Perfect Ten: Why no one should recommend World of Warcraft ever

Last week, MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) posted his list of MMOs he would recommend people play. It was a pretty good list! It wasn’t the list I would have written, but that’s why we’re separate people and not a single fused mass pulling ourselves along on withered, inhuman appendages. That would cause lots of problems in our respective marriages, for one thing. Also, it’d probably render us ineligible to collect multiple paychecks.

One thing I did not ask, however, was why he didn’t include World of Warcraft as a game he would recommend, even though some of our readers wondered it aloud. I would think that the reason for that would be pretty obvious, given that it was a list of Justin’s recommendations. But because I do love being contrary, there’s a good list of reasons why no one, ever, should recommend World of Warcraft as a game to be tried. Under any circumstances. Let’s even make it a nice round dozen reasons… but then subtract two, for no good reason.

1. It’s already a common point of entry

When someone asks me about comics that are worth reading, my suggestions don’t turn to superhero titles put out by the big two. They don’t even turn to things like Maus or Watchmen or Sandman because the odds are near absolute that if you’re asking about these things, you’re familiar with these options. It’s not that they’re not good; it’s that I’m recommending things you already know about.

WoW, for better or worse, is a familiar point of reference for people who may not even know about other online games. Saying that MMOs are “like World of Warcraft” usually serves as a common starting point. So recommending it is kind of silly; someone looking for recommendations has decent odds of having started in the game anyway.

I SHOULD ALWAYS BE THE TARGET AUDIENCE FOR EVERYTHING!

2. It’s become the norm

When MOP’s Matt Daniel was first talking about Hearthstone to me (well before it launched, in the long-long ago), he explained to me that it was kind of like a stripped-down digital Magic: the Gathering. The two of us both love board games and have played a lot of them together, and I would argue that there are other games that Hearthstone more closely resembles… but comparing it to Magic was a good baseline. Magic is the archetype against which other games can be effectively evaluated, because it has the pedigree and the popularity.

Similarly, WoW is usually a good starting point to explain a lot of MMO mechanics. If I describe a game as “like WoW, but with a strong narrative focus and more complex combat mechanics,” you probably have a picture in your mind of what I mean. When something becomes the standard against which other games are judged, you’re less likely to recommend it as something others haven’t heard of.

3. It’s not the game’s glory days

Yeah, this one is subjective. Most of the game’s editorial staff is pretty firmly fond of Wrath of the Lich King as the height of what WoW has accomplished (I’ve opined on many occasions that Final Fantasy XIV is, effectively, a sequel and expansion to that version of WoW), but that is hardly scientific. There are grounds for people to praise the narrative thrust and novel setting of Mists of Pandaria, or the higher challenge of Cataclysm’s endgame dungeons. You could really even point to The Burning Crusade as the place where so much of the game was shaped for the future, a real grand experience.

Pretty much no one can defend Warlords of Draenor as the best the game has to offer, though.

What’s fairly indisputable is that the game’s subscriptions have been going downhill since the start of Cataclysm, and while I have nice things to say about Legion (lots of them, even), Legion is an expansion partly built upon leaning on remembered glory. The heights are past, and you’re remembering them now.

What happened and why? Who cares.

4. The current game has an issue with the past

I’ve argued in the past that the key part of an MMO that makes it feel like an MMO is a sense of persistence, that what you do today is going to still be there tomorrow. There’s no reloading from an older save, nor are older zones going to be removed from the game. Relevance and power might change, but you can count on a degree of persistence from one moment to the next.

Except that modern WoW is not only not going that route but seems to actively avoid it; every new expansion seems to more aggressively wipe the slate clean and start fresh. The Garrison was abandoned once Warlords of Draenor became the past, and we all know class orders and artifacts are vanishing when Legion is no longer the most current expansion. That means that it’s sort of missing a core element of MMOs in that respect.

5. Starting fresh is an odd experience

Start fresh with Legion and you have a level 100 boost waiting for you. This means you don’t have to languish around in the old world and can jump into current content… but it also means that you’re thrust into the fourth act of an ongoing play that is only going to make cursory efforts to bring you up to speed. You are inevitably going to be missing a whole lot of references.

Of course, you could start from the bottom… in which case you’re still missing references and you’re also missing, like, all of the people. Plus, there’s nothing to mark your progress from one patch and bit of story to the next; you’re just going through zones with no real sense of why things link together. It’s a fine introduction to the mechanics, not so much to the world.

6. You don’t get a sense of the genre

I first came to WoW having played City of Heroes, Guild Wars, and Final Fantasy XI. This did not, in fact, give me a comprehensive picture of everything that could be done with the genre, but it did at least give me a sense that WoW’s standards were not, in fact, universal. Remember how I mentioned above that the game has become a norm? This is the flip side to that.

We’ve largely moved on from the batch of years when every single game was WoW with a twist, like “WoW with more grimdark” or “WoW but free-to-play” or “WoW but it’s absolutely horrible.” The skeletal structures are still there, but WoW remains kind of… thin, compared to what can be done. There’s still no housing, there’s less persistence, there’s not much character creation, there’s none of the more out there systems various games sport. It’s a McDonald’s hamburger, demonstrating the basic points of the concept but not expanding far beyond that.

Friday night is apparently also all right for fighting.

