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Non-WoW MMORPGS, particularly free ones
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:08 pm    Post subject: Non-WoW MMORPGS, particularly free ones Reply with quote

For some time, I've wanted to play MMORPGs. We have an enormous WoW topic, but there are many non-WoW MMOs out there. Talk about them here.

I'm particularly emphasising free ones, since I don't want to pay for something I might not like, particularly by subscription. For anyone else who might want the MMORPG experience without having to fork out for it, here are my experiences.


The ones I'm playing now

Talisman Online - Intended to resemble Chinese myth. Easy to play, but quite challenging. It has a few elements that it set it apart, such as the talisman system (wherein you use energy from kills/quests to upgrade certain items) and the master/apprentice system (which didn't work out in the end, because my master became inactive when I was at 28, effectively screwing me over at the last minute). http://www.talismanonline.com/


Shaiya - More effort in the visual presentation than many free MMOs. Easy to learn, but there are some translation issues (inconsistent monster names, for instance). Guilds seem easier to find and join in this than in some other games, which makes a difference. Lacks the additional unique (or at least distinctive) features of games like Talisman, but is very solid nonetheless, and the relative variety of character routes (for a free game) gives replay incentive. I've been told it's very much like World of Warcraft, but as I always say, "like WoW but free can only be good." One major criticism at the moment is for the last couple of weeks, there have been lots of server problems. Hopefully they won't last. http://shaiya.aeriagames.com/


Conquer Online - This was the first one I played, and consequently it has defined my experience of MMORPGs. Everything I play undergoes comparison to Conquer. It's not typical, though; very grind-heavy, and big on PvP. Easy to pick up and put down, but lacks depth. Unlike almost all other MMORPGs, Conquer doesn't really do quests. 1GB. http://co.91.com/


Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds - Seems to be an MMORPG done in the style of old-school top-down RPGs. That alone was enough to intrigue me, and the tiny size of the client helped. Sadly, it didn't start very well; the keyboard-based control is a little awkward, and combat seems clumsy. Still, I've barely done anything with it yet - it's too early to pass judgement. 192MB. http://www.nexustk.com/index.html


The ones I've tried and dropped

Tales of Pirates - Anything with pirates is worth a try. Initially, the lighthearted cartoony approach put me off, but that actually turned out to be one of its best features. Easy to dip into, and its reluctance to take itself too seriously makes even grinding for levels less of a headache than in many other games. Unfortunately, the lightweight feel, apparent lack of depth, and sometimes twitchy controls mean that I ended up barely playing this after the first couple of weeks. Not a bad game, but lacks...gravitas. 2GB. http://top.igg.com/

Zu Online - Very pretty, and recommended by an acquaintance as one of the best free MMOs she's played, but my experience was that the game explained itself very badly and the interface was glitchy as hell (with the added irritation that you have to click slightly below whatever you're aiming at). 2GB. http://zu.igg.com/

Age of Armor - Ok, I haven't actually dropped this one, but I've given up on it because it's unusable. I've made three attempts to download it, and in addition to the download taking twenty-four hours my laptop has told me every time that the folder I downloaded was empty. Oh well. 1.3GB. http://aoa.us.woniu.com/index.html

Voyage Century - Unlike Tales of Pirates, this seems to be a pirate-based MMO that takes itself seriously. Unfortunately, it explains itself extremely badly. The first time I played, I managed to miss the entire tutorial, simply because the game doesn't make it clear what you're meant to do, and my wild guess was wrong. I was willing to press on, particularly in light of the inclusion of ship-to-ship combat, but for some reason it just stopped working, so I uninstalled it. 1.3GB. http://vc.igg.com/main.php

Ryzom - This looks interesting and really well done. The way the website describes it, it sounds like quite an ambitious project for a free game. And that's where it falls down - since I first looked at this, it's become a pay-to-play. You can download a 1.5-ish GB demo version, but when I tried it, it just didn't run for some reason Shame. This may have been great. 7GB. http://www.ryzom.com/en/index.html

