The Daily Grind: Which MMO gives the best experience with the least time to play?

    
41
Weird dog.

We are a long way removed from the days of Final Fantasy XI, a game where you would not even consider leveling if you didn’t have at least three hours of free time… and probably more if you weren’t trying to level a tank or healer. Now, these days MMOs are far more speedy and efficient, with the overall design goal shifting to letting you get in, get something worthwhile, and get out.

This is not a bad thing, but it does raise the question of which games offer the best experience on limited schedules. Sure, I can do quite a bit with just an hour a day in Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft, but those are also games I know very well. And they’re going to demand at least that hour, more if I want to really make progress.

By contrast, I know I can get some mission progress made in Star Trek Online with about half an hour… but that’s just storyline missions. And games like Kritika Online seem tailor-made to drop in and drop out, but is that worth it? Tell us, dear readers, which MMO gives the best experience with the least time to play?

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!

41
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Tiresias

Destiny 2.

Regardless of what you think of the game, the lobby-based nature of many of the activities combined with many MORE activities in open zones that you can teleport directly to makes for a great drop-in-drop-out experience.

Have a few hours? Run a raid or a Nightfall.
Have an hour? Run a strike or some Crucible matches.
Have 30 minutes? Drop into a zone and run a few public quests.

Everything in the game can be reached in minutes, and the matchmaking for most activities is very quick.

Reader
Maggie May

GW2 was probably the quickest lvling experience I remember of all the mmo s I have played … only it was too quick for me. I prefer a slower pace. Just, jump in, do a few things, a delve or 2 and I’m good .. like in ESO, not too grindy but still feeling like I’m accomplishing something. Unlike say LOTRO where I look at starting a new character and just want to cry knowing how may rats I’ll have to slaughter (or every Orc in Moria 3 times) before I reach cap … which I have never managed to achieve.

K38FishTacos
Reader
K38FishTacos

ESO. I can at least log in and do some crafting dailies or do some gathering, kill a world boss, close an anchor…

Reader
John Artemus

Blade & Soul. Quick quests, quick dungeons, good map layout, and good rewards. Also, incredibly fun combat. (In my opinion.)

The map layout is something I can’t stress enough. The quest hubs and quest objectives are all conveniently located in close proximity to each other. It takes no time at all to get to where you need to go. Especially with how fast (and fun) transportation is. Gliding through sky, windwalking, etc. all get you across the world rather quickly.

That’s quite different than other MMOs, where quests from a given hub will send you clear to the other side of the map to kill 10 bears.

Reader
Ironwu

In the context of the question, I have to say Warframe is very good at providing not just reasonable content for shorter time frames, but also allows for specifically targeting what you want out of that content.

* Want to level up a single weapon fast? Unequip your other two weapons, find a mission that gives bonuses for using that type of weapon. Go to town!

* Looking for a specific crafting material that you need to build something? Find a mission that has the greatest probability of yielding said materials.

* Need go get a specific blueprint to build a part that will allow you to build a Warframe? Find the boss that drops that part and join a group to farm it up.

And so forth. Typically, doing a mission takes 30min or less. Have more time, some missions provide an ‘endless’ mode and the farther you go in them, the greater the rewards. And they are ‘stepped’ so you have opportunities to end the mission every so often.

All in all, the perfect game for popping in, getting something meaningful done, and popping out.

Reader
Bango on Laurelin

In my experience, Possibly ESO or STO. The former as it shares champion points account wide and the latter because missions tend to be in bite sized chunks with defined usable rewards. Also STO’s crafting and rep systems are good as they allow for that to be done offline.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

1. Warframe. Almost hands-down. Like, almost nothing else should be #1 on this list. This is Warframe’s wheelhouse. From alert missions to quests to open-world ones, the absolute longest any of them will take is a half hour. Most can be done in under 10 minutes, and many (like Capture missions) can be done in 3 mins.

2. Guild Wars 2. TONS of fun content to be had in very discrete chunks. World-Boss runs, PvP/WvW matches, easily-finished open-world quests (check the meta!), etc.

Reader
Ironwu

Warframe, for sure!

If one is mostly a solo player, but likes to group up for content and loots from time to time, then Warframe is great.

If one is tired of the same-old same-old MMO mechanics and want to try something where just the movement system is more complex than most character systems in standard MMOs, then Warframe is great.

If one would like a crafting system where crafting products are really meaningful, then Warframe has it.

If not having to pay a dime for as long as you like, then Warframe has it.

Note that the premium currency, Platinum, can be used in trade between players. So, you can actually get Platinum without having to spend RL$ for it.

If you are tired of the MMO tropes that infest the current designs, do give Warframe a try!

And, Good Hunting. :)

Reader
Robert Mann

Pretty much anything, honestly. You can do something, with a little time, in any of the MMOs around.

It just depends how much reward you need to make that time investment feel right to you, and how much you enjoy a given design. I guess there are a few themepark styled games around that still need an hour plus to get through something or face a lot of lost effort… but for the most part they have other things you can do as well.

Reader
Bannex

I never thought I’d say this but Destiny 2 Forsaken exp.

I can’t believe how much they’ve changed it. It’s really a fun game now with enough small goals to chip away at casually.

Sorry warframe, while it is a good game with a ton of content the combat feels like I’m driving a Kia.

Reader
Ironwu

Interesting observation on Warframe. I have to say that I have not found the movement / combat to be slow or unresponsive in the slightest. It actually moves so fast and fluid that I can hardly keep up with it. Of course, using all the special moves available really makes a huge difference.

For myself, I play Melee almost exclusively, so I have had to learn to move to and from enemies really fast. :) It’s a hoot!

Reader
Bannex

Slow and unresponsive warframe is not. To me the game feels cheap and unpolished, there is no weight to movement it kind of feels like putting the clipping cheats on the old fps games.

It’s a good game, i just don’t think it has a polished feel.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

I tried picking up Warframe a few weeks ago, and that’s pretty much how I described it. For some reason, it felt better on PS4, which makes no sense in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure not going back to Destiny either though.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Tobasco da Gama

Massively covers it, so it’s an MMO, so I’m gonna go with Warframe. Pop in, do an alert, pop back out. Ten minutes of shooty fun, and you’ve managed to tick over some kind of progress towards something in the process.

Reader
Ironwu

Warframe is certainly a ‘lobby’ based MMO, similar to GW1 and other such.

I think the concept of the traditional MMO population in a zone being all present is rapidly vanishing. Even WoW is now instancing the same zone in order to reduce the number of players present at the same time. GW2 has done that sort of thing for a long time now.

I think it is completely fair to tag Warframe as an MMO because within the lobby, one does see a very large number of players (and even then, there are multiple instances of the lobby running).