If you could take any subject or intellectual property and turn it into a MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Role-Playing Game), what would it be? If you’re not sure what that is, think World of Warcraft… and if you still don’t know what that is, then I have no hope for you. Although I’m an avid World of Warcraft (WoW) player myself, I can’t help wondering what else would make a great MMORPG. Here are some ideas:
Robotech: The New Generation
One of my favorite T.V. Shows as a kid was Robotech (kind of still is…). It was a great mix of character drama, animation, and giant transforming robots (Mecha). Later, Robotech: the RPG, was published by Palladium books from 1986 to 2001 and a new edition for Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles was published in 2008. If you’re not familiar with it, Robotech is the story of mankind’s first contact with warring alien races and the use of special robot technology (Robotechnology… clever, huh?) to combat these invading forces. Robotech: New Generation takes place approximately fifteen years after the Earth’s first war with a race of alien giants, called the Zentraedi, and immediately after the end of the second Robotech war with the Robotech Masters. These two wars devastated the planet and the human race has not had time to recover when a third race of aliens, The Invid, invaded the planet and claimed it for their own. The Invid use the Earth to cultivate their precious Flower of Life (Protoculture), a substance also vital to Earths forces because it is the fuel source for robotechnology. The war that follows the Invid invasion is a resistance war fought on a post apocalyptic planet where resources are scarce and survival is hard.
The third installment of Robotech would make a great MMORPG because the story is a wonderful tale of humanities survival against unbelievably bad odds with giant ass-kicking robots. If made into a MMO it would be amazing to see the styles, and Mecha from the previous Robotech wars incorporated into the game with the surviving alien races used as player classes, or menacing opposing factions. If developers were to maintain a sense of lawlessness and scarcity of resources that exist in the cartoons this game would have a gritty and dynamic challenges that most other MMORPGs lack. The Invid themselves would also be a fun player class because of they have unique goals and a sense of destiny that affects the world. With the Invid there is a tragic history of being betrayed by the Robotech Masters and a quest for perfection through evolution of their race. As a species they have a deep hatred for all things related to the Zentraedi or Robotech Masters and they have sworn to eradicate anyone who uses Protoculture. This is a great motivation for in game warring factions and player classes.
Shadowrun is an RPG first published by FASA Corporation in 1989 and is now owned and published by Catalyst Game Labs. It is a futuristic mix of fantasy and Cyberpunk where magic has transformed the world. Some of the human race have changed into different “meta-races” (including troll, dwarf, and elf) who have access to dangerous magic and technologies. This is a story that has elements of a dark corporate world fueled by corruption and greed that would play out as an excellent MMORPG.
Think WoW mixed with Grand Theft Auto, then set fifty years in the future, and that would be the Shadowrun MMORPG. There could be a great mix of machine guns, hot elf babes, and lots of money lusting corporatist bastards to blow up every day! It could be possible for this game to have most all of the same player classes that fantasy games like WoW already incorporate but also be able to include new classes like Hacker and Street Samurai. Since a large part of the original RPG was about raiding a corporate infrastructure for loot or rescue this game would be an ideal for raiding teams and quest chains.
Back in 2007 a game developer, Sixth World Games, wanted to produce a Shadowrun MMORPG and present it to Microsoft (Who in 2007 bought FASA interactive and now owns the electronic rights to Shadowrun), but when Microsoft got wind of the project they quickly shut it down. Since then Microsoft has produced a Shadowrun first person shooter based on the RPG. There can be up to 16 players who can play across Xbox 360 and Windows vista platforms. You can check out a review of the MS version of the game at 1up.com. Also, while looking into this I found an all-volunteer open source project called Shadowrun: Awakened. They are basing the game on the fourth edition rule set for Shadowrun and striving to create a fun and interactive cross-platform MMORPG. I don’t know if this project is making progress or what the results have been but I hope to do a full article on it sometime in the future. Currently Shadowrun: Awakened is looking for volunteers and donations.
