The Daily Grind: How patient are you when playing an MMORPG for the first time?

The Daily Grind: How patient are you when playing an MMORPG for the first time?

How many times have you seen this kind of advice from fans of an MMO? “You have to get past the first 10 hours and after that the game really opens up and gets good.”

Fauxtaku is being sarcastic, of course, but heck I know I’ve said stuff like this before too, especially for sandboxes that really just flat-out suck for the first couple of weeks until you gain a foothold. It astonishes me that we have patience for games that are bad on the faith that they will eventually stop being bad and become good. We wouldn’t do that at a restaurant. “Yeah, the appetizers and meal suck, but the dessert is awesome.” Why on earth do we pay for that kind of experience in games?

So how patient are you when playing an MMORPG for the first time? Has your patience level for early game BS changed over time?

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!

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Ahikam Dent

I have an issue where the first zone or so is heavily scripted to be fun, engaging, with lots of things to do, ran into this with ESO, Aeon, Wakfu, Tree of Savior, Tera, and possibly others, then the quests dry up for some of those, or they send you through complicated cities, and i get lost in them and theres a metric ton of ‘run around and learn THIS system and THAT system’ quests around and i’m like… i want to keep questing like i was! but theres nothing. I guess Aeon and Tera ran into the city wall, Wakfu and tree of savior ran into quests drying up, maybe not too bad, ESO had a very interactive starting couple of zones then its all sorts of stretched out and TOO open, but quests at every node that aren’t really important story quests, so i get bored of those. Then there are the instanced only things like the Closers, Elsword, Vindictus, and such things like that, that get way TOO linear… i guess i’m very picky. I finally lost it with Fortnite save the world because i can only run the same quest so many times trying to progress before i get sick.

These things said, spent a LOT of time on WoW, played Rift for a bit but one expansion just lost me at a slow level grind. I go back to GW2 and ESO ocassionally, and every once in a while things like Neverwinter and STO. Neverwinter doens’t hold you in a very complicated city long, longer than I would like, but eventually sends you out to zones.


If it doesn’t grab me and/or keep my interest during the first couple of hours, it’s going to get uninstalled and written off.


Depends on how good the game is and its presentation towards new players. If the tutorial is outdated, non-existant or just makes me guess stuff, then I will probably not waste too much time in it and just uninstall it.

One thing I hate about old MMORPGs is that the developers never bother to make them accessible to new players, they only seem to favor their original players.


At first I didn’t think this applied to me, as it’s usually endgame BS that gets to me. But then rereading the Fauxtaku tweet, two words–“opens up”–clicked and I realized that there really is something that gets me to drop all kinds of games super early, and that is feeling too restricted from wandering off the ordained path early on, which is exactly when I want to be seeing what all is “out there” to determine if I want to keep playing. And it’s not just MMOs.

Usually it’s literal–confined zones, invisible walls, corridor shooter-style levels, but sometimes it’s metaphorical, as in excessively gated gameplay features. Sometimes it’s not reflective of the game overall, as in the case of starter islands that overstay their welcome (usually by having leaving being gated by doing some particular quest); but if I’m not interested enough to even go through that, guess what?

– ESO is one of the few examples I can think of that figured this out (wrt the starter island) and mostly corrected it. Still too many barriers to free travel though and haven’t touched it in over a year. I’m waiting for them to add some kind of climbing ability at some point; getting rid of exhaustion zones would be welcome as well.
– Non-MMOs fail at this too; I had a friend recommend Saints Row IV to me because it supposedly has some kind of open world aspect to it, but I never saw it as upon starting to play you’re stuck in some series of heavily scripted instances that were not what I was looking for and I bailed at about the third one
– I’m still not sure about Tera as I never got past the initial zone with the beach after hitting a bunch of invisible walls trying to go offroad
– I’m pretty sure giving up Neverwinter right off the bat was the right call, as everything seems to point at it being just a bunch of instances with a lobby town?
– I played the Destiny 2 corridor shooter demo level and it did not even remotely inspire me to want to pick up the full game (not even for $12 in the Humble Bundle a few months ago).
– Warframe. I like the movement and the combat, but can I please just skip all the old mission zones and get to the supposed new open world area they’re doing?
– FFXIV will probably always be my canonical example of excessively gated for its requirement to run a dungeon just to be able to ride a mount

