By Dan O'Halloran
New MMORPGs are rolling out fast and furious these days. Everyone wants a piece of the World of Warcraft pie, but what may surprise you is that we aren’t here today to talk about RIFT or Star Wars: The Old Republic. Some of the hottest MMOs in development aren’t just for the PC, but are begin hand-crafted to play on your mobile device. Here are four that have us most excited.
What better way to capture the hearts and pocketbooks of World of Warcraft players than to port the game to mobile devices? But wait, you say, Blizzard hasn’t announced that! And you would be correct. Gameloft, a French game developer known for cloning popular games, is behind this very familiar looking title. Order & Chaos Online is not an official mobile version of WoW, but it sure looks like it. To find out more, keep reading!
Little is known about the game, but based on the trailer and screens on the official Facebook page for the game, you’d think it was right out of Azeroth. Players will be able to choose from two sides, Alliance and Hord -- uh, Order and Chaos. They can play as the mohawk-sporting undead, blue-skinned trolls or muscular elves with extra long and pointy yet floppy ears. Graphics are stylized and the slightly cartoony. Clearly the game is designed to appeal to the WoW playerbase though familiarity. But let’s face it, WoW borrowed a great deal of ideas and gameplay from the MMOs before it as well. And the upcoming SW:TOR is doing so as well.
That said, we can’t wait to play. Blatant clone or not, if Blizzard isn’t going to do this, we’re glad Gameloft is stepping up. Order & Chaos Online will be released for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.
Spacetime Studios released one of the first and best 3D mobile MMOs last year with its well-crafted Pocket Legends. Persistent world, instanced dungeons you can run with friends, central quest hub town shared with other players, daily quests, banks, crafting, thousands of items to equip on your character, new downloadable content released on a regular basis, the game developers really took the best elements of MMOs and crammed it into a touch screen interface.
They are following it up this year with, Blackstar, a scifi MMO that’s already generating excitement. Based on a PC title that never made it into the hands of players, Spacetime has refashioned it for the mobile crowd. Blackstar will launch on Android and iOS devices with three classes, customizable skills and lots of guns, gear and galactic action. Ground combat will be in when the title releases with the possibility of space combat later on. No PvP announced, but ship-to-ship battles would make this app irresistible. Details are light, but what we’ve seen so far combined with Spacetime Studio’s track record for mobile MMOs has us drooling for more.
Unlike many of the upcoming mobile MMOs we’re profiling here, World of Midgard has actual solid details about their product. The 3D MMOPRG will launch with four standard classes: fighter, cleric, mage and rogue, but all classes can heal and resurrect. Specialty classes like Rangers will come later as well as mounts and pets. PvP will be supported with 5v5 battlegrounds and 1v1 arenas with ratings. There will also be PvP specific gear and a PvP server for those who love to gank each other all over the playable world. Three five-man dungeons will be available along with two max level dungeons that have both normal and hard modes. The graphics are more Aralon and less WoW due to the Unity engine being used to power the title.
The developers have released a number of videos on YouTube showing the progress of the game and actively answer questions about its feature set on their Twitter account. This title looks like it’s incorporating the best of MMORPGs, but we’re hoping for some innovation in the genre from them as well. World of Midgard is releasing first on iOS devices, then Android.
This space-based mobile MMO employs more strategy and diplomacy than quick reflexes and carefully-honed strafing skills. Claim solar systems, mine their resources, trade with other players, build a formidable space fleet, take over the galaxy. Each galaxy can hold over 1,000 players and is only live for two months. At the end of the eight weeks a winner is crowned. Multiple galaxies will be running simultaneously and players can be involved in more than one.
Though Empire of the Eclipse is an MMO, the social playing aspect seems limited to an in-game chat interface and mail client. There seems little opportunity for real-time grouping to accomplish immediate goals, though not all the game features have been announced. But the fact that the game is designed to allow you to queue a number of actions that will then execute while you are offline speaks to solo player mindset of the game. Space combat is involved, but is currently being revamped to be more action-oriented. There are tech trees in the games with unlockable skills that allow you to do things like use jump drives and collapse stars into black holes to serve as traps for other players. This upcoming title from Zarksoft looks like pure win for the space strategist enthusiasts out there.
There are many more mobile MMOs in development as well. Most of them fantasy-based, a few more space-based and, of course, there’s the Asian titles as well. While some will succeed by being the first, we are keeping our eye out for the ones that bring something new to the MMO landscape. Which one are you looking forward to?