The Daily Grind: What are the MMO starting zones that feel most welcoming to you?

    
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That's not a doll, guy.

To this day, there is no starting zone in any MMO that has felt as warm and welcoming to me as Ronfaure in Final Fantasy XI. You might think that this is just because it was my first starting zone, but you’d be wrong; I didn’t start in San d’Oria when I first started the game, but I immediately jumped to the nation out of a sheer love of the city and the gentle forest around it. And that music, gosh. I really like Ronfaure.

Of course, while it may be my personal favorite, there are a lot of other starting areas I still think are particularly lavish and beautiful. Pre-searing Ascalon in Guild Wars is gorgeous. The decayed but somehow cozy spaces of Tirisfal Glades in World of Warcraft. I’m sure some of what I love of the Black Shroud in Final Fantasy XIV is tied into the game’s beta test and where I started the original game, but I still love it. But what about you, dear readers? What are the MMO starting zones that feel most welcoming to you?

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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Tom De Laet

I like the peacefulness and almost Isolation of Olivia in BDO when you used to start there.

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Carebear

Classic wow Teldrassil :P The zone and the music… it just feels like I am back home. Running around, jumping and flipping with my Night elf.

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Loopy

And then the reality hits you hard and fast once you get inside the original Ban’ethil Barrow Den…

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Carebear

Never go there alone!

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Roger Christie

Definitely Atlas Park. Second place would be LotRO with the Shire.

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Gamhuin

Dun Morogh – WoW
The Shire – LotRO
Atlas Park – CoH
Ca’ial Brael – VSoH

I want to list Butcherblock Mountains (EQ), but I think that’s more nostalgia than it actually being welcoming. Although that weird rhythmic chanting you occasionally hear in the distance while in the zone was always very soothing to me.

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Dan

Hands down Rivervale and misty thicket.

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Gamhuin

It’s been two decades and I still can never un-hear that music!

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Bryan Correll

Atlas Park. Mercy Island…not so much.

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Gamhuin

The Atlas Park theme music is my daily reminder to log my hours. :D

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Toy Clown

I wracked my brain skimming through the dozens of MMO starts I’ve played over the past 22 years and these four stood out:

1. Everquest 2 – Before they took it out, it had a boat ride in the middle of a stormy sea that gets attacked by a dragon. It’s the single best MMO experience I’ve had in my life. For that time, it was the first environment water created in an MMO and EQ2 devs were proud of it.

2. Age of Conan – They created something new I hadn’t seen in an MMO before and that was a solo story mixed with a multi-player story when you created your first character and went through the island story. It was neat to go into night-time mode and do your solo story. The entire experience was enjoyable.

3 . Star Wars Galaxies – I loved creating my character and being met up with iconic characters right off the bat while stuck on a space station. I thought it was a pretty neat way to combine a tutorial into a story.

4. Guild Wars 2 – It was my first time dealing with the innovative gameplay introduced with this game, in that you load in, start your story with others, then go on to *gasp* collaboratively kill the raiding centaurs and boss before leaving. It was startling not having to compete for mobs against other players and it led into two wonderful years of enjoying the game.

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Gamhuin

EQ2 – they put the boat ride experience back into the game for the progression servers. :)

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Archebius

Pre-searing Ascalon is my favorite. Just such a pretty zone, with a lot of cool places and outposts to explore. Much larger and more expansive than it had to be, I think, which made it feel like that much more of a loss.

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Castagere Shaikura

Yeah sorry, Eliot, they don’t do welcoming anymore. The last time I felt that was in the 2001 starter zones in Anarchy Online where they had real GM/players as greeters and helpers in the zones. The good ole days of MMOs.

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Kayweg

I barely remember any of them, now that you ask.
But for some reason i fondly remember Thorin’s Gate in Lotro. It really filled me with anticipation about what else was to come, so i got genuinely excited about the rest of the journey i had just begun.
I’m not sure any other MMO has managed that ever since.
You’re listening, Amazon ?