Recommend an online RPG! (too much time on my hands)

Due to circumstances (mostly) beyond my control, it seems that I’ll be doing practically nothing for the next month or two at least. I’ve been thinking that this would be a great time to treat my laid-up self to some sort of online RPG.

A year or two ago I played Diablo 2 pretty heavily online, but I did get sick of the hack & slash combat, and the, uh, maturity level of the “community”. As in, there was too much “dood will u pleeeeez rush me through act 5” or “I need SOJ. Please give now.” Also, it got tiring endlessly repeating the cow level in order to level up.

OK, so I know Diablo isn’t exactly a strict RPG, but I’d like to find an online RPG where the community itself tends to be more genuine and interesting to interact with. I’ve been checking out Dark Age of Camelot and Asheron’s Call 2, and both sound pretty interesting to me. Anything else that I should be looking into? Neverwinter Nights has crossed my mind too. How 'bout something in the Everquest series?

I guess my criteria are: a fun, interesting community, an involving story or set of quests, and pretty graphics wouldn’t hurt either (but not a necessity).

So, folks, how do the various online RPGs stack up? What do you waste your time with & why?

An index can be found here. I’m not sure how good it is.

I played Ultima Online for a few years, it was lots of fun but I have heard it’s not a s good as before now. Everyone I know from the game is playing Shadowbane now.
You might want to also check out its like an online manual and review site, most of the bigger MMPGs are on there.

I got totally and completely hooked on DAoC for about 6 months while I was unemployed. Total blast, had a great guild that was lots of fun, enjoyed the adventuring and learning the math and mechanics behind everything. Spent lots of time on the main msg boards. Etc.

Then I got a job, and couldn’t deal with staying up til 2am every night. Haven’t played since.

Sometimes I want to start again, but I fight the impulse.

As far as DAoC is, it’s the only online RPG I ever played, so can’t compare it to others. I found that it was a complete blast leveling characters up to a certain point, then it got to be a drag. So I would roll a new one.

One thing though - to play in the big PvP wars (“realm wars”) you need a pretty speedy computer. You get to 100 - 300 people in the same area all fighting, casting spells, etc, and your processor just comes to a halt.

I went and checked out our local software store (which happens to be wal-mart :rolleyes: ) and it looks like both DAoC and and Everquest box set can be had for about $20. That’s not too painful. Asheron’s Call 2 goes for 50 clams. I wasn’t too sure if there was anything else to look for. Still haven’t picked one up yet.

Is there any disadvantage to starting one of these games after they’ve been out for quite a while?

Joining one of the worlds after the fact won’t be a problem. In fact, it will probably be beneficial to you because economies and campgrounds and guilds and the like are already established.

Assuming I can’t talk you out of attempting at least one of them (your month or two could easily mutate into an extended period, depending on your personality), I’ll give you my advice on the current games as I know them.

EQ I played on and off for about 2 years and it’s probably your best choice of the lot of them. It’s been around for what, 3 maybe 4 years already, undergone several expansion set integrations and has a very well established economy (in game as well as out). Their class balance, which while leaving something to be desired, isn’t nearly as bad as other games.

DAoC I played for about 6 months straight, shortly after it came out, and from what little news I still receive from old friends and guildmates, the game hasn’t improved all that much. They took steps to better a lot of the things that EQ players detested, and in certain respects they did wonderfully, but overall the game lacks a sense of purpose. Sure you can level up fairly quickly, and exploring the world isn’t nearly as dreadfully time consuming (which has its downsides, as when looking for a spot to hunt that isn’t overcrowded), but Mystic seems to have focused too hard on getting everyone to level 50 and forgot to add level 50 content. While great ideas, keep taking and relic wars and the like didn’t even approach what they could have and the game was so full of exploits that it was hardly any fun for anyone at that point. Logical strategies fly out the window in the face of an invisible archer hiding in a wall killing people in one shot from a distance best left to guided missles. And don’t even talk about class balance, there is none.

Shadowbane I have not played, but I’ve spoken with several friends that have been involved with it since beta testing and none of them are impressed. Especially not to the level of which the game has been hyped for the last year and a half. I’ve had it described to me as a glorifed Diablo II, but not as much fun, so take that as you will.

AC2 I have no direct or indirect experience with, so you’re on your own there. I knew a great many people that thoroughly enjoyed the first version, so if it’s half as good, that might be a good shot for you. However, it was out at the same time as EQ and EQ dominated the market. Good reason for that I’m sure, though I know not what it is.

Personally, I’ve given up on the MMPORPG’s and would try NWN. There are single player modules and multiplayer capabilities, but if you do not know people to play with, you’ll likely end up in similar situations to your Diablo II experiences where you’re playing with a bunch of d3wd5.

Good luck and good gaming.

I thought Asheron’s Call was horribly, horribly dull. I spent about three nights with it before I wrote it off as a learning experience (wait for reviews before buying any game).

