I like to dabble my feet in many waters. Sometimes, I find myself sitting on a dock, lazily fishing away the day and I think “Hey, I bet there’s some bigger fish in that lake over yonder!” So I get up and go. Usually though, I find that those waters bear half mutated man-fish that, while tasty, don’t sit quite right. And I find myself back where I started until my next bout of “what if” sets in.

I like to think that it’s a natural result of experience. Once you get used to an MMO, I mean really used to it, you start to wonder what else is out there that you may be missing. You get an itch to peep at your neighbors. So, ever so stealthily you sneak into your neighbor’s house and poke around in their drawers.

When I had my first touches of WoW burnout, I scanned the MMO horizon and tried out a few of the bigger fantasy titles that appealed to me. First was LotRO. On a whim, and with a fresh bonus check, I signed up for the lifetime subscription figuring that, hell, a $200 investment will keep me with it until I got that “hook”. Unfortunately, it didn’t do all that much. Before I had really played it, I was already looking at other MMOs. My level 13 loremaster still sits.

Next was Vanguard. Despite all of the criticism it’s received, I really liked it. The graphics were great and the game had a “classic” MMO vibe to it. Traditional stats on gear (dex, wisdom, etc), a “recall” spell instead of a hearthstone, the works. That didn’t least either though. As much as I was intrigued about the game, the prospect of leveling up only to find a dying world population scared me off.

Finally, I downloaded the trial for Everquest 2. That was probably the shortest lived. This took place during the “Play the Fae” campaign, where you could only play as a faerie. Who would have thought that a guy who usually plays evil characters wouldn’t connect with a little purple faerie. Go figure.

So, back to WoW I went until WAR came along and you all know what happened there.

I’m about 10 quests from being able to start Northrend and yet, when I wrote my piece on Darkfall, seeing that world map inspired something in me. I have this yearning to play a game of high fantasy. In truth, I feel the urge to go to Vanguard again and give it another try. Yet, LotRO and EQ2 may be better options for longevity and population.

I’m really stuck in between. I have no plans to drop out of WoW at the moment, so I’ll be playing two games at once. LotRO has the natural advantage here because I’m not stuck with monthly fees. Something about it doesn’t quite click with me, though. It may be because I haven’t played it enough but, either way, I’m not sure. And EQ2, to be honest, I know next to nothing about the game.

Is there PVP? Small group dungeons? Raids? How long do these things take?

Based on my research, I could probably answer those questions. What it really comes down to is how the different titles conceptualize these activities. I’d hate to get into a game only to find myself let down after hours invested.

As of right now, I’m downloading LotRO again but if that doesn’t work I may well be giving you a noob’s report on Vanguard or EQ2.

If you have any suggestions for a side-MMO, feel free to toss them in. I’m always open to new things, especially when my inner fantasy nut is grasping at straws.

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