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Old 03-25-2020, 11:50 AM
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MMORPGs in the time of COVID-19


I've got some time to kill and am interested in maybe diving into a new game.

I played WOW for quite a few years (from Wrath of the Lich King to but not through Legion).

I was a regular but casual player. I enjoyed world exploring, the story, character advancement.

There are a lot of reasons I left WOW that I won't bother with here, but the biggest one is that after a number of expansions the end game gets repetitive, as did the quests/stories/characters.

Anyway, I'm looking for a world I can explore in, level up a character, interact in a casual way with other players, and that has good atmosphere. And, I'm not at all interested in complicated gear management (though I do enjoy complicated character/skill development, go figure).

Anyway, what's out there? I don't think I want to dive back into WOW.

I remember trying and enjoying Guild Wars back in its early days. It looks like that's still available in maintenance mode. Or Guild Wars 2?

Or what else?

I don't have a gaming system anymore (just a Dell laptop with a 4gig GeForce GTX 1050).
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:59 AM
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I'd recommend taking a look at Final Fantasy XIV. I have several friends who play it, who are WoW refugees, and they really enjoy it. The graphics are awesome, and the storyline (particularly in the expansions, of which there are only three) is very good.

It does have some cutesy/anime elements, but those aren't generally a big factor in gameplay.

Though it doesn't generally have a Free To Play offer (and it's a bit of a pain to register), one can do a free trial up to level 30 or 35, which can give you a feel for how the game plays.
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:06 PM
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If you're interested in story-driven games, I'd give Final Fantasy XIV a try. You can play it for free up to level 35 (with some limitations) if you want to give it a test drive.

The player community is pretty friendly and accommodating to new players, with many who are eager to help, and a lot less of the toxicity you get in WoW. FFXIV is also a very story-driven game, and IMHO the story is better than most. Gear management is pretty simple, there is basically only a single "best in slot" item for any given level and class combination. It also has a unique system where a character can switch to any class simply by swapping their primary weapon.
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Old 03-25-2020, 12:27 PM
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I love FF14 myself, so I can also recommend it. TO clarify one thing: the level limit isn't for your character, it's per class. And there are a *lot* of classes for you to try, which you can level for all the characters you make. The game somewhat avoids alt-itis by allowing you to just have everything on one PC.

Just be aware that the first few missions give you a good tutorial, but it can feel a little slow. Starting with a physical class like the Gladiator or Pugilist might be easiest, too, if you aren't very familiar with MMO's.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:11 PM
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I will have to try that. I made an effort to get back into WOW, and just wasn't feeling it.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:15 PM
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BDO is full, don't come.

It's partly sandbox, partly story, and except for the basic package "pay to pretty". There are items you can get with money that give you mechanical advantages but they're also obtainable in-game. There are no raids, no dungeons, and so many things to do that it's easy to feel like you're being pulled in twenty directions at the same time.

For the first time since I started in MUDs back in '95 I may be getting cured of my altoholism.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:50 PM
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Just in case some reader doesn't know, there is now World of Warcraft Classic, which seeks to recreate the "original" (first six months or so) version, but with modern coding and performance.

I find Guild Wars 2 rather fun and flexible, with lots of quality-of-life touches, but I really only enjoy it when playing with friends.
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:29 PM
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Also, I just got an email from Square Enix; there's a sale on the FFXIV software going on right now in their online store ("up to 40% off").

The complete software package (the base game and all three expansions, for a PC download) is normally $59.99; it's now on sale for $35.99.

https://store.na.square-enix-games.com/en_US/
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Old 03-25-2020, 03:08 PM
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I gave up WoW for Rocket League.
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Old 03-25-2020, 03:23 PM
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For those who enjoy text-based games, Torn is a great multiplayer game. It plays in your browser and isn't text like in the old green screen days - it does have graphics. But it's not like a first person shooter type of graphics. Anyway, it's interesting because it's a world of violence, gangs, gambling and drug addiction. Player on player kills are expected and normal, although new players are protected in their first two weeks. Despite the awful-sounding description, I found it to be a welcoming place full of helpful people! Oh, and it's fun with a TON of things to do.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:16 PM
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Elder Scrolls on line is good. They just added a new expansion dungeon again, a couple weeks ago.

