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

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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 :

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mcsleaz

Fishing Planet.

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mjayg

comment image

:D

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mjayg

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
Staff
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.

Reader
mjayg

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!!!

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Tithian

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.

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jay

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.

ceder
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ceder

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.

Sykes
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Sykes

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.

budtoker420
Reader
budtoker420

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.

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Roger Melly

It depends .

I would recommend lotro for someone looking for a game with a friendly community .

I would recommend WoW to my nieces and nephews because it is (mostly) a very simplified game which is a good starting point for a child .

I would recommend Guild Wars 2 or Rift because they only require one purchase and after that it’s possible to do everything in them .

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Dug From The Earth

I think for a “best mmo to start in” selection, it has to meet a few requirements.

1. Will you feel like you are super far behind others in the game if you start now?
2. Does the game feel dated and antiquated (obsolete mechanics, dated UI, bad graphics, etc)?
3. Will you be able to have fun as soon as you jump into the game or is it work first, fun later?
4. Is the player base large enough to make the game feel alive and well?
5. Does the game have a big learning curve? Or will past game experience let you jump right in?
6. Is there enough to do in the game to keep you playing every day of the week, while at the same time letting you play less often and more casually without feeling like you are falling behind?

I think currently, there arent many (if any) that fit all of these. Elder Scrolls Online comes close, only really having an issue with #5 (unless people are used to the single player games). WoW might seem like a top pick, but it falls short with #1, which can be a huge turn off when playing an online game. GW2 surprisingly is a good pick, because it really doesnt suffer from any of these until after you have played it for a couple months, and then #6 becomes an issue.

Of many of the mmorpgs, only GW2 and ESO really avoid #1 being a problem, because end game progression isnt vertical (or nearly as vertical as other mmorpgs). With PvP it can still feel like an issue, other than in GW2, where sPvP is 0% gear based, and there is no feeling of starting out at a disadvantage due to gear.

Most other mmorpgs suffer from more of these and to a much larger and intense degree.

For my choice, id pick Elder Scrolls Online. Its an easy, modern game to jump into and have fun in, has tons of depth and things to do, wont make you feel like you have to play tons of catch up, and has a crazy amount of new things coming with Morrowind. GW2 would be a very close second, and isnt my first choice because I know that it would only be a matter of time (a couple months) before the game lost its spark.

My last pick? EvE online without a doubt, with FF14 coming in a close second.

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starbuck1771

Lord of the Rings Online. Why? Because it is simple to learn and is full of lore. Plus the community is helpful

mosselyn
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mosselyn

It depends on the person, but I would probably go with GW2 or Lotro.

GW2 because the interface is pretty simple, the leveling is relaxed, the community is decent, and the game world is gorgeous. It also has open world (WvW) and small team (sPvP) PVP, so you can find out if you enjoy that more than PVE.

Lotro because most people are familiar with the IP, and it does a decent job of telling its story within the limits of older technology. There’s a lot more skills to learn, but it’s not as twitchy as GW2, which might be easier for some new players. The community is decent here, too.

I didn’t include SWTOR because I feel they’ve gutted the game so much that it might as well not be an MMO. Don’t get me wrong, the story telling is still great, but IMO it’s a poor intro to MMOs. Even the dungeons are now soloable.

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Sally Bowls

If they and their desire are “serious”, I would recommend WoW with ESO as the alternative.

If they are just MMO curious, I would recommend LotRO or SWTOR. Their free bits are amongst their best. And even if they move on to other MMOs, I would think that a Hobbit in the Shire or the IA 1-50 story are worth doing.

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Tiresias

Guild Wars 2, without a doubt.

The obvious answer would be WoW, but it has become a complete mess for a new player. Many of the classes are “samey”, with there being very little mechanical difference between them — only visual difference in their effects. Much of the thrill of exploration and the danger of the world is gone.

The main advantage of GW2 is that you can play with your friend without rolling up a new character or doing… well, anything other than joining them in the starting zone. You will be automatically de-powered to a point where you are strong enough to defend them but not so much that the content will be trivial.

And then there is the fact that the game plays well and is understandable. You can use a tab-target interface or an aim-targeting interface. You have a limited number of abilities slotted at any time, but a lot of customization in what you pick. The classes are all unique and interesting; your friend is likely to find one that matches their playstyle. Even the crafting system is intricate without being overbearing.

