Horror MMORPGs: The Present and Future
The days are getting shorter and the shadows longer as autumn rears its head. Soon many of you will be scampering around the dark streets dressed as a ghosts, skeletons or Bill O’Reillys. It’s a holiday where you see neighbours you have never met and demand that they empty their household of sweet treats into your bags. So in the spirit of the holiday I thought I’d focus this week on Neopets. I jest. No, I want to talk a little bit about horror MMORPGs; what’s out there on the market and what’s on the horizon.
Bloody Gameplay in Requiem
Requiem for a Nightmare
Routing around the internet searching for horror oriented games throws up a scant few options. Certainly this isn’t a genre that’s well-trodden, but there are a couple of titles out there that could whet the appetite of a horror fan. Probably the most popular of these is Requiem: Memento Mori, which advertises itself as a game for mature audiences that will apparently “immerse you into a dark world of bloodshed devastated by generations of scientific and magical abuse.” Basically, it’s fantasy gone freaky, as if Tolkien and Lovecraft had a child and made an MMO out of it. Now there’s an image that belongs in a horror flick. So what makes this a horror game?
For one thing most of the creatures in this game look plain evil, sporting grotesque features far from what you would usually encounter in a normal fantasy MMO. You’re also going to be seeing a lot of blood spurting in all directions as you hack off their limbs and sever their heads, rather than just hitting them until they fade away.
Requiem – One of the Only Horror MMORPGs
Do the Monster Mash
But the main horror meat lies in the Nightmare Monster feature. Basically there are three types of monster in Requiem: normal, daytime and nightmare. Daytime monsters only come out in the 12 hours of day as dictated by the in-game timer. However, once the night set in and the clock strikes 23.00 nightmare monsters will begin spawning in different areas of the five maps. These creatures are not only twisted beyond belief, but they are difficult opponents and require a full party of eight players to safely encounter one without being torn to bits. The Nightmare Monster function can really wig you out, especially if you’re a new player, since you have the threat of being killed by a hideous creature if you go out in the dark alone.
Right now Requiem is probably the leading horror MMO out there, but there could be good news for horror fans in the sort-of near future as White Wolf Games has announced that they will be producing a World of Darkness MMORPG. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, World of Darkness was originally a horror setting for a table-top roleplaying games, one that explored the dark recesses of the modern world, from vampires and shape changers to witches and werewolves. There have been several translations to PC games under their Vampire: The Masquerade banner but fans have been hoping for news of an MMO for some time. There’s not a whole lot of information about it so far, but we do know that it will focus on social interaction and player politics. World of Darkness should be the horror MMO that everyone’s looking out for in 2012.
Dead Frontier is a Browser Based Zombie MMO.
A World of Secrets
Another game that will hopefully see the light of day is The Secret World, which is a game that looks to be taking the same concept as World of Darkness in that it thrusts players into a realistic modern setting and forces them to kill nasty beasties of the night. The Secret World, developed by Funcom, will boast a classless system to enable the player to have more control over their character, as well as letting players visit real-world locations such as Europe, Asia, Africa and America, making the horror hit a little closer to home.
Although there are slim pickings at the moment, a handful of games such as Requiem, Dark Eden and Urban Dead may quench your thirst for fright. However the future is looking pretty interesting for the genre, so don’t despair just yet, horror fans. Happy Halloween!
What do you think about horror MMOs? Do they work? Let me know what you think.
By, Scott Malthouse