Are you bored of grinding, slashing and raiding? Perhaps a world of constant global conflict is getting you down? Or maybe you just fancy something a little bit different? The vast majority of MMOs have some form of combat system, but we’ve put together a list of eight non-combat MMOs for your viewing pleasure.
There are, of course, many MMOs that feature avoidable combat, or that focus on elements other than combat. There are plenty of non-combat roles available in EVE Online, and something like Puzzle Pirates is… well… mainly about the puzzles! Below, however, is a list of games that do not feature any combat elements at all.
A Tale in the Desert
A Tale in the Desert is a social MMORPG set in Ancient Egypt. The main elements of the game are building, crafting and trading amidst social and political challenges. The game is free to download and use for 48 hours, beyond which Desert Nomad Studios operate a subscription model.
At basic levels of crafting you pick grass and dry it in the sun to create straw. You can use the straw to feed animals, or mix it with sand and mud to make bricks, and harvest wood from trees to create wooden boards. You can then use these elements to build yourself complex structures in which you can: make pottery, do glassblowing, blacksmith, smelt metal into alloys, and even brew beer and wine.
The game has its own economy. There is no official currency and so the game relies on trade and barter, though some entrepreneurial players have minted their own currencies. The game also has its own legal system, allowing for game ‘laws’ to be changed via petition – this could be anything from a player ban to distributing expired resources.
The game runs in periods called Tellings. At the time of writing the game is on Tale 9, which lasts 15 months – beyond which the game will be completely wiped and a new Telling will begin.
Harvest Moon meets Sims: Hot Date… or something. Pumpkin Online is Kickstarter-funded farming and dating MMO. Currently in Early Access as Pumpkin Days on the Steam store, the game has so far been well reviewed.
Players of the game can build, craft and farm. Your own farm is fully customisable – both the farm house and the farm itself. Unlike a lot of farming sims, there is more to this game than just planting, watering and harvesting over and over. You can forage, mine, fish, chop wood, and cook. The map is vast, diverse (including swamps, mountains and beaches), and fully explorable.
Characters can be fully customised, allowing you to change your mind and style later on. You can play as male, female, or non-binary, you choose your skin colour, body, clothes, hair and jewellery. And when you feel ready to, you can let those wedding bells chime by marrying other players and NPCs!
Myst Online: Uru Live
Myst Online: Uru Live is the MMO component of Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. The Myst universe is one full of beauty and mystery. Players work together to solve puzzles in order to advance the story.
Myst Online is set in caverns deep below the surface of the Earth. Many years ago, an ancient race called the D’ni used ‘The Art’ to create special books that act as portals between ages and worlds. The story goes that the archaeologists who discovered these caverns tasked the Cyan Worlds studio to create educational games to show what they had found, and thus – Myst was born. You can’t beat a meta reference.
The game receives good reviews in its now open-source form, certainly in part due to the consistent game ambience that fans of Myst have grown to love. There are also some non-game related excited potential developments for Myst fans – a pilot for a television adaption has just been announced and is being written by X-Men: First Class writer Ashley Edward Miller.
You can ride horses in countless other MMO games, so why bother with Star Stable? In most games, horse-riding is simply a mode of transport that is faster than walking or running. In Star Stable, horses are EVERYTHING.
Mainly aimed at the young-teen/teen audience, the game allows your (human) character to maintain stables, choose your very own horse, care for your steed, and go on lots of horseback adventures.
The game is set on Jorvik Island, on which you can meet up with friends and ride together, create or join a Riding Club, and solve quests in search of adventure and treasure. Just because this game doesn’t feature any combat, doesn’t mean it’s devoid of any exhilaration. You can put all your preparation into practise on race day with thrilling horse racing competitions and championships!
The game is free up to level 5, beyond which there are options of a monthly membership or a single lifetime payment. If you give a subscription to a younger pal, daughter or niece, we doubt they would look a literal gift horse in the mouth.
Club Penguin / Club Penguin: Island
Anyone who knew someone the right age, at the right time, knows Club Penguin. Originally created by New Horizons Interactive, the game then spent most of its life in the hands of Disney Canada Inc. For those without a knowledge of this game, the premise is simple: you’re a penguin, go and have fun!
The game was full of minigames and various activities suitable for its main audience of 6-14 year olds. Club Penguin was officially discontinued on March 30, 2017. However, there are now scores of private servers hosted across the web, allowing you to keep penguin-ing on.
It’s difficult to summarise this game better than the Eleven team themselves: “It's a peaceful, cooperative, massively multiplayer game in which you pet trees, milk butterflies, gasmogrify vapour, build furniture, brew hooch, grow herbs, tune bubbles, and make salt in a spice mill...with friends.”
Eleven is based on the now shut-down game Glitch. The entire library of the game was made available in 2012 when Glitch closed its doors, and several groups then stepped in to attempt to develop a predecessor. Two of these groups, Children of Ur and Eleven, combined forces to work on Eleven.
The game is still in Alpha stage, but the team more or less plans to piece the game back together as in Glitch before continuing with “new features and new stories”.
Drama, roleplay and social etiquette are the languages of this virtual world inspired by the works of Jane Austin. Ever, Jane is an MMORPG that focuses on character interaction with player and non-player characters. It allows the player to envelop themselves in a fantasy world of family hierarchies, romance, gossip and slander.
A character has statistics including Status, Reputation, Kindness, Duty and Happiness. A player can attempt to invite characters to an event, like a ball or a dinner party. A positive response from someone of higher status would increase your social standing, and likewise a decline would cause a decrease. So watch out for social faux-pas!
The Jane Austin subculture is all about roleplay, and Ever, Jane offers just that. As well as customising the appearance of your character, you create a full background and personality. When you gossip you can choose whether to tell the truth or lie – but be warned, a lie might backfire!
During its beta, it is interesting to note that – unlike the usually male dominated world of MMOs – the majority of Ever, Jane players were women.
Occupy White Walls
Another peaceful, cultured game in Steam Early Access is Occupy White Walls. The premise behind Occupy White Walls is that you create a gallery, fill the walls with art, and then open your doors to allow other players in.
There is a fully-fledged building tool in a sandbox space allowing you to construct your gallery or museum in any shape or size you can imagine: it currently boasts 2,200 architectural assets and counting.
Once you’ve built your showcasing space, you then curate your own collection of art. The game has thousands of pieces of art, “from the old masters to faeces on canvas”. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t know much about art – you can just use the art discovery AI - DAISY. DAISY learns your preferences as you browse and then suggests artwork to you that it thinks you might like.
It is hard to describe the possibilities this game offers so we’d just suggest diving in and taking a look. There are beautiful huge halls with traditional paintings and there are futuristic abstract spaces with strange artwork by unknown artists. And who knows – you may even discover an artist you love so much you consider buying their work to hang on your real physical walls in your real physical home!
Here endeth the ceasefire…
We’ve presented you with opportunities for romance and marriage, farming, crafting, trading, trying your hand in the stable, solving mysterious puzzles, or just being a penguin. Enjoy the peace while it lasts, before the truce is over and it’s time to duck for cover once again.