MMOs are daunting. As the name implies, their most rewarding moments are usually restricted to a large group of people working together. In many cases, finally clearing that epic raid requires weeks or months of investment, not only in leveling your own character, but in social networks like guilds or clans.
In case they're low on ideas, here are some of the best MMORPGs on PC from which to choose.
Ethan Thompson is the creator of a new Reddit community, the MMO Book Club, that has a solution. The idea is that the group agree to play a different MMO together for three months, analyse it, discuss its strengths and weaknesses, then vote on a new one to play for another three months. Launched less than two weeks ago, the idea has really taken off, and we’ve been in touch with Thompson to talk about it all.
“I was just looking for a game to play,” he says, when asked what gave him the idea. “I haven't been able to find a game that grabs my attention like other games did years ago, and I think a lot of people are in the same situation. Having people to play with also improves the whole experience, so I figured I would try and put something together without requiring a large commitment from those wanting to be involved. Three months is a great amount of time where the community can play games and experience content together without burning out or feeling bad about not being able to play (there is always next cycle)!”
The “explosive” interest in the idea posed a challenge when it came to organising the initial vote, Thompson admits. “I gauged interest with a Google Form, and then we voted on games with a strawpoll,” which some people tried to manipulate, forcing a migration to Discord. “The most important thing to me is that the community feels good about their vote, and that they have a say in what The MMO Bookclub does.”
The vote itself was very close between Wildstar and Lord of the Rings Online, which emerged as the early front runners. “They were always within five to ten votes of each other, and which one was leading constantly switched places”, says Thompson. “Ultimately Lord of the Rings online won as our cycle one game, but most of the community agreed they were excited for the cycle regardless of the outcome of the vote.”
As the cycle progresses, the community will share their thoughts on Lord of the Rings Online. “Like a book club, we will discuss the good and the bad of various aspects of the game. How is the combat, how is the content/pacing, how is the endgame, player vs player, etc.” Thompson points out that the group aren’t organising any sponsorships, leaving them free to evaluate their “favorite and least favorite aspects of the games we play” without bias. If you yourself are looking to get into an MMO, you’ll want to keep an eye on the group’s emerging verdicts.
In the longer term, Thompson is just looking forward to seeing the community grow and start talking about their “favourite memories from our time spent in each game… I, and the community as well, just want to play fun MMOs with fun people, and that goal won't ever change. As we grow I hope to see the community become closer, with people playing other games and holding other events as well.”
Speaking of growth, and given the huge response so far, we wondered how big Thompson thinks the MMO Book Club could get.
“Less than a week ago I told myself that I would create a Discord chat channel if close to 10 people expressed interest in playing an MMO with me,” he says. “Now we have about 1,200 people subscribed to /r/TheMMOBookclub, 850 people in our Discord chat, and over 200 people actively playing LotRO with us. All of this to say I have no idea how large it could get.”
The group’s next goal is 10,000 people on the subreddit, “but, if even a fraction of that meets a few new people to play with and gets enjoyment out of our time gaming together, I consider this a success.”
So if there’s a flashy new MMO that you’ve been itching to try, but haven’t had anyone to play it with, head over to r/TheMMOBookclub. Maybe they’ll take it for a spin next cycle. We’ll let you know how things are going when they’re done with Lord of the Rings Online in a couple of months.