One thing I would caution on starting any MMO now is to go in with a calm mind. I'm sure all the intro zones are packed with kiddies, angry they are stuck at home, and ready to grief.
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:26 PM
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Elder Scrolls on line is good. They just added a new expansion dungeon again, a couple weeks ago.

One thing I would caution on starting any MMO now is to go in with a calm mind. I'm sure all the intro zones are packed with kiddies, angry they are stuck at home, and ready to grief.
I play Lord of the Rings Online on Gwaihir [european server, primarily german] and don't notice any griefing, or even crowding. My character name is Ijada, if you want to give it a go [you have to get through the baby tutorial area before you can chat with anybody outside the baby zone or access the ingame email and private chat functions. If you opt to play, once out of the baby area I can make any sort of armor, weapons and jewelry that is level appropriate, and kite you a few gold if you like.
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:43 PM
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Elder Scrolls on line is good. They just added a new expansion dungeon again, a couple weeks ago.
Does that game still use the weird off-center character POV?
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:44 PM
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For the sci-fi fan, there's still the Star Wars MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. It has a free-to-play option to get your feet wet. It uses the WOW engine, so basic gameplay is the same. It has a few expansions available, and decent character and weapon customization options, including your companion NPCs.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:41 AM
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Does that game still use the weird off-center character POV?
Itís an over-the-shoulder view like youíd see in some FPS games.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:21 AM
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I guess Lord of the Rings Online is still going? I really enjoyed playing through the Hobbit opening area lo these many years ago.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:49 AM
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Another FFXIV recommendation here. The initial story has its problems, but it's good about being able to do things solo (and designed with a strong solo storyline) due to its matchmaking across worlds on a single server and the ability to jump classes means you don't feel locked in on a single class and have to start an alt all over again. I know people who are max level on a single character in all combat classes (which is like 16 or more), all eight crafting classes, and all three gathering classes.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:56 AM
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Another good one I've been playing on my iPad is called Villagers and Heroes. It's a free game, with in app purchases if you want to do that. But it's perfectly playable without spending any money. It's fun because it has crafting, fighting computer bosses and bad guys, NO player on player fights, questing and a little bit of gardening/ranching. It has hundreds of levels and a very rich level-up path. You can build your character from a handful of different types, like wizard, fighter, hunter, etc.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:33 AM
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Well I started FFXIV. It's very Japanese, to be sure, and looks a LOT like WOW at first glance but we'll see how it goes.

I'm trying Torn too, and it's cool.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:48 AM
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Itís an over-the-shoulder view like youíd see in some FPS games.
Thank you; I didn't know what it was called. I find it really annoying; I prefer an over-the-head(?) view.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:56 AM
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If anyone playing FFXIV happens to have a character on the Jenova server and wants to team up with a tank main (PLD), drop me a note. I'm in Heavensward content though (the game's first expansion), not the endgame yet.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:52 PM
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I still play DDO.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:44 PM
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For the sci-fi fan, there's still the Star Wars MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. It has a free-to-play option to get your feet wet. It uses the WOW engine, so basic gameplay is the same. It has a few expansions available, and decent character and weapon customization options, including your companion NPCs.
SW:TOR has never used the WoW engine (and the engine is one of the bad sides of it), but it is very similar in style.

But back to the OP for suggestions...

It is very strong in story, with pretty much everything fully voice acted. It's a MMO, so dialogue choices follow more of the Fallout 4 model of "Yes," "Yes (sarcastic)" "No (I'll come back later)" except the "Yes (sarcastic)" option often involves shocking the NPC with force lightning, so it has that going for it.

Free to play includes all of the primary story lines, and each of the eight base classes has their own story, so that's a lot of content available.