Other than ESO and FFXIV, if I have even 2 hours in any of those I’d be surprised, and I didn’t get anywhere near level cap in those first two either. So I’m super-quick to abandon games, but it’s almost always for a very specific failure to let me play how I want to play; obviously tons of people love every every game I’ve listed as an example there.

A couple examples of games that got this more or less right for me, both of which I have EMBARASSINGLY_LARGE_NUMBER of hours in:
– After an extremely short starter story instance, Rift has bog-standard sequentially leveled zones, but nothing absolutely stops you from crossing them whenever you want, even outside the normal route–one of early feelings of accomplishment in that game was managing, through a bunch of persistent jumping, to cross the mountains west of Freemarch up into Stonefield. I was all of level 10 or so at the time and had no idea that it just the next zone I’d be sent into anyway; it was still great to be able to say “I want to get there” and do it.
– BDO has a tutorial at first that hides away many of the game features (menus, day/night cycles, even other players! Oh no, Eliot has a sad nao) while it guides you through the basics. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, is easily disabled, and still doesn’t prevent you going off wherever you want). And it takes place in the regular world, not some restricted instance.

Robert Mann

I’m normally a patient person. With MMOs, however, I am at a point where unless you can show me that your game is different, interesting, and worth my time… I’m going to pass. Likely, in fact, before I even get started.

I’m over the everyone as a hero story thing. I’m over the combat and anything else is second citizen status thing. I’m completely done with nickel and dime gambling, or rewards in crowdfunding that lock content types to players who spend more, and the moment a game has that I am an incredibly hard sell (odds are slim to none, and slim got murdered in town a while ago). Speaking of which, FFA ganking is in that same boat. I enjoy some PvP, but I do not enjoy hide and attack with major advantage X,Y, or Z that disrupts other activities PvP.

So, at this point, developers and publishers must EARN my time, in order for me to try their game and bother with patience… and they must have done something to break away from the status quo such that I will not declare it the same old stuff and walk away. THEN I have patience to see more of the game, and not give it up because a little story or mechanic feels off without having gone more than a couple hours in (although those things can still spell doom for the game if there isn’t a reason or fix).

Kickstarter Donor

Pretty patient, but I listen to my instincts.

If everything seems good, but after an hour or two of play, something still “feels wrong”, I’ve learned to pay attention to that, and to try to isolate the cause of what’s set off my Spidey Sense.

Loyal Patron
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor

The most boring part of a typical MMO nowadays is the mid-game. This is especially true for those who don’t play a lot of MMO and not quickly get bored at early game.

So yeah whoever is giving that kind of advice could use a better game to play.


For me it’s more like a set of milestones.

A game needs to have either systems that sound fun and enjoyable when described or one heck of a glowing recommendation before I will even bother downloading it.

After that it has about two hours since I first launched it, or about ten minutes after character creation and the tutorial — whichever comes first — to both become minimally enjoyable and convince me it has the potential to be as fun as whichever other games are close to the top of my queue.

After it managed that, it has about 10 more hours to actually deliver on that potential.


I’m very patient. TBH the this is my favorite time in a new MMO. Where I don’t have to worry about optimal builds or rotations, etc. I can just immerse myself in something new. It’s the closest I get to the feeling I got when I played my first MMO.


While technically not an MMO, I have started playing Warframe. Which seems to be getting more MMOish with each passing year.

10 hours in? Heh. I am like WTF am I doing?

100 hours in? I suspect I will be like WTF am I doing?

Maybe not quite that bad, but Warframe is giving me that same sense of systems exploration that I got from my first times in Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft.

A bog standard WoW clone? 1 hour is usually sufficient, if that long.