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Avoiding Fantasy MMOs

September 21, 2009

Fantasy is not my favourite genre.  With a few exceptions I have not much clue of who is who among fantasy authors – the only author whose books I have read a lot is Terry Pratchett. I do not dislike fantasy – I just have difficulty to show any extended interest in it.

For MMOs, my first 4 MMOs were categorised in different genres (Anarchy Online, Earth&Beyond, EVE Online, Star Wars Galaxies) and I got my introduction to fantasy MMO with Final Fantasy XI. There are certainly some quite good fantasy MMO games out there, but I do find that I am perhaps in some cases less tolerant and less patient with fantasy MMOs than with some other genres.

Good or bad, I see little reason to go back to World of Warcraft, LOTRO, Everquest 2, Dungeons&Dragons Online or Age of Conan. Or try Warhammer Online or Aion for the first time. Guild Wars and Saga or Ryzom are perhaps my exceptions – in particular Guild Wars’ quite strong story part and interesting skill system and mission/game mechanics still has made it fun to play. And one reason I will likely try out Guild Wars 2 despite the fantasy genre.

But if I look at any part that may be less than stellar in a game I have certainly had more than enough of farmers and others wanting me to kill boars/wolves/orcs/trolls/dragons/elves/whatever. Similar mechanics but with some other genres seem to work out better for me.

How important is the genre for you? Does it matter at all?

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  1. September 21, 2009 at 20:10

    Earth & Beyond was a great game and I wish I had played it more.

    For me I prefer the fantasy genre, but really if it’s a good game I will play it. Fantasy is just a genre that I am more familiar and comfortable with.

  2. Bhagpuss
    September 21, 2009 at 22:19

    I came to MMOs because of the Fantasy genre. Outside of that I’m not particularly interested.

  3. Sok
    September 21, 2009 at 23:13

    I feel that the vaguely European, more-or-less-Tolkien fantasy settings have been beaten to death. I like the genre but I’m burned out with the aesthetics and motifs. I appreciate games that put somewhat different spins on them: Chronicles of Spellborn and Ryzom spring to mind. They’re high-fantasy… somewhat.

    For me, though, it’s more important that the game mechanics and systems mesh well with the setting. I feel that we see a lot of Fantasy MMOs (and its sci-fi cousin, Post-Apocalypse) because these settings lend themselves to the low-scale inter-‘character’ interactions that drive most MMOs. Harvest the ore, loot the body, craft a sword, walk to the nearest settlement and pray that someday you can ride there faster — these types of activities fit a preindustrial revolution world.

    (From what little I understand of EVE Online, it has the same situations but works within the far-future space-opera-ish setting because it’s replaced the character Actor with the character’s ship.)

    It’s when you try and wedge those systems into a different setting you run into trouble, I think, and the more specific and defined the setting the more problems you’ll have. People’s expectations from a “space ship MMO” will be more open-ended than the expectations around Star Trek Online (for example).

  4. September 22, 2009 at 06:12

    @Sok: I think you are quite right that the game mechanics need to fit with the setting and we are seeing a lot of the low tech environment partially because of the mechanics.

    I am curious to see how the post-apocalyptic environments works out; they will likely provide with many similarities to low-tech fantasy settings. Will they work out for those who like fantasy settings because of low-tech similarities? Will they work out for those tired in particular of the somewhat tolkienesque fantasy settings because they are different from it?

  5. September 24, 2009 at 16:09

    This works out pretty good, as I am avoiding all Superhero / Sci- Fi MMO’s…so we all even out.

    Cheers mate

  6. September 25, 2009 at 19:12

    I like all genres, but much more important to me than genre is how well the game is executed and how fun it is.

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