I also picked up Black Desert Online when it was free on Steam, it's a...very odd MMO, sometimes it feels like a cross between a MMO and an idle game where you set up auto fishing, or trade routes, or gardening, and then minimize the game and go do something else for several hours...
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:15 PM
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It is very strong in story, with pretty much everything fully voice acted. It's a MMO, so dialogue choices follow more of the Fallout 4 model of "Yes," "Yes (sarcastic)" "No (I'll come back later)" except the "Yes (sarcastic)" option often involves shocking the NPC with force lightning, so it has that going for it.
That's definitely one of the things I miss about SWTOR (which I played avidly until about 2 years ago). My friends who played SWTOR with me, who were also big fans of Bioware's single-player RPG games (Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, Dragon Age) told me that those sorts of conversation choices -- and the fact that those choices can often lead to later implications -- were very much a hallmark of SWTOR's roots in those other games.

In the FFXIV storylines, your character is pretty much always assumed to be a hero with a capital H. You don't often have conversation choices, and when you do, your choice seems to only have an immediate impact in the NPC's next line, but otherwise doesn't change the progress of the story.
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:04 AM
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I still play DDO.
I was so bummed when they added reaper, which was the beginning of the end of my time in DDO. Now it's been at least 2 years since I last played.

After about a year of not playing I could no longer get motivated to update my player tools. (Character builder, etc...) It makes me sad; I put a ton of hours into writing those. Ah well.
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Old 03-27-2020, 07:39 AM
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Are there any RPGs that aren't Dungeons and Dragons?

What I mean by that is not that I want to play a game that isn't sword and sorcery, though most RPGs ARE sword and sorcery and that's very tiresome. I mean that aren't the same mechanic of gathering experience points, attaining the next level, and accumulating gold and buying items with it. That fundamnetal mechanic has been how RPGs have worked since Gary Gygax popularized it. I did try FFXIV and honestly it just looks like WOW to me. SWTOR is just WOW with better dialogue and a sci-fi skin.

EVE Online is kind of different, but is there anything else? CAN there be anything else or is that the only functioning mechanic?
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:52 AM
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What I mean by that is not that I want to play a game that isn't sword and sorcery, though most RPGs ARE sword and sorcery and that's very tiresome. I mean that aren't the same mechanic of gathering experience points, attaining the next level, and accumulating gold and buying items with it. That fundamnetal mechanic has been how RPGs have worked since Gary Gygax popularized it.
Are you opposed to any progression mechanics or just the "Whack things and take their shit and get better at it" mechanic? The previously mentioned Black Desert Online allows you to just become a tradesman or merchant, if that's your bag. But you'll still progress and become better at crafting (or fishing, or horse breeding, etc) and make money.

Not that I think BDO is an amazing game. It's fun for a while then practically turns into an idle clicker where you set your character up to repeat a task and minimize the game to do other things.
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:46 AM
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I recommend the unofficial City of Heroes reboot. Itís free to play, supported by the fan community. In case youíre unfamiliar, CoH is a superhero game, with a lot of options for character appearance and powers. While there is gear, itís not really needed but is easy to get. Itís solo friendly, but easy to find groups.

Thereís a Doper supergroup on the Homecoming servers thatís friendly.
https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=875847
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:12 AM
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I know you've said MMORPG, but maybe Witcher 3 can scratch your itch? It's a single player only RPG, but it is vast in scope and it has this strange meditative feel, where you just want to wander around and do whatever. Highly recommend.
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:35 PM
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I tried "Secret World." It has a neat premise, but the game is incredibly choppy no matter how I set my graphics settings - and my computer has problems with no other game. So that's out.

Quote:
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Are you opposed to any progression mechanics or just the "Whack things and take their shit and get better at it" mechanic
I'm not opposed to anything. It woul;d just be neat to try something different.

Almost all RPGs are basically just Dungeons and Dragons. The fundamental progression mechanic popularized by Gary Gygax is the same one used in WOW, SWTOR, Guild Wars, and on and on.
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:53 AM
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I'm not opposed to anything. It would just be neat to try something different.
Fair enough. I was just wondering how broad that mechanic is in your eyes. Any sort of progression system or just ones revolving around stabbing goblins and taking their swag?
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:54 AM
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It's not about it being sword and sorcery; it's about it being about accumulating XP to reach a level, then more XP to reach another level. Taking swag to get better items to be able to take more swag is certainly part of the D&D grind, but the main thing is XP-level-XP. Sword and sorcery themes aren't the problem - SWTOR is science fiction but it's basically the same. (Sword and sorcery is SUPER overused, though. There are very few MMOs that aren't sword and sorcery.)