I was on EverQuest for a month or so not long after it came out. It was interesting at first, but quickly just became tedious. It might be more stable and/or interesting now; when I was on there wasn’t anything to do except go around and kill monsters, and the spawning points were camped by herds of jackasses who would scream at you for “kill-stealing” if you came anywhere near them. I’d read that it was interesting to just explore the world, but the day I spent doing that I kept getting killed and then killed again when I went back to get my corpse. After about 5 times through that cycle, I just went to the first person I saw, gave them all of my stuff, and cancelled my account.

If you’re not looking for just a fantasy game, you might want to try Earth & Beyond. It’s sci-fi, as the name implies, and you pilot a ship doing mining/exploration, trade, or combat. The game mechanics are extremely simple, but it’s a pretty solid game overall. And pretty, too. I lasted the longest with that one; about two months. After that point, the game’s simplicity just made it too tedious. There wasn’t much to look forward to.

Gack, I should point out I meant “Asheron’s Call 2” was horribly dull. I never tried the first version.

For what it’s worth, I’ve never played Dark Age of Camelot but a lot of people I’ve talked to tried it and liked it. The claim was that it fixed a lot of the problems with EverQuest, but it gets old quickly and few higher-level players stick with it. If you’re looking for longevity, that’s probably not the one to go for – but it sounds like people get a hell of a lot of time in on it before they give up, which isn’t all bad.

If a good community based around playing a game is what you’re looking for, might I suggest trying a MUD?

MUD stands for Multi User Dungeon. MUDs are persistent-world online multiplayer games. They’ve been around for years and years.

The main difference between a MUD and one of the current MMORPGs is that your typical MUD does not utilize graphics. Instead, it streams text descriptions of what your character sees, smells, hears, and experiences, and you give commands back by typing them in. So, if you need the latest whiz-bang graphics and sounds to enjoy gaming, MUDs are probably not for you.
On the other hand, I can’t imagine a graphic card that can rival what I can conjure in my imagination from simple text descriptions.

Another difference is that the majority of MUDs are free of charge to play. No monthly payment, no initial cost. So trying them out won’t cost you anything else than your time - of which you claim to have too much. :wink:

I’m not an experienced MUDder myself, but I thought I’d toss in some URLs.
Three Kingdoms the MUD world where I currently play. I like this place, though it isn’t your “classic fantasy” MUD. It has some weird stuff. The three Kingdoms are Fantasy, Science, and Chaos. The weird stuff is mostly in the latter.
The Portal MUD (and other text-based online RPG) client is the MUD client that I currently use. It’s big and feature-rich, or feature-bloated as some would claim. There are a slew of MUD clients out there, but Portal is, IMO, one of the better ones.

There’s a solid group of Everquest players on the SD. I’ve played a few other online games (Anarchy Online, DAoC, Earth and Beyond) and I keep coming back to EQ. It is horribly addicting, so be warned.

I like EQ because it is difficult. DAoC just seemed to easy to me… I never really got into my character there because there wasn’t enough challenge. Yes, EQ can be a hack and slash game. But it can also be an incredibly interactive, rich game as well. They’ve done a good job adding quests for new & low level characters. They’ve also taken out a lot of the tedious stuff that used to drive you nuts. Travel from one point to another is quite simple.

The interactive element of EQ is what makes it fun. I have good friends who I speak to just about every day. I’m also meeting new people all the time. I know people in England, soldiers who are now in Iraq, and kids up in Canada. I’ve also grouped up with missionaries in Spain and Africa, and people in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Graphics-wise, EQ is middle of the road. The combat animations look pitiful, IMO. Some of the zones, especially the new ones, are amazingly beautiful. Some of the old ones look dated. Overall, it’s not the newest most whizbang graphical game on the market, but there’s plenty of stuff you go “oh wow!” to when you first see it.

The story is involving as much as you let yourself get into it. There are literally thousands of quests. You can find yourself helping to find someone’s kidnapped daughter, or exploring new areas trying to find a lost key. You can invade the orc city and defend the honor of the good races, or you can play an evil race and kill the guards in the good cities. There’s also plain ol’ hack and slash, if you’re in the mood for that. As you get higher level, hack and slash becomes more strategy based and less of an all-out melee… if theleather-clad rogue, for example, pisses the monster off too much and the monster decides to come after him instead of our knight in shining armor who is MUCH more capable of surviving a hit, the whole group can get wiped out.

If you’re interested in EQ and can afford it, I’d suggest getting the “Gold Box” - the one that costs $50 or so. The travel shortcuts that the Planes of Power expansion came out with are worth getting for even a brand new character.

I play on the Tunare server… if you do pick up EQ, I’d be happy to give you an intro and show you the ropes. One of the BAD things about EQ is the lack of documentation/tutorials for people new to the game, so finding someone to help you out is a good thing. The flip side of that is that most experienced players are THRILLED to find “true newbies” and show 'em around.

Let’s see…

I played Everquest a couple years ago. It’s fun and enjoyable, but once you get a high enough level, requires a great deal of commitment.

I played Asheron’s Call and the open beta of Asheron’s Call 2 and they were alright, just not my thing.

