Reccomend me an MMO to play this summer

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I've finally finished everything that I need to do this summer until October, so I figured now would be a good time to get into an MMO. The problem is that I've never played a traditional MMO before. My sole experience with the genre is a short stint with Planetside 2 and a few weeks playing Runescape about 5 years ago. So I've really got no idea where to start. I was looking into FF14:ARR but I know that there are a lot of games to choose from out there.
So here's what I'm looking for:
-Doesn't require too much thought to play
-Doesn't penalize you for not playing for long periods
-Plenty of single player content (I don't mind 'fetch x' or 'kill x' quests in moderation)
-Has co-op content that is easy to get into
-Optional PVP with no penalties for dying in it
-Not too much fanservice

As a last note, I don't want to play World of Warcraft, mainly because of the nasty reputation it has among my friends.
Thanks in advance.

It sounds like Guild Wars 2 might be right up your alley. Basically, if you want to play an MMO, but are tired of traditional MMO shenanigans, it's probably what you're looking for.

It's not too complex, puts a lot of focus on actual co-operation which gives you a relatively friendly community, has a lot of single player content (including a pretty epic story), and it's got a pretty fun PVP mode that doesn't have to much of a learning curve. Finally, on top of all that, you only have to pay for it once. There's no subscription fee, so you can play the game steadily, then take a break, and then just come back with virtually no problem.

Honestly, it's most likely my favorite MMO, period.

Kamui-Moshiri:
It sounds like Guild Wars 2 might be right up your alley.

What's the end game like?
Are there the standard dungeons and raids to do or is it mostly just PvP at max level?

I've been looking at Guild Wars for too long to have not actually picked it up yet.
Final question, do you think they will release an expansion soon or do they make enough from the in game shop to keep releasing the bi weekly free content?

If you don't mind the subscription i would suggest ff14:ARR.

You know how in some games you have to kill 30 wolves to get 10 wolf hearts (or whatever)? They don't do that here. It's 1:1 if it's for a quest.
The main story isn't bad, i was pretty sastified when the credits rolled in.
There is a pvp arena ( starting from level 30 ) where there is no penalty for losing.
It doesn't feel grindy until you reach the end of endgame content ( gearing yourself for raids). There is good amout of content between when you reach max level and when you are ready to raid that doesn't feel grindy .
Crafting is fun.
The game looks beautiful on PC/ps4
The people are nice . No seriously, the community is the best iv'e seen in a mmo.

DazZ.:

Kamui-Moshiri:
It sounds like Guild Wars 2 might be right up your alley.

What's the end game like?
Are there the standard dungeons and raids to do or is it mostly just PvP at max level?

I've been looking at Guild Wars for too long to have not actually picked it up yet.
Final question, do you think they will release an expansion soon or do they make enough from the in game shop to keep releasing the bi weekly free content?

There's quite a few dungeons and world bosses to do outside of PVP in the endgame. I play it almost every day and never really dip into the PVP at all. Also, while I don't know about expansions they ARE updating the game with new areas and quests as a part of their "living story" every 2 weeks. There's an entire new area to explore and tons of events and challenges there too.

I highly recommend it.

krazykidd:
If you don't mind the subscription i would suggest ff14:ARR.

You know how in some games you have to kill 30 wolves to get 10 wolf hearts (or whatever)? They don't do that here. It's 1:1 if it's for a quest.
The main story isn't bad, i was pretty sastified when the credits rolled in.
There is a pvp arena ( starting from level 30 ) where there is no penalty for losing.
It doesn't feel grindy until you reach the end of endgame content ( gearing yourself for raids). There is good amout of content between when you reach max level and when you are ready to raid that doesn't feel grindy .
Crafting is fun.
The game looks beautiful on PC/ps4
The people are nice . No seriously, the community is the best iv'e seen in a mmo.

I guess I'll pick it up then. Any starting advice for someone who has never played an MMO before?

Fractral:
I've finally finished everything that I need to do this summer until October, so I figured now would be a good time to get into an MMO. The problem is that I've never played a traditional MMO before. My sole experience with the genre is a short stint with Planetside 2 and a few weeks playing Runescape about 5 years ago. So I've really got no idea where to start. I was looking into FF14:ARR but I know that there are a lot of games to choose from out there.
So here's what I'm looking for:
-Doesn't require too much thought to play
-Doesn't penalize you for not playing for long periods
-Plenty of single player content (I don't mind 'fetch x' or 'kill x' quests in moderation)
-Has co-op content that is easy to get into
-Optional PVP with no penalties for dying in it
-Not too much fanservice

As a last note, I don't want to play World of Warcraft, mainly because of the nasty reputation it has among my friends.
Thanks in advance.

My recommendation would be in this rough order:

1. The Secret World: this game has a pretty friendly community, and while it can get fairly complex it eases you into it. It has a ton of solo content, and PVP is pretty much an afterthought, you can get rewards from it, but there are no real penalties for dying. One of the cool elements is the PVP is fought over objectives and every so often the game tallies how many victories the 3 factions have had on specific maps, and grants control to one of them, which gives the victorious faction's members a global buff (even PVE) until it's re-calculated.

The down side to this game is that some of the investigation quests can be tricky, there are walkthroughs on sites like unfair.co which can make them very easy indeed, but to do them fairly they can involved actually searching the internet for information (the game even includes a window to open google). One cool feature is that TSW has semi-ARG like content so there are actually websites set up connected to in game quests. So for example you might say find a website mentioned in the MMO, put it into your browser, and then be able to call the website of the evil corporation, or some conspiracy nut's blog, to find information for a puzzle. Using a solve won't let you figure out all the neat little details, but if you do it can be very easy.

The only real problem with it is that the endgame (which will take a while to get to) can be a bit elitist when it comes to farming for Black Bullions and such. Though nowadays there are channels like #Noobmares set up to help people get that done.

It's a modern (21st century) conspiracy/horror based game where your part of one of three secret societies who are all at odds with each other while united in the general goal of saving the world against a rising metaphysical evil. The story campaign is pretty epic, starting on an island off the coast of New England, taking you into Egypt, and ending with a showdown in Transylvania. There is paid content to extend the campaign further (extra missions, a new section in Tokyo, etc...). It's pretty much a game where you pay once like guild wars then it's free to play, they however charge for extra missions/content/chapters as they release expansions, and sell the usual cosmetic stuff.

2. Any of the Cryptic stuff is pretty decent, though the company has gotten greedier with time. They run 3 "Free To Play" games through Perfect World. "Champions Online" (super heroes), "Neverwinter" (D&D based fantasy), and "Star Trek Online" (science fiction, includes both ship command and ground combat/adventuring).

