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Making the transition from Console to PC MMO games.

Have you ever been the new kid at school? Have you ever tried to pick up a new sport or a musical instrument? Have you ever tried to learn to drive stick after driving an automatic for years? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions then you already have a pretty good idea how tough transitions can be, especially when you are accustomed to doing things a particular way. In many cases we avoid trying new things for fear of failing. The same applies to making the transition from console games to PC games, especially PC MMO games. It’s particularly difficult for true blue console gamers to transition to PC MMOs due to the sheer amount of control a player is given over their characters in MMOs as opposed to console games. Most console gamers rely on twitch to become successful at a particular game. The same can be said for PC FPS or, “Shooters”. MMOs on the other hand take a whole different skill set. In fact MMOs are an entirely different animal. We must bring to bear far more than twitch gaming and minor character management. This is not to say that MMO gamers are in any way superior gamers to our twitch gamer counterparts or console gamers for that matter. MMO gamers merely use a different style of gameplay and different tools for the job. In many ways, MMO gamers are a hybrid of all game styles. MMO gamers employ a mix of twitch style, pen and paper style principles and RTS style gameplay. We will cover the tools, methods, and skills needed to help make your transition from console games to MMO gaming as smooth as possible.

Let’s slip into something more comfortable…

As silly as it sounds, one of the first things we should talk about is your gaming environment. Most console gamers play from a couch or an easy chair. PC MMO gamers typically play from a chair at a desk. I highly recommend that you secure yourself a comfy office chair for your computer desk. I suggest watching some movies on your PC to get used to sitting in your chair for hours at a time. Your computer desk is also important. Try to secure a desk that allows you to maintain decent posture and maximum comfort. I also recommend some gel wrist rests to combat fatigue. And lastly, a nice footrest or even a pillow for your feet would be a good idea. Again, it may seem silly to you now, but I know a few gamers who could not handle PC gaming just for the fact that they initially had a very poor setup for gameplay as far as ergonomics was concerned. Even a ‘short’ session at a computer can, over time, result in neck, back and wrist problems if you aren’t careful with your gaming setup.

The right tools for the job.

Next, we want to make sure we have the right tools for the job. The basic setup is Keyboard, Mouse and monitor. There are 3 levels of gear that you can use – Basic, advanced and pro. Coming straight from console gaming can present some challenges for using PC gamer peripherals. However, do not underestimate yourself. You may want to go straight to advanced controls just for the sake of familiarity. And there are some things you should understand before we talk about gear.

The major difference in the gear is the level of control you can have and the speed and ease in which you can do so. While you can definitely use and do very well, even be the best, with the basic setup, there are a ton of benefits that are inherent to the more advanced setups. A lot of this also depends on your ability to be a binds user and not a clicker.

GUI
In the photo above we see a basic UI where abilities are arranged on a toolbar. In am MMO game you will need to drag and drop skills and abilities (even macros) into your toolbar in order to use them efficiently. This is not so dissimilar from how things work in some console games. However unlike in most console games where you can not use an ability unless it is in your toolbar, MMO gamers have the option to click an ability with their mouse to activate and use abilities. Clicking abilities is something that can not only impede your performance, it can make the games you play difficult to be “good” at. Now, this is not true for everyone. However imagine this – You are sitting in a chair in the middle of a living room. You have a large stick which you use to turn on the Television and change channels, turn on your ceiling fan, turn on and dim your lights and so on. Imagine aiming and pushing buttons on wall units around your house with this large stick. It seems silly but that’s basically what you are doing when you are a clicker. Now, Imagine you are sitting in that same living room only you have a universal remote for all of the devices in the room. Imagine how much quicker you would be. You see as a keybinder you will be putting those abilities on your toolbar just like everyone else. However you will go a step further by “binding” those abilities to your keyboard, most likely to the “F keys” (F1- F12) With that in mind, lets look at the gear..

Here we see our Basic Setup. It’s simply a keyboard and a mouse. You are looking at a Microsoft Natural Keyboard and a Logitech MX 518 mouse.

