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I can still remember the excitement I felt when I first found out that Star Wars was going to become an MMORPG. Here was a property just begging for the MMO treatment, filled with established canon, awesome characters to interact with, and a compelling galactic conflict to participate in. Unfortunately the end result of that announcement, Star Wars Galaxies, utterly failed to live up to expectations.
All the news that has been slowly trickling out leading up to the release of Star Trek Online has again raised my anticipation levels to a similar plateau. If Cryptic can deliver on the promise that the license comes with, STO could end up being one of the best MMOs of all time.
Of course, Star Trek and Star Wars are not the only huge properties out there that lend themselves well to an MMO environment. There are several blockbuster video game, television, and movie franchises that, if treated correctly, could be adapted into some killer MMO games.
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Yes, a Harry Potter MMORPG would be one that would most likely appeal to younger players, we're talking strictly T for Teen here, but the younger player demographic is one that really hasn't been tapped. It's true we've all been stuck playing WoW with over-caffeinated fourteen-year-olds up way past their bedtimes, but Blizzard is not really marketing the game toward them specifically.
The Harry Potterverse is a well-established and fleshed-out fantasy world. Players could spend their time chatting and shopping in Diagon Alley before heading off to Hogwarts. The first half of the game would be spent in the school, learning skills in classes and taking on small instances like the Chamber of Secrets. Afterward, higher-level players could move out into the larger world, choosing to either fight against the dark lord's evil or signing up to stand alongside him.
The books and movies are filled with iconic locations that would make great raids and instances, and I can't even begin to imagine the types of quests Hagrid would send you on.
Check out page two for more on our favorite Sci-Fi properties that are begging to become MMORPGS, and an idea for adapting one of the most successful video game franchises of all time.
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The best bet would probably be to set the game during the war between the Alliance and the Independents, which took place several years before the events of the series and the feature film, Serenity (this also solves the inconvenient problem of several major characters not surviving the events of the film).
Players could choose a faction or remain neutral and pilot their ship throughout the galaxy, interacting with memorable characters from the show, taking on legal and not-so-legal missions, finding upgrades and addons for their vessel, and engaging in old-west style firefights and standoffs on the surface of many a barely-tamed world.
I imagine it'd play something like a cross between Eve Online, the old ill-fated MMO Earth and Beyond, and Mass Effect.
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Now, don't tell me you've never thought about this one. Take the twitch-based shooting and vehicular elements of the popular first-person shooter franchise and expand them out to a fully-fledged MMOFPS. Players could level up skills and gain weapon and vehicle proficiencies in a manner similar to Planetside, but would do so in a world designed by the skilled game designers and storytellers at Bungie.
There are two (some would say three, though I'm not exactly sure how one plays as a member of the flood) well-defined and diametrically-opposite factions, a large number of familiar locations (25 man Library raid, anyone?), and a truly epic story to draw from.
Imagine leading a squad of Spartans deep into the bowels of a Halo facility, only to find entrenched Covenant Forces (an opposite player faction) already in combat with computer-controlled flood. Do you jump in and help the Covenant against the flood, only to face the possibility of them turning on you? Do you flank around and attack the Covenant from the side opposite the Flood, hoping to finish them off quickly before dealing with the parasites, or do you simply let them fight it out and hope to quickly overwhelm the victor?
Now expand that scenario out to vehicular combat, add in orbital drops, Wraith tanks, Banshees, and Warthogs and you've got yourself a heck of a fun-sounding game.
Page three has more of our favorite properties that are begging to become MMOs, including some zombie-slaying action and one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time.
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Dawn of the Dead/Left 4 Dead/Dead Rising/Any Zombie Movie Ever
I don't understand how it is possible that there has yet to be a major zombie apocalypse MMO. As Left 4 Dead has shown us, it is the ultimate stage for cooperative gaming. Nothing brings a group of survivors together like facing a horde of oncoming undead.
Take the gameplay of Left 4 Dead, add in RPG elements like skills you improve, levels to gain, etc (Borderlands-style), and expand the setting out to an entire state-sized area where human and zombie constantly struggle for dominance.
If zombie movies have taught us anything, it's that these situations inevitably lead to the rise of opposing factions. Players could choose between these factions, vying for control of key locations (Malls, perhaps?) while facing the ever-present threat of the undead. Players who are downed in combat could even rise again as ravenous undead, unable to do anything but watch as they attempt to devour their former teammates.
Sounds like fun to me.
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If ever there was a property that begs for the MMO treatment, it's Pokemon. The single-player game is already littered with other trainers who are constantly forcing you to battle them, so why couldn't these other trainers be actual people? Pokemon tournaments are all the rage in the real world, so I fail to see why Nintendo and Gamefreaks have yet to deliver an MMO based on one of the most popular game franchises of all time.
I mean, it's one thing to find yourself a rare Pokemon in the game, but it's quite another to be able to bust it out in a battle with another trainer and watch them crap their pants before scrambling to ask you afterward where you found it. So many elements of the games would translate perfectly into the MMO space. T
he gyms are raid instances, with the leaders as bosses. The wilderness, populated with unseen random encounters in the game, could easily become a series of zones where you can actually see the wild Pokemon running around before rushing up to do battle with them.
Pokemon trading would actually mean something in a world that you share with thousands of other trainers. Just imagine how busy the auction house would be in a game like this.
A Pokemon MMO is a total no-brainer. Somebody high up at Nintendo must fit the same description. It's the only possible explanation for the fact that this game does not already exist.
These are of course just a few examples of film, TV, and video game properties that have the potential to become fantastic MMOs. Supposedly the Firefly MMO is already in development and rumors are already swirling that the next Halo game will have some kind of MMOFPS element, so we may be closer than we think to actually playing these games in the near future.
I can always hope. After all, I seriously doubt any of them could turn out worse than Star Wars: Galaxies. There's nothing worse than an MMO that doesn't live up to its potential.