If you’re anything like me, you probably have a tough time deciding what kinds of gifts to buy all of your totally real, not-at-all imaginary friends when the holiday season rears its head. Thankfully, gamers are pretty easy to shop for, especially when it comes to the world of MMOs where people tend to be particularly devoted to one or two games of choice. You can just buy ’em some game-related swag, or even do your gift-giving in-game and surprise ’em with a piece of awesome gear or a rare pet.
But maybe there’s someone in your life who isn’t into MMOs, and you’d like to bring that person into the fold. Whether your would-be gift recipients have never touched a game in their lives or have already gotten their toes wet with a few free trials, we’ve got some (incredibly obvious) ideas to help you give the greatest gift of all: a crippling MMO addiction that will leech that special someone’s free time and bank account for years to come. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Or taking, depending on how you look at it.
I know, it’s pretty much cheating to even include this on the list, but this is obvious for a good reason: The only way for non-MMO-fans to change their heathen ways is to play more MMOs.
If you’re reading this article, chances are good that you’ve already got a few games in mind, but if you’re looking for some specific suggestions, you might want to consider Guild Wars 2, Final Fantasy XIV, and Star Wars: The Old Republic*. All of the above have been augmented with hot new expansions fairly recently, and as we all know, new expansions mean servers teeming with excited players, and there’s really no better time to introduce a newbie to all the excitement that only MMOs can provide.
*Yes, I know SWTOR is technically free-to-play, but if you want your recipient to have unfettered access to the game’s complete range of features (including the recent expansion), you should probably expect to shell out some cash.
“I’d totally play [insert game title here] if I didn’t have to pay a subscription fee!” Does this sound familiar to you? If the answer is yes, then you might wanna consider sticking a fancy bow on a game-time card, shoving it in your friends’ faces, and watching the looks of resignation that follow as they realize that their trusty excuses are no longer applicable.
Subscription fees are, at least for the time being, still the standard in many major MMOs, and there’s no denying that they can be a source of trepidation for even MMO veterans. So if you’re trying to convince someone to come to the dark side and join you in your favorite subscription-based MMO, there are few better ways to encourage that than gifting a time card to waive those monthly fees long enough for the game’s hooks to be firmly planted.
3. An external hard drive
OK, I’m reaching here, I’ll admit it, but hear me out: MMOs these days are huge, not just in scale but in hard drive space, as well. Even those of us with computers that are custom-built for gaming sometimes have trouble fitting all of the games we play (or in my case, games I don’t play anymore but might want to play again at some indeterminate point in the future, so I’ll just leave it installed thank you very much) on our hard drives.
So if you have a friend who would like to get started in an MMO but isn’t willing to part with his or her carefully compiled and categorized collection of adorable cat videos (for when the internet inevitably collapses and they become the new standard currency) to make room for a 20+ GB game, perhaps you can give a nudge in the form of some portable storage space.
4. External GPU
In a similar vein to the previous suggestion, you may have a friend who is just itching to break into the world of MMOs, but a wimpy laptop with its integrated graphics card just isn’t gonna cut it. Sure, you could build a whole new gaming rig, but that’s a big investment, and you’ve got to keep a little something set aside to fund your incurable gaming habit, right? Oh, and also to buy food and pay rent and whatever.
If a subpar GPU is the only thing holding your friend back from diving headlong into MMO bliss, then a more cost-effective solution may be to give the gift of an external GPU. It’s certainly not a cheap endeavor, mind you; the few external GPU setups currently on the market, like Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier, cost a pretty penny, and then there’s the GPU itself, which will probably rack up another couple hundred bucks, depending on how high-end you’re willing to get. Still, chances are good that it’ll still cost you at least a bit less cash (and a lot less work) than putting together a custom machine from scratch.
5. Your illustrious company
Let’s be real here: Whether you’re trying to convince your best friend to come hang out with you in your favorite virtual world or asking your significant other to join you on a romantic date beneath the moons of Azeroth, chances are good that pretty graphics or deep and complex mechanics aren’t going to do the trick on their own.
After all, you can buy them all the games, time cards, and computer upgrades in the world, but I speak from experience when I say that if you really wanna turn people into lifelong MMO fans, the best give you can possibly give is your time and company. Profound and insightful, I know, but it’s the truth. Just tell them that this holiday season, the only gift you want from them is to spend some more quality time together. Then, while they’re still reeling from this unexpected moment of tenderness, quickly add that you’d just prefer to spend some of that quality time bathing in the blood of countless slaughtered orcs.