Here at mmogames.com we like to ask questions that matter. Questions such as: what is the best MMO for pirates? What if MMO NPCs were dogs? And, what if everything was an MMO? This week we’re looking at fan-favourite video games that have yet to receive the massively multiplayer treatment and ponder what marvels could exist if they took the MMO plunge. The whole world is calling for that Witcher MMORPG.
And because one pointless theoretical wasn’t enough for us, we’ve also decided which subgenres they’d fit into best. For example, would Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee be best as a) A MOBA, b) An MMORPG, or c) An MMORTS? The answer is d) None of the above. And that’s why it hasn’t made our list.
Some might say that to turn these games into MMOs would be to undermine their premise - but we’re an MMO site, so to us - it's perfecting them. Plus, when you call something a spinoff, no genre is off limits (looking at you, Nintendo).
If done correctly, these dreamed-up new directions could be standout titles in their own right. Let's not forget, Warcraft was 3 games into an RTS franchise before taking the Tauren by the horns and changing the face of the MMORPG genre. Activision also capitalised on a wildly popular genre and now have their flag firmly placed in the realm of Battle Royales, even using the multiplayer spinoff game, Warzone, as a marketing platform for more core series sequels.
MMOs are a lucrative business and with all of these titles, half the work is done already. So here’s our list of games that need to adopt the MMO way of life.
Horizon Zero Dawn MMORPG
HZD is a God-Tier single-player romp which marries dystopian sci-fi with elements of fantasy RPGs. The sublime premise sees you, as protagonist Aloy, conquer robotic monsters with rudimentary weapons such as a bow and arrow, slingshot and a spear; putting an incredibly unique spin on familiar open-world titles featuring a similar arsenal. That’s not to mention the sheer beauty of this post-apocalyptic landscape. And oh my god is it beautiful.
Life...finds a way
With a sequel on the horizon (pun intended) there is already chatter around a previously-unexplored multiplayer option, although this is currently centered around co-op campaigning. But HZD could be so much more.
Pre-established tribes would constitute the factions, each with their own M.O. - the Nora are an isolationist matriarchal tribe while the Banuk are a nomadic meritocracy, and the Carja are a militaristic absolute monarchy, to name a few. Plus, the infinite possibilities of mechanical augmentation leave its already stellar bestiary and weapon concepts open to endless customisation.
With electronic enemies that emulate both long-extinct and non-extinct beasts in addition to the more purpose-built designs of the Deathbringers (it’s a 360-degree, all-terrain juggernaut wielding every flavour of weapon, what more do you want?) the potential for original enemy designs are quite literally endless. For now though, the seminal title is relatively young, so we’ll give it some time before holding our hands out expectantly.
The Witcher MMORPG
Speaking of seminal titles, The Witcher, with its more grisly and organic bestiary rooted in Scandinavian folklore and conflict-ridden setting is a prime target for an MMORPG conversion. Yes, it was once a mobile-only MOBA, but since it shut down a year later, perhaps a MOBA wasn’t the correct format.
[caption id="attachment_31658" align="aligncenter" width="640"] At least the Witcher MMORPG concept art is covered[/caption]
Witchers, Mages, Druids, and Bards are all present in The Witcher, which takes care of some of the possible classes. Given the freedom to choose between the Cat (Rogue), Griffon (Fighter) or Bear (Tank) schools in the core game, to name just a few, a Witcher MMORPG could even follow the Albion Online model of ‘you are what you wear’.
There is no shortage of races either, each bolstered by the in-depth lore that has come to define the Witcher series. Halflings, succubusses and godlings stand alongside the bread-and-butter humans, elves and dwarves, bringing a more eclectic mix to the typical MMORPG races roster.
The single-player base game is often championed for its weighty choices, with the player’s decisions at seemingly innocuous moments having a lasting and far-reaching effect on the world around them. And when you consider that some of the most intriguing and exciting sandbox MMORPGs have world-changing player decisions at their core (have we told you about Ashes of Creation?), it seems only fitting for this fantasy spectacle to follow that exact route.
Assassin’s Creed Battle Royale
You know what PUBG needs? More parkour.
A battle between two factions over what is essentially the entirety of human existence leaves plenty of scope for how an Assassins Creed Battle Royale game could look. Though the majority of Battle Royale titles favour bullets (or spells) over blades, if set in the distant past like most AC titles to date, a melee-focussed Battle Royale isn’t unheard of but it’s certainly a more unique take.