7. Lots of players are just there for it anyway

Some portion of any MMO’s population is going to consist of people who just don’t play anything else. They’ve never played any MMOs before, and when they’re done with that game they’re not going to play any subsequent MMOs. That population is present in WoW, and it seems to be a bit larger than the median I’ve found in other MMOs, percentage-wise.

That’s going to give anyone who’s never visited the game some issues. If you haven’t played many MMOs, you’re going to think that “WoW is the whole world” mentality is normal; if you have, it’s probably going to frustrate you to no end.

8. Age is a factor

The oldest game on the list in question is Lord of the Rings Online, and Justin not recommending that game would just be weird. WoW, for all its virtues, is getting downright old; the game has been continually upgraded and improved, but it is increasingly showing its age as it soldiers along with its older code base. That’s all well and good, but older games are by necessity just not as novel as new ones.

It's the same old song, and with no different meanings.

9. It sure as heck doesn’t need help from us

In terms of industry footprint, the reality is that you pretty much know about WoW already. It’s there. You might not have heard of Secret World Legends (although you probably have if you’ve been around here for any length of time), but even if you’ve never played it you almost certainly know about it. I have friends in FFXIV who have never played any other MMO but are still well aware of it. The game is old enough and has enough name recognition that it doesn’t require any further recommendation.

I’ve compared it to recommending Dungeons & Dragons for tabletop roleplaying or Settlers of Catan for board games. Sure, there are probably a few people unfamiliar with it, but it’s almost impossible to seriously read about this stuff without being exposed to discussions of it. It’s familiar background noise. That doesn’t mean any of these options are bad – I think D&D 5e is pretty great, for instance. But I wouldn’t recommend it as a bold new system for someone to try.

10. Recommendations aren’t laws

A list of the most important MMOs ever would have to include WoW, sure. But a list of games that you would personally recommend? I’d probably leave it off, too.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

110 Comments on "Perfect Ten: Why no one should recommend World of Warcraft ever"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Jeremiah Ratican

Ok I have to jump in here. I have tried so many times to get into LOTRO but the game just doesn’t play well. Ok I get it if you are max level or something but as a new player it feels like WoW but not as good. I want to get caught up in the lore but even having Aragorn tell me too collect bear claws or whatever isn’t cool. I get keeping WoW off the list because of it being too obvious but the reason it influenced so many games is because it works and works well. Yeah it’s an old game and there are a ton of games that have evolved from their model and really added some much needed things WoW is missing but LOTRO I would not recommend over WoW as the game just isn’t as good of a game even if it does have an amazing setting.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
kgptzac

… I think I am tempted to introduce Eve Online to ten people after reading this…

Reader

Bit of a side tangent here: I genuinely do not understand all the love FF 14 gets. I’m being serious here, not trying to troll. I tried it, and shelved it on multiple occasions, I found it to be ‘not fun’ and, if I might be honest, intensely boring. This as coming from someone who used to play WoW all the way up to the expansion prior to Legion (other reasons prompted me to quit, but have created a large enough barrier that I haven’t restarted my account). So, to be honest, I do not understand the comparison, they don’t ‘feel’ or play similar, and FF falls %100 into the ‘not fun’ camp for me. Could someone please explain this to me?

Reader
psytic

The game really embodies old school WoW before they got creative. It’s like literal garbage for the leveling phase “kill 10 rats” or collection quests but then when you start getting clos to end game and fighting primals and stuff in groups it’s got some fantastic bosses and mechanics that are really memorable and so people forgive the crap sand which inbetween to get to endgame. If your like me and not into raiding or doing a ton of group content then it’s a terriable game. If you are into that stuff then it’s one of the best and you put up with the garbage to get to endgame.

semugh
Reader
semugh

ff14’s western playerbase is minuscule. Very small at best.
Generally I like JRPGs but I usually play them on my phone. I’m grateful that japanese devs have embraced the mobile platforms lol…
I’m down to 1 MMO max 2 but no final fantasy among them.

Reader
thirtymil

I have a similar problem to you – I thought FFXIV had some glaring flaws that I assumed would be fixed over time but instead seem to be accepted or perhaps are actually features (or maybe they are flaws but the current players just don’t care as much about them as I did).

I don’t think its playerbase is massive but I do think they are probably highly dedicated, and all I can attribute that to is the same reason people love iPhones – there’s something about the general style that just simply appeals to a certain group. I, clearly, am simply not the target audience.

Reader
MesaSage

Just wanted to be comment 100. Now I’ll go read the article.

Now that I read it…

I’ve tried to play WoW several times. I’ve started characters on all factions. I’m taken in by the beauty of the game. I really do love the art style, the classes and the characters.

But here’s the problem I have. The community is not for me. I’ve tried to get past it, but I just can’t. I guess I’m getting too old for some stuff. I know it’s not unique to WoW, and every game has its bad sorts, but for some reason, I’ve had the worst experiences in WoW.

I’m hoping that someday that will change, and when it does, I’ll give it another go.

Reader
thirtymil

I play a lot of WoW – it’s my go-to game for when I want to just relax, which is most of my gaming time. Yet I find nothing to disagree with on this list – good write-up.

Reader
Danny Smith

DOES anyone recommend WoW anymore? I mean i know people play it but the last time i saw someone say ‘dude you HAVE to try this game out!’ was wrath of the lich king in like 2009. Games still got an audience but i dont really know anyone that gushes to people that havent played it to check it out.