My other complaint - and I'm not trying to whine, but I find this subject interesting and we're all locked indoors so what the hell - is that most RPGs I've tried don't impose much on players in terms of choices in character type. By that I mean the classes are all very similar; they have different skins, different flavours, but how you play them doesn't vary much. There's the basic difference between tanks, who have to stand in front, and casters, who stand behind, but not a lot else.

When you played the "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" game, choosing skills as you advanced in level imposed choices. You could only pick so many things, and it REALLY impacted how good you were in certain situations. If you emphasized the skills that specifically attacked droids, then by the later stages of the game you could brush droids away like they were a minor nuisance, but it meant you were a little short of skills against organic enemies. If you ignored the droid attacks you were a bit weak against them but had an advantage over everyone else. You could try to balance it out but a bit of both wasn't as strong as specializing. It was interesting. The online sequel had nothing like that; the "Spells" had different names and looked a bit different on screen but really they all played the same across classes and as you progressed you faced no hard decisions at all.

Eve within some of these games... it iused to be that if you were a paladin in WOW, for instance, that affected where you wanted to be, because of Exorcism. Exorcism was (still is) a spell you get somewhere around level 20, but it used to ONLY work against the undead, and man it kicked their asses. A level 25 paladin that struggled to solo most level 28 mobs could easily wipe out a level 28 undead monster. It mean that a paladin, especially on a solo run, was motivated to seek out areas of the world with the undead, because Exorcism gave them a huge leg up. But they screwed it up; first by making it work against everything but just being a bit more effective against the undead, and now I think it works the same against any mob, thereby completely removing the point of having it.

So yeah, if I have another complaint after "they're all D&D" it's that even within each game there just aren't enough hard choices. Choices are what make games interesting. That's among the ones I've tried, though; WOW, SWTOR, Guild Wars (briefly) and now FFXIV and Secret World is likely the same though it doesn't work for crap.
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:00 PM
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I tried "Secret World." It has a neat premise, but the game is incredibly choppy no matter how I set my graphics settings - and my computer has problems with no other game. So that's out.
Weird, I never have had a problem with any version of the game.

Weíre you playing The Secret World or the current iteration, Secret World Legends?
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:41 PM
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Legends. Literally this past week.
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Old 03-28-2020, 01:10 PM
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Are there any RPGs that aren't Dungeons and Dragons?

What I mean by that is not that I want to play a game that isn't sword and sorcery, though most RPGs ARE sword and sorcery and that's very tiresome. I mean that aren't the same mechanic of gathering experience points, attaining the next level, and accumulating gold and buying items with it. That fundamnetal mechanic has been how RPGs have worked since Gary Gygax popularized it. I did try FFXIV and honestly it just looks like WOW to me. SWTOR is just WOW with better dialogue and a sci-fi skin.

EVE Online is kind of different, but is there anything else? CAN there be anything else or is that the only functioning mechanic?
A Tale in the Desert is apparently still going. It's a nonviolent purely crafting MMO; there's still a grind to level up but it's making things to make more things in order to unlock recipes that let you make more advanced things.

https://www.desert-nomad.com/

I played it way back in 2007 or 2008; it's very very time intensive so if you're just looking to kill an hour or two in the evening I can't recommend it unless it's changed significantly in the past ten years (which it might have).
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Old 03-28-2020, 03:04 PM
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Highly recommended...


As a couple of posters have mentioned, Lord of the Rings Online is still going strong.

I've been playing for 8 years now and still play every day (I'm retired.)

Of course as usual with these games it's about playing a character who:

- fights
- visits places
- carries out quests
- gets better equipment

However this is 'Lord of the Rings' - the ultimate storyline.

So you can play as a Hobbit, a Human, an Elf, a Dwarf or a Beorning.
There are over a dozen classes to choose from (melee Fighters, missile Fighters, Leaders, Healers, spell casters and even a Burglar.)

You'll run into a huge number of places and characters from the Books.
You can't be Gandalf or a member of the Fellowship - but you will meet them occasionally.

