The Daily Grind: Which MMOs are the best for occasional play?

    
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As a longtime fan of MMOs, I struggle with one serious factor when it comes to playing them: time. It’s not just finding time to play, period, but instead considering whether or not an MMO deserves my time.

Unlike a lot of other video games, MMOs don’t often reward the occasional gamer. Their design and business model pushes hard for large, constant, and repeated investments of time. So it’s kind of difficult for me to just pick up a title and play it once to get much out of it. For most games, if it’s not something I can dedicate at least an evening a week to making progress, then it’s probably not worth “dipping” into.

Still, some MMOs are surprisingly friendly for occasional play. I find episodic titles like Star Trek Online and Secret World Legends perfect for this, since they have fewer content releases focused on a smaller amount of very defined and story-based experiences.

What do you think? Which MMOs are the best for occasional play if you’re not looking for a 100 hours-a-month investment?

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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George

Any themerepark, as long as they are free-to-play for obvious reasons.

Ernost
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Ernost

Pretty much any PVE game. In gankbox games you have to worry about falling behind other players, since they can kill you and steal your stuff. That problem does not exist in PVE games.

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Hikari Kenzaki

As the article says, STO and SWL are definitely good ones. I jump into them every once in a while for events, community shows and to stream, but they don’t require me to be playing them everyday. DCUO, I pretty much only play during events.

Mechwarrior Online is another game where you can just jump in for a match (or 20) without much effort.

Another way to avoid the “must log in everyday” pressure of MMOs is to play older, established ones. I have a lot of fun going back to games I didn’t play in their prime. Guild Wars 2 (and lately GW1) have offered a lot of content for us to go through that I never experienced when it was released. Because it’s not the new hotness, there’s no pressure to finish it right away. Despite the hit or miss nature of current stories, the original class stories for SWTOR are also great examples. If you haven’t played the game in a while or you only played one class, it’s a great one to revisit.

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Arsin Halfmoon

I remember reading somewhere that a big tenant of GW2’s design actually considered that the player plays the game on and off. I believe it considering the ability to jump in anytime, the horizontal gear progression and variety of activities, I’d go with that.

I personally make a point to play during the holidays, wintersday always holds a special place in my heart

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Oleg Chebeneev

Where you can easily set and achieve short term goals. So themeparks like WoW and TSW

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rafael12104

Hmm. My go to “occasional” is Path of Exile.

I find it easy to jump right back in even after long layoffs and the game is always improving and adding new stuff.

Love POE for that reason.

Alex Js.
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Alex Js.

EVE Online. You don’t really need to race against the company-generated “content” (since most of the “content” is user-generated, which you can enjoy even in a small inexpensive ship) and you don’t even need to actively kill stuff or fly out of your station in order to gain ANY skills/abilities for your character ;-) Of course, some Corporations may demand you to be able to participate in some mandatory operations but you never have to join these, can do all of similar activities (just at smaller scale) as a part of more “casual” Corp or just flying solo.

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Castagere Shaikura

Man back in 2005 when i played for a year i knew so many players that just logged in to play the market or build stuff for the market. Back in Eve’s early days it was kind of fun. Less asses played back then.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Id argue that EVE Online is THE LEAST suiting game to play occasionally

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anarres

Any if you mostly care about RP. Many if you’re after nonraid PvE.

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Little Bugbear

Ff14 after you get to the end game. Destiny 2 is very casual friendly.

Alex Js.
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Alex Js.

Yea, FFXIV is pretty good example… And I wish SQ would just do something more for it, like maybe allow people to NOT pay the monthly sub after they have reached max level and are not doing any PvE dungeons or PvP content or trading/crafting stuff. Just let these people hang out with each other in game for free and to compensate for that – just add more paid cosmetics/emotes to the Mog Station store (the game’s world is beautiful enough for these things to matter to many players) ;-)

rafterman74
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rafterman74

ESO is the king of occasional play.