I recently recommended that a friend try out his first MMO. I know it's not something he'll be able to continue playing, as he has a wife and 4 kids, but it's an experience I recommend for almost everyone. The wierd part was that as I described the MMO, Champions Online, since it has a free to play option, I found it wierd comparing my first MMO to my point of view now.
My first MMO was Planetside, a first person shooter (FPS) MMO from Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). For those that don't know, a MMO is a Massively Multiplayer Online game. Basically, imagine a living world that you and your friends and a bunch of strangers also inhabit, ideally filled with mission and other things to do to keep you entertained. I found myself recommending Champion, in part because of the lack of the huge time and money investment (I quit Planetside about 3 months after I started, as I was playing Galaxies as well), and because Champions has one of the best character creators in a game.
Looking back on those events, I realized I was recommending a game, primarily because it had alot of distractions, not based on the actual content and merit of the in game activities. I know some of my friends would say that's a reflection on Champions as a bad game, but honestly, I think it's the other way around. Champions in going free to play has succeeded in doing something alot of games actually strive for. Champions gives you a no risk entertainment investment with a return of leisure activity.
Even if you never play champions, and just fool around with the character builder, you'll find yourself having fun. It's like playing with lego's. Eventually you get something you really love, and it's always when you least expect it. It's free so, unlike the majority of MMO's you don't have to worry about paying the subscription and life getting in your way of being able to get your money's worth for the month, and the content is growing all the time, so casual gamers will always have something to do, and those with alt-itis (the distraction to continue creating alternate characters) will have more than enough flavor for design.
I honestly wish I'd had some options like this when I was coming around. I mean I love Galaxies, but sometimes knowing the general of how MMO's work is far better than learning on the clock.