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: 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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The Daily Grind: How closely do you follow MMOs prior to launch?

MOP commenter Tandor Shadewalker recently made me think about what the game industry was like prior to widespread use of the internet. If you’ll allow me to paraphrase, he said that gamemakers made games, we bought them in stores, and on occasion we may have discussed them with close friends or family and even less occasionally written a letter concerning them to a gaming magazine.

In 2015 on the other hand, everybody’s a critic, social media gives a megaphone to people with nothing to say, and games are dissected, analyzed, and fought over before they’ve even made it out of alpha. While I can’t fully divorce myself from this silly and toxic climate and continue to do my job, I have begun to draw a very clear line between games I’m obligated to know about for professional reasons and games I choose to know about for personal pleasure. And I’m finding that the less I know about the latter titles prior to launch, the happier I am.

What about you, MOP readers? How closely do you follow pre-launch MMOs or games from your other favorite genres?

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: What kind of physics-based gameplay do you expect in a next-gen superhero MMO?

When I first read Massively OP Kickstarter donor MagmaFist’s Daily Grind submission, I suspected him to be a big fan of Gravity/Force Fields Controllers in a past life. He asks,

What kind of physics-based gameplay should be or do you expect in a next-gen superhero MMO?

City of Heroes’ infamous combo leaped to mind because as annoying as some people found those powersets, their physics and animations made the game feel real. When you’re throwing around cars and watching them bounce off walls, or using force powers to propel thugs across the road, you master and immerse yourself in the space as much as the mechanics. Superhero games in particular take advantage of that, and I’d like to imagine that next-gen games can do so much better.

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The Daily Grind: Give a shout-out to your favorite retired MMO characters

We all have them: MMO characters we invested time, love, and no small amount of effort in making them all they could be… after which we put them in mothballs as we moved on to a new game or alt.

They’re our fleet of retired characters, each one of them either sitting patiently at a selection screen somewhere or having been long since obliterated. Each of them meant something to us once upon a time. So today I’m asking you to give a shout-out to your favorite retired characters and a fact or memory about each.

I’ll always remember Syp, my madcap Asuran Engineer in Guild Wars 2 who toasted the entire landscape with her awesome flamethrower. She suffered many jumping puzzles in the pursuit of finding new places to burn, and I hope she enjoys retirement.

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The Daily Grind: What do you think of WildStar Reloaded so far?

It’s been a day since the free-to-play update came out for WildStar, giving veteran, returning, and new players a chance to check out the business model and all of the changes.

So, what do you think?

There’s certainly a lot to digest, from the stat overhaul to the Alpha Sanctum instance to the cash shop offerings to loyalty rewards to housing improvements. Are all of the changes plus the new business model giving WildStar the do-over it needed? What are the highlights and lowlights for you who are playing it?

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Jukebox Heroes: Your top 20 favorite MMO soundtracks

I’ve been a sneaky columnist, my friends. Oh yes I have. In my last Jukebox Heroes I posted my top six favorite MMO soundtracks, partially because I wanted to share, but also partially because I wanted to see the responses. I judged — correctly — that music fans would come out of the woodwork to champion their own favorite scores.

Quietly, I began collecting your comments and even favorite tracks, extending this secretive poll to include a Daily Grind I proposed on this subject. Compiling all of the information between the two, I came up with a list of not my, but your favorite MMO soundtracks without opening it up to vote manipulation.

So do you want to know what the collective Massively Overpowered audience thinks are the best MMO soundtracks to date? Read on as I list the the top 20 (in order) that you nominated!

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The Daily Grind: How often are your MMO goals thwarted?

I logged into Ultima Online over the weekend absolutely determined to achieve a very specific thing: imbue some gear for my Tamer. But first I wanted to finish off my Arms Lore, which meant finishing the last few points of my Tailoring and Blacksmithing grind. But I ran out of ingots, so I needed to go mining first. But before I could do that, I needed to move my Mining skill back to my Blacksmith, which meant I first needed finish up some maps on my Treasure Hunter. That meant cleaning her inventory out of plants. And while I was doing that, I figured I’d plant a few more on my Paladin, so I needed to pull out my Bard to scrounge up some peculiar seeds…

Two hours later, I was somehow on my boat, salvaging shipwrecks on my Fisher, and I never did actually get to my imbuing.

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The Daily Grind: What MMO do you feel guilty for liking?

I played some Grand Theft Auto Online last night, and while I had a good time (as always), I also came away from the experience needing a shower (as always). I won’t go into how or why GTA Online is a guilty pleasure here today, mainly because I’ve done that before.

I will ask you, the MOP readership, if there are any MMOs or MMOlikes that make you feel a little guilty for liking them. Yes? No? Which ones and why?

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The Daily Grind: Are you hopeful about crowdfunded MMOs?

A few years back, we were all discussing the frankly dizzying amounts of money going into crowdfunding MMOs. Speculation ran rampant that this was the new model for developing games. And yet now, between titles like Greed Monger folding early in the development process, titles like Pathfinder Online facing an uncertain future, and other titles cancelling partway through their Kickstarter campaigns… suddenly the future of crowdfunding seems far less bright.

So what do you think? Are you looking at all of the MMOs that are out or on the horizon and still thinking that that crowdfunding is going to be the way of the future for video games? Do you think that the failures are part of the growing pains of the model? Or do you think that this is an inevitable consequence of crowdfunding?

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The Daily Grind: What could MMOs do with offline characters?

Maybe it’s my active imagination, but I like to believe that my characters are relieved when I log out of games, because then they can go home for some much-deserved rest and relaxation. Perhaps they take up hobbies or go on dates or start internet petitions about how forcing avatars to engage in non-stop combat is a particularly cruel existence.

Seriously, do you ever come up with notions of what your character does while you’re offline? Some MMOs like Age of Wushu or Project Gorgon put those characters to work in an automated fashion, but for the most part they vanish from the world and our attention. Do you have any good ideas as to what MMOs could do with characters when their players are offline?

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The Daily Grind: Are MMOTCGs really MMOs?

We’re coming down to the last few Kickstarter-submitted Daily Grind questions, and I admit I’ve been sitting on this particular one a while because MMOTCGs aren’t my personal passion. Donor Chocmaw posed this question:

Have you checked out HEX TCG and what do you think about it?

HEX was originally pitched as the first true MMOTCG as opposed to an online TCG. In fact, I remember getting its first embargoed press release a month or so before Hearthstone was announced and took over the entire world as only Blizzard can do. Unlike Hearthstone, which doesn’t even properly have chat, let alone MMORPG content, HEX’s design plan called for character customization, co-op PvE raiding, an auction house, and guilds and guild banks.

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