenched autoclicker where our actual presence is less important than our credit card.

But hey, we all have phones. And I’d love to see a “real” MMORPG on mobile.

What’s your core problem with mobile MMOs, and is it fixable?

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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UI is cluttered with redundant menus, with menus inside menus all designed to milk you or cause you to grind, your daily logins your monthly bonuses your daily free lottery rolls your achievements your pets achievements your play streak bonuses your VIP tiers and VIP daily login pet lottery bonuses. Any games that offer you the illusion of choice dont want you actually choosing an option, they want to encourage you to pick EVERY option, every character and every item needs maxed.

Maggie May

Games start fine with ever more grind added as you lvl with no cure but buying upgrades to increase the speed of lvling and less and less progression … with little reward.

Anthony Clark

Controls, Graphics, and Screen Size.

No, it can’t be fixed.


As Mr.McSleaz said:

“When I’m “Mobile”, I don’t have time to game.”


My problem is that i was playing with sony game gear when i was 10 years old. I grew up and gone from ps1 to ps4 and from windows xp and pentium 4 to i core 7 nd nvidia 1070 nd a 40 inch gaming monitor.

Simly answer is: i dont wanna go back to sony game gear.


When I’m “Mobile”, I don’t have time to game.
When I’m at home, why the eff would I play on a tiny screen with thumb controls?

Then again, I wonder why people watch “Influencers” for hours when they could just play the damn game themselves.

No, these problems can’t be fixed.

Random MMO fan
Random MMO fan

My problem: not a lot of developers bother to support peripherals such as Samsung Gear VR (this peripheral device fixes ALL issues with “tiny display size”). Which is understandable – only Samsung has support for such goggles and controller for a few of their smartphones, and sadly there’s no way to “fix” this (unless Oculus will want to release “universal” version which can fit all major Android smartphone models).

Toy Clown

I live in a world where I see everyone’s head in a phone, from driving down the street, where I work, standing in line at the supermarket, walking down the street, etc. I was born into an era before computers were part of the common household or even part of education.

Showing that perspective, I don’t want to ever get involved in having MMOs on my phone. First, there’s the cost of having a phone that can run MMOs, and that’s alongside the computers I keep up-to-date at my house to play the latest games. It’s a cost I’ve always figured worth it since it feeds several hobbies I enjoy from writing, gaming, art, blogging, etc.

It’s bad enough living in a world where people are becoming more “numb” and I think as tech pushes us forward into continuous plug-ins to other worlds, that as a people we’ll leave the real world behind. Either that, or I’ve watched and read way too many dystopian stories!

Personally, I hate being plugged in all the time and have times through my day where I don’t use tech at all, have my phone on, or can be accessible 24/7. I used to not be introverted, but I am now, and it is what it is.

Nutshell. :)

Aiun Tanks

Yeah, I love the idea of trying to play an action game while my thumbs are occupyig a massive portion of an already tiny space. /s

Horrific monetization endemic to the platform is fixable… but is there any desire to fix that problem, or is horrific and exploitative monetization the actual goal that’s drawing publishers to the platform in the first place? (I’m thinking it is, and that there will be no will to fix this problem.)

Pick-up-and-put-down micro-play experience is fixable by design.
Low-connectivity is possibly fixable, with sacrifices, again by design (eg: asynchronicity, AI control).

The tiny screen and awful controls… no. I don’t think they’re fixable. I’ve played some of the action-MMO games that Diablo Immorals is copying, and they have not solved that problem. Not at all.

The most charitable thing I can say about it is that it’s a compromise which some people tolerate, for a lack of better options. (Or cultural differences.)


“Diablo Immorals”

Nice One :)

Matt Comstock

Tiny Screen Syndrome. Not fixable. Can you really immerse yourself into a game staring at 3″x 6″ screen? More importantly, true MMO’s have a variety of complex systems and user interfaces that would seem difficult to impossible to replicate on a phone screen. I’m not sure whether that is fixable…

Random MMO fan
Random MMO fan

Tiny Screen is easy to fix. Samsung and Oculus did it ;-) It’s just not a popular solution because Gear VR require specific support for it in games and not many developers want to bother.


I have a 24 in 4k monitor, why would I want to wear something over my face? Pass. =P


My main problem is the inferior graphics, inferior controls, inferior performance, inferior writing and music (because I guess not a lot of artists with any real inspiration set out to make a phone game), their shallowness and their business models and the tiny screen you play them on.

Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor

Yep. I was just going to state that I’m a graphics snob, but your statement is much more inclusive of the moblie gaming issues. :)

My secondary issue is battery. Sure, batteries keep improving, but my phone battery would not withstand the toll of time I usually put into MMOs.