Cryptic started out with a pretty decent gimmick where they made it so you could get anything in the game, including item shop stuff, just by playing a lot, as you can trade an obtainable in-game currency for paid points (Questionite in CO, Astral Diamonds in Neverwinter, Dilithium Ore in STO) which they themselves have been known to seed. All of these games are perfectly doable without spending a dime, and they tend to run periodic events where they give away decent items (like cash shop grade ships) providing you put in the effort. That said spending money can give you an advantage in this game (more powerful ships, companions, etc...) even though you don't need anything, and they have gotten into the habit of making almost all of their new additions to their games cash shop, or worse yet lockbox (pay real money for a key, to open a chance box, and get a random item which has a chance to be a really good box-specific one). That said I am willing to pay into games I play a lot, so it hasn't been a big deal, though honestly I think they have been taking things too far in recent months. Of the three I think STO is the best of the games, and also probably the least greedy due to them giving away top tier ships a couple of times a year during events. Champions has a gimmick where you need to pay money to get a slot allowing you to fully take advantage of power customization (which is the strength of the game) otherwise your limited to pre-build archetypes (sort of like a character class) many of which also need to be purchased. Neverwinter has a lot of good elements, and runs frequent events, but it's a game where if you want a top tier companion (all characters have a companion accompanying them) you pretty much have to spend Zen/Astral Diamonds to buy or upgrade one, as a general rule they don't give away anything beyond green level in that one (which is actually sufficient just for general play). Neverwinter however drops those bloody chance boxes all over the place like confetti (more so than the other games) and you'll periodically wind up with them clogging inventory and needing to be thrown away (more so than the other games).

This might not sound like a huge recommendation, but as I said, these are some decent games, especially if you don't want to be bugged about playing sporadically. I'm just well aware of their down side.

I tried both Wildstar and Elder Scrolls Online (both subscription based) both are decent and have potential, but I wound up dropping them after a while. Wildstar was just too silly for me (in ways that go beyond the artwork). Elder Scrolls Online has a lot of potential, but I found it kind of lacking and derivative, and with a lot of bugs and bad design choices everywhere. I'd give it about three more months to tighten up before trying it (which you probably don't want to wait). I kind of liked the gameplay in Wildstar, but as I said, I couldn't get my head around the way it looked, or get into some of the deliberately silly quests. To put it bluntly it's more cartoony than WoW, and where WoW has a lot of humor in it, at it's core it had some very serious stuff going on, Wildstar is like 90% of the game all being humor quests. I got about as far as visiting some corporate camp populated by clones of the CEO who ran me around with paperwork (simple fetch quest) before having me do quests based around the maitnence of Cubig machinery (machines that clone Cubigs... cubical pigs) this was a little ways in, and to say there are a lot of quests like this is an understatement. You might love this, don't get me wrong... but I have to take that kind of thing in doses (ie not pay a subscription to bombard myself with it).

Oh and none of these games I've mentioned have any real "fan service" really unless you count people dressing their super heroines in skimpy outfits in CO (which has very stylized artwork intended to look like a comic page... a lot of people hate it) or the occasional female orion character dressing like you know a female Orion (Space Pirates in Star Trek, wear dancer costumes in some episodes. They are the only race that can dress that skimpy though, unless your wearing a swimsuit on Risa during the summer event which is currently over). Trek is equal opportunity though, the Orion guys tend to be huge muscle-bound dudes with no shirts (in their racial costume, all races can wear different things) who seem to favor tight pants.. (and of course they can have various kinds of metal plates and piercings especially on their heads and shoulders). Neverwinter doesn't seem to have any skimpy costumes at all from what I've seem so far, which is odd given that you'd kind of expect it given the inspiration.

I recently started playing Star Trek Online, and it has many of the features you're looking for. The main quests are designed for solo play and feel like you're playing out episodes of your own Star Trek series. When you're done with those there are plenty of user-created missions as well. Leveling up is surprisingly fast, but there's plenty of endgame content to keep the player occupied (an upcoming expansion in October is going to raise the level cap). Combat plays out largely the same in most cases: exchange broadsides in space, shoot dudes on the ground, activate certain buffs/debuffs. There aren't any penalties for taking a break. The game is F2P, but you can pay money if you're so inclined for certain perks and benefits. Having said that, there's an exchange system that allows you to turn in free currency (dilithium crystals) for a premium one (Zen), meaning you can obtain many of the perks paying players get provided you put in some extra time and effort.

Just be prepared for lots of unwarranted invites to join fleets (STO's version of guilds). I recommend that you take your time and see what the game has to offer first before diving into a fleet. Again, the game is very solo-friendly. Fleets are there mostly for the social element and getting the best gear.

EDIT: Ninja'd

Therumancer:
Snip

I hadn't realized TSW had gone free to play. I vaguely remember having heard a lot of negative things about it back when it came out, although no more than usual for a new MMO being talked about on this site. I'll look into it; if it's a one off payment then I see no reason not to give it a go.
How do the Cryptic games play? Star Trek online sounds tempting for the spaceship battles. Do they play out in an RTS fashion, or do you command from the bridge/cockpit?

Fractral:

krazykidd:
If you don't mind the subscription i would suggest ff14:ARR.

You know how in some games you have to kill 30 wolves to get 10 wolf hearts (or whatever)? They don't do that here. It's 1:1 if it's for a quest.
The main story isn't bad, i was pretty sastified when the credits rolled in.
There is a pvp arena ( starting from level 30 ) where there is no penalty for losing.
It doesn't feel grindy until you reach the end of endgame content ( gearing yourself for raids). There is good amout of content between when you reach max level and when you are ready to raid that doesn't feel grindy .
Crafting is fun.
The game looks beautiful on PC/ps4
The people are nice . No seriously, the community is the best iv'e seen in a mmo.

I guess I'll pick it up then. Any starting advice for someone who has never played an MMO before?

First thing i would say is, remember to eat and sleep. Seriously, these kind of games are addictive.

Second thing. Do not let anyone tell you how to play. However don't mistake this as don't take advice for people . A lot of people like to tell you how to play the games. But do what you want. If you want to focus on crafting and ignore dungeons , do it. If you want to power level and go straight for end game, do it. If you want to do quests and ignore dungeon, go right ahead. There is no right/wron way to play these games if you enjoy what you are doing.

Third. Ignore min/max-ers.

Forth. Never give out your account info to anyone, ever. Periode.

Fifth. People will try to scam you ( level bots, gold sellers).

6) have fun . Seriously just enjoy yourself whatever you do.

The nice thing about ff14, is that you are never locked into anything. One character can be every class. So say you start the game as an archer, and don't like it, you can switch anytime to any other class.