I play Dark Age of Camelot off and on, haven’t recently, but it’s a great deal of fun and Mythic seems to do a good job and adds things pretty constantly.

I’ve HEARD Anarchy Online solved a lot of their launch issues and is actually cool now, but haven’t played it.

I played World War II online for a bit, but it was buggy as hell.

I played Earth and Beyond, which is a pretty cool space MMORPG, but it was fun for about 3 months, and then it was all about being a cybertrucker. Still, they’re adding all kinds of stuff and I’m kinda getting the urge to play again.

I’m currently playing Eve Online’s beta test, it’s another space MMORPG, and it seems cool so far.

Actually, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can check my website (in my sig), I have some reviews up for a couple MMOs, and an ongoing review of DAoC.

I played EQ for two years and had a level 50 and a level 30 something when level 60 was the cap. It was fun, but there wasn’t much roleplaying.

I currently play DAoC and have since release on one of the roleplaying servers. I’m a guild mistress, and my primary character is pretty high ranked in Realm versus Realm on the server, for her class. There’s definitely more people who roleplay in DAoC on the RP server than there were in EQ, but no where near MUD quality from everything I’ve heard.

EQ had much more in the way of land mass. Much bigger, more dungeons, more to explore. DAoC has a far, far superior PvP system. I didn’t have any desire to play PvP when I started gaming but I love DAoC’s Realm versus Realm.

I found Mythic (which makes DAoC) a little more responsive to feedback than Verant (which makes EQ) A lot of the problems Soulmurk talked about really aren’t that big of a deal, Mythic fixes exploits fairly quickly, and there’s certainly plenty of room for strategy and tactics in combat. But one thing to be aware of is that there are three realms that fight and the balance between the strengths of them has never been equal. It’s always veered to more power for one of the three at any time depending on fixes to classes. As for level 50 content, there’s a lot, including the expansion pack, more high level content than there was at release. A WHOLE lot more.

I have no other experiences with MMORPGs.

If you’re looking for a good pay-for-play MUD, Gemstone III ( is the best I’ve played on, though I cancelled my account last year. I’d played it for about 5 years and it was very fun, lotsa good roleplaying.

DAoC to me tends to be more casual player/solo player friendly than EQ. I found in EQ that I’d wind up 15-20 levels behind people I started with. You tend to really have to commit in EQ. YMMV, of course. Whereas DAoC is a lot more jump-in, jump-out friendly.

Though EQ2 does tempt me…

So I checked out the website that had the directory of the various online games and I tried “Ferion”. For the last 14 turns (hours), I’ve been checking the growth of my tiny empire. This game just got addicting really fast!

Too bad I had to sleep for a good portion of those 14 hours. Good thing they have a queue system to take care of construction and research.

I’ll tell you. Shadowbane is attracting a VERY nasty crowd. This game is bringing out the worst in people. I still think that the best, most interesting MMORPG was Anarchy Online. Definately had the best interface ever.

What happened to Anarchy Online, Kid?


Ferion is what I play now, instead of going back to DAoC. Totally addicting as well…but it’s also even worse than DAoC/EQ in that if you’re not online a lot, you can forget about competing in the end-game. In fact, they had to institute a 16hr-per-24hr max logon system to even things out. Thing is, it’s tick-based, so it’s not like you actually have to be playing for hours straight, just have to login to manage your empire for 5 or 10 minutes, then go back to what you were doing before.

Ferion is NOT an RPG. It’s a space-empire-building sim. It’s fantastic.

I can’t comment on most of the games here, but I can tell you about EverQuest. I started playing EverQuest a little more than a year ago. My first character was abandoned at level 53, the second was sold at level 58. And yet, the game still draws me back. I am now working on my second account and third character, currently in her 30s. I enjoy the questing and tradeskilling options.

I play on Stormhammer (Legends) and have really enjoyed the additional “events” they have been running there, especially recently. While I enjoy this server and currently have no plans to move off of it, I will say that it is not what is advertised on the website. If you are looking for more events, this server is worth looking into. Fortunately, there is no reason to start on this server if you are not sure if it is worth the price for you.

I also played on the MUD Lost Souls for three years, though not consistently. EverQuest can be a fun game, but it is also more difficult to be a casual player at the higher levels. I would definitely give EverQuest a look and would also recommend buying the gold edition if you do make the purchase.

EverQuest does have a roleplaying preferred server. I haven’t played there, so I am afraid I can’t offer an opinion on that. In general, the Stormhammer population is mostly an older group, probably due to the additional cost. I think with almost any server that you choose or any game you decide to try, there will always be some people you could happily live without. If you do end up on Stormhammer or in EverQuest in general, let me know. I would be glad to help out as well.

It’ still around, as a matter of fact there is a recent expansion pack for it that got good reviews. I just happen to tire of any mmorpg after a month or so. I think AO offers a free trial too. You can also use really creative strategies to maximize your characters potential and there are really unusual character classes. I played a Trader and a Bureaucrat. There are fixers, engineers, agents, soldiers, etc. check out the website.

Wasn’t there a game called Final Fantasy 11 which was an online RPG? What was that game like?