How To Introduce Friends To MMORPGs

Introducing your friends to the MMORPG genre isn’t particularly easy especially as they throw up a few obvious barriers to entry. “But it looks so boring” they complain; “But I don’t want to pay a subscription fee” they ironically whine as they leave the cinema having spent the same amount of money on a mere two hours of entertainment (or seven hours of torture if it’s a Kevin Costner film /meow). Trying to convert these naysayers is often difficult and no doubt you will get the urge at some point to pick up your 400 dungeon guide and smack them in the face with it but it’s definitely worth persevering as playing a MMO with your closet friends can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Many a true word spoken in jest

Friendships are so much more meaningful online

I’ve been lucky enough to initiate a few folks into the Brotherhood Of The MMORPG and, although they don’t always stick around for more than a few months, I’ve learnt a few tricks of the trade that might help you out.

1. Gauge their interest.

There’s no point barking up the wrong tree. If your friend isn’t interested in gaming in the slightest then there’s probably no point wasting your breath trying to convince them otherwise. It’s all about picking your battles or something (if Sun Tzu played MMOs I’m sure he would’ve had a good expression for it).

2. Talk about your MMO experiences with them.

Once you’ve decided that your buddy is a potential MMO-gamer, slowly build up their fascination with the genre by telling them some of your favourite MMORPG stories. Make that time you got wiped during a raid a legendary battle for survival and the time a female Troll lent you 5 silver a delicate and unforgettable romance. Be careful not to over do it or come on too strong though but every so often just reminisce about a great experience you had in game. Trust me, it works.

3. Show them interesting posts or articles from the web.

A strategy I used with my friends to pique their interest was slowly trickling through great articles I’d found on the web. WoW and EVE Online are particularly good for this given the amount of exposure they get and the media frenzy they can generate. A few good articles about how popular WoW is or how stories from The Great War in EVE will definitely set their mind in motion. Avoid the articles about people killing themselves over it all.

4. Play it cool.

You absolutely do not want to wreck the momentum you’ve got building by blurting out something like “and if you sign up, I’ll get a month free”. It will kill all of your hard work flat by putting the element of doubt about your good intentions in your friend’s mind. Instead, play it cool and keep any referral bonuses you might get under your hat. Think of this entire process like dating: you absolutely do not want to reveal anything negative about yourself until you’ve locked in the lady love. And yes, I’m a blast to date.

5. Go for the kill.

Like a lion hunting a sickly gazzle, you need to wait for your moment to strike. Too soon and you’ll ruin everything, too late and they’ll have already subscribed to Dofus. Look for the classic warning signs like “gee, I’ve been so bored lately”, “I’m looking for a good game to try” or “I’m so miserable and lonely, if only I had some sort of addictive roleplaying game to consume my life with for the next 12 months”. Then, once you’re sure they’re ready, send out that free trial invite!

6. Play with them.

Just because your potential exp grinding buddy has signed up to a free trial it doesn’t mean you’ve got them hooked for good. You need to build on the foundations you’ve sewn by spending time playing with them in game. Take them out for a tour with your main or, better yet, roll an alt so you can level up with them but, whatever you do, don’t ignore them (at least until they’ve subscribed properly).

Good hunting.

-Gordon

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11 Comments

  1. Wasdstomp says:

    I think #6 is pretty important. The few times I have went back to WoW my coworkers are all trying to get me to make a toon on their servers. Guess what happens?

    First they never log on. It seems so weird because from talking with them at work you would think they would be on 8 hours a night.

    They invite you to their guild of all max level players. Do they ever come powerlevel you since its your millionth toon on WoW and you can’t stand the grind any longer.? Of course not they are to busy farming some place for the millionth time to give you the time of day.

    They give you no money to get going so you aren’t going the first levels without good gear.

    It is the whole reason I don’t switch servers to play with anyone any more.

    • Gordon says:

      Yep, that’s happened to me too. I also assume that if someone recommends me a game, they aren’t going to be around when I play it :)

      It’s why i actually quite like WoW’s refer a friend system. It gives insane exp bonuses if you group together and thus makes it very quick to level a friend up.

  2. Longasc says:

    Talk about it, upload screenshots, …

    Ideally, you hate the game. Somehow this makes people interested to try it.
    The opposite might happen as well.
    This is no made up story, but true. My friend Steve broke his arms right as WoW got released in Europe. He barely could play one month after the game was out.
    He came late. He did not like the game. He explained me why it sucks. He was gone quickly.

    Today?
    I have not touched WoW in ages, and he… is raiding in two pro guilds (Horde and Alliance), has about a ton of chars at max level and committed every WoW related sin possible.

  3. Rhii says:

    Slamming Kevin Costner = win.

  4. Usiel says:

    Brilliant Strategy Gordon,

    besides the fact THAT IT WORKS ON GEEKS ONLY!

    Most of the people that I know still get puzzled if they recognise our PS3. “You play Video Games?”. Very often they consider it to be a DVD player, until I use it for Music or Pictures.
    I never say anything and usually just give the guy the controller and let him try Little Big Planet, while our ladies are talking.
    When our better half’s start wondering, what we boys do, his girlfriend/wife mostly makes a comment about how cute the doll is.
    At that point its a winning story …

    Three years ago I had been on a business trip in Switzerland with my former boss. I took one evening of, to meet some guild mates. We run into each other in the lobby, so we asked my boss to join us (we all were around the same age and she was more a very good colleague than a boss, so it was not one of those “So….” moments).
    My guild mates gave us a wonderful tour through Basel and later during the evening she was totally surprised when she found out, that we play WoW and never seen each other personally.
    I must add, that the media about WoW, was mostly negative an focused on addiction at that time.

    The social aspect made her understand the charm of Multiplayer, although she never played.

    From my opinion you can’t make people curious about playing, if they have no familiar feeling associated with it. Be the memory of playing video games as a child (in my Little Big Planet example) or how it feels being in a team, group, family (my boss trained her local basketball club).

  5. Esquire of Noob Town says:

    Worked with me ;)

    Btw, did you get your Zebra in WoW?

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