BasicSetup1
1. Microsoft Natural Keyboard. The particular keyboard depicted in the photo is absolutely not a gaming keyboard. It is however, comfortable for the user. An ergonomic keyboard like the one in the photo is designed for comfort and to combat fatigue. You will be spending a lot of time using this keyboard for just about everything you do in game – talking in chat, moving, using abilities (unless you are a clicker*) and for interacting with the game world. Remember, comfort is going to have to be paramount in your choice for a basic keyboard.

2. Logitech MX 518 mouse. This mouse is pretty basic. However it has a couple more features and buttons than the average mouse. This mouse is a very basic gaming mouse. When shopping for a gaming mouse, the sky’s the limit. There are extra weights that can be added, tons of buttons to be had, grips, backlights and even a mouse with a thumbprint reader for security. My only recommendations for choosing a mouse is that you buy a mouse that is, in this order, comfortable in your hand, has enough buttons for your needs and has cool features. I stress comfort because a big chunky mouse will tire you out fast, a mouse that is too small will cause hand pain. You really need a mouse that is comfortable. You also need enough buttons to complement your gamepad/keyboard. A good mouse can have as many as 8 buttons and sometimes more. The last thing to consider is features. A good mouse will have sensitivity adjustment buttons that allow you to adjust the speed of movement for the mouse on the fly. Some mice have little weights that can be inserted into the unit to give a different feel. There are also little molds that can be attached to some mice to change the shape slightly. One note of caution I would like to give is to stay away from wireless mice. They can fail at the most inopportune times. And by fail I mean sudden loss of connection or the internal batteries can go dead and then in turn kill your character and the characters of other players depending on the situation.

Now we come to the Advanced Setup. Notice that all I have done is added a little gadget off to the left side. This is a gamepad. This particular gamepad is a Nostromo N52.

AdvancedSetup1
1.Nostromo N52 Gamepad. A gamepad is probably the most important piece of gear we as MMO gamers can have. I even recommend them for FPS gamers. Gampads minimize the need for large and potentially clumsy hand movements, they allow for faster reactions and more fluid character control. When using a keyboard
you may find that some things you need to reach and push with your fin
gers involve clumsy or uncomfortable movements and reaches with your fingers. You may even find that it’s just not that comfortable to put in long hours of play when using a keyboard as your primary character control. Gamepads allow us to keybind our character’s abilities. Using keybinds can give you a much needed edge. Keybinds can also be used to trigger macros. Overall, a gamepad can make you a more efficient player.

As an MMO gamer using the advanced setup, a keyboard is usually only used for typing text chat. And even then, text chat is used in more relaxed, non-critical situations. When not merely socializing, MMO gamers use voice chat programs like Ventrilo and Teamspeak which are usually required for your participation in high level or ‘end game’ activities. Gaming keyboards can be used in place of a gamepad, however I personally recommend against them.

And last but not least we have the Pro Setup. Going out and buying a setup like this will not automatically make you a pro gamer. However it will provide a skilled player with more of an edge.

ProSetup1
What makes this setup more advanced than the advanced setup is the keyboard. The keyboard is a gaming keyboard.

1.Logitech G19. What makes this keyboard a “gaming keyboard” is the extra keys which are able to used as binds for gameplay. There is also a HUD built into the keyboard as a miniature screen. This keeps track of game telemetry and such. Now notice that it is not as ergonomically designed or as comfortable looking as the Microsoft keyboard from the other setups. This is because it simply is not. In fact, most gaming keyboards are not built around comfort but rather utility. In this setup the keyboard is used as a secondary utility to the gamepad. While this keyboard offers more control options and utility, it is best used in conjunction with a more comfortable primary control device. And speaking of that, you will notice there is a different gamepad in this setup. This is here for two very good reasons – Increased control options and keeping your mouse simple.

2.Logitech G13. This gamepad has far more buttons and utility than the Nostromo N52. However it is more difficult to master. The G13 has a HUD and tons of utility and just like other gamepads of it’s type, boosts performance. The reason why this pad is an upgrade from the Advanced Setup is due to it’s increased control options and utility. Upgrading your gamepad also can help prevent you from getting a mouse that is too complex.

