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Picking a third summer MMORPG to play

If you couldn’t tell already, I’ve had a very strange month, gaming-wise. I’ll have a wrap-up tomorrow to go more into depth, but the short of it is that I’ve struggled with cementing my gaming lineup for this summer and have instead been wandering all over the place. More than usual, I mean.

It’s been weird and interesting and personally revelatory, but the end result is that I’ve realized that three is sort of the magic number for me when it comes to online games. It’s just enough for variety (I really can’t be a one-MMO guy, just never could) and an interesting rotation (hitting each game at least twice a week) without being too scattered and making me feel overwhelmed with too many “projects” and goals spread across a half-dozen or more titles.

So three. And the first two are not in doubt. LOTRO, because I love it, I’m still having fun in it, the expansion is coming out this fall, and I cover it for MOP. And Secret World Legends, despite the do-over. There’s plenty in those two games to keep me going for a while and my interest in both is high. But the question is, which game gets the third spot to help me settle down and cruise through the rest of summer?

There are a few games I tried this past month that I liked but for various reasons I don’t think are contenders. FFXIV, while nice, doesn’t have its hooks in me the way it seems to for others. DDO was really neat to return to and a blast from the past, but it’s not the future. So that leaves me with three options that I’m mulling over, and since I’m mulling, I might as well be writing. It’s one of the main reasons why we blog, right?

Here are the contenders:

Guild Wars 2

  • Pros: Really love the combat. Pretty. I dig my Engineer and have invested a fair bit of time into her (almost through season 2). Would… sort of like to see the expansion and season 3. Can be relaxing just to do zone clears. Expansion later this year might make me regret not being ready for it.
  • Cons: Loot is boring, story is boring, expansion is vertical jungle (and that’s like they designed it to be a turn-off to me personally). Haven’t found a really good, sticky guild. Tired of buttflaps and trenchcoats. Don’t want to grind ascended or legendaries.

World of Warcraft

  • Pros: Been fiddling about with a new resto Shaman as a healer, kind of like that idea. Could just level casually with no rush to endgame. Have flying unlocked in Broken Isles. Argus could be really cool. Always liked the game and am part of a great guild. Fun dungeons that offer a satisfying experience for healers.
  • Cons: Was really burned out around April and May. The endgame doesn’t seem as compelling as it did early in Legion. No housing. Sometimes feels overwhelming with too much to do. Subscription.

Elder Scrolls Online

  • Pros: Brand-new to me. Morrowind is a great starting place for a newbie and a hit of retro nostalgia. Warden is a perfect class for me. Housing! Lots of places to explore, nice single-player RPG feeling mixed in with the MMO. Voice acting decent so far. Visually stunning. Buy-to-play (and I just dropped $40 on it, so I feel like I should get my money’s worth).
  • Cons: Elder Scrolls games haven’t always been as strong with me as other franchises (I’m not a fanboy, in other words). Combat is not that thrilling. Default UI is frustrating. Doesn’t control like other MMOs.

Putting it down, I think I can rule out GW2. It was getting to be more of a chore than fun the last few times I played it. But I am really, really torn between WoW and ESO. The familiar, proven game vs. the unfamiliar, brand-new content. Both popular, both have a future. I think I could be happy with either, but I do need to choose. Three is focus, four is messy (again, at least for me). I’m going to set a deadline for this weekend and go from there through the rest of this summer.

8 thoughts on “Picking a third summer MMORPG to play

  1. I have never played WoW, but I think you should go with it. You have seldom written positively about ESO, maybe because it came out around the same time as your love Wildstar, but, despite the new landmass, ESO is pretty much the same game as it has been. I enjoy it and play it regularly, but I do not think you liked the combat all that much, which is so much of the way you progress through the game. Plus, you have friends in WoW, and can probably enjoy the experience better, even if you are re-running some stuff that you already did with a different class.
    ESO is a great game, but it hasn’t resonated with you, so why waste your time in it?

  2. I’d say go with ESO. It’s a good game, and it’s got tonnes of options. If you find yourself getting tired of Morrowind (you sick, sad Elf-hater, you), you can go absolutely anywhere else, thanks to One Tamriel. I’ve never been much of an Elder Scrolls fan either, but I’ve still managed to sink at least a few dozen hours into the game.

    I’m having a blast in WoW right now, but if you were feeling burnt out just a few weeks ago, that feeling will probably return pretty fast. If you’re still on that swashbuckler kick, you could try rolling an outlaw rogue (ye gods outlaw is so much fun), but otherwise I don’t think it’d be worth it for you right now.

  3. ESO because it’s not WoW. Is there a mod for the UI? And, what’s the worse case scenario? You try it and it doesn’t stick. There’s always WoW. But if you don’t give it a good faith try, you may miss out on a fun gaming adventure. That’s my 2 cents.

  4. Just reread your pros paragraphs for both games, ESO’s is filled with far more excitement in the words and turns of phrases than WoW’s. So do ESO first, while still riding that wave.

    Given your MMO habits, it’s likely that you’ll reach a point sooner than later where exploring ESO will get less sticky and attractive, and that’s the signal to go back to WoW for a dose of the familiar. That will also put an extra month’s (or two) gap between your period of WoW burnout and return.

  5. You won’t stick with either WoW (short of a new expansion) or ESO, I’ll bet. May as well flip a coin. Then, when you start to dread logging in, play the other one.

    GW2 is a game you can drop back into any time. You won’t get left behind. Just do what everyone else does and come and go as the mood takes you.

    I’m interested to see how far you go with SWL. TSW is a game you did stick with and obviously know and love. How that translates to the revamp is going to make for interesting blogging.

  6. Why don’t you play something off-the-wall like Tera Online, or Blade & Soul, etc.? It might be a good change of pace.

    Another option is SWTOR. I can’t remember if you’ve played it, but if you have you could always try a different class story.

  7. Seems like i am too late to help you decide. But i also would’ve given my vote for ESO.

    Unlike you i haven’t bought Morrowind yet, but i returned to the game after first being there shortly at launch, and again for a week at one free trial. I found combat and story there to be good enough already at that time, but there were a number of issues which kept me from staying there.

    The most crutial one was the extensive use of instancing, which just too often resulted in me (set up as offensive tank) getting credit for the kill of a boss and was moved away into an instance where the boss didn’t exist any more. At the same time my girl (set up as DD with healing along) didn’t get credit, so she was left alone in the old instance, where the boss respawned a little later and she then had to defeat the boss alone.

    There were some more flaws, which just seemingly randomly turned a basically enjoyable experience into a frustrating one a few too many times. But when the last free week came around we informed ourselfes, found that the issues were supposed to be fixed and thus decided to give the game another try.

    Sure there still are a few things which could be improved. E.g. take a look at TSWs chat system, where you can easily click just the chat channel to use it. (Unlike SWL, where opening the chat doesn’t give you the mouse pointer, so you have to seperately activate the mouse pointer so you then can select the chat channel… ) But while i see a few options for improvement (and a plethora of gaps which people covered by creating addons), they are no big deal. The game itself turned into a really enjoyable experience by now.

    So yes, it might’ve taken the developers a little to bring the game from “meh” to “yea”, but they constantly improved things and it by now turned into a good game. I can both recommend it and we also also enjoyed it enough so we got ESO+ for both of us. The game is playable without the subscription, but the crafting bag and a few other small quirks really turn the now already good game into a really enjoyable experience.

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