The game has a lot going for it, and it’s buy-to-play, so you and your friend can pick it up and put it down without “subscription guilt”.

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Giannis Papadopoulos

Honestly, there is not a single answer to this.. it depends on my friend…

-what single player games he likes? -is a fan of RPGs and if yes which ones he likes most?
-does he prioritize gameplay, graphics or good story?
-is he shy or social guy?
-does he like competition or cooperation?

When i know all these, i can safely suggest him a MMO to start..

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Robert Mann

^. There’s more than that to it, but that’s a great start here. It is simply impossible to recommend an MMO to a friend that I… know nothing about other than that they haven’t ever played an MMO.

This is, btw, a very odd friendship!

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Giannis Papadopoulos

A while ago, we had elections in my Country. There was an app that asked you a series of questions to determine your political thesis and then it suggest you which political party can represent you better. Of course thats not a way to vote for but surprisingly, it was close to what i was about to vote for…

I can imagine a similar app for MMOs where players will answer in series of questions and each answer will give “points” to specific MMOs and at the end the app can suggest you an MMO.

I am surprised that someone have not already did that.. even for educated reasons ;)

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mjayg

I found a bunch of quizzes on the first page of a Google search… as well as an earlier article on the same subject from Massively! :D

https://www.google.com/search?q=what+mmo+should+I+play+quiz&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

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Giannis Papadopoulos

oops nice :) ty. So it exists hehe. I never google for it, thought I would see it in one of the MMO sites/blogs I read for years :)

EDIT: Ok I did the test and it gave me Lotro! Good catch, I am a lifetimer in lotro and I like it a lot :)

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mjayg

Which test did you do?

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mjayg

I took the ProProfs quiz a few times changing some of my answers and got WoW everytime lol

Ydoc quiz resulted in SWTOR.

I’m not sure of the scientific accuracy of these quizzes though. :D

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Giannis Papadopoulos
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rafael12104

SWTOR. There is no better experience out there for newbies right now. The game has improved the leveling experience and it was probably the best in the biz before the improvements.

Great story. Side quest optional. Hand holding through dungeons including a super robot companion. Great intro to crafting. Plenty to do, PvP, Starfighter, leveling, dungeons. Great intro to Ops too. And lightsabers! The IP can’t be ignored in this equation.

Hmm. I’ll even go one better. Newbies have been a huge part of the SWTORs success. That has never been the game’s problem.

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Dug From The Earth

Ive brought multiple mmorpg “virgins” into the mmorpg genre, and SWTOR would be my last pick, just due to the sheer amount of hotkeys you need to use in the game. Talk about ability “bloat”.

Swtor also has many systems, that while adding depth to the game, may only serve to confuse and complicate the game for new players to the genre. Toss in the Free 2 Play mechanics which basically fractured a once streamlined system, and you have an mmorpg that is good for players who are familiar with mmorpgs, and one that can be rather intimidating and overly complex for the true new player to the genre.

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rafael12104

Bloat? Nah. For certain classes maybe but for saber wielders, there is no bloat. If you want to be effective, you use all your abilities situtionally which is good.

As for F2P, my advice to anyone playing the game is simple, it is a try before you buy scenario. You have 50 levels, full class stories, and group content all free as advertised, but IF you enjoy the game once you get into it, sub up and get all the benefits. Perfect for a newbie if you ask me. They try it and then decide. And btw, the stories alone are worth the freebie.

As for the complexities? Well most MMOs have complexity as the game ages, but with SWTOR I don’t see anything complex especially while you are evaluating the game. They have made a concerted effort to shape the game that way. Forget the tutorials, nobody reads those and SWTOR knows this. As a result, they have updated the UI, maps, even going so far as removing training, skill trees, and they simplified the ability to move from place to place. They even spoon feed you your rotation for Yoda’s sake. Lol.

I played the game for 5 years so I’ve seen the evolution. Levels, dungeons, and skill checks have all been nerfed. You don’t need the trinity to run flashpoints in normal mode anymore. It is as simple as it gets for newbies. Unfortunately, they haven’t taken that same care to keep vets around otherwise I’d still be playing.

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Dug From The Earth

perhaps the mmorpg definition of ability bloat, doesnt match the normal real world definition of the word “bloat”… Either way, SwToR most certainly has ability bloat, which is to say, so many abilities that you need 2-3 full hotbars to accommodate them all. The devs even tried to sell additional hotbars to players when the game went F2P because they KNEW players would need extra bars for all the abilities, and figured they would profit off of it.

