The Daily Grind: Which is the best MMO to start in right now?

Here’s the situation: It’s April 2017, and you have a friend approach you who is open to the idea of playing MMORPGs, although he or she has never touched one. After looking down the list on Massively OP’s games page, your friend feels overwhelmed at the choices and has no idea where to start or which game to try first.

Knowing that some of these MMOs have been out for a while and being a little aware of the waning and waxing nature of the games, your friend asks you which MMO or MMOs would you recommend as an ideal starting point.

How would you respond? Would you encourage your friend to wait for an upcoming release so that he or she can get in on the ground floor? Would you pick one of the more popular titles that has a large crowd? Or would you recommend an MMO that is the most newbie-friendly game in town?

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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106 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Which is the best MMO to start in right now?"

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David Vraniak

If you like the retro mmo’s of yesteryear, I suggest checking out this free gem!

Danny Smith

I would gauge it on their single player tastes myself. Like Jrpgs? well shit FFXIV and even FFXI fit the bill there. Like elder scrolls? i think i have a recommendation for you there as well :p. I think for the most part i would recommend something modern as older games are kind of frankenstein monsters of jumbled up ideas at this point. Look at WoW, that thing is a goddamn trash fire of mechanical ideas nowadays. The entire goal is to rush to max level -which then locks you out of 90% of its instanced content completely since it has no scaling mechanics in them bar a recent time limited edition which is frankly bizzare choice wise since the design focus of WoW for more of its lifespan than not now is ‘instanced content is all that matters’- to spend your time in early 2000’s hotbar pvp or a single instanced raid or less than half a dozen dungeons for like 2 years. Story and such is subjective of course but if you are recommending something for someone to start with now? a lot of things like WoW or EVE that used to be the go to recommendation are a complete mess for a beginner nowadays.

Of course the joke is most people nowadays after the bubble has burst and ‘online multiplayer’ isnt such a new niche concept limited to things like mmos means folks would probably be happier with a heavily modded minecraft server instead of the timesink any mmo represents :


Fishing Planet.


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The timing of this article and discussion is great as I have been thinking on this subject for my son. He is 15 and over the years has watched me play Asheron’s Call, City of Heroes, Champions Online, WoW, and other games. Sometimes he would make a character and play a little too.

In recent years he of course got hooked on Minecraft and we would sometimes play that side by side or online (he lives with his mom). Sometimes while visiting we would also play Marvel Heroes or Star Trek Online on laptops next to each other. He enjoyed those two games but I think was mostly interested in them because of the related movies. I think he also plays Battlefront some on his Xbone at home with his step-dad, but not sure how much.

Recently he was over and I was revisiting Ryzom and he was very interested in what I was playing, especially when I said it was an old MMO. I’m not sure if that is the best game for his first real MMO excursion but I get the sense he’d like to give one a try.

I hadn’t played SWTOR lately so logged into that and also reinstalled GW2. Was a bit overwhelmed but that was partly because so much had changed or been added and I was playing higher level characters.

Trying to come up with a few games for him to try. He likes sci-fi, fantasy and superheroes (obviously) and I want to go with something free to play. Willing to put some money into it occasionally to “boost” him if he sticks with it but not planning to do a sub… unless he gets hooked on a specific game (and keeps his grades up ha ha). His laptop is a few years old so something that works on lower-end PCs would be best.

Any suggestions are appreciated and I’m of course reading the MANY comments here.

Thank you!

Bree Royce
Bree Royce

My kids are 2 and 5, so I’m probably not the best person to give you advice for a teenager! I kinda feel like I’d stay away from Ryzom just because it’s such a polarizing sort of game. You have hit the ones I was going to recommend – GW2 and Marvel Heroes, chiefly because they’re easy to pick up and good to play together without tooooo much fuss over levels/gear/location and none of the “work” of a sandbox. But if he’s up for sandbox work, I’d probably angle toward Wurm or SOTA over Ryzom.

Have you guys tried ESO? With the levelscaling stuff from last year, it might be a good option, and you could probably turn down the graphics to make it work on an older toy. Black Desert is still getting content like a maniac too. If he’s more into dungeoning, what about Neverwinter or Blade & Soul?

