As someone who has been in two long distance relationships that stretched over 9 years combined I often get asked what my secret was. How did I manage to do it for so long? It was difficult. There’s no denying that. But there’s one thing that I owe a lot to, and that’s MMOs. Typically when I tell people that the very next thing they do is ask which one they could play. So with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of 5 MMOs for Long Distance Relationships (or LDRs).
I got my start in LDRs before the days of Skype, when Netflix was just a DVD service and no one had ever heard of Hulu. Back then we relied on old-fashioned land lines and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) to keep in touch between visits. We dabbled a bit in Everquest but my time there was cut short when the system requirements were updated and my computer just wasn’t up to the task anymore. It wasn’t until a few years later and a different boyfriend that I returned to MMOs.
My poison of choice was City of Heroes. Not because I was a fan of superheroes, but more because that’s where my then boyfriend was playing and I really liked the flexibility it offered. Of course, I can’t recommend City of Heroes to anyone anymore since the game has been shut down for 5 years. Though I can recommend Paragon Chat which is, in essence, a cut down version of City of Heroes without the combat. A fantastic place for roleplaying, another thing that I recommend for anyone in an LDR. But because it’s basically only a chatroom with pretty visuals it won’t be on this list. What is? Let’s find out…
Trove is a voxel based sandbox adventure game that is incredibly newbie friendly. Offering the perfect opportunity to get your boyfriend/girlfriend into online gaming. It offers a little bit of something for everyone.
Like to explore worlds? Trove offers an endless variety of worlds and no two are ever the same. You can dig deep to find hidden caves and explore procedurally generated dungeons.
Like to build? Construct a home base that travels with you across worlds as you explore. These custom built home bases can look any way you want. The only limit is your imagination.
Like to fight? There are enemies to defeat in the open world or for more of a challenge you can jump into the previously mentioned procedurally generated dungeons.
In the end, Trove makes this list for being so user-friendly and offering such a variety of things to do. It’s also a great game to play as a duo.
I imagine a number of you just cringed reading this. Chances are you’ve already heard about Second Life and chances are whatever you’ve heard is a little weird, random, or just straight up NSFW. And while Second Life absolutely is all of those things, it shouldn’t be immediately dismissed either.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of Second Life, it is a virtual world in which you just…do what you like. There are no objectives. It’s a place for socializing, building, and taking part in activities. You may have heard about the Trump Supporting Demons who invaded a Bernie Sanders Headquarters in Second Life during the recent election. Or maybe you saw the interview that was interrupted with flying penises, the video below if you haven’t NSFW, obviously.
It is widely used by roleplayers both for entirely safe for work and NSFW roleplay. You can find thousands of user created clothing and animations. According to the wiki, you can even find embassies for real life countries in Second Life! While I had no idea they were there I’m not surprised at all. 1920s Berlin? Yep, you can find that in Second Life. Want a Medieval Fantasy? You can do that too. What setting you find yourself in is entirely down to your imagination. Missing your other half? Maybe start building a home together in Second Life, literally.
Secret World Legends
If you’re looking for a game with a modern setting then you can’t go wrong with Secret World Legends. It’s a great place to introduce your LDR significant other to the concept of roleplaying and now it’s easier to play than it was back when it was called The Secret World. It’s a lot of fun and easily can be played as a duo as you explore the world and investigate mysteries. This isn’t your average family-friendly MMO. Oh no, this is a more grown-up game for those who like to solve puzzles and watch stories unfold. While still kicking ass.
Secret World Legends has moved away from the MMORPG genre and instead calls itself an RPG with shared experiences which is really the perfect way to describe it. Think of all your favorite single player RPGs, now imagine if you could do them with up to 9 other people. That’s what you have in Secret World Legends. You can play at your own pace and there’s no need to be concerned about leveling too slowly.
Final Fantasy XIV
Whenever I see someone ask about MMOs to play with their boyfriend/girlfriend FFXIV is guaranteed to be on the list. It’s incredibly easy to get into and a lot of fun to play. The graphics are also a major draw as it is a beautiful game.
One downside to the game, however, is that playing dungeons is basically a requirement. This may be a bit daunting for non-gamers or people who have anxiety issues. Other reasons why it often gets recommended is that you can get married in game and you can buy a house to share. FFXIV is also appealing because they don’t oversexualize when it comes to armor for either gender. Oftentimes armor is very similar for both.
Another downside to FFXIV is that unlike every other game on this list it does require a monthly subscription to play. But, you and your other half can try it out for free as they do offer a limited trial. The fact that it can get away with a subscription still these days however I believe speaks to the quality of the game.
Guild Wars 2
Without a doubt the number one MMORPG I would recommend to for anyone in a long distance relationship at the moment is Guild Wars 2. It has beautiful graphics and is very flashy. It’s incredibly newbie friendly and easy to play. There aren’t any complex systems for you to learn, everything is very intuitive. While they have introduced more advanced gameplay like raids and fractals they are not a required part of the game.
They have several different types of PvP on offer for you, but you’re not forced to take part and you won’t ever see any of it happening while you’re in the world. It’s all done in other instances far away from the PvE content.
Guild Wars 2 is also free to play. Though you will be missing out on things like gliding and some zones if you don’t own the expansion. If you are considering buying Guild Wars 2 to play in your LDR, I would recommend waiting until the next expansion is announced in August 2017. Buying that expansion will give you that expansion, Heart of Thorns; the previous expansion, and the base game all in one go. If you don’t wait you’ll end up buying Heart of Thorns and then buying the new expansion as well when it releases.
I hope this list helps you in your long distance relationship. It is of course only a small list of the many MMOs that are out there. While in reality, any would do well for your relationship these were the ones that I feel are the best because of being user-friendly, newbie friendly, and offering a greater variety of opportunities in the game. Don’t let this list restrict you though. If you both love Star Wars, go for SWTOR. If you love spaceships, go for EVE. The important thing is that you’re spending time together and having fun doing it. And again, I cannot recommend roleplaying enough. If you’re new to roleplaying come back next week as I make a list of tips to help you get started.
Have you been in a long distance relationship before? I would love to know what games you played together to help bridge the distance! Maybe you met in a game? I’d love to hear your story! I’m a sucker for a great LDR story, even the ones that don’t have a happy ending. Speaking of happy endings, I’ve now been married to the man from my second long distance relationship for 8 years. We absolutely have MMOs to thank for that success. And we aren’t the only long distance relationship success story on the MMOGames staff either. Check out Hannah and Dan’s story about how they met in WoW.Related: Column, Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, Listed, MMO, MMORPG, Real Life, Second Life, Secret World Legends, Trove