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Do Modern MMOs That Don’t “Require” Optimal Play Styles and Builds Still Exist?

Hello Friends,

The wife and I recently have been trying multiple games to find the one that she enjoys the most. I'm a long time MMO veteran (started with EQ/FFXI and have been playing ever since, now hooked on WoW/FFXIV) , she's completely new to the hobby. We used to play a ton of D&D and other RP/exploration TT games before the pandemic but this has become out new escape until things return to normal for us.

We started off with WoW, but upon reaching end-game when her focus shifted from the world, and story, to watching videos on her optimal class build and rotation as well as strats for the raids, fatigue set in. We moved over to FFXIV and again, once hitting end-game it was the same story. Both of these games had players telling us how our builds were not optimized, or even in the most casual of PvE content when the group wiped players were immediately linking YouTube videos for the fight strats or explaining dungeon mechanics before we ever even stepped foot into them. My wife would get frustrated because she'd view this as a spoiler (many of these dungeons and group contents were required for the story)and it would quickly suck away any fun she was having.

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Which got me thinking as to why we were just not having much fun, and I think it has something to do with group play in these games almost making you feel required you to educate yourself to mechanics, rotations, fights, and locations that you have never seen BEFORE you ever even step foot into them. Even with my own private experiences with WoW/FFXIV whenever new content comes out I'm immediately jumping onto IcyVeins or YouTube to watch a guide on how to do the new raid fights before queueing, because otherwise I'm going to hold a group back, be called a troll for wanting to go in blind, or not allowed into the content at all. This is so juxtaposed to my first few years with MMOs back in the 2000's.

One of the things she enjoyed most, and when I think back fondly on my days new to the MMO genre was the sense of adventure and discovery. You weren't focused on being optimal, and leveling as quickly as possible or earning as much gold in as little time, you were focused on the adventure. You didn't google the fight strategy to the big bad of a zone, you went in blind and laughed with your friends when he nuked you from orbit because you weren't familiar with him. And you didn't have some elitist in a dungeon criticizing your rotation for being not being optimal, your DPS being lower than it should, or you not having the "right" perks. You took what sounded cool to you and played your class how you wanted, others be damned.

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Now I completely understand that my points above can be at odds with social games, where group play is required and other peoples time may be on the line. So I want to find an MMO game where our sense of wonder and adventure into the unknown doesn't have to take a side line for other players enjoyment as well.

I understand that what we are looking for can be found in non-MMO games but one of the things we love is seeing others in the world, the potential for friendship with others and the emergent gameplay that offline games just don't provide us.

Thanks in advanced for all your answers, friends.

Source: reddit.com

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