Why MMOs is an examination of some of the most identifiable things people associate with MMOs from the viewpoint of someone who doesn't play MMOs generally and is trying to find out why. In this first proper installment I examine the biggest hurdle of them all, getting started.
The MMO being used is Guild Wars, I'd like to know how these points hold out in comparison to other MMOs in the comments.
Good Thing #1 - No Tutorial
MMOs are a genre a lot of developers should take notice of. Free MMOs especially have to grab hold of the player from the beginning or they're just going to go play something else. When you're asking for such a massive time committment from your player (and asking them to pay a monthly fee) you can't be wasting time teaching them how to play. Besides, this is a PC game, if they're not reading the 144 page manual then its their own fault. Also pretty much everything you need to know is explained in proper quests, and on that note...
Good Thing #2 - Twatting Things With Sticks
This is pretty much base instinct. When your starting gear contains a very large hammer you can't really complain much. Even less when the enemies you encounter early in the game can be ripped apart pretty easily by them so knowing you have freedom to try stuff out and settle on something that feels right is an excellent thing, seeing as you're probably going to be using it for a few months.
Bad Thing #1 - You're On Your Own
Unless you have friends starting out at the same time and team up with them from the get go you're pretty much on your own until you get to more interesting quests or get powerful enough to not be a liability to your party. In Guild Wars this is especially annoying since its designed to be played in groups, I don't like using bots to make up the numbers as a matter of course.
So that's what I like and what gets to me about starting out in an MMO, as I said at the top I'm playing Guild Wars for these observations so any views on how they work in other MMOs are really welcome in the comments. I would've put monthly fees in there but Guild Wars doesn't have them, another plus point for that particular game really.