Fractral:

Therumancer:
Snip

I hadn't realized TSW had gone free to play. I vaguely remember having heard a lot of negative things about it back when it came out, although no more than usual for a new MMO being talked about on this site. I'll look into it; if it's a one off payment then I see no reason not to give it a go.
How do the Cryptic games play? Star Trek online sounds tempting for the spaceship battles. Do they play out in an RTS fashion, or do you command from the bridge/cockpit?

Space battles in STO are the best part of the game, in my opinion. Engagements are played from a third person perspective behind your ship, though the camera adjusts to keep ships you've targeted in view.

The main goal in most situations is to pummel the enemy's shields down with energy weapons like phasors or disruptors, then slam their hull with photon torpedoes or a similar projectile. How you go about doing so is largely dictated by the type of ship and weapons you're using. Generally speaking, lumbering ships that tank damage like cruisers should use weapons with a wide firing arc to compensate for their lack of agility, while fast ships like escorts should use narrow arc weapons that have higher DPM for hit-and-run attacks.

Shields are divided into quadrants covering the fore, aft, port and starboard sides of the ship. Weapon fire will reduce power to the quadrant that is currently facing the enemy. Thus, maneuvering is important, both to maximize damage to the enemy and minimize damage to you. You may need to vary your speed as well to avoid being outmaneuvered or overshooting your target.

It may sound complicated, but it's actually quite intuitive. It's not perfect (you can fly "up" or "down," but there really isn't a vertical aspect to combat), but it's fun for what it is.

Fractral:

Therumancer:
Snip

I hadn't realized TSW had gone free to play. I vaguely remember having heard a lot of negative things about it back when it came out, although no more than usual for a new MMO being talked about on this site. I'll look into it; if it's a one off payment then I see no reason not to give it a go.
How do the Cryptic games play? Star Trek online sounds tempting for the spaceship battles. Do they play out in an RTS fashion, or do you command from the bridge/cockpit?

Hard to describe as they have variable control options. It's not an action thing by any means. Basically your captain has a bunch of skills that determine the effectiveness of various equipment and abilities. You control the ship in real time from an outside view, typically from right behind your ship sort of third person, though you can rotate the camera and such. When you fire your weapons hit or miss based on skills, equipment, the defense of the target. Different kinds of weapons have different firing angles depending on what they are. For example cannons like what the Defiant used in "DS-9" do a lot of damage but have a very limited fixed firing arc, beam arrays, your basic "Phaser" from the TV shows have like a 180 degree arc of fire. Movement is in real time as I pointed out, but it depends largely on the degree maneuverability of your ship. Ships like the defiant or various smaller Klingon ships (you can play as Klingons or Romulans as well as just Federation) are fast and maneuver well, and are designed to largely attack from their forward arc with massive barrages of cannon fire. Larger ships, various kinds of cruisers, dreadnaughts, etc... move verrrry slowly and turn badly. This can lead to predictable tactics like say the bigger ships mounting lots of wide arc weapons and using broadside tactics where they can bring both their forward and aft weapons to bear on a target from the side. Of course in STO things vary greatly as you can modify your ships with equipment which can increase maneuver, and of course there are special weapons like cannons with wider firing arcs (added into the game via the new version of the crafting system) and things like that. Not to mention very special ships and equipment gained from reputation grinds, lockboxes, high end crafting, or involvement with a fleet. Basically you can see some very exotic ships with odd equipment set ups that can say create an unusually maneuverable dreadnaught.

In addition to this there is a sort of party management involved. In addition to your captain you have Bridge Officers who are other characters that group with you on the ground in your away missions (NPC companions) and all have their own skills and are geared seperatly. In space each ship has X number of bridge stations of a given quality, and you assign bridge officers to those spots, and then while your flying you use the skills of your bridge officers as additional things you can do in space other than fly, shoot weapons, and distribute power (you can distribute power from a pool to different ship systems like shields, engines, weapons, etc.. as well as focus shield power in specific directions), this can range from a basic heal (telling say an engineer to do an emergency patch to the hull, or a science officer to give the shields a power boost restoring some of their health), to attack patterns a tactical officer knows that give you buffs (defense, accuracy, reduce enemy damage resistance), to various offensive and defensive abilities, like say having a science officer create a gravity well/spatial anomaly with the deflector array to crowd control and damage other ships. There are tons of different abilities, many of which have different levels, and certain types of captains can train their Boffs in higher levels of these skills by leveling up their own basic skills.

I guess you could say that it's sort of "real time strategy" but it requires a more active approach than just telling your ship "kill this guy". I know some people apparently manage to play it with X-box controllers but I'm not sure how they manage to map all the things they would need to do it right.

To be honest I think the space component is a lot better than the ground component, but ground has been getting better (this game is years old). Your away team isn't as dumb as it used to be for example, but some of the animations for NPCs are still kind of spastic even allowing for how long this game has been around.

-

When it comes to TSW I'm a lifetimer ($200 grandmaster) which is why I pop in periodically. It is indeed now "free to play" their big gimmick is "pay once, play forever" however this is mitigated by charging for new quests and content as I explained. You pretty much get everything up to Transylvania in the main story arcs, but if you want the new side arcs they added in (Vanishing Of Tyler Freeborn, A Dream To Kill, etc...) you have to pay for them, and the new major play area they added in, Toyko, also requires you to purchase it... basically they sell expansion packs, costumes, and the usual array of exps buff potions and the like.

As far as it's initial reception went, it was tragic, but not unexpected. TSW is a very niche game, and I think it got blasted for it. It had the usual array of launch problems, but the things that actually seemed to irritate people were things like the sabotage or investigation missions. Especially early on before there were solves on sites like Unfair.co, people who came in with a grind-tastic mentality wound up getting stonewalled by some of the puzzles, especially seeing as some of them give vague hints on how to proceed. An example would be a very early investigation mission which I won't spoil in it's entirety other than to say that to enter a jail cell you need to die, and walk into it in ghost form to meet the ghost of a dead prisoner. The game gives a few very subtle hints about this, and how unlike in WoW, using your spirit form is a must in some places, but a lot of people got very miffed about that (and to be fair I have to admit the game could have been better about explaining something like that early on). The concept of TSW is one where your character is defined as being functionally immortal and indestructible (if someone, even a god, kills you, you just come back, even entity-class beings make it clear how hard you are to destroy and that the best thing for them to do is to slow you down) and this is used for some of the puzzles. Getting killed being a tool you use occasionally took some adjustment for some people even if it doesn't happen too often.... there are also a few areas where you say need to dodge laser beams and hide from cameras and such as a sort of stealth puzzle (failure kills you and respawns you at the area start) some of them can be a little tricky, and early on some of the detection was a bit spotty (though to be fair part of it is also that some of them are set up intentionally so you won't know what was spotting you initially, and then go "oh duh" once you figure it out). The meat and potatoes of TSW still ultimately comes down to "find scary monsters, shoot them in the face" though... but if your clearing all quests/progressing the story you inevitably run into the puzzles and stuff. Of course nowadays you can just cheat your way through it if you want, a quick call to unfair.co and chances are you'll get unstuck in like 30 seconds.