Aelzen
Reader
Aelzen

This off topic for the site, but since you brought it up at the start of the article … I’d like to hear your recommendations for comics! I’ve read some of the big two, and the others you’ve listed, but my take-away from what you said was that you’d have some off the beaten path stories to recommend. Would love to hear of them.

Reader
Dušan Frolkovič

Recommendations of MMOs always need to personalized based on what i played (so i can talk about it) and their preferences:

Hotkey or Mouselook Combat
Gameplay or Reward focused
Prefers strong Story and/or PvP and/or Raiding etc.
What business model they like

So if someone wants a hotkey-based MMO with raiding and a subscription, then World of Warcraft will of course be my recommendation (never got into FFXIV).

Reader
Ben Stone

I would recommmend it because it is one of the few MMOs that hasnt gone to trash in recent years. Legion is as good as the game has ever been.

That being said, for a new player I would recommend starting at 100. The older zones and gear look like garbage compared to modern games (although max level areas and gear look respectable) so unless you have the rose tinted glasses of a veteran you wont be impressed by the early game.

Reader
Armsbend

I started about a month and half ago and I’m enjoying the older zones because now I’m getting to see all these characters from Hearthstone and HotS in their original form. I’ve been hearing references to these dudes for years – now I get to see their origin stories.

I still have the 100 Token. My plan is to level 1 character then my alt I’ll zip to 100 once I’ve seen the early Horde stuff.

Reader
Carebear

If you use your token on a level 60+ character, your professions also get boost to 700 (Whichever you have chosen). Not that it is any good now, cause you can craft latest stuff with skill 1, but just something to notice… if you go to ~50, push a little longer before use the token

Celestia
Reader
Celestia

I resubbed last weekend after three years since my last attempt to “get” WoW. Rolled up a fresh character on a fresh server and am enjoying it more than I ever have in the many times I’ve dipped a toe in the WoW pool.

I did not enjoy WoW during the beta or at release, and have tried at least six additional times since it went live. This time it feels quite good to play. Could be because of the work Blizzard has done or could just be me. Not sure why, but I’m having a great time in a game that isn’t City of Heroes.

Reader
Knox Harrington

You could just as easily recommend WoW because of most of these reasons presented. There’s a positive to every negative.

Reader
peor togs

I think GW2 is a good first game simply because of the megaserver and down scaling keeping players in lower level content where people new to the game start.

It’s one drawback is that it is action combat and chatting via type is not conducive to talking with people.

Reader
Ukrutor

If I ever wanted to recommend a WoW-like game, I’d recommend Wildstar. It is WoW, except better. Also, just like “9” says, WoW doesn’t need any more players. Wildstar does.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Friendly reminder for readers old and new to review our code of conduct before leaping into the melee. You’re free to disagree with the author and say so. In fact, explain why you disagree so that it’s an interesting discussion. Personal attacks on the author and other commenters, however, are not welcome. I’m become less amused with the repeat offenders by the week. Cut it out.

Reader
Utakata

:(

Reader
Jokerchyld

I dunno I recommended WoW to a friend who never played MMOs before last year. And he absolutely loves it. He is enjoying leveling a night elf so much that I rolled another character just to enjoy his wonder.

So yes I agree with all your points, but not enough to not recommend WoW to a player. Regardless its still a quality game.

Reader
Brown Jenkin

Unless there’s specific subject matter that I think a person might be interested in, GW2 is pretty much my default MMO suggestion these days. The game does an ideal job of covering lots of the genre’s biggest holes while still managing to pull off much of what makes MMORPGs great.

Reader
Annoyed badger

I’d not recommend wow for 2 reasons:
1) its just not that good anymore. Its dated in design, in UI, in mechanics, in story telling, and its content is pretty crap, following a once and gone ideology so nothing lasts between expansions and the old worlds are just left to die forgotten.
2) Bliz treats its customers like crap.

There was a time when I would have not hesitated to recommend wow to anyone, and when Bliz was a decent company, those days are long gone.

additional reasons:
3) Bliz Killed bearcat.
4) fucking two handed weapon for holy pally, what the fuck? seriously, what the fuck, give me my shield back.

Reader
Witches

#11 Cults are dangerous

WOW fans are scary, you don’t see this rabid devotion in fans of any other mmo or even in other games in general.

Reader
Rabidwargamer

Wildstar circa 2014 would love to have a word with you.

Reader
Emiliano Lozada

GW2 fans on the MMORPG subreddit are pretty rabid in fact I’d say they are the most rabbid there.

Reader
Ssiard

Star Wars? Star Trek? Non-US Soccer Fans?

Reader
steve

I wouldn’t recommend WoW since it’s mostly a single-player game. It’s a scavenger hunt in a children’s theme park. You’ll encounter other players but there’s little sense of persistence to it. Anything you can experience in a 5-man or a battleground is now being better served by the likes of Overwatch or PuBG without having to grind through content unrelated to the game you want to play.

WoW is a great game for its day, but these days I’d recommend that others look outside the doddering MMO industry for the next thing in virtual-world RPGs.

It’s a shame, though. We got Overwatch when we could have had Titan. I think Titan should have been a whole different beast. Azeroth should have given birth to new Titans in the form of the Warcraft heroes. They could have expanded the IP into a new new game without competing with WoW.

Eh. I’m rambling.

Reader
Anthony

To be honest is only odd to start fresh if you do it alone, with a couple of friends is a really amazing experience, although its quite tiresome getting 20 questions every 2 levels….specially lore ones, but then again helping your friend understand more the game you like feels pretty nice.