Requiem: Bloodymare - This intrigued me by being 'the first true horror MMORPG'. It's very pretty, with good atmosphere and some intriguing ideas, such as more powerful monsters appearing in the wee hours of the morning (game time), forcing you to travel in parties or make sure you spend your nights in towns. Unfortunately, some aspects of the game don't work all that well (you have to memorise where you picked up quests, because neither the map nor the coordinates system will tell you) while some have clearly not been playtested (to hit an enemy you have to always be facing it, which makes combat very niggly when the enemy moves around a lot, as most do). Worse yet, the game lags almost continuously; research suggests I had it worse than most, but almost all players get it quite a lot. Perhaps worst of all, though, is the video error. A lot of people have to reinstall some video drivers because the game doesn't recognise them if they're already installed - which would be bad enough once, but it seems to happen every couple of updates. Grrr. Potentially very good, but fundamentally broken. http://www.playrequiem.com/default.aspx

La Tale - This was recommended to me as a fun 2D side-scroller. Having played it, I can confirm that it's certainly a 2D side-scroller (it plays like an 8-bit platformer with 16-bit graphics and some RPG trappings). It might also be fun. Sadly, it works so rarely that I never really had chance to find out. Eight times out of ten, it froze my entire computer, despite not being very resource-intensive; when it did work, it occasionally closed itself mid-play. So my verdict on this game is a frustrating one: it might be good or it might not - its technical problems make it almost impossible to play. http://latale.ogplanet.com/main.og

Fly F.F. - While investigating Rappelz (see below), I saw some remarks to the effect that Rappelz is just a prettier version of Flyff. I didn't play for long, but it was pretty forgettable. It's all done competently enough, but there's nothing engaging about it. Nothing in the game drew me in. Perhaps if I had a fondness for cartoony cuteness I might feel differently, but I just found it somewhat grating. If you want cartooniness, I'd suggest trying Tales of Pirates over this. It doesn't help matters that any time you enter a town, the game lags horrendously. 'Unremarkable' is probably the best way of describing this. Having said that, there is apparently a whole thing about flight later on in the game. It's a shame I never got far enough to check that out, but it just bored me. 669MB. http://flyff.gpotato.com/


The ones I'd like to try

Rappelz - Someone on the Shaiya Facebook group mentioned this, so I took a look. So far it's hard to tell what this may or may not have over other games. Still, the client is quite small for such a game, so I might give it a go. 1GB. http://rappelz.gpotato.com/

Zero Online - The only free science fiction MMORPG I've found. It's made and run by the Conquer team, so I expect it to be simple and grind-filled. Not filling me with joy, but worth a go - if only because SF MMORPGs seem to be so uncommon. 2GB. http://zo.91.com/index/

9 Dragons - Now this is one I'm really interested in. It's come highly recommended by the same person who recommended Zu (so I'm not taking it on trust). Shows some promise - not least because it's made by well-establish game company type of thing, Acclaim. No idea of client size. http://9dragons.acclaim.com/

Maple Story - Apparently quite famous and, like the tragically unplayable La Tale (see 'Dropped'), a 2D side-scrolling MMORPG. For the few minutes that La Tale did actually work it seemed like it might be quite fun, so I'd like to give Maple Story, its more reputable counterpart, a spin and see how it goes. 1.5GB. http://www.maplestory.com/

Sword of the New World: Granado Espada - A very nice-looking MMORPG set in a fictitious parallel to the Spanish settlement of America. Though the main thing that draws me to it is the setting, it purports to have several unusual features, including control of up to three characters simultaneously. No more solo questing for the unsociable players among us! Bizarrely, an online translation service tells me 'Granado Espada' means 'Pomegranate Sword'... Unfortunately, the client is huge, so I might not get round to trying it. 4GB. http://swordofthenewworld.gamersfirst.com/index.php

