Last week we started off with the most basic question; which genre should we make an MMORPG in? The results weren’t all that surprising. Out of 273 votes, there were 171 for Fantasy, making it the winner of last week’s poll. This week we’re going to take a deep dive into the different fantasy subgenres to pick one.

Before we get started, let's look at how the vote broke down last week. There were a total of 273 votes placed between the Strawpoll and Twitter.

Designing an MMORPG: Picking a Subgenre

As I said before, Fantasy got the most votes. On the one hand, this wasn’t a surprise. Fantasy is by far the most popular genre for MMORPGs. However, I do see a lot of people complaining about that very fact as well. I guess in the end those who enjoy the genre outweigh those who don’t.

With 59 votes, Science Fiction was the next most popular genre. This reflects what we see in the industry as well. Fantasy games are incredibly popular but a large portion of the remaining industry falls into science fiction.

The modern world, one of my favorites, only got 30 votes. I had expected this genre to do a lot better than it did considering it’s one of the least represented in MMORPGs but perhaps the interest just isn’t there after all.

Finally, with only 13 votes was historical. Again, a genre that is severely underrepresented in the MMORPG genre but with the tight restrictions, I fear that it may only be history buffs who want to see this one.

Now it’s time to move into the subgenres. What is decided here will have an impact on not only the setting but the races that will be available to play and what kind of creatures we see in our world. For this list, I referenced wiki’s entry on Fantasy subgenres.

Contemporary Fantasy

Did you watch Bright? That’s contemporary fantasy, as well as urban fantasy. Contemporary fantasy takes place today but with magic added in. This is where you’ll find the Dresden Files, Harry Potter, and many other popular book series. The world will be one that is familiar to us, but off. Maybe it’s Elves, maybe it’s unicorns, maybe the world has both. How would the world change if there was magic all around us?

Not many MMORPGs with this setting
Modern technology

Modern World isn’t a very popular setting

Dark Fantasy

diablo 3 necromancer closed beta preview

Dark fantasy is fantasy mixed with horror elements. There are monsters and other dark terrors in the night. Interview with the Vampire and Diablo are just two examples of this genre, the most famous of them all being the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Secret World Legends is also considered a dark fantasy. Closely related is Grimdark, most famously seen in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

Not many MMORPGs in this subgenre
Lots of different terrifying creatures

The possibility of jumpscares

Gaslamp Fantasy

If the Victorian era and science is Steampunk then the Victorian era and fantasy is Gaslamp. You can find examples of it with movies like Sleepy Hollow, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Stardust. In this world, technology is that of the Victorian era while the fantastical elements allow for flying ships and mythical creatures.

No MMORPG presence.

Limited by technology level
Long dresses aren’t easy to fight in, ask Wonder Woman

High Fantasy

The Elder Scrolls Online

High fantasy is the epic adventures. The Lord of the Rings is held up as one of the best examples of the genre and most MMORPGs fall under this subgenre. It’s where you find the medieval fantasy with swords and spells. Neverwinter, Elder Scrolls, and even Conan all fall in this category.

Everyone loves swords and magic
Tons of content to take inspiration from

Most MMORPGs fall into this subgenre so oversaturation is a concern


Age of Wushu Dynasty

Chinese inspired fantastical tales filled with martial arts is the best way to describe Wuxia. The most famous of all the Wuxia MMORPGs is Age of Wushu, which will be getting a sequel in the near future. Jade Empire is another game that fits the Wuxia subgenre. In film, we have Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and even Kung Fu Panda.

Not a very well explored genre for MMORPGs, giving a lot of freedom
Offers something different from traditional Western fantasy

It’s unfamiliar to Western audiences
MMORPGs in the genre aren’t massively popular, though they do okay

This is now where you come in. It’s time for you to pick one of the fantasy subgenres that were listed above. Whichever one gets the most votes by Friday evening will be the winner and we will officially have the genre narrowed down quite specifically so we can move on to other topics. If somehow you missed out on how this experiment all began, take a look at last week where we broadly explored different MMORPG genres. You may be wondering right now why all the different fantasy subgenres aren’t represented on this list. For some subgenres, it’s the fact that they can easily be lumped in with others. Grimdark and Horror Fantasy both fit into Dark Fantasy quite well. For others, it was simply a choice I made to keep the list short and tidy.

How does it work?

There’s a straw poll below, just select which genre you’d like to work in. Late on Friday, I’ll add up the results from the two polls. Next week the winner will be announced with an all-new poll that takes a look at the playable factions if there are any factions at all.

Once we know how many factions we’ll have, we will be able to start looking at the playable races. Which will, in turn, have an impact on who our enemy factions are. Be sure to come back every Tuesday when we’ll take another step forward in our adventure.

If you have any ideas you’d like to see featured in the future leave them in the comments below and we’ll discuss them at some point this year.