Reader
Michael18

Good summary. I’d not recommend retail WoW either, mostly due to 1, 4, 5.

I only disagree with 8, because even today I’d recommend vanilla to WotLK WoW (for casual players) or UO, P99 (for players with a deep interest in the genre).

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ashfyn Ninegold

Face it, the real reason to recommend WoW is that Blizzard is not going to shite all over it with intrusive store icons, NPC’s shilling for the store or astronomical loot box drops needing expensive keys. It already makes millions on mounts, pets and tokens. It just doesn’t need to go full on greed-need.

And while I’m here, let’s talk about Shadows of Mordor II, with it’s $60 price tag (or $100 if you were smitten) and the end game locked behind . . . lock box purchase. Buy the game . . . then buy the game again. Neat hat trick.

Disclaimer: No, SoMII is not an MMO or even close to one or even marketed as one, but it is a vastly popular game and quite likely the first to employ the fraudulent bait and switch. “You thought you bought the whole game for $60? Let me show you these loot boxes.”

Reader
Jack Kerras

The Shadow of Mordor bit of this is completely wrong.

If you buy lootboxes in that game, it’s because you really, -really- wanna. Nothing is locked behind them whatsoever.

Point of fact, the most amusing part of the game is goading orcs with great properties into killing each other, or you, levying death threats, causing mayhem, and strategically interacting with the Nemesis system in order to turn shitty orcs into A) massive powerhouses worth putting your brand on, or B) giant, jiggling loot pinatas that you punch in the face and watch Legendaries fly out of.

The moment I stepped into Act 2 (where you can start dominating orcs and taking over zones, etc.), I already had two dozen Legendaries, about a third of what’s available in the game, culled from crappy orcs I shepherded into being higher-level and having better gear, plus a few Vendetta chests (async multiplayer sessions where you hop into an enemy’s world and kill their murderer, each rewarding a gold-quality Chest on completion, with progress towards and extra-big guaranteed-legendary chest).

Nothing is locked behind lootboxes. Nothing. The assumption that shit is locked behind lootboxes is harming this game to no small degree, and although it’s my sincere hope that this will make Monolith reconsider this shitty design decision in future iterations, it’s also benighted, sensational hogwash.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Wait what? They locked endgame content behind lockboxes? I thought its cosmetic stuff and maybe some gear

Reader
Jack Kerras

In a word, no.

In lots of words, read my reply to Ashfyn.

Reader
Robert Mann

Many of the best forces and gear is locked behind them… but it isn’t really necessary, supposedly.

I say supposedly, because the idea of them being there was enough to stop me from getting the game.

Reader
Jack Kerras

‘Locked behind them’ implies that you cannot the best orcs and gear in the game from interacting with the Nemesis system, which you can.

People are bitching about this because they love to bitch. The devs (or their publisher, don’t care which) fucked up by putting lockboxes in this game, for sure, but the complaints about those lockboxes are basically the encyclopedia entry for ‘making a mountain of a molehill’.

It’s total bullshit. The most interesting part of the game is tormenting hapless Orcs until they gather so much strength about themselves that they either burst with loot when you kill them or make damn fine additions to your army.

If you do none of that, and you just kill lowbie orcs back-to-back-to-back, you’re unlikely to find Legendaries or get good orcs.

If you have some fun playing them off of each other (or having scraps with inexplicably-resilient never-die Nemeses that just pop back up every time you kill them, decapitations included, with more and more mechanical parts and other add-ons), you’ll get GREAT loot and cultivate a ton of really useful forces for your own army in the process.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

I hereby recommend World of Warcraft to you all!

Reader
starbuck1771

Half of the reasons mimic others. In the end it works out that other game developers are JELLY and need to rub some salt into it. WoW is the most successful MMO around and it pisses people off especially after 13 years of game x will be the WoW killer statements. There are reasons millions play WoW rather then other games. Why not try to find out why instead of trying to bash the game?

Reader
Ket Viliano

I have tried it, WoW is basically a single player game with some multiplayer feature tacked on for not much of any reason. You don’t need other people to play or to level up. The graph is very dated, with ultra low polygon models of the ’04 era. Character creation is left to a small selection of options. The story telling is the best part, really the only good part.

In whole, playing WoW taught me why so many WoW clones are so bad, they are cheap knock offs of a cheap shallow game. Those who have not tried, should, if only to learn why MMOs are such junk these days.

Sorry to disappoint anyone, but that was my experience of the game.

Reader
Ssiard

If you don’t raid, do dungeons, or PvP then I guess you can say it is a single player game. In that sense, I guess every game is a single player game lol

Reader
Ben Stone

Yeah the list of MMOs where you cant solo to level up would be almost non existant at this point, even stalwarts like EQ have eased up on that. WoW is very social if you are a social person, if you find yourself playing alone or not communicating thats on you, not the game.

Reader
Ket Viliano

Very few, if any, games bother to answer the question of why other players are in my ( the players experience ) game. TBH, I cannot think of even one.

I started a new toon, with a sub only account, I did not purchase Draenor, so I did not have a +100 boost. The game was barren of players, save for a few roleplayers, a few new toons, and a ganker, who could not take my stuff or dance on my grave. Not that I miss that kind of thing, mind you…

Reader
Ben Stone

Most players dont quest to level anymore, they just pop on heirlooms and dungeon grind. All the noobs are hanging out in town, not questing.

