Massively Overthinking: Our favorite RPGs for MMORPG fans


This week’s Overthinking topic was sent along to us from MOP reader Mordyjuice. This is gonna be a fun one!

“I find that I often play MMOs like solo RPGs, so I’m wondering what you would recommend for RPGs for for people like me that have played games like World of Warcraft, WoW clones, Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online, and Diablo III. I figure this way I can play the content and not worry about the group anxiety for more hardcore content. I’m thinking Skyrim would be a no-brainer. My thing is I’m an explorer so I want a massive world like GW2 or ESO, WoW even. Something with a lot of lore.”

Let’s give this one a go – what RPGs would you recommend to MMORPG players who are looking for a single-player experience with a massive world and lots of lore?

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Looking at that list, I feel like I can recommend Dragon Age 1 and 3 (2 isn’t horrible but exploration is, let’s say, limited. II’s got pretty good exploration physically, but the plot has some good grey zones to explore that often rely on you snooping around and reading lore or talking to people. Oh, and it’s got some dating sim in there because BioWare.

Metal Gear Solid: V seemed good and is one of two I didn’t play because I had to choose between multi-player games and my job, and both won over a huge single player game. That being said, despite some creepy fanservice, even a female gamer I recommended it to loved the exploration and creative ways to (non)lethally handle enemies. Oh, and Metal Gear plots to explore. Hope you like spy stories and conspiracy theories!

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild still times me. The demos I played alone were satisfying: creative cooking, climbing, physics, survival, Mount collecting (and temporary bear mount!), unique game world… I won’t lie, if we covered single player games, I would have fought a staffer to review it. No lie, if I ever felt I had time for a large, environmental exploration game, this would be my pick.

Wild card: Detroit Become Human. I love TellTale Games for its story exploration and handling of moral grey, but as we’ve seen, it wasn’t enough for some people. A coworker and a PR person from a rival company both recommended Become Human, though. While the environments are small, the high amount of interactiveness that changes your dialogue options through the story is pretty satisfying, and gives the game high replay value (still working on my first trip through though). Really good if you want something sci-fi but human.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Yes, Skyrim is the obvious choice, but when you’re done with it – and done with the years of modding content you can plug into it – don’t forget about its chief predecessors, Oblivion and Morrowind! Both are seriously still worth it for fans of that massive-world roleplaying experience, especially once you’ve tricked them out with mods for eyecandy, playability, and scope. And I say Morrowind has the best story of them all; you’ll need multiple characters just to see all the main quest, never mind the rest of the questlines. Personally, when I find that my MMO of choice isn’t offering me enough virtual world, I often wander back to these games to tinker with houses and really generate some immersion. The fact that they are pretty and customizable doesn’t hurt either.

It’d be a betrayal not to mention the KOTOR and Mass Effect series too: Not only do they boast massive, immersive settings but the offer the ability to drag around a party of NPCs who interact with you – but never go AFK, drop group, ninjaloot, or teamkill – it definitely mimics that ideal MMORPG group!

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): There were a lot of standouts that mentally sprang to mind that probably would be expected, like your Witcher 3 and Dragon Age: Origins. Yet one best mirrors an MMO in terms of style and character options for me: Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning.

Visually speaking, it’s like WoW 2.0. Story-wise, it’s a fun fantasy world with the usual tropes. Gameplay-wise, it has great combat and an awesome custom class selection that follows established class tropes or lets you be a little divergent. All things considered, it’s one of the best analogues to MMO gaming that solo titles will get to.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): We’re actually drowning in amazing single-player RPGs with expansive worlds and in-depth storylines that have come out in the past few years. Off the top of my head, I’d say that Pillars of Eternity (and its sequel), Divinity Original Sin 2, and The Witcher 3 are no-brainers considering how much content they have, how critically acclaimed they are, and how many options they offer. Want some more? Wasteland 2, The Bard’s Tale 4, Star Control Origins, Fallout 4, Darkest Dungeon, and Undertale are fairly recent and offer a lot to do. And don’t sell older RPGs short; check out sometime to see what they have for sale. Some of the best RPG fun I’ve had this decade came from older titles.

Your turn!

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