Free MMORPG & Free MMOs

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By Cody ‘Neramaar’ Hargreaves

Fantasy Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games. Quite the mouthful, isn’t it? Due to the staggering amount of these game types in today’s world, we simply refer to them as MMORPGs now, as there is little in the way of other branches of the genre. Knowing this, I am saddened greatly when I think of the wasted potential in the genre – multiplied tenfold by the sheer influx of the fantasy themed variations.

Shaiya, Last Chaos, Silkroad Online, Lineage 2, World of Warcraft, Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, Atlantica Online, 2Moons, 4Story, 9Dragons, Runes of Magic, Requiem, Rohan… and the list goes on. All of these games have been categorized as Fantasy MMORPGs – and all of them are more of less the exact same thing. Sure, they each of their own standout features, some more easily noticed than others – but when you break it down, they aren’t really that different at all.

The process is simple; you begin by creating an alter-ego from a list of standard archetypes, customize them to your liking, and proceed through the game by completing quests and killing NPC (non-player character) monsters to gain in strength. Some of the better developed games provide more content, such as dungeons and PvP variations to offer players a better experience, but still, it’s basically the same thing. Why? Well, my guess would be because they are all fantasy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fantasy themed games as much as the next guy, and I think games like World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online mark the dawn of a new era of fantasy gaming – but the countless clones flooding the field are drawing greatly from the effect, and drowning the genre as a whole. What we need is some variation in the genre.

Sci-Fi MMORPGs would be a great candidate for features like perma-death, and squad based FPS gaming in an RPG environment. Players would need to form a crew (guild) in order to fly a space craft to other planets, and would need different classes to operate the ship.

Racing MMORPGs (not racing MMOs) could allow players to race against each other for ‘pink slips’ giving the winner their car at the end of the race – but also building up massive car collections for themselves while navigating vast life-like cities and fighting for survival in the Tokyo Underground.

Adventure MMORPGs could see Mario style platform games used in an online MMO environment crossing RPG strategy with Platform skill and perseverance. This is all off the top of my head, but I honestly believe that this type of innovative thinking will be the savior of the genre. We need to work together and combine our support for such games – let’s get off the fantasy train for a while and explore a few other scenarios, I reckon it could be a lot of fun.