Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Recommend a game to me!

I often recommend games to my readers. That isn't that easy, because I'm effectively talking to all of you at the same time, and the game which is a good fit for one player, isn't necessarily so for another. For a good recommendation, you need to know more about the person you are recommending the game to. Fortunately you all know a lot more about my preferences than I know about yours. You recommending a game to me should thus be much easier. So it's time for you to return the favor: Recommend a game to me!

To make matters even simpler, I'll state my preferences again:So, given these preferences, and whatever else you know about me, what game would you recommend I should play?

Champions Online.... Open beta next month I believe
Did you play Vanguard, Saga of Heroes at any time? I forget.
Anyway, the Isle of Dawn trial is worthy of a spin even if you did.
You mentioned something about a good crafting system and Vanguard certainly has that.
You ought to try Vanguard. It has tons of PvE content and a great crafting system. And as Lani mentioned, it has a free trial. An official RMT system was added recently (to great protest), but if you don't mind RMT then that might not matter.

I recall you like turn-based combat, so you might try Wizard 101 if you haven't already. It's fun, although the economy is weak. They recently added a crafting system and a bazaar though, so the economy may improve.
Try Wizard101 again if you haven't recently, they added a new side world, a bazaar (kinda like an auction house) and crafting - and also open chat for adults.
I know you are no big fan of PvP, but they new PvP seasons are fun too, and 30sec are long enough, even for us oldtimers ;-)
I recommend Fallout 3. I know it's sitting on your shelf, and my wife and I have been playing it a LOT for the past few days since it went on sale in Steam.

Triple A production values, amazing story, great in-game economy, very customizable character and skills.

It's a game you have been meaning to play!
If you never have tried it Everquest 2. I has some surprising depth and has since turned it around from its launch.
Dofus? :o Bit on the random like but would be interesting to see your thoughts on it.
Hey Tobold,

I got into the Stress Test for Fallen Earth, and i've been playing it for a little while, and i'm pretty happy with it. I'll definately buy/subscribe. I know you don't like shooter type mmo's, but you dont have to shoot if you don't want to. Melee is totally viable and required for groups. And apart from that, shooting in PvE is super easy. The crafting so far has been satisfying and everything you make is useful. I think it checks a lot of your boxes. I've only played the PvE content so far, i like it!
Please Tobold forget your own review and try again Wizard101. Its just an awesome game. Its very different to anything you tried before. I was playing recently Wow for 7 months in a row and Wizard101 was a great change.
Try Everquest 2. It's everything WoW ever wanted to be, without addons unfortunately (addons do exist, but play a much reduced role, by design).

Also, you need a good computer to enjoy decent visuals (something 2008 or more recent).
Give Ryzom a try.... instead of regurgitating my experiences here (I'm lazy that way), I'll just give you a link to my recent blog post about it:

I think that you'll love the crafting and skill system. I sure do.
Still don't want to give EVE a fair shot? I am about halfway through my fourth month and haven't been ganked yet.
It's not a MMO, but I strongly recommend Blood Bowl ( They've converted the table top miniature game faithfully and without any show-stopping bugs. Its even turn-based!

I've been addicted since I got it last week. Its a nice break from WoW for me. Check it out. - Mount & Blade is not a MMORPG.

But it is still a very cool medieval style "Knight Simulator" and shows that combat is possible that relies more on the player and tactics than just on pure stats. It also has a sandbox approach to gameplay. It is not a twitch-game, do not be worried. I could imagine the physics and combat system to be interesting for MMOs as well.

Or you could finally start playing Fallout 3, before it starts rotting on your shelf. :)
Tobold, by your no involuntary ganking rule, what isn't out?

Even in a PVE serve in Wow, its possible for you to get ganked if you flag yourself on accident, is it not?
I'd second Mount and Blade as well as recommend you keep an eye out on Gatheryn and Jump Gate Evolution. You might be that interested in the combat of the latter, but the crafting/resource system they're talking about is very interesting. Elements like rare regional resources and specific (and sometimes dangerous) manufacturing depots to build higher level ships/weapons/etc ought to create a player economy comparable to EVE without the noncensual PVP.
I would love to read your thoughts on a Tale in the Desert.
As Eve is out due to your ganking fright lets seeeeeee

Turn based combat: Altantica Online. I liked it

Fantasy MMO: Sorry, no alternatives to WoW, Runes of Magic as F2P alternative

Otherwise I heartly recomend buying an XBox360 and try the top 10 hits. Very neat games on there.

