Choosing a 1st timer MMO

“I want you to introduce me to one of your online games”.

This phrase came from my SO. She have never played an MMO and barely played any computer/console game at all.


My first though was… “Ok. We will do this on weekend. Most probably she is not going to get hooked by it and the idea will just die there, so I will try my best, but it’s probably nothing too important”.

But the reality is what it is. In the following months, she is going to have a lot of free time. She will be at home and, for the most part of the day, alone. So finding something fun to do on top of her other hobbies may be a good idea.

Even if I think that she should be the one making the decision about what game to try, everything in the genre is really alien to her, so I’m trying to help her choose one based on her tastes. She tends to favor medieval/magical fantasy over sci-fi, definitely PVE oriented and (as every first-timer) worried about doing wrong in group content.

On top of that, as far as possible, I would prefer a game I already own or one that lets us run a trial (or F2P) so we can try a few games before deciding and buying/subscribing.

Let’s try to find a good game to fit with those qualities.

  1. The first idea that came to my mind: Lord of the Rings Online. With the Legendary servers launching recently, there is going to be a lot of people on early levels. The story can be soloed easily, and we can duo in the evening when I am at home. But sadly, she don’t like Lord of the Rings.
  2. Given that she struggles a bit with English, I suggested World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2, both translated to Spanish and both with local servers. Even if she enjoyed the Warcraft movie far more than I did, she didn’t look too keen to go into Azeroth.
  3. One day, as I was browsing some blogs, her eye caught a Final Fantasy XIV screenshot and asked about the game. I did my best to explain about the FF lore without spoilers and she said that would be cool to try. The only “negative” I find in FFXIV is the mandatory dungeons to progress with the main story. And that led me to…

What if “online” is not a requisite?

Sure, being able to play together is a plus. And being online might help her not feel alone for long hours. But, at the same time, going into gaming via MMO’s could be disheartening, if you end in some toxic community that tends to “attack noobs” instead of “helping the newbies”. What if we seek for (offline) RPGs? The doors open to Dragon Age or The Witcher series, Divinity: Original Sin, other Final Fantasy titles…

Once there, I wonder… Why RPGs? What about strategy, adventure, puzzle games? What about some classics?

I anticipate that this weekend I’m going to reinstall, try and talk a lot about different games. I won’t probably play myself more than a few minutes but it’s going to be a hell of a ride on different genres, settings, eras… and hopefully, we will find THAT game that clicks and introduces her to this vast and amazing world.

Comments (3)

  1. Guild Wars 2 is exceptionally newbie-friendly. The mechanics and systems are fairly straightforward, which helps, as does the fact that the game is designed from the ground up to encourage co-operation and sharing, but even so it has an astonishingly bright-eyed, eager low-level population for a nearly-seven year old MMORPG. Also the starter zones are positively crawling with self-appointed “Mentors” at all hours of the day and night, hanging out their shingles offering free help and advice. It can be overwhelming but it’s better than the negativity and harrassment that passes for social interaction in some other MMOs, that’s for sure.

  2. Try to feel out what her objective is in asking to be introduced, does she hope to be able to play alongside you and feel included in your hobby, or is she curious about games in general and open to playing a game without you around?

    The former might direct the goal more towards getting her used to WASD and camera movement, which can be a massive coordination hurdle and require patience on your part.

    I tried to introduce a relative with super keen interest in Pokemon Go to the Nintendo Switch’s controller because they wanted to play Let’s Go badly… it was like watching a drunken sailor lurch around to the point where -I- was getting motion sickness. That was just a joystick and a couple of buttons, and they were pretty motivated due to the setting and the future promise of a Meltan mystery box. Encourage them that they’ll get it eventually, but the first few days can be eye opening as to the difficulty of our standard controls to people not used to them.

    The latter might suggest choosing a game whose theme appeals to them, whose structure they can grasp and enjoy and where the controls may not be a massive challenge (mouse click and point, touchscreen, etc.)

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