The Daily Grind: What non-MMO games scratch an MMO itch for you?

    
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The Daily Grind: What non-MMO games scratch an MMO itch for you?

Genshin Impact is multiplayer, but it skews closer to a single-player game during much of the moment-to-moment gameplay. However, I still find that to a certain extent it scratches the same itch as MMORPGs do. Between daily resets and challenges, the whole Battle Pass feature, and many elements of its leveling and structure… it’s not the same, but it clearly has elements of that in place. It’s easy for me to kind of fall into the habit of thinking of it like an MMORPG, even with full objective knowledge that it is not that.

I don’t think it’s alone in that regard, either. There are many games that I have personally played (Code Vein springs to mind) that have wound up hitting some of the same notes as MMOs for me, sometimes providing just enough of a hit that they feel like close-enough substitutes under the right circumstances. So what about you, dear readers? What non-MMO games scratch an MMO itch for 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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Ken from Chicago

CIVILIZATION 5

I’ve had it up to here, Gandhi, with you nuking my cities. You’re going down!🤣

Celestia
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Celestia

During the dark years that City of Heroes wasn’t available, the only two games that I stuck with for any extended amount of time were modded Minecraft, modded Skyrim, and Diablo 3 after the expansion. I was an MMO hobo during those years, but couldn’t find one that held my attention for than a week or two.

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Anstalt

Sadly, nothing, that itch hasn’t been scratched in over 7 years now!

The scale of massively multiplayer is it’s unique selling point, literally cannot find that anywhere else. If you could, that would be called mmo too.

As to specific mmorpg features, combat depth was my thing. Only ever found it in a few games and only in tab-target games, action combat is always shallow. Never found a single player RPG with any sort of combat depth, so that itch has gone unscratched too.

Even on the roleplaying side of things, the single player world has shifted away from roleplaying, replacing it with story. Not my thing at all.

Still, I live in hope! At some point, a new MMORPG will release that I actually want to play.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Dragon Age Retribution is pretty much single player MMO. And not a good one. Where all you can do is grind boring stuff for unlocks

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Castagere Shaikura

The Kingdom of Alamur Re Reckoning has all my attention now. It’s just so dang fun and a huge open world. The patches have also made the game so much better too.

Celestia
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Celestia

I bought that on steam for next to nothing ages ago. I need to give it a whirl.

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Schmidt.Capela

Many games:

Open world and open ended games like Retro City Rampage, Saints Row, Spore (the last stage), X/X2/X3/X4, Elder Scrolls (except ESO), Fallout (except FO76), Witcher 3: the feeling of freedom, of being able to do whatever I want.

Couch co-op games such as Guacamelee, Sonic Mania, Metal Slug, some Lego games, Tales of X: socialization with friends, with the advantage I don’t have to convince them to purchase the same game before we play together. Steam even allows me to do this with friends across town or even in different cities or states. I prefer games either with no character progression whatsoever or that allow friends to take over one of my character’s companions for this, though, since being at different progression levels is one heck of an issue for playing together.

Games with slow progression and a new game+ option, such as many jRPGs: the feeling of constantly progressing, constantly improving my character(s).

Any game — even strictly offline and single-player games — with an associated and lively forum or discord channel: background socialization, the kind I get from an MMO’s general chat.

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Schmidt.Capela

BTW, there are some gameplay experiences commonly associated with MMOs that I can’t stand in MMOs but love in other games. For example, PvP (I love instanced, matchmaking-based PvP without progression but can’t stand the kind of PvP usually found in MMOs) and sandbox (I love making a game world my own, but can’t stand competing with other players for resources or the right to dictate how parts of the game world will be built up).

So, while those do scratch the same itch other players might use an MMO for, for me they aren’t replacing MMOs simply because I would never seek those experiences in an MMO.

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Arktouros

Many games today all have elements from multiple genres to bring in tremendous amounts of cross over play. Like even pure FPS games have RPG style progression elements such as XP and unlocks and even daily tasks and rewards and such. Therefore it’s really easy for people to confuse elements in games as being one thing when really they’re another.

However what defines a MMO and makes it unique is the scale of the people you can play with at one time. If that scale isn’t there, then it’s more likely you’re enjoying the base RPG elements to the game rather than the MMO social aspects. It’s really interesting seeing people discussing the RPG aspects as “MMOlike” while ignoring the actual features that are unique to MMOs and make them what they are.

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Schmidt.Capela

Not everyone play MMOs for the social aspect. There are certain design choices that are more common in MMOs than among offline games.

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Arktouros

I like to do this crazy thing where I make an assertion, then I back it up with an example of what I’m talking about.

The only element that’s unique to MMOs is the large scale social aspect. It’s the scale in which this is done that is unique to the MMO game play experience such as 10, 20, 40 people taking down a public event in Guild Wars 2 and the like (even if you aren’t directly socializing you’re all working together for a common goal). Even minus the RPG elements we see this for example with PvP/competitive based titles where it’s not the killing that is unique to Call of Duty or a MMO like EVE but what you find instead in EVE is the high diplomacy and politicking that is entirely absent in other competitive focused titles.

Otherwise I struggle to think an element in a MMO that isn’t present and/or common in offline or even smaller scale online titles. MMOs have always heavily cribbed off RPG game design, it’s understandable that RPG players like other RPG titles.

So it stands to reason with me that if you want to “scratch the MMO” itch and the only thing unique to MMOs is the scale of social interaction then some level of social interaction is needed. Maybe 6 people working together towards an objective instead of 40 “scratches” that social itch. That sort of thing.

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Schmidt.Capela

The only element that’s unique to MMOs is the large scale social aspect.

True.

But there’s many other things that are (or used to be) far more common in MMOs than in just about any other genre. In my case, for example, I started playing WoW back in 2005 not exactly for the social experience, but for everything else. Heck, I tried EVE because despite completely despising the way its social element is designed (I utterly and completely HATE all the politicking, at least when I’m involved) I would actually love playing an offline, single-player version of it. While you can find the individual elements of those games in single-player or small scale multiplayer games, finding the exact combination used by MMOs in a single game is often pretty hard, if not impossible.

So, yeah, I do play other games to scratch non-social MMO itches.

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Arktouros

Again though, there are no non-social MMO itches because it’s the social element that defines the MMO genre. Those itches are related to other aspects that MMOs have also inherited by co-opting game play elements from other genres.

Because you play MMO for the non-social aspects doesn’t mean they scratch the MMO itch in fact it means the opposite. You don’t care about the element that makes MMOs unique but rather you’re playing them for the aspects it gets from other genres to scratch your itch to play those other kinds of games.

So, yea, you play those other games because you enjoy those kinds of games and you play MMOs because they scratch your itch to play those other games lol…

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Malcolm Swoboda

Genshin Impact, Remnant: From the Ashes, The Division sorta. Gacha games with co-op generally.

In Genshin I have at least one friend that I regularly play with and we compare our setups, get ready for fights a bit like prepping for MMO dungeons. I don’t take randoms though, as its just too risky they’re just coming in to loot stuff and leave.

In Remnant I roam a world with people popping in and out, for all sorts of content, with some fluidity.

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Brown Jenkin

Genshin Impact is definitely doing it for me atm, which is odd as its an open world single player gacha game and I typically only get so much enjoyment out of open world RPGs. The MMO feel of the open world in Genshin Impact, just feels way more engaging than in the varied PS4 type open world action RPGs.

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Technically not MMOs, but Fallout 76 and Conan Exiles and No Man’s Sky. :)