Reader
Ssiard

Leveling up is solo (and mostly pointless). However, the end game is very different depending on what you do. The server also matters even though many realms are now connected so you can jump from one to the other.

styopa
Reader
styopa

Let’s be honest: the reason it wasn’t recommended wasn’t any of this list of more-
or less-belabored rationalizations. It was because WoW is such a default that it was forgotten (a variation on your point one).

Justin Olivetti
Staff
Justin Olivetti

It wasn’t forgotten, it’s just not on my *personal* list of recommendations if someone’s asking for an MMO to play. Yes, WoW is somewhat synonymous with “MMORPG” for better or worse, and its popularity and longstanding dominance has kept it from being considered as an equal to other MMOs in lists. It feels almost pointless to recommend it, especially because almost anyone who is looking for a different game to try isn’t going to be ignorant of the industry leader.

And really, does it matter whether I included it or not? Everyone has their own lists and the opinion of one writer isn’t going to tank WoW. At best, it’ll just free up a slot for another more interesting suggestion and at worst it will rankle the feelings of some die-hard WoW fans for its exclusion.

I think Eliot has a lot of interesting points here that deserve consideration, but just like my list, his is coming from his own perspective and opinion.

Reader
Michael18

… MOP’s Justin (friend to man and beast alike) …

So, what about Elves? Is this MOP’s Justin also friendly towards Elves?

Justin Olivetti
Staff
Justin Olivetti

Elves are neither man nor beast. They are the spawn of inky soulless muck and a car salesman.

Reader
Michael18

Bree, we desperately need a down-vote button!!

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Hehe. I would turn it back on just to mess with Justin’s elf posts if I could, I swear. :P

ekynoks
Reader
ekynoks

The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was the article on MMORPG.com a while back about what players should stop complaining about.
What’s ironic is that MOP did a piece criticizing this article (and rightly so) and then published something why no one should play WoW. Because, let’s be honest, if no one should ever recommend this game, no one should play it.
I get it, you guys stick together and I respect that but the answers to “Why no WoW ?” should have just been an “everyone is entitled to his opinion” and stop there rather than a full blown rant about why you don’t like WoW.
I’m still bewildered that someone whose opinion I liked and respected just flat out told me that I should not play a game only because he does not like it.

Reader
Bannex

An mmo site that hates the most successful mmo of all time.

Millennials…

Reader
haishao

Millennials are the one playing WoW.

Reader
Ssiard

Millennials are the one playing WoW.

No.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

Speaking as a millennial, we’re very much playing WoW. Outside of Runescape, it’s many people’s first MMO.

Reader
haishao

People playing WoW are between 20 and 40 years old. They are millennials

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Nah, he/she is right. Because of how the generational definitions were drawn, pretty much everyone under 37 or so is a millennial. Which is why throwing the word millennial around like an insult is silly.

quark1020
Reader
quark1020

LOL! You’re right!

Wiki Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y

All this time, I thought millenials were those who came after generation y, but I guess someone decided to just lump us all together.

Reader
Ket Viliano

The generational boundaries are arbitrary, really the only one that matters was due to the WW2 baby boom, the rest is opinion.

Reader
Armsbend

Gen X has the coolest name.

Reader
Scotty

“Most successful” doesn’t inherently mean that it WAS or IS good. WoW obviously WAS at one point, and whether or not it still IS remains debatable.

Your most successful relationship could end in a bitter divorce. Does that mean having different feelings about it now v. then makes you whatever words you’re using “millenials” in place of?

Reader
Paarthurnax Dragonhearth

#11. Don’t Play mmos ( current ones / kickstarted ones ) – They are just washed down versions of the genres they are trying to ‘massively multiplay’ … Sad really …. but what can you do …. Make more of the same … Cause dumb ! :D

Glorious will be the day when the Kickstarted craps will fail ! :D

Reader
MeltWithYou

Everyone is entitled to their perspective and personally if I play WoW, its extremely sparsely compared to a decade ago (bit here, bit there…I casually play out a 30 day sub and don’t look back for a year or two), but if someone hit me up and said ‘should I try WoW?’, I’d totally say yea. Its polished, streamlined theme park experience, there are many things to like about WoW and there are many people that still play it.

The gameplay is ‘old’ to me now, my friends and myself have moved on, theres not many more tricks they can teach that old dog that are going to hook me again…but I’d still recommend it.

“I’ve compared it to recommending Dungeons & Dragons for tabletop roleplaying or Settlers of Catan for board games.”

Dude I get what you’re saying, but theres a reason why they’re certain games are well known and still played after years and years.

BTW, never heard of Settlers of Catan, had you not mentioned it………….

Reader
Armsbend

Catan is defo not mainstream but probably the most well known of the “cerebral” strategy games. Check it out – very awesome game.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I’m willing to believe i’m the only one where the “take back two items from the list” made me think of the guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark saying,

“but, take back two katans to honor the Hebrew God to whom the Ark belongs”

(This was entirely for Hirku’s entertainment, sorry) :)

Reader
Hirku

(This was entirely for Hirku’s entertainment, sorry) :)

And why does such a noble goal require an apology, hmmmm? But thanks for watching out for me.

baddates.jpg
Reader
Hirku

I wish somebody had recommended it to me a long time ago, by force if necessary. Obviously I’ve been aware of the game’s existence, but sometimes people just need a boot in the rear.