Greetings, citizen! THE COMPUTER has made you a protector of the underground city of ALPHA COMPLEX. You will have lots of fun rooting out Communist mutant traitors. The Computer says so. Members of treasonous secret societies like the Frankenstein Destroyers, the Illuminati, Psion, PURGE and the Sierra Club may attack maim or blackmail you. Treasonous mutants with powers like Electroshock, Pyrokinesis, Charm, Puppeteer and Bureaucratic Intuition may shock you, incinerate you, subvert you, control you or bury you in paperwork. But it will be fun. The Computer says so, and The Computer is your friend.
Paranoia was first published by West End Games back in 1984 (is that ironic?) and has been described as a dark humored dystopian future of Orwellian proportions, Paranoia pits its player characters against a dangerous AI computer (that governs the giant city, Alpha Complex) and themselves. Death is fairly common in this game, so each player is equipped with six clones (the six pack) and sent on dangerous, often suicidal missions with experimental weapons to root out would be threats to the Computer.
Why isn’t this game a MMORPG yet? This has got to be one of the greatest RPG’s of all time. Imagine all the great questing abilities of WoW but also the ability to frag your friends like in Halo. Paranoia already has in place an awesome leveling system of color-coded access clearance and the secret society aspect of the game could be modeled closely on the guild membership system used by existing MMOs. Also, I would like to see a high level of consequence in a game like this. By this I mean, all characters should be allowed to progress through levels and gain new abilities and experience, thus being harder to kill, but all characters should only be allowed to resurrect just six times. If a player character uses up all their six-pack then they should have to generate a whole new “toon” and begin the fun all over again.
I didn’t find any information about an official development of a Paranoia MMORPG by companies who own production rights, but I did find out about at least one online role-playing group for Paranoia fans at paranoia-live.net. However, I sincerely hope that some day soon game developers will realize the potential of this game, and give us all a chance to hunt down treason loving commies where every they may hide in Alpha Complex.
Lego: Star Wars
Not to long ago I blogged about the recent announcement of the Lego MMO soon to be released. Lego: Universe has all the fun puzzles and game play of past Lego video games, but also has the bonus of an in game economy and multi-player interactivity. Players will be able to collect bricks and build whatever they want. This is a great idea and I am very excited to play, but I what I really want is a Lego Star Wars MMO.
Before my Xbox 360 died one of my favorite games to play was Lego Star Wars II, The Original Trilogy. The game had a unique style, fun and challenging puzzles, and a wonderful sense of humor. Adding an extended license development of Star Wars to the Lego: Universe would be awesome. I imagine it as having all the same advantages of building and collecting as Lego: Universe will have, but with Light-sabers, X-wings, and Droids too!
I couldn’t find any information on the Lego site of a possible expansion of Lego: Universe into the Star Wars realm, but, here’s to hoping, right?
Damnit Blizzard, just do it already!
On November 23, 2004, Blizzard Entertainment (a subsidiary of Activision) released The World of Warcraft MMORPG, and forever changed the way we play online video games. Warcraft is still the highest selling MMORPG on the store shelves and has millions of loyal fans, but even before World of Warcraft Blizzard had created one of the best real time strategy games ever developed, Starcraft. Released back in 1998 Starcraft, to date, has sold over eleven million copies and has just recently released a sequel, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, which sold 1.5 million copies in its first 48 hours! The game has three warring factions that users can choose to play: Terrans (human soldiers), Protoss (a highly advanced race with psionic powers), and Zerg (an insectoid like race that infest worlds).
Starcraft is a real time strategy (RTS) game, but so was Warcraft and Blizzard did an awesome job of transforming that into a fun profit-earning juggernaut. It seems with the approach of each new Blizz con, fans wonder if this will be the year Blizzard announces the new Starcraft MMO. Who knows, maybe this year at Blizz con (October 22-23rd) Blizzard will tell us Starcraft is on its way. I’d like to keep that rumor alive.
Well, there you have it. Although I feel these are great ideas for potential MMORPGs, It’s hard to say what would make a great one until they are actually developed. If you have any ideas of what would make a good MMO, or would like to discuss some of these ideas, please let us know. Thanks for reading and have a great day!