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How Do I Choose the Best MMO?

By Jacob Queen
Updated May 17, 2024
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The process of choosing a suitable massively multiplayer online (MMO) game can be fairly complicated, and what you decide will probably involve questions about your own personal taste as well as the practical limitations afforded by your work habits and lifestyle. For starters, you need to find a game that offers a play style that you enjoy and a theme you can really sink your teeth into. Even the best MMO in the world won’t necessarily be a perfect fit for everybody and there is generally a lot of variety available on the market. Secondly, you need to decide how much time you’re willing to invest and how much you’re willing to depend on other players because MMO design can vary a lot in those two areas. Other issues that can be of major concern when trying to choose the best MMO are the price structure involved and the popularity of the game, both of which can have a big effect on longevity and other important issues.

Two of the most pivotal issues in the process of choosing an MMO are the questions of game design and theme. In the area of design, some MMOs are action-oriented with a focus on things like gun battles, while others may be slow-paced, role-playing games or management-oriented simulations. When it comes to theme, MMOs are generally all over the map although some things are more common than others. You’ll probably find plenty of medieval fantasy themed games along with a fair number of science fiction games, and other genres are represented as well, but not necessarily in as much abundance.

Other issues to consider when trying to find the best MMO to fit your play style are the questions of social interaction and competitiveness. All MMOs generally involve a multi-player environment, but some require more direct social interaction than others. For example, some games are designed so that players can’t succeed at all unless they cooperate in well-disciplined groups, while others have avenues for a lone player to find equal enjoyment, and others may be designed specifically around loner play styles with a focus indirect interaction between players. Additionally, some games are mostly about groups of players going against computer opponents, while others focus more on direct competition between the players themselves.

The time investment involved is another area where many MMO games differ. Most MMOs are built around the concept of advancing your player's character abilities over time, and sometimes the time required to do this can be really significant. Some people spend weeks, months, or even years grinding their way to the top, and for some people, this level of time commitment can be seen as a good thing. Others may not want to spend quite that much time playing a game. Where you fall on this spectrum could be a deciding factor when trying to find the best MMO for you.

Since many MMOs do require a very significant time investment, the issue of popularity might be another thing to consider. If a game isn’t very popular, it may not last very long, and if you put in a huge amount of time to advance yourself in the game, it could be devastating to have the service canceled before you get your full enjoyment out of it. Another thing to consider along these same lines are the practical questions of payment structure and price. Many MMOs are built around a monthly fee, but there are some that are actually free to play, although they may require you to buy certain equipment or other advantages in the game world, and they might have some mechanism for advertisements built into the software as a way of generating a profit.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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