To be fair, I will also say that while the art style is decent, and the atmosphere is good, it's important to note the game was done by Funcom, the guys that did Age Of Conan and Anarchy Online. They aren't a Podunk operation, but they aren't AAA either. As a result I think a lot of people were turned off by the lack of "wow factor" compared to a lot of other big MMOs in development. The huge array of possible costume combinations came at the expense of nobody having Hollywood good looks for the most part, and occasionally spikes of lag when you have tons of PCs all standing around wearing elaborate garb depending on your machine. Some of the big events like the recurring "Guardians Of Gaia" have gotten criticisms for this due to packing so many PCs into such a small area. This is however not something your likely to run into in general play.. and it's important to note that the game is not only a few years old now, but it wasn't ever exactly selling itself on "bleeding edge" graphics to my knowledge.

Good game, one of my favorites, it's just my hands go through periods of hurting too much for the end game telegraph dodging. It's not for everyone though, and as I said, while you can cheat through it now, some parts of it take some actual effort to do right. TSW is for example a game where to begin with we actually had the community finding people or programs to help translate morse code. Most recently in Tokyo while it didn't last long there was a need for some Japanese translations to solve an Origami themed quest, but that's up on Unfair now too.

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EDIT: Oh and one thing I will also mention, while it's usually only a way of setting duty officer assignments, and you can't command the ship from inside your bridge, each ship has it's own "bridge" instance where you can walk around inside your ship. Some ships have unique bridges, some have modular bridges where you can set the type of instance you want. They of course sell different bridge set ups for cash (since it's cosmetic).

Some ships, especially the exotic ones, have a very small bridge where everything is accessible from a small area. Things are usually themed to the ship though, such as being entirely crystalline if you happen to have obtained and are flying a Tholian ship. A lot of the basic ships though have a full ship instance where things are separated and you can say hop into your turbo lift, head down to engineering, visit your own personal cafeteria/bar, and/or place trophies (like a huge chunk of crystal for having scored #1 in DPS during a slaying of The Crystalline Entity, or a Bat'leth trophy you can get from an early story mission if your a Klingon). A scant few missions require you to use your bridge, to do something like solve a code breaking puzzle using the computer in your command office. Probably the most elaborate ship set up is the Romulan Scimitar (cash shop ship of course) which comes with a full ship interior, including the ability to visit your ship's Thalaron core.

You can for example sit in your captain's chair, but you can't fly from there, and honestly that would be a pain in the arse to try and do given the way the combat works where you generally need to be aware of things around you, turn the ship for firing arcs... etc.

Fractral:

As a last note, I don't want to play World of Warcraft, mainly because of the nasty reputation it has among my friends.
Thanks in advance.

Just out of curiosity what is the nasty reputation? Because FF14, while fun, is really just a poor mans WoW (though I do love the crafting system in FF14), frankly if you're going to play any subscription fee, hotkey based, "wow-style" MMO, you might as well just play WoW. Others just do NOT have the same amount of content or polish.

Obviously you've got your EVE (not for the faint of heart), Star Trek Online, Age of Conan, Wildstar(though I've heard it's pretty hardcore, someone else is likely in a better position to say whether that's best as a first MMO) etc. which don't fit into the "wow-style" clone, and if any of those interest you, go for it. But there's a reason WoW is king of the hotkey MMO.

I will say this though: Stay the fuck away from ESO, because it's pants.

Therumancer:

To put it bluntly it's more cartoony than WoW, and where WoW has a lot of humor in it, at it's core it had some very serious stuff going on, Wildstar is like 90% of the game all being humor quests. I got about as far as visiting some corporate camp populated by clones of the CEO who ran me around with paperwork (simple fetch quest) before having me do quests based around the maitnence of Cubig machinery (machines that clone Cubigs... cubical pigs) this was a little ways in, and to say there are a lot of quests like this is an understatement. You might love this, don't get me wrong... but I have to take that kind of thing in doses (ie not pay a subscription to bombard myself with it).

.

I gotta say, if I wasn't so poor, I'd have to give Wildstar based on this paragraph alone. The aesthetic really reminds me of Ratched and Clank. What's it like polish wise? ESO was basically still coal, and FF14 had a dodgy enough cut to irritate me out of playing it.

I can think of three off the top of my head, all free to play and none strictly pay to win

Raiderz: A monster hunter esque game and one of the few MMO's Ive played where I read the story all the way through. It has the tightest spatial combat system of every MMO Ive ever played giving it a Dark souls feel where its possible to solo bosses, even with downgraded gear, and solely dependant on your skill level. The sad part is there arent many people playing the game anymore due to Maiet's apparant abandonment of the game but its still a solid single player experience and the combat can be quite challenging and very rewarding

Warframe: Its basicly a 3rd person shooter with you as a Space ninja. Its got a huge array of weaponry to choose from, a functional parkour system to let you easily scale obstacles, and each warframe fits at least one playstyle. It can be difficult to get into for new players but once you get some mods for your stuff the game starts to pick up. The sad part is it is marred by a pretty aggressive choice between grinding and paying but at the very least its worth a look.

Star wars: The old republic: Star wars has hotkey based combat. However its got I think its 8 different single player campaigns . Many of which are quite good (my personal favorite being the imperial agent). You can also run quite a bit of the multiplayer stuff and last I played the game had a pretty active and friendly community

Some other games I recommend, though not as highly are Star trek online, Neverwinter (I have to preface this one by saying the end game is rubbish. I quit the game a few months ago because there were only 2 or 6 classes that were really viable anymore), the secret world, Aura Kingdom (the anime style puts a lot of people off but the games a lot deeper and more interesting then it looks), Dragon's prophet, and Lord of the Rings online.

It should also be mentioned that I havnt played every game out there and there are many Ive played but wont recommend due to restrictive business models or having nothing interesting/fun going on with them. However the ones I have listed I consider worth the time I put into them.

I've been playing The Secret World off and on for the past few weeks now, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit.

With regard to your criteria...

