Top 10 Online Role-Playing Games
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
Contributed by Suzanne Baldwin, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
The online role-playing world has expanded since it first burst into the public eye in the late 1990s. “RPGs” are different things to different people; to some, they’re a way to make new friends while losing themselves in a fantasy world.
To others, they’re the pastime of people who live in their parents’ basements and don’t see the light of day for months at a time. There’s hundreds, maybe thousands of RPGs out there, all of them with varying interactivity, game economics and graphic capabilities.
For those that don’t feel like sifting through dozens of games to find the decent ones, here’s ten of the best online role-playing games:
10. EVE Online (CCP Games)
As the only science fiction entry on this list, EVE takes place thousands of years in the future, in a far-off galaxy. Like most RPGs, players progress through various ranks and obtain skills, mounts and prestige – except instead of magic, horses and knighthoods, they get projectile weapons, better starships and occupations. As an added bonus, players can stab each other in the back – a devious option not always available in other RPGs. Hey, it’s a hard universe out there. A character’s gotta get by.
9. Pirates of the Caribbean Online (Disney)
Included due to the public’s general obsession with anything pirate-related, PoTC Online is a product of Disney, and thus offers more family-friendly fare than some of the other RPGs on this list. Players can assume the identity of a merchant, sailor, and pirate captain. Characters fight with swords, guns and the occasional voodoo doll, and yes, Captain Jack Sparrow does turn up from time to time.
8. Neverwinter Nights (BioWare)
Besides its cool name, Neverwinter Nights boasts one of the few designs that draws in genuine role-playing elements – that is, it’s actually based on a dice-and-paper game: The infamous Dungeons & Dragons. Players can go on quests alone or join groups of new friends, as well as design their own adventures using the game’s powerful toolset. Campaigns can last upwards of 60 hours – that’s more than seven working days, but hey, who needs a job when there’s RPGs to play?
7. Runescape (Jagex)
Released in 2001, Runescape may look a bit antiquated to the modern gamer; its large, blocky graphics are largely representative of the 90s. Part of its draw remains its freestyle play; rather than being required to slay dragons and chase elusive pirates to progress, players can wander the fantasy world of Gielinor at their leisure.
6. Guild Wars (NCsoft)
It’s almost typical fantasy RPG fare – you slay beasts, go on quests, and make friends in a global network…oh, and it’s free. Players have to purchase “episodes,” or expansion packs, but after that expenditure, there’s no monthly fee you need to pay. Guild Wars is geared to run on lower-powered computers, which casts it a wider net than some of its competitors.
5. Aces High (HiTech Creations)
Aces High is slightly different from the RPGs on this list – the role you step into is that of a fighter pilot in World War II (and World War I, in limited capacity). After engaging in the same kind of dogfights that inspired George Lucas’ starfighter battles, players can submit maps to the developer in an effort to broaden the available campaigns. HiTech frequently runs special events, which include races and historical events.
4. Pirates of the Burning Sea (Sony)
Love pirates? Tired of Disney monopolizing them? Pirates of the Burning Sea may appeal to the harder-edged would-be buccaneers out there. It offers many of the standard RPG tropes – NPCs that assign you quests, enemies that drop loot, and plenty of exciting locales to visit. Forget taking out your enemies with mere sword and blunderbuss (though you can do that, too) – ship-to-ship combat is the way to go in this game. The in-game graphics are particularly stunning, easily transporting the average housebound gamer to Parts Unknown.
3. Everquest (Sony)
Also called “Never Rest” or “Ever Crack,” EverQuest is generally credited with bringing online role-playing into popular culture. Players can guide their characters on various quests, as well as trade, do battle against NPC opponents and each other, and join guilds. With 17 expansion packs (so far) and more on the way, EverQuest is likely to be bouncing around top ten lists for a long, long time.
2. Second Life (Linden Lab)
What is Second Life? According to Dwight from The Office, it’s just like real life…with more flying ability. The game has no set goals or quests; players just wander around rendered worlds, which may prove frustrating to those who already wander through life and want a more structured RPG. Still, there are plenty of exotic locales to visit – pirate towns, stone cities, and space stations among them – and any number of roles to take on, whether it’s yourself, a better version of yourself, a socialite, or a pirate. Oh, and Dwight’s right – you can fly.
1. World of Warcraft (Blizzard)
The big cheese, the head honcho, the dark lord of online gaming. Other games came before it, and others came afterwards; it’s possible that one day, a game will come along that knocks this bad boy off his pedestal. Until then, as far as breadth of gameplay and storylines, WoW remains the king. Hundreds of quests are ready for your perusal, and you can visit different cities and lands, all of which are carefully developed. Heck, it even takes over its developer’s yearly convention, Blizzcon; players show up in full costume, often causing much consternation among the locals. Face it — if a giant minotaur in tabards and a sword walked down the street, you’d look twice, too.