The Daily Grind: What parts of an MMO should be automated?

    
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The Daily Grind: What parts of an MMO should be automated?

When we think of “automation” in MMOs, usually our mind goes straight to what we see happening in mobile online games. Everything there seems to be automated, including running, fighting, and even questing. Games like Lineage 2 Revolution more or less play themselves with minimal human interaction.

But that’s an extreme form of automation that does too much to remove players from the game. It doesn’t mean all automation is bad; we accept some level of it in our games because it’s a helpful quality-of-life feature. Some examples of automation are taking an automated ride from point A to B on a flying mount, being able to queue up dozens of tedious crafting recipes in one go, and even automatically assigning new stats when a player levels.

What do you think? What parts of an MMO should be automated — and what parts should be kept free of computer control?

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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quark1020
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quark1020

Travel is probably the only thing that I don’t mind automated. Its great the first time we get somewhere, and I even prefer making my first step into a new area purely manual. After I’ve seen everything there is to see, its becomes tedious getting from place to place, especially if its really far. If we cant have intelligently designed teleportation, then at least let me alt tab/take a bathroom break while my character run/rides/flies there.

Covynant001
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Covynant001

In games with long travel times like EVE I never minded automated piloting, but over the years CCP kept making it increasingly more dangerous to where I couldn’t use it as often as I would have liked.

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Pandalulz

Hmmm… is LFG automation? It takes the place of me yelling “LFG!” over and over again. I like that one.
Is EVE Online’s offline training automation? I don’t hate that one, although I actually feel better when I level from DOING something, instead of watching a bar.
I don’t want anything to specifically move my character for me though. I guess there’s just a very grey line there.

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Anstalt

I would prefer that nothing get fully automated.

However, there are certain things I would like to “out-source” to NPCs, but still with associated micro-management gameplay. For example, I hate crafting, so I’d love to outsource gathering and crafting to NPCs. But, I would want to be able to specify the rules for those NPCs (i.e. search this area, only harvest X, travel in pairs, don’t use high-grade mats but leave them for me etc)

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Loopy

I’m personally not a big fan of automation, or at least not excessive ones. Anything that takes over control of my character is a big no-no, save flight paths which make sense from an immersion perspective.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

If you need an addon for it then it should be an automated feature with an option to turn off for Luddites.

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Mark Mealman

I really think it depends on the type of MMOG you’re trying to create. In classic EQ pretty much only the boats and auto-attack where automated. I think that makes sense(being a passenger on a boat) if you’re trying to create a sandbox, open world style game.

The vast majority of MMO’s aren’t trying to be that though. If all you’re creating is a theme park then I want automated systems to help me enjoy the ride you’re trying to put me on. If you’re not going to give me a world where downtime is interesting, then don’t give me any downtime.

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Dug From The Earth

IMO, the only automated part of an mmo, that the player doesnt have to control, should be the flight point mechanics. Be it griffons, horses, boats, or whatever. You pay to travel from A to B, and it moves you there.

If a mechanic is added to the game that warrants automation, then quite possibly its a bad mechanic. Games are about interacting. You PLAY games, you dont sit and watch. You watch movies. Games that have movies in them are fine, but if you are just sitting and watching the game play itself, the developers have failed somewhere in the games design.

If a mechanic warrants automation because its tedious or not fun to do manually, then dont add that mechanic.

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Utakata

Areas that could do with significant automation is where I have to /clean apartment, /prepare meals, /clean dishes, /do laundry and /make bed while playing my games. As I assume for others, /walk dog and /take kids to school. And hopefully none of these features will come out on mobile first! >.<

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IronSalamander8 .

I actually would like to pick where my stats go when I level, rather than automatic, of course in most MMOs today, a lot of stats are useless for your class/role so maybe it should be in those cases. It’s been awhile now, but I know when you made a new character in EQ you got to assign some points at creation and as an SK main I put all my points in STA for more health as I was advised to max HP, but as someone who started at the tabletop where my groups never min/maxed all that much, it was fun to have a fighter that wasn’t dense or a magic-user that could actually lift.

Fishing should be automated. It was one of the dullest parts of working on my trade skills in WoW and never felt much better anywhere else, although if you got that one special fishing pole in EQ, at least you could work on your alcohol toleranace!