[caption id="attachment_371503" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Or you could wield everything, like Edward.[/caption]
On the other hand, fans have been speculating over a modern-day setting for AC ever since we were first rudely pulled from the animus in the first instalment. Although the vast majority of us were scrambling to jump straight back in to resume our swashbuckling adventures whilst telling Desmond to suck it, parkour with guns sounds like a riot.
Some imaginative mechanics could see this spinoff changing the face of the genre, and we’re well aware that Ubisoft is capable given that their core series already achieved just that. I don’t know about you but I’m seeing a lot of Assassin’s Creed-esque mechanics sneak their way into newer games (long grass = invisibility), so perhaps it’s time for this powerhouse property to shake up another genre. And, you know, make a truckload of cash in the process.
Gears of War Battle Royale
Gears of War, meanwhile, seems like a more natural choice for a Battle Royale. Hell, the Multiplayer Director for Gears 5, Ryan Cleven, even spoke about how he’d like to see a Battle Royale mode added to their latest title, only it would require a lot of time and focus to do right.
It is true that Gears - with its more intimate combat mechanics when compared to the open space of Warzone - will have its own hurdles to vault. But if the BR train doesn’t pull away any time soon then we’d readily welcome the grit and gore for which Gears is renown to a genre captained by the kid-friendly Fortnite - especially if it introduces some novel mechanics in the process.
I mean - how much more satisfying would it be chainsawing that S.O.B. that’s been griefing you for ages instead of knocking them back with a shotgun blast that doesn’t leave a scratch? A Gears Battle Royale will satiate that bloodlust in all of us.
Kingdom Hearts MOBA
Disney MMO. ‘Nuff said.
Seriously though, while Disney has already tried its hand at the genre, with the legendary Club Penguin and decidedly less legendary ToonTown Online, why is it that we haven’t seen something more akin to the star-studded Kingdom Hearts? We want to play as Hercules, Sully and real Mickey - not discount-store blue Mickey.
[caption id="attachment_371505" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Yeesh[/caption]
Given the plethora of unique and beloved characters that pervade the Disneyverse, we could easily see this becoming the next big family-friendly MOBA. Pokémon Unite did it. Imagine: wreaking icy havoc as Elsa, hailing arrows as Robin Hood or summoning the dead as Doctor Facilier - the heroes are there, we just need another plucky developer like Square Enix to step up to the mark once again and get Disney on board.
Yes there will be many Mickey-shaped hurdles to overcome to present something close to this dream. But if we all take a leaf out of the Disney character playbook and believe hard enough, perhaps one day it will happen.
Super Mario MOBA
Mario, on the other hand, seems far more attainable. We already have the indomitable Super Smash Bros so a MOBA spinoff is, dare I say it, inevitable? The Pokémon Company might have something to say if Nintendo decided to work with a similar premise hot on the heels of Unite - but the concept could still work with the Mario gang.
Assuming the role of one of the many Mushroom Kingdom inhabitants could easily fill the role of a more family-friendly Skarner. With racing, sport, adventure, turn-based strategy and fighting games already under their belt (to name just a few) - a new MOBA is surely sitting on Nintendo’s ‘ideas’ board. Egg-lobbing Yoshi, fire-breathing Bowser, and head-stomping Mario are ready and waiting.
Mass Effect MMORTS
The obvious choices for an MMORTS would be to give already beloved RTS titles an MMO overhaul. But in this dreamworld we like to dream big and possibly cheese off purist fans with the mere suggestion of turning the fan-favourite RPG into an MMORTS.
With that in mind let’s talk about Mass Effect. The lore of this sci-fi role-playing shooter runs deeper than most with the rich plot and complex relationships of the core games being one of the many reasons fans adore the series.
[caption id="attachment_64395" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Not you, Andromeda[/caption]
Many might say that this is exactly why it shouldn’t turn into an RTS, MMO or otherwise. However - we argue that this is why it would stand head-and-shoulders above many of the genre, given that we are typically given a more superficial setting in which to wage our strategic wars.
The Mass Effect universe is composed of compelling races with volatile relationships; perfect conditions for a wartime game. Fans of the original series should leap at the opportunity to assume control of the race that spawned their favourite crewmate aboard the Normandy, their familiarity only serving to boost its appeal.
Sure, the once controversial mechanic that allowed commander Shepard to get down and dirty with their work colleague might be more difficult to implement in this particular context - but who needs romance when you have MMOs?
So that’s our take on some of the games we think need more MMO-ness in their repertoire. Of course this is only scratching the surface, so which titles do you think could make the transition? And which of our suggestions have annoyed you the most? Let us know your thoughts below!
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