Inspiration behind the creation of huge online worlds can come from other favorite forms of entertainment. Take books, for example. A good novel with great characters and an expansive world can be the ground floor to developing an MMO, and vice versa. MMOs can be so intriguing that lore books are often the perfect companions to our favorite games.
There are a number of lore books out there that have been the foundation for an MMO, or were published after or with a game’s release to extrapolate on our favorite worlds. Some online games have more than just lore books to extend their world. They have movies, comic books, and merchandise, too. We know these franchises well, i.e., Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, etc.
I’m often asked to list more online games that have companion lore novels—even asked to explore what MMORPGs should have lore novels but do not. The following list is not a complete listing of MMORPGs that have lore novels, nor is it a complete list of books that can be found under these intellectual properties, but it’s a start.
We mentioned Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek MMORPGs all have novels along with movies already, and when Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms releases it will be another on the list. So, let’s continue from there.
Age of Conan: Unchained
The character of Conan has proven durably popular, resulting in Conan stories by many writers. The Complete Chronicles of Conan is a recently published collection of all Robert E. Howard's original Conan tales and places them in published order. It also includes some unfinished works by the author and a lengthy & detailed essay on the history and evolution of the world in which the Conan tales are set.
The three trilogies below do not directly involve Conan himself, but take place against the same background as the MMORPG.
- Legends of Kern trilogy by Loren L. Coleman (2005)
- A Soldier's Quest trilogy by Richard A. Knaak (2006)
- Marauders trilogy by Jeff Mariotte (2006)
Age of Wushu
Specialized martial arts found in traditional Wuxia novels such as these are represented in Age of Wushu delivering a Wuxia culture experience.
- THE BOOK & THE SWORD by Jin Yong (1955)
- THE RETURN OF THE CONDOR HEROES by Jin Yong (1959)
- A DEADLY SECRET by Jin Yong (1963)
- THE EMPYREAN AGE by Tony Gonzales (2008)
- THE BURNING LIFE by Hjalti Danielsson (2010)
- TEMPLAR ONE by Tony Gonzales (2012
- EMPIRE IN CHAOS by Anthony Reynolds (2008)
- DARK STORM GATHERING by Chris Wraight (2009)
- FORGED BY CHAOS by C.L. Werner (2009)
Elder Scrolls Online
- THE INFERNAL CITY by Greg Keyes (2009)
- LORD OF SOULS by Greg Keyes (2011)
World of Warcraft
- TIDES OF DARKNESS by Aaron Rosenberg (2007)
- ARTHAS: RISE OF THE LICH KING by Christie Golden (2009)
- STORMRAGE by Richard A. Knack (2010)
Guild Wars 2
- GHOSTS OF ASCALON by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb (2010)
- EDGE OF DESTINY by J. Robert King (2010)
- SEA OF SORROWS by Ree Soesbee (2013)
- GAUNTLGRYM by R.A. Salvatore (2010)
- NEVERWINTER by R.A. Salvatore (2011)
- CHARON’S CLAW by R.A. Salvatore (2012)
Although short stories, not novels, TERA extends their lore through several ebooks such as THE AMARANTHINE HEART by Bridgett Mckenna (2012)
Not all lore books for our favorite MMOs can be found in our native language. For example, I’d love to read some of the novels for Final Fantasy XI; however, I’ve only found books in Japanese, German, and French.
I’ve run out of room to list more books, but we’d love for you to jump in and help add to the list of online game lore books you’re familiar with. And don’t forget to add in which MMORPGs you wish would extend their lore into novels, too.
P.S. Stay in touch! Find me at GeneseDavis.com and on Facebook and Twitter. For a list of gamer lit books set in real life that incorporate online games into the plot, check out this listing: Nine Recent MMORPG Novels.
Every week, Holder’s Dominion author Genese Davis opines about MMO gaming, the issues the genre faces, and the power of shaping online worlds.
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