The Daily Grind: How fast do you need to be making progress in MMOs?


Along with half of the population of the planet, it seems, I’ve been playing New World lately. And I found that I had to adjust my expectations of progress to fit what ended up being a somewhat slower pace due to the sheer amount of progress paths available. I realized that if I expected to zip up through levels and crafting tiers, then I was going to become miserable.

One can be patient, of course, but it’s always good to walk away from a play session feeling like some significant progress toward a goal has been made. How fast do you need to be making progress in MMOs? Do you need a level every other play session? Do you need new crafting recipes frequently? Should the game parcel out congrats on a regular basis?

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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I need to feel I’m staying leveled with the content. As long as that’s happening, I’m pretty happy, but if I feel like I have to grind levels to follow the basic storyline and gameplay loop, it won’t hold my interest for long.

Robert Mann

I like slower. I like avoiding levels entirely. I think that games progress too fast, and the rush to max level and end content merely harms the game for everyone, as people burn out and there’s level gap issues, along with all that entails, especially anywhere PvP or grouping matters.

Give me a slow burn world, with enough variety to make people somewhat unique, and with limits on how many things a person can reasonably master… and I am happier by far than in the status quo. Add interesting aspects to travel, make local good movements important, and have an actual economy that isn’t just coin drops and an AH? Then I’m looking at something very cool. The only question then is if PvP is going to make that a no-go (because every game with PvP that has come close, it only occurs in safe zones -or- the ganking/raiding of transported goods is more common than them getting to market).

Also, since I don’t mind grind for a reason, but hate it as a goal in and of itself… I’m willing to spend hours on end doing things like chopping trees with a goal whether communal or self centered, but will be upset at even a half hour of grinding mobs for a level.

As a side note, I don’t mind slow burn gains in skill at tasks, as opposed to levels that completely separate people. I prefer it to take time, have some catch-up elements to a point, but still make mastery be something that requires skill and patience as well as the time invested.

Jason Yeaman

For me I’m just taking my time and just enjoying the game as is. Right now I’m just balancing that out with doing quests, gather skills, crafting and doing the dungeons and corruption, because honestly if I rush to 60 I’m just only going to be disappointed and hate the game because there is no real end game content.

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To me, how much I enjoy progress is usually a function of the content available.

LotRO, by default, progresses too quickly – without XP-blockers, I outlevel zones before I’m half through them, which sucks all the fun out.

When I started SWTOR (2013?) it progressed too slowly – I had to grind dailies in order to proceed to the next planet.

FFXIV is a strange case. I see plenty of content I haven’t finished, but I have to tell myself not to mind it – I’ll need it to level other classes later. (However, in terms of unlocking key skills of a class, I find it painfully slow – I just endured three weeks of “press 1-2-3 over and over because that’s all the skills you have.”)

ESO is my ideal. Thanks to level scaling – which I know not everyone likes – I never have to worry about outleveling or running out of content.

IronSalamander8 .

I usually don’t mind a slower pace as long it’s not boring, i.e. a slower game that is fun is fine. Too many MMOs fail at this though, and feel grindy in a hurry so I give up on those early on.


Fast enough to avoid getting bored, which means it varies depending on the game and what we have to do in order to progress.

Do progression requires repeating content, for example grinding mobs or running an instance (or a small set of those) multiple times, and I can only advance to different content by progressing my character? Then I need progression to be kinda fast, or else I will either leave this MMO or take long breaks out of sheer boredom.

Do progression involves less- or non-repetitive content, such as playing through interesting quest lines, without ever forcing me to stop and grind before the next set of quests? Then I don’t care about how fast, or slow, my character progresses.


It totally depends on what sort of progress that we’re talking about.

False progress in the form of power increases (levels) I couldn’t care less about. This sort of progress, which for some reason seems to be highly valued in the RPG community, has zero impact on gameplay and so I ignore it as much as possible.

Progress in terms of unlocking new character capabilities….well, this is the exciting one! To begin with, I need these unlocks as quickly as possible in order to unlock whatever depth happens to exist in the game. Once that depth has been unlocked then progress can slow down.

Player progression – my ability to play the game / character well – doesn’t need to be fast or slow, it just needs to happen. I like to always feel like I’m getting better personally (rather than my character simply getting more powerful). Most of this progression happens at endgame for me. Once I’ve finally unlocked everything for my character, I can begin to learn to play that character to the best of my ability. I can then test myself against endgame PvE, then move on to PvP.

Bryan Correll

I don’t play games too quickly nor do I play them slowly. I play at precisely the rate I mean to.


That sounds familiar…


I like to make some progress, eventually. I want to tame things in Ark so that someday I can fight the bosses (and unlocke the Tek engrams and bonus levels.) But that’s a really long term goal.

More generally, I don’t care about progress in MMOs. I don’t do dungeons or raids, so I *can’t* reach the top power level in most games. (And since I don’t do them, according to the ‘git gud’ squad, I don’t “need” those upgrades anyway.) I might play a given game a lot for a couple of days, and then be unable or uninterested in playing it for days, or weeks, or months.

Since I can’t ever get the “best” gear in genuine MMOs, there’s no point in trying to min-max anyway. My best ship in Star Trek Online does about 150k DPS. I’ve seen ships in the “event” Task Force missions that do *millions* of DPS. I have no clue how, but such builds apparently exist, and it’s beyond pointless to even try to compete with them.


I try not to think about it too much.
In New World, I’ve gotten into a rotation of doing 1 quest and then taking my time leveling up my Gathering skills. Sometimes I don’t even get the quest done because I get too caught up with tree-chopping, skinning, etc.

I think it’s best to ignore what everyone else is doing and what level they’re at.
Just do you!