1. Doesn't require too much thought to play.

Yes and no. The skill tree at first glance seems pretty complex, but it's actually pretty simplistic once you get used to it. There's also literally no penalty for making a poor decision on what skill to get, because every individual character is capable of earning every single skill in the game. So if you take an ability you don't want, or decide later you want to be melee instead of ranged, that's all totally doable. Just put points into something else. Right now my character can bounce back and forth between a ranged DPS, a healer, and a tank all with just a couple mouse clicks because of how many skills I've unlocked.

Then there's the questing. The majority of the quests in the game are pretty standard MMO quests. Deliver this MacGuffin to that guy over there, kill X number of Y mob, interact with some world objects, etc. But then there are the Investigation Missions which are legitimately pretty difficult if you're not good at critical thinking puzzles with zero hand-holding (assuming you don't just check a guide). The good news is that the only quests in the game that are mandatory are the story missions. Investigation Missions are completely optional, and can be bypassed with no penalty (beyond missing out on a bit of XP... but that's really not hard to come by).

2. Doesn't penalize you for not playing for long periods

There's no subscription fee. Just like Guild Wars II, you pay a small amount up-front ($20-ish USD) and then get the game for the rest of its lifetime. If you decide to stop playing for months, when you come back you'll be right back where you were before. The only things you'll miss out on are the cash shop items of the month (which are mostly just cosmetic stuff like clothing and pets) and any world events that may happen during that time period (which is pretty standard among most MMOs).

3. Plenty of single player content

I bought the game during the Steam Christmas sale, and I've only played solo. Some of the mobs can be a challenge to fight solo, but because of how fluid your character's spec is, all you have to do is swap in a different ability or two tailored for what you're fighting against if you're having trouble. And because most of the quests are completely optional, if one's giving you trouble, there really isn't any penalty of bailing and coming back to deal with it later.

4. Has Co-Op content that's easy to get into

Yep, just like other MMOs you can group up with people for questing, or doing dungeons, or raids. I haven't really done much of the dungeons or raids, but I'm pretty much always seeing people in zone chat putting together groups for it.

5. PVP with no penalties

The PVP is pretty forgettable. There's no penalty for dying/losing. Hell, even if you lose, you still get token rewards (just at a lower rate than winning, obviously) that you can buy stuff with. All players benefit from their faction succeeding, though. If you're playing as the Illuminati, and the Illuminati holds one of the PvP zones, all players of that faction will gain increased XP gain, critical strike chance, damage, etc. out in the world.

6. Not too much fanservice

There is some nudity in the game... but it's more grotesque than sexy. Players can also choose their character's outfits, and while it's entirely possible for players to go with something fanservice-y, I rarely ever actually notice it.

elvor0:
Wildstar(though I've heard it's pretty hardcore, someone else is likely in a better position to say whether that's best as a first MMO)

I started playing it recently, and while I am enjoying the hell out of it, it is not the easiest game to get into, especially if you haven't played an MMO before. The real problem is that the game sort of presents too much information too quickly, and it can be kind of difficult to wrap your head around if you're not already familiar with most of the MMO stuff. Additionally, while I haven't actually done any of it myself yet (I literally started playing last week and haven't gotten super far yet), apparently the group content is rather difficult, especially if you're doing a random group.

That said, for the short time I've been playing the game, I've been having a blast. The game has a lighthearted, Saturday morning cartoon style that I like a lot more than all of those games that take themselves too seriously. The questing is somewhat repetitive, but this is mitigated by the fact that there's pretty much always ten different things you can be doing at any given time, so if you get bored, you can do something else for a while.

It's certainly not the game for everybody, but if you're looking for an MMO, I would highly recommend looking into it.

Tera:Rising is by far the best gameplay I have come acrossed. The anime aesthetic Kept me from getting really into it, and the cash shop costume warriors.

Elder scrolls online had best questing, no endgame at launch. No idea how it is now.

Was going to recommend The Secret World but it seems I was beat to it. Seriously it really is a great MMO, one of my biggest obsessions right now.

elvor0:
Just out of curiosity what is the nasty reputation? Because FF14, while fun, is really just a poor mans WoW (though I do love the crafting system in FF14), frankly if you're going to play any subscription fee, hotkey based, "wow-style" MMO, you might as well just play WoW. Others just do NOT have the same amount of content or polish.

I highly disagree with this. FFXIV is sort of the spiritual sequel to FFXI, Square Enix's first MMO. While FFXIV is closer to WoW in combat, in my experience it still retains what set it apart from WoW and has kept FFXI's servers running to this day: Great characters and stories, and absolutely gorgeous design. FFXIV is less about the grind and more about the journey. Even the little fetch quests are varied and have great NPC moments.

And for the graphics and design, FFXI still has PS2 server support, and it STILL looks better than WoW. I did a trial of WoW while I played FFXI, and I could not believe how ass ugly it was by comparison. And it wasn't just that I disliked the aesthetics, everything just seemed more poorly constructed.

So...yeah. Another vote for FFXIV from me. And to answer the OP's question:

Fractral:
I guess I'll pick it up then. Any starting advice for someone who has never played an MMO before?

Get yourself with a group of players. The "guilds" of FFXIV are "linkshells"--basically a group of people who can call communicate to one another on the same radio station. Linkshells are mostly social, just a group of players you talk with and can hang out with and join in adventures. While the game will put you through a tutorial stage and pop up player tips every time you encounter a new mechanic, the best way to learn the game is through others. There are plenty of linkshells who are welcome to newbies.

Also, the one thing you probably should know going in is how to communicate. In the game, you'll have a dialog box where you'll see everything other players are saying, and where you type what you say. Typing text in the box and pressing enter will say something in "say" mode. In "say" mode, the only players that will see it are the ones immediately close to your character. If you type /sh before the rest of your message, it will go into "shout" mode, which will allow every player in your current area to see it. Then /l is how you talk in linkshell (there are also shortcuts to all these, I have linkshell mapped so that when I press control L it will automatically go into linkshell chat for me).

There are also "free companies," which are groups of players like linkshells, but more goal-oriented. There are points tied into completing goals with free companies, but don't worry about joining one of those until you've got some levels under your belt. Many linkshells also have free companies.

So my recommendation is once you're out of the tutorial phase and released into the "real world," follow the quest markers and get some experience with the mechanics. It'll be pretty clear what you need to do next to progress, and you'll catch on pretty quickly. And go at your own pace, no need to rush things. Then when you feel like you've got a handle on the basics, start looking for people who are shouting in the market areas about linkshells that are recruiting. Or just shout that you're a player new to MMOs looking for a linkshell. As Krazy said, the FFXIV community is pretty nice, especially if you're an honest newbie.