Reader
Nascent Visions

You forgot #11 – You may ruin their life. There is a very real chance the person will become cripplingly addicted to the game, possibly resulting in the loss of real world relationships, poor performance at work/school, and neglect of personal hygiene. When you finally manage to contact this person four months later, all he or she will want to talk about is how they finally got their 8th alt to 110 and now they’re thinking about maybe doing the same on another server but with the opposite faction.

Reader
Cinaminson

To be fair, you run that risk with any MMO, or even game. I’ve met people in FFXIV who do nothing but play that game too.

Reader
Hirku

I don’t have much in the way of responsibilities and I enthusiastically pursue my other hobby, but man I’m glad this game has a built-in alarm clock. Of course, in a couple months it won’t matter because I’ll be inside all the time anyway.

Reader
Doubleplusgood

I regret the day I showed a friend this game for this exact reason. She used to paint, draw and do crafts but now just plays this game :(

Reader
Robert Mann

The key to the entire thing is to note that all of the games have issues, and none of them are going to please everyone by any means.

I wouldn’t suggest people try WoW as it stands, because the people I know who still play are off doing old content for giggles because the new just isn’t that great. Add to that the actual trial system is a hum-drum of seeing next to nobody while doing some things that aren’t so exciting, and… probably not a great introduction either way.

Especially since other games, though they may have copied the formula, seem to be doing a little better at not just, as the MOP writers put it, appealing to nostalgia.

Beyond that, however, there’s at least three games where not only can the player get some experience alone as they wish, but they can jump into medium to large group runs that aren’t just a dungeon, and actually play with other people from low levels on. Which can be a huge deal.

Reader
CMDR Crow

The industry has moved so far past WoW’s ancient codebase, by now, that I’d likely agree that WoW is a poor recommendation. The core is that WoW isn’t really doing anything groundbreaking anymore, nor has Blizzard ever been that good at pushing the envelope when they could just polish polish polish. Blizz is a company that places quality over breadth, and it shows clearly in how slick, responsive and generally “peppy” their games are with lots of detail, animation and visual/skill/interaction quality. The one area where Blizzard continues to improve and push themselves forward seems to be in their cutscenes… but that is part of the issue, as well, because Blizzard’s strong need to become a movie studio is what really pushes their decisions forward.

I’d likely suggest FFXIV over WoW. FFXIV is, in many ways, even tighter than WoW with just as much pep and polish. I’d even suggest LotRO over WoW if someone were wanting that “mid 00’s themepark” feel.

I find myself agreeing with the concept that FFXIV is pretty much a contemporary spiritual successor to WoW, but I also think similarly of LotRO. LotRO feels like what WoW would have become if it hadn’t begun doing the “resets” every xpac. Instead of a new, limited life xpac designed for shorter term (i.e. 2-4 years– not a decade) like WoW, LotRO just keeps piling on top adding new, persistent mechanics and continuing an amazingly unbroken ten year running storyline. When WoW dove headfirst into changing itself every other year into some new version of itself, LotRO doubled-down on what it already was.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

WoW is constantly modernizing itself, its why the game plays so well today. Unlike LoTRO that feels old and clunky even though it was released years after WoW.

Also I dont know how anyone can recomment FF14 over WoW. Maybe its a better choice for FF franchise fans, but so many things in WoW are done just better.

Reader
Leiloni

I’d likely suggest FFXIV over WoW. FFXIV is, in many ways, even tighter than WoW with just as much pep and polish. I’d even suggest LotRO over WoW if someone were wanting that “mid 00’s themepark” feel.

I find myself agreeing with the concept that FFXIV is pretty much a contemporary spiritual successor to WoW, but I also think similarly of LotRO

Having played a decent amount of both FFXIV and WoW at max level this year, I have to disagree. They’re so different that they can’t really serve as a replacement for one another. For one thing the combat and fight design of the two games is vastly different. It’s perhaps most noticeable on a healer but definitely very noticeable on other roles as well. In WoW endgame PvE is more random in certain ways, more “urgent” and requires more of each player. Whereas FFXIV is very relaxed, in part due to the slower nature of combat but boss design is *very* predictable which leads to memorizing a dance, and requires less of each player, leading to less intense gameplay. But even on things like trash mobs in endgame raids and mythic dungeons in WoW, everyone really needs to be on their toes and use additional skills.

Then there’s the game world where WoW not only is more open, but immersive in general and full of life. FFXIV’s world feels like it’s just there because it has to be. And the additional non-instanced PvE activities in FFXIV feel the same way, whereas WoW’s feel more purposeful and fun, like you actually want to do them. And of course the questing and other open world activities are vastly different in style between the two. Even the methods of storytelling are so different that doing story in WoW ends up being fun whereas in FFXIV it’s mind numbingly boring.

They’re good for different things, but overall just too different games.

Reader
Armsbend

For a FFXIV thumbs up you sure ended up bashing it fairly well Leiloni :P

Reader
Ssiard

The industry has moved so far past WoW’s ancient codebase, by now, that I’d likely agree that WoW is a poor recommendation.

WoW has rewritten their code many times so I don’t know why you consider it an ancient codebase. The rewritten code is one reason it is difficult for them to provide a vanilla server.

Reader
Sally Bowls

Ah, I was once again confused by the MOP title not actually matching the article the writer is writing.

If you or Justin were writing an article on “top 10 MMOs he would recommend” then these or most any personal reason would work. Hell, an ex broke up with you in a WoW raid and then did public ERP in Goldshire with their new friend is valid to be perpetually bitter about WoW and never recommend it.

