The Daily Grind: Which MMO activities are most likely to relax you?

You're going to say fishing, aren't you.

    
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I don’t get fishing. Not in real life (it’s an excuse for drinking beer in a boat), nor in MMOs (it’s a time sink that hurts your eyes as you develop tunnel vision because of a pixelated bobber). But I acknowledge that what isn’t for me might be someone else’s relaxing activity.

In fact, I really do get how important it is to toss in activities that relax players who aren’t currently in the mood for high-stress or -decision making environments. Sometimes we like to switch off our minds and fish, or farm, or play dress-up for a few hours. I’ve even found inventory organization and clean-up to be a mildly cathartic experience.

When you’re looking to relax in an MMO, what do you like to do the most? Which activities take away the stress and leave you with a zesty zen feeling?

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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Fenrir Wolf

The most likely to relax me? An interesting question. Usually the inquiry would be which elements excite a soul, but in this case, we’re looking at the pleasantly depressive, rather than the bombastically energetic.

Discovery is my joie de vivre, here, so I’d say it’d be an amalgam of exploration, stealth, and the acquisition of lore.

In the case of the latter, I glean pleasure from a growing personal library and lexicon of the world in which I travel. I like seeing what different writers have to offer me, with each work offering new subjective pieces to unravel a hopefully complex history of mysteries.

I feel that stealth isn’t quite so relaxing to the majority, but for me, it can be a welcome alternative to the combat grind. I cut my teeth on Thief, and more recently my stealth muscles received a tune-up in The Dark Mod. In comparison, most other stealth experiences are quite easy and relaxing, unless they’re poorly designed.

I like seeing places. Eastshade really exemplified this. Whilst not being an MMO, it really embodied what I enjoy about exploration in an MMO. I honestly wish there were MMOs that followed its example, but I digress.

Nothing more to say, really.

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Dean Greenhoe

Harvesting while exploring and building on my property.

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starbuck1771

Crafting and killing

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Anstalt

Small scale PvP

For example, I used to love doing 4man premades in SWTORs warzones as a way to relax. With a good group of friends they were very fun and quite relaxing. The unpredictability of PvP would always offer us up both some great combat and some really funny moments. Being PvP with no consequence, we didn’t care about winning or losing, just having a good fight and a bit of a laugh.

In LotRO, I used to enjoy soloing under-leveled content as a way to relax. When they introduced housing, they put housing items on dungeon bosses so it was fun going back and getting them solo. Mostly it was extremely easy, so relaxing and just a fun sightseeing tour. The final bosses could be challenging, but again there were no real stakes involved beyond wanting some fun so it never stressed me out. Was also fun re-speccing for ultimate soloability and playing the class in a different way to usual.

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Fervor Bliss

Put on an audiobook and fish, gather or craft.

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PanagiotisLial1

Crafting, Harvesting and chatting around

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NeoWolf

Exploring. I love wandering around maps finding those hidden treats in the shadowy nooks and crannies of the environment…

That sounded way less pervy in my head lol

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Easy Rider

Fishing in WoW or Engineering. Last one is pretty useless but it was so much fun for me

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Ryuen

Exploring in Elite, just jumping from system to system and seeing if there’s anything interesting there. Or going down to a planet with huge canyons and just go canyon running.
Boring for many I’ll bet but for me it’s relaxing.

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Minimalistway

If the game allow it without too much trouble: walking around, alas many games fill places with mobs and all i want to do is looking at the beautiful environment.

In WoW i walk around the zones or sometimes from north of Eastern Kingdoms to the south of Booty Bay, it’s easy to do that on level 120, try that at level 5 when every mob in high level zone think of you as breakfast!

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Fenrir Wolf

It was easy when you could wall-walk. When I was first introduced to WoW, back when a friend tried to pull me into it in either the beta or early launch (it was so long ago, I forget)? You could get just about anywhere with wall-walking.

It’s funny, there were only two reasons I played WoW back then: 1.) helping out friends and acquaintances with add-on coding; 2.) exploring wherever I could with wall-walking.

And I got to some places. When they started neutering the modding API and fixed wall-walking (both happened around the same time), I lost interest. It was made clear to me at that time that Blizzard wants to ensure that you only have fun in the ways they intend, you’re not supposed to ever make your own fun. “Grind! Grind! Grind!” screeched the slavedrivers.

That’s not what I want out of entertainment, so I quit.

Fun whilst it lasted. C’est la vie. It’s interesting that in the WoW Classic they’re launching, they’ve intentionally chosen to neuter both wall-walking and the modding API again, so it’s hardly what I’d call an authentic experience (or even nearly).

That’s the thing about ephemeral MMOs though, isn’t it? The best moments of them will always be largely lost to time.