The Daily Grind: What was the worst MMO newbie experience that you powered through anyway?

My God, it's full of nonsense.

Earlier this week, Justin mentioned that he was toying around in classic EverQuest, and he said he was playing through the tutorial. That surprised me because I have no memory of a tutorial back in the day, though it’s totally possible I’ve just forgotten all about it and I’m sure someone is going to the comments right now to refresh my memory!

What I do remember is rolling an Enchanter in beta and getting super lost in pitch black tunnels somewhere on Odus (between the city and outskirts, maybe?) before I even killed a single newbie mob.

‘Course, back then your options were Ultima Online or that, so the setbacks didn’t matter: We were all determined to carve out a home in a truly 3-D MMORPG, and once we got there, we stayed for years.

What was the worst MMO newbie experience that you powered through anyway?

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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Ben Stone

Corpse runs. Enough said.

John Mynard

EVE Online in ’06.

You spent a fairly good amount of time customizing your character portrait and then click “play” and you get shoved in a ship with a couple thousand credits and told “Good luck!”.

This is what I came up with when I went back after they updated the character creator. It’s actually a fairly good likeness.

Ghett Dinner

The entirety of FFXIV.



Fenrir Wolf

The closest I got to being tempted to deal with a bad levelling experience was Neocron. Something about it was… oddly compelling. Perhaps it was because it was the first genuinely Sci-Fi focused online experience, I don’t know. I didn’t last long, too many bloody rats; and too many people in Universe Destroyer class power armour killing all of the rats before the newbs could.

I got bored, found a place in the middle of nowhere and pretended to be an NPC. Much to my glee and utter jubilation, more than a few people actually thought I was. That was much more entertaining than playing the game. I tried to be helpful where I could, as the rest of the time I spent dying whilst scouting out areas far above my level.

This is what I do. I quickly bounce off of the way MMOs want me to play them, and then I find my own way to play them for a little while before I give up on them entirely. The only MMOs to ever get me to engage with them how they desired me to were DDO, Free Realms, and (to an extent) Guild Wars 2.

Though I did have the most fun in the latter breaking out of the instances, swimming around beneath them, and discovering lots of unfinished content. Sadly, since Path of Fire, they’ve gone bonko-nuts with the invisible wall cannon so there’s little more fun to be had.

Hikari Kenzaki

WoW was really bad. I went back and streamed it a few times in 2018 and the tutorial is so painful.

I think the main reason is WoW is an entry level MMO, meaning many (most) MMO players from the last decade had WoW as their first game. So, the tutorial assumes you know absolutely nothing about video games.

But even as we began progressing and had been playing for hours, combat was still 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1…

Secret World Legends’ new tutorial is really cool the first time you play it. And every time after that, it is the most dreaded slog you can imagine. I have serious altitis issues (I had 70 characters on Virtue alone in CoH) and the SWL tutorial has made me not make an alt several times.

Fenrir Wolf

I remember bouncing off of WoW really quickly. I was about to quit the game when I discovered (in its earliest, just-out-of-alpha days) that I could climb the walls and get to places I most certainly wasn’t supposed to be able to. That kept me around for a few months. Good bit of fun, wall-walking. Sadly, the Blizzard of then hated fun. Not sure if that’s changed at all.


Old Ragnarok online’s first 10 levels. You start off as a novice, a little classless nobody. You were given the tutorial on how to move, attack, and the game’s specific decorum on mobs, then told to get to job level 10 before you can become a real class.

Unfortunately, the game was designed on Asian sensibilities: meaning long exp grinds and extreme role specialization. That means a couple of hours to get those 10 levels, made worse if you wanted to play a support class, where the intelligence stat will do nothing to help you stab slimes and rabbits better.

It got better in future renditions. The tutorial section was improved so that you gain most of those levels just by listening to the NPC’s talk about the game, only having to slog for 20 minutes or so before you can be something you want to play.

