Needy MMOs v2.0

Just over three years ago I wrote about a trend in MMO-gaming towards games becoming ‘needy’ or high-maintenance. Specifically by this I meant the tendency for MMOs to want you to login every day and for the game to reward you for doing so. In that post I mentioned the plans for the Hobbit presents in LOTRO; well now of course they’re a long-established part of the game. Admittedly it is an account level feature so I only have to log in one character to get it and since I’m trying to power-level my Minstrel’s weaponcrafting guild reputation I am logging in most days regardless.

Hobbit presents are old news

Hobbit presents are old news

World of Warcraft took the farming mini-game and turned it up quite a lot of notches with the Garrison system, it’s a min-maxers dream as you can benefit from logging in multiple times a day to send those followers off on missions. As I prepare for the Legion expansion in August and try to earn enough gold to keep myself in WoW tokens I have rapidly found myself with not one garrison but five – it’s rapidly feeling like “Needy MMO” territory.

Fifth garrison underway

Fifth garrison underway

But I can’t decide if Black Desert Online is a whole new level of ‘Needy’ in this context or something else. The game wants you to stay logged in for anything to happen – worker production tasks, long-distance auto-travel, training via “auto-loop” – I suspect there are plenty of other examples I could give. Things that need a good chunk of time to complete but do not require much input from your character or even you the player. The game does have a helpful “minimised” mode that, at least according to the tooltip, consumes minimal system resources. So I can have BDO running in the background while actively playing something else. That seems kind of odd to me, like the game wants to be there in the background nagging you for attention even if you’re trying to enjoy something else.

Auto-travel on a dark night

Auto-travel on a dark night

Plenty of other MMOs have daily-login reward systems of course; Wildstar has its cumulative daily login system and Archeage has a daily reward chest. Blade & Soul has daily rewards that require a longer time investment – you get a free spin of the random reward wheel at login and another after an hour delay. That’s rather like Neverwinter’s revamped invocation system – you only get the full rewards daily by invoking multiple times now over an hour and half period.

I’m happy to ignore such rewards if I’m not actively playing a particular game but I do wonder if games are being developed to be more needy now than ever?

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2 Responses to Needy MMOs v2.0

  1. Shintar says:

    It’s definitely something that’s on the rise and can be both attractive and annoying at the same time. I’m still invoking regularly in Neverwinter, to the point where I’m now afraid of rolling any more alts (even though I’d quite like to level one again) simply because I’m afraid of then “having to” invoke on yet another character all the time…

  2. Shandren says:

    This is a huge part of what turns me off from the newer mmos. The fact that a given game wants to dictate when and how much i play if I want to be “effective” is one of the biggest reasons for me to burn out on it.

    It might be a good retention-tool in a skinner-boxy, “keep them coming back”- way… But it is very low on the list of design decissions that is to the customers benefit.

    Tldr: i hate that this is now a thing 😦 let me play when i want to

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