On the other hand if you travel a lot: Play Monster Hunter 3 on a PsP. No PvP whatsoever, and some differences to your normal RPG habits (no XP for Monster Kills, its a pure Quest, Craft and Collect game)
Not a MMORPG... it is a MUD however.

telnet 2222

You should give it a spin, MUDs are still out there, and this one is particularly good.
Runes of Magic, if you haven't given it a try yet. As far as WoW-a-likes go, this one is pretty good.
Gatheryn, Jumpgate Evolution, W101 and NeoSteam come to mind. I've not played the first two (I disqualified for the Gatheryn beta and JGE isn't out yet) but they look interesting, W101 is great but has some rookie dev mistakes, and NeoSteam is interesting, but nothing spectacular. It's more of a game to visit to see if there are any particular elements you like to add to the list of "good MMO design".

I'd recommend Puzzle Pirates again, but it's more or less open PvP. Pirates do that sort of thing. Well, that, and you've played it.
Have you tried City of Heroes (or City of Villains)? The developers are constantly adding horizontal content and the Mission Architect added a lot of user created stories.
First,....forget Vanguard...the boredom is too much.

But, Age of Conan just opened returns for old players for 14 days.
Get on a PvE server and see what major changes have taken place...

Pretty amazing
I'd throw my vote in for Runes of Magic too, based on your desires. Plus hey... it's free, T. :)
Everquest 2. If it has been a long time since you played, it is worth it to return. The game is one of the best MMO on the market hands down - but suffered from a terrible launch.

If you try it, play on Antonia Bayle where the population is triple that of any other server. :)
I'd recommend Sword of the New World, because is has an interesting mechanic where you control up to 3 characters at a time. You'd want to play on the Orpesia server though, because on the other ones you can be PKed. It doesn't have a super strong crafting/economy system, though.

I'd also second Dofus. That one has pretty good crafting.
I really think you should *try* EVE. Apart from the consensual PvP only requirement it meets your other needs nicely.

The PvP danger in EVE is somewhat over-stated. You could spend a whole 3-month subscription mining, running missions, building stuff and never leave hi-sec space.

Also, unlike WoW, lightning fast reaction times are not needed. PvP encounters can often be avoided, or at least survived, with good planning even in lo-sec space. That's a large part of the appeal.

I honestly don't think you'd be happy with any MMO right now. Despite the multitude of games out there, few seem to have any significant staying power and none of the upcoming games sound like they will be stellar either.

The new Star Wars MMO could perhaps surprise me and I'm remaining guardedly optimistic, but that's still some time off. As is the Star Trek MMO. Who wouldn't want to pilot their own star ship and take part in fleet battles a la Wolf 359??
Totally unrelated : recommend me PvP mmo blog not centered around wow arena and with writer who has little bit more thoughtful and objective than Syncaine.

Tobold is smart , this blog is updated often and used to be interesting to read. But my frustration level with carebears lately went up 2 notches .(wow pvp being sh!t doesnt help either)
As you like card games AND turn-based combat I can really recommend Pox Nora, since it combines them both. Essentialy you buy cards with which you form a deck of 30 cards (spells, relics, items and monsters). You then use your deck in a turn-based combat system. You can play both against the AI, and against other players. Free decks are available to test the game.

Also, you'll probably like King's bounty: the legend. It isn't an MMO, but try it anyway if you haven't yet. It plays a lot like Heroes of Might and Magic, and offers good turn-based combat, with some RPG parameters thrown in.
If you live in the EU (and I think you do) try Dragonica, A real fun side scrolling MMORPG.
@Simon: You can also play Blood Bowl on It's definitely not an MMO, heck the whole thing feels very 10 years ago, but it is pure blood bowl.
Let me add to the recommendation for Ryzom. Such an overlooked game, but it offers some great depth, great crafting, and a unique advancement system.
Everquest Mayong server just opened up so you wont be all alone for 80 levels.

Go see what mmogs were like before WoW.
Maybe check out A Tale in the Desert. I know I haven't played it for ages so don't really know what it's like now, but it was always a very intriguingly different game.

Alternatively, try Mass Effect :)
I'm trying EVE. I get the impression it's exactly what you're looking for, apart from the PvP.

Otherwise I'd recommend EQ2 as I think you've played everything else :)
There aren't any MMOs out there that I'd recommend that aren't either 1. a poor man's WoW 2. an insanely grindy F2P game or 3. a game you've already tried. But then it seems likely I will be taking an MMO break at least until Aion, and possibly until SW:TOR, so maybe it's just me.