Maggie May

Starting a new mmo with different movement mechanics generally begins like this …. press this key ….. run into wall, spend 10 minutes trying to get to the first guy with the exclamation point over their head, get lost, realize I really don’t realy like how my toon looks, or seeing that everyone looks just like me … log out, make new toon, know now now to move, start doing quests, realize I don’t really like the class, name, and still my looks are not great, log out make new class and toon, name, rinse repeat and finally get ready to really begin. After all that, any newbie experience is a relief.


EVE was a game I studied up on for 3 weeks before ever downloading the trial.

I played it for quite a few months not really sure what my purpose was, mostly training and running missions, with no real connection.

About 4 months in I could fly a terribly fit Raven so I signed up with a Null sec corp to start having “fun.”

This was back in 2007 so these folks didn’t have nearly the logistics or supplies in null so we decided to jump my raven 45 hops into deep null with my corp mates as an escort.

Of course I was breaking a cardinal rule, flying a ship I could not easily replace, it was much of my wealth.

Amazingly we made it the entire way with no problem and reached our home system unmolested. (Whew)

So they leave me in the care of a corp mate who showed me the “ropes” of asteroid belt ratting….

Suddenly 4 reds show up in local, my new guide yells out, warp to the POS and flys off.

I think to myself, “warp to the what?” then quickly find myself tackled by 4 tech 2 frigs which of course I can’t hit with cruise missiles.

It was a slow, agonizing death by inches, with my Corp mates screaming at me why I didn’t warp to safety.

Eventually the corp leader calms down and says tentatively…. “Kyle, err, did anyone explain to you what a POS is and fly you to it to bookmark it?”

Whoops, no, they totally had forgotten so here I was, pissed, ship less and not having fun.

The next day one of my Corp mates gave me a brand new shiny Raven he had laying around as he felt bad about what happened.

It was a great kindness, one I’ve paid forward on multiple occasions and the whole affair hooked me on EVE for the next 10 years.


My first corp ever leader actually gave me a plex out of the blue. I wasnt intending to play the game, I was checking it out, using the trial days, at a time i had felt fatigued with WoW(2012) but because of that and how everything unfolded after I loved the game. Had bad moments too(not a few) but many good memorable ones as well

Fenrir Wolf

Every description of Eve I’ve ever read sounds like a nightmarish realm of narcissists and sociopaths, where the learning curve is less a curve and more a cliff from which the bodies of long-dead players are hung as a haunting warning to anyone else whom would e’en dare to try to surmount its dire edifice.

I never bothered. Dire edifices littered with bodies scare me. I’m a big baby.


Will try to tell you more accurately. EVE is a sandbox, one with PVP, and extensive safezones. Safezones arent 100% safe but if someone attacks you they lose their ship too. Like most sandboxes it has a backstory of the world but no storyline to actually play. It has a few tiny questlines but nothing like storylines. Like on other sandboxes you are free to do anything but you are limited by your skills on how efficiently you do anything. You can go for PVP/Mining/Combat PVE/Exploration & Sacnning or Manufacturing. As with every sandbox joining a guild(corporation on EVE’s case) is more fun and gives you more content. The thing that are unusual about EVE and found initially hard to learn was that movement is mostly clicking targets/points of interest etc on overview and selecting to approach to orbit, to dock if a station etc. Movement isnt exactly manual – that takes a while to get used to. Also obtaining skill points happens over real time and not by usage of them. The last thing one got to used for is the golden rule that what you can be destroyed if too unlucky or careless(its rare if careful and you dont pvp) so you should undock what you got the fund to replace. Its actually less bad than it sounds cause economy works pretty well and its fairly to replace for example a mining barge ship you lost.


More low level than newbie and mostly self-inflicted, but getting the Immortal title for my first character in LotRO, which required getting to level 20 without any deaths. It forces players to play as carefully as possible, and I hate playing carefully. As I often say, if I’m not getting killed at least a couple times per hour, chances are good I’m bored to death.

For the rest of my characters (I have one Immortal of each class) I just abused the Tasks system to get all my other characters to lv20 without ever leaving the first town.