The last thing the world needs are more MMO’s. But because that is clearly impossible, here’s a list of IP’s that could make excellent MMO’s (but of course, for whatever reason, won’t – not only because they won’t be made, but also because they almost certainly won’t be excellent).
1. Lunar: Dragons, anime, the moon, and Dyne. Sounds like a perfect recipe to me. On the other hand, Lunar was such a great single player game, translating that experience into multiplayer would be challenging, to say the least.
2. Chrono Trigger: I’m just imagining starting zones in each of the different eras. Also, robots.
3. George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: Perhaps the most fully fleshed out fantasy world since Middle Earth, there’s just a ton of material to work with. Also, the RTS based on the series is an absolute abomination, so it literally can’t be the worst Ice and Fire game out there.
4. Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time: At one time this was hands down the most popular fantasy series running. An excellent mythos that could easily transition into an MMO. Aes Sedai, Warders, Dreadlords, Children of the Light – the character classes just create themselves. Also, rest in peace, James Rigney.
5. Terry Brooks’s Shannara: In my mind, Terry Brooks and Shannara were the embodiment of fantasy writing prior to Jordan. Disclaimer: the first fantasy books I ever read were by Terry Brooks. Regardless, almost limitless source material here.
6. A Final Fantasy not set in Vana’diel or Ivalice – how ’bout Final Fantsy VI?: I’ve almost completely lost faith in Square. Even so, returning to the world of FFVI – or FFIV – or even FFVII – would be fantastic. Not sure how it would make sense, but I don’t care. It’s a game.
7. Mass Effect: As far as I’m concerned, there hasn’t been an exceptional science fiction MMO yet. Some folks have yearned for World of Starcraft for a while, but I’m slightly over Blizzard for the time being, and Mass Effect is incredible. ‘Nuff said.
8. The Elder Scrolls: I confess, this started as basically a throw away, filler choice. But then I thought about it – what if you could explore all of the regions of the Elder Scrolls world in one game? Food for thought.
9. David Eddings’s Belgariad/Mallorean: I discovered David Eddings after I’d devoured every book written by Terry Brooks. Thus, the Belgariad has a special place in my memories (if that looks lame, realize I edited it from “my heart” to “my memories”). O, to travel throughout Riva, Cherek, and Drasnia, mingling with the Alorns, then heading south to rumble with the Murgos. Yep.
10. David Eddings’s Elenium/Tamuli: I always liked Sparhawk. He’s an older, more grizzled hero, and his world somewhat reflected that. Again, plenty of source material to work with, but frankly I just want to wander around in Eddings’s universe(s).
11. Lost Souls MUD: There was a time when I would have said that Lost Souls was among the best games around – of any genre. Unfortunately, that time is not now, but only because some of the developers decided to go overboard fiddling with the game mechanics – the game is still alive and kicking. An MMO based on the old Lost Souls could be great. Hey, a similar concept brought us Everquest, yes?
12. Y’s: Put this under the same category as Lunar, albeit with infinitely more iterations – a fantastic (series of) game(s) that deserves more recognition. Although, I almost feel like creating an MMO from Y’s (or Lunar) would be disrespecting their legacy.
13. Diablo: I’m not that sick of Blizzard. Diablo is awesome, and, in many ways, Diablo I and Battle.net brought about the current age of multiplayer gaming. Four players in game at once? That didn’t even know each other? INSANITY!!!!11!
Honorable Mention: An ORIGINAL IP! There’s something to be said for a game world with no strings attached, no expectations, and no requirements. Unfortunately, there’s also no hook, and if you aren’t careful, the game just looks like a clone of… whatever. Probably WoW.
And there it is. A relatively off the cuff list including a few of my favorite authors and games, many for nostalgic reasons, and some because they might actually be worthwhile. I suppose there are two points to take away from this.
First, there are more than a few incredible IP’s waiting around to be
abused used in an MMO. The above are some of the worlds I would like to explore, and I’m sure everyone can think of at least as many of their own IP’s they’d like to experience.
Second, as great as a few of those IP’s sound (to me, at least), I stand by my theory that the odds are stacked against their success. Expectations are just absurdly high for MMO’s, and since the games are based on large communities of players, it’s easy for the community to voice their disappointments.