I suspect this question might be a bit easier to answer in a few more years when many of the still-cooking games are actually here. We haven’t gotten that many new games that are squarely in the realm of MMORPGs lately. If he wanted something on the border that isn’t an obvious Blizzard title, Warframe has rave reviews.


Thanks for all the suggestions! Something more structured might work for an intro to MMOs. Marvel Heroes is fun but I think he wants to try something 1st/3rd person instead of isometric.

I guess ESO is a possibility will have to see how it does on his laptop… and he has seen me play Skyrim so not totally unfamiliar. GW2 is a possibility too though I think at low levels it might be a bit much. There is a lot to take in and learn.

Of course he is the YouTube generation so he will probably watch a bunch of videos and know more about the games than me lol

I have mixed feelings about Neverwinter. It’s good overall but hate how they do skill progression. Like DDO much more in terms of implementation of D&D rules… hoping a D&D 5E MMO comes out at some point though. ;)

I played the recent SOTA demo and liked enough of it to try it again but not enough to pay and for my son, until I know he is going to stick with a game, I especially don’t want to pay up front.

Haven’t really looked at BD or B&S but will do so on your recommendation…

Again, thanks for the suggestions!!!


If I know he likes Sandboxes, I’d point him towards BDO. It can be super casual or super hardcore, and can cater to all playstyles equally.

For Themepark-style games, I think I’d point him towards FF14 if he enjoys JRPGs, or ESO if he enjoys traditional western RPGs. People criticize FF14 for its complexity, but the game itself does a good job in teaching you the systems and your key abilities, and eases you into group content from a low level. ESO is just fairly simple to get in with the One Tamriel update. SWtOR is also a decent pick for Sci-Fi/Star Wars nerds that want to immerse themselves in a setting primarily.

And if he is a hardcore PvPer, I’d tell him to not bother with MMOs.


ESO no contest. It’s one of the few games where the population is in an incline instead of a decline. There’s tons of content to enjoy, and with 1 Tam you can now do any content, outside of raids & vet dungeons, at any level. Meaning you can play with friends anywhere you wish to.

On top of all of that, the game is group friendly, and actually has a normal MMO group setup, unlike GW2. Which encourages socialization, the core of MMORPG’s, so it’s actually got a vibrant and active community. Yes there are elitists and trolls, but there’s by far more helpful people than the prior.

If all of that wasn’t enough, there’s a new x-pack about to drop. So it’s the perfect time to jump in the game. Things are hopping, the community is at a buzz, and the game is actually being highly supported. Unlike games like SWTOR.

A lot of people wrote off ESO at release, due to it’s issues, and poor release window. Yet, the studio has shown it’s dedication to the game over and over. It listens to it’s player base, to a point, when making changes in game.

If you haven’t tried ESO in the last year and a half, you owe it to yourself to give it another shot.


I would have to know the friend’s interest, playstyle, and more before I started giving suggestions/recommendations for mmorps. I’ve applied a similar stance in some mmo’s when someone has asked me things like “what class should I play”.

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Alex Willis

GW2. Quick action, engaging story, open questing, easy UI, B2P, low barrier to entry for PvP. Probably still the most “balanced” MMORPG out there right now.

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I would recommend SWTOR. With a referral, they’ll get preferred access with the additional quickbars. It’s got the best story content that doesn’t feel grindy to level, and grouping is possible across level boundaries in case they get into it and binge while I’m offline. If we like it as we ease into group content, then we can move to other MMOs. Raid content is restarting after a 2 year dead period, which means players are open to raiders who have never raided before since rosters have to be filled from scratch to try the newest content. So it’s a good time if they want to ease into PVE, as guilds are recruiting for first-timers.


I would always recommend WoW. Despite my disdain for the current version of the game and the contempt I feel towards the current Game Director it is still the pinnacle of the genre (sad as that may be). I attribute this largely to the engine, overall polish, familiarity of the IP/brand and the fact it will most likely run decently on whatever potato my friend is trying to play on. If they haven’t tried an MMO by now they’re probably playing on a potato.