The idea behind this setup is to keep things from getting clumsy while getting maximum utility from your gear. It is also about maintaining comfort while meeting your advanced control needs. You will notice that the mouse has remained the same in all of the setups. This is simply because a mouse can get so complex and cause fatigue due to poor design. You should always favor comfort over control options when choosing a mouse. If you can stand to use (and master) a more complex mouse then go for it. However, be warned that a bad mouse can ruin your day as your mouse hand will meet with more movement and more wear during your gameplay than your gamepad hand.

Screen
A decent size monitor is also something you will need. There are so many choice options for monitors that I just won’t get into them. All I recommend is that you choose a monitor that suits your needs as a gamer. While the viewable area is important, getting a single 52″ monitor is not going to give you a huge edge and will usually just have a degraded picture quality unless you spend the money for a good monitor. You can also get nuts and use multiple monitors. As I mentioned before, there are just so many choice options to mention that I won’t run down the list. Your monitor should suit your needs as a gamer. If you are squinting at the screen often and if you are underwhelmed by the picture quality, then you probably need a larger monitor with better clarity.

Something you will also likely need is a way to communicate over VOIP programs like Ventrilo (vent) or Teamspeak. These two programs are very commonly used in MMOs are some are required for membership into MMO guilds, which we will discuss later. I recommend a gaming headset with a mic. Some people use a freestanding mic in conjunction with their computer’s speaker system.

Before you even think of installing a game…

Unlike console games, where a new game title is released and you simply buy and play the version for your console, PC gamers have to take some steps to assure smooth gameplay.

Read the system requirements of the game you intend to play. The system requirements should be clearly listed on the product packaging. You can even go online to the official game site of the game you are interested in playing and take a note of the system requirements. Make sure your computer can handle it. Know the capabilities of your computer. If you are running a typical Windows OS, you can hit the Windows key (may also be the ‘Start’ key) and the Pause/Break key to bring up your system properties. Or you can click: Start, Control Panel, System, to bring up the same information. You will notice your Operating system (OS) at the top followed by your version of the OS. Down at the bottom of the window is your system information that should be greater than the program you are intending to run. Here is an example.

Image
In this example, the system boasts 2.GB of RAM. If an MMO title requires 1 GB of RAM, you should be fine. If it Requies 2 GB of RAM you will be able to run the game but could potentially have performance issues. And of course, if a game calls for more than 2 GB of RAM, you would need to upgrade your system. Your MMO title of choice will also have a processor speed requirement. Sometimes gamers who are using AMD processors can become confused when trying to determine their processor speed. Here is a handy little conversion chart for that. Of course, you may need to upgrade your system in order accommodate your MMO of choice.

Whether you must upgrade your computer or not, there is one step you absolutely must take before you can expect to install and run your MMO title. Do the housekeeping on your computer! If you are running a typical Windows OS there will be a few small icons down at the bottom right on your toolbar. These are usually indicators that let you know what programs you are running in the background. Some are idle programs. However these
can cause you a lot of trouble if you aren’t c
areful.

There are a lot of things you simply do not need to have running. I have a cheapie Compaq laptop that I use as I am roaming around my house. When I first purchased the laptop it had a ton of little programs that loaded up at start up. I immediately got rid of them, and so should you. If you don’t you can potentially be prone to getting windows popping up in the middle of your screen, tabbing you out of your game just to ask you something like, ‘There is an update for XYZ program, would you like to update now?’ or, ‘XYZ program would like to connect to the internet’ and so on. Even your trusty virus protection program can cause you problems if you aren’t careful. I highly recommend going to ‘Start, Programs (or All Programs), Start Menu and taking a look at the list of programs that automatically load when you start up your Windows computer. Chances are you don’t need most of the things that are loading at start up. Your virus protection program, if you have one, should be set to be updated and run manually, lest the program try to update or scan your system while you are playing. You should also set your Windows Updater so that you are doing your updates manually so that Windows does not try to update and restart your computer as you are playing. Ignoring the housekeeping on your computer is a bad idea. This could cause you to lag terribly and lead to misfortunes in game.

