Perfect Ten: MMORPGs as fast food joints

Never gonna get it, never gonna get it.

Sometimes you go out to eat because you want something that’s difficult to make on your own or just involves techniques you are unfamiliar with. Sometimes you go out to eat because it’s late and you’re hungry and you don’t feel like cooking, or because you’re on the road driving all up and down the tri-state area and you just need to fit some food into your mouth-hole and when you get home you’re supposed to write a column about something and you have no ideas.

That’s not a real story. Don’t put in the newspaper that it was a real story.

Fortunately, I am experienced at drawing even the thinnest premise out into at least a column-length dissertation, so let’s discuss the comparisons between MMORPGs as fast food restaurants for this week’s Perfect Ten. You may say that some of these restaurants do not qualify as “fast food” in your world, and to that I say: Tough luck, it’s my list. Also, no, none of these is In-n-Out Burger. I’ve never eaten there. Please leave California.


1. Guild Wars 2 is McDonald’s

You know what’s great about McDonald’s? If you have not had a Big Mac in 15 years, you could go to a McDonald’s right now and order a Big Mac and you will get the exact same Big Mac. The restaurant changes its menu at a process that would make a glacier tap its foot and say, “Hey, can we go a little faster here?” Nobody cares because the whole point is that right now the menu offers you a Quarter Pounder With Cheese that tastes just as it always has, and you go there not because you want the new limited-time Sriracha Onion Burger but because you want the same Quarter Pounder With Cheese, and it’s going to hit the spot if that’s what you’re longing for. Just like logging on to your Mesmer.

peter's za

2. The Elder Scrolls Online is Domino’s

I’m loving reading Chris writing about The Elder Scrolls Online for Choose My Adventure because he’s hitting on the fact that the game is basically the Averagest MMORPG (complimentary). It’s perfect like that. Just like Domino’s: You know that you’re not going to get the best of anything, but you are going to get decent value for your money within a reliable timespan, and it doesn’t lack any options for when you want to order. It’s going to be fine. It’s just fine. It might not do anything stunningly right, but it does it all perfectly competently.

I mean, except for that whole rollback issue a few weeks ago, but that was unusual.


3. Final Fantasy XIV is Five Guys

When this showed up for the first time, it felt like a revelation. Suddenly you can go in and get so much for so little, and it’s fast and bespoke and of bizarrely high-quality. But once you’ve had a Five Guys in your area for a while you start to notice that, like… having an entire dump truck full of fries lowered onto your table (or to use their term, a “small”) is a lot of fries, and they’re good fries, but it kind of loses its luster eventually. It’s still good; it’s just no longer surprising. But then you get a new order, and you remember that holy crap this is a good burger, and all is forgiven.

we have the pre-meat

4. Albion Online is Arby’s

Arby’s is a burger joint that doesn’t serve burgers. (Usually.) That’s its niche. And that sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it sort of does, and the more you go the more you find yourself kind of appreciating the subtle differences that shouldn’t matter but still do. If you give it a shot, you kind of find yourself liking it even if you didn’t expect to.

Man, now I want Arby’s.


5. World of Warcraft is KFC

When you were younger, this felt like it was just the best. Like, you were pumped to get this! But now that you’re older, you’ve started to notice that it all tastes like the same grease fried in spices, and your stomach never feels right after you eat it, and you’re getting the same amount of stuff, but it’s not very good a lot of the times. And God help you if you like a certain offering because it might just cease to exist without warning. [Editor’s note: BRING BACK POPCORN CHICKEN YOU COWARDS. -Bree]


6. Lord of the Rings Online is Panera

Sometimes on a cold, rainy day, I just drive to Panera and order a bread bowl of broccoli and cheddar soup, and no matter what else is going on in my life, I feel warmer and happier as I eat it. That’s Lord of the Rings Online. Even if it isn’t your main thing, it makes you feel warmer and more comfortable just by existing.

Oh, good job.

7. RuneScape is Subway

Sometimes options make a big difference. Oh, sure, I rarely find myself in a position where I think that Subway will hit the spot, but if I’m in a group of four people and none of us can figure out what we want, Subway is going to work. We can all find something we’ll eat there without active disappointment. RuneScape’s virtue lies there. It does so much, and while I am the dedicated anti-RuneScape person around here (Chris and I are fighting with knives at dawn over it), sometimes it’s enough to just do everything even if you don’t do any of it very well.

So are we going to get served soon?

8. City of Heroes is Chipotle

Sure, there should probably be more options for what you can get here; it’s a niche sort of thing and it shows its limitations. But darn it, sometimes this is just what you want, it hits the spot, and all of the little dials you can nudge and options you can indulge in are just… y’know, chef’s-kiss-perfect. It’s all right for being something of a niche product if you fill that niche very well.

Yes, I realize calling Chipotle “niche” is a bit of a stretch. These are analogies; stop overextending my metaphors.

You do know you have other options, right?

9. New World is Dunkin Donuts

You do realize you have other options available, right? Like, you… you don’t have to give these people the time of day. That’s a choice. I’ve known so many people who are obsessed with Dunkin Donuts (I live in New England), and it’s like… there are other places to get coffee at 1 p.m.; it might even be good coffee. A couple of these entries have been about doing everything decently, but sometimes you have a place that just has inexplicable stans despite doing only one thing and not even doing that very well.

Thankfully, New World is not dotted all across Massachusetts.

sir this is a

10. Black Desert is Wendy’s

Did you know that Wendy’s is very, very proud of not freezing its beef? Because you hear about it constantly. Does that make Wendy’s actually… good? As a restaurant? You suspect it has to because otherwise why would this be a selling point? And then you go out to Wendy’s, and it’s just kind of like, “Well, this is… acceptable, I suppose.” It’s trying to build a distinct identity by doing something different that doesn’t have the meaningful effect it’s supposed to. At the end of the day it’s just kind of whatever.

That doesn’t make it bad, either. It’s fine. It’s just different without a notable jump in quality.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at or with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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