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The List: 5 MMOs to Play with Non-MMO Players

Column By David Jagneaux on July 21, 2014

By design, MMOs are more fun to play with your friends. Most of them encourage or even require grouping for a lot of the best and most rewarding content, which necessitates either being social in the game world, or coming into the experience with a pre-determined group of friends to play with. Sometimes though, it can be hard to find people. Not everyone that plays MMOs hang out with others that play MMOs. Maybe your group of friends sticks to the latest shooters and single player RPGs, or maybe your significant other just doesn’t pick up the controller or keyboard to game very often. Whatever the case may be, every MMO player wishes X friend would play in their favorite virtual worlds with them.

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The most important thing to consider when trying to get your friends into your favorite genre, Is whether or not there are any pre-existing IPs that they are already love? Is your friend  a comic book nerd, huge Star Wars fan, or Tolkien aficionado? In that case, your decision should be fairly simple: pick a game related to those interests. This list is designed to give you a variety of options to try and get those non-MMO playing friends into MMOs. Maybe they will only enjoy the first game they try, or maybe they will become a connoisseur such as yourself, but you have to start somewhere.


5) The Lord of the Rings Online

Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is the quintessential fantasy experience. Authors and game makers have been drawing from his creations for decades to craft worlds of their own, but few live up to the standards of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Elves, dwarves, and Halflings brought new ideas to the front-lines of fantasy fiction and Lord of the Rings Online is the culmination of those concepts. If you’re an MMO player and don’t have friends that are into Lord of the Rings on at least a movie-level, I’m not sure what to think.

The best thing about LOTRO for group play is that the game is essentially engineered to be played with friends. The Fellowship system allows you to share experiences and enjoy quests together, rather than simply following one another around. The lore behind the IP is so deep and strong, it will surely draw in any non-MMO player. Gameplay in LOTRO is about as traditional as it gets, which can be a bit off-putting for some, but it’s well worth the investment if only to experience the world itself. All of that for no charge is quite an offer, but the game is very difficult to progress far in without at least dropping a little bit of cash on non-starter level content.

4) The Elder Scrolls Online

Chances are, as a gamer, most of your friends have played or at least heard of Skyrim. The most recent entry in The Elder Scrolls universe was nothing short of a gaming phenomenon, dominating pop culture for what felt like forever. Ever since the series gained popularity, The Elder Scrolls Online has been on the minds of millions. While the final game isn’t for everyone, it does a lot of things right and would be a great entry point for non-MMO players.

Since so many people are familiar with the franchise from a single player perspective and may already be in love with Tamriel itself, TESO is a natural first MMO for many. With the impending launch of the game’s console iteration, there couldn’t be better timing to gear your non-MMO friends up for the game’s launch. Many aspects of the game play almost just like a single player entry in the long-running franchise, but it also has a ton of group-focused content the farther you get.

3) Guild Wars 2

Maybe established franchises aren’t really your friends speed. A lot of people would just “rather watch the movie” or “rather play Skyrim” so that’s understandable. If you still want to get them into MMOs, then Guild Wars 2 could be a great starting point as well. Every single aspect of GW2 seems to have been designed to encourage cooperation and working together. You can complete a lot of the story content with friends and everywhere you go there are new and exciting things to do and explore.

Combat is also a much more fast-paced experience in Guild Wars 2. Rather than stand and trade blows like a lot of MMOs, you instead can move around, dodge attacks, and use your environment. The story might be difficult to digest for someone that doesn’t care about Tyria and the struggle against the dragons, but the gameplay alone might be enough to hook someone that doesn’t usually play MMOs. Accessing all of the great content without paying a subscription fee could be a stellar selling point as well.

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Sometimes less than serious, in this space, we look back at the genre's history and far into the future to bring you a new list each week. Our countdowns are written by assorted members of the MMORPG.com Staff.
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