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The List: The Five Best MMOs for New Players

Columns By Som Pourfarzaneh on September 28, 2015

The Five Best MMOs for New Players

Jumping into a new MMO can be an intimidating experience for even the most seasoned players, especially those who have little familiarity with MMORPGs in general.  Most of us on the site play MMOs like doing so is our job, and yet there are still some times when I start up a new game, or an existing one that I haven’t touched in a while, and feel the familiar sense of panic when I see how many skills or activities are available and realized that I have no idea where I should be going or what I should be doing.  It doesn’t help that I have a habit of returning to older titles in which I have mid- or high-level characters replete with what feel like a billion different abilities and talent trees, but I digress.  Here are the five best, or at least mildly more accessible, MMOs for new players!


5. The Lord of the Rings Online

Chances are that if you’re a gamer, you have at least some passing familiarity with J. R. R. Tolkien’s writing and created world.  The Lord of the Rings Online is not only a great game to get into for its digital realization of Middle-earth, with a familiar cast of characters and an excellently written story, but also an accessible, free-to-play MMO experience.  Turbine’s game has an exceptionally friendly community that will more than likely be courteous enough to help you out if you’re confused or lost.

4. Rift

Trion Worlds originally released Rift to the tune of being a direct competitor to World of Warcraft, and while that comparison still conceptually holds water, the former has evolved to occupy its own space in the MMO market.  The sheer variety of class souls from which to choose can be overwhelming at first, but Rift does a serviceable job introducing you to its game systems and is an excellent alternative to WoW if you’re looking for a free-to-play title.  It also emulates a lot of the hallmarks of traditional MMORPGs, so it’s a good starting point if you want to know more about what the genre’s all about.

3. Guild Wars 2

With Guild Wars 2 recently going free-to-play, and the hype for the upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion reaching a fevered pitch, there’s never been a better time to give ArenaNet’s flagship title a try.  Guild Wars 2 is a little different from most conventional MMOs, eschewing quests and competition for dynamic events and collaboration.  Like LOTRO, GW2 has a very friendly community that makes the new player experience more inviting than that of most other MMORPGs out there.

2. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Like Tolkien, George Lucas is one of those people whose work you’re probably at least a little familiar with simply by virtue of being on the internet.  Your love of his original three movies is reason enough to give Star Wars: The Old Republic a try, particularly with the Knights of the Fallen Empire releasing next month and the new film coming out in December.  SWTOR is fairly accessible for new players and cinematic besides, giving you a combination MMO and storytelling experience that shows its Bioware roots in its class stories and roleplaying.  It’s also free-to-play, so your wallet’s safe until you get lost in the Cartel Market.

1. World of Warcraft

As a new player, there are more than a few reasons to play World of Warcraft.  Along with games like Ultima Online and EverQuest, it’s one of the MMORPGs that created the foundation of the modern genre, it’s a key point of reference for the majority of conversations regarding MMOs, and it’s designed to be super new player-friendly.  Most importantly, Blizzard has streamlined and revamped most of its content since its launch over ten years ago, working to keep the game current while still keeping its original identity.  WoW requires a subscription to play, but there’s an endless free trial that you can give a whirl to see if you like it.

What are some of your favorite MMOs to recommend to new players?

Som Pourfarzaneh / Som is a Staff Writer at and a Lecturer in Media, Anthropology, and Religious Studies. He’s a former Community Manager for Neverwinter, the free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG from Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment, and is unreasonably good at Maze Craze for the Atari 2600. You can exchange puns and chat (European) football with him on Twitter @sominator.