The Daily Grind: Is it too late for others to start your MMO?

La la la.

One of the eternal questions that you’ll see asked in every MMORPG’s Reddit, forum, and discussion is if it’s too late for a new (or even very lapsed) player to jump in and derive a meaningful level of enjoyment and participation — or have they missed the boat completely.

I know the knee-jerk response here is, “It’s never too late!” except that’s not always true in a practical sense. Sometimes there’s far too much content and too many complex systems for your average player to figure out without a whole lot of hand-holding. Perhaps far too much of the community is at endgame, leaving a new player to wander by him or herself through a lengthy barren world before seeing others. Or maybe an MMO is simply on its way out and jumping in now would be, for most people, a pointless exercise.

Whatever the case, if someone asked you this question about the MMORPG you’re playing, how would you respond? Is it too late to start in that game?

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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Funny to see that everyone is, of course, recommending the MMO he/she plays. It’s obvious that everyone will recommend his MMO and it is obvious that everyone is a little bit biased. (no offense)

I’m trying to get a more objective picture of it. And of course, all is based on the MMOs I’ve played so far (but I wont mention all of them)


Pretty easy to catch up as only the current addon counts. What happened in previous addons doesn’t count and is not transported to the current version (e.g. the garrison, artefact weapons etc.). Maybe you miss some story parts but that’s about it. Catch up mechanics are constantly implemented to ensure that you reach the level of your mates.


Also a great to start even after these many years. If you don’t care about the past, you can start with the new addon, the new area and that’s about it. Everything prior to the new addon can be replayed on your own pace and once you reach CP160 all is good and it really doesn’t matter where you are in Tamriel.


Yeah, that’s a tricky one. If you do not use a boost, which you shouldn’t, you have to battle through 300 hours of story until you reach Shadowbringers. This can be frustrating and is, in my opinion, the worst way to engage a long living MMO.

just my 2 cents


It’s definitely not too late to start ESO. Content is extremely open and accessible, and you can pretty much go in any direction you want.

The one thing I wish they’d improve on is giving more suggestions of how a player may wish to get started, because the sheer amount of options can be daunting.

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They’ve partially addressed that with the new tutorial area. Rather than being new-expansion specific, after a brief adventure you’re brought to a portal room and your guide describes the various options, and you can then choose where to go.

I’d still like to see the initial main story arc delineated a little more clearly but overall it’s a good first step.

Danny Smith

Honestly i think its one of FFXIV’s biggest strengths in that its not really a hard mmo but a mainline numbered Final Fantasy that happens to be online. You can’t really be “behind” when your friends no matter how far ahead can group and do stuff with you thanks to scaling and a system to reward them anyway. Just do your story and when you want to play with folks you can just up to what you have unlocked. The only barrier is how far in the story you are. Not if you rushed to an endgame treadmill of loot pinatas or not.

But then you have stuff like Warframe where the gap is too big or Warcraft where its really past its peak and you aren’t getting the experience that made it so big so i’d say theres only a few ways to make it possible but lots of ways for a game to make it too late.

Castagere Shaikura

ESO is probably the easiest one for a new MMO player to start in.

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As long as the player understands that what they’re signing up for is really a long, single-player RPG with co-op elements, there’s nothing else in the way of playing FFXIV.


ESO, you buy the collection when the latest expansion comes out, and you can start pretty easily. Every expansion has a new starting area, if I remember right.

Hikari Kenzaki

My MMO… well, I play a lot so…

Guild Wars 2: There is so much free content that you could play for months and not have to spend a dime. Expansions are easy enough to access and typically go on sale. Living World is the only thing you need to keep an eye on for when they give those out or put them on sale. One of the main advantages of GW2 is there’s a wiki for everything.

Black Desert: Season Servers are a great time to start BDO. The current version of the story is the best it has been and we’ll soon have Crimson Desert to fill in some of the gaps of history.

Swords of Legends Online: Obviously, the game comes out in 2 weeks. Perfect time to jump in. :)

Magic Legends: Still technically in Beta with more content on the way, there is a ton to do and lots of improvements being made.

Dungeons and Dragons Online: We stream this game on MOP (along with Neverwinter) every week and most of us started from scratch and totally free to play. Neverwinter is a bit more pay to advance than DDO. The upcoming level squish will likely change that, but it’s not likely to go away, just change how it works.

Secret World Legends: If you want to experience the best story in any MMO, it’s not too late. Unfortunately, the time where it was an ever-evolving, community-driven experience is over. The community is still great and are working hard as ever on community events, but it’s not the same as building a story with the writers and seeing it progress through new content.

The Division 2: This was a fun game at launch with a really cool story, but an extremely vocal group who bypassed all of that to the limited endgame and then complained about lack of content are who they cater to now.

Star Trek Online: Probably not too late. A lot of the story has been removed, but I’ll be honest, some of it wasn’t that great. The game now has a ton of ships to choose from and often gives way to earn them for free, but if you just want to play your favorite ship (and not level up with multiple ships over time) now is the best time to do that since Tier 6 ships scale to level.

Star Wars the Old Republic: This game is no longer an MMO. It is a single-player RPG with some dungeons. This was one of the most fun games to play with friends in its day. It has some great story (except for KotXX), but all the recent content from the last year or so has been locked into solo-only flashpoints. This is a game that already has some of the best teaming technology of any MMO and they flat out refuse to use it. Sorry, I play MMOs to play with my friends. Not play alone.

Mechwarrior Online: Sure. Go to the website, click on Events, and do whatever tasks are listed there. You usually get free mechs, equipment, and currency out of the deal. The community is extremely friendly and will explain things to you in-match if you tell them you’re new. Just do what the person running comms tells you to do and you’ll have the hang of it in no time.

Grand Theft Auto Online: On official servers on PC? Yes. Don’t bother. I love running around and exploring in this game and just having fun with all the cars, but it’s rife with hackers and generally bad people and Rockstar has proven after several years that they have no intention of addressing it.

Phantasy Star 2 Online: The base game (which only came out a year ago)? Yes, absolutely too late. This game is horrible at teaching new players how to play. It’s basically an afterthought and was targeted at those who were already experts on JP. New Genesis, on the other hand, is a great place to start. It teaches you everything you need to know in a few hours.

Conan Exiles: If you like building and the Conan IP, jump in and have some fun with it. Play on a private server to learn the ropes or find a group of RPers having fun.

Age of Conan: Was there ever a time to play this game past the first zone? I think not.

Knockout City: Insanely fun PVP dodgeball game with no p2w and a ton of free cosmetics. The first 24 levels are totally free. Try it out.

Dead Frontier 2: I honestly haven’t played this in quite a while, but it was always a bit of an uphill climb for new players. Still, it can be fun.

Warframe: Yes, it’s too late. I tried to get into it about a year and a half ago and it just never caught on. I always felt like I was trying to catch up to new content and the only way to complete old content without dying repeatedly is to do it with PUGs that will complete every mission in 33.5425 seconds, skipping all the content itself.

Well… that’s a few.


To a point, probably yes because a lot of the content that requires others to play with you is going to be dead content as 95% of the userbase has already moved on. Unless you’re with someone else who’s brand new, you’re probably going to have a rough time of things.


In my humble opinion, if you treat it as a game and not a competitive sport where you are competing with everyone around you it does not really matter when you start as long there is a healthy population around.


Depends on what the new player expects out of the game.

Just some fun activity, without regard to how you compare with others? Then it’s almost never too late, unless the game is shutting down.

For just about every other motivation there are cutdown points that either prevent the objective permanently (like, say, obtain a full collection if some of the items can’t be obtained anymore) or require a long time of not-so-fun catching up.