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Reader Comments (53)

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 8:53AM (Unverified) said

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Dun Morogh, it was where I made my first MMO steps, I simply love it!

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:01AM Pan1 said

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That is actually a very good question.

I really can't choose, it would either have to be the port/harbour in Anarchy Online or the dropship in Tabula Rasa.

For me entering the game has to make sense.
Just randomly spawning into the world is the easy solution.
If I can suspend disbelief I'm a happy camper.

I personally feel there should only be 1 start area.
It can evolve over time to freshen things up. Though I feel for now the actual potential of starting zones is not really being explored.

What if' the starter zone would be the character creation?
Appearance,class (if need be), faction (if need be) etc.
Telling people how to walk isn't perhaps the most interesting of activities.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:09AM Pewpdaddy said

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Green Skin starting zone in WAR hands down. Nothing like shoving stunties in barrels then firing them off cliffs!! The only good experience I had in WAR really.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:08AM Seffrid said

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I liked the original starter isles in EQ2, they were well set out and introduced you to adventuring (including grouping for the cave), harvesting and crafting, as well as leading logically to either Qeynos or Freeport with a decent bit of lore. The subsequent starting areas have never appealed in the same way.

I also found the night elves starting area in WoW very atmospheric.

However, the whole concept of Tortage in AoC totally rules so far as MMO starting areas are concerned - that is, until you've finished it more than once per archetype!

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:08AM Beau Hindman said

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For me, either the Raki old starter in Vanguard or Ryzom's newer incarnation. Now I'm really going over all the zones I've seen -- I'll be thinking about this all day! Lol

Beau

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 10:17AM Seffrid said

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That's because you've seen more starting areas than the rest of us have had hot dinners, Beau :)!
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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:19AM (Unverified) said

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Sandoria in FFXI. Something about walking outside the gates for the first time and hearing the music there and just venturing around really hit a chord with me.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 10:29AM (Unverified) said

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Bloody elves and their sodding bagpipes. Windurst and the rolling, crawler-filled plains of Sarutabaruta is the best FFXI starter zone. Honorable mention goes to Guastaberg for having phenomenal music which kept me company through many hours of LL camping.
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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:20AM Damn Dirty Ape said

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Some that come to mind:

WoW - Blood Elf area (I know, I know, but I still think it was really well done)
WoW - Starting a Death Knight(very fun and worth doing even if you delete the character immediately afterwards)
DAoC - Hibernian Shrouded Isles starting area
Tabula Rasa
EQ - Innothule Swamp (don't ask why, I just liked it)
CoH - Atlas Park (yes it is sort of the barrens of CoH, but it is a natural meeting place for heroes of all levels and generally a pretty happening place with costume contests and lots of conversation).

One thing I think I preferred about 'newbie' areas in older games like EQ and DAoC is that they were generally right near big cities and in common places where people would naturally congregate. It was also kind of fun running back to town to do some banking or whatever and pass a few buffs out to the newer players diligently chasing decayed skeletons or whatever just outside the city walls.

Nowadays it seems like most games (including WoW) have designated 'newbie only' zones that, once people level past them, are never really seen or heard from again (aside from coming back to get a mount or something).

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:42AM Avernus said

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Greenskins in WAR. Making stunties stuntier.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:43AM Dumac said

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Shing Jea Island (Guild Wars Factions), i cannot describe in words how much i like that place. Everything about it just hits the right notes for me, the graphics, the music, the NPCs with Chinese names...

Dun Morogh (WoW dwarf/gnome) comes in second, a nice and tranquil snowy area, almost romantic. Blood Elf starting area comes in third.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:45AM (Unverified) said

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The Shire; no contest. For me, Middle Earth is the pinnacle of fictional world-building, and Turbine did a damn-near perfect job digitizing the Shire.

On the second tier (but still awesome):
Dun Morogh (first MMO zone I played)
Greenskin zone in WAR.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:53AM ScottishViking said

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No surprises here: the Shire.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:55AM Pingles said

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Mag Mell in Hibernia, DAoC. Those annoying Lurikeens and rolling green hills still have a firm grasp on my heart.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 10:50AM Wisdomandlore said

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Gustaberg in FFXI. It was my first MMO. Stepping out of Bastok with no idea what do (FFXI had no tutorials >< ), and seeing a vast, desolate plain accompanied by an absolutely gorgeous soundtrack...it's one of my favorite gaming memories.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 10:39AM Irem said

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As much as I loved Ronfaure in FFXI, my favorite starting zone would have to be Azuremyst Isle from World of Warcraft. I loved it so much that once that I would start draenei characters just to run around there. Mostly it was the music, which I still put on repeat for hours from time to time when I need to relax.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 11:04AM GumbyJD said

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My favorite is definitely Pre-Searing Ascalon in Guild Wars, which is better than Shing Jea Island (you level too fast for my tastes on Shing Jea and it's not quite as attractive an area), which itself is better than Istan (butt-ugly and the leveling, though faster than in Prophecies, is a major chore. Having specific Heroes required for various primary quests and missions, and having no choice but to keep them with you at other times so they can be leveled enough for when they're required later, also discourages teaming and therefore reduces fun).

That should pretty much answer the second part of today's question. In almost all MMORPGs, the older starting areas just play better better for me. Always seems like devs try and please the hardcore base (harder, more challenging content to make things 'interesting' for them, and faster leveling so the hardcore can get out of the starting area ASAP and onto the 'real game') rather than make a better experience for newer or more casual players. (go look at Praetoria in City of Heroes: Going Rogue for a good example: leveling is fairly fast, but the difficulty level is through the roof and feels like you're doing content ment for level 30 characters, but without the tools normally required)

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 11:45AM xyna031 said

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Tortage.
Fully voiced, very good story and ambient.
Age of Conan

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 11:55AM Sunlover said

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My favorite starting zones:

Elwynn Forest - WoW
Teldrassil - WoW
San d'Oria - FF XI
Poeta - Aion
Pre-Searing Ascalon - GW
Kelethin - EQ2

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 12:08PM Syesta said

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AoC's Tortage gets MVP because of the wide array of terrains, incredible content, and sky-high production value.

Runners-Up:
FFXI - Gustaberg/Bastok: I love the rocky, arid climate. Reminds me of the California deserts. Also, the music was some of the best of the game.
FFXIV - Thanalan/Ul'dah: See above
Aion - Ishalgen: I don't know if it's just me, but the subdued colorations and varied landscapes of the Asmo starting areas are pretty stunning.
WoW - Azuremyst: Draenei starting areas are both haunting in the contrast between natural and corrupted, and the quests are enjoyable.

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