“My God, It’s full of stars…”

As an MMO virgin, one of the first things you will notice is the sheer size and scope of an MMO. There are usually so many options to consider such as, what race you will choose to play, which side or faction, what class you will want to play, not to mention the magnitude of the game itself. Take a deep breath and try not to be overwhelmed. It may seem like this monolithic undertaking, getting into an MMO, however understand that it’s supposed to feel like that. The whole idea behind an MMO is that they are persistent worlds that don’t simply stop existing just because you power down your computer. Your character is designed to be something you can be invested in and ‘exist’ through. If anyone, even a veteran MMO gamer, did not feel even the slightest bit overwhelmed by a new MMO, then the game developers didn’t do a very good job on the game.

The first thing you will likely have to decide is what server you would like to play on. It is important that you choose a server that is located as close to you as possible not only for the best lag, but also to ensure that your server is populated with players in your timezone. You don’t want to be playing when everyone is asleep and vice versa. If you are a Californian player, you will want to choose a west coast server. Players in Florida will want to choose an east coast server and so on. There is usually an easy way to find out where a server is located by accessing the official website of the MMO or by simply logging onto the server and checking the in game clock against your local time.

Another important choice you will have when selecting a server is the ‘type’ of server you will be playing on. The types of servers are usually as follows:

PvP – A server in which you are available to be attacked at any time (in most areas) by players of the opposite faction. There are usually safe zones you can go to in order to not be ‘flagged’ (open to attack) for PvP. And MMOs will sometimes have low level zones for new players be exempt from PvP flagging. However at some point from even relatively low levels, as you are out in the game world you will be subject to attacks from other players.

RP-PvP – The same as PvP servers only with the added designation of ‘Roleplay.’ Players who choose to ‘Roleplay’ their characters and immerse themselves in rich playacting while in game typically choose to play on these types of servers. Some game companies try to cater to the needs of RP’ers and give them a ‘safe’ place to engage in RP. RP’ers tend to be subject to greifing when they RP. RP servers are usually set aside for RP’ers and have special rules applied to prevent griefers from interfering with the RP community.

Normal – This usually means a server where nobody can be attacked by other players unless they choose to be flagged for and participate in PvP. There are often PvP ‘Battlegrounds’ where players can go to and have PvP battles. These battlegrounds are often in an area that players can not accidentally wander into.

Normal RP – The same as normal only with the added designation of ‘Roleplay.’

Once you choose a server you will need to create a character. This is where you decide the look of your character and what race/species you will play, your characters class and faction as well as other things depending on the MMO. Take your time in this stage. While some game companies are allowing players to make drastic changes to their character look and race/species and even faction sometimes (however usually for a fee), some MMOs do not allow as many changes down the line. And that brings us to our next topic…

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Creating your character involves several decisions that will stay with you for a long time. And while, as I mentioned before, some MMOs offer the player the ability to change some aspects of your charcter, some do not.

I strongly urge you to make a test character. Just whip one up with some things you think you like or even just use the random creation button (most MMOs have a randomizer button that will randomly create a look for you) to get a basic character made. The reason behind this is so that you can just have a look in game and get a feel for how other characters look, how they move, what you like and how armor looks on different characters. After you have a look and take some mental notes, log out and get ready to make your actual character.

Now we come to the real crossroads. You should really take some time to read up on all of the character classes, factions and races before you begin. The official website for your MMO of choice should have all the information you need. However we will now cover some of the basics and give you an idea for what to base your decision on.

Naming your character

A quick note about choosing your character’s name. Unlike in single player console games and some online console games, we can not get away with having ‘offensive’ names. Having references to illegal drugs, religion, sex acts will be deemed unacceptable. Having names that advertise a product or proclaim a point of view are often deemed unacceptable. In most cases a GM or ‘Game Master’ (also known as CSRs or ‘Customer Service Reps’) will contact you by email or in game to inform you that your name needs to be changed. Some characters will have pets which they can name. Try to follow the same basic guidelines for naming your pet as you can also run unto trouble for giving your pet an offensive name.

Faction/Alignment/Which side you will play on.

