Find me an MMORPG, MeFi!
April 16, 2010 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Recommend me an MMORPG.

Requirements: Mac OS. Lots of online users. Free or cheap monthly fee. (Yeah, those last two might get in the way of each other. If the game's good enough, I can live with a higher cost.)

I'd like a game with a huge world and attention to things like politics, economics, etc., but I don't want that to be a barrier to getting involved. I don't care about (or want, for that matter) live chatting with a microphone. I'm more interested in something like Starcraft than World of Warcraft, not big on historical games, and would love something based on Earth, but I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Thank you!
posted by reductiondesign to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Puzzle Pirates! Wheeeeeeeee!
posted by Madamina at 11:58 AM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

EVE Online is absolutely what you're looking for in terms of an OSX-friendly game with a huge world and a focus on politics and economics, but alas, it's not cheap and has a learning curve like the north face of the Eiger. If those pros outweigh the cons, though, I'd very much recommend it.
posted by Catseye at 12:13 PM on April 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

The learning curve on EVE Online isn't nearly as bad as it used to be now that there are "epic missions" as well as a tutorial. If you want to sign up, let me know and I can give you my "in-game" e-mail address.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:15 PM on April 16, 2010

Best answer: There is no MMO with a huger world or more emphasis on politics and economics than EVE Online. It runs in OSX just fine.

That said, it is $15/mo, has a near-vertical learning curve, and can be boring as hell without friends to fly with. It also is designed to actively encourage griefing, blood feuds, piracy, backstabbing, and generally evil behavior by players.

The good thing about it is that you can play as much or as little as you want, as skill-training (the EVE equivalent of "leveling up") happens in real-time, so even if you are logged off for a month, as long as you have a 30-day skill actively training, your character is still progressing. Or you can leap in with both feet and be contributing to massive fleet battles in just a few days of training, battles that take hours and hours and involve hundreds of players spread across many star systems. That is, if you are in a corp (the EVE equivalent of a "guild") that is so engaged. Or you can mine asteroids and manufacture equipment and plot trade routes and watch the uber-sophisticated virtual markets for your chance to make a bundle of isk (the EVE equivalent of gold) as a solo trader.

It's hardcore, but there are many ways to approach the game, and that's what keeps me playing.

On preview: yeah, what they said.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:19 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

A Tale in the Desert is based on Earth but is a period piece (Ancient Egypt), although you are an active participant in the society and it's not strictly historical. OS X client, $13.95 a month, and I understand people who are hardcore about it are very hardcore. (Friends of mine play, I don't.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:35 PM on April 16, 2010

seconding "puzzle pirates".
posted by rmd1023 at 12:44 PM on April 16, 2010

To clarify on Puzzle Pirates - the economy of the game is based on the loot you raid / find on your piratical missions. Various accessories like ships, weapons, clothing, rum (required to sail a ship, of course), and so on are constructed in-game by various puzzle games. i.e. - you go on a mission and get raw sugar. You can sell the sugar on the market, or give it to your / your crew's Rum distillery. You then play (or pay others to play) the Rum-Distilling puzzle, which produces Rum. The Rum can then be sold on the market, or used by you / your crew. The whole thing is done by playing individual puzzle-games within the MMO.

Some raw materials are rarer than others. The raw material for the color black, Kraken Ink, is incredibly rare. A black pirate's shirt is expensive. Paining your War Galleon all black is prohibitve - and a sign you have massive wealth and power, and probably skills. The other factor is that some players are better at some puzzles - when I played a few years back, I was killer at the Rum puzzle, but sucked at Alchemy (which made paints & dyes).

The adventuring parts of the game - sailing the pirate ship and getting into fights with merchant vessels or other players - is a series of teamwork puzzles, as well as political (when your crew, or your "Flag", declares war or allegiance against other Flags.)
posted by GJSchaller at 1:23 PM on April 16, 2010

My post got deleted for letting OP know that his requirements are practically impossible to find in a game? It's helpful to know when your being too specific.

