'Tis the season for non-MMO players dipping their toes in the vast MMO waters; the guys at Man vs. Horse have done a bang up look at City of Heroes, EVE Online, and the ubiquitous WoW. It's always looking at veteran gamers coming to a new genre, and the series is a quick, funny, engaging read. It's also given me an idea of what MMOs I won't be trying:

At times it's staggeringly beautiful. You'll forgive the time it takes to travel between space stations as you watch the glowing nebulae glint off your ship's hull. It's impossibly slick. Eve's interface isn't slick at all. It's like falling down a waterfall of endless menus. Boxes of stuff will clutter up the screen as you play, and nothing is ever as simple as it should be. You'll buy something in a space station, but buying it doesn't actually give you the item, you have to open cargo hold, and then open your inventory and drag the item you've just bought into your ship. This is something we constantly forgot to do, which meant , once we had eventually figured out what was happening, that we had left a trail of forgotten ship upgrades in storage hangars in various space stations scattered across the galaxy. Much time was spent retrieving them. We upgraded our weapons to take on some tough space pirates, after much peering at tiny stat values trying to figure out what the difference was between a Laser Cannon and a Railgun, and whether or not our characters had the skill to use them or the money to buy them, we rolled into battle to find ourselves confused and really quite embarrassed when none of our weapons worked. My Laser Cannon had packed in because the energy grid on my ship couldn't handle the new hardware, and Dante hadn't bought any rockets for his rocket launcher. We warped the hell out of there to spend some more time menu-gazing at the nearest space station. All in all, it was a constantly frustrating experience with a near vertical difficulty curve.

The four-part series includes an entry for each game, plus a concluding section; go forth and conquer. MMO Showdown [Man vs. Horse via Rock, Paper, Shotgun]