The Daily Grind: Are there MMOs with simply too much to do?

    
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You get a stronghold! And you get a stronghold! Everybody here gets a stronghold!

MMO blogger Bhagpuss recently penned a solid article about his time in Guild Wars 2, arguing in part that the game’s problem isn’t that it doesn’t have enough to do but that the content is “designed to be consumed and forgotten” – and there’s almost too much of it.

“[T]he problem is never not having anything to do. Oh, ye gods no! If you limited yourself to nothing more than the basics, it would be quite literally impossible for a human being to work through all of the one-a-day, repeatable options in a single twenty-four hour period and also find time for sleeping and eating. Actually, probably even without that. There are probably bots trying it right now but honestly I’m not sure even a bot could do it.”

(Please do not try this at home.) Bhag goes on in depth to discuss the intensity and breadth of the content and how that contributes to the feeling, and I highly encourage reading the whole thing, but for today’s Daily Grind, we’ll jump off on this one idea: Are there MMOs with simply too much to do? And if your pet MMOs are among those, do you give up or keep trying to do it all?

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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taldren12

I don’t think it’s a matter of having too much to do. MMOs with tons of variety are great. FF14 has tons to do.

I think it’s more a matter of whether a game requires or pressures players to do it all. For instance, I don’t care about savage raids in FF14 at all. I don’t care about housing either, although that’s partially because it’s so hard to buy one. Instead, I have fun with collecting glamour, playing through the story, Triple Triad, and Chocobo Racing.

YoshiP has been on record multiple times saying that people should take a break from FF14 whenever they want. He encourages it. Compare that with devs and companies who are aggressive in their features designed to keep people playing constantly.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Sure. WoW and EQ2 immediately come to mind.

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Brian Barrett

Peak SWG had quite a time sink to it.

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Rick Mills

Still trying to figure out if the “Barracks” missions are worth working on in FFXIV.

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IronSalamander8 .

I’d say FF14 gets close, but as I can safely ignore most of it, I don’t mind it. Didn’t touch crafting or gathering at all till about weeks ago, can skip beast tribes when I feel like it, relic weapons aren’t needed (they just look nice), raids are mostly skippable, and so on. It’s stuff I am doing, but I don’t miss out if I skip some of it for days, weeks, or months, and even the older stuff doesn’t feel useless, which was a problem I had in WoW; does anyone even try to do those jousting quests from Wrath anymore?

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Bhagpuss Bhagpuss

Thanks for the link love, Bree!

As a very long-time player of GW2 my personal problem with the game has never been the “too much to do” thing (as the quote literally says). Too much is great. I’m happy to pick and choose.

My issue in recent years has been that some of of the things that have been added are barely interesting enough to do once but they’ve been designed to be done an indefinite number of times. I’m fine with repeatable content in principle, indeed I welcome it, but I have to find it entertaining the first time to want to do it again.

Ironically, the GW2 content I’ve most consistently enjoyed doing multiple times has been the “side stories” stuff, which for a while significantly outshone the main narrative. I’d welcome more of that. All in all, though, GW2 offers a varied buffet to pick away at, even if some of the dishes are beginning to look a little wilted and stale around the edges.

quark1020
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quark1020

Not typically. Usually, I play and complete the content I enjoy and them find myself quitting the game even thought there more content.

The only time I was ever *forced* to skip content was during Wow’s BfA. I only had a limited amount of play time (and motivation), and had to choose between doing the latest dungeons/raids or doing world quest/rep grind to unlock the allied races. I just didn’t have time or patience to do both, and since rep grinding is NOT what I considered fun, I skipped it and just did the raids.

Fisty
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Fisty

Sunday night I started a new guy on STO, because it’s been ages since I actually did something in this game. He’s level 17 now and I have no idea what 75% of this crap does. The whole duty officers, active and not active, who has what skill that is needed, why I can’t get some I think should work, to actually work. Then the dilithium store and the tokens you buy and each expansion had its own token system I guess and I have no idea which marks to accept at the end of these operations I do. I log in and there are like 5 event things going, with a few of them having 1 of 6 possible objectives you can complete each day. If I want that T6 ship, I need to do this for 20 more days and I think maybe I’ll get a fancy ship then.

I enjoy the episodic nature of the missions and may just do those, cause it’s the only place I really understand what is going on. Usually, I’m just lost as to what I should be doing to really maximize my time in the game.