The game is huge. You can start as a Hobbit in the Shire, but you will visit Bree, the Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, Rohan and Gondor.

My main character is a Human Captain, who inspires those around her.

She has travelled through Moria and seen the Bridge of Khazad-dum.
Currently she is in Gondor and helping out citizens of Dol Amroth and Pelargir.

Last time I checked, she had completed over 4,000 quests (ranging from making a village woodsman some leather gloves to joining Legolas to chase a Nazgul fleeing from the Fords of Bruinen.)

The game mechanics are straightforward (mouse of keyboard as you prefer) and the scenery and attention to detail is fantastic.

I'm in the UK, but play regularly with a couple of friends in Las Vegas.
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Old 03-28-2020, 03:14 PM
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Lord of the Rings Online


Sorry, meant to add that you can play for free or by monthly subscription (about $15, which adds extra content and gives game bonuses.)

If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them.
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Old 03-28-2020, 07:07 PM
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I miss my hobbit guardian from LotRO.
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Old 03-28-2020, 07:27 PM
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Ship of Heroes

- one of the several City-of-Heroes wannabe heirs opened up its beta (more of an alpha, really)

If you can get their hammered webpage working anyway.
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:44 PM
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So yeah, if I have another complaint after "they're all D&D" it's that even within each game there just aren't enough hard choices. Choices are what make games interesting. That's among the ones I've tried, though; WOW, SWTOR, Guild Wars (briefly) and now FFXIV and Secret World is likely the same though it doesn't work for crap.
I think that mostly comes from the "MMO" part. If you have a spec that's effective against droids and less effective against everything else in a single player game, it just means that some sections are more difficult. In a MMO, it means that character is just never invited to non-droid-centric Raids and doesn't do well in PvP.

Everyone tends to gravitate towards the meta, whatever the meta may be at the moment, so dev time is spent mostly towards minimizing the meta.
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:49 PM
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I see your first point, but honestly I don't understand the "meta" sentence.
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Old 03-29-2020, 12:02 AM
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I see your first point, but honestly I don't understand the "meta" sentence.
Everyone gravitates towards the conventional wisdom best options so devs work to make sure there isn't a single conventional wisdom best option. Which tends to mean there's few "hard choices" because making the wrong one can lock out a character. You go with Life Magic or Light Swords or Elf Faction and then the meta becomes all about Fire Magic or Polearms or Goblin Faction and you feel hosed and underpowered.
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Old 03-29-2020, 03:40 PM
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I see your first point, but honestly I don't understand the "meta" sentence.
The "meta" is essentially the groupthink for what is the best or "right" way to play at the moment. So everyone starts moving to that spec or playstyle, and people playing other types may get shunned because they're not playing in the most effective way possible (someone may well enjoy the challenge of playing a droid-focused guy who sucks against beasts, but if I'm doing a dungeon/raid that's all beasts and no droids, I don't want that gut in my group).
  #44  
Old 03-29-2020, 05:02 PM
madsircool is offline
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I cant believe that no one has mentioned Old School Runescape. Its still going strong and more popular than regular Runescape.
  #45  
Old 03-30-2020, 04:15 AM
Ellis Dee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
I see your first point, but honestly I don't understand the "meta" sentence.
Meta = Most Effective Tactic Available

Think of it like the developers introduce a new race or class, and that new race or class is vastly more powerful than any previously existing choices. That new thing becomes the meta, as everyone rolls one up and plays with the new shiny.
  #46  
Old 03-30-2020, 11:23 AM
RickJay is offline
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Well, I tried LOTRO. Meh, it's okay, but it looks like WOW, too. I'll give it a fair shake again tonight.
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  #47  
Old 03-30-2020, 03:20 PM
glee is offline
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The game with the best storyline...


Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Well, I tried LOTRO. Meh, it's okay, but it looks like WOW, too. I'll give it a fair shake again tonight.
Wait until you get to Bree and speak to Barliman Butterbur in the Prancing Pony.

Also you will soon get offered a crafting choice.
I recommend an Explorer, who can gather wood + ore, process them and sell the result. Explorers can also make light + medium leather armour from hides.

What race and class did you go for?

Let me know if you want any advice...
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