Top 5 Outside The Box MMOs

By Jeff Francis
top 5 outside the box mmos

There are times when a player gets bored with the usual mmo fare. We've killed hordes of orcs or undead, gathered enough resources to last a nation for a decade of expansion, and argued over which class in a particular game is overpowered or not. Sometimes it's worthwhile to break away from the standard mmo mold and seek out something new and different. If every board game that you played were pretty much the same, it would get pretty dull no matter which one you were playing. The same is true for online games, but we're lucky enough that there are some interesting online games out there that are outside the box and unusual. These games may tweak certain gaming conventions or rewrite the rules entirely, but the end result is that you won't be going out and killing ten more rats again. To be fair, such games can be a niche commodity and perhaps appeal to a certain segment of players, but they are worth checking out. Here are out top five outside the box mmos.

Myst Online

Myst Online
Our first outside the box mmo is Myst Online. Developed by Cyan, what makes this game so different is that it is totally puzzle-based. There is no combat in the game at all, either PvE or PvP. The players seek to figure out puzzles left behind by the D'ni, an extinct civilization, who lived in caves under the New Mexico desert and created books that linked to other worlds. Players seek to figure out the riddles of the D'ni and bring back the glory of the lost civilization. Players travel to the different worlds, called Ages, and explore them and to solve the game's many puzzles. Players are encouraged to pool their knowledge to progress through the game. The world is incredibly persistent as if you move a rock in your game, that particular rock is moved for everybody else that enters that area. Myst Online is a thinking-person's mmo and there are no levels, loot, armor, or any of the usual trappings of the mmorpg games that most people normally play.

eRepublik

eRepublik
Second on our list of top five outside the box mmos is eRepublik. This game is based upon the real world but takes place in the alternative New World. What makes this game unusual is that your character can rise up to being head of a faction, leader of your country, or remain anonymous if you wish to do so. There is a tremendous amount of interaction between players as the various countries fight each other on an almost continuous basis. This is a game of constantly shifting alliances, political and military maneuvering, and lots of back-stabbing. eRepublik uses rts features as each player has their own domain where they can construct various facilities. For work, players can choose to go to work for another player and draw a salary, work for yourself, or both. How far your character's star will rise depends upon how much effort you put into the game and how involved you become in the players' interactions.

Dungeon Party

Dungeon Party
Another one of our top five outside the box mmos is Dungeon Party. This mmorpg focuses on players joining a party and going on dungeon runs for treasure. What makes this game different is the tone of the game and its mechanics. First, Dungeon Party has a twisted sense of humor, so if you like your games serious, then steer clear of this one. The focus of the game is that a team tries to get the treasure chest to the dungeon's exit, but there are quite a few obstacles: another team of players, traps, boss monsters, and the treasure chest itself. Yes, that's right. You have to get the treasure chest to love you before you can leave with it. You can increase the treasure chest's love for your team by killing bosses and guards and carrying the chest for an extended time. When the meter shows that the treasure chest fully loves your team, you can make your escape. The mmo is action packed with a great deal of wacky humor thrown in. There are also some challenging game modes such as Blackout, where you can only see a few steps around you, and Dizzy, where your screen flips upside down. This isn't your normal dungeon run in the typical cookie-cutter mmo.

8BitMMO

8BitMMO
Fourth on our list of games is 8BitMMO. This game is a passion project by a small indie studio headed by Robby Zinchak. This game is outside the box as it's a totally free to play sandbox mmo where players can create whatever they want in a persistent online world. You can build your own town if you wish and choose who you allow to enter and build their own creations. While the graphics are retro pixilated 2D, the gameplay is wide open. While there are no levels, you can go on quests, fight monsters (such as the evil LawyerCats), create whatever you wish, or even fight some PvP (as long as a player builds the arena). The game has a healthy dose of humor to keep the mood light. You don't have to worry about other players messing with your creations as that, once you're built something, it can't be broken down by other players.

Minecraft

Minecraft
Our last game on our top five outside the box mmos should come as no surprise: Minecraft. This game has long been on the top of many player's favorite games lists. This mmo is another truly sandbox game where the player is only limited by his imagination. Using three-dimensional blocks, players can create entire virtual worlds. There are several different modes for Minecraft. Creative mode allows players almost limitless resources to create whatever they wish. Survival mode finds the player scrounging to gather resources to build a shelter to protect them from the monsters that come out at night. Armor and weapons can be crafted to make the player stronger. Hunger is also a concern as the player will need to consume food to stay alive. Hardcore mode plays like survival mode except that if the player dies, his entire world is wiped. Players can interact with others and some worlds have been created to facilitate playing against one another, such as worlds based upon The Hunger Games books and movies.

As you can see, there are alternatives to the standard create a tank/healer/dps, grab a quest, and go kill X number of creatures. There are quite a number of outside the box mmos that provide different challenges, whether it's puzzles or creating a world from scratch. All you have to do to see what they have to offer is just give them a try. You'll be glad you did.

Dec182013

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