The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMORPG for gamers who are sick of raiding?

In the middle of the conversation spawned by yesterday’s financial news that Guild Wars 2 had seen its worst revenue quarter since launch, several of our commenters sidetracked into discussion about raiding in Guild Wars 2 compared to the rest of the genre. One commenter suggested Guild Wars 2 treated non-raiders as second-class citizens (especially given that GW2 was originally sold as a game that eschewed traditional raiding). But the way I see it, pretty much every MMO with raiding treats non-raiders this way, and it’s a huge problem for that whole raid-centric segment of the genre. And Guild Wars 2 is no exception.

Some gamers suggested games without raiding (like Trove), older games with NPC aid (like classic Guild Wars), games with solo raiding (RIFT), and games with difficulty sliders (like City of Heroes). Several commenters offered up MMOs like World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy XIV because they offer plenty of raiding (or raiding-adjacent) content for casuals, which is something GW2 still strangely doesn’t do.

So today’s Daily Grind is two-fold: What’s the best MMORPG for gamers who are sick of raiding period, and which MMORPG-that-has-raiding treats non-raiders the best?

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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Aaron Biegalski

Complete agree about GW2. The entire reason I quit was because I bought into the game for the open-world organic grouping / questing … but all the dev team cared to focus on was instanced dungeons and raids. (Which, might I add, are all complete crap. The lack of party roles that made the open world feel so good actively works AGAINST good instanced content.)

My suggestion is FFXIV. The vast majority of the content is casual enough to be easily completed through PUGs in the Duty Finder. (Seriously, I cannot recommend the FFXIV Duty Finder enough. No other game has ever implemented such a perfect way to do dungeon content.) And the content hands out currency to purchase the second-best gear in the game.

While hardcore raid content exists (in the form of ‘Savage’ versions of other endgame content) it is entirely optional and irrelevant. The possible items you can get from this content is so incrementally better as to not matter at all unless you are actually already participating in the savage content.

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Viktor Budusov

My vote for Lotro. It has raids (and a lot of) and few best items are only from raids. But there are many other best items (for other slots) that could be earned by solo or small group. So as result dedicated solo player and raider don’t have significant difference in stats.

Also Lotro has constant stream of non-raid content, one of the biggest in MMO industry.

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Oleg Chebeneev

If game has good raiding content doent mean its not suited for those who hate raiding. So your question doesnt really filter off raiding MMO from the list and the question becomes just another “What MMO would you recommend?”

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Iridescence

DDO is good as raiding is totally optional and the reincarnation system allows you to completely ignore it while still improving your character.

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MurderHobo

It’s a downgrade in my opinion, but if you’re leaving GW2 then TERA might be a fit.

I don’t do that whole treadmill thing, but I’ve always been a raider at heart. If I hear about a big thing lurking in a cave, I want to get friends and kill it. That doesn’t mean I want the entire world to revolve around a rolling soap opera of doing that as a competitive industry.

So, I don’t have an answer. ARK jammed their foot into raiding old-school style with FPS mechanics and that was interesting for a while, but I didn’t see them putting much genius into it. WoW pet battles saw me through a post-Cataclysm burnout, and I got to blow through lots of old raid content solo just to collect pets. You can find worse places to nurse your raid burnout than WoW.

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Sally Bowls

A defense of those that need no defending: Preferences shall be different, but I perceive but do not fathom a recent trend to criticize the staff in general and Bree in particular, knowledge/love of GW2. It is a matter of opinion, although I know how I would bet, as to their knowledge/love relative to you. But regardless, I think it is clear that the success of GW2 will be determined by the “98%” of the current & potential customers who have less knowledge/experience than she.

I remember when I was in a “should I GW2” ennui lull, the GW2 PR seemed to be about raiding (with a side of esports for a while.) If raiding were a significant part of GW2, then I was not interested. Not just because I don’t want to raid but because if I did, I would play WoW as they have far more raid content. If raiding were not a significant part of GW2, then that seemed like less-than-competent Marketing/PR which is a reason to avoid the game.

