Fun fact: The first Daily Grind on Massively was written on November 3rd, 2007, one day after Old Massively transitioned from a Second Life blog into an MMO website. The current count, at 13 years in, is around 4700 Daily Grinds. We’ll cross 5000 next year. And yes, we’re still accidentally rewriting topics we did years ago. (The best/worst is when we do the same topic with the same example we’ve forgotten all about – I mean, I guess at least we’re consistent?)
So what the heck is a Daily Grind? It’s basically an icebreaker post to kick off our news for the day, a fun provocative topic that gets people talking about something MMOsy before the deluge of daily posting begins. But when you do hundreds of them a year, some of them definitely stand out better than others. Per tradition, I’m going to pluck out some of my favorites from 2020, one from each month. Here we go!
January: What’s an MMO dealbreaker for you?
We all have them: those certain features that make us just nope right out of an MMO. We’re just not willing to compromise on some things. The hundred or so responses varied widely, from forced gankbox mechanics and bad user interfaces to gender-locking and paywalls.
February: Are DPS meters in MMORPGs toxic by nature?
February’s top Daily Grind surprised me, but maybe it shouldn’t have since DPS meters have been one of the community’s big squabbles for over a decade. Most people think the meters are fine, but in toxic players’ hands, they can definitely ruin the MMORPG experience.
March: What MMO are you playing instead of going out right now?
The Daily Grind is noteworthy less for the specific answers and more for the snapshot-in-time effect, as this was the month much of the US and Europe were under lockdown restrictions thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even more readers than usual found themselves with a bit of spare time and desire to socialize both in the game and in the comments during this weird period in 2020. Incidentally, the fact that our readers really do play such a wide variety of games, as evidenced by the replies, is one of the things that makes this place interesting!
April: Which MMO race is too ugly for you to play?
Ouch, this one seems like a brutal question, but some of the imaginary creatures you guys summoned for this TDG are really wretched. Heck some of you even picked humans as the most ugly race in video games, and in a lot of MMOs, that’s actually fair. Elves, gnomes, ogres, trolls, asura, undead, fairies, popori, goblins, and taurens all made your list. Then again, some folks go out of their way to play the “it is so ugly it is cute” races – including me with my Ithorians!
May: Does MMO inventory weight add immersion?
Most folks who answered this question focused more on whether they actually like inventory restrictions at all, but most people don’t find them particularly immersive either, especially when you’re standing in an MMO dungeon fiddling with your bags instead of fighting for your life.
June: What do you think is right to charge for in a free-to-play MMO?
Nothing gets the community going like fighting over money, right? As is typical for our audience, most people don’t mind paying something – in fact, there’s a distinct sense that people are even eager to pay a fair fee rather than see a developer struggle or resort to monetization shenanigans. But when it comes to free-to-play games, “cosmetics-only” cash-shops tend to rule the day. When people know the whales are being fleeced, they’re far less willing to pay for regular content.
July: Are you anxious about the Funcom acquisition?
Tencent finished buying up the remainder of Funcom this year, and far from being worried, our community seemed more hopeful than anything. Tencent has a relatively good reputation when it comes to letting the western studios it owns run with their games, and a lot of folks figure it can’t be any worse than Funcom was before.
August: What’s the most annoying ‘dark pattern’ in MMO gaming?
I fully admit to being obsessed with outing “dark patterns,” those tricks and deceptions retailers and websites use to coerce you into doing something or buying something you otherwise wouldn’t. Our readers pointed to multiple such tricks, like lockbox popups, lockbox spam, missing confirmation prompts, reverse progression, shady cash-shop pricing, multiple currencies, and difficulty canceling subs. But the worst in my eyes is still artificial scarcity. Looking at you, Daybreak.
September: Is the tab-target MMO on the way to becoming extinct?
While we had a few community members who said they wish it would, most of you aren’t buying it. The rise of action MMOs and action combat is seen as a challenger, but not one that has much of a chance of wiping out tab-targeting forever, especially as the core MMORPG audience continues aging up.
October: Has an MMO’s story ever turned you off from playing the game?
Do you know how hard it is to get a story about story to do well with MMO players? Your eyes and clicking fingers generally glaze over these types of articles. But damn did you ever show up to complain in this one! Skyforge, RIFT, Elder Scrolls Online, FFXIV, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, Blade & Soul, and of course WoW were all listed as key offenders.
November: What does your gaming space look like?
The number of commenters who posted in this thread with pics of their own gaming spaces was pretty darn heartwarming. Some of y’all are basically gaming on a box, while others are all decked out, but the love of the MMOs is the same. Bonus points for the ongoing inception joke… I think we made it easily six levels in!
December: Is MMO shoulder armor a little too much?
It absolutely is, and you think so too. “When playing SWTOR as a Sith, your shoulders should look like a jet airplane,” MOP reader Rafael suggests. We’re pretty sure he was being sarcastic.
Bonus: Which MMO has the best bears?
I don’t know the answer. I just love that this question exists and that our audience strived to answer it. “Finally you start to cover important gaming issues,” MOP reader Styopa quipped. Bears bears bears!
Want more? You can check out our faves from 2018 and 2019 too!