There will almost always be ‘sides’ to choose from. And it won’t always be as simple as good guys or bad guys. Some games will have more than two sides to choose from each with their own unique storyline. For the most part there is no real diffe

rence between your choice of sides or factions. The differences are mostly aesthetic or story driven. There will also be times when only particular races/species are playable on one faction or the other. In many cases where the races are faction restricted, the look and overall aesthetics reflect the motif of the faction they belong to. So, if you want to play the beautiful elves with cutsie figures and flowers in their hair, you will typically be restricted to playing the ‘good’ side. Overall, it really doesn’t matter what faction/alignment or side you play. You should choose the side that best represents what you identify with and will have fun with.

Race/Species

In many cases an MMO will offer several playable races or species within their game. As I mentioned before, there are times when races are restricted to a particular faction. Most MMOs are smart and do not make any one race more powerful than all the others. Sometimes races are offered special abilities unique to their race. However, even when a particular race offers racial abilities, the abilities are (arguably) balanced out against the other racial abilities for the other races. These can be fun and even have a slight impact on your character’s initial power. They can also benefit your character’s income in some cases. For example, your character may have a racial ability that allows you to be a slightly more skilled crafter or dancer. Your racial abilities or ‘racial’ may give you a slight increase to your characters health or ‘hit points’ or some other ‘physical’ attribute. Racials are usually designed for fun or to make your character’s race unique. In some cases, especially early in an MMO’s launch, racials can be overly important. For example, if a particular race’s racial offers a few more hitpoints then the race could be embraced as the best race suited for a ‘Tank’ role. However as the game progresses and evolves, racials tend to loose their importance and become trivial. Min/Maxers will tend to assign importance to the slight differences that racial abilities can offer, however they are a unique breed of player.

Professions

Many MMOs will have a sort of side job for players to have fun with. They go by various names but for this article we will call them, “professions.” In some cases you can make a nice pile of in game currency by choosing the right profession. In other cases you can choose a profession that does not yield much game currency but can potentially improve your character with the items you are able to produce. When choosing a profession, take a moment to look into the trends. You may be inclined to choose a profession that complements your class choice. In many cases, you can choose your profession after you have chosen your class. You may also be able to change professions when you feel the need to do so. However, be warned that most MMOs require a player to undertake a sort of leveling process in order to reach the peak usefulness of a profession. Changing a profession can often times mean forfeiting your use of a profession in order to pursue a new one. In any case, you can have a lot of fun with professions and play a bit of a mini game which could make you very wealthy in game.

Class

Choosing a class is very important. It is the single choice that defines your character’s function in the game world. While some MMOs allow for many hybrid classes, it is common for at least some classes to have a narrow role and sometimes a class can be the best at a particular role. A common trend for MMOs is to employ the ‘holy trinity’ system. This is built around ‘Tanking’, healing and DPS. There are also support and hybrid classes and sub-classes. Here is a breakdown.

Tanking – This is usually melee combat class. It is usually a role filled by a ‘warrior’ class and sometimes a support class. A tank holds ‘aggro’ or the ‘attention’ of a target that many people are fighting. It is a Tank’s job to absorb, deflect or avoid massive amounts of damage. Tanks usually have the most hitpoints of all the classes and have character attributes that are higher in the melee combat areas. These melee combat attributes can allow for a higher pool of hitpoints, the ability to dodge or parry attacks, the ability to block attacks and the ability to mitigate damage among other things. Tanks can be superstars within the MMO community. A good Tank can be the cornerstone of a guild, which is a group of players, similar to a ‘clan.’

DPS – DPS or ‘Damage Per Second’ classes are very popular and often account for the bulk of class variety. DPS classes are ranged or melee damage dealers each with their own unique perks. DPS classes can be anything from magic users to users of projectile weapons. They can be sword wielding heroes or sneaky assassin types with laser rifles. DPS classes are often more vulnerable than their Tank counterparts however DPS classes will have a much higher damage output. Playing a DPS class can often be rewarding as they can make the player feel powerful and important. Good DPS class players are masters of the numbers game. Meaning, a DPS character has a logical set of attacks and countermeasures for every situation. There is an optimal series of steps for damage and for countermeasures. An elite DPS class player will have taken the time to study the math behind the class abilities and countermeasures and apply this knowledge to game world situations.