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Dragon Whimsy

You saw a lot of PR about raiding because it was a new feature of HoT’s, and then it was the only content during the content lull because of ANet’s restructuring. That was a painful time for non-raiders it is true, but that restructuring led to the much better content cadence we are now enjoying. That is why the Living World finale goes straight into the expansion only 2 months later and why Living World season 4 will resume only 2-3 months later.

I understand where you got the perception. But PoF is a really great time to give them a second chance. While raiding is still a supported feature that will get new content, note that a new raid isn’t an expansion feature. The focus of PoF is entirely on the open world and the story. Just like the 6 Living World episodes we got the last year were also focused on the open world and the story.

(Comment edited by mod; please review our commenting code of conduct.)

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Alex Willis

Black Desert.

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Dragon Whimsy

I think any sandbox would count. ;)

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Dragon Whimsy

Guild Wars 2 IS an exception. In a game where non-raiders are treated as second class citizens most of the content released for the game in patches is dedicated to raiding or preparing for raiding. Most of the good rewards are received in raiding. And the entire game’s culture revolves around raiding. And while GW2 has raids, NONE of that describes GW2.

In GW2 the vast majority of the content released is centered on the open world and solo story instances (6 open world patches in the last year vs 1 raid patch which was released at the same time as an open world patch). The most popular instanced group content is 5-man fractal dungeons which can scale to whatever difficulty you’re in the mood for. Each play mode has it’s own reward vendors and for the most part you can get anything you want by doing any game mode (if you do only open world content you’ll have to craft your ascended, and non-raiders can’t get the legendary armor SKINS). And that’s it.

And the entire game’s culture definitely doesn’t center around raiding as was shown with the outcry of Living World Season 3’s delay while the raids designed for HoT’s were still coming out. And even that little moment in the game’s history was only because the raid team was already formed and working on content before HoT’s launch and the rest of the company had to restructure after HoT’s launch, something which shouldn’t need to happen again given how well their content cadence has been going.

If you want the open world to be the focus of your themepark MMO then GW2 is THE themepark MMO for you. The only other MMO’s that use the open world as much are all sandboxes. The “GW2 is no exception” quote is lending credence to a claim that is demonstratively false.

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Jacobin GW

Agree completely. The pinnacle content of GW2 is open world PVE. Raids are just 10 man dungeons/fractals with unique skins.

If you want to see difficult content but don’t want to invest any amount of time just youtube it – thats what I do for SWTOR. The game is so casual that there is no point in even playing.

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Rottenrotny

Gonna go with the obvious one that no one else will probably mention:

World of Warcraft.

Even if you don’t EVER want to raid, and by raid I mean do current Legion raid at normal+ difficulty, there’s still WAAAAAAAY more content than almost any other MMO… Hell any GAME ever. I mean, seriously, what else even comes close?

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Melissa McDonald

Eq2. There is a staggering amount of content, so much that it’s highly unlikely you can do it all.

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Rottenrotny

True, not knocking the game, I had a lot of fun playing it back in the day, but it’s rather dated at this point and… Daybreak.

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Ashley Bau

I mean, you can say that about most mmos that have been around developing for a really long time no?

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Rottenrotny

Sure, but most are hardly relevant anymore.

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zoward

LotRO has a metric ton of content, much of it “free”, and raiding is mostly an afterthought.

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Rottenrotny

That’s the other one I was going to say. LotRO.

Everyone is screaming EQ2 but how dated it is and being under Daybreak it’s hardly the game I would recommend to people anymore, whereas WoW is still very relevant, populated and has more content than any new player is likely to ever see and complete.

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murmillo

I just returned to GW2 after not having played it since launch… And I’m overwhelmed with all the stuff there is to do in the open world.
And with Sweetfx (+Overwolf overlay for easy access to presets), the game looks absolutely stunning.