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Five Historical Era Settings I'd Love To See In An MMO

Moving Away From Fantasy To Reality

Joseph Bradford Updated: May 13, 2020 1:37 PM Posted: May 13, 2020 12:15 PM
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Editorials 0

Most MMOs take their players to sights and worlds never before seen. Fantasy-based worlds, alien planets and more dot the MMO landscape, however there are a few places in our own history I would love to see an MMO set within. 

While I can appreciate the work that goes into sub-creation, creating a world of your own for your game, sometimes I would love an MMO to give me a real glimpse of our own past. Single-player RPGS for years have done this, most notably the Assassin's Creed franchise, but I would love to take it a step further to explore and make a name for myself in a setting that was both familiar and distant. 

Ancient Egypt

We got a taste of this with Assassin's Creed: Origins, and while MMOs like A Tale In The Desert exists with this setting, I'd love to see a modern MMO made during the time of the Pharoahs. Egypt is a country with a rich and ancient history, one that has always fascinated me ever since learning about it first in middle school. I always loved to hear stories about Cleopatra, how the ruling family of Egypt was descended from one of Alexander's generals, and more. 

While obviously an image from AC:Origins, I'd love an MMO where I could freely explore the pyramids themselves and discover their secrets.

There is so much you could do as well, and so much history to explore in this time period. We could see the Library of Alexandria rebuilt, or the MMO could be set during the years it's fending off Roman influence. It's such a fascinating time period, one that would provide an epic backdrop to a game. 

Speaking of Romans...

Roman Republic

Most people would center on the Roman Empire, because that's mainly what we're taught about in school. Yet this period is inspired by one of my favorite podcast series, Hardcore History. Dan Carlin has a whole series on the downfall of the Roman Republic, and that would be the time period I would love to see in an MMO. The Empire itself is fascinating for sure, but seeing how the civil wars of Rome destroyed the Republic would be something not really explored in most mediums. MMOs have explored Rome before, with Roma Victor, but it was short lived and the setting has barely been touched since then in any real way by MMO devs.

It could also allow for a little bit of revisionist history if set during the time period of Pompey the Great versus Julius Caesar. Players could take sides fighting in either generals army in PvP battles that would span the Mediterranean, and who knows, maybe Pompey rises to the top this time?

The Mongol Empire

This would actually be set after the life of Ghengis Khan, instead during the fracture of the Empire. Players could choose which Mongol horde they belonged to - the Golden Horde, the Khanate of the Great Khan (Kublai's Yuan Dynasty), The Ilkhanate or the Chagatai Khanate. This would also be a great setting for players to really get into mostly mounted combat - something I've wanted to dominate an MMO ever since The Lord of the Rings Online's Riders of Rohan expansion introduced something resembling mounted warfare. 

While everyone in this game would be Mongol, the Khanates did do battle against one another - so there could be a PVP element. Depending on when this is set after Kublai is pronounced Great Khan, players could fight in PvE conquests, taking over the last remnants of resistance against what was the largest land empire in the history of the world. It would also be interesting to see the difference between MMOs which typically are stationary civilizations as we know them today, and while our theoretical Mongol MMO would have cities and more, the nomadic nature of the Mongols could be part of this, with players setting up their own camps and bases throughout the game world as they travel. 

The Napoleonic Wars

Taking part in the European struggle of the Napoleonic Wars up close up close an personal could be an interesting place to set a game. Players could easily sign up to be one of Napoleon's soldiers, rising through the ranks in their factions to lead massive battles in Europe, while other players could take one the role of an opposing soldier, defending their lands from conquest. 

Total War has taken us to the Napoleonic times, now it's time for an MMORPG to do the same.

This would be a mostly PvP game by its very nature thanks to the setting, but being able to explore Europe during the 19th Century would provide a cool glimpse into the past for those who have always been interested in the time period. Would the Napoleonic players make the same mistake and attack Russia during the winter? Would the opposing players make their stand at Waterloo, or somewhere else? 

Viking England

Vikings and their conquests are very much in the cultural zeitgeist right now. With shows like Vikings and The Last Kingdom giving a glimpse into this time period, games have taken to them - recently with the announcement of Assassin's Creed Valhalla. A Total War Saga: Britannia also set players in this war-torn part of the British Isle's history, and our game would pick up before the Battle of Edington when Guthrum's army was beaten by the king who would be known to history as Alfred the Great. 

Players could choose to be Mercian, West Saxon, Welsh, Scottish, Northumbrian, or a member of the Viking tribes in England at the time. The heart of this MMO would be its PvP, with the Viking players attacking the settlements and fortresses of the residents of the Isles. But that doesn't mean the Saxon and Britons need to be allied themselves too - maybe Mercian players wish to rewrite history and put their King on top? Do the Northumbrians ally with the Vikings to take over the Scottish Highlands? Do the Welsh sally forth and take on Wessex? There is plenty here that could happen, and the setting makes it one of the most interesting of all in my mind. 

Do you have a historical setting you'd love to see an MMO set within? Let us know in the comments below.


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Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore