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Reader Comments (31)

Posted: Oct 20th 2011 5:04PM Seldra said

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When it comes to fast paced mmo action games Dragon Nest and Rusty Hearts both take the top spot on that. Personally I think they're both even in fun factor, if you haven't tried it you should.

Pocket Legends, I play that too and it's really fun. The level grind can be just that a grind but if you have friends and family with you won't even notice.

Posted: Oct 20th 2011 5:16PM gildhur said

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No LotRO? Really?

Posted: Oct 20th 2011 5:34PM alphaman00 said

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@gildhur I was thinking about that, then I thought about starting out in an MMO with NO experience at all, with LOTRO's classes. Aside from maybe two classes (champs and possibly hunters) dealing damage is going to be a bit confusing at first, with different classes having different ways to get up to skills/etc. While there's a trainer right away to help, it's a lot less simple than some of the "click that to kill it" that some MMOs present right away, even if they have similar class mechanics just a little later on. And that's going to be a huge thing for people with no experience jumping in.
Maybe anyway, just a thought.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 6:27PM JoeH42 said

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@alphaman00 I've got to agree. I love Lotro and have been playing it for the last year but a lot of new players have a rough time with some of the mechanics, ESPECIALLY understanding how primary attributes affect you. LoTRO does have a good community but I gotta agree with it not being on the list.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 7:32PM madcartoonist said

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@gildhur
I have always considered LOTRO to be very newbie friendly BUT when the game went F2P I got my family to start playing (brother, sisters, nephew) and wow was I flooded with questions. I still think it is fairly friendly but for someone who has no concept of what a MMORPG really even it I guess it isn't perfect. They weren't even really used to single player RPG's so even the concept of stats what new to them. They are getting all the MMO lingo now though. I'm so proud.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 5:34PM ClassicCrime said

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lol my very first mmo was eternal lands, the most confusing, unpolished indie game, then I switched to conquer online, which, at the time, was also weirdly confusing and nonexplanatory. And both were really different than other mmos in terms of the skill systems and even just leveling in general. Florensia was the first game i tried that really gave me an idea of what normal mmos were like, and that game was kinda confusing too for a complete beginner lol.

Posted: Oct 20th 2011 5:45PM Ref Minor said

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What's wrong with challenges and learning curves

Posted: Oct 20th 2011 6:20PM Irem said

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@Ref Minor
They're great, but if you're talking about getting someone who has never played an MMO into the genre, it's usually best to introduce them in a way that won't intimidate them into thinking they have no chance to catch up. Some people go into MMOs for the first time with a hardcore mindset and take to the idea that they're supposed to struggle right away (my first MMO experience was FFXI, but I was coming from singleplayer Final Fantasy and had some idea of what to expect), but many will decide they're just going to be bad at it anyway and leave if the beginning experience demands too much of them.

For some specific games that's a good thing, but those games are usually tailored to people who have been playing MMOs for a while and know exactly what they want. A game can introduce challenge and learning curve later; WoW's endgame, for example, is much more complex and demanding than its leveling experience.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 7:47PM smartstep said

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@Irem

Yeah, that's one of thing I do NOT like about WoW and games taking similar approach though.

Fairly land, conveniant single player up to level cap and then raid and instance threadmill culture. For me personally horrible design.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 5:48PM Vandal said

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I really can't believe CoH was ranked before WoW. I liked CoH but there are some mechanics that are just not things that should be inflicted upon new MMO players.

Apart from the grind which is pretty bad,I recall the level progression deliberately sends your low level character into a zone that is too high level for them. I actually email the customer service about this thinking it was a bug and they told me that is done on purpose.

The result is that your hero dies and respawns in the hospital which is a good distance from the subway you need to escape a zone filled with red-mobs.

Nothing says hero more than constantly getting killed by street punks until you learn to slink around, terrified any mob is going to see you before you can sneak onto the subway. Hardcore MMO players may feel that is good game design, but it is NOT something for new MMO players.

Similarly Guild Wars may be a good game but you should not throw an MMO newb into a system with 2000 skills and countless combinations, many of which will result in your character being completely unplayable unless you research on websites and wikis to find out which builds work. Again more dedicated MMO players will like that kind of gameplay, it will convince most MMO newbs that the genre sucks.

Posted: Oct 20th 2011 6:06PM Lenn said

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@Vandal God, yes. Getting a door mission in Perez Park as a lowbie was a nightmare. And then, rather than fixing that, they added The Hollows, another hazard zone meant for groups, as an area in which a door mission could randomly appear.
Things are much better now, though. I played briefly last year when Going Rogue hit, and more recently now that it is f2p, and not only do these missions not pop up anymore (as far as I experienced), you can now get your travel power at level 4, which makes traversing The Hollows at least a lot more bearable.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 6:34PM DarkWalker said

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@Vandal

I don't really agree regarding GW. It might have an insane number of skills, but not only does the player learns them in small bites, he can at any time exchange them. Thus, I can just pick a bunch of skills I think will be fun, try them, and adjust as needed.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 6:37PM Sente said

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@Vandal It was a few years since you played City of Heroes, right? The game has changed a bit in the 7+ years it has been around.

The list here is presumably based on a somewhat current state of these games, old experiences may not necessarily apply here.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 7:17PM DarkWalker said

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@Sente
I would never put CoH on a list of newbie-friendly MMOs due to it's spec system, and the way it interacts with the exemplar/sidekick system. It's apparent ease hides a huge amount of complexity, exemplaring can bring forward spec deficiencies since then corrected, and the restrictions on respecs force players to carefully research any slot expenditure or power pick, at least if the player wants to keep his character fully effective.
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Posted: Oct 21st 2011 12:50AM Jeromai said

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@Vandal

Things are definitely smoothed out in the starting experience for CoH now. It's not half bad. And as much as I think CoH has glopped on a lot more -stuff- to keep track of, such as inventions/crafting, real stats, and tons of currencies, for a new player, they don't actually have to deal with any of this. Buy some DOs, buy some SOs at the correct level, and done.

CoH was my first MMO ever. Survived just fine.

(Yeah, I went through Hollows and the Steel Canyon purple Outcast gauntlets. What kills you five times makes you stronger. Nothing like learning about 'aggro' and 'aggro radius' as a concept when 17 mobs chase you when you slip up. Times are different now, I guess. :) )

I seriously think any MMO is a good starter MMO. It really depends on the player's preferences. Would you start an FPS player off with something cutesy like Free Realms? World of Tanks, Global Agenda if they want something like what they're used to. Or something PvP-focused if they like the competition aspect but want something different - WoW, GW have good tournament style PvP, etc.

The subject matter and the person's liking is key. Don't like fantasy? Forget all those with the standard MMO fantasy wrapper. Like cutesy stuff? Better not recomend Age of Conan then, go for Wizard101, Free Realms, Glitch.

And the presence of a knowledgable friend around to smooth the corners can help, even if it's just showing them where to read up more.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 5:55PM Kaoy said

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I would probably add AQWorlds onto there, somewhere. It's an MMO-lite, for sure, but that's part of why it would be an easy step into the genre. Perfect World would likely be another one worth mention.

Posted: Oct 20th 2011 6:34PM Beltyra said

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My first MMO was FFXI.

And then I played it for a year and a half.

Baptism by fire, I guess.

Posted: Oct 20th 2011 7:37PM madcartoonist said

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@Beltyra

There is something to say for just jumping into the deep end. My first was Galaxies when it first came out. I don't know that I would consider it hard exactly, but having that much choice on how to build yourself it a lot for someone just starting. Unfortunately by the time I played FF11 I had grown so accustomed to easier MMO's like WOW that didn't give it much of a chance.
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Posted: Oct 20th 2011 6:54PM ZeroGee said

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@Vandal: Gonna have to disagree, to a point, about Guild Wars. That was my very first MMO, and while, yes, it does have a ton of stuff to worry about (like skills, and such), Justin's take on it is pretty valid. Granted, when I was looking for a way into MMOs, the lack of a sub was a major factor (and now we have so many F2P titles, that factor is far less critical). Still, for the same financial risk as a conventional game, I got to see what an MMO was all about, and was treated to something that retained a certain level of single player familiarity while still opening things up to a larger community. It also encouraged me to research into things. Read up, learn, experiment, decide things, and become confident. Lessons learned in those primordial days stood me in good stead when I spread my wings to other games. And that hardcore edge gave me some grit as well.

The game feels serious, presents great stories, offers plenty to do, and eases players into the complexities pretty well (especially if you take the recommended path of starting with Prophecies). I doubt that, if I had started with any other game on Justin's list, I'd have bothered with MMOs. I was able to discover things at my own pace, without major pressure and sneers from the community (which is pretty good also, generally speaking), to the point that when I was compelled to work with teams I didn't turn up with a joke of a build and no sense of how to play. After that, I realised that working with teams was the best way to play. And because the game primed me so well, I got hooked on the core point of MMOS — to play with other people.

Guild Wars is like Apple. EVE is like Microsoft. Guild Wars thinks different, but it just gets it right, in so many ways. It's the MMO I'd have at the top of my starter list, for sure.

Posted: Oct 20th 2011 7:09PM DarkWalker said

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I have one peculiarity regarding MMOs (or other games that don't allow me to load an earlier save or cheat): when faced with a choice that is difficult or impossible to undo, I will only choose after I'm completely sure of the consequences either way. If I can't be sure of which option will be better to me, I often leave the game.

This means that, for a game like CoH, CO, DDO, etc, where respecs are limited or hard to come by, I literally can't bring myself to level up until I have studied each option I have; I've left a few games already due to getting "stuck" when leveling, unable to decide what to get, and nowadays I won't even attempt any MMO that doesn't allows for respecs.

In contrast, in a game where I can easily change my spec - and more so if respeccing is free - even if building a spec is complicated, I don't have any problem. I simply pick something I believe will be fun to play and keep tweaking it as I go.

This also applies to character creation, BTW. When first creating a CoH character, I spent over a day trying to decide which archetype and power sets I would pick. On the other hand, in GW, since the only real non-cosmetic option was class, I created my first character in a few minutes, tops. Incidentally, I never could play CoH for more than a week or so, even though I liked it's gameplay better, while I still play GW.

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