Help me find a game like Runescape!
November 2, 2005 8:29 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a game like Runescape!

My fourteen year old son is currently obsessed with the online RPG game Runescape. As is the case with most teenagers, he is rapidly growing bored, as he has completed most of the game's challenges. What are some other age-appropriate online games that my son might enjoy? Bonus points for low violent/sexual content!
posted by msali to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kingdom Of Loathing? Some people I know swear by it.
posted by rebirtha at 8:41 PM on November 2, 2005

Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates has rum drinking and swordfighting, but it's very abstract and cartoony. If I had a young child, I would have no qualms about letting them play with only normal online supervision.

I'm Rummykins on the Midnight ocean, if you want someone to contact in-game. I'm on most nights. :P
posted by jammer at 8:47 PM on November 2, 2005

Uh. Somehow I managed to booch the link there.

There. D'oh.
posted by jammer at 8:47 PM on November 2, 2005

I'll vouch for both of those suggestions.
posted by jimmy at 8:57 PM on November 2, 2005

My son has already gone to bed (it's a school night), but I will be sure and run these suggestions past him in the morning, and let you know which one is appealing. I looked at Kingdom of Loathing, and I may even start playing! Keep the great suggestions coming, kids.
posted by msali at 9:34 PM on November 2, 2005

You might check out and see if he's interested in one of the more popular board games, like "memoir '44" a light miniatures military game, or Heroscape, which is sold by Hasbro but was created by a "real" game designer.
posted by craniac at 9:36 PM on November 2, 2005

Puzzle Pirates *is* a great option, especially now that it's gone long term free play - it's similar to Runescape in that regard. You can play on either subscriber servers or micropayment servers, and get the same limited access (the basic game, but not all of the social game, and not much ability to buy "stuff" or to lead others). On the subscription servers, $10 a month (less quarterly or yearly) gets you the full game. On the micropayment servers, you buy tokens (doubloons) that can be spent to buy "stuff" or access to the functions that aren't part of the free game.

Am I addicted to Y!PP? Yes, yes, I am.

/me goes back to designing her skirt for the annual Puzzle Pirates Parrrrrty.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:02 PM on November 2, 2005

Have you paid for Runescape? There's a lot more there if you pay for the members servers.
However, as I don't, lemme say that I feel a lot of sympathy with your kid. Runescape, aside from odd server overloads and a crufty design re: rendering, is really fun to adventure in. Unfortunately, the free adventuring tends to wear off, and you then are "playing" at being a virtual serf in order to raise your stats enough to finish the last couple of quests. It's odd how people will spend twelve hours a day pretending to mine coal or spin wool. I've often thought that there should be a game with a contemporary setting that harnesses the vast power of teenagers to do repeditive office work, earning "dollars" that can be spent on "upgrades" like bigger cubicles and personalized coffee mugs.

That said, there really aren't any free games that equal it. Kingdom of Loathing is a funny game, and a lot of fun to play (though I "beat" it back when it still wasn't finished and haven't wanted to invest the time again in it), but has crappy graphics and tends to get repeditive and boring. How many pirates do you have to kill before you get the whole outfit? Too damn many. For paying games, there are a couple that are big steps up— Worlds of Warcraft and Evercrackquest, from what I've heard. I have no desire to put that much time into those games either, but I know a lot of people who do and love them. . Diablo is also excellent, and can be played solo. There's less non-battle character stuff, but it looks great and is a lot of fun.
If he doesn't mind a massive step down in graphics, I like good ol' Nethack, after seeing it in an FPP here. It's hard and stupid at times, but it's fun to just keep throwing myself against that wall. There are also good old fashioned MUD (Multi-User Dungeons), if he can read and type. Some people don't like to.
Also, on the Playstation, there are these Final Fantasy games, especially X, which are fantastic and addictive. They have rich character development and I hear that you can play them online now too.
Hopefully, that's a start for him. If not, tell him to get an adamantite pickaxe and head to the central mines near the white knight castle to mine coal, then sell it. It'll take days, make him Runescape-rich, and totally kill his desire to play Runescape for months.
posted by klangklangston at 10:05 PM on November 2, 2005

Dofus just became free. The translation from french to english isn't bad... it just seems not good. Might have to deal with some translation issues though. I haven't had a chance to really play it. But it's prettier then runescape. It seems made for a teen actually.
posted by bigmusic at 10:23 PM on November 2, 2005

Oh, the halcyon days of early Runescape, when instead of butt-ugly 3d, it used butt-ugly 2d.