Runes of Magic - This is the one that seems to be basically WoW. Unlike Shaiya, it already has various side-tasks (crafting and whatnot), and the classes etc seem to be pretty much the standard WoW-esque selection. Like Sword of the New World, the client's pretty big. I'd have to say, if I'm only going to download one of these two huge games, it'll be the more inventive Sword. Still, I'm curious. 4GB.
http://www.runesofmagic.com/en/index.html

Neo Steam - An ad for this popped up while I was looking for something else. At first it seemed identical to many other MMORPGs. After a few minutes, though, I noticed that it does seem to deliver (or at least it claims to deliver) on the 'steam' part of the title. Something about seige engines and constructing things. Hmm.
http://neosteam.gamigo.com/

Very few of these games are larger than 2GB, so not ridiculously large. They generally don't take too long to download either (except Shaiya, which took a good three hours). Nexus, though I haven't tried it yet, is apparently a microscopic 192MB! Surprised
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Last edited by CovenantJr on Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:22 am; edited 17 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I was interested until you mentioned 2Gb. Very Happy Laughing

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Razz I have 100GB to play with, two is nothing. Can't expect them to take up no space, you fool. Razz
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hahaha, I know...but downloading 2 gigs would kill me...that's like a whole months worth of bandwidth for me. (Or at least 2 weeks worth in a bad month. Very Happy )

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yikes. No wonder you're reluctant then. I've been trying to find specific sizes for the different games, but haven't managed to get all of them. Conquer is 1GB, and I don't remember any of the others being smaller than that.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, we're notorious as having some of the highest priced, and slowest, bandwidth in the world. Bloody ridiculous...apparently bandwidth prices will fall by the middle of the year when they install a new backbone...right now, everybody is at the mercy of the owners of the only existing line out of the country. Bastards.

Anyway, probably just as well...my addictive nature would quickly entrap me. Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Anyway, probably just as well...my addictive nature would quickly entrap me. Wink


*slowly nodding*

Besides making a promise not to do anything online that involves a subscription fee, this is the other reason why I am staying away from even the free trials of WoW. I can only imagine what would happen if I even gave it a try...
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Join us... Join us...


(Come on, how could I resist?)


On another note, that Talisman UI is clearly a total ripoff of the default WoW UI (not that it makes a difference, heh)...


Maybe not quite on topic because it's large and you have to buy the game, but Guild Wars is a subscription-free MMO that's pretty high-quality. At this point it's several expansions in and this complicates the structure a little (expansion is self-contained, with its own starting areas and full content for 1-20, with transport links to the contant of other expansions), and it's also heavily group-play based, as you can't progress past certain points solo (I played for some time, almost entirely solo play, until around 50% of the way through the content where I just couldn't beat a mission that opened up access to the higher zones).
I enjoyed it at the time I played, but I have no idea what the game is like now.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't worry about being off topic; the only forbidden subject here is WoW. Razz

Guild Wars is one of only two MMOs I've seriously considered paying for. You can pick up the whole lot for a very reasonable price. I was actually on the verge of buying it when I decided it might be worth trying free ones first.

The only other MMO I'd fork out for is Bioware's impending Star Wars: The Old Republic. I did briefly consider the Warhammer one, but I haven't heard anything sufficiently inspiring to make me give it serious thought.

And you could be right about Talisman's UI, but 'like WoW but free' isn't necessary a bad thing. Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Menolly wrote:
Avatar wrote:
Anyway, probably just as well...my addictive nature would quickly entrap me. Wink


*slowly nodding*

Besides making a promise not to do anything online that involves a subscription fee, this is the other reason why I am staying away from even the free trials of WoW. I can only imagine what would happen if I even gave it a try...