Healing – Healing classes, while not for everyone, can be the difference between victory and defeat. Healing classes are usually the most fragile of all the classes however have a large role in both PvE (Player Vs. Environment) and PvP. Simply put, if a character is taking damage it will die without heals. Healers prevent death in game. With that in mind, a skilled healer can be a hero among their peers. It takes a very specific type of person to play and be successful at healing classes. A healer must be a group oriented player and able to perform within a team environment. An elite healer is a master of avoiding death while feeling their way through the combat rather than playing by the numbers. Simply put, whereas DPS is a science, healing is an art.

Hybrids – A hybrid is simply a mix of any of the trinity classes. There can be a healer class with some damage abilities for example. Hybrids bring variety and an organic feel to an MMO community. Hybrids are usually a good way to learn what you like to do. Hybrids are commonly ‘pretty good’ at everything, great at a few things and awesome at nothing. However there are, for better or for worse, exceptions to this. Hybrids are also commonly put into an MMO as intended support classes. For example a support class can be a healer that can do moderate damage. Or a class that is designed to defend other players and keep them alive, supplied and away from danger. MMO developers lean on hybrid characters to keep the games fresh and to offer something new for players. Some hybrid classes are clever in design.

Sub-classes – It’s very common for each class to have a sort of sub-classes or ‘off specs.’ In many cases a class will have a ‘talent tree’ or ‘spec’ to make ones character more unique. A class that is seen as the tank class, for example, could choose to have more survivability or more aggro managing abilities or have the option to go in a different

direction and elect to invest in ‘talents’ or ‘skills’ which make them less of a tank and more of a support/hybrid class. However sometimes something as explicit as a healer class can have available to the player an entirely different set of skills that in effect turn the healer into a formidable DPS class. This is the variety available to most players in most MMOs.

You can see that the choices can potentially be overwhelming at first. You may even decide to change what class you play or ‘reroll’ as it is commonly referred to. Don’t feel bad if that is the case. The point is that you are happy with what you are playing and having fun.

“I suppose you’re programmed for etiquette and protocol?”

As you log in for the first time to actually start the process of leveling and developing your character, you will begin to be seen by others in the community almost immediately. You will sort of ‘wake up’ into the world and have to learn how to move around and communicate. You will likely notice that people are jumping around like idiots. Don’t worry you’ll get used to it pretty quick. What you may have a little trouble with is figuring out how to get settled into the community within the game. Keep in mind that MMOs are very social games. The entire genre rests itself on the community being involved as a community. Here are somethings to keep in mind once you are logged in and trying to get settled.

When in Rome…

You should learn the particular customs of the community on your particular server. Things like the ‘loot rules’ or the way item rewards from fighting as a group are distributed. If you are playing on a RP server, you should have an understanding of how the RP is handled so that you can play along properly. You can visit the official website for your game and find the forum page for your server to discover much of this information. Or you can simply ask a player, which is a good way to meet people!

Put yourself out there.

Don’t be afraid to just talk to people. It’s not out of the ordinary for people to just walk up to someone and start a conversation. It’s expected and totally normal. If someone is rude to you, just move on and try again. Chances are you will usually find a decent person to talk to and someone who will show you the ropes. They may even walk you through some basics and introduce you to people.

Be ready to ‘talk.’

As you progress your character, you may aspire to join a guild of players. Many guilds require it’s members to use a voice chat system. Voice chat systems make coordinating players far easier and more efficient, making group actions more effective. Be ready to actually speak to your guild mates. Also, try to just be yourself. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re quiet, feel comfortable being quiet. However don’t try to impress anyone or have an exaggerated personality. Just be yourself and you will do fine.

I hate that guy!