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Ken from Chicago

Yeah, STO has a bazillion currencies. That alone is hard to keep track of. 🤣

Spaceboy
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Spaceboy

Since starting STO last year I’ve found that, as you say, there is a LOT available to do and not all of it is very clear on how it works. The great thing, though, is that with the way the game is designed almost none of it is actually required to play the game at a basic level and have fun. It’s all extra stuff that you can dive into at your leisure and discover just how deep the game can be. I’m just now really starting to figure out the Duty Officer system and it’s exciting for me!

My recommendation, if you want to take it easy and not be overwhelmed, is to just do one of the daily Event options (Operation: Wolf is actually great for this) so that you get the T6 Mirror Gagarin during the event and otherwise just do whatever looks appealing to you. Reputations have some of the best gear in the game, but you can play just fine without it so hit it when you’re ready to dive into that part of the game.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

To echo what some others have said – the problem isn’t “too much to do.” Having lots of things to choose from is good. The issue is when the game design tries to trick you into thinking you NEED to do all of it (fear of missing out, or time gates, or whatever.)

Star Trek Online currently falls into the latter area a lot – there is *always* a “special event” running. These last from a couple of weeks to a month, and you need to log in and participate for about 3/4ths of that time to get enough tokens to complete it and get the “free” reward. Miss that chance, and tough spit, sucks to be you if you wanted the item. If you participated a little, you can pay real money to complete the event afterwards, if you act quickly! (Hurry hurry hurry don’t think SPEND SPEND SPEND!)

And if you miss that chance and still want the item, you’ll have to pay $70 to $150 to buy it as an account unlock from Mudd’s Amazing Ripoff Bazaar. If they eventually add it there at all. (And the “free” rewards sometimes include T6 starships, which mostly aren’t otherwise available through gameplay *at all.*)

Spaceboy
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Spaceboy

I completely disagree with this assessment of STO. You say it falls into a “NEED” category, then go on to specifically say “If you WANTED the item”. There’s a huge difference between those two. No one NEEDS a T6 ship at all to play the game and have fun. But you may WANT one. And if you WANT one, then do the event and get one for free. Or pay for one, if you can’t wait or want a specific design. There is literally nothing in STO you NEED to do, unless you choose to play in such a way that NEEDS certain things, like if you’re DPS-chasing … but, again, that’s a choice that you, the player, made … the game didn’t force you.

I took a break from STO for about 4-5 months and missed the summer event and it doesn’t make a lick of difference. What’s another T6 ship when I have about 14 or 15 collected already? Unless I really liked the Risian Corvette, it was just another ship to sit in my Dry Dock.

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Castagere Shaikura

I have around 5 T6 ships and could care less about owning more. But the game sure is tired around owning one. And some of the latest content is easier in a T6. Sure you can struggle through that content in a T5 if you want. The game won’t stop you.

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Arktouros

I just think sandboxes and sandpark games (GW2) highlight a lack of time management skills on people’s parts. GW2 has always been packed with “too much to do” but it’s a matter of deciding what it is you want to work on. Like I was recently making a Binding of Ipos and I chose to make a Gift of Maguuma meaning I’d need 250 Dragonite from Dragonstand. So I just added that activity to stuff I do when logged in to collect the machettes/pods for Ore. When I was done with that step I simply stopped doing it and moved on to other tasks.

Over all having too much to do is good, it means there’s a lot in the game you want to do. You should worry when you feel like there’s just enough to do as it can quickly turn into not enough to do at all.

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Schmidt.Capela

The issue, for me, isn’t about managing time, but rather that whether I’m able to “complete” a game changes how I enjoy it.

In essence, I’m a completist. I get a lot of enjoyment from completing things, which allows me to have fun with content I wouldn’t otherwise enjoy as long as it’s possible to “finish” that content with a reasonable degree of effort. Conversely, not being able to complete things where progress is tracked frustrates me to a certain degree, meaning the content needs to be even more enjoyable for me to still have fun with it.

It’s why, for example, the mere existence of raiding in an MMO makes it less enjoyable for me; I will never complete the raiding part, since I hate it, and the frustration of never completing the game makes the rest of the game less enjoyable for me.

(BTW, I don’t actually have to complete a game for me to enjoy the completing part; as long as I’m sure I can still complete it if I put the effort, and I can feel like I’m making progress towards it whenever I play for progression, that is enough for me to enjoy the game more than I otherwise would. I guess this is a big part of why having to win in PvP, or to rely in RNG or other players to progress, frustrates me so much; they take away some of my agency over whether I’m progressing or not.)