Perfect Ten: MMOs that deserve another chance

Justin Olivetti
J. Olivetti|09.06.14

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Perfect Ten: MMOs that deserve another chance
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First impressions matter. First impressions count. First impressions are lasting. These commonly cited maxims are true, but I would like to add one more: "First impressions can be deceiving." Due to our nature of making snap judgments, experiencing something at the wrong time or being impatient, we can rush to a conclusion that could rob us of something we could truly love.

There are few things that frustrate me more than seeing MMO gamers adopt the gospel of the first impressions and refuse to ever return to a game afterward. We keep treating MMOs as disposable, one-shot entertainment that must be plundered quickly right out of the gate instead of seeing them as reusable fun that gets better with time.

So the next time you feel bored waiting for the next MMO to launch so that you can make a two-month first impression and then leave forever, why not give an older title a second try? In this week's countdown, I'm going to make a case for 10 MMOs that deserve another chance even if you wrote them off long ago.

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1. RuneScape

I have never played RuneScape much, but I have admired the heck out of it from afar. I've never seen an MMO add so much content and be so responsive to its playerbase, all while championing a hybrid free-to-play model that stretches back into the early 2000s. Nowadays we have the overhauled RuneScape 3 to enjoy, but if you like how it used to be, there's also Old School RuneScape. It's great to have choices, don't you think?

2. Dungeons and Dragons Online

DDO continues to defy expectations of going quietly into that good night. The last few years have seen the game's first and second expansions along with new classes and the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. It's not the same DDO of the Stormreach era but something far more grand and involving. Plus, where else will you find an MMO that has dungeon masters narrating your journey?

3. Neverwinter

Modules might not be flying into Neverwinter on a monthly basis, but when they do come, watch out: This game packs more into its updates than some titles into their so-called expansions. Since launch, Neverwinter has hosted four module updates that include two new classes, five new races, the boon system, the artifact system, collections, heroic encounters, additional paragon paths, and scads of zones, dungeons, and quests. It's a title that I greatly enjoy returning to every so often as a guilty pleasure, and there's always something new when I do.

4. EverQuest II

Fun fact: Did you know that EverQuest II has well over twice the number of expansions of rival World of Warcraft? EQII has so much content that it'll make your head explode in addition to a decent F2P model and an upcoming Altar of Malice expansion to keep the players in and interested. I can also see it as being a good landing ground for Vanguard refugees as well as those needing a fix to tide them over until EverQuest Next releases.

5. RIFT

RIFT is one of those titles that seems to keep coming up on my friends' lips whenever they ask, "You know what game I should go back and play?" I concur with these sentiments; RIFT is a really solid game with plenty going for it, not the least of which is a very generous F2P model and the upcoming Nightmare Tide expansion. So head on back, rediscover how cool the mix-and-match soul system can be, and team up with friends for instant adventures. Gah, now I've talked myself into installing it again.

6. Star Wars: The Old Republic

I am rolling in mirth as of late at seeing how SWTOR is -- by all indications -- thriving even long after it was pronounced both "dying" and "dead." It's got a ton of players, a promising future, and a brand-new housing expansion, on top of a really solid game that keeps pulling my friends back in. It's no longer cool to hate it or cool to like it; it merely stands on its own merit. That's a great time to return to an MMO.

7. Marvel Heroes

If there's one game on this list that has earned its place through positive word-of-mouth and a hard work ethic, it's Marvel Heroes. This superhero-flavored Diablo clone is constantly updating with new characters, regions, and features, and seems to be a staple of many people I know who love having a casual, kinesthetic action MMO on their desktop. I'm also pretty impressed with the fact that you can earn more heroes through gameplay in addition to forking out cash.

8. DC Universe Online

Speaking of superheroes, I would be remiss if I didn't include DCUO here as well. It's not everybody's cup of tea, especially if you prefer Marvel to DC (in which case see #7), but it took a good foundation and built on it like crazy. Each of the DLC packs is packed with content and goodies (including new powersets) that make it seem well worth the price. Plus, DCUO is a good option if you've got a PlayStation and want to enjoy an MMO from your couch.

9. The Secret World

The Secret World hasn't been growing as fast as some of these other titles, but I can assure you that what it has added is of the highest quality. Rediscover -- or experience for the first time -- an MMO that asks you to use your brain to solve quests, that can genuinely unnerve you, and that can tell you some of the best stories in the business. Plus, it's buy-to-play with a lot of bang for your buck.

10. Star Trek Online

I have ridiculous levels of affection for this game, and not just because I used to be a die-hard Trekkie back in high school. It's a pretty unique MMO with surprisingly strong storytelling, really fun ship battles, and a brand-new expansion on the horizon. There have been some pretty significant overhauls and updates over the past year that have created a sleeker, better-functioning game. And let's keep in mind that the MMO is the faithful continuation of the TV series in a way that the new movies could only dream of being.

Justin "Syp" Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you'd like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at justin@massively.com or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.
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