OH, and one more thing. Since you're new to MMOs, when you pick your class, I do NOT recommend gladiator or marauder. Those jobs become the tanking classes of FFXIV. MMOs tend to pretty strictly follow the tank/damage dealer/healer pattern of RPGs. The tank is the one who keeps the monster's attention and has high defense, the damage dealers are the ones with high attack that kill the monster, and the healers keep everybody alive. In FFXIV, the tanks are kind of expected to lead the party in raids and dungeons. They decide what monsters to pull, they decide where to go. As a new player, this is not a fun position to be in. I recommend choosing one of the other classes, which are all damage dealers and healers. Again, just stay away from gladiator and marauder to avoid headaches. Once you get a feel for the game taking on a tanking job will be MUCH more satisfying if that's ultimately where you want to go.

Have fun! And be sure to say what server you end up on, somebody here might be on the one you choose and can help you find a linkshell.

I'd recommend Mabinogi if you can get past the chibi anime art-style. Especially recently since they've tightened up a lot of the gameplay and cut down on the more obnoxious free to play cash grabs. Now I will preface this with yes this is a Nexon game and yes their customer service is terrible. But on the upside I've been playing this game for years off and on and I've never even had to contact customer service with a problem so there's that.

- No real PvP though you can duel other players just for funzies.
- While combat is a large part of the game in general, there are also "life skills" that will level you up, grant stats, and useful abilities. You can be a badass chef if you want to, or a tailor.
- The game prioritizes dungeon delving over collection quests (though there are still some collection quests)so instead of "kill 20 hobgoblins" for story quests it'll be more like "Go do this dungeon" or "defeat this boss." The collection quests are usually optional redoable cash grabs.
- It has a pretty good story for an mmo, if you can get past the kind of cutesy graphics.

Cons:
- A lot of the better skills will require you to sink a loooot of gold into things. Weapon repair is also a money sink. Spirit weapons will have you either sinking millions of gold into upkeep, or slowly trickling it in as you get it.
- Definitely a game that prioritizes team work, it's hard to do most things without help. Commercing for example is basically just you treking back and forth across a map trying to avoid bandits. Boring on its own, but a lot of fun when you have fellow commerce buddies to chat with.

My brother loves Guild Wars 2, I love The Old Republic. I'd say they both meet your requirements, though GW2 is more focused on PvP (probably being the only current MMO to have server-versus-server battles) and SWTOR more on the single-player content (most of the 'kill __ number of Ewoks' is in bonus missions and entirely optional). Both are easy to jump into and level much faster than the average, allowing you to quickly jump into new content.

I played WoW too for a while, but enjoyed both of these far more.

Give Wildstar a go, it's fun.

Fractral:
I've finally finished everything that I need to do this summer until October, so I figured now would be a good time to get into an MMO. The problem is that I've never played a traditional MMO before. My sole experience with the genre is a short stint with Planetside 2 and a few weeks playing Runescape about 5 years ago. So I've really got no idea where to start. I was looking into FF14:ARR but I know that there are a lot of games to choose from out there.
So here's what I'm looking for:
-Doesn't require too much thought to play
-Doesn't penalize you for not playing for long periods
-Plenty of single player content (I don't mind 'fetch x' or 'kill x' quests in moderation)
-Has co-op content that is easy to get into
-Optional PVP with no penalties for dying in it
-Not too much fanservice

As a last note, I don't want to play World of Warcraft, mainly because of the nasty reputation it has among my friends.
Thanks in advance.

I would also recommend Guild Wars 2. It satisfies every one of your requirements, and many you probably didn't realize you had yet. Its a single up front cost to play forever. The single player options are vast. The dungeons do not take hours to beat. There is no massive gear/level treadmill, so once you get a well geared/leveled character your progress will not be erased by an update. So no punishment for not playing all the time. The game starts out simple(though different from most other mmo's) and eases you into the mechanics gradually. Your also not pigeon holed into a role regardless of class(every class is able to tank/dps/heal/support).

Also of note is the fact that there is no kill stealing and anyone who helps to kill any mob gets full credit/loot for killing said mob so you can feel free to help other players kill things guilt free. On the other hand, the mobs may become stronger and spawn more buddies to create a challenge for as many players as shows up to help kill them. Also some player abilities/attacks have a combo effect (think Chrono Trigger).

The pvp is entirely voluntary and takes place outside of the pve world. Its also more skill based and balanced rather than gear based. You have arena's as well as WvW. WvW is a massive battle over 4 huge maps over the course of 1-2 weeks where everyone from your server who chooses to participate is in a 3 way battle vs. 2 other servers. You can join and drop out entirely at your leisure whenever you like to help your server ranking. You gain xp and loot during WvW for kills, and your bolstered to max level to even the odds a bit for you. It's possible to level from 1-80 in WvW, but entirely optional.

I know you said no WoW but I still say wow ticks all those boxes almost perfectly.

World of Warcraft definitely does fit all of the things you want, despite what your friends think. It's the one I still play.

However if I wanted a game like WoW to start playing now, I'd go for WildStar. I played quite a lot in the beta, and it looks like a really well polished wow-type game, with a better combat system. If I wanted a new MMO to play it would be the first one I'd look at.

elvor0:

Just out of curiosity what is the nasty reputation? Because FF14, while fun, is really just a poor mans WoW (though I do love the crafting system in FF14), frankly if you're going to play any subscription fee, hotkey based, "wow-style" MMO, you might as well just play WoW. Others just do NOT have the same amount of content or polish. .

It's become the bogeyman of gaming for people I know; nobody has actually played it but everyone's heard the horror stories of people who became addicted to it. I know it's weak of me but admitting I'd played WoW would earn me the scorn of a lot of close friends.
...that makes it sound a lot worse than it is.

Lilani:
Snip

Do you have to play regularly to be in a Linkshell? The reason I asked for a game with no penalties for not playing is that I am terrible at sticking with a single game for long. I'm certainly not going to play every day.

Lilani:

elvor0:
Just out of curiosity what is the nasty reputation? Because FF14, while fun, is really just a poor mans WoW (though I do love the crafting system in FF14), frankly if you're going to play any subscription fee, hotkey based, "wow-style" MMO, you might as well just play WoW. Others just do NOT have the same amount of content or polish.

I highly disagree with this. FFXIV is sort of the spiritual sequel to FFXI, Square Enix's first MMO. While FFXIV is closer to WoW in combat, in my experience it still retains what set it apart from WoW and has kept FFXI's servers running to this day: Great characters and stories, and absolutely gorgeous design. FFXIV is less about the grind and more about the journey. Even the little fetch quests are varied and have great NPC moments.