Regardless of if all of the abilities are useful or not, its still bloat. Bloat doesnt mean not useful, it simply means and over abundance, causing the feeling of having too many to manage. 10 fingers to manage 30 buttons.

Many games these days are going out of their way to refine and reduce the excessive amount of abilities (bloat) they have, by combining some together (ie: a limited sprint buff might be combined with a CC break free ability, rather than having them be 2 separate skills to manage). As well as removing ones that are just unnecessary.

The common misconception is that “more” means better, more skill needed, and a more intricate system. This is not a certaintity in the least, and in many cases, “more” just means cumbersome and superfluous.

My scoundrel has at least 12 abilities in my standard rotation, another 6 that are used every 30 seconds, another 5 that are used on longer cooldowns, and a good 5 more that I use MAYBE once a gameplay session. To a “ive never played an mmorpg before” player, that can be quite overwhelming.

Even to mmorpg vets, while it may not hinder their skill when playing, it still often comes across as annoying.

kalamari_
Reader
kalamari_

GW2 without a question. easy to learn, easy to master. content for everyone. no ganking, pvp from level 2 without armor reqs. you decide how much you want to play and still “get things done” in a reasonable time. 15 min. for dailies or 5h for raids.

ESO is a distand second place.

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Stiqman

Themepark – WOW. It is such a mature game with so many things to do. To start at the begining for thet first time there is mountains of content and story. Crafting. Gathering. Pet Battles. Order Hall. Dungeons. Raids. Timewalking. PVP. Achievements. Dailies. Collecting. Play how you want… there is something for everyone (In a Themepark).

If the friend really loves sandbox over themepark — EVE.

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Tithian

I would recommend EVE to a friend only as a way to break that friendship into tiny little pieces.

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Bryan Correll

If they’re willing to pay a sub it would be either WoW or FF14. Probably WoW because of FF14’s dungeons as requirements for the main story issue (as others have said.) If not, maybe SWTOR. It has the hook of a franchise most people are familiar with and pretty straightforward gameplay. The restrictions on playing purely FTP are pretty hefty, but someone new to MMO’s might not notice it at first.
I see lots of people mentioning ESO (and GW2 to a lesser extent,) but I haven’t personally played either and wouldn’t feel comfortable because of that. I might point out that others have recommended them though.

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Truman Barney

Because I love my friends I would get them set up on Uthgard or P99. Just so they can have a taste of MMO’s and what they were like when they were great, I’d of course roll a new character with them and show them the ropes.

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Anthony Clark

ESO

FFXIV

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Dug From The Earth

FFXIV is one of the most complex, system convoluted, and mechanically unintuitive games on the market. Yes, the game looks amazing, is rich in lore and story, has an amazing player base. However all those things wouldnt be enough to keep a player who was completely new to ANY mmorpg, to not feel like they just got dropped into video game rocket science taught completely in piglatin.

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Anthony Clark

Good point.

ESO

GW2

then.

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Bannex

I would’ve said ffxiv but it took me 45 min with the one ability I was given to kill a lvl 1 lady bug.

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Xannziee

Rift is very old but its a great and cheap way to try out MMOs. Easy peasy for newbies, you get carried around and you dont have to do any dungeons.

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Armsbend

I vote ESO. It is pretty, it is easy and it is affordable if you are happy with vanilla.

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Jeremiah Wagner

I guess ESO , but honestly like 90% of the mmorpgs currently out are not actually mmorpgs. Instead they are single player games in a multiplayer world where you mindlessly slaughter everything you happen to come across.

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Melissa McDonald

that’s why we mourn the apparent failure of The Secret World

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Rolan Storm

Hmm… I was with TSW since first ARG, but I beg to differ. SWL is no failure, but rather transformation. If SWL will be less crowded (besides, they said there will be big social hubs), but more focused on immersion – all the better.

Crow
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Crow

Oh yeah. And Funcom are out in force being the opposite of what they used to be in terms of customer-focused idea.

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theblackmage75

I’ve recently done this and the game I suggested was ESO. It has a recognizable, popular IP attached; the ability to use any weapon and try lots of different builds; freedom for established players to play alongside new players with One Tamriel; decent storylines; and, most importantly, I’m playing it so my friend and I can have fun together.

