the daily grind

No, it’s not a slow news day; it’s just The Daily Grind, a long-running morning feature in which the Massively Overpowered writers pose gaming-related questions to the MMORPG community. [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]

The Daily Grind: How would you mix MMO features to create the best one ever?

Today’s Daily Grind question — more like command! — from Massively OP Kickstarter donor Tim is short and sweet:

Mix features to create your perfect MMO.

It always drives me nuts when MMO developers start from scratch — or borrow the tent poles of a single title — when building a new game. There are so many great MMOs out there with so many great ideas. Steal from all of them, right?

My thoughts on what I’d do change every few months, but here’s what I’m feeling today: I’d mix City of Heroes’ level, zone, and combat design with Star Wars Galaxies’ non-combat and housing activities, Glitch’s brilliant crafting system, Guild Wars’ heroes and travel, Guild Wars 2’s cosmetics, WildStar’s setting, and ArcheAge’s character designer. Would that stuff make sense together? Probably not without some work, but I’d play it!

How about you? What favorite game features would you mix together to create the perfect MMO?

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The Daily Grind: Has a single screenshot ever made you want to play an MMO?

I don’t often look at a screenshot and think to myself, hmm, I should play that game. Yesterday I did exactly that, though, thanks to the Skyforge image in the header. I can’t put my finger on what appealed to me either, other than some weird sci-fi cyberpunk vibe coming off a game that I heretofore assumed to be about fantasy gods, grinding, and item malls.

What about you, MOP readers? Has a single screenshot ever tempted you to play a particular MMO?

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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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the most toxic community?

I ran across a weird thread on Reddit [NSFW] a week or two ago from a poster asking about toxic MMO communities, not because he wanted to avoid them but because he wanted to find one where he’d fit in. It’s since been pruned, but the gist was that the poster was looking for an MMO where he could shoot the breeze with gamers who weren’t super-sensitive, “adults” who wouldn’t be offended at being called names. “Basically my ideal MMO would be ‘The Barrens – The MMO,'” he explained.

Reddit responded as you’d expect; some people took offense at the idea of toxic MMO communities, while others called the poster nasty names (hence the “NSFW”). Some folks joked that he’d be right at home in Club Penguin, while others offered up PvP sandboxes. Oh, internet.

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The Daily Grind: What should Funcom do?

Man, every time we hear a Funcom report I get so incredibly depressed. I’m no financial expert, but it seems as though the studio is walking some kind of scary tightrope where one false step or unfortunate circumstance would send it plummeting to the grave.

And that is certainly what I do not want. I admire the effort that the studio’s put into the MMO industry over the years and consider The Secret World as one of the most original and fascinating games this genre’s ever produced. The thought of it being in danger makes me want to crawl under my desk and engage in some serious denial.

What steps do you think Funcom should take to ensure its — and its MMOs’ — survival? You all are smart, so let’s hear it!

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The Daily Grind: Are you going to play Squadron 42?

A whole bunch of Star Citizen-related stuff happened this past weekend, and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do since I missed it on account of my vacation. One thing I did notice was the A-list cast for Squadron 42, and while I’ve never been one for cutscenes or actors in my MMOs (I’ll make my own story, thank you very much), it’s hard to argue with Luke Skywalker, Commissioner Gordon, and Agent Scully.

Of course, Squadron 42 isn’t really an MMO; it’s the single-player prelude to Star Citizen’s MMO-like persistent universe. Creator Chris Roberts has likened it to the original Wing Commander gameplay experience plus a bunch of modern bells and whistles, but since it’s not really multiplayer, I’m wondering how popular it will be with MOP’s audience. How about it, friends? Assuming that you’re interested in Star Citizen, will you also be playing Squadron 42?

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The Daily Grind: What MMO characters have you stuck with for years?

The header picture is of my Shaman in World of Warcraft. I made her with the launch of The Burning Crusade because of course I made a Draenei Shaman; it was just what you did. She was meant to be a bottom-tier character whom I occasionally played, not a priority. Years later, I’ve been playing her consistently as a main and my first character to the level cap for every single subsequent expansion to the game. She stuck with me; I stuck with her.

Some characters get that coveted “main” status for a little while, but some manage to be our stalwart main characters for years on end, fixtures of our gaming worlds. So what MMO characters have you stuck with for years? Are they old favorites, or just characters that always avoid getting deleted even though you rarely play them?

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The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite MMO armor set?