The internet is full of inflated or exaggerated personalities and tough guys. If you want to stand out, be approachable and decent. If you want to be ‘respected’, then just be good at the game, have knowledge of your class and be consistent. People generally don’t want to hear how awesome you are, they want to see it. People generally don’t care if you are ‘dunk’ or ‘high’ and often find it annoying when someone is looking for attention via those means as it is often seen as just an act. People also don’t really care how much of a tough guy you are in real life or about your love life. If something sounds forced and like a bid for attention, it will often paint you in a negative light. Over time ‘that guy’ can wear on people’s nerves, especially if they are in the same player guild as he is. Don’t be that guy.

Watch your ‘mouth.’

Saying the wrong thing in chat can get you into heaps of trouble. Anything from racial slurs to persistent harassment of a player can land you in the ban boat. A first time offense can be anywhere from a 1 day ban from the game to a 3 day ban from the game or worse. It’s really hard to talk your way out of a ban. And you won’t even find out you’re banned until you are banned. So by the time you even get a hold of customer service you will have likely served much of your ban anyway.

Every dog has it’s day.

Some people choose to get involved in PvP. PvP happens. People will get mad when they die, but that’s just how it goes. PvP can be a lot of fun. However, be prepared for PvP to find you when you least expect it. React appropriately and remember that while it may not be just a game to you, it really is just a game. Don’t lose your cool. Losing your head will absolutely land you in trouble and can earn yourself a very poor reputation. And in an MMO community, your reputation counts.

Words of Extreme Caution!

If there were a single most important section of this article, this would be it. Please take these warnings to heart.

Make time for the game. There is no ‘pause’ button in an MMO. You will need to set aside uninterrupted time for many activities in an MMO. If you are involved in a group activity and you need to leave your computer, people will be waiting on you. Or worse, they will just leave you behind. You could even develop a reputation for being unreliable or flaky. On the flipside of that, you can get sucked into devoting far too much time to an MMO, much more than is healthy for you. Try to find a balance.

Remember the human aspect of the game. While MMOs are just games, a curious thing happens, you can potentially make real friends and real enemies. You must be aware that there are real people controlling these characters. People are in effect ‘living’ through these characters. Understand that people will react to things you do. Be you friend of foe, they will react accordingly.

Don’t steal. Just don’t do it. There are so many ways for theft to be tracked in an MMO that you will most likely be caught and dealt with. People will remember you for it and will make sure everyone else does too. Even when you think you are safe, maybe you have moved to a new server, changed your name and your character, your deeds will always catch up with you in one way or another. MMOs, even the biggest of the big, are still small worlds.

Keep your information secret. Never, ever give your account information to anyone. Don’t even give it to someone who comes to you in game and claims to be a game official. Anyone in game who needs your information will already have it. Also, never buy in game currency or use powerleveling services. The people who do the most hacking of accounts are usually the same people who are selling in game currency. Trust no one.

Don’t be ‘that guy.’ As I mentioned before, you will make real friends and enemies. Even the nice people can’t help but make a few enemies, people are just strange that way. However being the forum troll, the gratuitous ganker, the internet tough guy, the racist or any hyper exaggerated personality can lead to real trouble. No matter how clever you are someone will find a way to hit you where it hurts.

G.I.R.L.s. Strange as it may

sound to most people, there are a small sector of male MMO gamers who choose to have people believe they are females. There is a G.I.R.L. (Guy In Real Life) on every server of every MMO. It’s that widespread. The reasons for the deception are varied. However, whatever the reason, people don’t like being lied to. If you choose to partake in this sort of thing, eventually you will be either suspected of being a G.I.R.L. or outed as one. You will be expected to talk, as we mentioned before. Excuses only last for so long and people will shun you if they suspect you of deception. If anything, people will find it creepy and you will be the subject to cruelty.

In closing…

MMOs can be the most exciting, rewarding and socially rewarding gaming experience you will ever have. If you find the right MMO for you, it can be a lasting experience that brings you years of fun. I hope that in at least some small way you were able to find this article useful and helpful. I wish you the best of luck in your gaming and I hope you find unexpected friendships. MMOs are dependent on their communities. You are just as important to an MMO as any content a developer can create. You can be the best part of a game for other players. Hopefully you step back one day and realize that the best part of your MMO are the people you choose to play the game with.

Good luck!

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