And for the graphics and design, FFXI still has PS2 server support, and it STILL looks better than WoW. I did a trial of WoW while I played FFXI, and I could not believe how ass ugly it was by comparison. And it wasn't just that I disliked the aesthetics, everything just seemed more poorly constructed.

So...yeah. Another vote for FFXIV from me. And to answer the OP's question:

Oh it is of course a spiritual sucessor to FF11, not that I played much of that, WoW was my first MMO and trying FF11 was...well it was fucking hardcore in comparison. I did in no way have the patience for it. FF14 cuts off a lot of the crap that made ff11 unplayable for me. I'm not saying it's an immitation of WoW, because FF11 came first and it's really just a modern tuning of that, but it likely took /some/ influence from it, because FF14 V1 was a trainwreck of an unprecidented calibur. Square pulled off the impossible in keeping FF14 alive, where most MMOs would've died, never to be heard from again if they released in the state FF14 did. Obviously WoW has a 10 year head start, but there was just barely anything to do at max level in FF14. There certainly wasn't enough to be worth my time, combat was still clunky and unresponsive, especially with boss aoe moves when I would reguarly get hit despite having moved away plenty of time in advance, so that put raiding out of the question for me until they fixed that shit. Crafting was...well it was fun, if a little tedious, PvP isn't my bag.

However, great stories and characters is an entirely subjective thing, not that I'm saying you're wrong, but I love Warcraft the series, for it's lore and characters. Me and my girlfriend absolutely adore FF as a series, we've played all of the games to death, but there just wasn't anything to keep us interested in the story in FF14, a innordinate amount of the dialogue felt wooden, there's huge stretches of the main story where you run around doing fuck all for ages for people who really have no bearing on anything. FF13 evokes more emotion in me than the story in FF14, even if it was blind anger.

I know there's pointless fetch quests in WoW, but they don't profess to be part of the MAIN story. I mean the 30s were a total slog where you do that quest line where you run around collecting stuff for a fucking feast for essentially no reason before you fight Titan. I was royally fucked off at the end of that. The villians were boring, voice acting was dodgy, and the only thing that kept us going was to invent a new story for the characters, or just pretend they were all Star Wars characters. Which works better than the script writers would like to admit.

On the graphics front, well...WoW is a very, very old game at this point, but when it came out it was designed to be played on as many systems as possible, thus has less graphical fidelity, it also is an upgrade of the aesthetic from Warcraft 3. And worked out brilliantly for it. FF14 looks okay, it's standard fantasy affair with realistic graphics. I love WoW's graphics, all the hand painted textures are simply georgous to me, and say what you will, it is /very/ distinctive. Show someone a screen shot of WoW, they'll know what it is. FF14 could be anything if there's not Final Fantasy landmarks in it.

Fractral:

elvor0:

Just out of curiosity what is the nasty reputation? Because FF14, while fun, is really just a poor mans WoW (though I do love the crafting system in FF14), frankly if you're going to play any subscription fee, hotkey based, "wow-style" MMO, you might as well just play WoW. Others just do NOT have the same amount of content or polish. .

It's become the bogeyman of gaming for people I know; nobody has actually played it but everyone's heard the horror stories of people who became addicted to it. I know it's weak of me but admitting I'd played WoW would earn me the scorn of a lot of close friends.
...that makes it sound a lot worse than it is.

Lilani:
Snip

Do you have to play regularly to be in a Linkshell? The reason I asked for a game with no penalties for not playing is that I am terrible at sticking with a single game for long. I'm certainly not going to play every day.

Yeah well those people have no self control, if it wasn't WoW, it'd be something else, it's only because WoWs so massive that you hear the stories, I guarentee there's an equal percentage of players "addicted" to any other decent MMO. More to the point, stereotypical MMOs are kind of designed that way. The ultimate skinner box, it's damn fun, but they're geared to make you want to play them. I don't think it's really a basis to not play or at least try it. If you don't trust yourself to play WoW because you might get "addicted" you might as well discount the entire genre. And tell your friends to pull the sticks from their arses.

IF you (or someone else) does end up playing FFXIV, come to the Malboro server as there are a lot of us Escapists there. We've kinda spread out a bit over the year it's been out, but we do still have a Free Company (guild) of Escapists. Look up myself (Tiu Fenris), Miyenne Ambrai, or Umfrey Bland for an invite. A few of our members are away right now as it's summer and such, though, so it's pretty quiet.

Fractral:
As a last note, I don't want to play World of Warcraft, mainly because of the nasty reputation it has among my friends.

Pity, as it's the only MMO on the market that comes close to fulfilling the majority of your requirements. I'd recommend doing some research of your own instead of simply accepting the somewhat baffling opinions of your friends as gospel.

Most particularly on single player content and content that is easy to get into, there is nothing on the market that even comes within 100 miles of WoW. It's part of why the game still enjoys a 40% market share despite being 10 years old.

Alfador_VII:
However if I wanted a game like WoW to start playing now, I'd go for WildStar. I played quite a lot in the beta, and it looks like a really well polished wow-type game, with a better combat system. If I wanted a new MMO to play it would be the first one I'd look at.

Wildstar is a bit of a turd. It's had an enormous concurrency drop off from launch due to its tedious, time-sink and buggy end-game, and it underperformed dramatically, selling under 500K copies. It's the worst performer in NCSoft's lineup and the projections for next quarter are kind of grim.

If Wildstar was leading any lists, it would be the list of "Games most likely to get the axe/kill their developer in the near future". It's all well and good to court a "hardcore" audience but you can't eschew "casuals" entirely, as they're the ones who keep the lights on. Launching a brand new IP from a brand new developer and targeting the niche of a niche for your game play model seems kind of suicidal in retrospect.

elvor0:
I gotta say, if I wasn't so poor, I'd have to give Wildstar based on this paragraph alone. The aesthetic really reminds me of Ratched and Clank. What's it like polish wise? ESO was basically still coal, and FF14 had a dodgy enough cut to irritate me out of playing it.

It's extremely buggy. There are serious bugs that have been plaguing the game since Alpha. Carbine's pace of development and correction borders on glacial.

As for the humor...well...it's a lot of loud voices shouting "HOLY SHIT" and "CUPCAKE". As humor goes, it's right down there with Larry the Cable guy and loud farting. I imagine it appeals to a certain demographic, but I wouldn't call it a 'funny' game.