Me too. Shocked

I can drag a Final Fantasy game out for 100+ save hours because I don't want it to end. I can't imagine being able to play something that is ongoing. Hide
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mysteweave wrote:
I can drag a Final Fantasy game out for 100+ save hours because I don't want it to end. I can't imagine being able to play something that is ongoing. Hide

The thing I've found about MMORPGs as opposed to normal RPGs is they're actually inferior games. If you take them purely on their merit as games, they're a little lacking - not that they're not enjoyable, but they tend to be simple and relatively repetitive. A lot of the fun of MMOs comes from the other players, but it's not always easy to meet them. For instance, if you're playing Shaiya and are anything other than a healer or a 'tank', no-one will team with you and so you won't meet anyone.

A friend of mine really loves Conquer, but she's said that the main draw is the people. She keeps trying to get me to love it as much as she does, but this falls down whenever I point out that I don't know anyone.

I'm not trying to say that MMORPGs don't work as games; just that where things like Final Fantasy are purely games, MMORPGs are both games and social networks - Final Fantasy meets Facebook, if you like.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll have to second in supporting Guild Wars. I was fairly addicted to it a few years back. During the beta I played 17 hours straight.

I don't have any expansions and have lost all of my saved games, but if anyone is interested in starting a game up of Guild Wars, let me know.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JazFusion wrote:
I'll have to second in supporting Guild Wars. I was fairly addicted to it a few years back. During the beta I played 17 hours straight.


Shocked

OK...
As I said earlier, with my own addictive personality, I think I best stay far, far away...
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JazFusion wrote:
I'll have to second in supporting Guild Wars. I was fairly addicted to it a few years back. During the beta I played 17 hours straight.

I don't have any expansions and have lost all of my saved games, but if anyone is interested in starting a game up of Guild Wars, let me know.

Surprised If I decide to buy it I'll give you a shout.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

List update:

Another I want to try

Ryzom - This looks interesting and really well done. The way the website describes it, it sounds like quite an ambitious project for a free game. Unfortunately, the size reflects this. 7GB. http://www.ryzom.com/en/index.html

(added to original list)
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further edited the list to reflect Age of Armour being a git.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are we including browser based games as well?

If so, I would recommend the following two:

Tribal Wars (www.tribalwars.net).
Resource management, army management.

Pardus (www.pardus.at)
At first glance, a Space Flight / exploration game (similar to Elite or Privateer). However, much of the gameplay has a strong economic focus.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, the disappointment.

The side-scrolling (yes, side-scrolling) MMORPG La Tale actually sounded promising, and from the hour or so I spent playing it, it was actually quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, it was almost impossible to run. Despite being only 600MB, it slowed my entire PC quite dramatically. It also froze many, many times - twice before I even got as far as character creation. I only succeeded in actually getting to the game itself once. And it didn't just freeze itself; I had to pull the power on my PC each time. After uninstalling, everything was fine again.

Shame. It had potential. http://latale.ogplanet.com/main.og




Rigel wrote:
Pardus (www.pardus.at)
At first glance, a Space Flight / exploration game (similar to Elite or Privateer).

Speaking of which:

Starport: Galactic Empires - basically a top-down MMO Elite. Fun, but a little dry - just like Elite. Fortunately it doesn't include the annoyingly laborious docking and refuelling aspects, and does include an intriguing colony-foundation mechanic for those who do well enough. http://www.starportgame.com/




Rigel, I took a look at Pardus after you posted the link, and it seems to have a very similar visual style and general feel to Starport. The fact that it's browser-based might make it superior, since the only substantial benefit I can see to Starport is the slightly flashier visuals.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Updated the original post to reflect changes. I've dropped some games, added thoughts to the ones I'm still playing, added some new ones to the 'want to try' list, and switched in some new screenshots for variety.

Also, in further response to Rigel's post about browser-based MMOs, I've discovered Pirates Assault, from the people behind Shaiya. As far as I can tell, it's browser based - though I haven't actually tried it yet.
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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those with limited bandwidth (*cough* Avatar *cough* Razz ) I've added Nexus to the 'Want to Play' list. According to the website, the client is a mere 192MB. I'll give it a go shortly.

I've also added my thoughts on the potentially great but horrifically disappointing Requiem: Bloodymare. Crying or Very sad
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