Would be kind of interested to hear about the current state of AoC and V:SOH.

Honestly, they're not MMOs but I recommend you play through Mass Effect and Fallout 3. A couple of the best written, most immersive, most relevant games out there. Plus the pause and save buttons make it easy to get outside and enjoy the summer.
Sign up for the Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online beta lol. Yes, it's a browser based golf game with rpg elements, but it's different enough to take up some of your time perhaps. I got into the beta shortly after I signed up.
Tobold -

The only MMO I play regularly that you don't is Guild Wars, so I'd recommend trying out some of the new(er) Guild Wars campaigns. The game has changed radically since you reviewed it here four years ago and it easily meets all the preferences set forth in your blog post. Some of the things you disliked in 2005 (invisible walls) are still there but other things you mentioned (most notably the lack of PvE content depth) are no longer an issue.

Most of the devoted (and still quite large) Guild Wars fanbase are exasperated from the total news blackout on Guild Wars 2 but NCSoft/ArenaNet keeps tossing us little morsels of completely free content every couple months - a new live event here, a new dungeon there, some new quest NPCs. This has added up to a very large non-subscription MMO over the years, with some microtransactions functionality patched in as well (but not crucial to core gameplay like Free Realms, for example).

The campaign to try if you have 18 Euros (price on is Nightfall as it introduced the Hero NPC system that totally revitalised Guild Wars PvE.
Vanguard. Brilliant game up to (original) level cap. I wouldn't bother after that, but then I'd say the same about all MMOs. Six - nine months heavy play there for anyone.

Not mentioned here yet, Rubies of Eventide. Been around for many years, tiny little game that somehow keeps three servers up. Free to play, quirky and delightful. Lovely music too.

FFXI, obviously. Don't think that's been mentioned yet. Best written MMO I've seen in a decade. Talking to NPCs and doing quests for them is just pure joy, with dialog just way beyond par for MMOs.
I can't beleive someone plugged Ancient Anguish. Game has been around for ages, I've played it for years. Not a MMO, but a MUD, and always worth a look around.
You and I seem to have similar preferences, so here's a list of games I've played (and enjoyed) that meet your criteria:
- Warhammer Online (It turns out that I'm a sucker for a good PQ)
- City of Heroes/Villains
- Guild Wars (in particular the Nightfall campaign is a good piece of storytelling)
- Puzzle Pirates (A truly brilliant game in its own little way.)
- Wizard 101 (some shockingly in depth strategy once you get past the first 10 levels or so).
- LOTRO (The epic quest line is wonderful, even if the rest of the game is a bit too WoW-like.)
- Chronicles of Spellborn (obviously in a bit of financial trouble lately, but if you want an interesting combat system that isn't WoW-like at all, this is your game.)
Wizard 101 - the card based combat system is different and interesting.

EQ2 - I won't to try this game out again myself. I remember crafting was pretty decent and I liked the classes.
"The game should be a MMORPG"

...Well, there goes my recommendation. >.>
Played Puzzle Pirates?
After reflecting on it a little bit more, I do think you would enjoy EVE quite a bit. I played it for more than three months recently, and would be now if I had the time to devote to two MMOs. As someone who was mainly interested in the trading/crafting side of MMOs, EVE was endlessly fascinating. There is so much depth to the game and player created economic systems in the game that I can almost guarantee you would find a niche that interests you. Also, as others have said, the "danger" of EVE is overhyped. The only times when you might face noncensensual PvP are when you have put yourself in such a position. In nearly four months playing, I was podded once and only because I tried to fly through a low sec system whose gate was being guarded. Try a 14 day trial, roll up an industrial character, and see if it isn't exactly what you've been looking for.
I can't believe no one has mentioned Dungeons and Dragons Online ( It's got it's issues, but sounds like one you might enjoy, and with it going free to play in august, nothing to loose. It's my favorite PvE experience, with great dungeons, as you level though it helps to have a steady group to play with.

Avoid Eve like the plague. I don't know what the people saying they don't get ganked are on, but almost every time i played i got ganked. Shot as i was approaching a gate in the "safe" zone, same as leaving a station.
I recommend you the game of Go.
Would you consider Requiem:Bloodymare?
It seems to fit your requierments, its and MMO. The hammerine server is full pk/pvp. It's a f2p model that has a subscription system that is relatively cheap and not a game breaker without. The crafting system is different, it is a armor/weapon upgrade and insertion system that is droppped by mobs. Yes, it get's grindy in the higher levels but it is full of instances and cool people that like to fight. I've got a 4x rogue on hammerine, let me know if you are going to give it a go.
I recommend the game of Go too (as far as board games go), but TELL ME, oh mighty Tobold, why you haven't been playing Lotro in ages. The game is SO good it's frightening me a little (didn't play since beta, but had to buy it now after taking the free trial). It seems Mines of Moria added some really cool stuff (like level-uppable weapons. :)
I'd have to recommend EQ2. I've read some of your posts where you wish for something in a game and I'd think to myself "EQ2 already has that". Plus the game has a good crafting system and a good economy.

