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The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Underappreciated Fiction MMO

Posted by MikeB Monday September 16 2013 at 5:42AM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Underappreciated potential..." by Helleri:

So, I would like to know; If you could pick one work of fiction you felt is or was undervalued and have it turned into an MMORPG what fiction would it be and why? Could be an Ancient Epic, Classic Novel, Graphic Novel/Comic book series, Show or Movie etc.

For me it would be "The Pirates of Dark Water" (brief intro at top):

Why?

1) The world of Myr is deeply detailed and laid out. The main characters journey to it's most interesting and amazing places. And, through this the world it's creators envisioned was really shown off well (much better then the highly generic back stories and motivations of the main characters them selves).

2) It wasn't finished. This was originally meant to be 5 episode miniseries. Then it was redone, and expanded to become a full series. But, 21 episodes in, it got yanked. With main characters only having found 8 of the 13 treasures. This was much to the disappointment of some. And, the series (along with many tanked to almost forgotten series of the 90's like "Dinosaurs") has developed a cult fandom. So, on top of it being a great setting it has unfinished lore and still a bit of pull out there, that could easily be tapped by the right creative minds.

3) The blend of concepts I find to be fairly unique. It's part high fantasy and part piracy. It has interesting aspects like gun powder being hardly known of or used. There is a lot of small scale biological warfare blended with magic and melee. Briny bone swords with poison, miasma pistols, Jarred dragon flame throwers, acidic cephalopod launching trebuchet, and dragon riding bolo, bone spear, and net hurling fighters. Some inhabitants posses the power of geomancy. Others are massive physical brutes. Some are techno-wizards of a kind... and none of it seems to ill-conceived or far fetched for the world presented.

4) There is a clear and present world threat. The dark water since it was unsealed threatens to consume all. And this is nasty stuff. In most cases you are pretty much dead if it gets a hold of you, and really bad off if it so much as grazes you. it's like aliens from the movie abyss mixed with BP oil spill and malice on its mind. Beyond that, half the inhabitants of the world are slavers or pirates (or a mix of both). And, ruthlessness rules the see (even the hero of the series is more of an anti-hero...seriously, for being a noble and of supposed good character, he lets a lot of dirty deeds just slide).

5) I have seen a number of fail pirate games, And, I'd like to see something that makes up for that.

Read on for some highlights from the thread!

jesad offers up The Warriors:

The Warriors

Sure, sure, we have APB, which is nice.  But can you imagine?

Let's talk about straight up "show your colors", territorial control, gang wars?  Yeah, yeah, I know I am sounding like part of the problem right now, but I can't help it.  This concept would kick.  Forget about the guns.  Make guns like epic weapons.  Focus on hand to hand and melee weapon based combat.  Have the cops be very difficult to beat NPC's, and have them run you down for breaking enough laws to become infamous.  Heck, even have parts of the game be designed specifically to set you up?  Make it a constant battle between managing and expanding your territory, getting money, staying strong, and not getting busted.

And put that one mechanism that Wushu has in it where all the other gangs get to vote on, and go after whoever they think is the biggest problem this week.

Now you have the Warriors - Armies of the Night Online.

Can you dig it?  CAN YOU DIG IT?  CAAAAAANNNNNN YOOOOOOUUUUUU DIG IIIIIIIITTTTTTT!!!!????!!!???!

Wizardry picks Jason and the Argonauts:

it took me all of 3 seconds to answer this because i have a lot of passion and love for the Jason and the Argonauts movies.

Somebody actually made a real cheap game off that movie but was no where near good enough.If done professionally it would be an amazing game.You could have ship building needed to travel to distant islands and battle other cultures [please no more FACTION] ,i prefer cultures.Every single game that comes out uses Factions,it is like carbon copy game design,each copying the last.

Just imagine this ONE scenario.Your group goes out and slays a dragon.You burn it and gather the dragon's teeth.You keep those in a bag ,ready to toss them out during a rainstorm.The children of the Hydra ARISE,Skeleton warriors to fight with you or against you.FFXI uses the Charm ability to charm creatures to fight on their behalf,again that is part of the magic in the series.

Giant Roc,Crabs,Cyclops and various other creatures.You have the Giant Tasos immune to weapons and melee damage.

You could even have the island of NI with killer rabbits ....ummm lol j/king.

The game would basically revolve around all the mythical creatures with the main story line based on securing the golden Fleece.The game would have a large land mass with many undiscovered islands with hidden treasures and Pirates.

Swedish_Chef suggests...Cthulhupunk?!:

I agree with Shadowrun, but let's up the ante a bit. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

CTHULHUPUNK!

That's right. Take all the high technology & corporate shenanigans of cyberpunk, add in the Lovecraftian nightmare of your choice, and you have one of the most awesome settings created that not many people seem to know about.

Cybernetically enhanced Deep Ones used as corporate shock troops? Check.

Genetic experimentation on shoggoths? Check.

Futuristic weaponry combined with eldritch incantations of power? Check.

Digitized Elder Gods invading cyberspace and causing hackers to go mad on a global scale? Check.

It really blows my mind that to my knowledge, nobody has ever made a video game with this setting, much less an MMO. Much like the lack of a decent game based on Macross (seriously, how the hell do they keep fucking them up?), it's a continuing source of bewilderment for me.

I guess fighting near-immortal creatures with advanced weapons, cybernetics, and ancient, forbidden knowledge while keeping an ever-slipping hold on your sanity doesn't appeal to people these days, more's the pity.

Edit: Thought of another one. Ravenloft. It's a fantastic setting, yet there's only been a grand total of 1 PC game which has used it. Keeping this brief so I won't go into details, but it's a gothic horror type setting within the D&D universe and it's really worth checking out.

I'm going to have to echo some of the comments on Shadowrun. Shadowrun is one of the most well-known and yet underused cyberpunk IPs out there. Of course, cyberpunk is generally underused, but with Shadowrun's IP recognition, it really is a wonder why we don't see more Shadowrun games, and especially weird we haven't seen an MMO thus far. 

I've had a bad track record over recent years with regards to finishing singleplayer games, but when Shadowrun Returns came out this summer, I plowed right through it. My pick definitely goes to Shadowrun!

What underused or undervalued fiction would you like to see become an MMO? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

spookydom writes: If not Shadowrun (Really, really should be an mmorpg shadowrun game by now.....I mean why isn't there one? What kind of world are we living in when Pirates of the freaking Caribbean gets an mmorpg and Shadowrun doesn't?) I would pick Rifts in all its un-balanced Dragon V Rogue Scholar beauty.  Mon Sep 16 2013 1:01PM Report
Rodentofdoom writes: Dark Conspiracy from GDW was fun, it blended well with other near future settings aswell Tue Sep 17 2013 5:30AM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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