Fractral:
I've finally finished everything that I need to do this summer until October, so I figured now would be a good time to get into an MMO. The problem is that I've never played a traditional MMO before. My sole experience with the genre is a short stint with Planetside 2 and a few weeks playing Runescape about 5 years ago. So I've really got no idea where to start. I was looking into FF14:ARR but I know that there are a lot of games to choose from out there.
So here's what I'm looking for:
-Doesn't require too much thought to play
-Doesn't penalize you for not playing for long periods
-Plenty of single player content (I don't mind 'fetch x' or 'kill x' quests in moderation)
-Has co-op content that is easy to get into
-Optional PVP with no penalties for dying in it
-Not too much fanservice

As a last note, I don't want to play World of Warcraft, mainly because of the nasty reputation it has among my friends.
Thanks in advance.

Final Fantasy 14 sounds about right. It's fairly standard MMO fare aside from the multiclassing, but it's done really well.

Defiance is less polished, but it's F2P, plays a bit more like a 3rd person over the shoulder shooter. If you're a fan of the show, all the better. It's probably my weakest recommendation out of this list though.

GW2 is pretty good, you only have to buy the game once, and is a fair bit of fun. They like their PvP a bit more than I do though (I am very much not a PvP person).

If it weren't for the "not requiring much though to play" part, then these are up there in my book:

The Secret World: This game is great in a lot of ways, and it's F2P. The investigation missions do requires you to think though (and occasionally google things because actual references to actual real world things are relevant. One of the first investigation quests requires you to notice things about the details of textures in the world, references a Bible verse, and involves a riddle -- all in the quest meant to be your introduction to that kind of play.

Dungeons & Dragons Online: This game is very non-standard among MMOs. Very non-standard. The thinking required in this game is generally a combination of two things -- one, strategy is often important, especially in later content and two, you have a *lot* of leeway in how to design your character (including multiclassing), and it is possible to screw it up (but not as easy as some people claim -- if you stay single class, put your stats in something that roughly makes sense and try to keep your choices appropriate to your theme and role you'll be fine, just not optimal). An important thing to note is that mana doesn't regen between fights (it actually *does* regen at the same rate in and out of combat and that rate is fairly quick, but you only regen up to 15 mana, for comparison I'm level 16/28 as an Artificer and have 1085 mana), which means that casters tend to limit their casting to when it means something, and spells are fairly powerful (like D&D), make frequent use of spellcasting items such as scrolls and wands, and some caster specs get certain spells at reduced rates. Traps mean something, and might potentially limit what content you try to solo (they tickle on Solo and Normal, they hurt on Hard, and they can often kill you outright on Elite). If you need help but don't want actual group members, you can pick up hireling contracts off the vendors to help shore up your weaknesses (such as grabbing a pet healer), and each player can use one of these hirelings (or multiple bought off the cash shop), meaning that half a group worth of players can be a full group worth of characters.

Probably 80+% of content outside of the raids can be solo'd (and virtually anything can be done by just about any group, even if the group comp is wildly inappropriate, so long as you work around your weaknesses), including some stuff the game itself will warn you can't be. All questing is instanced, and most have 3-4 difficulty options. For the first 8 or so levels you should be able to solo the highest difficulty if you are careful, then it starts to get rough. The level cap is 28, and the first raid is level 6.

A significant bit of this game's content is locked away in "adventure packs" which are individually not that expensive but add up in the long run (it's possible to run the entire level range without any, but you lose out on some of the most fun content).

When you reach level 20 (28 if you bought one of the "iconic" character options) you have the option to do a "true reincarnation" -- this is like the remort system found in many MUDs where you sacrifice your character but get a bonus for rerolling. In DDO this bonus takes the form of special past life feats, of which you get a stacking freebie for each time around the loop as well as the option to choose a more advanced version of each one you've unlocked. For example, when I finally true reincarn my Artificer, I'll get +1 to all Intelligence based skills, +1 to Use Magic Device on whatever I reroll as and the option to take a 15% not to use charges on charged items and 10 uses of Enchant Weapon/Armor per rest.

BloatedGuppy:

Fractral:
As a last note, I don't want to play World of Warcraft, mainly because of the nasty reputation it has among my friends.

Pity, as it's the only MMO on the market that comes close to fulfilling the majority of your requirements. I'd recommend doing some research of your own instead of simply accepting the somewhat baffling opinions of your friends as gospel.

I've done a fair bit of my own research on the topic. I don't doubt that WoW has the best content and is the most fun. I suppose that I didn't make it very clear but I really an only interested in an MMO to play for the next 2 months; getting addicted to something wouldn't be a good thing for me.
In any case I have already bought FF14, but I see no reason not to look into the rest of the options when I get some more free time in the future.

IndomitableSam:
IF you (or someone else) does end up playing FFXIV, come to the Malboro server as there are a lot of us Escapists there. We've kinda spread out a bit over the year it's been out, but we do still have a Free Company (guild) of Escapists. Look up myself (Tiu Fenris), Miyenne Ambrai, or Umfrey Bland for an invite. A few of our members are away right now as it's summer and such, though, so it's pretty quiet.

It's a shame that I didn't see this earlier; I've already got a character going on Cerberus server in the EU. Is there any scope for server transfers?

Fractral:

IndomitableSam:
IF you (or someone else) does end up playing FFXIV, come to the Malboro server as there are a lot of us Escapists there. We've kinda spread out a bit over the year it's been out, but we do still have a Free Company (guild) of Escapists. Look up myself (Tiu Fenris), Miyenne Ambrai, or Umfrey Bland for an invite. A few of our members are away right now as it's summer and such, though, so it's pretty quiet.

It's a shame that I didn't see this earlier; I've already got a character going on Cerberus server in the EU. Is there any scope for server transfers?

http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/help/option_service/ - Try there. I think it costs about $15 American.... not sure what it costs in Euros. Umfrey is a UK player as well so he's on when most of us aren't, as well, so you wouldn't be alone.

I would also suggest GW2 when you branch out. It's 50% off this week through next and doesn't have monthly charges, so you can play indefinitely for pretty cheaply. It also has one of the better pay options, with an exchange for game money getting you the same exchange units that real money gets you.

Meaning that if you want to increase your number of default character slots (5), you don't _have_ to give them more money, but can use in-game gold to buy gems and then use those to buy more character slots. I've been playing MMOs since Beta EQ, A few months of WoW every expansion until I finally gave up for good and didn't get Pandaria, and GW2 has been installed the longest on my PC. I'm currently checking out Elder Scrolls Online, but I know that in a few more months, I'll probably cancel that and once again be back with GW2.

Defiance isn't bad. It's like watered-down Borderlands. It's kind of boring, but you can get the full experience without spending a dime.

I will also recommend FFXIV ARR. It's the only MMO I've seriously enjoyed since EverQuest 1.

I'm on Balmung the US unofficial RP server. It's really good, even though I'm EU, there's lots of EU players on it.

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