But the article in question was literally “PERFECT TEN: THE 10 LIVE MMORPGS EVERYBODY SHOULD TRY” Whether you like an MMO has no bearing on whether it is an MMO someone should try. I think the biggest carebear in the world, who would never play it, would need to consider listing EVE as amongst the “THE 20 LIVE MMORPGS EVERYBODY SHOULD TRY” even if they would never recommend it. IMO, #1 and #2 in this article are clear and convincing evidence that WoW should obviously be included in an articled title “PERFECT TEN: THE 10 LIVE MMORPGS EVERYBODY SHOULD TRY”

Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
agemyth 😩

If Justin legitimately thinks those are the top 10 games people should try then what’s the issue? They weren’t even all games he likes. He seems to have a lot of respect for Final Fantasy 14, but he did not seem to enjoy playing it as much as he has enjoyed games like The Secret World (SWL now, of course) in the past.

Whether you like an MMO has no bearing on whether it is an MMO someone should try.

Opinions should have no bearing on what one might recommend? 🙄

Did you skim over the part where he announces the coming of his personal opinions on the internet?

These are MMOs that have earned my personal recommendation and are the titles that I tend to promote the most. Here we go!

Reader
Sally Bowls

“Opinions should have no bearing on what one might recommend?” Opinions should influence what you recommend but not influence lists of what “EVERYBODY SHOULD TRY” E.g., Schindler’s list is #8 on the AFI’s 100 GREATEST AMERICAN FILMS OF ALL TIME. I expect far more people would include it on their list of “25 movies every film buff should see” than would include it on their list of “favorite movies” or “fun movies.”

Reader
Armsbend

Nothing on the original list followed the guidelines on this list. Last week’s list could have, and should have, been:

Here Are The Most Popular MMORPGs – except World of Warcraft.

I’m finding as a only recent player that if you play the many (many) clones of WoW they are all a fairly pale shadow to the real thing.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Justin’s list wasn’t and wasn’t intended as a list of the most popular MMOs. RIFT, LOTRO, STO, and Trove probably wouldn’t have made that cut, while SWTOR, Destiny 2, and EVE surely would’ve.

quark1020
Reader
quark1020

I wonder…if we had allowed another 3 slots to add swtor, destiny 2, and eve, would that have made Armsbend’s point true? All of the games Justin had listed are games that an average MMO fan would have at least some basic knowledge of, if not already played. In my case, I’ve played all of them except for Trove, STO, and LotRO. The latter two I’m not a fan of the IP, and I just don’t care for Trove’s aesthetics.

For what its worth, I don’t think it was Justin’s intention to recommend mainly popular games. It might just be he has similar tastes with many people, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Reader
Armsbend

It read as a list everyone, and I mean everyone, already knew. Maybe you guys are going for google searches. I get and respect that.

Reader
Wolfyseyes

As a fellow contrarian (in some respects), I applaud this list and will have fresh fries ready for the salt to come.

Reader
Ssiard

I couldn’t disagree more. I’ve played a number of MMO’s (UO, EQ, EQ2, DAoC, Warhammer, Tera, SWTOR, Wildstar) and I always find myself going back to WoW and playing it heavily. The gear treadmill is the caerot that drives the game and is what people like me want.

But you missed one point, you should ALWAYS recommend WoW to someone who has never played a MMO for every reason you stated in your article!

Polyanna
Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Polyanna

I recommend WoW all the time as a good first MMO, because it’s a big game, well made, with (even after all) a huge and loyal base of players, many of whom are the best sort you will find in any MMO community. And the community support and third-party resources are an order of magnitude beyond what is available for any other game around.

It also has a metric butt load of content, if you bother to actually play it all. And Blizzard is the king boss when it comes to catch up mechanics, so if someone wants to jump in right away to join friends who are established, it does a better job of allowing that than any other game around.

WoW has its share of problems, and Blizzard does not always do everything that everyone who plays their games may want them to. But what they set out to do, they do very, very well. From that standpoint, WoW consistently stands as a solid benchmark for someone who never has played any MMO to get a good sense of the sort of things that these games do, and how they can be done well.

Also, and this seems to be pretty persistently ignored by people who complain about how MMOs are not nearly enough “massive” or “multiplayer” any more — if you actually look at the endgame in WoW and what it takes to do the things that are available to do there, that segment of the game is one of few areas left in any current and widely played game where it actually takes focused, consistent, cooperative effort from a large-ish group of players, over weeks and months of time, to achieve the hardest goals available.

And, at least since Legion, Blizzard produces more fresh content for the endgame, more consistently, than any other developer out there. There isn’t any other game that stands close to WoW when it comes to turning out raiding content consistently and well.

Again, there have been some serious missteps with the raids in Legion, as in every expansion. But the content at the endgame in WoW includes some of the most massively and multiplayer things you can do in any game on the market today, and it is something that everyone who fancies themselves an MMO fan should try at least once — especially those who say they wish for the good old days of games being hard and requiring a cooperative effort to beat.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

You don’t get a sense of the genre? Seriously? WoW is like the face of modern MMORPGs.

Anyway, it is absolutely certain, that for people who are new to MMORPG, WoW is #1 recommendation. It is one of the best MMORPGs (easily in top3), it is the most influential MMORPG (yes, more then UO or EQ) and it aged amazingly well, so it plays great today. Also it is very noobie friendly unlike some other top MMOs like EVE.

