I know there are several folks out there that really hate it when an franchise gets turned into an MMO. This is not a post for you in the least, so I will probably only serve to frustrate you this morning. For me… I love MMOs, it is my favorite type of game, and comprises of the vast majority of games I play. If you check my Raptr profile you will see that the majority of all the high consumption titles are massively multiplayer online games. However every now and then there is a setting that feels like it screams to be an MMO. These are the five settings I want most in MMO form.
5 – Rifts
For those who have not been hanging around game shops most of their lives… this title could go completely unnoticed. It never really had the big money marketing that for example Dungeons and Dragons had, but it represents a good chunk of my childhood. I love the palladium system, not because it was some great feat of gaming. Quite frankly the rules are pretty lousy if you get down to it and and extremely cumbersome. What always drew me to the system was the promise of being able to create damned near anything you can think of. Rifts took this earlier concept of the palladium system and infused it with so much personality.
Rifts sets up an earth where the magic has returned and caused leylines to blaze open across the planet. When two intersect there is a chance of a dimensional rift opening and spilling forth all manner of crazy into our world. This alone would be enough for me… but additionally they have set up all sorts of great opposing forces… the Splynn, the Coalition, the Federation of Magic, the Triax, the NGR, the list literally continues on and on as there are over 30 separate sourcebooks each filled with its own list of opposing forces. Additionally there are some pretty amazing character classes like Glitterboys, Juicers, Cyberknights, Techno Wizard, Ley Line Walker, Psi-Stalker, and again these go on and on. There is just so much world to wrap a game around, and almost unlimited content to explore for expansions.
4 – Shadowrun
This is another long time dream of mine to see Shadowrun in a massively multiplayer setting. This was a huge system as I was growing up, and while I never actually played a lot of it, I owned most of the books. Similar to Rifts it is a setting of an alternate earth, where magic and technology clash. Drawing upon the William Gibson novel Neuromancer it adds the element of the Matrix and cyber warfare. I thought this could lead to some really interesting gameplay. Where part of your party is physically running a dungeon while your decker is going along with you in cyberspace trying to remove obstacles from your path.
Recently the Shadowrun console games have been revitalized in the form of Shadowrun Returns… which is cool but I would much rather have a huge living and breathing world to explore than to do so in a top down tactical setting. Once again there are tons of source books over the run of this system that could be drawn upon to keep the world going for years. There is also a similarly long list of really interesting classes to play, with lots of different gameplay styles to explore.
3 – Mass Effect
This one will likely never happen after the tale of Star Wars the Old Republic and how it struggled to find an audience. But I think we all can admit that Mass Effect as a whole is a much better universe to explore than that of SWTOR. The ME saga, or at least up until the very end is one of the better science fiction storylines I have experienced. I would love to see a serialized television show chronicling the exploits of Shepard. As far as an online universe would go, we would have to set the game significantly earlier than the events of ME1. Essentially from that game forward there is an apocalyptic destiny set in motion, and that really does not give much room for growth.
In order to make this work we would need to set the game either before or after the main trilogy, and really don’t think ANY of the endings to ME3 gives us enough room to move within game wise. As a result I would set the game a few years before the events of Mass Effect. This should allow the game to evolve along the normal course of events that happen in the main trilogy. Similar to the LOTRO game, you would be different characters in the same universe watching the events play out around you. There are so many different cultures and opposing viewpoints that it just begs for a MMO to be wrapped around it.
2 – Fallout
War, War Never Changes. Every time I hear Ron Perlman utter those words I get this massive nostalgic wave of feels was over me. I love everything there is about the Fallout setting, and have been a series diehard since I saved up the cash in college to buy the first one. I missed the boat on the whole Wasteland thing, so I am hoping the Kickstarter will give me a taste of what that world would have been line. I want a Fallout MMO so badly, but more than anything… I want one that CONTROLS like Fallout. I want so much to like Fallen Earth, but I just cannot get past the control scheme, and it destroys the game for me.
The whole post apocalyptic wasteland is such fertile ground for an MMO. Especially a huge sandbox setting like Fallout. As far as classes go, I think you would have to do the same sort of open ended treatment that you already have in Fallout. Mainly I would be happy with just allowing a persistent and co-operative version of the existing Fallout games. There are already so many different competing interests in the wasteland, and I feel like you could pretty much plunk another game down at any point during the current storyline. Mainly I just want to join the brotherhood of steel and wander around the wasteland in power armor like I always do.
1 – Elder Scrolls
Okay I admit it… this is absolutely cheating since we all know there is already an Elder Scrolls MMO on the way. However until it releases sometime next year, this one stays at number one with a bullet. There has never been another series that has captured so much of my imagination as has the Elder Scrolls Series. I love literally everything about the world. The absolute vastness of it all, the lore, the Aedra and Daedra. Nothing inspires me more than having a game with a fully fleshed out world and its pantheon of gods. I think that more than anything is what glued my attention to Everquest and Norrath, and the complex relationship between the various gods in Tamriel makes that setting seem simplistic.
More than anything, I love the freedom of the Elder Scrolls settings to completely abandon my quest chain and wander off into the world exploring freely. I love that there is always something to find hidden in this nook or cranny. I love almost more than anything that there are tons of books in the games, each with their own story that only serves to make the world more rich and three dimensional. You have some amazing races, each with their own deep background and other races that no longer exist like the Dwemer have have littered the landscape with their former greatness. I just hope that the MMO version can gather up all this great lineage and give me vast tracts of interesting to go off and explore. This is the game I am most looking forward to, and you can bet that when it releases I will pretty much forsake everything else at least for awhile.