Really though, you could hardly go wrong recommending games like GW2 and Final Fantasy XIV as well.

rondstat
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rondstat

One where the community does not consist of the worst people in the world.

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Bryan Correll

So…..FF14?

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Roger Melly

LOL I gave up FF14 because the community was so elitist .

django857
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django857

It really depends on the friend. Tell most of them they have to pay a monthly fee and they laugh and say screw that. So it would have to be a f2p game. And by that i mean a truly f2p game because restrictions will turn them off also. GW2 seems to be the front running for something like this. I have had friends that laughed about buying a game and paying a monthly fee to play it.

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Paul

Do your friends also expect to get all their single player games for free ?? If they’re not willing to pay developers to build and run games I’d suggest a different hobby….

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Stiqman

Your friends are not very bright. I suppose they don’t pay their cable bill either.

django857
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django857

Wow that was just stupid

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Melissa McDonald

I think Guild Wars 2 is the easiest. It runs great even on an older PC. It looks nice. Your avatar looks nice, and it’s fun to be an Engineer and have pistols, or an Elementalist and gain lightning and fire spells. All of the classes are fun actually. Progressing is simple. You gain abilities simply by using the ones the game doles out to you. You don’t have a lot of “go see a trainer in town X” stuff to worry about, and as you explore the map, travel gets easier over distance. And the Vistas are always pretty special. Not much of a story to have to “learn” or a mythos to memorize. It’s pretty, and it’s fun, and it’s easy. And underwater adventures are a bonus treat. Public events mean you can just run up and start fighting/helping without groups or raids. Much praise for this game – many things done “right”.

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Veldan

Still very much subject to preference though. If GW2 had been my first MMO, I might have never even tried another. It did easily as much wrong as it did right, and which of the two matters most depends entirely on what you’re looking for in a game.

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Jeremiah Wagner

Completely agree. For me GW2 is a complete borefeast.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

ESO. And it isn’t even close.

threeknee
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threeknee

WoW. Because it’s WoW. And practically everything else worth playing has an expansion coming soon so I don’t think it’s a good time to start them regardless of whether it’s a first MMO or not.

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Koshelkin

If you’re new to MMO’s and didn’t play any of them now turn around and flee. You don’t know what your getting yourself into.

Sarcasm aside I think it doesn’t matter. Most games are facerolling easy and very casual. It would be easier to ask which of the current MMO’s isn’t and after BDO and Eve I can’t come up with much else.

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Manastu Utakata

With a plethora of classes and races, and multiple unique start zones…WoW beats most MMO’s in that department of themeparks to start out in. Followed by FF XIV at a distance on WoW’s long coat tails…

…the only thing players should be aware of with these game do come with a stiff box price and subscription fee. So it’s not something one can download off Steam and just jump into without having to line up ones’ wallet at the ticket master. :(

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Scott

WoW over FFXIV purely cause WoW doesn’t force you to do dungeons to move the story along as FFXIV does for it’s MSQ… always a big drawback IMHO.

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Ravven

That’s the main problem I have with FFXIV (which otherwise I love): forced instances as part of the storyline. There are people who just want to craft, or dink around levelling alts, and a good game would allow for that playstyle. But nope, you’re required to pug instances as part of the storyline in order to access new expansions and so on. I’ve been putting off Sohr Khai for weeks now, dreading pugging it. :/

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Oleg Chebeneev

I always recommend WoW and EVE Online, the best theme park and the best sandbox MMO

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Has EVE improved its newbie experience? Cause it was an impressively steep learning curve when I last tried it.

Crow
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Crow

Steep learning curve?

jj16ThL.jpg
camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Yeah, thats the picture i remember for Eve. Also for Dwarf Fortress.

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Robert Mann

Dwarf Fortress isn’t that bad… you just have to be willing to watch your settlements or adventurer die over and over again unless you really want to ultra-specialize things.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

If you say so, I’ve only poked about in DF and I never really understood what was going on.

And the lack of a tileset made figuring out what this, ‘.’>;::::;;;*&^5$@^*) is, pretty tough.

styopa
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styopa

Tilesets, man. Tilesets.
Greatest thing to ever hit DF since….DF.

Poll: Which Dwarf Fortress tile set do you prefer? from dwarffortress

Personally I like Phoebus the best, but Obsidian is good too. I haven’t tried most of the others.

