Massively Overthinking: Is there a feature or item in MMORPGs you won’t play without?


I was jolted into a near panic earlier this past weekend when I saw a tweet from Lord of the Rings Online in which Standing Stone Games told players that carry-alls have been disabled. Carry-alls are basically inventory extensions for specific items, like crafting mats and task items. I have around a dozen of them personally; they’re one of the few things I think are worth spending my sub stipend on (whenever there’s a good sale!) as they reduce inventory shuffling and make passing stuff to alts so much easier. Obviously, you can play the game without them, as many MMO gamers did for years and years, but I don’t want to. Inventory management is the most annoying thing about the game for me, even above lag, so I don’t want to play without my cures.

Hopefully, by the time this article is live, there’s already a fix for whatever the problem is (apparently yes), but that doesn’t mean we can’t get some Massively Overthinking out of it because I know I’m not the only MMO person out there who has a sticking point like this. Consider your own favorite or current MMOs: Is there a feature or item in those games that you don’t want to or simply won’t play without? What makes it so mission-critical in that specific MMORPG?

Andy McAdams: I think auto-loot for me. Without that I invariably miss looting something. Lack of a dyeing capability also frustrates me. WoW’s lack of armor dyeing is baffling and incredibly annoying.

I think some sort of cosmetic /transmog system is a need for me too. If I had to look like some kind of spikey clown constantly in WoW, I would never want to play. Same with FFXIV and the various robes that bear a strong resemblance to hoop skirts.

But in general, there’s not much in terms of dealbreaker in quality-of-life for me. At least nothing that jumps to mind without actually experiencing the friction.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I know I picked LOTRO’s carry-alls in the intro, but I want to add one more: a convenient way to transfer items between toons. Listen, I started MMORPGs back in the days when this was simply not a thing game devs thought about. In Asheron’s Call, you just had to find a quiet spot and dump your stuff behind a building and then log into the other toon and grab it before someone else did. It was true in Ultima Online too before the days of secure housing, although we muled stuff in inns. In EverQuest, you pretty much needed a friend to help. So annoying. Nowadays, MMOs make these conveniences part of the game, either through shared housing, shared storage, or shared mail. At least give us the mail! Unless the game is going to be super strict and truly police one-character-per-player policies – and I don’t know of any MMO that really does this, nor is it a smart business move when alting is stickiness – then just make this a quality-of-life feature in everything. Please.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): Anything that makes inventory management streamlined and simpler is my first thought. Things like auto-sort, auto-sell, and dedicated bags for materials are the sorts of things I love seeing in my MMOs, though I will admit that Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t have quite all of them; mat bags and auto-sell don’t exist. And no, I’m not counting crystal storage.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Some quality-of-life improvements in MMOs have become so ingrained that to go back or without would be incredibly jarring. I can’t imagine returning to a time when LOTRO didn’t have auto-collect for its loot or any MMO that doesn’t include some sort of option for cosmetic outfits.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): I won’t say there is an aspect that makes me totally disregard a game from the get-go, bit there are a couple of things that are deal-breakers to any long term play no matter how hard I tried. First is taking away a house of mine for any reason. I just can’t bring myself back after that kind of letdown. The other that I didn’t know would affect me so much is the lack of a way to personally trade items to friends. Much of how I enjoy playing is helping other, and that includes sharing items, resources, and the like. I am about cooperative gaming. When I am prevented from doing so, no matter how stunning the game is otherwise, I still can’t get into it.

One thing I don’t want to play without but I won’t overlook or leave a game over is a cosmetic wardrobe! I just want to look how I want, not exactly like everyone else.

Sam Kash (@thesamkash): Right off the dome, the first thing I think of is auto-sell junk at vendors. Similarly, auto-loot all dropped enemies around me and salvage-all for gear under a certain rarity. These basically fall into the same category as Bree’s example: features that become obvious quality of life improvements.

The ones above I mention come from Guild Wars 2. In HP Magic Awakened, there’s an option to auto-convert low-quality echoes into components for leveling up the gold tier ones. Just simply make the inventory management less tedious so we can play more.

Tyler Edwards (blog): Let’s just say it’s not a coincidence that I only came back to WoW after Blizzard confirmed it was no longer going to be restricting flight in future expansions going forward.

Every week, join the Massively OP staff for Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable in which we discuss the MMO industry topics du jour – and then invite you to join the fray in the comments. Overthinking it is literally the whole point. Your turn!
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