How to find your next MMORPG
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Overview
Finding the next MMORPG that you will enjoy is a very easy thing to do. Because the question itself is simple: “What do you like?” Unfortunately, this simple concept has become lost in a plethora of  technical game features, aspects and elements that buzz about your head taking your eye off the goal. Almost like a used car salesman using distraction to avert your attention from the fact that the car he’s showing you is lime green.

Like many players, you have probably played several MMORPGs already. Generally there is one that sticks out in your mind as “The Best MMORPG I’ve played” and from now on you compare all games you play to that one. However all games are unique (yes, even those Korean Lineage clones) so you will never find the same experiences within 2 games.

You can, of course, just randomly pick a game to try by following the hype from the message boards, click the link of a cool flash banner, or grab a random box at electronics boutique. But that’s all luck of the draw, and likely not going to work. Below I will try to give you a simple stepwise process as to how to choose your next game and give suggestions of game take a look at. Like many methods, the first step is the most important.

 

Decide what you like.
Yea, it seems obvious, but it is almost always done wrong. People ask  “I liked game X, Game Y, and Game Z …so , what should I play?” As I mentioned , each game is unique. What you need to ask is what did you like about those games. You need to get to the specifics. To help you, lets break each MMORPG down to types, and you can decide which type of game you prefer.

Are you PVE or PVP?
Although many MMORPGs have both PVP and PVE elements to it. When you break a game down to its roots, you will see that certain games start with a PVE foundation and then add PvP and others have a core PvP aspect, and build PVE around to support it. Right now the most common type of MMORPG is PVE (this includes the most popular of all time, World of Warcraft).

So think back to the games you’ve played. Was it the PVE aspect of the game that made you play, or was it the anticipation of PvP that made you happy?

PVE
For PVE based games, the people who truly like them are those who like to play and fight alongside other players. People who enjoy PVE MMORPGs don’t want to solo, because then they could just buy a FPS. The true mainstay and attraction of MMORPG is the fact that you can interact with thousands of other players from across the world. These players usually enjoy grouping, participating in guilds (both small and large), and fighting together against a mythic creature, god, etc. PVE players like to see accomplishments and take pride in the rarity of their armor/weapons/items.

PVP
For PvP based games , the people who truly enjoy them are those who like to confront and battle for individual supremacy against another player. These players want 'name recognition' on the battlefield. They hope to see people calling out their names "Dammit its XXXX" or "watch out for XXXX". However, this is very difficult to achieve when a game has >2000 players on a server …and many times they take their fights to the message boards. PvP players are not all loners, and many prefer the dealings of fighting guild or troop. Although its nice to have shiny, glowy, rare impressive objects, to PvP players it only matters if it helps them win a battle. They don’t measure themselves by objects, but by results and standings of how they fare against opponents.

Most players are a combination of the two (like everything in life) The question is side are you 51% in. figure that out and you'll likely have a lot better time in your next MMORPG.

Casual or Hard core?
There are Hard core players in every game. The question is more, do you need a game that can cater to a more casual style of game play and still allow you to meet your goals within a game. Many games have casual content, however there are certain games in which the design is such that unless you are hard core, you will never be able to reach the full potential and it may leave you with the feeling of a second class citizen.

I find that it is the PVE component of games that truly require time commitment. PvP games can be more forgiving of going AFK or intermittent playing (sure you may die, but when you return you just get back into the fray). So if time of playing is the main factor, look into the PvP aspects of your current game, or look at games which are based more on PvP. However, PvP and  PVE success is inter-dependent,  very often (WoW is a good example) success in PvP is directly proportional to your PVE success in gathering equipment. If you are a casual player, you need a game where the PVE requirement (gear) for PvP success is able to be obtained in a less aggressive manner.

Game Theme
It is an unfortunate aspect of the state of the industry that 90% of MMORPGs have a fantasy theme. A very small minority have SCI-FI themes. An emerging theme now is Piracy (which is obviously originating from the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy). Even if your options are very limited, stick to the theme you love. If you truly envision yourself as a ninja, don’t try to be a pirate.

Technical aspects
These are intrinsic aspects of the game which I place at the bottom of my priority list. However they are very important, but many times they are not something that you can anticipate until you’ve actually played the games. These aspects include
1. Fun
2. Server Stability
3. Graphics
4. Character Customization
5. Community
6. Roleplay
7. Sound
8. Cost
9. Crafting

Best thing to do here is a bit of research on your own. Head to the main MMORPG discussion boards like MMORPG.com, Vault Network, Onrpg and others and ask about the particular aspect (“How is Tabula Rasa’s character customization?”). Through all the flames and trolling that goes on, if you ask a question honestly and respectfully, you are almost assured to receive an answer.

I honestly put graphics at the lower end of my MMORPG priority list. Gameplay must be first and foremost. Its nice to have all the sparkles and the oos and ahhs, but if it lags your system or distracts form the game, its no good to me.

Suggestions
PVE based Games
End-Game Raiding (Hard Core oriented)
World of Warcraft, EverQuest 2, EverQuestLineage II, Final Fantasy XI, RF Online
Solo Ability (Casual friendly)
City of Heroes / Villains, EVE Online, Final Fantasy XI, Lord of the Rings Online, Vanguard, Star Wars Galaxies, Tabula Rasa

Grouping Instances
World of Warcraft, EverQuest 2, EverQuest, RF Online, Lord of the Rings Online, City of Heroes / Villains
PvP Games with a significant amount of PVE content
Guild Wars, Dark Age of Camelot

 

PvP Based Games
Kill Anyone (Hard Core oriented)
 Ultima Online, RuneScape, Guild Wars, Lineage II, Fury, Shaiya
PvP Games (Casual Friendly)
EVE Online, Dark Age of Camelot

Full Looting
EVE Online, RuneScape, Shaiya (Item drop in PvP)
Open World Objective Based PvP
Dark Age of Camelot, Shaiya
Open/Free World PvP (Can be attacked anywhere by anyone)
EVE Online, RuneScape, Lineage II
PVE Games with a significant amount of PvP content.
World of Warcraft, EverQuest 2, City of Heroes / Villains, Star Wars Galaxies, Lord of the Rings Online

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