Tilesets give you ALMOST a GUI instead of ASCII. I just got sick of the perceptual learning-curve going back to DF if I hadn’t played it in a while, having to re-learn what all the dumb icons meant was simply wasted time for me.

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Robert Mann

Aye, the tilesets are awesome for making it less confusing!

Crow
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Crow

you just have to be willing to watch your settlements or adventurer die over and over

I actually think this is what has made most MMOs insanely boring. The lack of this.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I don’t know. Nethack has permadeath and while it is fun for a while, only a few folks will put up with dying over and over.

Crow
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Crow

The other option is power inflation and when it comes down to it, power-inflation causes larger issues in the end.

At the end of the day, people who won’t accept failure as a condition with consequence is why so many games are grindy and boring.

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Schmidt.Capela

Nethack, like many roguelikes and modern survival games, isn’t about keeping a character forever, but rather about seeing how long you can keep going and what you can achieve in that time, and improving your results in subsequent runs. In fact, many fans of the genre get bored and leave as soon as they become good enough to survive indefinitely.

Letting players keep their characters forever would change the whole focus of the game.

Granted, that kind of gameplay isn’t for everyone. Roguelikes and their successors have always been niche games, though with very loyal fans.

Crow
Reader
Crow

Two of the deepest games we’ve ever seen!

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Schmidt.Capela

Ironically, while I couldn’t keep playing EVE for long, the learning curve was never a problem for me; if it was a PvE game I might be playing to this day. But then, I read the whole ISK (Industrial-Sized Knowledgebase) before I even created my account.

Also, for the record, I love Dwarf Fortress, though I do play it with mods and a graphics set.

Crow
Reader
Crow

Yeah, it is why I very much respect you even when we go head-to-head a lot.

EVE’s curve was never an issue for me, either. But you have to make everyone else think you’re the same as them or they’ll start resenting you for having it “easy”.

Saying, “Well, EVE doesn’t have a crazy curve” just makes people who find that wall feel even worse about themselves. And I dunno, but I don’t want to play games full of self-hating people.

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Schmidt.Capela

Which is why I made sure to note having read the whole ISK beforehand; if the player can read a book a few hundred pages long filled to the brim with technical info on the game, it should take care of the learning curve :p

Though, seriously, I’ve been gaming since Pong, playing nearly every gaming genre that exists, and it — together with modding and reverse-engineering games — has always been either my main source of entertainment or close to that; if a game manages to give me a hard time learning it, chances are very good it will be too complex to achieve any kind of commercial success.

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Robert Mann

Yep.

There’s a phrase from board games that many games have used or aspired to: “Simple/easy to learn, hard to master.” It applies to video games as well.

Basically “Make the game easy to get into, and the systems easy to learn” and “leave room for complexity at the highest levels, without making the learning before that drive people away.”

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

There’s a phrase from board games that many games have used or aspired to: “Simple/easy to learn, hard to master.” It applies to video games as well.

It applies to game development itself too; it’s simple to enunciate and understand the idea, but implementing that idea in a game is deviously hard ;-)

BTW, I believe Blizzard actually used (or uses) that as their development motto. Their games are intentionally made to pass the grandparent test (i.e., the game should be easy enough to pick up that even a non-gamer grandparent should be able to instinctively understand how to play).

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Chris Walker

Yes, it’s been totally revamped, and is quite good now.

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Sorenthaz

Depends on what they’re looking for and if they want free to play, buy to play, or subscription.
FFXIV or WoW are the obvious subscription choices. SWTOR could be okay if treated as a subscription game, but TOR’s only draw is the story and not much else.
ESO or BDO are good B2P choices, even if the latter is more like a F2P that tries to milk you at every turn. ESO’s DLC + not-expansion adds up to be pretty pricey but there’s still plenty of content in the base game and you can buy the Gold Edition to get the four main DLCs sans-Morrowind.
F2P… just pick one honestly. Every one of them tries to milk you in different ways, and most require you to pay up at some point or another. It’s just a matter of when and how much.

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Scott

I think BDO would be too overwhelming for a MMO Newbie.

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Tobasco da Gama

I think I might lean toward waiting on an ESO recommendation until Morrowind actually comes out. That way, I can give direct advice just to start with Morrowind and leave the TU zones and DLC for later.

I say this because, while the One Tamriel conversion went pretty smoothly, Morrowind will have been designed from the ground up with that “go anywhere” philosophy. The TU zones still have that linear vectoring, even if you’re allowed to ignore it now.