I've long tried to find games that improved upon some of Runescape's better parts. I would suggest looking at the members' side of Runescape, which would run about $10 for a month, cheaper for longer. Klangklangston is right though, it just ends up in the same repetitive tasks, and he may just be bored of the game in general and not just the free side.

I personally moved to Ragnarok Online at that point, but it's mostly run its course by now. Dofus is an excellent suggestion, as any violence is cartoony. Of course, the enjoyment of that is suggestive as well. Fair warning, the full game involves a monthly subscription fee.

You could try World of Warcraft for him as well. It's a little more adult, but probably nothing most 14 year olds can't handle without trouble. It's widely popular, there's a virtual world to do all sorts of stuff, and there's a vast community. That's the sort of thing he likely craves from such games, gaming with a community of similar interest.

One of those options should sate him for quite some time. Do be careful not to let him play too much, MMOs are very addictive by nature.
posted by Saydur at 11:29 PM on November 2, 2005

My 12 year old plays World of Warcraft. It's got a decent chat filter, and a lot of hand-holding for new players.

You may also want to look at A Tale in the Desert. It's a lot more cereberal, but there's no fighting at all.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:10 AM on November 3, 2005

You guys are great, thanks askmefi! We have indeed been shelling out the fee for the subscription Runescape since June, and even still, my boy is slowly but surely exhausting the Runescape possibilities. You have given us some great possibilities, and I am sure that he will spend the next few days checking them out. I'm afraid it is a little too late to prevent an addiction.
posted by msali at 6:50 AM on November 3, 2005

World of Warcraft is an extremely good game, addictive as hell. None of the other MMORPGs ever really grabbed me... once WoW had me in its clutches, it just didn't let go. Since it shipped, I put in somewhere north of 600 hours before finally burning out and ceasing to renew my account. (that's 25 24x7 days, or nearly four MONTHS of full-time (40 hour) weeks!). That is A LOT of gameplay.

It's cartoony violence, you're largely killing monsters by the hundreds (thousands?). Very social/group based... if your son has RL friends with reasonable PCs and broadband, they'd probably enjoy all playing together. It can be played solo all the way to the highest character levels, but the stuff that's most fun requires a talented group to handle. It's easily possible to find guilds and groups of friends online, so if he doesn't know anyone locally, it's no big deal.

The difficulty progression is nearly perfect... very easy at first, ramping up to EXTREMELY challenging in the furthest reaches of the game world. In many ways, it's one of the best games ever created.

It's about $50 to buy the game up front, which includes one 'free' month, and then $15 per additional month thereafter. I definitely got my money's worth out of it(!)

Puzzle Pirates is also fun, but I think a 14 year old would rapidly get tired of it. It lasted me, oh, maybe twenty hours. Stiil, it's almost no up front investment, so he can try it for awhile and see if he likes it before you spend anything. I like the company, atmosphere, and overall game a lot, I just got bored with the puzzles. They became tedium to get to the stuff I was interested in, and I don't like paying for tedium. :)

WoW you'll have to pay for, but I'll just about guarantee you're buying him a new way of life. Be sure to keep an eye on his grades and sleep patterns. It can be that addictive.
posted by Malor at 7:49 AM on November 3, 2005

World of Warcraft and its ilk are life destroyers...well, REAL life destroyers. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with people who like to play it, and I have lots of friends who can't get enough (literally), but I'm not sure it's the best idea to start your son down this path intentionally. As Malor described, it can become the temporal equivalent of a full-time job...and that would be ON TOP of school, etc. With those kind of time committments, it's pretty clear that something has got to give - and unfortunately, that something is usually school, etc.

You mention that your son is already addicted to this type of stuff, so is it really a good idea to feed this addiction? Although it's unlikely you can (or want to) stop this behaviour, you might want to think carefully before you decide to enable it. Sorry, I don't mean to preach, but as a long time video game addict myself, I really wish I had been able to sidestep this really wasted a lot of my time.
posted by johnsmith415 at 12:15 PM on November 4, 2005

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