I’ve been writing MMOCO for over a year and a half now, and though we’ve discussed some awesome co-op features that certain MMOs possess, we haven’t specifically looked at why we, as co-op players, play MMOs (or should consider playing them). Now, I certainly can’t speak for the entire community, but I can share some of the reasons I personally play MMOs as co-op experiences. Maybe you share some of my reasons, or maybe after looking at them, you might consider trying out an MMO as a co-op experience. Or maybe you have some of your own reasons that you’d like to share. As always, we love to hear from you, our readers!
Playing with More Friends
I have about 8-10 friends that I play games with regularly. At any given time, it’s unlikely that all of us are playing the same game; however, it’s not uncommon that at least 5 or 6 of us are playing the same one. As co-op gamers, I’m sure you guys know that a 5 or 6-player co-op game is not unheard of, but it’s uncommon. Most co-op games cap out at 4 players and some at 2 or 3. The average party size in an MMO is 5 or 6 (though in some it can be as low as 4, or as great as 8 or 10). The average “raid” size nowadays is two parties (so usually 10 or 12 players). This kind of grouping size more suits my needs for playing with all my friends who are playing the same game.
Roles in a Group (Classes and Specializations)
Alright, I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m a sucker for well-defined roles in a group. I love jabbering on about silly topics like “group composition,” “team builds,” and “class specs.” I love having a role on a team or in a group. I usually take a support, healing, or utility role; a role that makes my group stronger, or more durable, or able to do tougher stuff. Some co-op games have this type of take on team play for sure, but in MMOs, it’s almost a given. Whether it’s saving people in the nick of time with a well-timed heal, or making them deal ridiculous damage with a strong buff, this is usually where I’m in my element.
Usually, my co-op buddies and I get through content fairly quickly. If it’s story-based content (like a story campaign), we often don’t enjoy going back and redoing it over and over. MMOs hold an appeal for us because not only does an MMO ship with a pretty huge amount of content to get you from level 1 to max level, but the normal model for an MMO includes free content patches (and later, paid expansions). Content patches add things such as new and exciting features (things that often didn’t make the cut for release), and often focus on adding more content the end-game players. This means that when we finish all the end-game content we can manage, we often still have new content to look forward to in the future. This ties into my last reason:
A lot of people think of MMOs as being more expensive than other games. There’s the box price (which includes a free month) and then a fee each month after that to continue having access to the game. For some players this kind of model ends up being very expensive for what they’re getting out of the game (such as players who only have time or interest in playing a handful of hours a month) For others, though, who log on several times a week for decent-sized playing chunks, it can end up being pretty economical. Some months I’ve gone without buying any other games because I’ve been so occupied with my MMO, while other months (when I wasn’t playing an MMO, I found myself buying more games. So for me, personally, it often helps me cut down on my gaming-related expenditures. Let’s not forget that there are plenty of free MMOs out there, too - and free is certainly economical. Note, however that most of these have their own separate cash shops, so be wary that in some games players actually end up spending much more money than a normal monthly fee. There’s certainly no harm in trying them out, though, and seeing if they strike your fancy.
Those are a few of the reasons why I MMO co-op. What are some of yours?