Obviously Eve online is about economics, but it's EXTREMELY complex. And not free or near free.
posted by lakerk at 1:30 PM on April 16, 2010

The Sherwood Dungeon MMORPG looks like a good bet. Low learning curve, some fun "quests" that are updated periodically, and *free* to use! Runs using a Flash plugin on the web and has a variety of "islands" with different challenges and monsters to overcome.
posted by Susurration at 1:36 PM on April 16, 2010

PS - Here's the Sherwood Dungeon MMORPG link ...
posted by Susurration at 1:36 PM on April 16, 2010

I am playing A Tale in the Desert (ATITD) right now and my biggest complaint is that you quickly progress into very difficult and time-consuming goals. There aren't enough short-term, easy challenges to keep my attention. I use to play WOW and got bored with that too, so maybe it's just me. What I will say about ATITD is that the community is great and there are lots of politics and teamwork involved. FYI, there is no combat in this game.

I tried EVE recently as well and could not figure it out. I suppose I could have joined a friend's corporation, but I couldn't figure out how! It's completely different than any other RPG I have seen which could be a good thing if you can figure it out. I also had a hell of a time getting it to run on Linux, so that was a dealbreaker.

I'm trying Puzzle Pirates out now, hadn't heard of it before.
posted by Raichle at 2:00 PM on April 16, 2010

Kingdom of Loathing. It's got the best writing of any game around, it's genuinely funny, it's massive, it's free, it has a relatively smart community and a vibrant mall economy, and its simplistic (but awesome) art style belies how mechanically deep and strategically interesting it is.
posted by painquale at 2:46 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

+1 to KoL, as painquale mentioned, also Sword of the New World
posted by deezil at 3:58 PM on April 16, 2010

Sword of the New World appears to be Windows only.
posted by Jawn at 2:15 AM on April 17, 2010

Doh. Glossed over that one requirement.
posted by deezil at 9:46 AM on April 17, 2010

Eve Online. Also, Eve Online.

No, seriously. There's politics for all, IF you want in. If you want to be an economic powerhouse, you can do that. If you want to mine, research, and make, you can do that. If you want to blow the crap out of digitial pirates, you can do that.

The learning curve is simultaneously steep and shallow... You can do *stuff* immediately, but getting good at something takes time. But, people will help you, we KNOW it's hard.

The world is big. Very big. Getting bigger all the time. Want to own part of it? Take over a star system. Can't do it on your own? Join one of the many, MANY corps (Good corps are pre-made friends to fly with, usually aligned with your own gaming desires). Corp can't do it alone? Join an Alliance. Oh, but you'll need to manage your reputations to in-game entities, because it changes how they interact with you:P

Economically, the players actions drive the entire economy. We mine the raw minerals, refine them, build the ships and ship components from them, move commodities and parts, sell, trade, destroy what we've built and keep going. It's been called "Spreadsheets in space" and it is, but it's not hard to start playing.
posted by Quadlex at 5:06 PM on April 18, 2010

Best answer: EVE sounds like it might be it for you, but your aversion to voice comms may ultimately be a problem if you want to truly enjoy the MMO aspects of the game. Almost all corporations require you to at least listen-in on voice comms and, preferably, use them to relay vital operational information. Any good corp/alliance keeps operational comms clear for the very serious business of internet spaceships.

Also, EVE can be free to play if you're good enough at it. 30-days of game time can be purchased with about 270-280 Million of the in-game currency. Sure it takes awhile to figure-out EVE well enough to make that kind of money, but it's certainly possible to fund EVE by playing EVE.

If you're interested in EVE, ask one of us for a trial invite. 21-day trial instead of 14-days and we'll even throw some in-game currency at you if you choose to subscribe with a paid account. (If you've got a Reddit account and are interested in EVE, definitely send me a message.)
posted by nathan_teske at 10:38 PM on April 19, 2010

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