The thing I think you'd really like is the level-locking system. It would allow you to progress as fast or as slow as you want. For someone who likes to stop and explore things, it's ideal.

If you don't play EQ2, then I'd try Vanguard. I played the trial and it was interesting. The crafting system looked good. I'm not sure about the economy.

Of course, the next game I'm trying is Eve, but you don't seemed interested in that.
try to get into Hello Kitty Online .. i read some info about it and it seem like a fun game. maybe you can play together with your little kids..

and maybe after playing it you can offer your opinion on HKO's gameplay
Just out of curiosity, do you know your Bartle type? Or alternatively, your Yee motivation score? That would make it easier to recommend a game.
My Bartle type is ESAK
My Bartle type is ESAK

Ah, same as mine. If you're an explorer, you really ought to try Vanguard. Even with all of the recent nerfing, it's still one of the best all-around games for explorers.
I'd definitely recommend Everquest 2 - I don't know if you've tried it, but they've really done some great things in improving the game over the past couple of years. In addition to the gameplay which I love, there is excellent crafting, great player housing if you're into that, lots of class choices, and a mature player base.
Please do try AoC now. It`s a completely different game.
Well, since I don't have a copy of Dungeons and Dragons Online, I can't recommend it, but I do know it's going free to play, and if you try it out and think it's quality stuff, I'd be liable to brave the absurdly long download for it with my piddly Philippines internet connection.
A thought about a player run economy ,PvP and Eve:
In your "normal" PvE MMOG no one would buy a simple crafted weapon. It will be replaced with ease and since it dont break you are never able to sell a second one to the same person.
Now for the PvP part. If you loose your weapon you must buy another one. That is the reason why the economy works in Eve. Stuff gets broken and must be replaced. And if you make daggers deadly enouth there will be a market for them.

I can also promise you, that no one will simply shoot you in Eve if you dont "flag yourself" for them. The problem there are the asshats that will try to annoy you enouth to make a mistake and give them the right to kill you. Other people will try to cheat you in order to scam the last credit out of you. These two groups are actually much more annoying then your local pirate.
I would recommend Saga It is an MMORTS and not an RPG, but thats why I like it. It gives me a break from WOW. It is free to play with a one time fee of $20 to have access to all features and with microtransactions. You buy credits to use for troops purchase and tournament play. It is very well done for a F2P game, with regular patches and server maintenance.
You can get SAGA free from MMOHUB, I did. I've been playing it (casually) for some weeks now. I log on, bully some peasants and log off.
Threshold RPG.

I think it is definitely the most unique game of any suggested so far, and is an experience that will be very different from all the other WoW-clones or WoW-like MMOs out there.

You must be 18 years or older to play, and role playing is required. Like I said, it is a very special game. :)
I'll add my voice to those saying try everquest2. If you tried it in it's early days it's quite different and very much more accessible now.

I play WoW because that's where my friends are but EQ2 is a much deeper and more interesting game and I keep my subscription to play occasionally.

Some recent writeups

Also May issue of PC gamer apparently.
Runes of Magic for sure. It has great PVE that gets better as you level. The game seems pretty cartoony at the start but becomes much more involved as you level. Past 25 or so its a pretty amazing game. Dual class adds that extra thing that other games are lacking, and quest tracking makes questing fast and fun. You don't spend half hour finding a hidden person.
Dungeon Runners
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dark Age of Camelot
Earth Eternal ( Open Beta Q3 09.
Even if it is to late, i have to add another word for Vanguard :
- best crafting system ever, and its not only a crafting system, its a whole crafting game with quests, stuff, stats...
- a huge an butifull world
- the best classes i've seen in an MMO (i've played AO, AC2, SWG, RZ, WOW, TR, AOC, WAR, DF, CO, Aion)
- diplomacy, that is unique to Vanguard
- lots and lots of low and medium level content : you can lvl many characters without doing twice the same thing
- housing

I'm sure this game would have a huge succes if it launched now with a good marketing...
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