Let’s face it - as much as we love MMOs for their unique gameplay, impressive graphics and unparalleled social experience, they are not the most inventive when it comes to settings. It seems most MMOs games prefer to stick to a very few familiar settings, instead of branching out and trying new, untested ones.
Don’t get me wrong, even within the limitations of these settings, lots of MMOs still manage to create their own world, with its own history, folklore and rules. Some, however, just decide to adapt an existing one and be done with it.
We thought we’d examine some of these common settings, and try to figure out why they are so popular. We start with a setting that is probably the most common in video games:
There are literally thousands of Fantasy games out there, and not just MMOs. It makes sense though, since the term is so general it can encompass many different types of games. The most popular type of Fantasy is what some call High Fantasy - a world of magic, where magical races such as Elves, Dwarves and Orcs live side by side with boring old humans.
Other subgenres include Medieval Fantasy, Dark Fantasy and even Science Fantasy. Stormfall: Age of War is a great example for both Dark and Medieval Fantasy settings.
Pirate themes and settings have become very popular in recent years, probably thanks to a certain movie franchise / Disneyland ride. Pirate games are pretty easy to identify, as they usually have a Caribbean setting and involve sword fights, ships and treasure. Case in point - Pirates: Tides of Fortune. They can contain elements of Fantasy, or even Science Fiction, but in their heart they are about swashbuckling and raiding royal ships in the high seas.
When dealing with modern settings, nothing is more common than the military. While less popular among the RPG crowd, military strategy games are always a hit. Commanding your own platoon, or even a whole army is maybe the ultimate power fantasy, so naturally a lot of games choose to go down that path.
Soldiers Inc., for example, manages to integrate the military settings in a more casual way that keeps the machoism and the power fantasy the genre offers, while removing the all boring restrictions and rules.
We’ve already covered Fantasy, but Norse Mythology earns its own spot on this list. A decade back, Greek Mythology pretty much ruled the video game world, but today we see more and more games embrace the Nordic pantheon. With badass Gods, terrifying creatures and epic tales of war, it’s easy to see why.
Throw the legendary Vikings to the mix, and you’ve got yourself the ultimate warrior experience, just like in Vikings: War of Clans. But Norse Mythology does have a light and funny side, as demonstrated by games like Nords: Heroes of the North.
There you have it - a few of the most common settings in MMOs and video games in general. Hopefully you like at least some of these settings, because we’ll probably see even more games using them in the future. If not, have no fear; there’s something out there for every player