I think there are only 2 possible reasons to not recommend WoW:
1. The noobie told he already tried WoW and is seeking for other games.
2. He doesnt want to pay monthly sub.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

saying it’s more influential than EQ is like saying Jimi Hendrix is more influential than BB King. It might be true, but it’s heresy to a certain population. ;-)

Reader
Ssiard

saying it’s more influential than EQ is like saying Jimi Hendrix is more influential than BB King. It might be true, but it’s heresy to a certain population. ;-)

There have been many WoW clones. I can’t say I have ever heard of any EQ clones!

Reader
Melissa McDonald

WoW is an EQ clone!

Reader
Ssiard

WoW is an EQ clone!

If WoW is an EQ clone then EQ is a Pacman clone!

ceder
Reader
ceder

Graphical MUD clone would be more apt.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

I think EQ’s influence is overrated. EQ itself borrowed alot from MUDs and there werent many MMORPGs that followed EQ’s template (i cant even name anything outside Vanguard and upcoming Pantheon). Even EQ2 was vastly different.

WoW that drew some inspiration from EQ changed its grind gameplay to quests theme park. And now pretty much all MMORPGs are quest theme parks. WoW also introduced traditional UI that almost all MMORPGs use. All in all WoW was much more influential then any other MMO.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

Somehow thinking people recommend WoW to people because they are trying to help out the game or blizzard… lol. I seriously dont think this is even on the list of reasons why someone would recommend WoW to someone… ever.

Reader
lokoma

totally agree with this list and i don’t even think its subjective to say It’s not the game’s glory days it’s just a fact and i say that as a player of 10 years

Reader
Utakata

If one truly doesn’t like the game, I wouldn’t recommend it to them either. :)

Reader
TheDonDude

I don’t get why WoW being a common point of entry makes it unsuitable to be a point of entry.

Nor ‘it doesn’t need help from us’. Was the goal to help a potential new player, or help a specific game that needs it?

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

In terms of polish and overall ‘feel’ while playing, I have still yet to find something which feels slicker honestly than WoW for a standard style MMO. Something from the movement, camera, it feels responsive when so many other games just have a general sense of jank to them. For its age, WoW has aged rather well compared to games even half its age. Graphically the newer stuff in the game looks mighty fine too. Chances are people have at least got one Blizzard game going on, so the launcher/account is already there, low commitment if the unlimited trial coaxing.

It’s true you don’t get a sense for the genre as a whole, but what game could? Different games have different approaches. You can’t get a feel of the entire FPS genre from just CoD and you can’t get a feel of the entire RPG genre from Elder Scrolls.

It is an obvious choice to recommend, but it’s obvious for a reason I reckon. If you’re trying to bring in someone who isn’t an MMO player into MMOs, outside of say perhaps ESO or maybe SWToR depending on their personality (and knowing the person of course is vital) WoW is a safe bet. First impressions are good, with lots of players still about, a few friends who already play or at least know the game, it’s all a good vibe feeling, WoW is full of good vibes.
I tried to get somehow who liked Lord of the Rings into LotRO and the game didn’t quite match-up due to its jankness.
Most aren’t willing to appreciate the nuance from the bitter games if you don’t get groomed in with something flashy and fun at first. My two cents.

Only thing which I know IS a turn off with WoW for many people is its business mode. Subscription games are no longer the norm and is a bit of a block for some, free naturally has the advantage of well, free.

PS. Also here having local servers puts WoW instantly above like everything else in the ping department.

Reader
Ket Viliano

I have absolutely no idea what game you played. The camera in WoW is one of the worst aspects of the interface. The ‘vibe’ starting a new toon in WoW was one of an abandoned world, where only a few people still bother to play, a mix of die hards who don’t welcome new players, and a smattering of noobs doing their own thing, solo.

I remain convinced that rose colored glasses of nostalgia are the only reason anyone still plays.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Local servers is absolutely a point in its favor.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

Absolutely, it cannot be understated how much goodwill Blizzard gets from me purely because of that.

Reader
Hirku

Only thing which I know IS a turn off with WoW for many people is its business mode. Subscription games are no longer the norm and is a bit of a block for some, free naturally has the advantage of well, free.

I used to be that guy, but now I’ve seen the light and I’m falling over myself to pay a sub. This past week of no nagging or nickel & diming has been bliss.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

You’re not the only one. Many people would prefer if things went back to how it was before, although I do think having a mix of both free and sub for different games would be best as not everyone CAN do it.

But for say SWToR or maybe even Everquest (1 & 2), perhaps they were better off cutting the pretense and keeping to the sub model.
Although I suspect it’s too late to go back now, ESO & Wildstar both tried sub.

Reader
Hirku

I agree every MMO should have a free trial at least, but yeah, it’s way too late to put the genie back in the lockbox.

Reader
Utakata

“Only thing which I know IS a turn off with WoW for many people is it’s business mode. Subscription games are no longer the norm, free naturally has the advantage of well, free.”

…least one can roll a class that opens lockboxes though. <3

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

Hahaha, good one :D

Reader
Gen'Challa 🦆

It would be stupid of me not to recommend it because I play basically four MMO’s (five if you consider Marvel Heroes an MMO), and WoW is the one I spend the vast majority of my time and energy with. The others are all either F2P (SWL, STO) or F/B2P (GW2).

Then again, most of my friends have either tried WoW at some point in the last decade or are currently playing it now.

wpDiscuz