Every time I start a new alt in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I like to gift him or her with a cool-looking cosmetic armor set. For my Jedi Sage, I went with a suit of second-hand power armor that, judging by the battle scars present, was probably peeled off its previous owner’s corpse.

I love it so much. Give me an outfit that is banged up and lived in any day over some froofy renaissance faire costume.

You’ve probably had a favorite armor set or outfit that you’ve sported during the years. Sure, maybe it had great stats or some amazing set bonus, but chances are that you’ve liked it for the leet visuals. What was it? Do you still have a picture of it?

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The Daily Grind: How much do you spend on MOBAs each month?

I’ve got MOBAs on the brain this week, so yes, it’s time for another early morning MOBA-themed discussion topic. I recently purchased my first champion in League of Legends, mainly because I’m impatient and wanted to try her out without grinding influence points for a couple of days. I haven’t bought any skins yet, and I probably won’t buy another champion, either, at least for a while.

I can see how Riot has made so much money, though, because it’s tempting to just go crazy and buy everything. What about you, MOP readers? How much money do you typically spend on your favorite MOBA every month?

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The Daily Grind: What’s the most casual-friendly MMO?

One of the factors that keeps me from playing more MMOs than I already do is that so many of them are not very friendly to a casual gaming approach. They take too long to log in, or have a lengthy learning curve, or require far too much time to make decent progress. I mean, sometimes you want a timesink and an energy sink. Sometimes you don’t.

So where does one go when one wants to dip in and out of a game and still have an enjoyable experience? Action RPGs such as Marvel Heroes seem to excel in this, as does the zippy little Trove.

If I were to ask you what MMO is the most casual-friendly, what would you say in response?

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The Daily Grind: So what mystery title is Daybreak working on?

Tucked into Daybreak’s announcement letter yesterday about the company’s new digs and Jens Andersen’s new role was the revelation that Daybreak is “currently working on” “an as-yet unannounced title.”

Leaving aside our inclination to snark about how maybe Daybreak should finish Landmark, H1Z1, and EverQuest Next first — admit it, your brain went there — I had to wonder about the mystery title. What is it? Is it an MMORPG in keeping with SOE’s legacy? Maybe something the studio doesn’t have at all, like a mobile title or MOBA? What about a console-oriented OFPS?

The only thing I’m pretty sure it isn’t is a home for Star Wars Galaxies refugees!

Let’s get our speculation on! What are they up to over there, other than enjoying their brand-new kegerator?

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The Daily Grind: Does your MMO archetype reflect your personality?

A few months ago, blogger Tipa on West Karana wrote a post wondering whether the roles we play in MMOs reflected on our roles in real life — and vice versa. Specifically, she talks about how her deliberate decision to play tanks in video games dovetailed with control over her own life and translated into leadership skills in the present day.

I played primarily healers and bards my first few years and deliberately chose to start playing a “puller” character to force myself out of my comfort zone too, but gosh if I don’t gravitate back to the same few archetypes in every game unless I consciously play against type (it’s shamans, crowd control bards, archers, and shield tanks for me). When I look around at my guildies, they tend to follow patterns too: The leaders pick tanks, the go-getters play berserkers, the tricksters like rogues, the contrarians play underdogs, the nurturers love healers, and so on. Some of them overlap, of course!

What do you think? Does your favorite MMO playstyle or archetype mirror your personality type in the real world?

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The Daily Grind: Who’s your favorite MOBA champion?

I’ve been playing League of Legends quite a bit lately, but I haven’t settled on a favorite champion yet. I’m a MOBA newb, so I’m trying everything in terms of roles to see what sticks and what sucks. I’m having the most fun with marksmen so far, just because last-hitting is strangely addictive and I’ve always been a stand-back-and-fire-guns kind of guy instead of a sword-and-board type.

What about you, MOP MOBA fans? Which champion is your favorite and why?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO has your favorite cosmetic system?

The Secret World is not my game of choice, but I sure did like its system for appearances. Clothing was just… well, clothing. You could wear whatever outfit you liked! Your stats were entirely tied to other parts of your character, and there was lots of stuff to mix-and-match. Skyforge uses a similar trick with its outfits, but there’s less mixing and matching. It’s a bit less appealing.

Of course, I’m very fond of any cosmetic system; there are just better and worse options. City of Heroes has some gold-standard elements to its cosmetic system, naturally, but even in games with more investment in gear, there are better and worse systems. So what MMO has your favorite cosmetic equipment system? Would it work in other games, or not quite so much?

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