Also, and perhaps more importantly, I’d hate for somebody to pay in to the game, hear about all the cool stuff people are doing in the new Morrowind zones, and have to then pay in twice as much as their initial purchase to go enjoy that. Not when they can just start in Morrowind to begin with.

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KumiKaze

It all depends on what they like. If they are big into Lord of the Rings, LotRO. They want action combat maybe Tera or BDO.

However, you should always tell them to play the MMO you are playing, because playing with friends is always better. In all honesty though, most MMOs have some type of trial or is F2P so just pick one for them and then move from there.

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BalsBigBrother

I wold need to ask the person what they liked and what sort of experience they are looking for.

There is no point in sending someone off to a fantasy game just because its easier to learn if the person you are sending doesn’t like fantasy games. The same applies to all the other genre specific things like pve, pvp, sandbox, themeparks etc etc.

You simply cannot say send someone here without any thought to what that person enjoys.

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Kayweg

You are of course right, but answers to questions like this are always going to be subjective, and nothing wrong with that.
Without recommending any title i particular, i’ll say this.
To someone new to the genre, i would advise them to start with a well established title, as many posters here have already done.
Such a game will have seen a lot of bug fixes, polishing and content additions.
Often these games will also offer a low cost entry level via sales on the game itself and DLC bundles….as most recently seen with ESO this past easter.
It may not be the most inspiring advice, but at least there is a good chance for a smooth “my first MMORPG experience”….which i think would be the point of the exercise.

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Robert Mann

True, but to the negative most of them have very low starting area populations, and those populations have some of the most toxic chat found in video gaming. I’m not sure that, given the option, I wouldn’t actually aim them at something less established where there’s likely to be at least some decent people in chat (especially if they are socially inclined.)

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squidgod2000

I’d say go for something established and polished, but which hasn’t been around so long that it’s tossing around free max levels or 1-hour-to-endgame shit that bypasses most of the game. They may not be games I would play (FFXIV, GW2, etc), but they’re good for genre noobs to test the waters and figure out what they really want in a game—or if the genre is for them.

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

Yall might need to update the listing. I see both Asherons Call’s still listed. And Greed Monger is ded too I think.

And OMG! Tear out my heart you got City of Heroes listed too! And Landmark.

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Katriana

I imagine they are all still listed because past articles about them are tagged with the names. Thus, keeping them on the list enables folks to find those articles by clicking on the links in that list. Not to mention that those games still get talked about and tagged in current articles.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Ah. I can see that.

Too bad too, I was gonna offer to do some data verification/cleanup.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Yep, we never take ’em off. ;)

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Ravven

I think WoW has the best introduction to MMOs, without a doubt – I would always suggest that to someone who was new to the genre. For anyone else? FFXIV, probably, in terms of longterm interest/longevity/general enjoyment.

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Bryan Turner

I don’t play it but I would suggest EQ2, tons upon tons of content; one of these days I’ll try it again how ever the last time I played I finished the starter island and got dumped in a city with no breadcrumb quest.

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MesaSage

Please not another “let’s send more new people into Lotro because it’s so friendly” discussion.

I think everyone new should start in WoW.

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7BitBrian

I mean it depends, but any of them really. The real choice maker is going to fall to their personal preferences and which ones they have friends already playing. Do they like Star Wars? Do they like Medieval Fantasy? Do they like focus on Story? Gameplay? Both? Player Driven like Eve? On rails like WoW? PvP or PvE? And many more. There are so many question to consider for them enjoying it or not before just throwing them to some random MMO because I think it is new player friendly.

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J. J. Sándor

I’d send them to Wildstar, even though I don’t play it anymore. There’s so much generic MMORPG tropes in that one, it would be perfect game to get acquainted with the genre. It’s basically WoW except better in every single aspect. What’s not to like?

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

And if they grow to love it, they can get the whole ‘NCSoft screws you’ badge when it shuts down.

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Bryan Correll

That’s what makes it the perfect game for learning about the genre.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

So what you are saying is…

gimli-never-trust-ncsoft.jpg
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Robert Mann

Let’s just say that there are 9 men once mortal who are now bound undying to the service of NC… *Dies suddenly coughing up blood.*

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Bryan Turner

The content updates are more sparse than water in Death Valley?

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Manastu Utakata

You should try Champions Online sometime. o.O

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